This article investigates the ‘problematisation’ of the recently inaugurated mosque in the city of Athens, the capital’s first ‘official’ mosque since the country was liberated from the Ottoman Empire almost two centuries ago. Building on and developing the existing scholarly literature on the problematisation of mosques in the contemporary European setting, this article generates new knowledge by focusing on the Greco-specific context of that same problematisation: an amalgam of history, geography, religion and culture, that asymmetrically shape and inform how and why the new Athens mosque is—and indeed continues to be—a site of conflict and opposition. Presenting new empirical data, this article uses an innovative and original approach to bring together two separate pieces of fieldwork undertaken first-hand by the authors in 2001/2 and 2019/20. Analysing the two sets of data, a threefold thematic structure is employed that focuses on Greece’s history, Christian Orthodoxy and global terrorism. This article first explores the existing scholarly canon relating to the contemporary problematisation of mosques through a focused overview of Greece’s history, religion and culture appropriate to mosques and in part, Muslims and Islam. From there it sets out the findings from the two periods of fieldwork to illustrate and evidence discourses of opposition towards the mosque and how these serve to function both symbolically and tangibly. Using the thematic analysis, theories relating to the ideological processes of Islamophobia are deployed to elucidate a better understanding of the Athens mosque. In doing so, this article makes a timely contribution.
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