Athens, Greece – Athens’ first ever official mosque began operating on Monday, welcoming Muslims for prayer after a 14-year wait since procedures were first launched.

“A long effort by successive governments since 2006, when Law 3512 was passed, has been completed. Greece sends a clear message inside and outside the country, of democracy, religious freedom and respect,” said General Secretary of Religions Giorgos Kalantzis.

Prayers were held at the mosque, located at 144 Iera Odos in the Votanikos district, in strict adherence to social distancing rules and other safety measures enforced across Greece to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The mosque’s first imam is Moroccan-born Zaki Mohammed, 49, a Greek citizen.

Greek Prime Minister condemns Vienna shootings

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has offered condolences and expressed his solidarity with the people of Austria after the nation suffered a suspected terror attack.

“Shocked by the horrific attacks in Vienna. I have conveyed to [Chancellor] Sebastian Kurz our full solidarity,” Mitsotakis tweeted.

“Our thoughts are with the people in Vienna and the authorities dealing with the situation. Our hearts, with the victims and their loved ones. Europe stands united against terror,” he added.

Three people died and at least 14 were wounded after several men with rifles opened fire at six different locations in the center of Vienna, on Monday night.