Freedom is born through education, not in battle in the mountains!

Freedom is born through education, not in battle in the mountains!

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In Tajikistan, once again heard the gunshots, explosions of bombs, again blood flows. Again kills Tajik Tajik, and our dreams to see lasting peace in the country once again under question. In this difficult situation, I as a citizen of this land do not understand the position of the Tajiks, who by fate remained outside the country or been forced to leave her under pressure, and right now in terms of instability is trying to add fuel to the fire.

First of all, I mean Dodojon Atovulloyev. This talented man, excellent command of the pen, competent politician, some Tajik journalists – my colleagues regard him as their ustodom. I did treat it as neutral, and tell him “hello” on the phone.

I can understand his hatred of the current government, his sharp criticism of the president and his entourage. Local media outlets themselves are often criticized the government, which has a lot of shortcomings and failures. Half of the ministers, in my opinion, generally is immediately removed from their posts for incompetence and corruption. And Atovulloyev, obviously, there’s something personal.

But I can not understand the logic or the human mind, which calls for the unrest, which pumps the situation and fueled tensions in their historical homeland. In a country that has already experienced one civil war, and which still has no clear immunity against it.

If this is such an attempt to give freedom to our closed society, if there is an ideological belief that all should be solved fundamentally, I think it’s wrong, and condemn. I think I have as the editor of the blocked site in the country is no less weighty right to resent our power, but still, I prefer the peace and stability, because our family had already been once refugees, and the family of my wife lost her father then, and we do not want our children to know the same.

I still think that the rhetoric of Mr. Atovulloyev recent years are his personal political ambitions, that simply gush over the edge. This is his minus as a politician, because in reality such a position is essentially throws it back from the current Tajik society. Reading his interview in the same Russian media, listening to new initiatives such as “Vatandor” (made up except himself and not known to this day), and now a leaflet, called “go against the regime” of “freedom, which begins from the mountains, I have the impression that people do not see people’s problems, and sees himself as president of the country, with the certainty that this moment will come today or tomorrow.

Personally, I would not for anything would not give his vote for D. Atovulloyev, because I do not want to deal with such a politician who in a fit of emotion, and for the sake of ambition, forgetting the ethics of political debate, and thus manage to insult his own people. I am part of this nation and what we “poor, weak, indecisive, cowardly” and others were not, we’re here, we work here, we drink our dirty water, we suffer stupidity of our officials, we suffer from our corruption, we fight blockade of our site and we criticize here! We’re all here, from our country!

No matter how smart and talented would not be our Tajik, sitting outside the country, it is unforgivable speak about our nation as “a herd of sheep.” I would have recognized the right of such words and calls for a change of power only person in Tajikistan and really responsible for your words!

If it is a revolutionary at heart you probably know from history that Robespierre or Mahatma Gandhi did not speak to his supporters at a distance, they were in the middle of the crowd of people who try to instill their values. Let Atovulloyev, Karomat Sharipov and other Internet policy will arrive in Dushanbe and gives it its opposition movement!

If you can not, if you fear for your life, it is their right, we can not condemn them for it. But put yourself above those who remain in the country, openly disagreed with the government while it’s not like men, and politically illiterate. In this respect, the same Rahmatullo Zoirov, Kabiri, Sulton Kuvvatov, Rahmatullo Valiev, and others – far more ambitious people. They criticize the authoritarian government Rakhmonov, but remain in Dushanbe, one-on-one with their opponents.

Perhaps Mr. Atovulloyev, believes that it is supported by large masses of people solely on those separate anonymous reviews on the forums site or on the basis of a few compliments to some friends in Moscow, and then – this is a profound error. I’m afraid that if he had a chance to check it out, it would have suffered a great disappointment. It is not necessary for this to play the lives of tens of thousands of his countrymen.

I want to remind all the “opposition” and “revolutionaries” – you fought for freedom in the early 90’s against the Communists and R. Nabiyev, but got war and spread to the world, leaving us, the youths of that time, the bullets and live in poverty. To what freedom you push again?

For many years I was an ardent critic of the late Turkmenbashi, believed that the Turkmens the most unfree people, if allowed to enter the current president of totalitarianism. But now when I see what the outcome of the revolution of freedom in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, what “freedom” threatens us from what is happening now in the mountains, I understand – Turkmens are very wise and mature people. They suffered a tyrant, but retained thousands of lives, the economy, their own state. And now I want to tell Mr. Atovulloyev and other external patriots: “Enough!” Enough to push us into the fire of war! “.

