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First Prayer House For Muslims In Georgian Army Opens

TBILISI -- Georgian Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli has opened the first prayer house for Muslims serving in Georgia's armed forces.

Khidasheli said at the March 6 ceremony at the 3rd Infantry Brigade headquarters in the western city of Kutaisi that Georgia is a country where freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution.

Two more Islamic prayer houses for military personnel are expected to start functioning soon, she said.

Muslims make up about 10 percent of Georgia's population. But many have complained about roadblocks and even open hostility to efforts to build mosques or open Islamic schools in Georgia.

In 2014, a pig's head was nailed to the door of a building that was expected to house an Islamic school in the city of Kobuleti in the Ajara region.

Local Muslims called the incident "an act of desecration."