SYRIZA: Muslim MP's are not a national threat, ND MP Athanassiou should be expelled for bigotry

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SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance slammed the ruling New Democracy government for bigotry against Muslim MP's in the Greek parliament, stressing that surveillance of Greek deputies on the excuse of national security, whether they are Greek Orthodox or Muslim is not acceptable.

The main opposition party called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to expel New Democracy MP, Parliament Vice President, and former Justice minister Charalambos Athanassiou for "a crescendo of bigotry" during an interview in which Syriza quoted him as saying that the surveillance of Greek Muslim MPs is justified on the grounds of national security.

"Mr. Athanassiou ought to know that 'national security' relates to the intervention of a third country in Greece's domestic politics or involvement in criminal activities," Syriza said. "It does not relate and may not relate to the religion of Greek citizens or deputies. Essentially, Mr. Athanassiou claims that whoever is not a Christian Orthodox is a national threat," Syriza said.

The issue arose when PASOK-KINAL leader Nikos Androulakis charged that his cellphone had been tapped by the National Intelligence Service while he was running for party leader. Among other events, the revelation has led to two resignations and calls for a new parliamentary inquiry.

Other reactions

PASOK-KINAL's parliamentary group also criticised Athanassiou, charging that "Greece's political system and Parliament ought to defend citizens' constitutional freedoms, human rights, and the constitutional right to religious freedom," and asking Parliament's president to intervene.

The party's MP Ilchan Achmet also criticised Athanassiou's stance "for reviving the theory of a domestic enemy in non-Christian and particularly in Muslim deputies," and condemned the "spirit of bigotry it brings to public morals."

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