The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece issued a statement expressing its support for the new, controversial, anti-racism bill. The new bill proposes stiffer penalties for individuals and political parties engaging in racism or incite racist violence, and will be discussed in Parliament next week.
In a statement issued, the Synod says that the provisions of the bill could contribute to “the effort to safeguard peace for all… irrespective of sex, color, religion.” The clerics also asked for an additional provision, according to which the refusal to recognize the genocide of Christians in Asia Minor between 1908 and 1922 should be considered a racist offense.
The legislation, which has repeatedly been delayed and re-drafted, is still opposed by 38 conservative New Democracy MPs who object to the fact that the refusal to recognize the genocide of Christians in Asia Minor and Greeks in Black Sea should be an offense, the same way that the refusal to recognize the Holocaust is considered racist.
On the other side, 9 independent MPs complained about the lack of reference to the “genocide of Pontian Greeks, Armenians and Greeks of Asia Minor” calling the bill “despicable and as if dictated by foreign powers.”
The discussion was scheduled to take place today, however the issue will be discussed in Parliament next week.
The postponement caused the reaction of several parties. “The anti-racism bill risks being remembered as the ‘frozen bill’,” said SYRIZA deputy Vassiliki Katrivanou.
“The new postponement of the tabling of the anti-racism bill in Parliament shows the intense efforts of New Democracy’s conservative enclave to prevent the adoption of a modern anti-racist legislation,” Democratic Left (DIMAR) has said in a statement.