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Athens mayor candidates split on mosque referendum

April 7, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Athens’ center-left mayor Giorgos Kamanis says Greece has an “international obligation” to build a mosque in the capital, criticizing a proposal by his main opponent in municipal elections next month to hold a city referendum on the project.

Plans to build a mosque in the Greek capital have been delayed for more than a decade, with Muslim immigrants instead using makeshift prayer sites around the city. But the government has agreed to fund a project worth nearly 1 million euros ($1.37 million) at a former industrial site where a major redevelopment is planned.

Kaminis, the front-runner in opinion polls for re-election, on Monday described the referendum proposal by conservative challenger Aris Spiliotopoulos as a “serious blunder.”

Spiliotopoulos, a former religious affairs minister, argued voters should have the last word.

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