The Office of Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia: A Study from the Socio-Legal Framework

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The Office of Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia:
A Study from the Socio-Legal Framework
 
By Mesut Idriz & Muhamed Ali

Abstract
Regulatory bodies between the rulers and the ruled have always existed and probably the case will be the same in the future. In this context the religions as faith and the related institutions are referred. Present day Macedonia has been part of this venture, where all the faiths and ultimately religions have gone through certain recognized agencies of the state. Beginning with the Ottoman rule in the region followed by the aftermath of the Ottomans until the dissolution of the Communist rule of Yugoslavia, the religion of Islam in Macedonia and its followers have always been represented by a state organ. Since 1990s the institution that has played the catalyst role between the Government of Macedonia and the followers of the religion of Islam in the country has been distinguishably recognized to be the Islamic Religious Community. Therefore, this work is going to analytically describe the role of this institution as a synergy between the government of Macedonia and the believers of Islam as well as its relations with various other Muslim institutions. After having a brief illustration on the history of Muslim religious representative institution in Macedonia, the focus of the discussion will be on the core issues of the highest Muslim religious institution of the country namely the Islamic Religious Community. As a case study, it will deal with its active role presumably in protecting the rights of Muslims at all levels.
Keywords: Islamic Religious Community; Macedonia; Legal Status; the Ottoman Balkans,    
 
The Office of Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia:
A Study from the Socio-Legal Framework
 
Introduction
State institutions and governmental agencies representing people of different religious beliefs as well as being instrumental in regulating norms between the believers and the state have and will continue to function in the future as a significant communal phenomena. Nevertheless, these kind of activities are found in the societies where those belong to the religion of Islam are either majority or minority in both the Western and the Eastern regions.
In order to support our claim, it is necessary to give few examples before focusing on the subject matter. In the Muslim majority countries or Islamic countries as generally referred, we may find governmental ministries particularly dealing and regulating the issues concerning the faith and practices of its Muslim subject like Saudi Arabia,[1] Gulf States,[2] Brunei,[3] Pakistan,[4] Indonesia,[5] Afghanistan[6] and others. On the other hand, there are certain types of institutions in charge of the above mentioned role which function under the office the Prime Minister as a state agency such the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) in Turkey[7] and Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) in Malaysia.[8]
In other non-Muslim countries are also found governmental institutions or agencies handling Muslim affairs. For instance, since none of the religions and faiths are officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China both the General Office of State Council[9] and the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs[10] interchangeably oversee the issues related to Muslim minorities; the Ministry of Minority Affairs in India;[11] The Ministry of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs in Sri Lanka;[12] and the Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT)[13] and Chularatchamontri (Shaykh al-Islam), who is appointed by the King upon advice of the Prime Minister, has the authority to administer all Islamic affairs in the nation and to provide advice on Islamic affairs to government agencies in Thailand. As we are going to further elaborate in this paper, the fate in the Balkan or rather Southeast European countries is very much similar to the latter and not to the above former case.
 

Areas

Continents ( 5 Area )
Action
 Content ( 610 ) Event ( 163 )
Areas
Africa 64 239
Asia 67 276
Europe 13 52
Latin America & Carribean 12 38
North America 7 5
Regions ( 4 Area )
Action
 Content ( 255 ) Event ( 41 )
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Balkans 22 124
Middle East 15 103
Black Sea and Caucasus 2 23
Mediterranean 2 5
Identity Fields ( 2 Area )
Action
 Content ( 376 ) Event ( 67 )
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Islamic World 51 329
Turkish World 16 47
Turkey ( 1 Area )
Action
 Content ( 354 ) Event ( 37 )
Areas
Turkey 37 354

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