Athens

I just got back from a study trip to Athens, Greece, and it was definitely an interesting experience. Although my specialization is gender, the trip ended up being more about migration and race-relations in Greece.

Before we went there, we had no idea that Greece is having a huge immigration problem. Some things we found out from NGOs while we were there:

  • Mosques are not allowed to be built in Athens, which means that there are only informal mosques in basements (need to double check this).
  • Over the past few years, right-wing Greek people have trapped Muslims inside these informal mosques and then thrown petrol bombs inside, killing many.
  • The second day we were there, a Greek man was robbed and then killed by 3 “dark-looking people” who were assumed to be immigrants. Later that night, neo-Nazi TV channels (yes) and blogs called for Greek people to go out and attack and beat immigrants.
  • The next day over 17 immigrants ended up in the hospital after being stabbed.
  • There was also a clash between the left-wing and the police, who are overwhelmingly right-wing (surprise, surprise).
  • There is a huge back-log in terms of applications for legal status as a migrant, and some have to wait up to 20 years. Thus they can be arrested at any time, and they are kept in 2-by-2 cells with no toilets, little food, and no dignity.
  • There are reportedly 2 million undocumented migrants in Athens, who are now at risk of being attacked.
While Athens is certainly extreme, these discourses can be found all over Europe now, including the Netherlands. Anti-Islam rhetoric has become so widespread and acceptable, it is no surprise that in some countries, like Greece, it has led to violence.
Some feminists criticize porn because they say it leads to violence against women, since it objectifies and dehumanizes them. The same can be said about discourses on Islam in Europe today. By dehumanizing, stigmatizing, and insulting Muslims, violence is only a few steps away.
Uffff.
On a positive note, Greek men are very good-looking!
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21 thoughts on “Athens

    1. I had no idea this was happening in Greece either =( It’s not in the intl/Dutch media at all :S

      By the way, I ate A LOT in Greece…food is definitely another positive 😀

  1. Im actually gobsmacked by this, all the Greeks that I have known were very tolerant and displayed solidarity with oppressed Muslims in Palestine and Iraq for example.

    “Over the past few years, right-wing Greek people have trapped Muslims inside these informal mosques and then thrown petrol bombs inside, killing everyone.”

    This is shocking, do you have any sort of news link for this occurence?

  2. Nik

    You really need to check some of your facts.

    “Mosques are not allowed to be built in Athens:”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2371541.stm
    Athens is to have its first official mosque by the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government has announced.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Greece
    The Greek government approved the building of a mosque in July 2006. In addition, the Greek Orthodox Church has donated 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2), worth an estimated $20 million, in west Athens for the purpose of a Muslim cemetery.

    “Over the past few years, right-wing Greek people have trapped Muslims inside these informal mosques and then thrown petrol bombs inside, killing everyone:”

    Can you please provide a source for this, because when I google “petrol bombs athens muslims”, all I get is your blog, or people quoting your blog.

    “The second day we were there, a Greek man was robbed and then killed by 3 “dark-looking people” who were assumed to be immigrants. Later that night, neo-Nazi TV channels (yes) and blogs called for Greek people to go out and attack and beat immigrants.”

    So, were they not immigrants?

    “The next day over 17 immigrants ended up in the hospital after being stabbed.”

    And how many indigenous Greeks have been hurt?

    “There was also a clash between the left-wing and the police, who are overwhelmingly right-wing (surprise, surprise).”

    And what were the left-wing doing? Why was there a clash? What do you mean by “surprise surprise”? Do you think the police force actively discriminates against left-wing applicants? I doubt it. I bet left-wing people are less likely to apply to join the police. You’re hardly going to get an Anarchist applying to join the police. Think about it.

    “There is a huge back-log in terms of applications for legal status as a migrant, and some have to wait up to 20 years. Thus they can be arrested at any time, and they are kept in 2-by-2 cells with no toilets, little food, and no dignity.”

    Assuming this is actually true (I doubt it), why don’t they go back to their own country?
    That’s what I’d do. Surely the Greek government’s obligation is to the Greek people, not migrants.

    “There are reportedly 2 million undocumented migrants in Athens, who are now at risk of being attacked.”

    The fact that there are reportedly 2 million undocumented migrants in Athens is probably why this happened. You make it sound like it’s perfectly okay that there’s 2 million people there who aren’t supposed to be there.

