Monday,Apr 6 ,2009
After several attempts to uncover the Muslims' status in Greece, IslamOnline.net (IOL)'s Euro-Muslims Page is shedding the light on the role of Greek imams as an alternate solution to many challenges they face in their way to integration into their European society while maintaining their religious Islamic identity.
For that purpose, IslamOnline.net (IOL)'s Euro-Muslims Page hosted Mr. Naim EL-Ghandour, President and Co-founder of the Association of Muslims in Greece, in a Live Dialogue session on April 6, 2009, to talk to IOL’s audience on the status of imams in Greece.
Naim El-Ghandour was born in Egypt in 1955 and has been living in Greece since 1974. He has the Hellenic citizenship and is a successful businessman. El-Ghandour dreams of seeing the Athens Mosque and the Muslim Cemetery in Athens and he exerted all his efforts for these two main projects.
Accordingly, he has proposed many requests to the Greek Government asking for the Muslims' rights to have their own official Mosque and cemetery in Greece. His attempts are still going on.
In a response to a question from IOL's audience during his Live Session about the mosques and its role in Greece, Mr. Naim said, "We, the larger Muslim community, are exceeding 700,000 only at the capital Athens, but we have no official mosque, just unofficial places to pray. We are fighting hard to have our own official Athens mosque and cemetery and en shaa Allah we will succeed. It is essential for us to have a mosque."
IOL's audience also raised an important question on what can be done to make it easier for immigrants to feel accepted in the Greek community. Our guest replied, "Greece is the number one destination for the illegal immigrants of Europe, and this is very difficult for all. But education is above our strength as the Muslim countries are not contributing, they may have not realized the current situation in Greece. At a governmental level, we are trying to start contact between the Greek state and the Muslim states to allow Islamic education to be a subject taught at schools."
To read the full text of the interview click here.