Greece: Mus­lim cler­ics con­victed af­ter fu­neral spat

The News (New Glasgow) - - FRONT PAGE -

THES­SA­LONIKI, Greece — A Greek court has sen­tenced two Mus­lim cler­ics to seven months in prison af­ter they led prayers at a fu­neral ser­vice in­stead of us­ing a state-ap­pointed preacher.

The court Mon­day found the two men guilty of dis­turb­ing a re­li­gious cer­e­mony and usurp­ing author­ity, but the sen­tences were sus­pended and they weren’t de­tained. Pre­dom­i­nantly Or­tho­dox Chris­tian Greece has a 120,000-strong Mus­lim mi­nor­ity, which is largely Turk­ish speak­ing and based in the north­east of the coun­try. Un­der Greek law, Mus­lim re­li­gious of­fi­cials are mostly stateap­pointed, but many Mus­lims use a par­al­lel struc­ture based in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

The fu­neral oc­curred last year in a mi­nor­ity vil­lage af­ter a 19-year-old Greek army con­script died in a swim­ming ac­ci­dent. Sev­eral hun­dred vil­lage res­i­dents trav­elled about 230 kilo­me­tres (140 miles) to the court­house.

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