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Hadid denies Athens mosque bid

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Zaha Hadid has denied claims that she offered to work for free on a controversial project to build a mosque in Athens, Greece

Athens is the only capital city out of the 15 original European Union member countries without an official building for Islamic worship, currently forcing Muslims to pray in the streets or underground.

Local media on the weekend reported that Hadid had offered to design a new religious building for free however the practice claims this is ‘unfounded’.

A statement from the practice said: ‘Zaha Hadid Architects welcomes and considers all invitations to participate in architectural competitions, however the practice has not been approached by the authorities in Greece nor by any other institution regarding a mosque in Athens.

‘Recent reports referring to Zaha Hadid Architects’ involvement in the project are unfounded.’

The Greek government is pushing ahead with plans to build the structure on a 1.6-hectare plot of land in Votanikos, west Athens, and has announced plans to launch an international design competition for a new mosque early next year.

Long standing plans to build a mosque in the city faltered in the run up to the 2004 Summer Olympics. Recent progress on the project however follows protests by far-right activists which sparked earlier this month during the Muslim festival Eid.

The budget for the government’s previous failed attempt to build an Athens City mosque was 15 million Euros (£12.8 million).

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