The problems of the Muftis
At the three provinces of Thrace, the muftis are the higher on charge religious person of the Muslim Communities, one in each province. Mufti is in the level of a metropolitan. The way that a mufti was appointed was organized with a speccial law that was valid from 1920, and it was foreseeing that an election would be made within the Muslim Community.
At the end of 80's the "religious leaders", the old muftis were died. The government didn't allowed the Muslim Communities to elect their muftis, as the law was indicating before they were appointed by the government. First it appointed "temporary muftis" although that there was no such a position indicated in the law. Another democratic process was canceled and despotism was applied. And it was proved once more that the laws were not valid for the Minority and that an arbitrary status was valid and any type of illegal measures could be executed.
After a while the law which was foreseeing election of Muftis was abolished, despotism was validated, and it was replaced with a new law stating that the muftis would be appointed by the governors (=government). When after a while the governors started to be elected this authority was transferred to the general governors of the region. It was foreseen by the law that the appointment would be advised from an advisory board, which was symbolical without any authority.
Formally the muftis would be appointed after the advice of the board. At the reality, intelligence service was advising and Ministry of Foreign Affairs was appointing them.
Being appointed after the involvement of intelligence service, according to their criteria, the possible responsibilities that they had previously, was giving clues about how these new muftis were conceptualizing the role of the superior religious person, the religious leader , within the Minority their attitudes against the government's Minority Policy and their consequences. Almost ten years have forwarded and these muftis' movements and actions as disciplinary, typical civil servants didn't disappointed neither intelligence services nor Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But this was the aim.
The involvement of the religious on charge people and the muftis on the political issues and sociopolitical problems is not a strong tradition. "The on charge religious people should be involved only with religious issues" principle was valid to great extend. But the strengthening oppression and discriminating measures started politicizing them, they became more and more involved with the Minority's struggle at the '80s. The involvement of the muftis had a positive and grouping effect in the Minority. It also increased the attention of the foreigners too. The muftis and their offices became centers of struggles. In the basis of the government's illegal, anti democratic, arbitrary and despotic behavior, was lying the aim of reducing the role and the importance of the muftis. The government was successful on this issue.
The problem of muftis is the most important institutional problem that is valid for more than 10 years. The followings are among the thesis of the Minority:
The election of the mufti which is a religious leadership position of Muslim Community is an absolutely inner issue of the community. The Muslim Community elects its own mufti. It is an unacceptable application, the appointment of a religious leader from the state without the advise of the community, and in conflict with the Minority's will. It is an application seen in totalitarian regimes. If a community does not have a religious autonomy, this means religious freedom does not work there. The appointment of the mufti by the government is a harsh violation of religious rights. It is an open oppression and discrimination measure because it is only applied in Muslim Community, and from the other hand it reduces the relation of "sovereign religion" and "recognized foreign religion" to a relation of "master and servant" as it is applied by a state that is not secular and it has been equated with Orthodoxy.
It was very natural for the Minority to react against a right that have been recognized in 1920 and was violated after 65 years. The appointment of the muftis created conflicts within the Minority that continues till today. After the appointments, symbolic elections were held and "alternative muftis" were elected in the beginning of 1990s. The alternative muftis have no real and official authorities. Illegitimacy of the appointment process by the government, its conflict with the Minority's will, and non-recognition of the muftis that were appointed and placed on the top of the Minority, was tried to be symbolized and to be emphasized by these elections. In other words a political objection, disapproval was worded. The despotic mentality Greek Government did not endured this action. The authorities of the mufti was carried by the appointed ones in the appointed offices, buildings and it is still the same today. Although this reality the "alternative muftis" were accused and sentenced many times for using the authorities of the muftis.