Pig’s head, hate slogans at Athens Muslim center

Athens Arab-Hellenic Centre vandalism (1)Greek police say unknown attackers have placed a severed pig’s head and painted anti-Muslim slogans outside an Islamic studies center in Athens.

Nobody has been arrested over the pre-dawn attack Friday, at a building that also functions as a Muslim prayer center.

The attackers sprayed an obscene slogan against Islam on the sidewalk outside the building, daubed a Christian cross on the door and threw paint at the walls.

The attack was discovered by worshippers going to Friday prayers.

Bigotry targeting Jews and Muslims has increased in Greece in recent years, which also saw the meteoric rise of a Nazi-inspired far-right party. Golden Dawn entered Parliament in 2012, but all its lawmakers now face trial for running a criminal organization that used violence to spread and impose its beliefs.

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Athens mosque blocked again

Golden Dawn anti-mosque protestThe saga of the Athens mosque, the realization of which has been delayed for years and seemed a settled issue last November, continues. Work for the construction of the Muslim temple has been blocked again, this time by political maneuvers and an appeal presented by a university teacher, two navy officials, a cultural association and the ultra-conservative bishop of the Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, all of whom are against the presence of the worshipping place in the Greek capital, the only one in Europe still without a temple for its more than 200,000 residents of Muslim faith.

Precisely because of the legal recourse – and the fear that a judge may rule for the complainants – the infrastructure ministry has made it known that it has not yet signed the contract to carry out the 946,000 euro project on which the tender was won five months ago by the consortium composed of four of the largest Hellenic businesses: Aktor, Terna, JP & Avax and Intrakat. The preceding four tenders for assigning construction were not successfully completed since the participating companies withdrew after threats and intimidation received from extremist right-wing groups, like the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgì (Golden Dawn) party and residents of the Votanikos neighborhood, where the place of worship is supposed to be built, all of whom are contrary to the presence of Muslims in their zone in fear that it could become a gathering place for Islamic extremists or even a “den of terrorists”.

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Athens mayoral candidates clash over mosque plans

Aris SpiliotopoulosOn Thursday, New Democracy‘s candidate for Athens mayor, Aris Spiliotopoulos, was accused of toeing his party’s ultra-nationalist line by Gavriil Sakellaridis, main opposition party Syriza’s runner for the same position.

Sakellaridis made a clear reference to Laos, which used to be the most right-wing party in Greek Parliament until the sudden emergence of Golden Dawn, declaring that “Spiliotopoulos is running on a LAOS 2012 platform”.

Spiliotopoulos, a former minister of education and tourism, had called for a referendum in Athens on plans to construct a mosque in the city, in an interview on the Greek broadcaster Skai TV on Thursday [pictured]. He strongly opposed the idea, claiming that the capital does not need “another pole for illegal immigration”.

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Neo-Nazi party protests Athens mosque construction

Golden Dawn anti-mosque protestSome 700 members and supporters of Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn protested Saturday against the construction of Athens’ first official mosque, the state-run Athens News Agency reported.

Shouting “Greece belongs to the Greeks” and “No mosque in Athens”, protesters gathered in the Eleonas neighbourhood in central Athens where the mosque will be constructed, according to the agency.

Lawmaker Eleni Zaroulia the wife of Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and three more of the party’s elected deputies reportedly participated in the protest. Michaloliakos is currently in pre-trial detention, charged with running a criminal organisation following a musician’s murder by one of the group’s supporters in September.

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Golden Dawn, government clash over mosque

Athens mosqueAfter yet another attack on government plans to construct a mosque in central Athens, Greece’s neofascist Golden Dawn party has asked for a national vote on the issue.

Speaking in Parliament Thursday, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayiotaros said that plans to build a place of worship for Greece’s Muslim community were a “provocation” for Greeks, saying that the project should be put to a national referendum.

Panayiotaros wrapped up his comments shouting “fire and axe to those who bow down,” quoting a phrase from a letter written by Theodoros Kolokotronis, a leader of Greece’s War of Independence against the Ottomans.

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Golden Dawn threatens protests against Athens mosque

Athens mosqueGolden Dawn has pledged to organize mass protests against the construction of a mosque in central Athens after the tender for the project was awarded earlier this week.

The neofascist party said the awarding of the contract was an “unprecedented provocation” and that it would use its position “within Parliament and mainly through mass, powerful demonstrations” to prevent the mosque being built.

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Muslims and neo-Nazis in Athens: Halting the descent into darkness

Golden Dawn anti-Mosque posterFrankie Martin reports on the experiences of Greek Muslims facing violent oppression at the hands of the far-right party Golden Dawn, often with the connivance of the police.

He sees hope in the stand many Greeks are taking in opposition to the racism and xenophobia of the neo-Nazis.

Huffington Post, 29 July 2013

Song banned in Athens for ‘encouraging’ Islam

A song composed by Greek composer Manos Hacidakis titled “Kemal” has been banned in Athens following allegations that it serves as Islamic propaganda.

A complaint was received after an elementary school teacher in Greece handed 5th grade students lyrics to a song, composed by Hacidakis for a young man named Kemal whom he met in New York in 1968, so that they could read it during the next lesson.

The school received a complaint that Islamic propaganda was being pursued through the “Kemal” song. The reasoning was that “Allah” was present in three times in the song.

In her statement on social media, the teacher who was accused of spreading Islamic propaganda explained that she was called into the principal’s office after a parent complained.

World Bulletin, 31 May 2013

Protest held against Athens mosque plan

National Front Athens mosque protest

Members of the ultra-right National Front have led dozens of protesters in a march against the Greek government’s plans to build the first state-funded mosque in Athens, the capital.

The government has budgeted about one million euros ($1.3m) to build the mosque at a reduced price because of the country’s economic crisis, which has delayed the process. However, construction was expected to begin next year.

The protesters, including a woman dressed in nun’s clothing, waved Greek flags at the rally on Sunday as they shouted: “We don’t want sharia, we want Greece and Orthodoxy” and “No to mosques, give money to the schools.”

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