Greece: Athens mosque likely to open in September

Greece's education and religion minister says the country's first state-sponsored mosque is likely to begin operating in September, about three years after its construction was approved by parliament.

Kostas Gavroglou spoke Friday during a visit to the nearly complete mosque on the outskirts of the city center, accompanied by representatives of the Muslim community. Its construction has been controversial, with some opposing a mosque in the Greek capital.

The mosque will provide an official place of worship for the country's Muslim immigrant community and for visitors. Tens of thousands of Muslim migrants live in the greater Athens area, and have been using informal prayer rooms around the capital.

Gavroglou said the Athens mosque, unlike most in Europe, was a public and not a private mosque that belonged to all.