Bulgarian Prosecutor-General wants bans on burqa in public places

Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov says that his personal opinion is that there should be restrictions on wearing the burqa in public places.

Tsatsarov said on April 1 2016 that legislative initiatives are needed that respond appropriately to the new conditions of a terrorist war.

“My opinion is that such restrictions should exist in relation to educational institutions, public places, just as such prohibitions exist in some Western European countries, in particular at educational institutions,” Tsatsarov said.

“But this is something that in any case have to be discussed very carefully. This discussion should begin at the relevant bodies of executive government,” he told reporters.

Tsatsarov said that Bulgaria’s Religions Denominations Act – approved in 2002 and lately the subject of controversial proposed amendments by opposition socialist MPs – needed an overhaul.

“It turns out that you can preach a religion with a diploma coming from who knows where, but to preach or to serve in the Christian church you must have appropriate qualifications, which is formalised,” he said.

Tsatsarov said that this should be the same for all religions: “Otherwise, in the form of religious liberty, the interests of society will be damaged completely”.

He said that “we should not ignore or discount what is happening in the Roma neighbourhood of Pazardzhik”, an apparent reference to investigations, arrests and criminal charges arising from alleged attempts at spreading radical Islamic – advocating the violent overthrow of the state and its replacement with an Islamic theocracy – in that area.

“In Belgium there were such processes in the past years and see what happened,” Tsatsarov said.

He said, however, that it was difficult to comment on the current case in which 14 people are accused of preaching the overthrow of the state and allegedly supporting the ideas of Daesh, the terrorist organisation that calls itself the “Islamic State”, because judicial proceedings were ongoing, he said.

Tsatsarov said that new anti-terrorism legislation was 80 per cent ready.

Current legislation was not adequate, he said. The people on trial in Pazardzhik were accused of war propaganda, which was not a crime against the republic, and this – he said – showed that the inadequacy of Bulgaria’s current Criminal Code was “more than evident”.

He said that the Pazardzhik case was not a matter of religious freedom.

“Everyone has read enough about other religions know that traditional Islam is not militant. Here we are talking about politics,” Tsatsarov said.

Restrictions on the burqa should be discussed carefully “so as not to encroach on religious feelings,” he said.

“Faith is something pure and politics is far from it in purity,” Tsatsarov said.

(Photo: Hans Braxmeier)



The Sofia Globe staff

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