A whole bunch of 1000’s of Muslims from international locations together with Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh reside in Athens however the metropolis has not had a proper mosque because it pressured occupying Ottomans to go away practically 200 years in the past.

Plans to construct a mosque in Athens started in 1890 however it took many years for them to materialize attributable to opposition from a predominantly Christian Orthodox inhabitants and nationalists, sluggish forms however most lately a decade-long monetary disaster.

Amid a coronavirus outbreak, solely a restricted variety of worshipers, carrying masks and sitting at a distance from one another attributable to Covid-19 restrictions, attended prayers.

“It’s a historic second for the Muslim neighborhood residing in Athens, now we have been ready for this mosque for therefore lengthy,” stated Heider Ashir, a member of the mosque’s governing council. “Because of God, lastly, now we have a mosque which is open and we are able to pray right here freely.”

However different Muslims had been sad with the mosque’s look. A grey, rectangular construction with no dome or minaret, has no resemblance to different swish, ornate mosques in Europe.

“It does under no circumstances seem like a spot of worship, it’s a small, sq., depressing constructing,” stated Naim El Ghandour, head of the Muslim Affiliation of Greece. “We thank them very a lot for the supply, however we are going to battle to achieve it to the extent that we deserve.”

Underneath a lockdown to curb a surge in Covid infections, gatherings for formal worshiping might be banned from Saturday till November 30.

“We are going to pray at dwelling, and as quickly because the lockdown is over the mosque will once more be open for the worshipers,” Ashir stated.