Illegal mosque shut down in Piraeus

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Greek authorities gave a notice to close a mosque today in Piraeus that had no permit, Proto Thema reported. There had been previous complaints from locals and a follow-up by the General Secretariat of Religions of the Ministry of Education.

It was found that there was no license for the mosque.

The General Secretariat for Religious Affairs has granted licenses to 7 houses of worship, as well as to other religions, such as Buddhists and Jehovah's Witnesses, who legally applied for a license to operate places of worship.

The notice was given for a religious place of worship for Muslims in Piraeus called Al-Andalus.

The Muslim Union of Greece says that they regret receiving the notice.

"We announce with regret that we received notice from the police for permanent closure of one of the oldest places of prayer in the capital, at the behest of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the announcement said, which continued to say that "there was no negotiation with the ministry in order to find a satisfactory solution for all, except an order for immediate closure."

"The place called Al Andalou has been located in the port of Piraeus since 1989 and hosts residents, visitors and tourists of the port. There have never been any complaints or problems during these decades, and many documentaries and interviews have been done there. Now the faithful are called to pray en masse outside Piraeus," the statement said.

"The Muslim Union of Greece has always fought for visibility of Muslims that pray. The fact is that the prayer of the Muslims does not stop, the faithful will continue to pray either in a well-known public place or in an unknown private place," the Union announced, adding that "authorities should encourage visible worship instead of closing popular venues that will normally be replaced by private ones."

"This practice makes the faithful skeptical of the state and this worries us deeply. The relationship of trust that we have built together all these years will be replaced by suspicion and this does not honor the many years of good cooperation that has brought zero problems to society. Unfortunately, we understand that Muslims are far from equal in law and society," the statement concluded.