In two recent Twitter postings, former Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric has revealed to the world that his frequent characterization as a moderate Islamic voice is not deserved. At the beginning of April, Dr. Ceric tweeted that the notorious anti-Semite and Muslim Brotherhood figure Salah Sultan is a “pride of humanity.” The tweet in question was as follows:
April 7, 2015 6:04 am” #EgyptianCourt is a shame for Egypt & Islam, a shame for humanity, dr Salih Sultan is pride of humanity
Dr. Sultan (aka Salah Sultan), who Dr. Ceric believes is a “pride of humanity”, is in fact an individual deeply tied to the both the Egyptian and Global Muslim Brotherhood who was recently sentenced to death by an Egyptian court along with other senior Brotherhood leaders for inciting chaos and violence during the events following the deposition of former President Mohamed Morsi. Dr. Sultan was formerly resident in the US but left following media reports about his extremist statements which led the authorities there to suspend his application for American citizenship. Dr. Sultan has a long history of making extremist and antisemitic statements. In perhaps the most egregious example, during an April 2010 interview on a Hamas TV station he accused Jews of using Christian blood for Matzoh (substitute for bread used during the Jewish holiday of Passover) in an example of what is called “blood libel”, the accusations that Jews use human blood in religious rituals. Other of Dr. Sultan’s extremist statements include accusations that the US planned 911 as a pretext for terrorizing the world and asserting that Jews have entered Egypt in order to commit crimes including deliberately infecting Egyptian girls with AIDS.
Dr. Ceric’s lionization of such a virulent anti-Semite would appear to be at odds with his participation in Holocaust remembrance events but consistent with his long-time association with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who has his own history of virulent anti-Semitism. Although he has made recent statements that would seem to put him at odds with Qaradawi and some of his religious rulings, Dr. Ceric remains a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Qaradawi. As recently as November 2012, Dr. Ceric was part of a Gaza delegation sponsored by Qaradawi’s International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) which has hate preachers of its own on its board including Safwat Hegazi and which also includes Salah Sultan.
It is not only on the subject of Jews where Dr. Ceric has revealed his sympathies. On May 28, another of his tweets suggested that Dr. Ceric had allied with Qaradawi by declaring that the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks to be “controversial” and resigning from the board of an organization that issued a statement commemorating the events:
May 28, 2015 8:41 AM – I am resigning Elijah Board & ask #RabbiAlone to erase my name on the list regarding controversial ArmenianGenocide
On May 25, the Elijah Board had issued a statement titled “Statement on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide” that was said to have been signed by 65 world religious leaders. As the GMBDW reported in late April, Youssef Qaradawi had joined the US Muslim Brotherhood in declaring his support for Turkey on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the genocide. The GMBDW judges that support for the Turkish position on the Armenian genocide by these Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders was a recognition of the significant role that Turkey has played in recent years a a Brotherhood patron.
These tweets demonstrate to us that our long-held view of the former the Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric has indeed been correct. Mustafa Ceric is considered by many to be a leading voice of Islamic moderation and he has received numerous accolades over the years including:
- The International Council of Christians and Jews Annual Sternberg Award “for exceptional contribution to interfaith understanding.”
- The 2007 Theodor-Heuss-Stiftung award for his “contribution to spreading and strengthening democracy.”
- A 2008 recipient of Eugen Biser Foundation award for his “efforts in promoting understanding and peace between Islamic and Christian thought.”
- The 2012 Ducci Peace Prize for those” who significantly contribute to understanding between peoples and cultures.”
Most recently, in April 2014 UK media reported that Dr. Ceric was part of the religious advisory council of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
However, as we have long reported Dr. Ceric is known to have had extensive Islamist ties since the time of the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. Dr. Ceric headed the Zagreb office of the Third World Relief Agency that sent funds and financed arms shipments to the Bosnian mujahedeen and which had extensive ties to a variety of Islamist groups and individuals including Osama Bin Laden and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the radical Egyptian cleric who was convicted of planning several terrorist bombings in New York. Recent US State Department cables characterize Dr. Ceric as deeply ambitious and known for “shady business dealings” including accepting substantial sums of money from wealthy supporters for the building of his private residence. The cables also say that Dr. Ceric is among those who were heavily criticized “for past efforts to placate both extremist elements and silence their more moderate, secular critics.” The cables also indicate that ironically,he adopted the language of the Muslim Brotherhood in describing the 2008 events in Gaza by describing the Israeli military action there as “genocide.”
For our profile on Mustafa Ceric, go here.