Grand Mufti Of Bosnia Speaks In St. Louis


The religion writer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch has reported on the visit to St. Louis of Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric. According to the report:

Each year, a different faith group is assigned the chairmanship of the Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls annual dinner. This year, the dinner was hosted by the St. Louis Muslim community, and the largest crowd in the event’s 18-year history turned out for a night of interfaith dialogue. About 420 people of all religious stripes converged on the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac Thursday night to share a meal and hear from the night’s keynote speaker, Mustafa Ceric, the grand mufti of Bosnia. Imam Muhamed Hasic of the Islamic Community Center, a largely Bosnian mosque in St. Louis, said Ceric was “the highest authority for Bosnian Muslims. He’s like the pope for us.” St. Louis is home to between 60,000 and 70,000 Bosnians, according to the International Institute, making it the largest Bosnian community outside Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many of them fled their country during the Yugoslav civil war of the early 1990s, an ethnic conflict that killed an estimated 100,000 people, including 8,000 Bosnian Muslims during the massacre in 1995 in Srebrenica. It’s Ceric’s second visit to St. Louis in as many years, and the Bosnian Muslim community here regards his visits as honors. “It means so much to us,” said Hasic. “He’s the most respected person in Bosnia and in the diaspora.”…Ceric’s address Thursday in Frontenac, titled “Seeking Common Ground,” was an extension of the ideas in “A Common Word.” The grand mufti was an imam at a mosque in Chicago for five years in the 1980s while he earned his doctorate in Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago. Before arriving in St. Louis, Ceric had visited Chicago and Washington for a conference at Georgetown University called “A Common Word Between Us and You: A Global Agenda for Change” with Blair and other global political and faith leaders. In an interview before the Interfaith Partnership dinner, Ceric said he believed the world was in the midst of an interfaith “crisis.” “Humanity is, at the moment, confused. People of all beliefs and concepts are claiming now that they possess the whole truth about our destiny,” Ceric said. “No one possesses the whole truth, but each of us has a bit of it. That’s God leading us toward each other.”

The report notes that Ceric is on the advisory council of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and was one of the 138 original signatories of “A Common Word Between Us and You.” A post from Tuesday discussed the recent conference at Georgetown University titled “A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change”where Dr. Ceric was in attendance

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.” 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 and Iranian media reported that Dr. Ceric recently told former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a meeting that he considers Iran a “good friend” of his country.”

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