Ziadin Sela’s Alliance of Albanians party supports removing the head of the Islamic Community of Macedonia (IVZ) Sulejman Rexhepi, but also expressed concerns about the timing and the manner in which that is being done.

Rexhepi’s challenger Skender Buzaku and his supporters attempted to take over the main IVZ office yesterday, with police assistance and armed with a court order declaring him the rightful reis ul ulema instead of Sulejman Rexhepi. Buzaku is supported by the Albanian wing of the ruling SDSM party, while Rexhepi has the support of the ruling DUI party. Now the Alliance decided to chime in as well.

IVZ is an important institution which carries spiritual value for thousands of Muslim worshippers and as such it should be autonomous. Unfortunately, politics continues to pressure this institution and influences its work. The IVZ head himself confirmed that he has been instrumentalized by politics and as such he doesn’t deserve to continue to hold this office. On the other hand, having a court order implemented between the two electoral cycles raises suspicions that the real goal is to politically subvert this institution again. We strongly hope that IVZ will muster strength to implement the necessary changes without becoming the tool of a dark strategy implemented by a political party, and will try to serve God, said the Alliance in a press release.