Greece and Islam: Identity Struggles of Muslim Refugees

“Refugees in Greece face identity struggles,” by Alim Latifi for Al Jazeera English:

During Sunday mass in Athens, a small but spirited segment of a 40-person congregation sing “glory unto your pure soul, o God! Glory unto you! Glory unto you father!”

Every now and then the singing, backed by a Yamaha keyboard and a zarb, goblet drum, is interrupted by feedback from the microphone and the static caused by adjusting cables connected to a large black amplifier.

“For the past two weeks we’ve been having audio difficulties. It would seem someone doesn’t want us to sing, but we will continue because our hearts are full of God,” Reza, one of the three men leading the hymns says.

The simple room – plain white walls in place of stained glass, rows of plastic chairs where pews would be and giant dark brown curtains used to conceal the inside from view – is in stark contrast to the mediterranean architecture of the many Greek Orthodox churches that line the city.

The congregants too, are anything but the average site at a house of worship in the only nation where the Eastern Orthodox Church is recognised as the state religion.

Of the more than three dozen men, women and children gathered at the nondescript centre, little more than a handful are Westerners born into Christianity. The rest are Iranian or Afghan asylum seekers, all born into Islam…

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