The office of the Chief Mufti, spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslims, has condemned the inhumane terrorist acts of radical Sunni group the “Islamic State” in the Middle East.
The condemnation by the Chief Mufti’s office came as US intelligence authorities said that the “Islamic State” is more powerful than originally estimated, with the Central Intelligence Agency saying that it estimates that the group has between 20 000 and 31 500 fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria. This is much higher than the previous estimate of 10 000.
In Bulgaria, where less than eight per cent of the 7.1 million population is Muslim, and then most of them Sunnis, the Chief Mufti’s office said that the taking of innocent human life, violence, terrorism were totally unacceptable, deeply objectionable and did not overlap with the principles of the religion.
This unprecedented violation of the higher virtues of Islam and relegating it to a means to achieve political power “grieves us deeply,” the Chief Mufti’s office said.
Islam in no way preached violence and condemned the destruction of human life, whatever the reason for such an act, the statement said.
The Chief Mufti said that the “Islamic State’s” xenophobic acts of violence, arising from an “infantile lust for power” showed deep ignorance of the high moral values of Islam, and this represented a serious threat to world peace.
The statement said that nowhere in the Koran or the traditions of Islam was there mention of an “Islamic State”.
What was required of Muslims, and of everyone, was to govern fairly, regardless of the differences among people – be they social, religious or ethnic – the Chief Mufti said.
According to Islamic tradition, the chosen head of state does not impose his will through violence and murder because one of the main objectives of Islam is to save people’s lives, rather than shed their blood.
“Muslims should not succumb to the provocations of these people and should distance themselves from their actions,” according to the Chief Mufti’s statement, which was supported by the National Council of the Religious Communities in Bulgaria.
(Photo of a mosque in Assenovgrad, Bulgaria: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)