After huge delays the planning for the Mosque of Athens appears to have entered its final stage, with the Ministry of Environment examining the construction plans before issuing a building permit. Ministerial sources revealed there are still a few problems that need to be resolved, namely the settlement of a stream, however these are not expected to cause further delays.
The tender for the construction of the Mosque had been repeated five times and a successful bidder was selected in November 2013. The project has a budget of 946,000 euros, with the Islamic temple being constructed on land owned by the Hellenic Navy in the area of Eleonas (Votanikos).
Government circles have stressed that the construction of the Mosque is a priority for Alexis Tsipras. An appeal had been launched by the Metropolitan Bishop of Piraeus Seraphim, as there have been many objections to the construction of an Islamic temple in Athens. The existing buildings of the former Navy workshop will be converted into a Mosque, which will not however have a traditional minaret, but a similar vertical structure.
Greece has been criticized for the huge delays in the construction of the Mosque, which was initially announced seven decades ago. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has been highly critical of the delays, with the Minister of Education Aristides Baltas stressing that these delays are used to defame Greece.