Friday, 31 August 2018 12:19

Greece – Christians declare abandoned building as church to oppose mosque construction

An ultra-nationalist newspaper spreads the lies of a self-proclaimed priest who has transformed a part of an abandoned building into a church in order to oppose the building of a mosque. This is our Greece's media monitoring highlight for August 2018.

This article part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of August, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom. 

elefteri oraDate of publication: 30 August 2018

Media outlet:  Eleftheri Ora, far- right Greek newspaper


Headline: “Extraordinary! They demolish the Christian Church in the Votanikos area in order to build a mosque”

Description of the anti-Muslim content       Eleftheri Ora reports an alleged government plan to demolish a Greek Orthodox Christian Church in Athens – “the holy temple of Panagia Eleftherotria” – to build, instead, a mosque. The article uses a very sensationalist tone against Muslims, including sentences such as “They officially start the Islamisation of our Homeland!”

Myth debunked:  Is it true that “the holy temple of Panagia Eleftherotria” is being demolished to build a mosque? No, it is false. The Archdiocese of Athens has explicitly stated that there isn't any official orthodox church of "Panagia Eleftherothria" (Holy Mary the Liberator) in the area of Votanikos. What is there is an abandoned building, which is not a church. As the fact-checking website Ellinika Hoaxes explains, the self-proclaimed Priest Loukas (who has not been appointed as a priest by the official orthodox church of Greece, and does not belong to the Church of Greece or to another officially recognised doctrine) has transformed a part of an abandoned building into a church, by putting some Christian paraphernalia in one of the rooms and gathering to celebrate and profess their faith. The self-proclaimed Priest Loukas took over a part of the building and declared it a place of worship after learning about the decision to build a mosque there.

More to read:

Living together: the implications of Muslims and Christians sharing territory

Islamophobia and Hellenophilia: Greek Myths of Post-Colonial Europe 

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