Ataka faces fine over assault on Muslims at Sofia mosque

Bulgaria’s nationalist party Ataka will be fined BGN 2500 – the maximum amount allowed – over the assault on praying Muslims at the Banya Bashi mosque, announced Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

On May 20, the far-right party led by 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.

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).

“A breach of the public order is punishable by a fine of BGN 100 to BGN 2500. In this case, the violation is of crucial importance to society, which is why we are will impose the maximum penalty”, Veska Georgieva, Director of the Sofia Municipality Inspectorate explained.

Novinite, 31 May 2011

Converted into pounds sterling 2,500 Bulgarian levs amounts to £1,114.