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Muslim religious leader in Komotini sentenced for “participating in prayer”

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According to Turkish news agencies, an elected Muslim religious leader in Komotini, Greece, was sentenced to 80 days in prison for usurping authority.

Ibrahim Serif is the ‘mufti’ (religious leader) of Komotini, which is home to a Muslim minority of around 150,000 people.

Serif tweeted on Wednesday that he was convicted by a court in Alexandroupoli, on Tuesday, on the basis of his participation in a Friday prayer in Evros, in 2016.

Serif also shared a copy of the court summons.

His lawyer has appealed the decision in a higher court.

Serif previously won a case in 1999 over the same charge after appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.

He was elected mufti of Komotini in 1990 by the local Muslim community.

The election of muftis by Muslims in Greece was regulated in the 1913 Treaty of Athens between Greece and the Ottoman Empire and was later included in the Greek Act 2345/1920.

However, Greece annulled this law in 1991 and started appointing the muftis itself.

The majority of Muslim Turks in the cities of Komotini and Xanthi do not recognise the Greek-appointed muftis and elect their own instead. These muftis are not recognised by the Greek state.

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