Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia
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The Islamic Religious Community of North Macedonia or IRC (Albanian: Bashkësia Fetare Islame e Maqedonisë or BFI, Macedonian: Исламската Верска Заедница во Македонија or ИВЗ) is an independent religious organisation of Muslims in the Republic of North Macedonia. The headquarter of the community is in Skopje and the current leader, titled Reis-ul-ulema, is Sulejman Rexhepi.
There has been organized Islamic religious life in Macedonia since the time when Ottoman Empire started administering this region. All(Sunni) Muslims who lived in the Ottoman Empire were part of the Muslim community headed by the sultan, who replaced the role of the caliph. During the reign of the Sultan Murad II the competences of the caliph were transferred to the grand mufti. Since then, the grand mufti was titled Sheykhul-Islam and was considered the highest religious authority within the Ottoman Empire. However, every region inhabited by Muslims had its own mufti, who was in lower position than the Sheykhul-Islam. After the First World War, North Macedonia was under the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The Islamic community of the Kingdom was headed by Reis-ul-ulama, whose office was in Sarajevo. The Reis-ul-ulama responsibility was to organize the Islamic Religious life in Bosnia and Hezegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, whereas in Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo the Islamic Religious life was organized by the Supreme Mufti (that was in a lower position than the Reis-ul-ulama), whose office was in Belgrade.After the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the competences of the Supreme Mufti were transferred to the Ulama Majlis in Skopje and the competences of the Reis-ul-ulama were transferred to the Ulama Majlis in Sarajevo. The newly formed Ulama Majlises formed the Rijaset of Islamic Community with its head office in Sarajevo. After the Second World War the Islamic Community of Macedonia became part of the Islamic Community of Yugoslav Federation (Rijaset), with its office in Sarajevo. After the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the independence of Macedonia, this community continues to act as an independent religious community in North Macedonia, based in Skopje.
Arabati Baba controversyEdit
In 2002, a group of armed members of the Islamic Community of Macedonia (ICM), the legally recognized organization which claims to represent all Muslims in North Macedonia, but in actuality, just the Sunni Muslim majority, invaded the Shia Bektashi Arabati Baba Tekke in an attempt to claim the Shia tekke as a mosque for their followers, although the facility has never functioned as such. Subsequently, the Bektashi Shia community of Macedonia has sued the Macedonian government for failing to defend and later, to restore the tekke to the Bektashi community, pursuant to a law passed in the early 1990s returning property previously nationalized under the Yugoslav government. The law, however, deals with restitution to private citizens, rather than religious communities. The ICM claim to the tekke is based upon their contention to represent all Muslims in Macedonia; and indeed, they are one of two Muslim organizations recognized by the government, both Sunni. The Shia Bektashi community filed for recognition as a separate religious community with the Macedonian government in 1993, but the Macedonian government has refused to recognize them.
In March 2008, there were reports that the ICM members squatting on the facility grounds have taken control of additional buildings, have been intimidating visitors to the tekke, and have discharged their weapons on the grounds.
On 26 November 2019, an earthquake struck Albania. The Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia organised a fundraising effort for victims on 29 November after Friday prayers across all its mosques within North Macedonia.
Islamic Religious Community of North Macedonia is dived into 13 muftiships:
- Muftiship of Skopje
- Muftiship of Tetovo
- Muftiship of Gostivar
- Muftiship of Kumanovo
- Muftiship of Kičevo
- Muftiship of Debar
- Muftiship of Struga
- Muftiship of Štip
- Muftiship of Bitola
- Muftiship of Veles
- Muftiship of Ohrid
- Muftiship of Prilep
- Muftiship of Resen
- "ИСЛАМСКА ВЕРСКА ЗАЕДНИЦА ВО РМ". Kovz.gov.mk/. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-24. Retrieved 2014-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- WahhabiWatch Archived 2007-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
- "Maqedoni, në të gjitha xhamitë grumbullohen ndihma për Shqipërinë!" (in Albanian). Gazeta Lajm. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.