The district court in the southern Bulgarian city of Kurdjali has refused a claim by the office of the Chief Mufti, spiritual leader of the country’s Muslims, on property next to the Historical Museum.
An appeal against the decision on the claim, which involves land on which the Arena Spartacus recreation area stands, will be lodged in the appeal court in Plovdiv within two weeks.
Claims on property by the Chief Mufti’s office have been a sensitive and highly-politicised issue in Bulgaria.
There was violence some weeks in Plovdiv when a large group of nationalist protesters attacked the landmark mosque in the city during a demonstration against property claims lodged by the Muslim community under amendments to the Religious Denominations Act.
The district court in Kurdjali, in rejecting the claim on the Arena Spartacus land, found that the land in question was owned by four individuals and therefore there was no legal basis for the claim by the Chief Mufti’s office that it had lost the land through communist-era nationalisation in 1950.
The court is to hear a claim on the Historical Museum land on April 8.
This land was the subject of a February 2014 demonstration against the claim in Kurdjali.
The building in which the museum is accommodated was intended to have been a Muslim religious school but was never used as such.
(Photo of the Regional History Museum, Kurdjali: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)