    1. Hi Nik,

      Thanks for your comment.
      Thank you for the link to the BBC article: so apparently there is one mosque somewhere in the suburbs of Athens, and Muslims say:
      “But Muslims in the city say the location of the mosque, 20 kilometres east of Athens in the suburb of Peania, will make it unusable for most of them.”
      I stand corrected. The article also proves a lot of what I was saying in the post, such as the Islamophobia present in Greece, so thank you for sharing 🙂

      Here is an article that I already posted in the comment above:
      http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1638383.php

      Most of the info I used is from organizations we actually visited in Greece, not the media, which is often questionable. I mean are you actually taking those Muslim articles seriously, from a source called barenakedIslam??? Wow.
      The organizations were the ones to tell us that there is serious Islamophobia and racism in Athens right now. One of those organizations is: http://www.i-red.eu/

      How are anarchists and left-wing people the same?

      “Assuming this is actually true (I doubt it), why don’t they go back to their own country?”

      Well since your opinion is more valid than the UNHCR or I-red, organizations who actually WORK with these migrants, then I guess we don’t even need to discuss this.

      So instead of Greece or other EU countries helping to take in migrants from war-torn countries (wars that were often started/helped by Europe and the US), you are suggesting we send all the migrants back. Wow.

  3. Hi Sara, thanks for actually accepting my comments and engaging in a dialogue. If only all multiculturalists were like you.

    “But Muslims in the city say the location of the mosque, 20 kilometres east of Athens in the suburb of Peania, will make it unusable for most of them.”

    You began your article with the assertion that Mosques “ARE NOT ALLOWED to be built in Athens”. So, are Mosques ALLOWED to be built in Athens or not? Surely you recognise that there is a huge difference between there “not being any Mosques”, and Mosques “not being allowed”.

    Maybe the reason there aren’t many Mosques in Athens is because Muslims haven’t gotten the money together to build then. Or are you implying that the Greek taxpayer has some sort of obligation to give Muslims get a new Mosque for free whenever they demand one? I think you’re forgetting that the prevalence of Greek Orthodox Christianity is enshrined into the Greek constitution. It is recognised as Greece’s state religion (in much the same way as Islam is recognised as as the state religion in many Muslim countries, only with less stoning).

    “Most of the info I used is from organizations we actually visited in Greece, not the media, which is often questionable. I mean are you actually taking those Muslim articles seriously, from a source called barenakedIslam??? Wow.”

    I agree that the media is often questionable, which is why one is often forced to resort to “alternative” sources such as barenakedislam, to find things the mainstream media chooses not to report. It is disingenuous to dismiss something out of hand simply because it doesn’t come from the “right” (or, in your case, should I say “left” heh heh) source. The articles in barenakedislam contain videos of the incidents, and specific dates and locations. The videos can’t be fabrication, even if the text is.

    “The organizations were the ones to tell us that there is serious Islamophobia and racism in Athens right now. One of those organizations is: http://www.i-red.eu/

    Are you actually taking a source called “Institute for Rights Equality and Diversity” seriously? Wow. This is clearly a biased source, isn’t it? They’re obviously not neutral. They’ve already decided that diversity is an ideal in itself.

    “How are anarchists and left-wing people the same?”

    You described the Nationalist tv channels as “Neo-Nazi”. Were they actually Neo-Nazi, or just White Nationalist? Did you see the broadcasts yourself, or were you just told they were Neo-Nazis and accepted it? I don’t know for sure that they were Anarchists. I also don’t know for sure that the tv stations are Neo-Nazi.

    The people protesting were far-left extremists, right? You chose to describe them as “left-wing people”. From what understand, and have read, many/most of them are Anarchists. Since no one was kind enough to take a roll call, I’ll accept they might have been merely “left-wing” if you accept they, or many of them, might have been “Anarchists”. They were involved in a riot for a start, that’s pretty Anarchic. But they may have been Communists as well, Communists and Anarchists often link arms when it comes time to protest and/or riot.

    The point is that it’s no surprise that the police force are right-wing (if they are, I only have your word for it). Left-wing people are probably far less likely to apply to join the police, would you agree?

    “Well since your opinion is more valid than the UNHCR or I-red, organizations who actually WORK with these migrants, then I guess we don’t even need to discuss this.”

