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Bulgaria: Reactions to Hate Speech Against Arabs and Islam

Milena Irshad speaks on Martin Karbovski's show with right-wing leader Volen Siderov.

Kapka Siderova, the wife of a far-right nationalist politician in Bulgaria, made some controversial statements about Arab women on a popular talk show [BG] yesterday. The show also featured her husband, Volen Siderov, who is the leader of Bulgaria's “Attack” party known for harsh anti-minority rhetoric and a radical stance on Bulgaria's Turks and gypsies, and Milena Irshad, a Bulgarian Muslim woman.

Siderova's remarks have sparked outrage and allegations of racism and bigotry.

Here's what Milena Irshad wrote [BG] on her Facebook page:

Siderova said that Arab women walk around [Champs-Élysées] at 2-3 AM, dressed like whores, wearing Chanel and so on. I wonder what Mrs. Siderova was doing there at that time of night, and how exactly she knew that these women were Arab.

Below are some more reactions posted by Bulgarian Facebook users.

Kamelia Shopova-Khalyf:

So ridiculous… And to claim that if a study was made on the Arab world, not a single woman would want to wear a hijab. They never did differentiate between separate types of veil, did they? I don't know where she comes up with this stuff. As usual, a mishmash of nonsense.

Svetlana Nikolaeva Georgieva-Chahrour:

I find it difficult to express my anger and outrage at this… They could have been walking on Champs-Élysées, wearing good makeup and Chanel perfume, but it's impossible that they were dressed indecently.

Miglena Dimitrova:

People are being raised with racism from childhood. Kapka herself is an example of that; her son as well. I doubt we'll see the end of this sort of hate and bigotry.

Kamelia Shopova-Khalyf:

Well, her husband will gain new supporters from this, so who cares where the truth is, the show must go on…

Sevgin Iusuv:

She's openly calling our wives whores, which is unacceptable!! […]

Ruslan Khaled Trad:

Without a doubt, they expected to get a reaction. They'll tell us that we're backward and reactionary. Of course, we'll react, because this is an insult. As if we haven't already heard enough of their slogans. Should we create a group, called “Dear Kapka, our women are not whores“? Is this the dialogue that we've been promised? Hypocrisy and idiocy!

Faima Othman:

God, Kapka is the last person who should talk about whores. The thugs who support her husband have put enough stress on my child in Bulgaria, and he only feels safe here in Arabia. It's politics, I guess, all about getting votes.

Vania Kostadinova:

I never liked Mrs. Siderova, but I also never assumed she was so bigoted. I'm surprised that she turned out to be such an unsophisticated person.

The following statement [BG] was posted on the Facebook page of Bulgarian women married to Arabs:

[…] We would like to express our indignation at the false information presented during the TV appearance of the Siderov family on Martin Karbovski's talk show. We feel that the topic of veils in Islamic culture was discussed in a very superficial way and without a sufficient understanding of the various types of veils used in Islamic attire. The topic was quickly shifted towards ethnic stereotypes and preconceptions about Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. We feel that it's inappropriate to portray our minority as a threat in order to gain sympathizers, or to insinuate that terrorism is a purely Islamic phenomenon. We, like Mr. Siderov, are also Bulgarian citizens, interested in the security of our country, and we do not wish to be marginalized. […]

[…] We find Mrs. Siderova's statements that Muslim women are hypocrites, that wearing a hijab is an act of violence, that women who marry Arab men will never see their children, and that one cannot accept Islam in any other way but by force, to be appalling. Her comments that Muslim women have a sweaty odor and wear vulgar clothes can only be characterized as inappropriate. […]

Page of Bulgarian women married to Arabs

2 comments

  • Los discursos de odio son lo que menos necesitamos en esta época marcada por la violencia; es como echar lumbre a la hoguera. Es la tolerancia lo que el mundo requiere con urgencia y tenemos que descalificar todas las manifestaciones que lleven a enfrentarnos hermanos contra hermanos; mis oraciones y pensamientos a favor de la Paz mundial y la convivencia pacífica de todos los seres Humanos. Ser tolerantes no significa estar de acuerdo pero siempre hay que entender que hay personas que piensan de manera diferente, lo cual no las hace menos valiosas…

  • shaley

    wow. very strong yet uneducated opinion. This kind of women indeed causes war. It’s like she’s saying Cleopatra was the whore of Egypt or Helen of Troy was the whore that started the Trojan war.
    That talk show should employ knowledgeable if not intelligent experts ready to explain what are the differences in cultures.
    Well, what do I know, I’m not even a blogger and I’ve never been to Champs-Élysées

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