Bosnia’s Islamic leader yesterday accused a senior US diplomat in the country of being behind a report carried in the local media that alleged Bosnia’s top Muslim officials were linked in a criminal network. “Now we know who is behind a project to Satanise everything Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim),” the Dnevni Avaz daily quoted Mustafa Ceric as saying. Bosnia’s top Islamic cleric was referring to Raffi Gregorian, the US deputy to the top international envoy to Bosnia, Valentin Inzko. Earlier this week, the Dnevni Avaz and the weekly magazine Global published excerpts of the report and a criminal network diagram, allegedly prepared under Gregorian’s supervision, that featured a number of top Bosnian Muslim political, religious and business leaders. Ceric and Fahrudin Radoncic, the owner of the country’s largest newspaper publisher Avaz, were shown at the centre of the criminal network, which also included the Muslim member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency Haris Silajdzic and the leader of the Muslim main Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Sulejman Tihic. Both the Dnevni Avaz and the Global are published by Radoncic’s company. According to the newspapers, the report said that the officials shown in the diagram drew “their influence and motivation from their political power, accumulation of wealth, support to criminals and also by strengthening and extending the influence of Islam in the region and globally.” Ceric said the published documents resembled the “(Nazi Germany’s) final solution for Jews in Europe.” However the SDA immediately rejected accusations against Gregorian and said it “fully supported” the fight against corruption led by the office of the international community’s High Representative (OHR). “Over the years of working in Bosnia … Gregorian has proven to be a true friend,” of the country, an SDA statement said. The party labelled the references to Nazi Germany’s final solution for Jews “absolutely unacceptable.” Allegations against Gregorian were also condemned by an association gathering several major labour unions. “Accusations against you (Gregorian) can only embarrass our country in the eyes of the international community and particularly in the eyes of the US,” a unions statement said. The US diplomat rejected the accusations and denied the existence of the report. Inzko said he had ordered an internal investigation into the matter although expressed confidence in his employees. The US government deplored the attacks against Gregorian. “Gregorian enjoys the full confidence and support of the United States,” a statement by the US embassy in Sarajevo said.
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 and other local reports indicate that Ceric received funds from Avaz officials for the building of a new headquarters for the Bosnian Islamic community which he heads. 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.
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.” 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.”