Aug
18

Bosnian Grand Mufti Visits Kosovo

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Various media sources are reporting that Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric has paid a three day visit to Kosovo where local Serbian leader were critical of his appearance. According to a report posted on an Italian news portal:

Bosnian Muslims’ spiritual leader Reiss-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric, on Wednesday began a three-day visit to Kosovo, angering local Serb leaders who described his visit as a “provocation”. It is Ceric’s first visit to Kosovo since it declared independence last year – a move backed by most Bosnian Muslims. Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said Ceric’s visit to Kosovo was “inappropriate”, because Bosnia has not officially recognised Kosovo. Dodik accused Ceric of being “an important ideologue of Islamic policy, who interferes not only in internal matters of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the entire region”. Ceric’s visit was officially billed as a visit to the “Islamic community of the Republic of Kosovo”. Belgrade doesn’t recognise Kosovo independence and has not given up its diplomatic battle to retain Kosovo within Serbia’s borders. Kosovo ethnic Albanians are overwhelmingly Muslim. Besides a tiny Serb minority, there is also a small Muslim community of Slavic origin who call themselves Bosniacs. Ceric drew sharp criticism during his recent visit to the southwestern Serbian region of Sandzak, where Muslims form the largest group. “Nothing could separate Muslims in Serbia from those in Bosnia,” he said. Ceric was scheduled to meet Kosovo Muslim religious leaders, president Fatmir Sejdiu and other officials during his visit. He will also visit a memorial to Adem Jasari, a leader of the Kosovo Albanian rebellion against Serbian rule, whose entire family was killed by Serbian forces in 1998.

Considered by some to be a leading “liberal” Islamic leader, Mustafa Ceric is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood through his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and by his participation in the U.K.-based “Radical Middle Way” consisting of a wide range of associated scholars representing the global Muslim Brotherhood. Several earlier posts have discussed Dr. Ceric’s increasing visibility and importance within the global Muslim Brotherhood, noting that Ceric sees himself as a possible future leader of a “European Islam.” Another previous post discussed Dr. Ceric’s role in diverting Saudi funds donated for war victims to the creation of an investment bank controlled by the Bosnian Islamic Community which he heads. A recent report carried on a Bosnian public television statement features an accusation by Sarajevo Islamic Studies students that Dr. Ceric was intending to occupy a 10 million mark ($6.6 million) residence built by the donations of wealthy Bosnians. Dr. Ceric recently compared the Iranian Revolution with the French Revolution and Iranian media reported that Dr. Ceric recently told former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a meeting that he considers Iran a “good friend” of his country.”

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