A radical Kosovo imam is in hot water after comparing women who have premarital sex to “used tires.”
A sacked imam faces charges of inciting ethnic hatred over a controversial sermon delivered in 2013 in defence of the Ottoman Turkish invasion, entitled “How to increase [God’s] blessings”, still available on YouTube.
Irfan Salihu, who is well-known in Kosovo for his stridently conservative views, publicised on dozens of YouTube videos, served as an imam in Prizren until last year, when the Islamic Community of Kosova, the official religious body, sacked him.
The indictment says Salihu incited national, racial, religious or ethnic hatred, discord or intolerance in a sermon that defended the medieval Ottoman conquest on the grounds that it made Albanians rulers of part of the Balkans.
“They insult that same Muslims [the Ottoman Turks] who gave them acres of land and brought them to live in Kosovo and made them rulers of the Balkans,” the indictment quotes Salihu as saying in March 2013.
Salihu’s sermon in defence of the Ottomans went largely unnoticed, but a few months later, in June 2013, another sermon, on “female fornication”, brought him national attention.
“You must stay away from women who have committed squalid acts of fornication, these harlots and whores. Every female who has engaged in a sexual act before marriage is a harlot and a whore,” Salihu told believers at Friday prayers in the “Suzi Qelebiu” mosque.
Even devout Muslims reacted with dismay to Salihu’s comments, who also said women who engaged in premarital sex should be cast away, comparing them with “used tires”.