Political and spiritual leaders in Bulgaria have issued statements congratulating the country’s Muslim minority on Eid al-Adha, one of the two holiest days in the Muslim calendar, referred to in Bulgaria as Kurban Bayrami.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov wished the country’s Muslims health and happiness, adding: “May there be peace and understanding in your families”.
“This day teaches us humility and respect, let us preserve and continue the wisdom with which we can work together for our mutual successful future,” Borissov said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Tsvetan Tsvetanov, parliamentary leader of Borissov’s GERB party.
“May the respect and understanding that the festival teaches continue to be an integral part of our joint life, and I wish everyone much health, happiness and humility,” Tsvetanov said.
Mustafa Karadayi, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, a party that traditionally has had a support base among Bulgaria’s Muslims, said that the festival has an important place in preserving and strengthening both identity and family values.
“Kurban Bayrami is a holiday in which the spirit of tolerance, charity and affection reigns. Let us preserve this spirit, not only during the holidays, to be more patient, more merciful, and to believe in human virtue,” Karadayi said.
Kornelia Ninova, leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, said: “Dear Muslims, I congratulate you on your holy feast, Kurban Bayrami. I wish you health and well-being. Let us always maintain respect and understanding between us, to support ourselves in the name of the welfare of all”.
Mustafa Hadji, Chief Mufti of Bulgaria, quoted scripture in support of a statement that the era of discrimination and hatred on the basis of ethnicity and race is over.
“What will save mankind is the kindness that warms the hearts of both the needy and those who do it. It is hard to explain the happiness that the one who gives and sees the joy in the eyes of the weak. This is the moment when everyone feels secure. This feeling is only known to those who have experienced it,” the Chief Mufti said.
“In our day, people need not only material, but also moral support, because a great part of society has fallen into spiritual deprivation and darkness. In these sacred days, we must find a way to reach these people and give them a hand,” he said.
In a Facebook post, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” said that the Bulgarian Jewish community “wishes all its Muslim compatriots a happy holiday, peace among people and light in their souls”.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)