Bosnia and terrorism : Mufti Mustafa Ceric tells the West " I am proud that Islam defines my European patriotism"
Bosnia as launching pad for international terrorism - the Abdel Rahman - Bin Laden connection
Dr Mustafa Ceric: Came to prominence during Balkans wars
MIM: Ceric made it clear in a recent interview (see below) that he sees the UK as one of the first 'trophies' in the Islamisation of Europe. He is falsely presented as a 'man of peace' and his visit was reported as an effort to 'increase understanding' of Muslims position in Europe. His words are clearly a call for Muslims to further insinuate themselves into the social and political institutions in the West. He also expressed his pleasure at the increasing dhimmitude he found in the UK 'praising' Britain's accomodation of Islam and Muslims.
"They (Muslims) know where they stand in this society"-they have the freedom to oppose the government for instance, over the war in Iraq" -"London is good place for us to discuss what the third encounter will mean".
This encounter does not mean giving up an Islamic identity, he says. This future Western Muslim identity will represent neither assimilation nor isolation, but co-operation."
He then warns that :."...governments must essentially buy the trust of Muslims by institutionalising their faith - giving it state sponsorship through schools, official bodies and so on..."
"...Muslims don't like this idea, they think that governments would control them," he says. "But, my dear brothers, I say you are losing your sovereignty already if they [the police] are entering your homes and mosques..."
MIM: Mustafa Ceric the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, counts among his international activities membership and participation in with radical Islamist individuals and organisations also based in the United States. http://www.naqshbandi.net/haqqani/events/speakers.html
Mustapha Ceric is listed as board member of the Center for Balanced Development, which was founded by the Austrian Islamo facist Hans Koechler . The board includes John Esposito and Louay Safi. http://www.i-p-o.org/cbd.htm
Ceric is also works with the UK branch of the AMSS - The Association of Muslim Social Scientists, which is the sister organisation of the IIIT the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Wahhabist funded group which is being investigated for terrorism funding. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/214
As Grand Mufti of Bosnia , Ceric is also aligned with Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens,who was recently banned from entering the United States because of links to terrorism funding. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/293
Islam's Muslim Aid 'charity' , was placed on a list by Spanish police in 2002 as a source of recruiting and funding for Muhajideen Al Qaeda fighters in Bosnia aka ' the white Al Qaeda'. http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/1996/02February96.html#Bosnia%20visit
According to a recent Bosnian new report Mustafa Ceric also played a leading role in the CIRL,. a funding front which was organised by Osama bin Laden and Sheik Abdel Rahman, that funtioned as " the only link between the Bosnian Muslim political leadership of the time and its wealthy Islamic benefactors"."...key people in the CIRKL in charge of Bosnia as Dr. Fatih al Hassanein, Hasan Cengic, Salim Sabic, Muhamed Catic, Mustafa Ceric, Husein Zivalj, and Senad Sahinpasic. http://www.beta.co.yu/korupcija/eng/cist2.asp?ci=1159920
"...With the power of money the CIRKL formed an illegal ruling oligarchy..."Money was also allegedly used to "install the great imams Hasan Cengic and Mustafa Ceric through their militant muftis, the main ideological force of the Bosniak Muslim Party of Democratic Action and maker of its personnel policy."
The authors of the intelligence report expected this group to resort to "organized terrorist retribution" basing this assumption on the fact that "the CIRKL has undergone considerable financial consolidation and is linked to Middle Eastern extremist organizations..."
MIM: After 9/11 Ceric was in the forefront of crying discrimination when his Al Qaeda funding front was endangered the US started to close down Bosnian 'charities' http://www.mediareviewnet.com/BOSNIAs%20Islamic%20community%20accuses%20govt%20of%20discrimination.htm
SARAJEVO June 5 Sapa-AFP
Islamic encounters of the third kind
You may not have heard of him, but the Grand Mufti of Bosnia is the kind of person who gets to have tea with the Prince of Wales.
On a whistle-stop speaking tour of London late last week, Dr Mustafa Ceric spent a morning debating the future of Islam and the West with Prince Charles.