We’re not cannon fodder, and we do not want to shoot each other, especially when we have at hand concentrated thousands of armed people, “rebel colonel, and when the Kremlin-father in the open” eats “their ex-partners in the CIS. Why should we change the flea?

To paraphrase a recent revolutionary treatment Atovulloyev the Internet, associated with “freedom, starting from the mountains, I want to appeal to our people like your son:

Salomu alaikum, those who are here in the country and those who remain in the forced migration! You hope for all those who want peace in our country and who wants the state of Tajiks have been stable and long!

You know, there is nothing worse than war, and when killing a Tajik Tajik. Yeah, we bad, we do not have winter light, and we have corrupt government officials, have poor-quality health care and education, some riding in jeeps, and someone with difficulty borrowing money to buy a ticket to Russia – to go on earnings.

But it is our common misfortune. We’re all to blame for this, because not yet recognized that national priorities should be above personal! That corruption can not succeed harsh sentence and rallies, and increase our legal literacy and improving social welfare.

If we do not like our government, we should try to change it, but do it in an evolutionary way, through elections and other legal mechanisms by changing the creation of leaders, through patience, if necessary. It has never shed blood did not allow the development and stability, grab a history textbooks. Nowhere else are people fighting for their right to freedom of belief and religion, not achieve such freedom with arms.

The leading countries of the world have come to the well-being only through peaceful means and through education, through the understanding that “this is our country and its destiny is in our hands.” Are we mankurt listen to all those who mutters something from? Have we hired hands and damaging to listen to commands from the Kremlin, Washington, Tehran and Tashkent? The time has come to realize that we really a nation – the people who are at a high level of intellectual and spiritual development, to live in their own state and act independently.

I will take the few literate words from the last message Atovulloyev, which just does not but agree. : It is a pity that they were served to them under a different context.

“This war is useless. Neither the soldiers and officers, or those who are in the mountains, or those who are now far from home … Do not shoot at each other! Together – we are a force. When we’re together – we do not fuel the war, and people. We – this is freedom! We – this is Tajikistan! “.

- We are one nation! And if Dodojon Atovulloyev part of this nation, in difficult and turbulent times, he will be with her …

P. S. Our site is blocked in Tajikistan, in our editorial offices are tax audit authorities, and some newspapers have refused to print. But still we do not call for protests, we call for peace. In Moscow, our website is open for access and Mr. Atovulloyev be able to know my personal view on his position. I specifically in its text does not refer to him directly because I do not want to give a reason for personal communications online andoffline. Behind him is the right to accept my arguments or categorically reject them, and continue to give interviews in the same format. This is my opinion it was not for him, but for those who read it … Take a look at the footage below, unless someone can dry the ocean of tears of mothers who died of Tajik boys?

Zafar Abdullaev, IA “Avesta”

Video footage of the tragedy in the gorge Komarob. How else can shed the blood of the Tajiks?

It has been over a week after the tragic death of 28 military Department of Defense of Tajikistan, shot in the convoy, follow the road through the gorge Komarob. We can say that this attack was the beginning of large-scale militia clashes government forces, terrorist groups and militants of the former armed opposition in the Rasht area.

As a result, dozens of people killed on both sides, continuing the military-political tension and grief of families of the victims. Nonprofessional video footage from the blast site, one of the representatives of power structures, demonstrates the fact that the machine of government forces was ambushed and fired upon from all sides, and that is why our military was virtually no chance for salvation.

Peace be upon all of Tajiks killed in recent fighting. Can no longer shed a single drop of blood! Need to sit down!

 

 

Extremist Deobandis (Taliban) massacre Barelvis Muslims in Karachi Shrine Attack

Extremist Deobandis (Taliban) massacre Barelvis Muslims in Karachi: Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine attacked

A child injured in the blast arrives at a hospital in Karachi. Taliban terrorists are supported by Deobandi scholars such as Dr Zakir Naik, Maulana Sami ul Haq, Mufti Taqi Usmani and Professor Munawar Hassan

After attacking the shrine of Rehman Baba in the Khyber Pakthunkhwa, and the shrine of Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore, the extremist Deobandis (terrorists of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Sipah-e-Sahaba) have now attacked the shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi. At least 10 Barelvi and Shia Muslims were killed in this attack.Why do Deobandi Taliban kill Barelvi and Shia Muslims?
According to extremist Deobandis, both Barelvi and Shia Muslims are heretics and polytheists hence wajibul qatl (worthy to be killed). It may be noted that almost all Barelvi and Shia Muslims dislike the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Sipah-e-Sahaba because of their hate based ideology.

