Eight Bulgarians charged in swoop against Islamic State supporters

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 31, 2015 6:43 AM

SOFIA (Reuters) - Eight Bulgarians have been charged with propagating an extremist religious ideology and incitement to war, prosecutors said on Tuesday, as investigations continued into suspected sympathizers of the Islamic State group.

Six men were detained in a police swoop in the southern towns of Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and Asenovgrad after new evidence was found following Islamic State-related arrests last year. Another two Bulgarians were charged in absentia and European arrest warrants were issued for them, the prosecutors said.

In November, a Bulgarian imam and six others were charged with supporting Islamic State, the militant group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq where it has declared a caliphate.

The imam, Ahmed Mussa, had previously been sentenced to a year in jail for spreading radical Islam.

Bulgaria supports the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State but has not taken an active military role.

Muslims make up about 12 percent of Bulgaria's 7.3 million population and most belong to a centuries-old community, largely ethnic Turks.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)