And it's Dr Ceric's track record of pushing the boundaries of what is publicly sayable among Muslims that leads to such interest in his views.
The Grand Mufti is the leading Islamic legal authority among Muslims in the Balkans - some of his supporters have even dubbed him "Islam's Nelson Mandela".
He represents that strand of the faith that clung on in Europe after the Turkish Ottoman empire rolled back from the frontiers of the West.
And so, with a European and Islamic heritage ("I am proud that Islam defines my European patriotism", he says) he is well placed to see where things are going.
He came to prominence during the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia by speaking out against those who used faith as a justification for violence.
Today he has an international reputation as a man of peace and is involved in efforts to counter fears about Islam in the United States in the wake of 9/11.
Rights and fears
Appearing in London to talk to British Muslims about their own fears amid security-related tensions, he says that they themselves may hold the key to the faith's future in the world. And London may be the arena where this Islamic identity is being formed.
So is Islam secure in Europe?
"We have two extremes of approach. One says that Muslims are not secure and that Europe is an anti-Islamic environment. The other extreme says Europe is a haven for Islam and Muslims," he says.
"I believe that the truth is somewhere in the middle because we are all in a process of learning.
"The West is learning about Muslims - trying to figure out what they are doing here in Europe and [asking questions such as] how should governments deal with this phenomenon."
"Well, we've been here for a long time - but the presence now is different to what it has been through history."
The difference, he argues, is that European-born Muslims are quietly embracing European notions of freedom and human rights. This can be seen no more clearly in the rise of young, professional - but religiously devout - Muslim women who challenge the idea that it's men who should have all the say.
But thanks to today's political and media climate, argues Dr Ceric, Muslims in the West need "freedom from fear and freedom from poverty" - both of which are undermining their position in the West.
"Europe is facing some kind of dilemma of fear [over Islam] and that Muslims themselves are seeking freedom from this fear.
"No-one knows where this process will lead - but if we are rational people we must accept the challenge of what I call the 'third encounter' between the West and Islam."
Moments of history
Dr Ceric says there have been two major historical moments when Islam and Western civilisation have met and changed each other.
During the first, Islam's early Baghdad philosophers preserved and developed the learning of the Greeks. During the second, these ideas and more were sent back to Europe via Islamic Spain, sowing some of the seeds for the Renaissance.
But this third meeting is different because it has the potential to change the nature of Islam itself. If European-born Muslims look inside their faith for what are presented as Western notions of human rights and individual freedom, they will find them, he argues.
The challenge will be to convince other Muslims that these ideas are universal - and then western Muslims can export them back to the heart of Islamic society.
"They cannot do it at the moment, but if they are given this freedom [from fear and poverty], they will succeed.
"It's difficult to admit but Muslims [in the Middle East] now need to learn from Muslims in the West.
"The wise men of the Islamic East and the rational men of the West must meet - and then we will have moral men."
London at the centre
The problem he faces however is that there is enormous resistance of the West coming from the East. The UK and London, however, will play a vital role in negotiating this tension, says Dr Ceric.
Its leading mosques are full most Fridays and many British-born or educated thinkers are urging their congregations to take the best of the West and put it to good use. "London is well-placed because of its history," says Dr Ceric. "And British Muslims are more emancipated than other European Muslims.
"They know where they stand in this society - they have freedom to oppose the government, for instance, over the war in Iraq. London is a good place for us to discuss what this third encounter will mean."
This encounter does not mean giving up an Islamic identity, he says. This future Western Muslim identity will represent neither assimilation nor isolation, but co-operation.
He likens the process to that experienced by British Jews: at first outsiders, they later became part of the fabric of society but have defended their identity and world view. In turn, that world view influences decisions of the state and international relations.
But Dr Ceric says the question is whether or not European governments are helping Muslims along this path.
Paris got into bother over its ban on religious symbols in schools - and London continues to face community criticisms that the anti-terror laws criminalise Muslims. Throughout Europe's capitals there is an emotive debate over modern multicultural societies and whether they trap people into religiously closed communities and encourage division?
Dr Ceric says governments must essentially buy the trust of Muslims by institutionalising their faith - giving it state sponsorship through schools, official bodies and so on. Resistance is a "tribal mentality" that allows others to present Muslims as alien outsiders.
