ABTTF President: ‘Reminding our country Greece of its obligations in the field of freedom of religion and worship, we invite the Greek authorities to respond positively immediately to the requests of Western Thrace Turks living in Thessaloniki for mosques and cemeteries’.
There is still no Muslim cemetery in Greece’s capital Athens. In 2005, a land was allocated for the opening of a Muslim cemetery in the Attica region, but no action has been taken by the Greek authorities so far. The cemetery application continues to be on the dusty shelves of the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
The Union of Muslims of Greece also criticised the Ministry’s failure to take any steps to open a Muslim cemetery in Athens, home to hundreds of thousands of Muslims.
‘The fact that there is still no Muslim cemetery in Athens, a capital city where hundreds of thousands of Muslims live, is shameful for our country’s democracy and proof that our country has a long way to go in fulfilling its obligations in the field of religious freedom. As in Athens, there is no Muslim cemetery or even a mosque open for worship in the second largest city of our country Thessaloniki, where thousands of Western Thrace Turks live. Muslims living in Athens and Thessaloniki are forced to bury their bodies in Western Thrace which is the only region in Greece with Muslim cemeteries or even in their home countries. This situation creates tremendous problems for the funeral holders both financially and spiritually. The authorities of our country must immediately take steps to open Muslim cemeteries in both cities and thus stop being more silent at the request of thousands of Muslims living in Athens and Thessaloniki’ said Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF).