Bulgaria’s Muslims gathering tons of donations to help Syrian refugees
Bulgaria’s Muslim community in joining in a campaign organised by the office of the Chief Mufti, spiritual leader of the community, to gather tons of foods and clothing to help Syrian refugees in the country.
Many mosques in Bulgaria have become collection stations for donations. Donations have taken the form of most-needed items, from blankets and jackets to beans, sugar and potatoes, local media reports said.
Television station bTV interviewed Haji Bayram, who had used 50 leva from his pension to buy blankets, beans and potatoes for the refugees. “They have nothing, they are refugees, we should help people,” he said. “We have shoes and on our beds, there are blankets”.
The Chief Mufti’s office has said that wealthy Muslims should contribute 250 leva (about 125 euro) to buy meat to distribute to refugees at the time of the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid Bayram. BTV said that it was doubtful whether health authorities would permit non-packaged food to be delivered to the camps.
The campaign continues until October 10. Reports said that in several communities, Christians had come to mosques to add their own donations to the campaign.
There have been a number of campaigns initiated in Bulgaria to assist the Syrian refugees in the country, notably including one by the Bulgarian Red Cross, while NGOs and individuals have launched campaigns online and via social networks such as Facebook.
In September, it emerged that some abbots to Bulgarian Orthodox Church monasteries had indicated their willingness to accommodate Syrian refugees, especially families with children. The monasteries offered for accommodation for Syrian refugees include two that have been recently-renovated, with central heating, new windows and bathrooms.
In a report on October 4, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television quoted the State Agency for Refugees as reminding people that donations of food for refugees could be accepted only if the food was properly packaged, was ahead of its expiry date and was labelled with a health certificate.
(Archive photo of Syrian refugees receiving supplies in northern Lebanon, March 2012: UNHCR/F Juez)