World Bulletin / News Desk
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov met Thursday controversial Mufti Nedim Gendzhev, recently appointed as Chief Mufti in Bulgaria, and his predecessor Mustafa Alish Hadzhi elected by Muslims.
In October 2009, the National Muslim Conference decided to elect Mustafa Ali Hadzhi as Chief Mufti. But comunist-era Imam Gendzev appealed the Conference's vote and the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassations decided to reinstate him at the post. Muslims see Hadzhi the only legally elected Chief Mufti in Bulgaria, Sofia News Agency said.
The Bulgarian court rule has been seen "as a nondemocratic interference in the internal affairs of a legal religion" among Muslims.
Since May, Muslims have organized a wave of protests around the country for their right to elect Muslim religious leader.
New Muslim Conference "possible"
The parties considered the possibility of calling a new National Muslim Conference.
Unlike in previous cases that have involved the Ministry of Interior pitted against Bulgaria's judiciary, PM Borisov stated that the government cannot intrude into the work of the judicial system.
While the right and freedom of "electing Mufti", which Muslims in Western Thrace have struggled to gain for years, this time, the same issue has spreaded to Bulgaria that a government led by a far-right parties in power after recent elections.
Muslims make up about 12 percent of the Balkan country's 7.6 million people and they are native in European Union member-Bulgaria. Most are the descendants of ethnic Turks who arrived during five centuries of Ottoman rule that ended in 1878. Muslims and Christians live alongside in a culture known as "komshuluk," or neighbourly relations.
The muftis say they were outraged by what they said "state disregard" for their religious rights.
Related news reports:Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2010, 10:30