Bulgarian Muslims Stage New 'Chief Mufti' Rally
Outraged imams submitted Thursday with the Parliament a declaration signed by 200 000 Bulgarian Muslims demanding annulment of the reinstatement of Nedim Gendzhev as Chief Mufti.
This is the latest in a series of protests all around the country against the May 12 ruling of the Supreme Court of Cassations which brought back Gendzhev as Chief Mufti.
In October 2009, the National Muslim Conference decided to elect Mustafa Ali Hadzhias Chief Mufti. However, Gendzev appealed the Conference's vote and the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassations decided to reinstate him at the post. The muftis insist Mustafa Ali Hadzhi is the only legally elected Chief Mufti in Bulgaria.
The Thursday rally was joined by the Member of the European Parliament of the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), Metin Kazak, who pointed out Gendzhev had been Chief Mufti since the time of Communist Dictator, Todor Zhivkov, and an agent of the Communist State Security. He stated the Court's rule is a nondemocratic interference in the internal affairs of a legal religion.
Kazak promised to approach the European Parliament and the European Commission over the issue.
The Bulgarian imams further demanded the resignation of the Minister without Portfolio for the Bulgarians Abroad, Bozhidar Dimitrov, over his media appearances and statements in which he failed to honor the will of the Bulgarian Muslims.
The muftis point out they are outraged by the disregard for their religious rights on the part of State institutions in Bulgaria.
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