World Bulletin/News Desk
The Taskopru (Stone Bridge) Mosque in Plovdiv, Bulgaria has long been used as the home of taverns, bars, and restaurants. Muslims bothered by the presence of a restaurant serving alcohol at the site are trying to recover the mosque. However the “official owners” of the mosque are demanding 600 thousand euros from the regional Grand Mufti (Islamic religious authority).
The tragic tale of the mosque, an exemplar of 16th century Ottoman architecture, began with the 1928 earthquake. To repair the minaret of the mosque destroyed in the 6.8 scale earthquake, a portion of the land was sold, but repairs could not be completed since enough money was not collected. The mosque remained closed for worship until the establishment of the Communist regime in 1944. One of the first acts of the new regime was the confiscation of the mosque.
During the distancing from the Communist government in 1989, the confiscated properties began to be returned. However the Taskopru Mosque which was expected to be returned to the office of the regional mufti was given to two Bulgarians by a court decision. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the individuals who seized the mosque have rented it out to persons who used it as a "Greek tavern", "Italian restaurant,” and bars. Today a restaurant serving alcohol is located in the yard of the mosque.
Mufti of the Plovdiv region Ahmed Ersin states, “It is unbearable for us that the mosque remains closed for worship. It is even more grieving that it is used as a bar and serves alcoholic beverages.”
600 Thousand Euros Demand
Muslims have long been trying to persuade the so-called owners in order to recover the mosque. They continue to raise funds in order to purchase the structure built on valuable land in the city’s center. However the “official owners" of the mosque demand 600 thousand euros for just the building. The Office of the Grand Mufti is only able to offer half of that figure.
Grand Mufti Mustafa Alis Haji says, "We have no choice but to open a case for the mosque.”Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2013, 12:11