"Muslims don't like this idea, they think that governments would control them," he says. "But, my dear brothers, I say you are losing your sovereignty already if they [the police] are entering your homes and mosques.
"I say let them in today because if not they will come in tomorrow and the consequences are a long-term bad image for Islam."
MIM: Political commentator Srdja Trifovic warns that "politically correct" Westerners unchallenged acceptance of Muslims distorted views of history and Muslim victimisation "is extremely dangerous".
"...Muslims, as Christians once did, tend to sympathize with each other in a familiar and more or less nationalist fashion. If this tendency goes unchecked it produces a lunatic account of world affairs in which Muslim societies are always victims of the West and always innocent. It is not just the extremists who believe that in Palestine, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Kashmir, the Muslims are entirely in the right: at present, almost every Muslim thinks so. The "politically correct" Westerners accept the Muslim judgment. But this is extremely dangerous, as the West cannot afford to concede such a large measure of moral approval to so self-conscious and agitated a force in world affairs..." http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/News/Trifkovic04/NewsST011004.html
MIM: Ceric declared in the article above that "I am proud that Islam defines my European patriotism".
It also appears to have been very lucrative for him as well. According to this recent article Ceric is linked to the CIRL , a funding operation "which was in charge of all aid donated to Bosniak Muslims by Islamic countries" The CIRL was started by Sheik Abdel Rahman and Osama Bin Laden.
"Information collected by Austrian and German intelligence agents and published in August 2004 in Banjaluka`s Patriot paper claims that Islamic terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and Sheik Rahman, organized CIRKL, ... The group was set up as the only link between the Bosnian Muslim political leadership of the time and its wealthy Islamic benefactors...
"...Instead of the Bosniak government, it was the illegal CIRKL that was in control of all aid donated to the Bosniak nation by Islamic countries. The Bosniak nation is 100 percent financially dependant on the CIRKL. The CIRKL is the absolute master of almost all hard currency," according to the intelligence document, which dates back to Nov. 6, 1995, and is labeled top secret.
The document also list the key people in the CIRKL in charge of Bosnia as Dr. Fatih al Hassanein, Hasan Cengic, Salim Sabic, Muhamed Catic, Mustafa Ceric, Husein Zivalj, and Senad Sahinpasic..."
"Bosnian Terror Assets moving to Iraq ,Afghanistan, to resist "War On Terror " as manoeuvering underway to replace Izetbegovic"
GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily sources in Bosnia reported on October 16, 2003, that a mujahedin training facility in Bosnia was now part of a process to send fighters into Iraq, through a network which involved transiting Turkey and Syria. The training was, according to the sources, taking place at a base near Tuzla, and some elements of a Turkish battalion based at Tuzla have reportedly played a significant rôle in the process of supporting the Islamist fighters.
If the sources are correct (and further investigation is now underway), then the movement of of Islamist fighters from Bosnia eastward would — apart from interaction between some mujahedin with Chechnya — be a significant milestone. It would also reflect that the al-Qaida and Iranian-backed Islamist infrastructure in the Balkans, built up since the beginning of the 1990s, was now being used as an integral part of the war against US forces in Iraq.
As well, there were indications that the Bosnian-based Islamists had also been used to support military operations against the anti-terrorist Coalition in Afghanistan..."
"...The final serious candidate to replace Alija Izetbegovic, according to Slobodna Bosna, was Mustafa Ceric, who is supported by the Islamic Religious Council (Ulema B-H), the religious part of SDA and some diplomats from Western countries..."
WEALTH THROUGH PATRIOTISM
BANJALUKA, 27.1.2005. (Beta) - Over the past several months organized crime investigators with the Bosnia-Herzegovina Prosecutor`s Office have been scrutinizing high-ranking politician Hasan Cengic for financial abuse and involvement in organized crime.
John Mekner, head of the Special Chamber for Organized Crime of the Prosecutor`s Office, confirmed in a statement to BETA that the investigation of Cengic, a senior member of the Party of Democratic Action, is still in progress. However, he was unwilling to say whether the cabinet will stay in the hands of prosecutor Jonathan Smith, who recently left Bosnia on orders from Washington after receiving death threats.
