Muslim Hate in Bulgaria
New ‘radical Islam in Bulgaria’ claims
Sun 05 Oct 2008
days after Sofia hosted a forum on how teaching at schools could be
used to forestall radical Islam, a researcher gave an interview
alleging that extremist Islamic sects were operating in eastern
an interview with Bulgarian news agency Focus, associate professor
Tatyana Dronzina – described as an expert on conflict and terrorism
research – was quoted as saying that Turkish-linked radical sects
Nurju, Suleymandj and Miligurush were believed to be active in the
eastern part of the country.
were some grounds for believing that people linked to these sects were
trying to make contact with pupils in Muslim religious schools in
Shoumen, Rousse, Momchilgrad and in the Islamic Institute in Sofia as
well, Focus quoted Dronzina as saying
several intelligence and media reports have highlighted the rise of
radical Islam in the former Yugoslavia and especially in Bosnia,
earlier in 2008 US journalist Christopher Deliso said in his book The
Coming Balkan Caliphate: Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West
that Bulgaria was among Balkan countries where radical Islam activists
Most intelligence reports have suggested that any such activity in Bulgaria is on a small scale.
the forum in Sofia, Bulgarian National Radio interviewed Kamen
Velichkov of the Foreign Ministry, who is in charge of the country’s
participation in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
prevention of radicalization in all creeds from an early school age is
paramount, if we wish to have a dialogue among the various religions
and cultures not only within the European Union,” Velichkov told BNR.
issue of Islam’s radicalization is a complex one. It is above all
within the competence of the state administration. Bulgaria has been
trying to draw on the European experience, and in particular that of
Spain, as well as non-European countries by participating in various
formats, such as the Mediterranean Co-operation.
problem with radicalization, however, is not only about opposing Islam
to Christianity. It is a matter of tolerance and compatibility of
cultural and religious traditions in general. We should keep in mind
the fact that this problem exists within the Muslim community. But the
same can be argued about Christians and Christianity. For example, we
witnessed the role Georgia’s Orthodox Patriarch Elijah II tried to play
in the conflict between two Christian Orthodox states, Georgia and
Russia,” Velichkov said.
BNR also interviewed Dronzina.
believe that the more people know about each other, the less they are
afraid of one another. And if we want to shed that fear, we should
engage in meaningful communication. We should tackle the painful
issues, as well, because no one will benefit from turning a blind eye
to the real problems,” she said.
whether there were ethnically or religiously based problems in
Bulgaria, Dronzina said: “I firmly believe that co-existence among
various ethnicities generates problems…When we speak about the
Bulgarian ethnic model, we tend to discuss and admire our activities.
Our ethnic model requires efforts on a daily basis. We should open the
history pages, read them through and then close them to avoid having
asked by BNR whether there was a trend of Islamic radicalization in
general, and in Bulgaria in particular, said: “Bulgaria sets a good
example of tolerant ethnic coexistence.
Beatriz Molina, the Spanish project manager put it, there is much more
non-violence that violence about Islam. But in my opinion the rule of
law and the observance of legal procedures within school communities
are key to curbing Islamic radicalization,” Dronzina said.