Who are major Deobandi leaders in Pakistan?
Major proponents of pro-Taliban Deobandi ideology in Pakistan include the following:

General Hamid Gul, General Aslam Beg, Imran Khan, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maulana Samiul Haq, Mufti Taqi Usmani, Mufti Rafi Usmani, Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, Maulana Hanif Jalandhari, Mufti Naeem, Rana Sanaullah (PML-N), Ansar Abbasi, Irfan Siddiqui, Hamid Mir, Shireen Mazari, Dr Shahid Masood, Javed Chaudhry, Orya Maqbool Jan and others.

Who provides arms, training and protection to the Deobandi terrorists?
It may be noted that Pakistan’s spy agency (ISI) has special jihadi connections with the extremist Deobandis (often labelled as Good Taliban) unless they start attacking the GHQ.

Taliban accept responsibilty
According to international and local media, the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibiilty for two explosions Thursday at a shrine in Karachi in which at least eight people were killed and dozens injured.

The suicide attack was launched at the shrine of a revered Sufi Muslim saint, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, said Zulfiqar Ali Mirza, interior minister of Sindh province. Mirza has ordered the closing of Karachi shrines until further notice.

Saghir Ahmed, Sindh’s health minister, told CNN that the victims have been brought to hospitals in Karachi and 60 people are being treated for injuries. Authorities said crews were sifting through human remains at the site.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the attack. “The relentless attacks on ordinary Pakistani citizens by those who want to impose an extremist mindset and lifestyle upon our country will not deter our government and the Pakistan Peoples Party,” a statement from Zardari’s office said. “We remain committed to fighting these murderers and expelling them from our land.”

The attack occurred Thursday night, the busiest time at the shrine because it’s the eve of Muslim Friday prayers. Karachi and Sindh residents make pilgrimages to the shrine to offer prayers.

Thursday night also is when people distribute free food to the poor, an act that is one of the five pillars of Islam. (Source)

Police official Mohammad Nasim said the bombs exploded at the entrance of the shrine to Sufi saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi as devotees packed it for a weekly gathering in Karachi’s seaside Clifton district.
“We are collecting details and we fear the casualties may rise,” he said.

The shrine’s floor was spattered in blood, said witnesses. Slippers, sandals and flowers brought by devotees to lay at the tomb littered the area.

Witness Gul Mohammad said he was outside the shrine when two huge blasts were heard in quick succession.

“I rushed inside and saw blood and human flesh,” he said. “Some bodies were lying on the ground and several people wounded in the blasts were crying in pain. Then ambulances started arriving and moving the injured to hospitals.”

Ambulances with sirens blaring were seen ferrying casualties to hospitals as police and paramilitary soldiers cordoned off the shrine.
There was no claim of responsibility for the latest attack but the Pakistani Taliban has been blamed for similar bombings in the past.

More than 3,700 people have been killed in a series of suicide attacks and bomb explosions, many of them carried out by the Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists, in Pakistan during the last three years. (Source)

Who is Abdullah Shah Ghazi?

Abdullah Shah Ghazi was Syed Abu Muhammad Abdullah Al Ishtar from the lineage of the Prophet Muhammad from the linage of Imam Hasan and Imam Ali. According to historian Suhail Zaheer Lari, he was the son of Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya. He was born in Medina in the year 720 and arrived in Sindh in the year 760 as a merchant and brought with him a large number of horses purchased from Kufa, Iraq. He was given a warm welcome as he belonged to a saadat family, the noblest in Islam.

Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine in Karachi is dated back to 1400 years ago, his brother, Misry Shah Ghazi, who is also buried along the coastline in Karachi, is also remembered as a saint.

Many people claim to have been granted their wishes at the shrine and it is the centre for people who throng the shrine all year round. Every year marks the Urs (festival) at the shrine for 3 days (dates: 20-22 Dhu al-Hijjah – 12th month of the Islamic calendar), marking the anniversary of Abdullah Shah Ghazi. A famous myth about the mazar is that Karachi never had a tropical disaster in a thousand year because of the shrine’s blessing.