"I do not think it is important which prosecutor handles the case and I will not comment on which cases have been delegated to the Special Chamber," said Mekner.
Mekner also did not want to discuss how much progress the investigation has made or whether Cengic is likely to be indicted anytime soon.
Embezzlement is suspected
Financial inspectors in the Muslim-Croat federation has found that Cengic took possession of at least $8 million in donations from Islamic countries that had arrived during the Bosnian war. He did this through an Islamic charity called the Third World Relief Agency to start and illegally fund several companies.
Foreign intelligence agencies have labeled Cengic as a key figure in the CIRKL, a clandestine Islamic organization that controlled all financial donations coming in from the Islamic world during the war.
Commenting on the allegations, Seada Palavric, a vice president of the Party of Democratic Action, called them more "in the series of lies and foolishness being said about him."
"If there were one inkling of truth in what is being written about Cengic, he would already be in prison. The Party of Democratic Action has no such information. On the contrary, we have entirely different data that shows Cengic never transferred any of the aid meant for the protection of Bosniaks during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina," she told us.
She added that police investigated the party and its financial operations in recent years, as did numerous financial institutions, and never discovered anything that could be taken as indicating financial abuse.
Palavric also denied that her party has heard Cengic has been subject to a careful investigation by the Special Chamber for Organized Crime in recent months.
Lawyers aren`t criminals
She did, however, stress that nobody would be surprised to learn that Cengic is being investigated because "that would be yet another attempt to discredit the supporters of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and turn them into criminals."
Information collected by Austrian and German intelligence agents and published in August 2004 in Banjaluka`s Patriot paper claims that Islamic terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and Sheik Rahman, organized CIRKL, the Islamic group mentioned above, before the war. The group was set up as the only link between the Bosnian Muslim political leadership of the time and its wealthy Islamic benefactors.
"Instead of the Bosniak government, it was the illegal CIRKL that was in control of all aid donated to the Bosniak nation by Islamic countries. The Bosniak nation is 100 percent financially dependant on the CIRKL. The CIRKL is the absolute master of almost all hard currency," according to the intelligence document, which dates back to Nov. 6, 1995, and is labeled top secret.
The document also list the key people in the CIRKL in charge of Bosnia as Dr. Fatih al Hassanein, Hasan Cengic, Salim Sabic, Muhamed Catic, Mustafa Ceric, Husein Zivalj, and Senad Sahinpasic.
"With the power of money the CIRKL formed an illegal ruling oligarchy. This isolated and installed extremist Islamic clique consisting of 300-400 individuals, including militant imams, senior military officials, diplomats, government officials, senior officials of the Party of Democratic Action, and members of the intelligence community. They have forced themselves upon the Bosniak people," according to the document, parts of which were once published in the Slobodna Bosna paper.
Money was also allegedly used to "install the great imams Hasan Cengic and Mustafa Ceric through their militant muftis, the main ideological force of the Bosniak Muslim Party of Democratic Action and maker of its personnel policy."
The authors of the intelligence report expected this group to resort to "organized terrorist retribution" basing this assumption on the fact that "the CIRKL has undergone considerable financial consolidation and is linked to Middle Eastern extremist organizations."
The CIRKL expanded its influence by way of the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), run by Sudanese Fatih al Hassanein.
Weapons instead of humanitarian aid
The Patriot newspaper also said that Hassanein used money he received from his government and the terrorist organizations of Bin Laden and Rahman to buy weapons for the Bosniak-led Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to the paper, TWRA manager Hassanein supplied the army with weapons through the Croatian finance and defense ministries.
Hassanein founded the TWRA in 1987, when it was involved in collecting donations for the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan.
Furthermore, the paper carried a copy of a document dated April 29, 1992, and approved by a special Muslim committee in Croatia in support of the then Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The document confirms that the committee received "$300,000 from Kemal Sarag Al-Din and Fatih Al Hassanein for buying weapons that are to be sent to Bosnia- Herzegovina."
