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Vandals mutilated the facade of a mosque in ethnically divided Cyprus on Thursday, painting it blue with Greek flags and slogans, which authorities strongly condemned.
They also painted in blue paint crosses on the two wooden doors of the mosque, which lies to the west of the city of Limassol near the southern coast of Cyprus.
Today marks the bicentenary of the Greek uprising of 1921 that ended Ottoman rule in Greece. Cyprus, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, came under British protection in 1878 before later becoming a colony and independence in 1960.
The Cypriot authorities condemned the incident, describing it as “an unacceptable and meaningless act for what is called patriotism, the desecration of places of worship.”
Cyprus was divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots after a Turkish invasion in 1974, which followed a short-lived Greek-inspired coup. Many mediation attempts to unify the island have failed, while the United Nations prepares to embark on a new effort in this context in Geneva in April.
“Such malicious acts do not contribute in any way to creating the appropriate climate for the solution of the Cyprus issue and the reunification of our country,” a Cypriot government spokesman, Kyriakos Koushos, said in a written statement.
Under a picture of the mosque, one user on Twitter wrote “Stupid today.”
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