Bulgarian MP speaks out against rise of Islamic fundamentalism

Bulgaria's leader of the opposition, Yane Yanev, has spoken out against the forced Islamisation of villages in the southern part of the country.

Yanev, who leads the “Order, Law, Justice” party (RZS) claimed that some parts of the country needed a second liberation from Ottoman rule. Bulgaria was ruled by the Muslim Ottoman Empire from the 14th to the 19th century.

RZS leaders visited a number of villages in the south of Bulgaria last week and met concerned teachers and parents who gave evidence of Islamic fundamentalism being imposed on the area.

They gave the example of the village of Ribnovo, where the school principal, Feim Issa, has allegedly imposed a dictatorship on teachers. Teachers are required to wear traditional Muslim clothes, while girl students are encouraged to where headscarves.

Issa was reportedly appointed illegally as the principal with the help of local mosque leaders. Issa was also said to be supporting the schools religion teacher Murat Boshnak, who has come under suspicion because of his background. It is alleged that Boshnak does not hold a teaching diploma and that he has been forcing parents to sign requests for their children to study Islam.

He is also reported to have banned girls from attending the prom in their own clothes and has also banned all celebrations. Any parents who do not follow the newly imposed rules are reportedly cursed in the local mosque.

In another example, the school principal in the village of Satovcha has been attending classes in radical Islam at an illegal fundamentalist school.

Yanev said he was appalled by the human rights violations. His party has also distributed video postcards to the media, warning that radical Islam is starting to take hold in the country.