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Bulgaria: Orthodox Church Says ‘Don’t Let Muslims In’

Patriarch Maxim of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church participates in an Orthodox Easter service in the golden-domed Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia on April 15, 2012.  The Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, according to the Julian calendar.   AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Patriarch Maxim of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church participates in an Orthodox Easter service in the golden-domed Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia on April 15, 2012. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, according to the Julian calendar. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

This exemplifies the issue with leaders in an institutionalized religion that is wedded to a certain narrative of xenophobic nationalism. It is not limited to the Orthodox Church but can be seen coming from the voices of far too many religio-political figures. Clearly, these people are out of touch with the original and deep teachings of their faiths.


Bulgaria’s Orthodox Church has called on its government not to let any more Muslim refugees into the country to prevent an “invasion”.

The Balkan EU member has largely been bypassed by the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and poverty, many of whom set off from Greece through neighbouring Macedonia and Serbia towards northern Europe.

But Bulgaria has still seen Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis cross its southeastern border from Turkey.

“We help refugees who have already arrived in our motherland, but the government must absolutely not let more refugees in,” the church, which claims 80 percent of the population as its followers, said late Friday on its website.

“This is a wave that looks like an invasion.”

It added that the problems in the refugees’ countries of origin “must be resolved by those who created them and the Bulgarian people must not pay the price by disappearing”.

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  • Ilisha

    Not really.

  • Ilisha


  • Ilisha

    Atheists are human and humans are often irrational. Atheists are not special, over and above the rest of humanity.

    Most of us, atheist or not, are sometimes rational, sometimes irrational, and nevertheless, try to do our best.

  • Tom Lawson

    Atheists are rational beings. They do rational things. They do the best they can do. That is what Atheists do.

    Those other magical beings. Little more than concoctions of men. They make men do magical thinking and silly things. And Jesus did nothing.

    Unless you want to walk on water, destroy or take other peoples property at will. Kill trees at whim if they don’t fruit out of season. That is WWJD in a nutshell.

  • Ilisha

    Turkey played a role, no doubt, but I think that’s an overstatement. It was the US-led coalition that destroyed Iraq, which did much to destabilize the region, including Syria, and Saudi Arabia has openly admitted to bankrolling and “controlling” IS.

  • Ilisha

    Are you drunk?

  • Ilisha

    Okay, sure. But if it’s the law of the jungle, then take what comes to you as well.

    (1) Streams of refugees.
    (2) Retaliatory strikes.
    (3) Other countries employing the same ruthless calculus against yours.
    (4) Possible escalation into a massive world war–which we may not survive.

    If you really believe that’s how the world should look, I sincerely hope wherever you live, you reap the harvest you deserve.

  • Reynardine

    I had to remind my own young cousin that the citizens of a country so small can themselves become refugees and emigrate any time, as evinced by my mother’s birth, my sister’s, and mine in Chicago.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Many Eastern European nations have a deeply xenophobic view of Muslims/Islam. Historic based antipathy that Bulgaria has for Turkey is understandable (though outdated). The anti-Muslim narratives that one finds in certain expression of Orthodox Church is worrying though, it was not long ago that Bulgaria was trying to eliminate their own Muslim populace. There are also far-right groups tied to the church who feed off of these views and further efforts to attack Muslims, not just refugees but Bulgarian Muslims. This is a strange statement and totally uncalled for considering that most refugees aren’t really trying to stay in Bulgaria but seeking better opportunity in wealthier nations such as Germany, etc.

  • HSkol

    Atheist: Huh? Ah, whatever.

  • George Carty

    “What would Jesus do?”

  • Just_Stopping_By

    “What would Jesus do?”

    Christian: WWJD?
    Muslim: What did Muhammad do? (Sunnah, ahadith)
    Jewish: Nu, what do you think you should do?


  • Tanveer Wan Khanobi

    What does WWJD mean? XD

  • George Carty

    Bulgaria (like many countries in Eastern Europe) has a declining population — perhaps they’re afraid the Turks may want to take advantage of this to avenge 1876?

  • George Carty

    Turkey is probably more to blame for the Syrian civil war than any other foreign country, as they stole so much water from the Tigris and Euphrates (as part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project to bring prosperity to Turkish Kurdistan, and thus end the PKK terrorism problem) that Eastern Syrian agriculture was utterly devastated by the resulting drought.

