Downtown Sofia Mosque Turns Loudspeakers DownSociety | June 2, 2011, Thursday // 11:01| views
A Bulgarian police officer tries to react as supporters of extreme nationalist Ataka party attack Muslims during Friday prayer at the central mosque in Sofia, May 20. Photo by BGNES
The sound of the loudspeakers at the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia will be turned down and one or two of them, located in the mosque's entry hall, will be removed.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, the Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and the Chief Mufti, Mustafa Hadzhi.
The mosque's Board will also apply all possible effort to limit the number of Muslims, praying outside, on the sidewalk, by using the second level of the building which can hold 900 people, Hadzhi says.
Tsvetanov explained no events are to be held from now on in the mosque's vicinity during the Friday prayer.
On May 20, supporters of the far-right, nationalist Ataka party, led by party Chair, Volen Siderov, shocked Bulgaria as its rally protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque in downtown Sofia got out of hand, and activists of Ataka assaulted praying Muslims in front of the mosque.
The incident has had wider repercussions, all the way from Bulgarians flocking to lay flowers at the mosque as a sign of apology, to the start of investigation of Ataka for stirring ethnic and religious hatred and the consolidation of the voters of the Bulgarian ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms).
The Interior Minister informed about 6-7 individuals have been identified from video cameras, some not from Ataka; they have all been interrogated, but the Prosecutor's Office is yet to request anything else.
It was reported meanwhile that Siderov had refused to officially acknowledge the receipt for the fine of BGN 2 500 imposed on Ataka by the City Hall over the incident.
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