Declarationon behalf of

the Grand Mufti’s Office of the Muslim Denomination in the Republic of Bulgaria with regard to the speech of the MP Valeri Simeonov in the National Assembly on 25th of March, 2015

Grand Mufti’s Office of the Muslim Denomination in the Republic of Bulgaria is strongly disturbed by another one Islamophobic, bordering on xenophobia speech of the Member of the Parliament Valeri Simeonov from the rostrum of the National Assembly on 25th of March, 2015.
Speaking like this: “May I ask you: why after the end of the election day the imam was howling from the minaret? And what was this man howling from the minaret?! Perhaps congratulations in unintelligible language”, deeply offend the honor and the dignity of the Muslims and the things sacred for them and are completely contrary to the free right of religion as a fundamental, natural and democratic human right, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Law on the Religious Denominations, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Such qualifications which are related to the work of the local religious leaders - clerics – imams are unacceptable especially when this is done from the rostrum of the National Assembly by a Member of the Parliament who is elected to defend the interests of the society and not to offend and insult them.
Such speaking is emanation of the hatred speech used with a clear and particular purpose, and namely to vitiate the sacral foundations of the Islamic religion, such as the call to prayer – adhan, to degrade the religious beliefs of over a million Bulgarian citizens, to divide the society and to inspire interfaith and ethnic hatred.
The call to prayer Adhan is made already more than 15 centuries all over the world in Arabic language in specific hours and minutes and is understandable for all Muslims and for not a small part of the non-Muslims. That is why we are categorically against the sacred call to prayer to be identified with ignorant suggestions such as “howling and congratulations in unintelligible language” and against any attempts for involving the religion in the pre-election competitions of the political parties.
With regard to this we would like to remind about Art. 44, para.2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which prohibits the establishment of organizations the activity of which is directed at incitement to racial, national, ethnic or religious animosity, or at violation of citizens' rights and liberties, as well as Art. 164, para.1 of the Penalty Code which envisions criminal liability for everyone who preaches hatred on religious grounds through speech, publications or other media, through electronic informational systems or other way.
Based on the abovementioned provisions we call upon all competent authorities and institutions to undertake the necessary measures to seek the relevant responsibility from the perpetrator of such acts.

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