Source: Arab News
On October 1, 2004 the Arab News reported, "Greek Parliament will vote next week on a bill for the long-delayed construction of a Saudi-funded Islamic center and mosque in Athens, the capital’s first since the end of Ottoman rule. The Greek government has set aside some 35,000 square meters of land in the town of Peania, about 20 km north of the city center and near Athens Airport. The project, funded by Saudi Arabia together with some Arab and Islamic countries, will be the largest Islamic center project and the first in Greece, which is home to more than half a million Muslims. This Islamic center, on completion, will cater for the growing number of Muslim immigrants including those from Egypt, Palestine and Albania. Thousands of Saudis and Gulf nationals also travel to Greece, mainly for business, ever year. Hence, 'the building of the Athens mosque has been a priority of the Greek government for nearly a decade, but deciding where to put it had turned the issue into a political dilemma,' said a DPA report yesterday."