"The weapons are to be purchased through the Croatian finance and defense ministries, which has already been agreed with the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
Intelligence data also indicates that over $2.5 billion reached the TWRA from Islamic countries and that on July 10, 1992, then Bosnian Foreign Minister Haris Silajdzic signed a paper authorizing Al Hassanein and the TWRA to collect donations for refugees in Bosnia- Herzegovina.
Instead of humanitarian aid, the money was used to organize illegal shipments of arms from Western countries to Bosnia-Herzegovina
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attack in New York City, the U.S. ordered an investigation into all Islamic humanitarian relief agencies in Bosnia, including the TWRA.
The TWRA was also probed by German and Austrian police.
Most of the donated Islamic money was used by the senior officials of the CIRKL for personal gain and buying weapons, according to the documents.
In 1991 and 1992, after illegally purchasing weapons, largely through Croatia, the CIRKL distributed it to Muslim extremists in Bosnia and in Serbia`s Sandzak region.
Well-informed sources say Hasan Cengic was the organizer of this operation.
Reports from financial investigators state that in February 1996, Cengic founded a humanitarian organization called the Foundation for Assistance to the Bosnian Muslims as a front.
Its top officials were Irfan Ljevakovic, Husein Zivalj, and Dervis Djurdjevic, the same men who had been in charge of the money al Hassanein had been funneling into Bosnia via the TWRA.
Immediately after its founding, the organization received EUR2.4 million in starting capital. In May that year Cengic and Hassanein had a meeting in Istanbul, where the Sudanese had taken up living after being deported by Austria. They signed a contract granting Cengic`s alleged humanitarian organization EUR2.4 million worth of trucks.
The trucks were supposedly to be used to transport humanitarian aid, but they were immediately transferred to Cengic`s company, Bosanska Investiciona Organizacija (BIO).
To cover its tracks, BIO started Bosanski Transprotni Servis, a shipping firm, and invested the trucks as founding capital.
Afterwards the Foundation for Assistance to the Bosnian Muslims purchased an AN-74 transport plane, which was immediately given to BIO.
Investigators have learned that the price given for the plane, $300,000, was unrealistic and that its real value was 10 times that figure: $3 million.
Seeking his personal airport
The plane, of course, was not used for the transport of humanitarian aid. Instead, it was used for commercial purposes. According to newspaper reports, Cengic has a fleet of five planes.
Since neither the trucks nor the planes went through customs, the Muslim-Croat federation was left several million euros short of revenues.
According to media reports, Cengic`s goal was to secure the airport in Visoko near Sarajevo, which would have given him control of Bosnia`s entire civil aviation sector.
At a meeting in Zagreb on Aug. 15, 1997, an international community committee for assistance to the Bosnian Muslims voted to transfer all of the organization`s investments in the Visoko airport to BIO. This gave Cengic`s company a majority stake in the airport and within a very short time it had invested almost EUR19 million in the facility.
The airport takeover contract was signed by Salim Sabic, a former adviser to wartime Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic and key figure in the CIRKL in Croatia, on behalf of BIO.
Cengic is believed by many to be one of the richest men in Bosnia.
In May 2003 the U.S. barred Cengic from entry, froze his assets, and prohibited any U.S. company from doing business with him after he became suspected of obstruction of the Dayton peace agreement and ties with Islamic terrorists.
MIM: Excerpts from Post Dayton pre election Bosnia details the swearing in of Ceric who spoke "free of the constraints that the presence of non- Muslims had imposed elsewhere".
Not until one sees the cemeteries can one comprehend the scale of the slaughter and the selfless sacrifice of the young men who left for the front. Not even the acres of graves in Behisht-e Zahra outside Tehran can prepare one for the poignancy of Bosnian cemeteries. Only when I saw them did I fully appreciate what Ejup Ganic, the vice president, had said to us a few days earlier about 'the young men who went to the front knowing it was not likely they would return.' These were the flowers of a generation, Bosnia's hope for the future, for in a war it is always the best who get killed.
Ejup Ganic's reference to the shuhada occurred during a speech on the occasion of a dinner to honour the foreign guests who attended Mustafa Ceric's installation as Ra'is al-Ulama. The elegance of the setting, the well-trained waiters all spoke the influence of the old Austro-Hungarian empire; graciousness and charm shone throughout.
