Serbian media has reported that Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric and a closely associated Mufti from Serbia were visiting Libya on February 14 on a visit which paid special attention to possible Libyan investments. According to a BBC translation:
[Presenter] Following an invitation by the Libyan leader, Col Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, prompted by the marking of the birthday of the God’s last prophet, Mohammed, [Bosnia-Hercegovina] Reis-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric and [Islamic Community in Serbia] Chief Mufti Muamer Effendi Zukorlic are paying a three-day visit to Libya. During the visit, meetings were arranged aimed to set up and affirm cooperation in the field of religion, education and culture but also, numerous projects by the Islamic Community in the aforementioned areas were presented.During the visit, Chief Mufti Zukoric paid special attention to talks about possible investments in Sandzak.
[Zukorlic, phone-in] It is well-known that Libyan Jamahiriyah’s Investment Fund is one of the biggest and richest in the world. This is the fund which has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal with a possibility of investing across the world without any limitations. By and large, in all talks, we reached very important initiatives and even deals in some cases so that I expect that, in the future, cooperation with relevant institutions from the Libyan Jamahiriyah and the Islamic Community and the [International] University [in Novi Pazar]as well as other cultural and educational and economic players will get a fresh impetus.I can state that I am very pleased with this visit. I expect serious results but, certainly that, now, these deals in principle and these initiatives should be made operational, especially as far as these investment ideas are concerned. Certainly, the key role here will be played by a team of experts gathered around the International University’s Faculty of Economics as well as businessmen gathered around the Sandzak Business Association and experts gathered around the Institute for Economic Development. In the future, therefore, there will be repeated mutual visits from delegations in these fields that I have mentioned.
Following the visit to Libya, the Serbian Press Agency reported that Ceric had accepted a donation from Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi for the construction of the administration building of the Rijaset [head office]of the Islamic Community in Sarajevo:
Sarajevo, 23 February: Member of the Helsinki Human Rights Committee in Bosnia-Hercegovina Almir Terzic has called on the head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Reis Mustafa Ceric, not to accept a donation from Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi assigned for the construction of the administration building of the Rijaset [head office]of the Islamic Community in Sarajevo. Terzic, who is also member of Transparency International BiH, particularly appealed to Ceric not to call the administration building Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi’s Vakuf [waqf – endowment], as some media have reported. Terzic said in his letter that as someone whose regime is terrorizing its own people, al-Qadhafi cannot be considered a benefactor. “As this concerns protecting the honour and reputation of the Rijaset, i.e. the entire Islamic community in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which, I hope, is more important than donations, I urge you to consider this sincere appeal,” the letter says. According to unofficial reports, al-Qadhafi planned to help the construction of the Rijaset’s administration building with several million KM [Bosnian marks]. The Rijaset of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina said that they had not yet received this letter and could therefore not comment on it.
Previous posts have profiled Mufti Zukorlic and his ongoing conflict with a rival religious leader.
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.” A post from October 2009 discussed his visit to the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), an important part of the U.S. and global Muslim Brotherhood.
(Source: Text of report by Serbian local TV from Novi Pazar on 14 February, Radio-Televizija Jedinstvo, Novi Pazar, in Serbian 1745 gmt 14 Feb 11 BBC Monitoring Europe – Political February 16, 2011 Wednesday)
(Source: SRNA news agency, Bijeljina, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 1251 gmt 23 Feb 11 BBC Monitoring Europe – Political Rights group urges Bosnian Grand Mufti to shun al-Qadhafi donation)