Ahmet Mete, controversial ‘mufti’ among Greek Muslims, dies

Jul 14, 2022, 5:01 AM | Updated: 5:04 pm

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Ahmet Mete, who was recognized by Turkey but not by Greece as the elected mufti for the Muslim population in the Xanthi region, died Thursday at age 57, his family said.

The family did not discuss the cause of death, but Mete had been suffering from cancer for several years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted, in Turkish: “I wish God’s mercy on Ahmet Mete Hocaefendi, the Elected Mufti of Xanthi. I convey my condolences to the family (and) loved ones of our deceased teacher and to all my brothers and sisters living in Western Thrace.”

A mufti is a religious official adjudicating on matters of Islamic law. In Greece, the Muslim community is governed by sharia law on matters of civil law, especially family and succession law, but not criminal law. Sharia has primacy even over EU civil law.

Under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the Greek state is responsible for enforcing sharia in the Muslim minority and appoints the muftis. But in a play for influence, Turkey has encouraged Greek Muslims to elect their own muftis in the regional units of Xanthi and Rodopi.

Greece does not recognize the elected muftis and often takes them to court for “impersonating a public official.”

Mete, who was born in Xanthi and educated in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, was elected mufti for the region upon the death of the previous one in 2006 by just over 9,500 faithful attending prayer services. He was prosecuted for actions like officiating over a funeral for a second time following the state-appointed mufti.

The Muslim minority in Greece’s Thrace province numbers an estimated 117,000 people, or about 32% of the population. Muslims are 43% of the population in Xanthi.

The Muslim minority is multiethnic, made up of Turks, Bulgarian-speaking Pomaks and Roma, and all were long discriminated against by the Greek state, including restricting movement. But Greece abolished discriminatory legislation in the 1980s and 1990s and started emphasizing the Muslim minority’s multiethnic makeup.

Among the Greek Muslims, acceptance or rejection of the official or elected muftis is seen as a sign of loyalty to either Greece or Turkey.


Nellas reported from Athens, Greece.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman gestures while speaking at University College London as part of his ...

Associated Press

OpenAI boss ‘heartened’ by talks with world leaders over will to contain AI risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said Monday he was encouraged by a desire shown by world leaders to contain any risks posed by the artificial intelligence technology his company and others are developing.

1 day ago

FILE - The draft of a bill that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., neg...

Associated Press

Debt deal imposes new work requirements for food aid and that frustrates many Democrats

Democrats are deeply conflicted about the debt ceiling deal, fearing damage has been done to safety net programs

2 days ago

Seattle lawyer...

Associated Press

Lawsuit alleging ex-deputy falsified arrest report settled for $250K

A lawsuit filed by a Washington oyster farmer accusing a former county deputy of falsifying an arrest report

2 days ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Washington man climbing Mount Rainier dies near summit

A Washington state man who was trying to summit Mount Rainier this week collapsed and died near the top of the mountain.

4 days ago

biden crisis averted...

Zeke Miller and Chris Megerian

Biden celebrates a ‘crisis averted’ in Oval Office address on bipartisan debt ceiling deal

President Joe Biden celebrated a “crisis averted” in his first speech to the nation from the Oval Office Friday evening.

4 days ago

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition, ...

Associated Press

US, Europe working on voluntary AI code of conduct as calls grow for regulation

The United States and Europe are drawing up a voluntary code of conduct for artificial intelligence as the developing technology triggers warnings

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Ahmet Mete, controversial ‘mufti’ among Greek Muslims, dies