Ejup Ganic spoke without a single mistake in English grammar for some 10 or 15 minutes. After an interval, for the dinner was friendly and informal, he was followed by Dr Ceric, remembered by many in Britain as the man whose discourse at the Muslim Parliament had reduced people to tears. He spoke brilliantly, totally at ease, free of the constraints that the presence of non-Muslims had imposed elsewhere, touching the hearts and minds of everyone present.
MIM: In 1997 Mustafa Ceric dined with, and personally thanked Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens, for the help and support of "the Muslim community in Britain". Islam had just launched his Muslim Aid 'charity' funding front and had been the treasurer of the Muslim Council of Britain at the time. Last year Islam was barred from entering the U.S. on grounds that he posted 'a security threat' and was involved with terrorism funding. Besides Hamas, the main focus of Islam's 'charitable' activities has been Bosnia. In 2002 the Spanish police cited Islam and Muslim Aid as being behind the funding and recruitment of Al Qaeda muhajideen in Bosnia . http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/293
Around London with Rais al-'Ulama
By Betul Iyilik
Dr Mustafa Ceric, Rais al-'Ulama (Supreme Head of the Islamic Community) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), on an official visit to London between September 23 to 26, held meeetings with leaders of various faith groups. On the first day of his visit, Dr Ceric, who was the guest of the Foreign Office, was met by Dr George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Richard Marsh, the Archbishop's Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs. They discussed issues of "mutual interest". He also met and had dinner with Tom Phillips, Head of Eastern Adriatic Department and Mr Dominic Micklejohn Head of Bosnia Section. On the second day, Mustafa Ceric visited the Bosnia and Herzegovina Islamic Centre in north-west London, and met Imam Fahruddin Hamidovic and representatives of the Bosnian community. Dr Ceric was briefed about the Centre, which was opened two years ago. The activities of the Centre are wide.They include supplementary primary school in the Bosnian language and religious education, humanitarian activities and other community work. The Centre is also a focal point for the Bosnian refugees. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a better link between the Bosnian community in the United Kingdom and the Supreme Islamic Council in BiH. It was agreed that the Centre will become an official Bosnian organisation in the UK. It will also search for a suitable and larger premises that will become the permanent centre for the Bosnian community. At the meeting, Dr Mustafa Ceric discussed the current situation in Bosnia, including the repatriation of the Bosnian refugees, described as "a long term process with a number of problems".
The other part of the meeting was with Yusuf Islam. Dr Ceric thanked, on behalf of the people of Bosnia, the Muslim community in Britain for their help and support. The Rais al-'Ulama added that inspite of the "incredibly difficult years, we are still alive and we are ready to face to the future". He said that during his visit to South Africa, he was asked whether the suffering of the Bosnians was a punishment from Allah for their sins. Dr Ceric replied:"God does not punish those who are weak, he punishes those who are strong, and I don't believe that we have committed more sins than the rest of the world or that we are stronger than rest of the world." He reminded the Muslims world-wide that as Muslims "we need to take care of ourselves and not to wait for some body else to come and rescue you. So it is the time to wake up and accept our responsibilities". He added that Muslims in the West have to "use the freedom and democracy to participate in the society so that your voice can be heard and it can be helpful to us". In the afternoon Dr Ceric was the guest of the Calamus Foundation in central London where he briefed the members of the Foundation about the latest situation in Bosnia and summed it up thus: "Bosnia is like a very beautiful lady whose face has been destroyed by hatred and unfortunately I don't think it will ever be the same as it used to be. What we are doing at the moment is to try to bandage the face. We will perform plastic surgery on the face but she needs a miracle. However I see in the near future that the lady is going to give birth to a new lady who will be more beautiful than her mother."
