Tuesday, August 7, 2012

International Religious Freedom Report for 2011: Greece

U.S. Department of State
August 2012

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom and took measures designed to address concerns. The primary issue remained the degree to which religious groups are afforded the same privileges and legal prerogatives granted the Orthodox Church. The government demonstrated a moderate trend toward improvement in respect for protection of the right to religious freedom.

There were some reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. The Greek Orthodox Church exercised significant social, political, and economic influence. Some non-Orthodox citizens complained of being treated with suspicion or being told they were not truly Greek when they revealed their religious affiliations to other Greek citizens. Other religious groups reported discrimination by members of society. Members of the Muslim minority in Thrace were underrepresented in public sector employment and no Muslim military personnel advanced to officer ranks.

The U.S. government discussed religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. The ambassador and consul general in Thessaloniki met with government and religious leaders on a regular basis. They also hosted iftars (evening meals during Ramadan) attended by a broad range of government, community, diplomatic, nongovernmental organization (NGO), media, academic, and religious leaders, and attended Holocaust memorial events.

Read the Report