Mon05222017

Last update02:55:24 PM GMT

Font Size

Layout

Settings
Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Bulgaria – Demand authorities to curtail Islamophobic crimes

Action Alert: Bulgaria – Demand authorities to curtail Islamophobic crimes

  • PDF
Share/Save/Bookmark
Bulgaria Flag

Acts of religious intolerance against Bulgarian muslims have hit a new high in 2011

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action Required
4. Sample letters
5. Addresses for sample letters

1. Summary

Muslims in Bulgaria have been systematically discriminated against and have experienced ongoing anti-muslim hatred for decades. In 2011, extreme nationalistic movements and acts of racism reflected some of the most serious experiences faced by Bulgarian Muslims in recent years. This must be brought to an end as it is a clear violation of both Bulgarian and international law.

2. Background

The minority Muslim population in Bulgaria comprises of several different ethnic groups that are consistently attacked based on religious grounds. They face physical assaults, defamation of their mosques and are provided little relief from their government. Recently, a political party, ATAKA, has come to the forefront in the offensive against Muslims by promoting their rhetoric to achieve political aims.

Below is a small sample of the hundreds of registered anti-Muslim acts that were committed in 2011:

1. During the night of 14th February 2011 unknown people broke in to the central mosque of Silistra and its walls were covered in inscriptions in graffiti such as “death to Islam” and other insulting phrases. Afterwards they broke the glass of the windows and the woodwork and broke beer bottles in the mosque.

2. On 20th May 2011 at about 1pm, minutes before the Friday prayer, in close vicinity оf the fence of the mosque in Sofia a group of 150 supporters of the political party ATAKA organized a protest. They chanted offensive words against the worshippers. A few minutes later the protesters came closer to the mosque and threw eggs, paving stones and other hard objects at the worshippers who did not respond. Some of the ATAKA supporters tried to jump over the fence of the mosque to place their loud-speakers inside. This caused an outbreak of fighting between the protesters and worshippers.  As a result from throwing hard objects, 5 worshippers were seriously injured – one of them had severe head trauma.

3. On 28th May 2011 Aydan Aliev (a worshipper) was followed after leaving “Banya Bashi” mosque in Sofia and was attacked in its vicinity. The attacker succeeded to run away; the victim made a complaint to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, yet the assailant was not found despite the numerous cameras in the area.

4. On 12th June 2011 a regular worshipper was beaten in the garden of “Banya Bashi” mosque in Sofia just before the morning prayer, He was left in a pool of blood and he was taken unconscious to the Emergency by the other worshippers.

5. Around 15th June 2011 (the exact date is not known) a refugee from Iraq was attacked at the bus stop of bus No. 111 in Sofia by a group of youngsters. Her name is Muna and she was pushed, spat at and her headcloth was forcibly pulled down.

6. In August 2011 (the exact date is not known) swastikas were drawn on the walls of the headquarters of the Grand Mufti’s Office in Sofia.

7. During a protest on 23rd September 2011, the protesters were chanting “Gypsies into soaps, Turks under sword”. These slogans were used in many towns in the country where protests were conducted. On 25th September 2011 at 4pm a group of protesters in the town of Plovdiv were chanting racist slogans and threw paving stones and smoke-bombs at “Dzhumaya Mosque. The employees remained in the mosque and called the police in order to avoid any provocation. On 26th September 2011 unknown people broke the window glass of the mosque in Yambol which is in the very central square of the town. The windows were shot at with an air gun.

These acts of discrimination are on the rise every year.

3. Action Required

Write to the following authorities requesting to urge the Bulgarian government to bring those committing racist acts to justice.

a) Bulgarian Ministry of Interior

b) Bulgarian ambassador in your country. UK campaigners will find the appropriate address and email on the sample letter below.

