RECOMMENDED READING: "Imam's Dangerous Intentions"


Bosnian journalist Emir Imamovich has published a commentary on the political ambitions of Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric on the occasion of Ceric’s recent visit to Kosovo. According to the commentary:

The mullah’s trip to one of the lands of the eagles is part of his political campaign, in which every move is well calculated, and this at a time when he is carrying more and more weight. “Ceric is the first political face of the Bosniaks,” Serb Republic Prime Minister Milorad Dodik once said. The cunning country boy is right: Mustafa Ceric is a highly ambitious, immensely influential, intelligent, and dangerous political phenomenon who is (still) camouflaged by his turban. It was in that capacity that he first went to offer Serbian President Boris Tadic the opening of a Bosniak-Serbian dialogue, only to tell him from Kosovo, after the negative response, “We are telling the entire world that we in the Balkans are two authentic and indigenous nations, Bosniaks and Albanians, who combined total some 20 million around the world”! For the 72 hours or so that he spent in Kosovo, Ceric also demonstrated his acquired power and an unnerving willingness to manoeuvre, while feigning concern for his compatriots, in such a way that even those who have by some miracle not yet realized that he is the present-day and especially the future Bosniak leader [as published]. Arriving in the youngest European state with a “regional” entourage, he showed that besides Bosnian Muslims, he also has under him Muslims in Croatia and Serbia (plus the Montenegrin part of Sandzak), even though there are (ostensibly) autonomous Islamic communities in those countries, and in Kosovo as well. Specifically, Ceric was accompanied on his visit to Kosovo Bosniaks by the head mufti in Serbia, Muamer ef. Zukorlic, and the chancellor of the International University in Novi Pazar, Mevlud ef. Dudic, as well as the assistant mufti in Croatia, Mirza Sabic, the president of Congress of the Islamic Community in B-H, Edhem Bicakcic, the secretary of the Riyaset of the Islamic Community in B-H, Muhamed ef. Salkic, and the editor of Preporod, Aziz Kadribegovic. Wherever he went in Kosovo, Mustafa Ceric talked about the similarities linking the Bosniak and Albanian nations. Those two nations have little in common, however. Unlike Bosniaks, Albanians are more interested in national identity than religious identity, their struggle for freedom is also depicted and experienced as a clash by an oppressed people against occupation and dictatorship, and the politics of Kosovo Albanians for all these years has relegated religious influences to the margins, not allowing the national goal to be disrupted by intra-national religious differences. Thus, there is nothing of what one might call an important, historically founded, and politically mutually beneficial reason for Fatmir Sejdiu to officially host Mustafa Ceric. ….Mustafa Ceric, however, has used what the Kosovo president considers a second-rate political meeting as yet another opportunity to draw attention to himself as only momentarily a religious leader, and in reality a political leader, the only Bosniak for whom concern for compatriots is a priority, no matter how much that might bother others (best of all the Serbs). Mustafa Ceric, the reisu-l-ulema of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Hercegovina, is not a political mischief-doer rendered important by time; on the contrary, he is a dangerous careerist with ruling ambitions. Thus, no time should be wasted on evaluating the momentary consequences of his trip to Kosovo, because there is continuity with what began in 1993, when the Bosniaks got an imam with dangerous intentions.

A previous post reported on Ceric’s visit which was criticized by local Serbian leaders.

Considered by some to be a leading “liberal” Islamic leader, Mustafa Ceric is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood through his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and by his participation in the U.K.-based “Radical Middle Way” consisting of a wide range of associated scholars representing the global Muslim Brotherhood. Several earlier posts have discussed Dr. Ceric’s increasing visibility and importance within the global Muslim Brotherhood, noting that Ceric sees himself as a possible future leader of a “European Islam.” The possibility also exists that Dr. Ceric could be being groomed as a successor to Youssef Qaradawi, in ill health of late. Another previous post discussed Dr. Ceric’s role in diverting Saudi funds donated for war victims to the creation of an investment bank controlled by the Bosnian Islamic Community which he heads. A recent report carried on a Bosnian public television statement features an accusation by Sarajevo Islamic Studies students that Dr. Ceric was intending to occupy a 10 million mark ($6.6 million) residence built by the donations of wealthy Bosnians. Dr. Ceric recently compared the Iranian Revolution with the French Revolution.

Source: BBC Monitoring Europe – Political August 17, 2009 Monday Bosnian Islamic leader’s Kosovo visit seen as part of “political campaign” Source: Dani, Sarajevo, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 14 Aug 09 pp 26, 27 Commentary by Emir Imamovic: “Imam’s Dangerous Intentions”)

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