Bulgaria’s Muslim and Jewish communities are launching fund-raising campaigns to assist people in the village of Hitrino, scene of a devastating explosion that left seven people dead, close to 30 injured and that caused extensive property damage.
Dzhelal Faik, secretary-general and spokesperson for the office of the Chief Mufti – spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslim minority – said that between December 16 and 18, the system and length of the fund-raising campaign would be decided.
Most likely, the campaign would be conducted through all mosques, regional muftis’ offices and Muslim communities.
All 20 regional muftis’ offices would organise campaigns in all cities and towns in Bulgaria.
“The Chief Mufti’s office, as always, is again ready to ensure support and help for whichever victims are in need,” Faik said, underlining that no distinctions were made on the basis of religion.
“We all live under a common sky, so our fate is the fate of others too, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender,” he said.
In the case of Hitrino, the village has a significant Muslim population. The first round of burials, of five of the seven who died, was conducted accordance with Muslim rites.
On December 13, Shalom, the organisation of the Jews in Bulgaria, started a national campaign to raise funds from individual victims to help the people of Hitrino.
Donations may be made in person up to December 22 at the cash office of the Shalom organisation at 50 Alexander Stamboliiski Boulevard in Sofia, between 9am and noon and from 1pm to 5pm.
Funds also may be donated by bank transfer to the account of Shalom, entitled “Helping the victims in the village of Hitrino” (Подпомагане на пострадалите в с. Хитрино).
The account details are IBAN: BG98TTBB94001526938090, SWIFT: BG98TTBB, at Societe Generale Expressbank.
The Bulgarian Red Cross, in its latest update on its fund-raising campaign for the people of Hitrino, said that by 2pm on December 13, a total of 1.45 million leva had been raised. Of this total, 827 873 leva came via donations through sending text messages to the dedicated number 1466.
The Bulgarian government, at a special meeting on December 12, voted 10 million leva in assistance for the recovery of Hitrino.
Other private fund-raising initiatives have involved, among others, the British expatriate community in Bulgaria, and the Bulgarian expatriate community in the UK.
(Photos: Office of the Chief Mufti of Bulgaria, and Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry)