ATHENS, Greece, July 26 (UPI) -- The Greek
government has approved construction of a mosque in downtown Athens, the first modern mosque in the overwhelmingly Greek Orthodox capital.
The state-funded mosque will be built on 18 acres currently used by the Greek navy, Greece's Ekathimerini newspaper reports. The site is in an area of the city that is being revitalized as a sports and parks complex.
The Muslim Union of Greece approved the location, the newspaper said.
The decision comes after 30 years of negotiations and failed projects, starting with a proposal by Arab ambassadors in Greece in 1976.
Saudi Arabia made its own proposal in 1983, which some local citizens and the powerful Greek Orthodox church objected to.
The church approved the current plan, seeing it as "a positive development," the newspaper said.
The government gave no date for the mosque's completion.
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