Witness in Bulgarian Radical Islam Trial: Defendant's Posse Attacked Christians
One of the key defendants in Bulgaria's radical Islam trial had his own posse to attack and punish Christians, according to a protected witness.
Witness 005 took the stand Wednesday in the trial against 13 Bulgarian Muslim religious leaders for preaching radical Islam held at the Pazardzhik District Court.
He testified that the defendant in question, Ahmed Mussa Ahmed, was the wealthiest person in the Roma neighborhood in Pazardzhik, owner of three cars, a store, and currently building an apartment without having a regular job.
The witness further said the rift between Christians and Muslims among Pazardzhik Roma had begun in 2005 when the mosque was built in the neighborhood. Also then, Ahmed had turned into some sort of a religious leader, preaching hatred towards Christians and Jews, calling for their extermination.
At a wedding in 2007 Ahmed had said: "Let's bow to those who decapitate people and blast bomb for our faith." He also told Roma that voting was a sin, and since then they stopped going to the polls on election day.
Regarding the posse, the witness informed it was made of 10 people, who attacked Christians all the time, and last year one such attack sent a young man to the hospital.
Ahmed reacted to the above by labeling it lies and slander, coming from an enemy of Islam.
"The Roma live peacefully in our district. I do not have a posse. We do not bow to those who decapitate others. We bow only to Allah," he stated.
The trail started at 9 a.m. while a protest rally scheduled by the nationalist parties Ataka and VMRO-BND took place near the Court building, heavily guarded by the police.
The demonstrators shouted "For Bulgaria – Freedom or Death!" and pledged to remain in Pazardzhik until the conclusion of the trial.
The Pazardzhik-based court has already examined 28 non-confidential witnesses and one protected witness.
The trial against the 13 members of the Al Waqf-Al Islami organization's local branch was launched on September 18.
The suspects have been charged with preaching an undemocratic ideology and seeking to impose Sharia law, with leading and participating in an unregistered religious entity preaching an undemocratic ideology and with preaching religious intolerance.
According to the indictment, the defendants built their belief systems in line with elements of Salafism, which they presented in Bulgaria in a radical version in the period March 2008 – October 6, 2010.
All suspects have pleaded not guilty.