Militant Islamic groups are gaining ground in the Balkan countries. In Bulgaria, too, which joined the European Union in 2007, there is evidence of radicalization.
About 13 percent of Bulgarians are Muslim – more than in any other EU country. These Muslims aren’t immigrants, however, but a legacy of the time when Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. In the last 10 years, about 150 new mosques and teaching centers have been built. Some of the funding is thought to have come from foreign Muslim organizations, including from Saudi Arabia. A minority of Bulgarian Muslims supports the radical Wahabi sect. Bulgarian imams have repeatedly come to the attention of investigators, but the Muslims themselves feel that the growing mistrust is unjust.