The trial has begun in Bulgaria of 13 accused members of the Al Waqf al-Islami.
Three of the accused face charges of leading the organisation, preaching an anti-democratic ideology, and religious hatred. The others face charges of membership of Al Waqf, and speading an anti-democratic ideology.
Al Waqf al-Islami is accused of spreading what the indictment calls a “radical version” of Salafist Islam between 2008 and 2010
Their relatives and supporters claim they have been teaching traditional Islam, and around 300 gathered outside the court in Pazardjik, southern Bulgaria, as the court was too small to admit more than 50 of them.
Al Waqf, despite being denied registration as a religious group, has been involved in the financing of some 150 mosques in Bulgaria in recent years.
Bulgaria’s Chief Mufti strongly supported the group upon its arrest, but less so since.