Topic 4 Religious minorities in Greece

In Thrace, there are about 114,000 Muslims, according to government sources and based on 2011 figures; these are largely descendants of the Muslim minority that was formally recognised in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty. Out of these Muslims, 54,000 are of Turkish origin, 36,000 of Pomak origin and 24,000 are Roma origin (Ziakas and Ziaka, 2016).

According to a report of 2017, there is an additional 520,000 Muslims. These people are mostly immigrants and asylum seekers from South-East Europe, Asia, and Africa, while they live in different areas of the country and in reception centers, while half of them are estimated to be residents of the capital of Greece, Athens. (United States Department of State, 2019)

The other religious communities in Greece collectively make up 3 to 5 percent of the population. ‘These include Old Calendarist Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, members of polytheistic Hellenic religions, Scientologists, Baha’is, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sikhs, Seventh-day Adventists, Buddhists, and members of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness’. In 2018, it was estimated that there are also 100,000 Armenian Orthodox in Greece. (United States Department of State, 2019)

The Greek Orthodox Church, Jewish community, and Muslim minority of Thrace have long-held status as official religious public law legal entities. The Catholic Church, Anglican Church, two evangelical Christian groups, and the Ethiopian, Coptic, Armenian Apostolic, and Assyrian Orthodox Churches automatically acquired the status of religious legal entities under a 2014 law’. (United States Department of State, 2019)

According to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the Muslim minority of Thrace has a number of rights, such as the right to maintain mosques, as well as social and charitable institutions among others, while each individual in Greece has the right to choose their burial or cremation place. The Greek law sets a quota of 0.5 percent per year for the admission of students from the recognised Thrace Muslim minority to universities, technical institutions and positions in the civil sector, and 2% in the fire brigade academy. (Ibid)


After reading the sources mentioned in the previous sections, please answer the following questions:

  1. What is the relationship between church and state in contemporary Germany and how do young and older people deal with the phenomenon of diversity?
  2. After watching the video referring to multiculturalism in Cyprus, describe the reasons why Cyprus has been a multicultural society over time.
  3. Is there a recent increase in the rate of hate crime incidents in Portugal? Which political event could cause concern for democratic institutions in Portugal?
  4. What is the law in Greece regarding the education of the state recognized Muslim minority of Thrace?