The long-awaited opening of the first Islamic Mosque in Greece will reportedly take place in October, as government official told daily newspaper Kathimerini.
The Muslim place of worship was supposed to be in operation by last spring, but bureaucracy stalled its official opening.
“The tenders announced last June show that the Prime Minister has personally decided to proceed with it”, the anonymous New Democracy official said.
As the newspaper reported the final details that referred to staffing, security, sanitation and supplies for the site in Votanikos had been ironed out, adding that the remaining last contracts are due to be signed so the doors can finally open to the capital’s Muslims, the facility having a capacity of 300.
The decision, ironically, comes a little after Turkey converted the iconic Hagia Sophia, as well as another old former Christian Church, into a Mosques after nearly 100 years of operation as a museums.
The Athens mosque’s governing committee will hire three civil servants responsible for accounting, secretarial and technical matters on a permanent basis, while another three staff will be hired on eight-month contracts initially, the report said.
It wasn’t said what kind of conditions would be set during the COVID-19 pandemic with the wearing of masks being extended to more places of public gatherings.
Muslims living in Greece have been conducting prayers and other services in makeshift mosques including basements and warehouses and private offices while demanding the government build them an official facility.