Thursday, October 7, 2010

Large-scale Hit on Radical Islam Launched in Bulgaria

Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, informs a special operation, aiming at halting the activities of the illegal branch of the radical Muslim Foundation Al Waqf al Islami, has been ongoing for months now

Bulgarian investigators are raiding Wednesday several houses in the Velingrad municipality in the search for extremist Islam propaganda materials, the Prosecutor's Office in the southern city of Pazardzhik informs.

The raids are part of a large-scale police operation launched in Bulgaria aiming at halting the activities of the illegal branch of the radical Muslim Foundation Al Waqf al Islami. The operation is taking place in southern Bulgaria, in the regions of Pazardzhik, Blagoevgrad and Smolyan.

The spokesperson of the Pazardzhik Prosecutor's Office told Darik radio they have started a pre-trial procedure against an alleged leader of a group in 2008-2009, which was plotting a coup in Bulgaria and forceful constitutional changes.

Three operations are taking place in the Smolyan Region, but the Deputy Regional Prosecutor declined offering details over classified information, only confirming the operations aim at locating individuals with ties to the Islamic Foundation.

Al Waqf al Islami has at least 8 addresses in Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv, the Chair of the local Mosque Board of Trustees, Ashim Assan says, adding branches of the Foundation abound in southern Bulgaria. According to Assan, Al Waqf al Islami is affiliated with Al Queda and operates in Bulgaria since 1997.

"At the time, thanks to then Prime Minister, Ivan Kostov, and his wife's Foundation "Future for Bulgaria," radical Islam was able to settle in the country. Later, the Three-Way Coalition cabinet provided political cover-up, because Al Waqf al Islami sponsored one of their members – the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS)," Assan stated.

The head of the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) in Plovdiv, Spas Garnevski, dismissed the above declarations as non-sense, saying Assan must seek psychiatric treatment.

Ivan Kostov, who is the DSB leader, declined any comments.

Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, further informed the special operation has been ongoing for months now, adding it might expand to other regions.

Velchev refused to say if there are terrorist cells in Bulgaria, referring the question to local authorities in charge of the operation and pointing out the action carried out by his office is slightly different.

"I cannot comment more on probe that has not been completed," Velchev said.

The Al Waqf al Islami Foundation was established in the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and it is believed to be financed by extremist Muslim circles from Saudi Arabia.

Its headquarters were closed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US, when the Dutch authorities discovered ties between the Foundation and the perpetrators of the attacks.


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