Bulgaria: Gov't approves school headscarves ban

Bulgaria: Gov't approves school headscarves ban

Muslims face oppression era-religious bans in Bulgaria that entered European Union on 1 January 2007, pledging more freedoms and rights to its citizens.

Bulgaria's Socialist-led government approved a draft bill on Thursday banning Muslim headscarves from schools.

The bill still needs approval from parliament.

Bulgaria, where Muslims account for about 12 percent of the 7.6 million population and some 80 percent are Orthodox Christians, so far did not have such a ban.

The office of the Muslim Chief Mufti in Bulgaria said the ban was wrong.

"We express our disagreement and bitterness with this decision. It completely damages the rights as well as the responsibilities of Muslim women," Hussein Hafazov of the Chief Mufti office told Reuters.

Last week, the government lunched an investigation into a local mayor and an Islamic studies teacher over Islam teaching.

The Chief Mufti expressed concern over increasing community tensions.

He said there had been arson attacks on mosques and other Muslim buildings and girls had already been forbidden from wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf in some schools.


In a separate case, the Muslim community in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas said it would file a complaint with the EU institutions over a city council halt of a mosque construction according to Bulgarian media reports.

Last week, the Burgas City Council voted against its own decision from December 2008, which allocated a plot in the Meden Rudnik ("Copper Mine") quarter for the construction of a new mosque.

Anti-mosque move came from the GERB party, whose informal leader is the Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov with the support of the extreme right and nationalist Ataka ("Attack") party.


Source: World Bulletin (English)

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