Warrants issued for 5 Pakistanis over 26/11

Warrants issued for 5 Pakistanis over 26/11

NEW DELHI: Interpol notified its members on Thursday that India has issued arrest warrants for five Pakistani citizens, including two army officers, for alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, an official said.

India asked Interpol to issue the so-called “red corner notices” for the five Pakistanis, said RK Gaur, a spokesman for India’s Central Bureau of Investigation.

The notices follow a probe by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the role of American David Coleman Headley, who pleaded guilty in the US in March to participating in the planning of the attacks, which killed 166 people.

“The five Pakistanis wanted by India are Major Sameer Ali, Major Iqbal, Illyas Kashmiri, Abdur Rehman Hashim and Sajid Majid,” Gaur said.

Iqbal was Headley’s handler who arranged funds and training for him, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. It said Headley had also named Ali.

Arrest warrants for the five had been issued by a New Delhi court in July following a request by the NIA.

In July, Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency of orchestrating the Mumbai attacks. “The information, which Pakistan has denied, came from Headley’s interrogation,” Pillai said.

A court in Mumbai in May convicted and sentenced to death Muhammed Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the attacks. He had appealed his death sentence in the Mumbai High Court. Kasab was one of the 10 Pakistanis who attacked two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station in India’s financial capital in November 2008. ap

 

Drone strikes could backfire in long-term

Drone strikes could backfire in long-term

* Experts say escalated attacks could hurt US war on militancy by alienating residents and hardline army officers

* Strikes could jeopardise US strategic interests in area

ISLAMABAD: Escalated drone attacks in the tribal areas, could hurt the US war on militancy by alienating residents and hardline army officers.

Such strikes… could jeopardise US strategic interests in what is considered to be a global hub for terrorists. “It seems Americans want short-term gains and are not interested in long-term ways through which militants can be sidelined by turning the public against them,” said Rahimullah Yousafzai, an expert on militancy.

A rare public opinion poll conducted in the tribal areas by the New America Foundation showed US drone strikes were deeply unpopular among the population, now likely to have stronger objections after wider strikes.

That’s good news for al Qaeda.

“The intensity of opposition to the American military is high. While only one in ten of FATA residents think suicide attacks are often or sometimes justified against the Pakistani military and police, almost six in ten believe these attacks are justified against the US military,” the poll showed.

More than 75 percent of FATA residents oppose drone attacks, which have risen sharply under the Obama administration.

“Indeed, only 16 percent think these strikes accurately target militants; 48 percent think they largely kill civilians and another 33 percent feel they kill both civilians and militants,” said the study.

Drones have killed senior al Qaeda and Taliban figures.

Pakistan worries they undermine efforts to deal with militancy because civilian casualties inflame public anger and bolster support for the militants. Pakistan may not be so cooperative if often stormy relations are strained – as they are now over NATO cross-border incursions.

Although Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani is believed to have good ties with the United States, other senior officers may grow tired of US doubts over Islamabad’s commitment to fighting terrorism.

Analyst Imtiaz Gul said wider drone attacks would probably create many ripples in the military.

Hardline elements in the army could argue Pakistan had lost thousands of soldiers supporting the US war on terror and is getting little in return except pressure to do more. The survey’s face-to-face interviews with 1,000 residents showed opposition to the drones was not based on general anti-US feelings. They just don’t like the US military. That does not mean people backed al Qaeda or the Taliban, the survey said. reuters

The New Paradigm of Afghan Division Requires a Clean Slate In North

[It is less likely that this was a revenge attack for the Feb. arrest of Taliban shadow governors for this region (Mullah Mir Mohammad and Mullah Abdul Salam) than it was a clearing of the board, to introduce a whole new set of players to the next act that America has planned for this Northern Alliance stronghold.]

Mosque bomb kills 20, including Afghan governor

BY GUL RAHIM
AFP OCTOBER 8, 2010
This picture shows Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar (2nd L) posing for a group photo in Kunduz province. Omar, an outspoken Afghan governor against the Taliban and 19 other people were killed on October 8 when a powerful blast through a mosque in northern Afghanistan, a police commander told AFP.

