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Islamic Community of Kosova

The Islamic Community of Kosovo (ICK; Albanian: Bashkësia Islame e Kosovës), is an independent religious organization of Muslims in Kosovo and the Preshevo Valley. The community’s headquarters are located in Pristina and their current leader, the Grand Mufti (Albanian: Kryemyftiu), is Naim Tërnava.

Map of the territories that are under the authority of the Islamic Community of Kosovo

Organized Islamic activities have taken place in Kosovo since the Ottoman Empire ruled over the region. All Muslims of the empire were part of the Islamic community, which was headed by the Sultan.

During the reign of Sultan Murad II, responsibilities of the caliph were transferred to the Grand Mufti. Since then, the Grand Mufti was given the honorific scholarly title Sheykhul-Islam and considered the highest religious authority within the Ottoman Empire. Additionally, every region inhabited by Muslims has had its own mufti. Each regional mufti was subordinate to the Sheykhul-Islam.

During the period 1914 to 1956, the faith community in Kosova joined the Albanian Muslim community (Albanian: Komuniteti Mysliman i Shqipërisë, which was headed by the Grand Mufti based in Tirana.

After the First World War, Kosovo was placed under the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The Islamic community of the kingdom was headed by Reis-ul-ulama, based in Sarajevo. The responsibility of the Reis-ul-ulama was to organize Muslim religious life in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia. In contrast, in Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo, Muslim religious life was organized by the Supreme Mufti, subordinate to the Reis-ul-ulama whose office was in Belgrade.

After the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the responsibilities of the Supreme Mufti were transferred to the Ulama Majlis in Skopje and the responsibilities of the Reis-ul-ulama were transferred to the Ulama Majlis in Sarajevo. The newly established Ulama Majlises formed the Rijaset of Islamic community, with its head office in Sarajevo.

After the Second World War, the Islamic community of Kosovo became part of the Islamic community of Serbia, based in Pristina. The Islamic community of Serbia was part of the Islamic community of Yugoslav Federation (Rijaset), based in Sarajevo. The Islamic community of Kosovo then declared independence from the Rijaset on 11 December, 1993.

Kosovo Conflict (1998-1999)
The central historical archive belonging to the Islamic Community of Kosovo containing community records spaning 500 years was burned down on June 13, 1999 by Yugoslav Serb police after an armistice and some hours prior to the coming of NATO peacekeeping troops to Prishtinë. The Hadum Suleiman Aga library (founded 1595) in Gjakovë, was burned down (March 24) by Yugoslav Serb troops resulting in the loss of the regional archives of the Islamic Community spanning to the 17th century.

Modern period
On 26 November 2019, an earthquake struck Albania. The Islamic Community of Kosovo organised a fundraising effort on 29 November after Friday prayers across all its mosques within the country and sent several convoys of aid to earthquake victims.

Structure
The Islamic community of Kosovo is divided into 8 regions (Councils of Islamic Community):

Council of Islamic Community of Prishtinë
Council of Islamic Community of Gjilan
Council of Islamic Community of Mitrovicë
Council of Islamic Community of Prizren
Council of Islamic Community of Pejë
Council of Islamic Community of Gjakovë
Council of Islamic Community of Preshevë (Serbia)

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