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Greece: Muslim clerics convicted after funeral spat

Greece: Muslim clerics convicted after funeral spat

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A Greek court has sentenced two Muslim clerics to seven months in prison after they led prayers at a funeral service instead of using a state-appointed preacher.

The court Monday found the two men guilty of disturbing a religious ceremony and usurping authority, but the sentences were suspended and they weren't detained.

Predominantly Orthodox Christian Greece has a 120,000-strong Muslim minority which is largely Turkish speaking and based in the northeast of the country. Under Greek law, Muslim religious officials are mostly state-appointed, but many Muslims use a parallel structure based in local communities.

The funeral occurred last year in a minority village after a 19-year-old Greek army conscript died in a swimming accident. Several hundred village residents traveled about 230 kilometers (140 miles) to the courthouse.