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Radical Coup in Kosovo Muslim Leadership

11:11 AM, Sep 5, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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When he announced his candidacy for the job of chief cleric, Dr. Hamiti stressed his opposition to a third term for Ternava in a Koha Ditore and called for a state audit of the finances of Ternava’s office. Ternava has been accused of receiving funds from Saudi extremists operating through Western Europe. A valiant moderate imam from a southern Kosovo village, Adnan Vishi, charged Ternava with attempting to gain appointment to a life term as chief cleric, a position non-existent anywhere in the Muslim world or in any Muslim minority.

The turmoil in the Kosovo Islamic Community poses three questions: first, will moderate clerics and Islamic scholars in the country repudiate the BIK’s revision of its constitution; second, will Dr. Hamiti succeed in running against Ternava for the office of chief cleric; and third, if he were to defeat Ternava, can the moderate administration of Kosovar Islam be restored?

In a recent interview on the elections, Imer Mushkolaj, a columnist at Express, commented, “BIK today is an institution that has deviated from its mission. . . . Elections in BIK are really a battle between radical and moderate wings. . . . [R]adical groupa . . . want at all costs to promote a form of Islam that has no foundation in peace, but violence. . . . BIK should reconsider the appointments of imams . . . not giving any of them the opportunity to promote radical ideas, but to cultivate traditional Islam.” 

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