Sofia Mayor Orders Sound Level Checks after Mosque Clashes

Society | May 25, 2011, Wednesday // 14:24|  views

The May 20 clashes between Bulgarian nationalists and Muslims in front of the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria is a country where the rule of law is observed and my commitment is to apply all effort to make sure rules are followed," the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, says.

The comments were made Wednesday in an interview for the TV channel bTV in connection with the incident last Friday when followers and supporters of the far-right, nationalist Ataka party, including party leader, Volen Siderov, staged a rally in front of the Sofia's Banya Bashi mosque, protesting the fact it has loudspeakers that sound Muslim prayers in the entire area around.

The rally escalated to a fight with injured and detained people. Siderov claims those at the mosque are Islamic extremists and terrorists.

The Mayor explained that regarding sound levels, there are orders and standards, listing acceptable ones, adding the Regional Health Safety Inspectorate is the authority to deal with the issue and assess these levels. The Mayor then has the right to ban the source of sounds exceeding the norm, she explained.

Fandakova promised a check of sound levels not only around the mosque but all over downtown Sofia, pointing there are many places where the noise is too laud. In cases of proven violations, the City hall will issue directives for lowering the noise.

"I stress that I can react only if rules and orders are violated," the Mayor stated.

Regarding Muslims praying on rugs outside the mosque and on the sidewalk, Fandakova informed she had asked the Deputy Mayor for Security to turn to the mosque's Board of Trustees to request they carry out prayers in a way that does not create discomfort for others.

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Tags: extremist, Islam, radical, Siderov, Volen, nationalists, sofia, banya bashi mosque, friday prayer, muslims, Ataka, Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka, Fandakova, sound levels


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