Bulgaria’s Muslim Supreme Council has called an urgent meeting in response to a reported statement by a prosecutor that should the number of Muslims in the country reach 30 per cent of the population, “the state will be in jeopardy”.
Prosecutor Nedyalka Popova was reported to have made the statement in a recent interview. Popova is the prosecutor in the case of 14 Muslims from the town of Pazardzhik who were accused of preaching religious hatred. The principal accused, Ahmed Musa, has been jailed for a year.
Chief Mufti Mustafa Hadji, spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslim minority, told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio on April 3 that Popova’s words were “disturbing” and “discriminatory”.
“It means that people in Bulgaria are divided on a religious principle, that Muslims are a second category of people, they have no right to be civil servants, they have no right to be active in the social and political life of the state, I hope and strongly believe that other magistrates are not of that opinion, that other people of the state are not of that opinion because we are citizens of the state,” Hadji said.
Popova could not be reached for comment because she was on leave, Bulgarian National Radio said.
In Bulgaria, the 2011 census found that Muslims make up just less than eight per cent of the population. A Pew Research Centre estimate in 2017 was that the percentage of Muslims in Bulgaria was 15 per cent.
Close to 95 per cent of Muslims in Bulgaria are Sunni Muslims, less than five per cent are Shia and the remainder are non-denominational Muslims.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)