February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under News

sliven-mosque1This urgent report is based on the resent proposal for changes within the legal status of the Muslim mosques on the territory of Bulgaria. The controversial changes may allow even Muslim temples which are protected as buildings of historical value to be reactivated and used again for service. This will inevitably affect the Muslim community on the Balkan Peninsula, as well as the Bulgarian Pomaks – a Bulgarian-speaking Muslim population group native to southern Bulgaria. The building of Muslim mosques on the territory of Bulgaria has been revitalized in the past decade, especially in the villages in Southern Bulgaria where Pomaks live. 

These are closed communities with a prominent Turkish population and many of the villages use only the Turkish language. Being near to the Turkish border, this area of Bulgaria has been populated with over 150 mosques built in the past 10-12 years, which produces a new religious culture of the deep Bulgarian South enforcing the Muslim religion.It is often that a stranger, especially a Christian, is not well accepted in these communities. These circumstances make Christian ministry in the region extremely difficult, as even Bulgarian Orthodox churches tend to lose influence within the Muslim cultural context. Several of the Christian missions and organizations working there, have requested special prayer for these communities as the recently proposed changes in Bulgarian law may restrict their activities and ministry in these regions where it is most needed. A continue watch on the developments in these regions is a must, while the ongoing discussions on the new controversial legal changes reach the Bulgarian Parliament which has the final say.