Alleged Bulgarian Radical Islamist: My Life Is in DangerCrime | March 16, 2009, Monday // 19:56| views
The mayor of Garmen, Ahmed Bashev, said in an interview for Darik Radio, that supporters of the Bulgarian MP, Yane Yanev, had threatened Bashev's relatives that he would be murdered in a week. Photo by BGNES
A village mayor, who was arrested Monday for allegedly promoting radical Islamism, has accused a Bulgarian MP of threatening his life.
The mayor of Garmen, Ahmed Bashev, said in an interview for Darik Radio, that supporters of the Bulgarian MP, Yane Yanev, had threatened Bashev's relatives that he would be murdered in a week.
Ahmed Bashev and Murad Boshnak, a teacher of Islam in the elementary school of the nearby village of Ribnovo, who were both arrested Monday by the State's National Security Agency DANS, denied all charges of promoting radical Islamism.
The arrests came after last week the leader of the Order, Law, Justice party, MP Yane Yanev, presented publicly reports claiming that radical Islam was being promoted in the mountain villages of Southwest Bulgaria.
Bashev and Boshak said that they would not sue Yane Yanev.
"Yane Yanev is raising ethnic tension just to win 200-300 election votes... How dare he call me an Islamic fundamentalist, kamikaze! People like him do not belong in politics!", Ahmed Bashev said.
According to Yanev, the forcibly promoted radical Islamism in the region was supported with funding by Arab foundations.
Bashev, who is the Mayor of the village of Garmen, and of the Garmen Municipality, where Ribnovo is located, and Boshnak are said to be close associates.
After MP Yanev presented his reports about the forcible islamization of the Garmen Municipality, Bashev issued threats against him.
The villages of Garmen and Ribnovo have populations of 1 700 and 2 400 respectively. Almost 100% of their populations are made up of the so called Pomaks - ethnic Bulgarians whose forbears were converted to Islam during the Ottoman Empire period.
The Garmen Mayor, Ahmed Bashev, won the 2007 Local Elections with 55% (4 993 votes) as an independent candidate of a local initiative committee. The candidate of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party (DPS - which is part of Bulgaria's ruling three-way coalition), Galip Misirkov, came in second with 38,5% (3 488 votes).
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