Greek Muslims condemn the Archbishop’s insult to their religion

Greek Muslims condemned Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens for attacking Islam on Saturday, stating that a more “constructive” rhetoric is needed for a peaceful environment, especially in contemporary days plagued by the pandemic.
“We condemn the statement of the Archbishop of Greece, Ieronymos II,” said Western Thrace Turkish Minority Consultation Council (BTTADK).
In a statement shared on the council’s Twitter account, the council said: “We hope a more peaceful language to be used instead of anti-Islamic discourse in such difficult times of pandemic.”
Xanthi Turkish Union, on the other hand, said that the Archbishop’s remarks are not only an “Islamophobic attack” but also a “hate crime.”
“The fact that these statements, filled with insults, came from the number one name in the Greek church increases the gravity of the situation,” the union said in a statement shared on their website.
“We see this move as one of the typical examples of the rising Islamophobia and xenophobia in Greece in recent years,” the union continued, adding that Ieronymos needs to correct his words and apologize sincerely.
The archbishop said on Saturday in a televised speech that “Islam is not a religion but a political party and pursuit, and its followers are people of war.”
“They are the people who spread, this is characteristic of Islam,” he continued, referring to Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, known as Mehmed the Conqueror, who conquered Istanbul back in 1453, causing the Byzantium Empire to collapse.
The country’s unwelcoming stance toward its Muslim population is not a new phenomenon. For instance, up until recently, Athens was known as the only European capital without a mosque, even though there are an estimated 300,000 Muslims in the greater Athens area. Back in November 2020, for the first time since the 19th century, Athens witnessed the inauguration of an official mosque, as years of efforts by the Muslim community finally paid off.

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