The trench-coated KGB types have cleared out of Bulgaria, and the jihadists have rushed in to fill the vacuum. But the Bulgarian government is on top of the situation, and has not hesitated to close Islamic centers that have been found to be fomenting terrorism and sedition: “Bulgaria has dismantled Islamic centres with possible links to Saudi-funded extremist movements, the head of military intelligence, Plamen Stoudenkov, said on Monday.” This from AFP.
“‘There are religious centres in Bulgaria that belong to Islamic groups financed mostly by Saudi Arabian groups, that possibly have links to radical organisations like the Muslim Brothers in Egypt,’ General Stoudenkov said in an interview with the daily newspaper Dvevnik.
“He said the centres were in southern and southeastern Bulgaria, where the country’s Muslims, mainly of Turkish origin, are concentrated, and ‘had links with similar organisations in Kosovo, Bosnia and Macedonia. For them Bulgaria seems to be a transit point to Western Europe.’
“Stoudenkov said the centres were dismantled by the authorities in September and November 2003. He said the steps were taken to prevent terrorist groups gaining a foothold in Bulgaria, which shares a border with Turkey.
“Senior interior ministry official Boiko Borissov on Thursday played down the events, saying the police had ‘launched two or three operations against Muslim missionaries at Velingrad and Pazardik’ in the south. In an interview with foreign media, he stressed, ‘there are no problems concerning Islam or terrorism in Bulgaria.’
“Bulgaria’s Turkish minority accounts for 10 percent of the country’s eight million people. Younal Loufti, one of the leaders of the Turkish minority Movement for Rights and Freedom, the junior partner in Bulgaria’s governing coalition, said in late November that the party was guarding against extremism taking root in Bulgaria.
“He said five years ago that ‘sects’ from Arab countries that tried to recruit followers in Bulgaria were ‘chased away by the population,’ adding: ‘We are very careful.’
“Members of the Turkish population near the southern town of Kardjali confirmed that foreign groups had tried to recruit members there.”