This picture shows Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar (2nd L) posing for a group photo in Kunduz province. Omar, an outspoken Afghan governor against the Taliban and 19 other people were killed on October 8 when a powerful blast through a mosque in northern Afghanistan, a police commander told AFP.

Photograph by: AFP, AFP/Getty Images

Kunduz, Afghanistan – A bomb tore through an Afghan mosque killing an outspoken governor and 19 other people on Friday in the latest attack reflecting growing violence in the north of the country.

Mohammad Omar, who was governor of Kunduz province, one of the parts of northern Afghanistan most troubled by Taliban insurgents, was killed by a bomb in the town of Taluqan.

“We have 20 people martyred and 15 others injured. The dead include the governor,” interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP, updating an initial death toll of 15 given by police.

Authorities were investigating whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber or a planted device, the spokesman said.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, suspicion fell on Islamist groups fighting the Western-backed Afghan government for the last nine years.

Omar had repeatedly warned that the Taliban and al-Qaida were expanding in Kunduz and had called for security reinforcements.

“A number of our countrymen have been killed and injured,” said Sayed Mohammad Tawhidi, spokesman for the government in Takhar province — Omar’s home region and the place where the attack took place.

“The governor of Kunduz, Mr Mohammad Omar, was unfortunately among the dead,” he told AFP, unable to give an exact death toll.

Mohammad Hassan Baseej, a doctor at the local hospital, said 33 people were admitted with injuries after the attack.

Violence has increased in recent years in the north, which was once considered relatively peaceful compared to Taliban flashpoints in the east and south of the country.

More than 152,000 U.S.-led NATO troops are deployed in Afghanistan, focused primarily on the south, trying to reverse the Taliban insurrection and shore up the government of President Hamid Karzai.

 

Pakistan Supports India’s Bid For Permanent UN Seat

[The enmity has to end some day.  Surely it is in Pakistan's interests that someone represent the world's most populous region at the UN?  Why not India, if that is the only change possible?  C'mon, Pakistan, conflict in your backyard doesn't serve your interests.  Like it or not, you have a real chance to really prosper if the two of you turn your interests away from American-inspired conflict and toward rebuilding that which has been blown to bits.]

Pakistan Supports India’s Bid For Permanent UN Seat (Believe It Or Not!)

  • Ambassador Haroon has provided Pakistani support in the Asian Group for India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council

  • When Indian foreign minister blasted Pakistan at the UN, our envoy refused to reply to avoid criticizing India. Other diplomats call him and the Indian ambassador an ‘Inseparable Twin’

  • Pakistan has an India-sympathizer as its UN Representative

  • ‘Banana-Republic’ Pakistan under US tutelage appoints the likes of Haroon and Haqqani to crucial diplomatic posts

  • Even ZAB, PPP’s founder, had better sense when he countered India’s moves inside UN.

 

Finally, Pakistan has a pro-Indian ambassador at the United Nations. He refuses to respond when Indian foreign minister blasts Pakistan at the UN and is so close to the Indian ambassador that other diplomats call them the ‘inseparable twins’. The icing on the cake is that Pakistan’s envoy has supported India’s bid for a permanent UN seat. Tell me this is not a ‘banana republic’ under American tutelage?

 

By SHIREEN M. MAZARI

The Nation.

WWW.PAKNATIONALISTS.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—In these trying times, when India is hysterically accusing Pakistan of all manner of fanciful evils of terrorism to divert attention from its quagmire in Occupied Kashmir, our diplomacy has suffered an unexpected blow from an unexpected source.

On crucial matters at the UN or any other international forum one expects the most senior diplomat – the Envoy himself – to stand up and state the country’s case. Unfortunately, this is not happening in the UN in New York, especially in cases where a condemnation of India is expected.

For instance, on Wednesday 29 September, in the rights-of-reply during the high level debate in the UNGA, following Krishna’s statement on Kashmir, Pakistani Envoy Hussain Haroon did not exercise his right of reply because it he would have had to say that Indians won’t like. Instead, he let a junior foreign office official do that job while he sat in the routine UNSC debate on Afghanistan, which was not as important at that time.
Haroon and his Indian counterpart Hardeep Singh Puri are so friendly and stay so close to each other that they even travel in the same car to various functions. In the South Asian circles they are known as “inseparable twins.”

