An Italian news portal has reported on a conflict between the top international envoy to Bosnia and Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric. According to the report, the conflict centers on comments made by Ceric denigrating a former minister of education who called for religious education to be optional:
Sarajevo, 24 May (AKI) – The top international envoy in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, and Muslim spiritual leader Reiss-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric have been plunged into row over religious education with each accusing the other of intolerance and religious incitement, local media reported on Tuesday. The controversy was sparked by the resignation last week of Sarajevo canton minister for education Emir Suljagic after his proposal that religious education should be optional and not included in overall rating of students’ success was rejected. Ceric accused Suljagic, himself a Muslim, of ‘hating Muslims and Islam’. The cleric called on Suljagic to resign and warned a ‘Sarajevo summer could happen’ similar to the violent unrest that topped Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak in February. Inzko, who has broad powers in Bosnia, said in a statement he was ‘personally disappointed by such a statement from a person obliged to promote peace and understanding’. Ceric’s statement was ‘contrary to human dignity’, he added ‘Such rhetoric can have only negative consequences for peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina,’ Inzko said. ‘If this country can’t find the humanity to reject hatred and mistrust, then it can’t offer a future for its children,’ Inzko was quotee as saying by Sarajevo daily Dnevni avaz. The Austrian diplomat’s remarks drew a sharp reaction from Ceric. ‘I’m deeply disappointed at the biased and inflammatory statement by high representative Valentin Inzko,’ he stated. He accused Inzko of ‘anti-Islamist phobia and rhetoric to which nothing is sacred, including the will of parents and their children to have religious education in schools’. Sixteen years after the 1992-1995 war, Bosnia is still under a sort of international protectorate and animosities between majority Muslims and the other two groups, Serbs and Croats, continue to run high. The country is facing its worst crisis since the end of the war because of Serb secessionist policies aimed at paralysing the country, Inzko warned in an April interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper.”
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 recentlycompared 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.