On the Credentials of Naim Tërnava as Reis ul-Ulema of the Republic of Kosova
Washington, September 4, 2013
To the Muslim public:
The Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP) is a trans-national network of Muslim scholars, clerics, authors, journalists, Sufi shaykhs, and other believers, with groups and correspondents in 30 Muslim countries and Muslim minorities. CIP is dedicated to moderate, traditional, conservative, conventional, and spiritual Islam. CIP opposes all forms of radicalism in religion.
CIP received an inquiry regarding the credentials of Naim Tërnava, whose second term as reis ul-ulema of the Islamic Community of Kosova (known by its Albanian initials as BIK) has ended.
After a documentary analysis, by CIP members trained in the Arabic language, of Naim Tërnava's scholarly output, we have determined the following:
1. Tërnava's theological qualifications are based on a master's thesis presented at the American Open University of Cairo in 2003, in Arabic, with the title "Muslim Aqida and its Effect on Individuals and the Nation," under the supervision of Muhammad Rashad Abd Al-Aziz Dehemesh, of the Al-Azhar School of Arabic and Islamic Studies.
2. We do not consider a master's thesis a sufficient academic achievement to justify service in the position of reis ul-ulema of a Muslim country or a Muslim minority with recognized legal status.
3. The text of the Tërnava master's thesis has been tested by juxtaposition with an earlier doctoral dissertation by an Islamic scholar, Zija Abdullah, entitled "The Effect of Muslim Aqida in Guiding Behavior," and approved at Zaytuna University in Tunis in 1997-98.
4. There are several passages in the Tërnava master's thesis that are identical to passages in the Abdullah doctoral dissertation, without proper citation of Dr. Abdullah's work. Tërnava includes material as if he were its author, with footnotes referring to earlier authorities cited by Dr. Abdullah but without their acknowledgement as quotations or of the work of Dr. Abdullah.
5. We have been informed by a review of legal documents of the Kosova authorities that Dr. Abdullah has complained to the principled members of the Kosova Islamic Community about this matter.
Based on a full analysis and balanced judgment, the Center for Islamic Pluralism declares that these findings show definitively that Naim Tërnava has committed the serious offense of academic plagiarism.
CIP has therefore adopted the opinion that Naim Tërnava has served as reis ul-ulema under grossly un-Islamic false pretenses and is unfit to serve further in any administrative capacity in the Islamic Community of Kosova. His master's thesis should be investigated by the Al-Azhar authorities.
Sample pages from the Tërnava master's thesis and the Abdullah doctorate will be supplied to media and clerical authorities by CIP on request.
And Allah knows best.
Long live the Republic of Kosova!
Long live the Albanian nation!
Stephen Sylejman Schwartz
Center for Islamic Pluralism
Washington, DC, USA