As a result of the incident, a Bulgarian court fined Ataka for its disorderly and violent behavior, levying the maximum allowable fine under the law. I assumed that the Muslims in Sofia would consider this a victory, and step up their ostentatious public displays while increasing their demands for concessions.
However, this does not seem to be the case. Perhaps the application of actual, physical violence got their attention in a way which was not mitigated by a mere court case against their attackers. According to a recent news article, the Muslims at the Grand Mosque are making conciliatory gestures, reacting to the grievances which moved Ataka to assault them in the first place:
Downtown Sofia Mosque Turns Loudspeakers Down
The sound of the loudspeakers at the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia will be turned down and one or two of them, located in the mosque’s entry hall, will be removed.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, the Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and the Chief Mufti, Mustafa Hadzhi.
The mosque’s Board will also apply all possible effort to limit the number of Muslims, praying outside, on the sidewalk, by using the second level of the building which can hold 900 people, Hadzhi says.
So the loudspeakers could be made quieter, after all. And there was really no necessity for all those prayers on the street — there was extra room in the mosque all along.
Funny about that.
The article continues:
Tsvetanov explained no events are to be held from now on in the mosque’s vicinity during the Friday prayer.
On May 20, supporters of the far-right, nationalist Ataka party, led by party Chair, Volen Siderov, shocked Bulgaria as its rally protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque in downtown Sofia got out of hand, and activists of Ataka assaulted praying Muslims in front of the mosque.
Notice that the concessions listed above were offered even after the Bulgarian establishment engaged in all the groveling, cringing, dhimmi behavior we’ve come to expect from European countries lying on the western side of what used to be the Iron Curtain:
The incident has had wider repercussions, all the way from Bulgarians flocking to lay flowers at the mosque as a sign of apology, to the start of investigation of Ataka for stirring ethnic and religious hatred and the consolidation of the voters of the Bulgarian ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms).
The Interior Minister informed about 6-7 individuals have been identified from video cameras, some not from Ataka; they have all been interrogated, but the Prosecutor’s Office is yet to request anything else.
It was reported meanwhile that Siderov had refused to officially acknowledge the receipt for the fine of BGN 2 500 imposed on Ataka by the City Hall over the incident.
Bulgaria’s former Tsar and Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, wrote Wednesday, in his personal blog, the incident is a disgrace for Bulgaria.
What conclusions can we draw from all this?
When dealing with Muslims, actions speak louder than words.
More specifically, violent actions. Ataka’s violence gained the attention of Sofia’s Muslim community much more fully than did the dhimmi groveling of celebrities and politicians. Violence is, after all, the only language which Islam fully understands.
However, a couple of days later the Turks of Sofia did manage to come up with a new demand: they need another mosque:
Bulgarian Ethnic Turks Demand Having 2nd Mosque in Sofia
Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkish party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, is demanding to have a second mosque built in the capital Sofia.
The request to the cabinet and the City Hall was made in the Parliament Friday by the DPS Deputy Chair, Luytvi Mestan.
“You will hear from us good words about Mayor, Yordanka Fandakova, only after the procedure to build a second place for Muslim prayer is launched. This will resolve the issue with people praying on rugs on the sidewalk. We do not understand what is stopping the decision about having a second mosque or how is it possible to oppose the right to protest to religious freedoms,” Mestan said.
So if the Muslims of Sofia are allowed another
Notice that the Bulgarian minister of culture is himself a Muslim of Turkish descent:
On behalf of his party, the MP appealed the executive and legislative power to not become in any way collaborators in attempts to conceal the truth about what happened on May 20, telling Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, who is from ethnic Turkish background, they know better the incident does not involve simply setting prayer rugs on fire.
The two Ministers were in the Parliament for the regular parliamentary control session.
The extent of defiance exhibited by the nationalists of Ataka is startling:
On May 20, supporters of the far-right, nationalist Ataka party, led by party Chair, Volen Siderov, shocked Bulgaria as its rally protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque in downtown Sofia got out of hand, and activists of Ataka assaulted praying Muslims in front of the mosque and set their rugs on fire.
“This has no precedent in the history of any other country. Even totalitarian regimes have not allowed such serious incidents. For us this fire equals an attempt to set ethnic peace in Bulgaria on fire,” Mestan declared.
The DPS Deputy Chair further demanded from Tsvetanov to answer what action the authorities are going to undertake, regarding Siderov’s threats, made on May 20, he was to bring next time thousand more, better dressed, people to attack the police.
It will be interesting to see what happens in Sofia if construction ever begins on that new mosque.
Hat tip: AC.