Kuwaiti media is reporting that Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric has met with a group of Kuwaiti parliamentarians that included one of the most important Kuwaiti participants in the June 2010 Gaza Flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. According to a KUNA report:
SARAJEVO, June 1 (KUNA) — Kuwaiti lawmakers from the Friendship Parliamentary Committee held talks here Friday with Bosnia-Herzegovina Mufti Mustafa Ceric over the role of Muslim community in upholding tolerance and coexistence values in the Muslim-majority state. During the meeting, the Bosnian top Muslim scholar Ceric lauded Kuwait generous support to the Muslim community particularly in financing mosques and Islamic centers building with grants from Kuwaiti charities and state organizations. Ceric recalled the plight of Muslim community in Bosnia during the 1990s civil conflict, praising Kuwait’s unwavering support for the Bosnian nation during and after this critical period. Kuwait’s support for the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina has been solid since they were targeted with aggression during the war that erupted 20 years ago, he said, alluding to the regional largely-racial bloody conflict that broke out in the 90s. Ceric welcomed Kuwaiti delegation expressing desire to cement bonds and cooperation with all Kuwaiti organizations. The Kuwaiti delegation also held Friday meeting with Arab Ambassadors in Sarajevo to mull Arab diplomatic missions’ role in buttressing ties with Bosnia. The meeting tackled the political and economic situation in Bosnia and how to help it overcome the challenges it faces particularly the repercussions of the devastating civil war. For his part, deputy head of the Kuwaiti delegation MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaie confirmed that Kuwait has adopted a successful policy to strengthen friendship bonds with Bosnia. He urged Arab Ambassadors to help increase bilateral economic and political cooperation and to encourage Arab tourists to visit Bosnia. He added the Kuwaiti delegation will also exert efforts to bolster parliamentary cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the State of Kuwait. In addition to MP Al-Tabtabaie the delegation included MPs Ahmad Al-Azmi, Bader Al-Dahoum, Adel Al-Damkhi, Mohammad Al-Hatlani and Mohammad Al-Mutairi. The two meetings were also attended by Kuwaiti Ambassador to Sarajevo Mohammad Fadhel Khalaf.
A Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) report on the Gaza Flotilla summarizes the role of Kuwait as follows:
Kuwait and its government, charities, and parliamentarians appear to have played a significant role in the flotilla. Kuwait had its own cargo ship, and eighteen Kuwaiti nationals from the flotilla were detained by the Israelis, including two of particular importance, discussed below. Kuwaiti media described the country as “a main donor for Palestine” that had participated in the flotilla through contributions by several unidentified charities, but there is evidence that National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi played a role in the funding.
The JCPA report goes on to identify the specific role of Waleed Al-Tabtabaie, described above as the deputy head of the Kuwaiti delegation that met with Grand Mufti Ceric:
The second important Kuwait flotilla participant was Walid al-Tabtabai, a Kuwaiti MP and a former professor of Islamic law at Kuwait University. Al-Tabtabai has been head of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee since 1992 and is described in media reports as a leading Salafist who has taken very conservative positions on social issues. Al-Tabtabai also has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in the Netherlands and to a Dutch mosque that is also related to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Tabtabai was also aboard the flotilla and like Al-Mutawa, Al-Tabtabai reportedly said he had written a will prior to departure and was widely quoted as saying that the Israelis had fired first. Both Al-Mutawa and Al-Tabtabai were featured in two meetings that were held in Kuwait in mid-June. The second meeting was a seminar sponsored by the KuwaitTurkish Friendship Society. At that meeting, Al-Mutawa and Al-Tabtabai were joined by Gazi Misirli, who identified himself and MÜS?AD as the coordinator for donations to the flotilla as well as having purchased its own ship. Misirli also spoke extensively 23 about the support provided by Turkey, particularly by the AKP government and Prime Minister Erdogan, and Al-Tabtabai emphasized the benefits and achievements of the flotilla in the Arab and Muslim world, and its role in breaking the siege.
Other posts have discussed the relationship between Dr. Ceric and Kuwait.
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 Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, in ill health of late, recent statements by Dr. Ceric put him at odds with Qaradawi and some of his religious rulings. 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 may be 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)