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Bulgarian MPs Condemn Mosque Attack

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TEHRAN, May 28 (ICANA) - The Bulgarian parliament has condemned the attack on Muslim worshippers during Friday prayers on May 20 outside the Banya Basha Mosque in Sofia.
Saturday, May 28, 2011 4:25:07 PM
Bulgarian MPs Condemn Mosque Attack

During the May 27 session of parliament, all the 127 lawmakers present backed a declaration condemning the attack carried out by far-right activists of the Ataka party, saying such actions can spread ethnic and religious hatred and threaten national security, the Press TV correspondent in Sofia reported late on Friday.

During Friday prayers on May 20, Muslims were attacked in a deliberate and organized move by members of the far-right Ataka party and its leader, Volen Siderov, who is a candidate in the October 11 presidential election.

Prayer carpets were burnt, prayer caps were cut up with knives, stones and eggs were thrown at worshippers, and several people were seriously injured.

Iran, Turkey, and other countries have condemned the unprecedented acts of aggression.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said in parliament, "When we came to power, there was speculation that we would demolish mosques and force Muslims to accept Bulgarian names. None of this will ever happen."

Experts welcomed the declaration, saying it created a historic opportunity to establish a non-racist atmosphere.

Margarita Ilieva of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee said she believed that it is the first time that the mainstream parties have announced that they will not tolerate extremist parties.

Muslims also welcomed the declaration, but pointed out that political promises are not enough.

"This is something beyond Bulgarian politics. There are many Muslim countries out there that would protect us," a Bulgarian Muslim said.


Meanwhile, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has assured the public that a thorough investigation is underway and that the perpetrators will be punished.

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