Defence Minister Karakachanov: Radicalization Attempts Aimed at Roma Ghettos, Muslim Communities in Rhodope Mountains

Sofia, September 27 (BTA) - Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov said here Wednesday that radicalization attempts in Bulgaria are aimed at the Roma ghettos and Bulgarian Muslims in Rhodope mountains, which he described as two communities that have difficult lives. He was answering a question as part of the 13th International Conference on Terrorism and Electronic Media.

According to him, radicalization efforts are concentrated there, along with funding and the creation of cultural structures. All countries are threatened by radicalization, the Defence Minister noted.

Karakachanov believes that the Higher Islamic Institute in Bulgaria should be licensed and teach according to a programme approved by the Education Ministry. Each Bulgarian citizen who has graduated abroad must be licensed by the Education Ministry before they are allowed to teach, he said.

The Defence Minister explained that legislative proposals are drafted concerning matters of religious financing and teachers of theology. It is not right for young people who have studied for eight to ten years at private Islamic universities, located in countries where the official religion is Wahhabism, to come to Bulgaria and start working at the Chief Mufti's Office or mosques, he commented.

Asked whether there is data about the presence of Islamic cells in Bulgaria, Karakachanov said that this is a sensitive topic and such information is not publicly discussed. According to him, however, there are attempts at creating such cells. He also noted that there is a connection between terrorism and the refugee flow.

The Conference is held by the International academy of television and radio and supported by the Federal agency for press and communications of the Russian Federation.

The forum's main purpose is to draw the attention of national media and state and nongovernmental organizations to problems of countering terrorism through electronic media.

Source: Sofia