Mob in Athens abuses Muslims celebrating Eid

Dozens of far-right activists and local residents threw eggs and taunted hundreds of Muslim immigrants as they gathered to pray in a central square for Eid al-Adha surrounded by a protective cordon of riot police.

Greece, which has become the main immigrant gateway to the European Union, has a growing Muslim community and tensions between locals and incomers have run high in some Athens areas such as Attiki square, the scene of Tuesday’s incident.

Athens’ Muslim community is without an official mosque and prayers are usually held at cultural centres or community halls or private apartments around the city. The Muslim community in Greece is estimated at about 1-million, in a country where most people are Greek Orthodox Christians.

While the Muslims prayed, some locals shouted obscenities from their balconies and waved Greek flags. Leaflets that depicted pigs — an animal Muslims consider unclean — were scattered across the square.

“There is a (unofficial) mosque near here but we’re afraid to go there,” said a 30-year old migrant from Bangladesh, who gave his name as Shamasul. “Sometimes Greeks in the neighborhood threaten to kill us.”


Margarita Vassilatou, 56, who has lived in the square for more than 35 years said she wanted to leave as a result of the immigrants: “This is not a life … We are afraid of them. Many of them are criminals, they carry knifes and deal drugs.”

In another, more central square in front of Athens university, about 2 000 Muslim men and women prayed peacefully in front of the neo-classical university and ancient Greek statues.

In the past, moves to build a mosque in the capital have been met with opposition from local residents and some priests of the Greek orthodox church.

However, the current archbishop supports the construction of a mosque and the socialist government has set aside a site close to the city centre, although building has not yet begun.

The only mosques in Greece are in the northeastern region of Xanthi near the Turkish border, home to a large Muslim minority. — Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Refugees in Greece face rising hostility

A new government is getting 'tough' on immigration – but local organisations provide crucial support

Thomas Cook’s big fat Greek wedding ruined after firm collapses

The couple, from the town of Hucknall near Nottingham in central England, said they had spent almost £10 000 on a wedding package with Thomas Cook

IMF wilfully takes austerity road

East Asia 1998, Greece 2008, Argentina 2018. The fund knows the suffering its loans cause, yet it has gone ahead in Ecuador

On politics and divine instruction

When someone with such a magnificent name, and holding such an impressive position, tells you something, you have to believe her

My colleague’s stake in the Reserve Bank billionaire club

The bulk of the Reserve Bank’s shareholders are individuals,but include trusts, pension funds, unions, a library, and an archbishop

Macedonia lawmakers to vote on name change deal with Greece

Ever since its small neighbour proclaimed independence in 1991, Greece has maintained that the name Macedonia can only apply to its northern province
Advertising

New education policy on gender violence released

Universities and other higher education institutions have to develop ways of preventing or dealing with rape and other damaging behaviour

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

The Competition Commission has fined Cambridge Food Jozini for hiking the price of its maize meal during April

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday