Extremists Beat Kosovo Imam in Mitrovica
Pristina | 22 January 2010 | Petrit Collaku
Exterior of a mosque
An imam in Kosovo's northern town of Mitrovica was ambushed in his mosque on Thursday after mid-day prayers and beaten up by four people who said they did not like the brand of Islam he preaches.
Imam Hamit Kamberi told media he knows the people who attacked him and their families, but did not mention any names, nor did he specify their religious background.
“I heard some people close the door of the mosque and they started beating me,” Kamberi is quoted by the Pristina daily Express as saying.
Kamberi said that these people have for some time been asking for his dismissal because they were not satisfied with the religious rituals he was conducting.
“I respect the rules of the Islamic Community, according to Medh’hebit Hanefi,” Kamberi said. “They want other rituals,” he added.
Kamberi said that one of them asked the imam for a conversation, when from behind his back the others started to hit him on the head. “The attack was foxy, because a brave man comes forward and not behind your back,” Kamberi said. “They had short trousers,” he added.
He said that one of the people had a long beard, while the others wore unusual clothes for Muslim believers.
Kosovo’s Islamic Community, BIK, condemned the attack, writing on their website that such criminal mob elements are unacceptable for the society they aim to build. BIK asked the police and justice authorities to arrest the perpetrators of the attack and bring them to justice.
The head of the Islamic Community in Mitrovica, Jetish Berisha, said that attacks on imams continue in Mitrovica, noting that the imam in Drenas was attacked last year.
“I think that again, the same people, with the same ideology, are continuing such attacks,” Berisha told Express. Kosovo media have over the last year reported many similar attacks against Islamic leaders.