Europe

Bulgaria adopts religious denominations act amendments

New measures see increase in public subsidies for Muslim community to $3.41 million

Jeyhun Aliyev   | 21.12.2018
Bulgaria adopts religious denominations act amendments

Ankara

By Ihvan Radoykov

SOFIA, Bulgaria 

The Bulgarian Parliament on Friday adopted an amendment bill on religious denominations that will see an increase in public subsidies for two largest religious communities -- Orthodox Christians and Muslims.

Under the amendments in the Religious Denominations Act, the Grand Mufti’s Office will receive an annual support of €3 million (around $3.41 million) from the government.

Celal Faik, the secretary general of the Grand Mufti`s Office, told Anadolu Agency that: "Our lawmakers have accepted the most 'soft' version of the bill, which has been discussed for about three months."

According to the bill, each follower of different religions identified in the last census held in 2013 will receive €5 (around $5.7) aid per year.

Communities with a ratio of less than 1 percent to the general population of Bulgaria will also be supported every year from the state budget.

Bulgaria with a total population of 7 million hosts some 1.5 million Muslims.

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church -- the most followed congregation in the country -- will receive annual support of €20 million (around $22.7 million) from the state budget.

The law also allows the foreign clergymen to serve in the country.

The adopted bill is to be effective on Jan. 1, 2019.

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