    You didn’t give me any source to go on. You have now, so I’m happy to look into this. Clearly, we both expose ourselves to different sources. I expose myself to sources which have an anti-Muslims bias, you expose yourself to sources which have a pro-Muslim bias . Maybe we’ll be able to pool our resources and meet each other in the middle, and start to see the forest instead of the trees.

    “So instead of Greece or other EU countries helping to take in migrants from war-torn countries (wars that were often started/helped by Europe and the US), you are suggesting we send all the migrants back. Wow.”

    I am actually against the EU existing in the first place and would like to see Greece withdraw immediately (I believe that the recent economic crash would never have happened under the Drachma, for example). But this is a tangential issue which you might want to look at another time.

    Yes, I am definitely suggesting that all “undocumented migrants” (as you euphemistically call illegal immigrants) should be deported ASAP. I do not believe that Greece, or indeed Europe, has any obligation to have its doors open wide 24/7. Nor do I believe Greece is to blame for Muslim countries being war-torn. Show me an example of a war in a Muslim country that was started by Greece. Because Greece is not responsible for wars started by the US or the UK.

    I can’t think of any wars Greece has started with Muslims. In fact, when I think about Greek-Muslim wars, it’s all the other way around!

    Muslims invaded and occupied Greek Cyprus in 1571, and still occupy Northern Cyprus to this day.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_invasion_of_Cyprus

    Muslims invaded and occupied Greece c1460 and oppressed the Native Greeks, with rules such as “they must bow their head before any Muslim”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Greece

    And let’s not forget Constantinople, which was a Greek city:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Constantinople

    So I’ve provided historical examples of Muslims attacking Greece, but I can’t think of any wars Greece has started with Muslims, especially not since WW2, which must surely be the cutoff point for countries still being messed up in 2011.

    “Wow”, is not really an argument. Sure, you might not be used to anyone expressing this opinion in your particular social circle (which is presumably limited to people that share your particular political agenda). But rest assured, in the world outside of post-colonial, post-capitalist, post-modern, post-feminism, this opinion is most certainly out there and is gathering pace.

    “Any links from the BBC or an actual media outlet for this?”

    What’s so trustworthy about the BBC? As you say yourself “the media is often questionable”.
    The BBC is a biased source, by its own admission.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411846/We-biased-admit-stars-BBC-News.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_BBC
    http://www.biased-bbc.blogspot.com/
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1942948.ece

    The articles on barenakedislam have videos, pictures, et cetera. Okay, the pictures might be from another Muslim riot (there are a lot of them). But the videos? Also, if you read the barenakedislam articles, they link to other, more “mainstream” (and presumably therefore more “neutral”?) sources.


    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/06/muslim_leaders_warn_greece_of.html
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/01/warnings-follow-koran-incident/?page=2

    Those are just the sources from barenakedislam.
    I googled “Muslims riot greece koran” and I got a tonne of results. Here are a handful:

    Greek riot police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Muslims who pelted them with sticks and stones:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/alleged-koran-stomping-sparks-greece-riots-2753667

    1,000 immigrants from Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan smash store windows, cars:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3719745,00.html

    Video: Muslim immigrants riot in Athens, Greece

  4. I can’t find anything on the internet which backs up the story about the petrol bomb in the basement. Also, I’ve been talking to Greek friends and they’re all adamant that the story is a hoax promulgated by Muslims and their Anarchist/Communist sympathisers. Do you have a source for it?

    Also, the 3 people that started all this trouble were illegal immigrants, not just “dark-skinned people assumed to be immigrants”. Have you ascertained their identity? You gave the impression that they were only assumed to be immigrants, but from what I can tell, it has been proven that they were 3 illegal immigrants who murdered a Greek native who was on his way to the hospital to be with his wife who was in labour. they murdered him to steal his camera.

    And I asked around about the supposed “Neo-Nazi” channel. I’m not aware of it, and nor are any of my other Greek friends. One friend of mine, who lives in Athens, said that there was a Nationalist channel but its viewership was infinitesimal, <1%.

    1. Nik,
      Thanks for taking the time to post such a lengthy reply. I stand corrected that mosques are apparently allowed to be built in Athens, since as you said there is one (a ridiculous number but still, proves that it is not illegal).
      We can go on and on but at the end of the day, I don’t believe your sources are valid, and you don’t believe mine are. I don’t think the organizations I visited are pro-Islam, actually. An institute such as i-Red can’t just say whatever it wants, whereas “barenakedislam” can, since it’s a blog. The report I posted is full of detailed research and statistics, so I, again, encourage you to look into it.
      The Greek people I spoke to said the opposite of the Greek people you spoke to, which is not surprising. Every country has lots of different opinions.

