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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsU.S. State Dept. Releases Annual Report on Int'l Religious Freedom

U.S. State Dept. Releases Annual Report on Int’l Religious Freedom

The U.S. State Department on Wednesday released its Annual Report on International Religious Freedom.  It is a comprehensive review of the status of religious freedom in countries and territories around the world.
The country chapter on Greece notes that the constitution provides for freedom of religion and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion. The constitution establishes the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ, i.e. the Greek Orthodox Church, as the prevailing religion but also provides for the rights of all citizens to practice the religion of their choice.
It said that there was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government which generally respected religious freedom in practice. It noted that some religious groups faced administrative restrictions such as permits for the establishment or operation of places of worship.
It also said there were multiple reports in the media of societal discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief or practice.  It noted the arson attack against the Toxotes mosque in Thrace in September 2009. Greek officials condemned this attack and installed new security cameras afterward.  They also condemned the vandalism of the Sunni Mosque in Xanthi with graffiti in December 2009 and of tombstones in the Muslim cemetery in Komotini in February 2010.  It also condemned two arson attacks on the Jewish Synagogue in Chania, Crete. It further noted a demonstration in May 2009 of approximately 1,000 Muslim migrants in Athens.  The Muslim immigrations were demonstrating an incident where a police officer allegedly damaged a copy of the Qu’ran  while performing an identity check.

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