Serbian TV has reported that the Iranian Ambassador of Serbia has expressed support for the Islamic faction in Novi Pazar opposing the faction tied to Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti Of Bosnia and a figure tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood. 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 the rivalry between two recently escalated into an armed clash outside a mosque in Novi Pazar. According to the Serbian TV report:
Together with the delegation of the Riyaset of the Islamic Community, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Morteza Mir-Heydari also visited these majlises. He was interested in developing and improving the Islamic community’s infrastructure, and he promised that his country would make significant efforts in this direction while wholeheartedly lending support to the concept held by the Riyaset of the Islamic Community of Serbia [as opposed to that by deposed Sandzak Mufti Muamer Zukorlic who supports Bosnia’s Reis-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric].
The nature and dynamic of the position said to be taken by Iran is not clear. Interestingly, other news reports from the region indicate that Novi Pazar has recently been visited by “ranking delegations” of the embassies of the United States and Great Britain and also by France’s Ambassador in Belgrade. The nature of these diplomatic visits is also unknown.
(Source BBC Monitoring Europe – Political December 4, 2007 Tuesday “Iranian envoy promises support for Islamic Community of Serbia” Source: RTV Novi Pazar, Novi Pazar, in Serbian 1800 gmt 3 Dec 07)
(Source: Serbia: SDP Representative Notes Increased Foreign Interest in Sandzak “Hightened interest of foreign diplomats, Jusufovic” — Tanjug headline
Tanjug Wednesday, December 5, 2007 T14:55:15Z Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text)