Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not Cool :-(

Apart from being Spot Chris Kontentos day, today is Eid ul Adha, a really important Muslim festival. When I woke up, Mr Zeus wished me Happy Eid, which he has never done before. I asked him how he knew, and he said he was watching on TV how public squares in Athens had been turned into prayer grounds for Muslims to come and worship. Eid prayers are considered quite important and people try to dress their best in new clothes for them.

I was happy when I saw this. Now, I'm not particularly practising... okay make that pretty much not practising at all. But it was nice to see the authorities take such a step, and I'll tell you why. Having witnessed the mess caused in the UK by unregulated mosques and imams, I very strongly believe it's important for Athens to designate an official mosque in the capital, monitored by the Greek government to make sure that the imams who preach there are moderates. Because extremism has no place in a modern society. Muslims in Athens gather at unofficial mosques anyway, where who knows who is preaching who knows what.

Wouldn't it be in everyone's interest to have an official mosque in order to keep control of extremist points of view? I'm sure we can all agree that no one wants that in Athens, especially in the current climate when things are hard and migrants are feeling hard done by. This is ripe ground for extremists to sow their seeds of hate.

Anyway, my feelings of happiness have now turned into feelings of sadness. Because a few idiots gathered at the squares where prayers were held, taunted and jeered the worshippers, scattered pictures of pigs around them and threw eggs at them. I can't imagine how humiliating this must be.

Ok, locals got upset, but to attack someone while they are praying is pretty damn low. I don't really have much else to say about this, when judging by comments on news pages about this incident the common feeling seems to be "They asked for it! Greece for Greeks!"

Just a final point for those wondering, from the comments I read. Yes, in my small home town in the Home Country, there is an active church. One of my childhood highlights was being a bridesmaid at that church. So now you know.


Anonymous said...

Happy Eid!

Hope you've had a good day!

Anonymous said...

You have to understand how most Greek people think. I can't talk to a typical male Greek about religion without him making some prediction about Islam taking over Europe. Such a proud, patriotic people like the Greeks don't like to think they should just sit by and let another religion take over their country. Most of them will argue that if they went to an islamic country, like say Iran, they would not be allowed to practise their Christian Orthodox beliefs. And to be fair, when was the last time you saw a Greek Orthodox priest baptising infants in a river in Iran? What do you think would happen if he did? Not to excuse what the Greeks were doing, because it was disgusting, but if people have no mosque, they should do what others in the same situaion do, pray in their homes, not on public property. Otherwise the Greeks will understandably view it as a religiously aggressive act.