The Islamic Religious Community (IRC) in Macedonia headed by Reis Ul Ulema Hadzi Sulejman Efendi Rexhepi went to war with the current government and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. The reason, according to sources, is the great promises Zaev gave but never fulfilled. They tried to resolve the conflicting views about the denationalization of religious buildings belonging to the IRC, warning them that they were forced to inform the faithful in 700 mosques on the country’s discrimination against the IRC and its faithful.
The Reis’s wrote a letter to the Government about the slow procedure for denationalization, as well as the everyday problems that the IRC had from the authorities that interfered with its work and the daily activity of maintaining religious objects that are a cultural heritage.
The IRC points out that they are particularly affected by the failure to resolve the status of religious buildings in Lazec / Bitola, the Husameddin Pasha Mosque in Stip, which is registered to another religious community, for which the proceedings are still ongoing. They in the letter accuse the Government of favoring the MOC, which, according to them, was privileged in every respect. At the end of the letter, they leave a 10-day deadline for the Government to solve the above-mentioned problems and seek urgent protection against discrimination against the IRC and citizens of the Muslim faith.
The government released in the public the response addressed to the leadership of the Islamic Religious Community and Reis Ul Ulema Hadzi Sulejman Efendi Rexhepi, after receiving a letter from the IRC, which according to them contains a kind of blackmail, threats and ultimatums for cases which are being processed in the competent institutions.
Regarding the received letter no. 03 – 154 from your side, we emphasize that it is an unacceptable form of address to state institutions, which is a form of blackmail and threat, and we seriously think about informing the competent public prosecutor’s office about it. In it, you mention several cases, which are being processed in the competent institutions, which is independent of the will of the executive power and is grounded and dependent on the strict respect of the positive law in the country. According to the Constitution, as the highest legal act, the Republic of North Macedonia is a secular state, and this executive power will never take steps to manipulate religious feelings or interfere in relations within or between religious communities. In that direction, we reject all allegations that any religious community is favored in the state, and we consider such accusation as pretentious and arbitrary. If you Respected, have any suspicion or an indication that some institution has violated positively the legal regulations, we encourage you to initiate an appropriate procedure before the competent authorities with an appropriate legal request. It is particularly important to emphasize that religious civil rights and freedoms are exercised in a multi-confessional society through a continuous process of building mutual trust between different confessions, and not through ultimatums, which, as a rule of the game, if accepted by all registered religious communities, would be seriously negative reflected on social cohesion, reads the government’s response.
Here’s the entire correspondence of the IRC to the Prime Minister Zaev, the Parliament Speaker, Xhaferi and the Commission for Relations with the Religious Communities.