Bosnian media is reporting on the controversy surrounding the selection of former Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric as head of the newly established World Bosniak Congress. According to a translation of a Slobodna Bosna report:
BBC Monitoring International Reports | December 31, 2012 | Copyright Text of report by Bosnian independent weekly Slobodna Bosna, on 27 December [Report by Slobodna Bosna investigation team: ‘Ex-Grand Mufti’s Copy and Paste Job’]
The founding of the World Bosniak Congress [WBC] to be headed by Mustafa effendi [honourific title]Ceric has generated strong reactions and divisions within the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina [IZBiH]. Namely, the majority view within the IZBiH is that the formation of such an organization is unnecessary and is Effendi Ceric’s vanity project. Doubts about this project were also stoked by the Bosniak National Foundation set up, according to Ceric’s adversaries, to launder money in some way. Namely, it is hoped that millions of euros in voluntary donations from well to do Bosniaks from across the world will be pouring into the foundation. By all accounts, the most responsible for the rift are the founders of the WBC who were very selective when they sent the invitations to the WBC electoral assembly and first session to be held in the House of Youth in Sarajevo’s Skenderija Centre on 29 December 2012. As stated in the founder’s programme charter, membership and participation will be open to Bosniak non governmental organizations and associations involved in efforts to bring prosperity to the Bosniak people. In addition, prominent individuals will also be able to join the WBC. However, it is interesting that the invitations to the first session and electoral assembly of this ‘pan Bosniak body’ in Sarajevo have not been sent to a single Bosniak association in Croatia. Specifically, no one from the Bosniak National Union which has branches across Croatia has been invited to the founding congress. No invitations have either been sent to the Bosniak National Minority Councils or the Federation of Bosniak Associations of Croatia (SABAH). The only exception is Aziz Hasanovic, the new mufti of the Islamic Community in Croatia, who secured his post with help and strong backing from Ceric who was at that time the grand mufti of the IZBiH, and from Muamer Zukorlic, the chief mufti of the Islamic Community in Serbia. Those well versed in the IZBiH affairs say that Hasanovic is running the Islamic Community in Croatia in a non transparent and conspiratorial manner.
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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. ” 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 Holocaust 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. A post from September reported that Husein Effendi Kavazovic, the mufti of the northeast Bosnian town of Tuzla, had been chosen as the new Chief Mufti of the country’s Islamic Community, replacing Mustafa Ceric who held the position for 19 years.
In November a post reported that the World Association of Muslim Scholars (aka International Union of Muslim Scholars), headed by Youssef Qaradawi, was expected to send a delegation to the Gaza Strip that included Dr. Ceric.