Amid migrant crisis: Greece to build Athens mosque

Lawmakers in Greece have approved construction of a state-funded mosque near central Athens — a proposal that triggered dissent within the coalition government amid a heated public debate on how manage the migrant crisis.

The proposal, approved Thursday, follows several failed attempts to implement the project that had previously faced opposition from the country's Orthodox Church.

The governing left-wing Syriza party backed the 950,000 euro ($1 million) state-funded mosque, but it was opposed by its nationalist coalition partner, the Independent Greeks.

Tens of thousands of Muslim migrants live in greater Athens and use informal prayer rooms around the capital. The number of Muslims in Greece has increased following the refugee crisis last year, when the country was on Europe's busiest transit route for people fleeing to the continent.