The Rais al-'Ulama had a dinner engagement with Yusuf Islam where a number of Muslim activists were invited. He recalled his encounter with a Christian priest from Lebanon who asked if the Muslim leadership intended to implement Shari'ah in BiH. "I told him that he was violating my human rights by asking me this question." Dr Ceric added: "Of course, I am going to apply Shari'ah. People generally consider Islam as beautifull (tourists visit mosques to admire their beauty), this is good. But Islam is first and foremost a religion of Law." He explained to the priest Islamic political theory. Muslims live in three territories: Dar al-Islam, Dar al-Harb and Dar al-Islah. In the first case, Muslims are obliged to implement Shari'ah. In Dar al-Islam Muslims have peace and security, freedom and dignity. In Dar al-Harb Muslims have no human rights and in Dar al-Islah Muslims implement Islam to the maximum of their ability. BiH comes under the latter category, explained Dr Ceric. "We live under Aqd al-ijtima' (Contract of Agreement)." He then told the priest that as a dhimmi the Christians can live under Muslim protection. "I wish Christianity had similar laws so that we could be protected - protected against rapes, killings and expulsions, as happened in BiH." Dr Ceric acknowledged the help given to Bosnia by Muslim governments: "If it wasn't for the help from the Islamic governments BiH would not have survived."
On the third day of his visit, Dr Ceric went to Islamic Relief World Wide Foundation offices in London. They have been working in BiH since before the invasion by Serbia in 1992. Dr Ceric expressed his admiration for the humanitarian work Islamic Relief undertook during the course of the war and for its continuing efforts through the numerous development projects that have been put into action since the conclusion of the conflict. He said: "Many agencies withdrew their support for the Bosnian people following the Dayton Peace Accord, although it is well known that following a conflict there is still much work to be done and suffering to be endured." Islamic Relief's projects include fish farm, medical aid for disabled people, women's community and training centre and Planaka Goat Project (in Bihac). In the evening, the Rais al-'Ulama met the members of the UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs at the Central Mosque in Regents Park, London. Dr Ceric asked why was it that now non-Muslims do not want to live with Muslims in Bosnia. "We should examine why they don't want to live in Muslim environment. Is something wrong with them or with us? If the problem is with them, we shouldn't worry about it, but if it is with us it means we have to find an answer to solve the problem."
According to Dr Ceric an inter-faith council has been set up in Sarajevo headed By Jacob Finzi, a Bosnian Jew and Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo, Ortodox Metropolitan Nikolai of Dabar and Dr Ceric. The aim of the Council is to break down to the barriers between faiths which have been exacerbated by the fighting in Bosnia. The Rais believes that the only way out in the inter-faith dialogue is for Christianity to "develop the idea of recognition" and for Muslims to "develop the idea of tolerance" and "if we swap the ideas then we can meet in the middle of somewhere". He added that Bosnia, especially Sarajevo, "is still the biggest market for different ideas - Nationalism, Fascism, Democracy and Capitalism. All national religions, political movements, every kind of organisation from the world are there." He said he was hopeful since the elections and he said the international community, who "were irresponsible before when they waited till Karadjic finished his job", is now taking its job more seriously. "Fortunately Karadjic did not succeed," he added. Dr Ceric believed that although the Dayton Accord "was not just", it did stop the war. There are four conditions essential for the peace process: war criminals should be brought to the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, freedom of movement should be established, media should be free and refugees should be allowed to return to their homes. On the last day of his visit, Dr Ceric attended a conference at The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which, The Muslims News was told was "a closed meeting". Other engagements included meetings at: Maimonides Foundation, London Islamic Cultural Centre, University of Kingston and Interfaith Foundation.
MIM: Srdja Trifkovic sums up the radical Islamist weltaanshauung of Ceric . The Mufti epitomises the new 'European' Muslim. Schooled in Shari'a at the Al Azhar- the alma mater of Adullah Azzam, Bin Laden's mentor and home to the Muslim Brotherhood, with a Phd in Islamic studies from the University of Chicago.
"...Where does more than a decade of U.S. involvement leave the Balkans? "The small jihad is now finished and we have—some of us—survived the war. The Bosnian state is intact. But now we have to fight a bigger, second jihad," says Mustafa Ceric, the Reis-ul-Ulema in Bosnia-Herzegovina—educated, incidentally, at Al-Azhar in Cairo and the University of Chicago..."
