Developments continue in the conflict between two competing Serbian Islamic factions. As a previous post has detailed, the problem lies between one group in southwest Serbia led by Chief Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, who is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood linked Grand Mufti in Bosnia, and another loyal to an Imam in Belgrade. Zukorlic was recently asked by a group of Muslim clerics to resign as head of the Islamic Community of Serbia (ICS) and, according to the latest reports, his successor was granted a decree by the Leader of the Belgrade faction, Hamdija Jusufspahic, which grants him the right under Islamic law to represent the ICS. However, the decision was declared void by Zukorlic’ supporters. Heavy security prevented violence at a rally attended by some 2000 supporters of the two factions in Novi Pazar southwest of Belgrade where where Zukorlic’s headquarters is located. The region called by one of the reports “the most volatile region in Serbia.”
When asked by an interviewer about a statement by Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric in which Ceric said:
Novi Pazar is the seat of the Islamic Community in Serbia and that those who do not acknowledge that and do not “seize hold of God’s rope risk dying as non-Muslims”
Jusufspahic was reported to have replied:
It is inappropriate for the esteemed Bosnian reis-ul-ulema, a former professor of mine, to interfere through his statements and actions with relations among Serbia’s Muslims and their relations with their Serbian homeland. Is it not tasteless in terms of ambitiousness for a religious leader and the nominated national and spiritual leader of Bosnia-Hercegovina’s Muslims to meddle in divine matters?! Well, enough of that!
Ceric is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood through his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the theological body led by global Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi.
(Sources: BBC Worldwide Monitoring :
October 11, 2007 Thursday New Islamic Community of Serbia Reis inaugurated in Belgrade Text of report by Serbian TV Source: RTS 1 TV, Belgrade, in Serbian 1005gmt 11 Oct 07,
October 11, 2007 Thursday Serbia: Sandzak rally over new Muslim head ends peacefully amidst heavy security Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 1532gmt 11 Oct 07,
October 10, 2007 Wednesday Serbian Muslim leader denounces predecessor, interference by Bosnia’s Ceric Text of report by Serbian newspaper Politika on 8 October [Interview with Serbian Mufti Muhamed Jusufspahic by Milenko Pesic; place and date not given: “Vote Against Zukorlic’s Autocracy”)