Plovdiv Regional Court has upheld a decision by Karlovo District Court rejecting an application by the Muslim community to be awarded property at the central square of Karlovo where the Karmaza mosque once stood.
The claim was for a plot of about 400 sq m of land. The mosque was demolished in the 1960s.
The case is similar to another in Karlovo, involving the Kurshum mosque, where the building is still standing.
The Kurshum mosque court case is still pending because the Sofia Court of Appeal has to decide on an issue of succession-in-title regarding the property.
Lawyer Todor Dimitrov, opposing the applications, told local media that whatever was decided in the matter of who the legal inheritors were, what was important was that the property had been in municipal – public – ownership since 2001, and the Religious Denominations Act enabling property claims by religious groups had come into effect more than a year later.
The issue of property claims by the Muslim community has led to heightened emotions among some groups in Bulgaria, in particular nationalists. There have been public protests staged by far-right groups against Muslim property claims, and in mid-February 2014, an anti-Islamic mob attacked a historic mosque in the centre of Plovdiv during a protest against Muslim property claims.
(Photo: Jason Morrison)