A mosque under the Acropolis ?
The Greeks are debating the establishment of a mosque somewhere in their capital.
A new round of debate on the topic opened this week, with Greek lawmakers discussing whether to reinstate a former mosque in the Athens tourist district of Monastiraki, currently used as a folk art museum.
"Building a mosque in Peania could take 2 to 3 years ... but the Monastiraki [building] is ready to go," said pro-opposition Ta Nea daily, which broke the story on March 28. A lively debate has begun, with both proponents and detractors noting that the proposed site in Monastiraki, built in 1759 during the Ottoman occupation of Greece, is a stone's throw away from the Greek Orthodox Church cathedral in the city center.
"I have no objection to a mosque in Monastiraki as long as Turkey gives the keys of Haghia Sophia to the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate," countered conservative MP Stelios Papathemelis, referring to the iconic church of the old Byzantine capital of Constantinople (Istanbul) that was turned into a mosque when the Ottoman Turks captured the city in 1453. The government insists that no decision has been taken on the issue.