Bulgaria ethnic turks alarm Europe on Chief Mufti issue

The ethic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) is going to file a complaint with the EC and PACE on the issue with the Chief Mufti in Bulgaria.

A letter will be send to Viviane Reding, EC Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe about Nedim Gendzhev’s attempts to be reinstated at the post, the Deputy Chair of DPS and Member of the Parliament, Lyutvi Mestan said Tuesday.

Mestan pointed out that months ago all institutions in Bulgaria were notified about the issue, including the Parliament, but the situation is now at a critical point and DPS must express its official position before Europe.

Mestan said that on September 3, just ahead of the Friday prayer, an attempt has been made to seize the Chief Mufti Office by force by paid bodyguards, while on September 14, the building of the Regional Mufti Office in the city of Razgrad has been attacked. In the latter case the security guards were employees of the company owned by the Regional Coordinator of the far-right, nationalist Ataka party who confiscated the keys to the mosque.

The DPS Deputy Chair stated the fact a member of a party known for its anti-Muslim and anti-Minority policies controls the mosque is unprecedented and an outrage.

In addition to plans to notify EU authorities, Mestan reported DPS have proposed amendments to the Religions Act aiming to instate no interference in any religion in Bulgaria.

The Muslim community in Bulgaria generally consists of two large groups – ethnic Turks and ethnic Bulgarian Muslims (known as “Pomaks”). Some ethnic Roma and immigrants from Arab countries also belong to the Bulgarian Muslim community.

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