(FRONT PAGE MAG) – Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all Greece touched off a firestorm in mid-January when he dared to note, according to the Orthodox Times, that "Islam was not a religion but a political party." He added: "They are the people of war." In response, Muslim leaders the world over have rained down condemnations upon the archbishop. He spoke inaccurately when he said that Islam was not a religion at all, but proof that he was wrong about Islam having a political aspect has not been forthcoming.
Muslims in Greece were outraged. The Western Thrace Turkish Minority Consultation Council (BTTADK) declared: "We condemn the statement of the Archbishop of Greece, Mr. Ieronimos….We hope a more peaceful language to be used instead of anti-Islamic discourse in such difficult times of pandemic." The Xanthi Turkish Union added that Ieronymos' words were an "Islamophobic attack" and even a "hate crime." It thundered: "The fact that these statements, filled with insults, came from the number one name in the Greek church increases the gravity of the situation. We see this move as one of the typical examples of the rising Islamophobia and xenophobia in Greece in recent years."