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Greece approves mosque in Athens

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ATHENS — The Greek parliament Tuesday approved the building of the first mosque in Athens since the early 19th century when Greece was ruled by the Ottoman Turks.

Fifty-five socialist deputies backed the decision to build a mosque, which is intended to serve the worship needs of Muslims living in the capital and Muslim athletes competing at the 2004 Olympic Games here. Forty conservative opposition deputies voted against the decision.

A number of mosques, which were built by the Ottomans in the Greek capital, have been turned into museums.

The Greek population is 97 percent Christian Orthodox, with the remainder small Muslim, Jewish and non-Orthodox Christian minorities.