Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, has hinted that the decisions to ban new minaret construction and to exclude certain Balkan countries from new, less-restrictive visa rules were deliberately time to coincide with the Islamic holiday. According to a report in Asharq Al-Awsat,
The Bosnian Muslim religious leader said Wednesday he hopes Europe will restore its values, which he said were violated by the Swiss decision to ban minarets and the EU’s keeping of visa requirements only for Europe’s predominantly Muslim countries. Mustafa Ceric, the head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia, said it was interesting that both decisions were made on the most important holiday of the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha.Sunday’s referendum to outlaw the construction of minarets in Switzerland sent a bad message to Europe’s Muslims, Ceric said. On Monday, the European Union abolished visa requirements for citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia but kept them for Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia. In Bosnia, where Muslim Bosniaks, Christian Orthodox Serbs and Roman Catholic Croats live, the ban effectively blocks only Muslims from traveling. The country’s Serbs and Croats have, or have access to, Serbian and Croatian passports. “The message from Brussels told us we are worth less than our Serbian, Montenegrin, Macedonian and Croatian neighbors, and the one from Switzerland told us that our religious and cultural symbols are unwanted,” Ceric said. “Still hurt by the recent genocide committed on them during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, Bosnia’s Muslims should be given assurances that they have the right to live in Europe and they should not fear for the future of their children,” Ceric said.
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.”