Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Newsletter "Religious Intolerance and Discrimination"
FYROM - MACEDONIA: Bektashi appeal to Human Rights Without Frontiers
20 March 2008
HRWF (20.03.2008) - Website: http://www.hrwf.net - Email: email@example.com – The Bektashi of Macedonia have appealed to Human Rights Without Frontiers about the non-restitution by the Government of one of their holy places now occupied by force by the Islamic Community of Macedonia (ICM). The Bektashi, a Sufi Islamic group, sued the Government for failing to reverse the Former Yugoslavia's nationalization of the Bektashi's Tetovo compound, known as the Arabati Baba Tekke. The Bektashi also filed suit against ICM, armed members of which seized part of the complex in 2002. Right now, the ICM continues to occupy the area. The ICM claimed that the property belonged to them, since the Bektashi are a "sect" of Islam; however, the Bektashi are registered as a separate religious group and alleged that the property belonged strictly to the Bektashi community and not the Islamic community as a whole.
My name is C____, and I am writing on behalf of the Bektashi community of Macedonia.
In 2002, shortly after the war between Macedonia and ethnic Albanian separatists, a group of armed extremists invaded the Harabati Baba Tekke, located in Tetovo, Macedonia, a Bektashi religious site. The invaders are members of the Islamic Community of Macedonia, and their goal is to 'reclaim' the tekke as a mosque, although the structure has not served as a mosque at any time in its past.
Since that time the Bektashi community has sought a non-violent, legal solution to the dilemma, but to no avail; and in the meantime, the invaders have caused destruction to the property, defiled gravesites, harassed visitors, and most recently have begun discharging their firearms on the tekke grounds. The government has failed to recognize the autonomy of the religious community, has not acted to remove the men and their weapons from the site during the legal proceedings, and has not prevented them from beginning efforts at constructing a mosque on the site.
As a religious minority, the Bektashi community routinely suffers religious intolerance and discrimination both societally as well as institutionally, and only seeks return of the tekke grounds, and recognition of their independent and autonomous status as a religious organization in Macedonia. Moreover, the tekke itself is a historical and cultural site of great value to the Macedonian people which is being systematically destroyed to add a twenty-fifth mosque to Tetovo's existing twenty-four facilities.
Sir, we please ask your help. In your efforts to advocate for human rights, we ask that you bring the plight of the Bektashi community of Macedonia to the European institutions and people. We thank you for your consideration.
On Behalf of the Macedonian Bektashi Community
Thursday, March 20, 2008
You can donate using a major credit card - VISA/MC/AMEX etc - or PayPal, by clicking the donate button to the right. Your transaction will be conducted under a secure, encrypted socket to protect your financial information.
The money will be collected in the account, and then transferred to the Bektashi community, monthly.
If you would like to know the details, please contact the webmaster. He is more than happy to share the information.
Have a happy new year!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
You can fax Mr. Berman at (202) 225-3196 and (818) 994-1050; you can send up to two free faxes a day through FaxZero, and it only takes a few minutes to do so. Enough people pestering Mr Berman with unwanted faxes every day might make a difference!
You might try telling Mr Berman:
"I, as a member of the Bektashi community of the United States, wish to express outrage and concern over the 2002 invasion of the Harabati Baba tekke in Tetovo, Macedonia by armed extremists and the unwillingness of the Macedonian government to remove these men from the compound or to register the Bektashi community of Macedonia, something which they have consistently sought since 1993.
I find it grievously incongruous that Macedonia should find admittance to NATO though it allows armed men to determine ownership of property and refuses to recognize a legitimate religious community older than the country itself.
I ask you to press the Macedonian government to find a just and peaceful solution to this stand-off and return the tekke to its rightful owners, the Bektashi community of Macedonia."
Also, please contact the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and let them know your opinion as well.
But is Macedonia ready to join NATO, dedicated to the rule of law and human rights, when it allows men with weapons to decide property-ownership, and has denied a religious minority official recognition for 15 years?
Write to Victoria Nuland, US Ambassador to NATO, and voice your concern; if Macedonia wishes to join the community of free nations, she will need to treat all her citizens fairly.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The Harabati Baba Tekke has the potential for tremendous wealth due to the fact that its vakf property holdings are quite vast. If the tekke, inshallah, is restored in its totality to the Bektashi community, the funds that could be generated through these properties will be significant and they will provide ample income for the maintenance of the community's needs.
To date the Macedonian government has taken little interest in resolving this case. In fact the Bektashi community has not been recognized by the government as a separate religious community vis-à-vis the Sunnis despite regular appeals since 1993. The lack of response from the Macedonian government is rather suspicious given that other Macedonian Sufi orders (Halvetis, Rifais, Sadis, Kadiris and Naqshbandis) have an organization call the Islamic Dervish Religious Community which is recognized by the state as an entity separate from the Sunni community.
Please contact your democratic representatives, and let us bring pressure to bear on the Macedonian government to act towards a just and peaceful resolution to this conflict.