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Legal Restrictions on Religious Freedom in Greece

on 2017/8/31 19:47:26 ( 838 reads )


ONTARIO, CANADA, July 8, 2006 ( HPI Note: The following report on religious freedom in Greece was published by an interreligious organization based in Canada. We were struck by the similarity of these laws to similar ones in some states of India which are the subject of international criticism from time to time. Below are two excerpts.

... Laws restricting freedom of religion were passed in Greece in 1938 and have never been repealed. One requires that anyone wishing to operate a place of worship must first obtain two permits: one from the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, and the other from the local bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church.

... Section 4 of Greek Law No. 1363/38, as amended by Law No. 1672/39, states: Anyone engaging in proselytism shall be liable to imprisonment and a fine of between 1,000 (US$3.50) and 50,000 ($175) drachmas; he shall, moreover, be subject to police supervision for a period of between six months and one year to be fixed by the court when convicting the offender. By "proselytism" is meant, in particular, any direct or indirect attempt to intrude on the religious beliefs of a person of a different religious persuasion (eterodoxos), with the aim of undermining those beliefs, either by any kind of inducement or promise of an inducement or moral support or material assistance, or by fraudulent means or by taking advantage of the other person's inexperience, trust, need, low intellect or naivete. The commission of such an offence in a school or other educational establishment or philanthropic institution shall constitute a particularly aggravating circumstance."

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