Serbian Islamic Community Leader Asks For Police Protection


In an ongoing dispute with another Islamic faction tied to a Bosnian Muslim Brotherhood leader , the head of Serbia’s Islamic Community Adem Zilkic has asked the Interior Ministry for police protection. According to a report by an independent Serbian radio station:

Zilkic called on Interior Minister Dragan Jocic to take the “necessary measures” to protect his buildings and followers from the force demonstrated by his rival, head Mufti Muamer Zukorlic. In an open letter to Jocic and Religion Minister Radomir Naumov, Zilkic asked for protection from Zukorlic, “who uses force to win believers over.” Zilkic said that one follower, Bektas Klimenta, was assaulted by some of Zukorlic’s men for changing locks on the mosque doors. Klimenti was also threatened that “all who support Zilkic will be destroyed.” Zilkic said that the Klece mosque was not the first to have its locks changed, adding that the lock was changed on the Tutina mosque in December as well. He said that “Zukorlic’s violence can no longer be tolerated” and warned of the potential for serious clashes between supporters of the two rival factions.

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 Mustaf Ceric, the Muslim Brotherhood linked Grand Mufti in Bosnia, and another loyal to an Imam in Belgrade. Zukorlic was asked last October 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. Violence erupted in November as rival followers clashed outside a mosque in the town of Novi Pazar. At that time, 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.

(Source: Belgrade Radio B92 (Internet Version-WWW) in English — independent radio station, text of report in English by Serbian pro-western Belgrade-based Radio B92 website on 4 January)

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