Macedonia Meeting

Monday, March 28, 2011 - Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skopje/Macedonia

The Fifth Meeting of Religious Leaders of Balkan Countries was held on 28-30 March 2011 in Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia under the aegis of Macedonia’s President Mr. Gjorge IVANOV.

President of Religious Affairs Prof. Dr. Mehmet GÖRMEZ, Religious Leaders of Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, and Kosovo as well as the elected muftis of Western Thrace (Komotini and Xanthi) attended the meeting.

Unfortunately, the Reis-ul-Ulema of Bosnia & Herzegovina Dr. Mustafa Efendi CERIC did not attend this important meeting, nor did he send a representative.

Agenda item of the meeting was “The Issue of Trust Properties in Balkan Countries.” Said properties had been owned for centuries by Muslims in Balkan countries but were seized and taken away from them as the problem has been purposefully dragged into a deadlock. Representative of each country had a chance to speak at the meeting and the trust properties issue in their countries was once again brought up in presence of the press.

At the end of the meeting, the resolutions unanimously accepted by religious leaders were declared to the public with a “Final Declaration” before the media in Turkish, Albanian, and Macedonian.

Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, and Kosovo

The Fifth Meeting of Religious Leaders of Balkan Countries was held on 28-30 March 2011 in Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia under the aegis of Macedonia’s President Mr. Gjorge IVANOV.

President of Religious Affairs Prof. Dr. Mehmet GÖRMEZ, Religious Leaders of Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, and Kosovo as well as the elected muftis of Western Thrace (Komotini and Xanthi) attended the meeting.

MACEDONIA MEETING FINAL DECLARATION

The first one of the Meeting of Religious Leaders of Balkan Countries was held in Bulgaria in 2007 and hosted by the Grand Mufti of Bulgaria, the second meeting was held in 2008 in Montenegro, the third one in 2009 in Romania, the fourth one in Kosovo on 12May 2010, and the fifth one was held on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 in Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia which shows the meetings have now become a tradition.

In this important meeting held here today, we as Religious Leaders of Balkan Countries declare to the public the following issues:

We will do our duty in the best manner for the peace, well-being, and happiness of communities and countries in which we live. As we did in the past, today we will make the necessary effort to ensure the peace and happiness of our communities and countries, without any compromise from Islam’s universal principles of peace, justice, and tolerance, and without being provoked.

As followers of Islam and religious leaders, we will expedite our work to raise awareness in our communities on coexistence without discrimination for people from every religion, language, and race who have been living in this region for centuries.

Before the issue of returning all trust properties, which have always been in this region and date back to centuries ago, to their original owners is taken to an international platform through a law firm to be set in Brussels, we would like to repeat our request and keep our hopes live that our governments will resolve this problem with legality and justice.

The necessary sensitivity and attention will be shown to prevent the vanishment our historical and cultural heritage in the Balkan region which was damaged due to various reasons, worn down because of time, or misused. It would be beneficial to establish a scientific research commission for the archive research of said heritage and especially the trust estates and to particularly research the papers in the Ottoman archives.

Cooperation and exchange of knowledge will be practiced to meet the religious publication and religious education needs of Religious Leaders in the Balkan Countries and to institutionalize our mufti offices. All sorts of support will be provided on this matter between religious administrations.

Necessary cooperation and assistance will be provided to ensure that Muslims in the Balkans access traditional and accurate knowledge for the purpose of preserving their religious and national identities which have been passed on to today.

The unlawful treatment of Mustafa Hacı Aliş and his friends, who was unanimously elected Grand Mufti in the Balkan country of Bulgaria where 9 Grand Mufti elections were held since 1992, and the degrading attitude that disregards the will of the Muslim community in his person cannot be accepted.

We have a consensus on the fact that attempts to present Bektashism, a Sufi interpretation of Islam that has lived in Balkan countries for centuries, as un-Islamic through unacceptable tries have no scholarly, historical, and traditional basis. 

We believe the fact that Muslim, Christian, and Jewish people, who have lived together for centuries in Balkan countries, make an effort altogether for the good of their countries today as they did centuries ago is quite essential for peace in the Balkans in particular and peace in the world in general.

We wish that the mass events that took place in recent months in the Islamic world which brought great pain and sorrow to all Muslims come to an end as soon as possible with the common sense and demands of people, that regrettable developments triggered by these events which may hurt the honor of Muslim people are never allowed; we sincerely believe that the international community must also show due sensitivity in providing them with the opportunity to freely determine their future in their countries, and obtain rule of law and democratic law in their own countries.

We would like to thank Macedonia’s Prime Minister Mr. Nikola GRUEVSKI and President Mr. Gjorge IVANOV for their hospitality.

We would like to express our gratitude to T.C. Presidency of Religious Affairs, the Islamic Community of Macedonia who made an effort for the best organization and success of the Fifth Consultation Meeting of Religious Leaders of Balkan Countries and to all religious leaders who attended this meeting.

29 MARCH 2011 Skopje/ MACEDONIA