Serbian television has reported on charges made by one party in an ongoing dispute between two competing Serbian Islamic factions that “armed groups” of the competing faction have taken control of a local mosque. 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). According to recent reports, Zukorlic’s 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.” In the latest development the Bosniak [Muslim Slav] National Council, demanded that the government take action against Zukorlic’s supporters charging that:
…armed groups of [deposed Sandzak Mufti]Muamer Zukorlic have taken control of Novi Pazar’s Altun-alen Mosque for several days now with an aim to stop religious freedoms and religious service by imams and believers of the Islamic Community of Serbia [Zukorlic is supported by Bosnia-Hercegovina Reis-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric]. With this act, the named person [Zukorlic] perpetrated a number of criminal offences – arming informal groups, a violent storming of a religious building by these groups, and a violent prevention of conducting religious services. In addition to the aforementioned counter-constitutional and counter-legal acts, Muamer Zukorlic ordered the headmaster of the madrasa in Novi Pazar to expel all students from this religious high school whose parents he deems politically unsuitable, that is, those who do not support him.
Throughout the crisis, Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric has been accused of supporting the Zukorlic faction. Dr. Ceric is a prominent member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. A recent post has also identified him a a member of the Executive Board of the newly formed “Meeting of Muslim Scholars and Thinkers” sponsored by the Saudi Muslim World League, an important part of the global Muslim Brotherhood network.
BBC Monitoring Europe – Political
November 9, 2007 Friday
Muslim Slav body urges Serbian minister to “urgently disarm” persons in mosque
Excerpt from report by Serbian Regional RTV Novi Pazar
Source: RTV Novi Pazar, Novi Pazar, in Serbian 1800gmt 09 Nov 07)