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Public Discussion
"Islam and Secularism"
5 July 2012

The debate was organized by CSR together with the Red House Center for Culture and Debate and the Grand Mufti’s Administration.

Panelists: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anna Krasteva, New Bulgarian University; Irina Nedeva, journalist; Birali Birali, Deputy Grand Mufti; Dr. Sefer Hassanov, the Higher Islamic Institute; Prof. Dr. Plamen Makariev, Sofia University; Ruslan Trad, President of the Mahmud Darwish Forum for Arab Culture.

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Simeon Evstatiev, Sofia University

These days, the problems characteristic of the relations between Islam and Western secularism are also entering the public space in Bulgaria. Questions arise concerning the compatibility of the fulfillment of religious duties with mainstream social life in Bulgarian society. For example:

  • Is the public declaration of one’s Muslim identity problematic for one’s fellow citizens?
  • What challenges do Muslims face in European secular type societies?
  • How do Muslims understand their rights and duties as citizens? Does their religious difference alienate them from the society in which they live, and do they identify with their country the same way that the other citizens do?
  • Why do some Bulgaria citizens have difficulties accepting Muslims as equal members of the Bulgarian nation?
  • To what extent are the relations between Muslims and secular society in Bulgaria determined by the course of global events, and to what extent by the historical development and political culture in our country and in the Balkans?