4. Sample letter
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a. Bulgarian Ministry of Interior

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Ministry of Interior
Sofia 1000
29, Shesti Septemvri Str.
Bulgaria

Dear Mr. Tsvetan Gentchev Tsvetanov,

Re: The ongoing discrimination of Bulgarian Muslims

I am deeply concerned over the incessant and unceasing discrimination experienced by Muslims in Bulgaria. The minority Muslim population in Bulgaria comprises of several different ethnic groups that are consistently attacked based on religious grounds. They face physical assaults, defamation of their mosques and are provided little relief from your government. Of the hundreds of crimes committed against Muslims, many go unreported. Those acts which are registered with the Office of the Grand Mufti of Bulgaria include worshippers in mosques being attacked, some to the point of experiencing head trauma; Muslim women are assaulted on the street and their head scarves pulled off; mosques are broken into and vandalised during both the day and night putting worshippers in harm’s way.

Recently, a political party, ATAKA, has come to the forefront in the offensive against Muslims by promoting their rhetoric to achieve political aims. Their actions have violated the Constitution of Bulgaria more than once. They preach hatred, defile mosques, and attack praying people by throwing stones, wood and eggs at them.

To make things worse, many of these acts have been systematically ignored by the authorities and the police.

I urge you to call on the Bulgarian government to diligently and proactively look into such racism. Those who commit such crimes must be brought to justice. This ongoing religious persecution in Bulgaria must not be tolerated by you any longer.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

b. Bulgarian ambassador in your country. UK campaigners will find the appropriate address and email on the sample letter below.

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in London
186-188 Queen's Gate
London SW7 5HL

Dear Ambassador Lyubomir Nedkov Kyuchukov,
 
Re: The ongoing discrimination of Bulgarian Muslims

I am deeply concerned over the incessant and unceasing discrimination experienced by Muslims in Bulgaria. The minority Muslim population in Bulgaria comprises of several different ethnic groups that are consistently attacked based on religious grounds. They face physical assaults, defamation of their mosques and are provided little relief from your government. Of the hundreds of crimes committed against Muslims, many go unreported. Those registered with the Office of the Grand Mufti of Bulgaria include worshippers in mosques being attacked, some to the point of experiencing head trauma; Muslim women are assaulted on the street and their head scarves pulled off; mosques are broken into and vandalised during both the day and night putting worshippers in harm’s way.

Recently, a political party, ATAKA, has come to the forefront in the offensive against Muslims by promoting their rhetoric to achieve political aims. Their actions have violated the Constitution of Bulgaria more than once. They preach hatred, defile mosques, and attack praying people by throwing stones, wood and eggs at them.

To make things worse, many of these acts have been systematically ignored by the authorities and the police.

I urge you to call on the Bulgarian government to diligently and proactively look into such racism. Those who commit such crimes must be brought to justice. This ongoing religious persecution in Bulgaria must not be tolerated by you any longer.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Address for sample letters

a) Bulgarian Ambassador in Canada.

Canadian campaigners can write to:

H.E. Evgueni Stefanov Stoytchev, Ambassador
325, Stewart Street
K1N 6K5
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Telephone:  613-7893215

b) Bulgarian Ambassador in Australia

Australian campaigners can write to:

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria – Canberra
Postal address: Phillip DC, P.O. Box 6096, Canberra ACT 2606
Telephone: 02  6286 9711

c) Bulgarian Ambassador in the Republic of Indonesia

Indonesian campaigners can write to:

34-36, Jalan Imam Bonjol
10310
Jakarta
Indonesia

Telephone: +62-21-390-4048

d) Bulgarian Ambassador in Malaysia

Malaysian campaigners can write to:

Honorary Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria to Malaysia
Bangunan SSA NO. 9, Jalan Bangsar Utama 3, Bangsar Utama
59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Please help IHRC by visiting http://www.ihrc.org.uk/catalog and making a donation or buying an item from our on-line store.

If you want to subscribe to the IHRC list please send an email to subscribe@ihrc.org

If you want to unsubscribe from the IHRC list please send an email from your subscribed email address to unsubscribe@ihrc.org

If you are reusing this alert, please cite the source.

For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

Join the Struggle for Justice. Join IHRC.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Email: info@ihrc.org

Don't be a Silent Victim

silent-victimHave you been verbally abused, harassed, discriminated against or even violently attacked because you are Muslim? Have you been mistreated by the police or security services or a victim of anti-terror laws? Click here to report your incident to us in confidence and, if you wish, anonymously.