Construction of the Islamic mosque in downtown Athens is in its final phase of completion.
Greek newspaper Iefimerida entered the area of Votanikos and captured images of the Islamic mosque and the surrounding area that has not yet been completed but is in its final stages. According to initial reports, the mosque was meant to be completed by last year, however, its still in construction and in final stages.
The main area has been built, but work is still underway for the inside and for completing the surrounding area, which spans 17 acres.
As images taken by Iefimerida show, the mosque, which is not supposed to have a minaret, has a large area of worship for both men and women. The mosque is designed for a capacity for 350 people, however, more will be able to now pray outdoors. In the center of the large hall, there is a "sanctuary" for Muslims, where the Imam (person leading the prayer) is facing towards Mecca. In the same building, there are also toilets and other facilities.
Many ministries and different services are involved in the construction of the mosque. Among other things, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Municipality of Athens, even the Navy, have been involved. According to Iefimerida, the obstacles that delayed the completion of the Mosque in the past have now been overcome.
“We are optimistic and hopeful that soon the Mosque will be open for Muslims to perform their religious duties, " Shiite Muslim Community of Greece and a substitute member of the Islamic Mosque Governing Board, Mr. Asher Haider told Iefimerida.
Discussions about the construction of an Islamic mosque in Athens started decades ago and until now, Athens remains the only European capital city without an Islamic mosque. According to estimates by the Shiite Muslim community, about 200,000 Muslims live in Athens.