Bosninan Grand Mufti Supports Muslim Visits To Jerusalem

Mustafa Ceric

Islamic media is reporting that Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric was part of group of Balkan Islamic leaders that issued a statement supporting visits by Muslims to Jerusalem, albeit using language employed by the Global Muslim Brotherhood such as “Israeli efforts to judaize the holy city.” According to an IslamOnline report:

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:00 CAIRO – Despite opposition from prominent Muslim scholars, a host of religious leaders in the Balkans have reiterated support for Muslim visits to Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem). ‘We see no problem with making such visits (to Al-Quds),’ a group of Muslim Muftis said in a statement obtained by on Tuesday, April 24. ‘We see that such visits serve the Muslim cause of protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque and supporting the Palestinian issue against Israeli efforts to judaize the holy city.’ A controversy has gripped the Muslim world last week after Egypt’s Mufti Ali Gomaa visited Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque. In Egypt, political and Islamist groups have denounced the visit as serving the Israeli occupation, calling for the mufti to be sacked. Prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has also criticized the visit, saying visits to the holy city while under Israeli occupation was haram and only serves normalization with Israel. However, Egypt’s mufti defended the visit, saying it was ‘unofficial’ and he entered the holy city through Jordan and the West Bank, not from the Israeli side. The Balkan Muftis called for Muslims to join hands to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine. ‘We call for a conference of Muslim scholars in Jordan to agree on the best ways to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque and protect it against destruction.’ Leading among signatories were Kosovo Mufti Naim Ternava, Bosnia Mufti Mustafa Ceri? and Croatia Mufti Sevko Omerbasic. Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam’s third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel occupied the holy city in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions. Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of the city, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements. “

A post from earlier this week reported on the ruling by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Qaradawi calling the visit by Ali Gomaa “haram” (religiously forbidden).

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 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. ” 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 report carried on a Bosnian public television 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 (see source 1 below). Dr. Ceric has compared the Iranian Revolution with the French Revolution.

While the possibility exists that Dr. Ceric could be being groomed as a successor to Youssef Qaradawi, in ill health of late, this latest statement puts him at odds with Qaradawi and his religious ruling. Dr. Ceric has also participated in Holocaust remembrance events which would also seem to put him at odds with Qaradawi’s history of Holcaust denial/minimization. It should be remembered  that 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. It maybe that these actions maybe designed to win greater acceptance for Dr. Ceric by European leaders while at the same time preserving his connection to Qaradawi by remaining part of the ECFR.

(Source 1: “Sarajevo Islamic Studies students slam Bosnian Islamic Community head” Excerpt from report by Bosnia-Hercegovina Federation public TV 60 Minutes current affairs programme, on 24 November, Bosnia-Hercegovina Federation TV, Sarajevo, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 1900 gmt 24 Nov 08 Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring November 28, 2008 Friday)

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