DPS: Bulgarian Muslims Intimidated by Radical Islam Crackdown

Domestic | October 8, 2010, Friday // 19:36|  views

DPS MP Aliosman Imamov says the Bulgarian Muslims are worried by what seem like politically motivated searches for radical Islam. Photo by BGNES

The "fruitless periodic searches" for radical Islam in Bulgaria have caused concern among the Muslim population, declared the ethnic Turkish party DPS.

"DPS will fight against any attempts to label with radicalism solely the Muslim community in Bulgaria," stated MP Aliosman Imamov from DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) in a declaration on part of the party with respect to the crackdown on the alleged illegal Bulgarian branch of the extremist Al Waqf al Islami Foundaton carried out the Bulgarian State National Security Agency (DANS) and the police over the week.

Imamov said that crackdown has upset the entire Muslim community across Bulgaria, and not just in the southern regions close to the village of Lazhnitsa, Pazardzhik District.

"The periodic searches of the special police for radical Islam and terrorists in Bulgaria, especially in the Rhodope Mountain, always end with no clear and concrete results. This is why the Muslims in Bulgaria accept them as attempts at intimidation or pursuit of other political goals. In this specific case the Muslim community has serious suspicions that the crackdown is aimed at eliminating certain imams, who are against the restoration of Nedim Gendzhev as Chief Mufti of Bulgaria," believed Imamov.

Thus, the DPS party has made it clear it sees a link between the alleged hunt for radical Islamists (four men have been exposed as extremists), and the problem with the appointment of a Chief Mufti in Bulgaria. After in the spring of 2010, a Bulgarian Court restored to the post the controversial Nedim Gendzhev, and removed the democratically elected Mustafa Ali Hadzhi, the Bulgarian Muslim community has been staging mass protests.

The Chief Mufti issue even emerged in the Bulgarian-Turkish relations where Turkish PM Erdogan said this was a purely Bulgarian affair, but only after his Foreign Minister Davutoglu stated in September that this issue will be resolved between Bulgaria and Turkey.

"The Bulgarian security services need to name the Bulgarian Osama bin Laden, if he actually exists. After the 9/11 events the US intelligence made two important steps – they identified Osama bin Laden as terrorist, and did not allow the transfer of guilt on the entire Muslim community because of the actions of a gang of fundamentalists," says the DPS position.

Imamov declared further that the Bulgarian Muslim community sticks to traditional Islam that is foreign to fundamentalism, and that any attempts for unclear accusations of fundamentalism create the dangerous feeling that Muslims in Bulgaria are viewed as foreigners.

The Bulgarian Muslims community consists of ethnic Bulgarian Muslims (Pomaks), ethnic Turks, and immigrants, mostly from the Arab world.

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Tags: radical Islam, terrorist attacks, mufti, imam, Al Waqf al Islami Foundation, DANS, Lazhnitsa, Nedim Gendzhev, Smolyan, Smolyan Region, Islamist, DPS, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Aliosman Imamov, ethnic Turkish, Bulgarian Muslims


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