The president of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, has made a landmark move in the former Communist country by being the first president to provide an iftar (fast-breaking) evening meal for Bulgarian Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan.
The feast, which was provided at the presidential residence in Boyana, marked a change in attitude for the country's 1.5 million native Muslims 25 years after the Communist regime collapsed in 1989.
At the feast, President Plevneliev praised the Muslim community for their prayers and opening their hearts alongside the Orthodox Church during Bulgaria's recent flooding crisis, and especially thanked Muslims for helping Orthodox monastaries clean up after the floods.
Bulgarian's Grand Mufti Alis Haji also said the program was an example of cross-cultural and religious harmony in Bulgaria. 'Regardless of their religion and language, our ancestors lived on the same land and drank the same water. Like this, our neighborly relations and unity has been preserved until today,' he said.
The mufti also expressed his grief over the religious suppression during the Communist era, but also lavished the religious freedoms that came after the fall of Communism. He also appealed for more Muslim places of worship in the capital Sofia, as the only mosque does not cater for the large congregation.
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