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Reactions of the Grand Mufti to the events in France

  • November 2020

The murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty and the following events in France led the Grand Mufti’s administration in Bulgaria to issue several condemning declarations. The first of them, published on 27 October 2020, condemned the brutal murder of Samuel Paty and expressed sincere condolences to his family and relatives. At the same time, it stressed that the freedom of speech as a universal human right is accompanied by special responsibilities and duties. In particular, the authors of the document referred to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In this regard they stressed that the exercise of human rights also includes “special responsibilities and duties” and thus it can be “an object of certain restrictions” in order for “the rights and reputation of the other people” to be respected. In this regard, the Muslim community in Bulgaria and its religious administration found unacceptable the statements made by President Emmanuel Macron. In their view, the political leaders should make statements that facilitate the unity, tolerance, equality and peace in society. On behalf of the Muslim community in Bulgaria, its religious leadership expressed their strong concerns about the rising islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric of the French president and other political leaders whose messages de facto work against the European Union.

The second declaration followed the publication of cartoons on the cover of the following issue of Charlie Hebdo. This was condemned as an act of shameless and vulgar disrespect to human rights and dignity. According to the declaration, this provocation was inspired by the behavior of President Macron. It was stressed that Charlie Hebdo after desecrating Muhammad, the Messenger of God, had now targeted its attacks against Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey. On this ground, the leadership of the Muslim community in Bulgaria accused the magazine of spreading racism and hatred. It also called for an alignment of the freedom of speech and media with human ethics and responsibility, for the non-violation of the other people’s rights and freedoms.

The third document was issued in response to the terrorist attack in Nice. It strongly condemned the brutal murder of innocent people and expressed deep condolence to the relatives of the victims of this monstrous act. The leadership of the Muslim community in Bulgaria pointed out that its religion respects human life and condemned all forms of violence and the religiously and ethnically-motivated persecution of people. At the same time, it expressed worries that the terrorist attack took place in a moment of rising islamophobia and tensions caused by the desecration of Islamic shrines. Thus, the adherents of Islam in Bulgaria were called not to succumb to provocations, to remain calm, to be tolerant and to respect all people, regardless of religious, ethnic or racial affiliation.

- Osaditelna deklaratsiya na Myusyulmanskoto izpovedanie po powod nadigashtata se Islyamofobiya vav Frantsiya [Condemning declaration by the Muslim Religious Administration in Bulgaria on the occasion of the rise of Islamophobia in France], 27 October 2020.
- Osaditelna deklaratsiya otnosno poslednite publikatsii na spisanie Sharli Ebdo [Condemning declaration concerning the last publications in Charlie Hebdo], 28 October 2020.
- Osaditelna deklaratsiya po povod teroristi`noto napadenie v grad Nitsa, Frantsiya [Condemning declaration on the occasion the terrorist attack in the city of Nice, France] 29 October 2020.

D 17 November 2020    ADaniela Kalkandjieva

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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