Meeting Prime Minister Boiko Borissov on March 11, the leaders of the country’s Muslims and Bulgarian Orthodox Church expressed their support for legislation that scraps more than eight million leva in debts owed to the state, mainly by the Chief Mufti’s office.
Borissov announced at the weekend that he had asked Chief Mufti Mustafa Hadzhi, spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslim minority, and Patriarch Neophyte, head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to meet him to discuss the legislation.
A government statement said that Borissov thanked the Chief Mufti and the Patriarch for attending the meeting. “As always, we have one goal, for Bulgarian citizens to be calm and for everyone to confess their faith,” the statement quoted Borissov as saying.
According to the sofiaglobe.com, the Chief Mufti said that the debts had been built up since 2005 and the Muslim denomination did not have enough properties to pay to cover them. He said that many Muslims properties had been nationalised under communism and had not been restituted to the community.
Patriarch Neophyte said that the conversation had been useful, and thanked Borissov for maintaining good relations with faith communities.
Borissov called on the two leaders to obey the law once it was adopted, and not to build up further debts.
The debts owed by a reported six faith groups amount to about 8.2 million leva, of which the Chief Mufti’s office owes about 8.1 million leva. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has denied that it has arrears debts to the state, the sofiaglobe.com mentions.