Bulgarian Muslims mark start of Ramadan with punch-up
The start of Islam's holy month of Ramadan was marred in Bulgaria when tensions among a group of Muslims escalated into a brawl in a mosque, local reports said Thursday, dpa reported
The fist-fight, which involved some 200 people, broke out at evening prayer between the supporters of newly-elected head mufti Mustafa Hadzhi and those of his predecessor Nedim Gendzhev.
Despite reports that some of the brawlers had been armed with knives, only slight injuries were reported after police broke up the crowd.
"It was total chaos, as if Satan had arrived," said one eyewitness according to the daily Trud newspaper.
Tensions among Bulgarian Muslims have persisted since Hadzhi was elected as head mufti in October. Gendzehv, his predecessor, managed to have the decision overturned in secular courts in May.
Bulgaria has a sizable Muslim community, mostly ethnic Turks but also Roma, making up around 12 per cent of the 7.8 million inhabitants.