    Note where ISIS’s heartland is!

  • Ilisha

    Why is that the West’s business? Who granted this right to meddle incessantly in the affairs of far away countries? If our militias in the US rise up, would you welcome a Russian invasion or clandestine operation to address the problem? I’m guessing most Americans would say NEITHER.

    YES, I am claiming that America destabilized Syria and the war is the result. Absolutely. The ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST is a product of the West and its ceaseless meddling. That doesn’t equate to 100% responsibility, but a considerable share.

    What is the point in asking me if I think the Brotherhood is a radical movement?

  • Just Saying

    no I’m not suggesting that they knuckle under anything. but you don’t think the car bombing in 2005 of the Lebanese guy was destabilizing? the Syrian intelligence community was a major player in Lebanon since the end of the civil war in 1990. you don’t know how a country chooses to destabilize? isn’t that what you are claiming right now? that America destabilized Syrian and this war is the result.

    I’m not all the way through your article, but it was written in 2007 and has little to do with Syria. this is an interesting quote though: “The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928” so do you think the muslim brotherhood is a radical movement?

  • Ilisha

    How do countries CHOOSE TO DESTABILIZE?? Are you suggesting they must knuckle under to US dictates or they deserve to be wrecked? What sort of argument is that?

  • Just Saying

    i’ll read the article, from the new Yorker.
    but do you not agree with rice? do not iran and Syria choose to destabilize? both have proxies they back in Lebanon.
    so in Syria you would want bashir to stay in power?

  • Ilisha

    The situation in Syria is complex, so it would be difficult to explain well in the space of a comment–even to the extent I understand it myself.

    But if you have time to sit down and carefully read an in-depth article, I recommend this one:

    The Redirection

    It’s written by Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh. Here’s an interesting quote to ponder:

    “Iran and Syria, [Condoleeza Rice] said, “have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize.”

    The article was written in 2007, so things have shifted a bit, but this sort of scheming is pretty typical, I’ve found.

    I found this chilling:

    “Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.”

    What are these hidden tactics that require our leaders to skirt checks and balances?

    Anyway, this is not light reading. But if you can curl up in a comfy chair with a nice cup of tea and really focus, you’ll probably find this fascinating–I certainly did!

    This one article is just a primer, but I think it’s a really good place to start. :)

  • Ilisha

    I think they should stop calling influx of refugees an “invasion,” as if desperate people fleeing a war zone are a foreign military. That’s misleading and inflammatory. I do understand their concerns though, which I don’t necessarily agree are xenophobic, as the article seems to suggest. Not every objection to a stream of refugees is rooted in bigotry–if Christianity is gasping last breaths, it’s not difficult to see why further diluting might not be universally welcomed.

    But I think ultimate accountability needs to be placed on US policies, which created this crisis in the first place. Were it not for unjust policies and the constant resort to war, most of these people would still be in their homes.

    Palestinians, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, and others are fleeing disasters created BY THE WEST, and I think more people need to recognize that. I hope they won’t instead blame Muslims, victimizing them yet again!

  • Yausari

    Don’t click view comments. DON’T click view comments…
    Couldn’t help myself

  • JD

    GOP’s Carson goes after Muslim advocacy group’s tax status–election.html

    Associated Press
    STEVE PEOPLES Thu, Oct 1 6:35 PM GMT
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Ben Carson has started a petition calling on the IRS to target the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group.

    The retired neurosurgeon accused the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Thursday of violating its nonprofit tax status in a Facebook message. Carson said the organization “brazenly violated IRS rules” when it called last month for him to leave the 2016 presidential race.

    “Under the Obama administration, the IRS has systematically targeted conservative nonprofit groups for politically motivated audits and harassment,” Carson wrote. “The agency should now properly do its job and punish the real violators of America’s laws and regulations.”

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations lashed out at Carson after he said he would not support a Muslim president.

    Carson’s fortunes were on the rise before he made the remark and continued to surge afterward. Campaign manager Barry Bennett said Carson raised roughly $700,000 in the 36 hours after he made the comment.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations denied any wrongdoing.

    “We find it interesting that Dr. Carson seeks to use a federal government agency to silence his critics and wonder if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president,” spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

  • sasboy

    No. I have my doubts as to the factuality of his claim. I do not think this report has been independently verified.

  • mindy1

    Sad, WWJD?

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