Thanks to Pakistan’s support, lined up by the India-sympathizer Pakistani Envoy with the help and support of the President himself (he was kept in culinary delight in prison in Karachi because of the home cooked meals sent to him by Haroon, a gourmet cook himself), the Asian Group at the UN has already endorsed India for the UNSC non-permanent seat in the upcoming elections for this. With Ban Ki-moon’s re-election set to take place in November 2011, for another five-year term beginning January 1, 2012, India will be one of the critical voters in the Security Council which makes the recommendation for the SG to the General Assembly. Already an extremely pro-US SG, from now on Ban Ki-moon will not do anything nor will allow the UN system to do anything that would annoy any of the present and future UNSC members. Ban will continue whipping countries like Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and so on.

In this connection it is important to note that investigation into Indian human rights offences in Occupied Kashmir will also be directly affected by the Pakistan’s move to endorse India for the UNSC seat.
The Human Rights Council is mandated to investigate crises in all countries. Its teams produce reports which it adopts before they go to the UNGA. In New York, the HRC report on Kashmir – if produced – may not muster enough votes because of India’s expanding influence, especially on the commercial side. So the report on Kashmir will only have a temporary effect when it is adopted by the HRC in Geneva, i.e. if India allows its investigation team to go to the Occupied Kashmir in the first place. Israel never allows such teams into Palestine or Israel, and India will adopt the same stance. In 1975, India sought UNSC membership, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto challenged Mrs. Gandhi’s move by putting Pakistan for the non-permanent seat.
As an expert on multilateral diplomacy, Bhutto knew the UN thoroughly. He played his card brilliantly and with the able support of Agha Shahi and Iqbal Akhund, he overwhelmed India, which at that time was a leader in the 128-member NAM. Now Pakistan is not only denying itself the option of even thinking about defeating India at the UN, but its Envoy is actually supporting India at a time when the latter’s human rights abuses in Occupied Kashmir are at a peak. Is this what our diplomacy has come down to at the UN?

This column was published by The Nation.

 

The War Against “Islamist” Thought Enters Bulgaria

[Notice that the primary objective was the elimination of the Imam's library.  This is a war against thought.  It is only temporarily in the form of anti-Islamist.   Elsewhere, the war is taking the shape of a war against liberal or progressive thought.  Soon, they will find a reason to bring it to a neighborhood near you.]

Bulgarian Police Raid Suspected Radical Islamists, Locals Protest

Bulgaria: Bulgarian Police Raid Suspected Radical Islamists, Locals Protest
Bulgarian Muslim believer waits for Friday prayer at the yard of the city’s mosque in the town of Kardzali, Bulgaria. Photo by EPA/BGNES

By Vesselin Zhelev

waz.euobserver.com

Police in rural southern Bulgaria have raided the houses of what they suspect is a branch of an outlawed Islamist group, provoking a peaceful protest in a Muslim village, the interior ministry and media reported.

Officers on Wednesday (6 October) searched houses and offices allegedly used by followers of al Waqf al Islami, a radical Islamist group once based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and banned there after the 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001, a ministry statement said.

In one of the locations of the operation, the south-western mountain village of Lazhnitsa, some 200 kilometres south of Sofia, residents surrounded the house of their local imam Mohamed Kamber for several hours and would not let national security agents confiscate his religious library.

There was no immediate announcement of arrests or clashes.

The raids covered villages in the districts of Blagoevgrad, Pazardzhik and Smolyan, which are the strongholds of Pomaks – Bulgarians forcefully converted to Islam in the XVII century by the Ottoman Empire. The vast majority of Bulgarians are Orthodox Christians. The Pomaks differ from the country’s ethnic Turkish minority through their mother tongue which is Bulgarian.

Police seized “large amounts of propaganda material with radical content, preaching religious hatred and a change of the constitutionally established order”, the ministry statement said as quoted by the daily Trud website. “Confiscated were financial documents demonstrating illegal funding of the activists and tax legislation offences on their behalf.”

Regional radio Focus reported hundreds of Lazhnitsa residents crowded around Imam Kamber’s house to prevent four national security agents and two police officials from confiscating books he brought from Saudi Arabia where he had studied.

Police reinforcements were dispatched to the village to forestall clashes, the radio said. No violence was immediately reported but tension was building up and it took local officials several hours to persuade the crowd to disperse and let the agents carry away the seized material.

In Sofia, Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev told reporters the police action had been planned for several months. He refused to comment on whether police had discovered so-called “sleeping terrorist cells”.