  5. almostclever

    Nik, I love how you try to chastise for not having “the right” sources, and your source is “barenakedislam.”

    I pray you’re not a journalism major.

    1. Almostclever:
      I pray you’re not an aspiring debater, because that is precisely the point I was making. Sara was the one who initially chastised me for using anti-Muslim sources; I merely chastised her back for using pro-Muslim sources. I used her own argument against her.

      Also, I think you’ll find I’ve used many more sources than barenakedislam. I used TVNZ and the Washington Times as sources. What have you got against TVNZ and The Washington Times?

      I also used Israel News as a source. Okay, Israel News might be biased. Should I have used Palestine News instead? {The point I am making here is that Palestine News, Syria News, Pakistan News, would obviously have their own bias as well}.

      Feel free to google “Muslims riot Athens Greece Koran” and knock yourself out with all the different sources.

      Now, did you have anything to say about the actual things I said, or did you just want to nitpick this tangential detail into an Ad Hominem attack?

      1. Again, I don’t see where I used pro-Muslim sources?
        I-Red is not pro-Muslim. The BBC, although biased, is definitely not pro-Muslim.

  6. “I don’t think the organizations I visited are pro-Islam, actually.”

    “Again, I don’t see where I used pro-Muslim sources?
    I-Red is not pro-Muslim. The BBC, although biased, is definitely not pro-Muslim.”

    http://www.i-red.eu/?i=institute.en.objectives
    “Studying AND PROMOTING”
    “Studying AND COMBATING”

    They are not a detached, neutral source which is impartially recording data for academic purposes. They have set them selves up to be on one side of the debate. The pro-Muslim side. They are, by their own admission, not merely studying, but “promoting” one side and “combating” another.

    http://www.i-red.eu/?i=institute.en.identity

    “. . . with a European and international orientation approaching issues under a holistic, global and EU dimension, and building on EU and international networks”

    They are globalist (the opposite of Nationalist) and they are pro-EU.

    “i-RED has built a selected team of junior and young socio-economic and legal experts, in order to encourage and to lead the creation of a research culture, the development of skills of young and promising researchers engaging them to EU and transnational projects and public intervention.”

    Why have they only got “junior and young” legal experts? Why not “senior and old” legal experts? Do they discriminate against older applicants? This institute sounds like it’s ageist.

    “-RED is currently leading and coordinating the EU research and public intervention RED network combating racism & xenophobia”

    They’re not “researching” “racism and xenophobia”, they’re “combating” it. How can a source that openly admits it is combating one thing and promoting something else be anything other than biased?

    An institute whose raison d’etre is to fight racism, discrimination, whatever you want to call it. is going to see racism everywhere. What is “racism” anyway? What is “xenophobia”?

    Yes, I can look at a dictionary. The point is that in a free society, people should be allowed to have any opinion they want, and express it. They can “combat” it all they want with ideas. But I love freedom, and I don’t agree with legislating against people having certain opinions about how their country should be.

    Are Nationalists necessarily “racist”? Is it “racist” to be against multiculturalism? Is it “racist” to think that a flood of illegal immigrant criminals, who riot whenever someone looks at a Koran the wrong way, will be bad for one’s country?

    The BBC IS pro-Muslim. Read some of the links I provided:

    “BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and MORE SENSITIVE TO THE FEELINGS OF MUSLIMS than Christians.”

    “On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran.
    Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show’s actual producer and the BBC’s head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, EXCEPT THE KORAN for fear of offending Muslims.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_BBC#Alleged_pro-Muslim_bias

      1. Well, even the BBC themselves say they are pro-Muslim. So I don’t really know how you can dispute it.

        I accept that there are sources which skew things to make Muslims look bad, but I also genuinely believe there are sources which skew things to make Muslims look good. Would you at least agree to that?

        Anyway, we’re obviously on different sides of this fence for whatever reason(s). But it was nice talking to you; if I see you at a protest I’ll be sure to tell my fellow racist thugs to go easy on you. (This is a little joke here).

        Peace.

        (P.S. If we stopped Muslim immigration into Greece, maybe there wouldn’t be as many problems with Muslim immigrants).

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