SOFIA - A deadly attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria is leaving Bulgarian Muslims feeling victimized over a plethora of media reports linking the sizable minority and their faith to violence.
"Days of the terrorist attack in Burgas, the Bulgarian media irresponsibly keep publishing opinions about a potential link of the Bulgarian Muslims and their cooperation in the conducting of the terrorist attack and a threat of new similar actions, the office of Bulgaria's Chief Mufti Mustafa Hadzhi said in a statement cited by Sofia News Agency.
We are deeply worried by the fact that these unfounded media insinuations are occurring during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
At least six people, including five Israeli tourists were killed when a self-bomber blew himself up in a bus at Burgas airport, Burgas airport, a popular gateway for tourists visiting Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.
Among those killed in the attack was the bus driver, Mustafa Kisyov, who is a Muslim from southeastern Bulgaria.
Israel has accused Iran and Hizbullah group of masterminding the attack.
Since the attack, the Bulgarian media has linked Bulgarian Muslims to the attack.
The Bulgarian Muslims have become a "moral victim of the society and the media through incompetent and biased manipulative insinuations," Hadzhi, the Chief Mufti, said.
"It is perplexing why the government, politicians, public figures, and academia have not expressed a position regarding this deep injustice.
Bulgaria is the only EU state where Muslims are not recent immigrants but a centuries-old local community.
Mostly ethnic Turkish descendants of the Ottoman Empire's reach into Europe, Muslims make up 12 percent of Bulgaria's 7.6 million population.
Muslims have lived with Christians of the Orthodox Church in relative harmony for centuries in a culture known as "komshuluk", or neighborly relations.
The Chief Mufti has rejected any link between the attack and Muslims, stressing that Islam bans violence against innocents.
"Terror is definitely not accepted by Islam regardless of its goal and cause, he said.
There is an emblematic saying by Islamic thinkers that terror has no religion, and that there is no terror in religion.
Muslim scholars have repeatedly condemned terrorism as running counter against the teachings of Islam.
In 2008, thousands of Muslim scholars from across India denounced terrorism as a violation of Islamic teachings, calling it the biggest crime as per Qur'an."
Another Britain-based Muslim scholar, Sheikh Tahir ul-Qadri, issued a 600-page fatwa in May 2011, condemning suicide bombings, kidnappings and the killing of innocent people as absolutely against the teachings of Islam.
"The Muslim religion and the Muslim community cannot be accused of a crime committed by one person or a group of marginal types, Mufti Hadzhi said.Terrorism is an enemy to both Muslims and the entire humankind.