Bulgarian Muslims Frightened by Nationalists, Mull Not Praying Outside

Domestic | May 27, 2011, Friday // 15:00|  views

Photo by BGNES.

The Sofia Muslim community considers not praying so often outside the mosque anymore, as well as turning down the volume of the Sofia mosque's loudspeakers, after violent clashes erupted a week ago.

Last Friday, supporters of the far-right Ataka (Attack) party shocked Bulgaria as they assaulted praying Muslims in front of the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia in what started as a rally protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque.

On Thursday, Ataka leader Volen Siderov came out with declaration, warning that paid thugs pretending to be Ataka activists might stage new provocations during Friday's Muslim prayer in Sofia. Siderov stated he has never preached violence and those who attacked the Muslims last Friday were, in fact, not Ataka members.

"The Sofia municipality and the state institutions have promised us we will be able to carry out our Friday prayer as we always do. We will talk with the municipality about not praying in front of the mosque so often," Husein Hafazov, Chief Mufti Office's general secretary, said Friday, as cited by the Dnevnik daily.

Last Friday, nationalists got angered by the fact that Muslims were praying out in the open, stating they disrupted public order.

The volume of the mosque's loudspeakers has been turned down to as low as possible and the loudspeakers themselves have been lowered in order to prevent the sound from spreading too far, Hafazov also said.

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Tags: muslims, Ataka, Banya Bashi, mosque, friday prayer, Volen Siderov, nationalists


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