Rival Serbian Islamic Factions Clash, Gunshot Wound And Other Injuries Result


Serbian TV has reported that the rivalry between two Islamic factions escalated into a clash outside a mosque in the town of Novi Pazar. The violence resulted in a gunshot wound to a local man as well as injuries to two police officers and a civilian from the stones and bricks the two groups of Muslim worshippers threw at each other in front of the mosque. Previous posts have discussed the conflict between the two factions which consist of 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) but the decision was declared void by Zukorlic’ supporters. Tensions have remained high in the Novi Pazar region southwest of Belgrade and as a post from yesterday discussed, the Bosniak [Muslim Slav] National Council accused Zukorlic supporters of an armed takover of Novi Pazar’s Altun-alen Mosque. According to the Serbian TV reports, the latest trouble began 10 days ago when the Zukorlic faction began renovations to the building, a move condemned by the supporters of Reis Adem Zilkić, the new head of the ICS, who had been praying outside the mosque. Yesterday, the Zilkić supporters attempted to enter the building when they were confronted by the Zukorlic faction which appeared to have sparked the conflict. Both sides were reported to have blamed each other for the violence and police are investigating to determine what actually transpired. The Serbian Ministry of Religion called for calm and called on both sides to recognize each other as legitimate pointing out that official recognition was accorded to both groups by the state.

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