Bulgarian Muslims Up in Arms against Chief Mufti Reinstatement
Bulgarian Muslins, including over 800 imams and muftis, demanded Thursday to officially acknowledge the decision of the National Muslim Conference from October 2009 and its election of Mustafa Ali Hadzhi as Chief Mufti.
The meeting in Sofia is the latest initiative from the mass protests of Muslims across the country against the decision of the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassations to reinstate Nedim Gendzhev as the Muslim religious leader in Bulgaria.
The Court ruled on May 12, after Gendzhev appealed the decisions and the vote of the National Muslim Conference, triggering mass discontent among the Muslim population in Bulgaria.
On Thursday, the muftis issued a declaration that Mustafa Ali Hadzhi is the only legally elected Chief Mufti in Bulgaria. They are saying they will send the declaration to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, The European Commission, the President, Georgi Parvanov, the Speaker of the Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, the Chairs of all Parliamentary Groups, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Judicial Council, and the Ombudsman.
Mustafa Ali Hadzhi declared the Court is showing disregard for the vote and the wish of the people, and has been influenced by external factors, adding the Muslim community in Bulgaria will continue its fight for justice.
Meanwhile, about 1 000 Muslims gathered on a protest rally in Sofia for the second day in a row. The march began in front of the Sofia Mosque, walked by the Presidential and Council of Ministers buildings and ended in front of the Parliament.
Former Chief Mufti, Selim Mehmed, read a declaration in the name of the entire Muslim community in the country while the demonstrators shouted “Justice,” “Peace,” “We Want Rights,” and “Abolish Gendzhev.”
Gendzhev is notorious in Bulgaria over allegations of trading in political influence and Prosecutor's charges of illegally withdrawing huge sums from the accounts of the Chief Mufti Office.
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