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Bulgarians protest return of historic mosque to Muslim community

Nationalist protesters attack Muradiyah Mosque in Plovdiv city with stones and smoke and stun grenades.

Bulgarians protest return of historic mosque to Muslim community

SOFIA, Bulgaria

Almost 2,000 Bulgarians gathered in front of a court in the country's second largest city, Plovdiv, on Friday to protest a case that could see the return of the city's historic Kursin mosque to the country's Muslim community. 

The head of the Office of Bulgarian Islamic Affairs is filing for the return of the 528-year-old Kursun mosque as part of a series of cases requesting the government return foundation properties that were seized during the communist era.

Holding placards that read nationalist slogans, the protesters marched to the Muradiyah Mosque in the city center and threw stones, smoke and stun grenades, and broke windows.

Police had to cordon off Turkey's consulate in Plovdiv when protesters demanded to speak to the Consul-General.

Two police officers and four demonstators were wounded by stones thrown by protesters, said security sources.

One protester was also detained for throwing stones and smoke bombs.

In December 2013, the Office of Bulgarian Islamic Affairs head Ahmed Ahmedov claimed nationalist and racist blocks in Bulgaria have stepped up their aggressive acts against local and foreign Muslims amid a recent influx of Arab and African refugees in the country.

Another case, for the return of Hamza Bey mosque,was rejected by the Stara Zagora country court in Bulgaria in December 2013.

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