The Balkan Terror Threat
by Srdja Trifkovic
A chain is as strong as its weakest link. In President Bush's "War on Terror," that weak link is not in the Middle East or North Africa or the Subcontinent but in Europe. For years Chronicles has been warning that flawed pro-Muslim Western policies would turn the Balkans from a "protectorate of the New World Order into an Islamic threat to Western interests." ... Such warnings were routinely ignored or discounted by the media and politicians alike. This attitude is rapidly changing, however. A spate of media reports and statements by Western officials over the past two months indicates that the threat is finally being taken seriously.
"U.S. to build Balkan anti-terrorism center in Bulgaria," news agencies reported on January 6, to monitor and detect terrorist threats to the United States and other countries. In addition to the CIA-staffed center, Bulgarian media reported, the FBI also plans to set up an office in Sofia. U.S. intelligence experts were quoted as saying that Al Qaeda has a training base in the Balkans and uses the region as a terror route to the West.
That same week, an Associated Press report warned that terrorists would use the Balkan route to sneak a nuclear weapon into Europe by land. Tom Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Chris Wright of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London claimed that smuggling routes through Southeastern Europe were well established and that there was "a lot of scope" for collusion between terrorist groups and criminal gangs. Both criminals and terrorists benefit from heroin trafficking, most of it of Afghan origin. The trade is largely controlled by Albanian Muslims, with the mujahideen providing the logistics.
Der Spiegel reported on December 8, 2003, that the "monstrous" King Fahd mosque in Sarajevo -- the largest in Europe, on which the Saudis spent a total of $20 million -- is a breeding ground for Islamic extremism in Bosnia, with some preachers openly inciting the faithful. Western security experts have said that Bosnia could become "a hotbed of extremists ready to ... carry the fight of the Islamic terror syndicates against the 'godless West' to the southeast of Europe"(1).
This gives cause for "extreme concern" to a German intelligence chief, August Hanning. Der Spiegel goes on to quote a French expert as saying that, of some 5,000 foreign mujahideen who had fought on behalf of Izetbegovic [in Bosnia], many remained behind. The number is unknown, but there are "too many to be safe," according to George Friedman, director of Stratfor, The Balkans are "of strategic importance" to Al Qaeda, he says, and it can use the region for its goals at any time. Western officials reflect such concerns with increasing frequency. The U.S. ambassador in Sarajevo, Clifford Bond, thus declared on December 17 that there is a terrorist threat in Bosnia because of "foreign elements" who arrived there during the war and stayed on. In the same week, the cabinet of Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressed concern over the threat from Bosnia to the Olympic Games [sic] in August 2004 (2).
"U.N. Adds Bosnian Charity Director to Al Qaeda List," Reuters reported only days later. Safet Durguti, an Albanian born in Kosovo, was added to the list of 300 individuals whose assets should be frozen because of suspected ties to Osama bin Laden or his Al Qaeda network. Durgati -- apparently the key link between Islamic fundamentalists in Kosovo and Bosnia -- is the director of Vazir, a charity based in the Bosnian city of Travnik. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Vazir was simply another name for the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi charity that was placed on the U. N. list in March 2002.
Dozens of similar statements and articles appeared in different Western sources last January alone. Policy analysts and government officials alike freely admit that the problem exists. It has acquired massive proportions and may not be easily managed any longer. Whether it can be resolved short of a major restructuring of the current Balkan architecture is unclear.
The threat is not limited to a few elusive extremists: The ruling establishment in Sarajevo has had a symbiotic relationship with the sources of Islamic radicalism for over a decade. "Iran, Bosnia to Expand Ties," reported Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting on December 21, regarding a meeting of the Bosnian ambassador to Tehran, Ibrahim Efendic, and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The latter said that "the jihad of the Bosnian and Palestinian nations is praiseworthy and a source of honor for Muslims":
The resistance and faith of these nations will be registered in the history of Islam,
he added ... Highlighting the geographical status of the Balkans, Rafsanjani said
Iran attaches great importance to Bosnia and Herzegovina and expressed the hope
to witness further expansion of bilateral ties between the two countries. The out-
going Bosnian ambassador lauded the humanitarian aid rendered by the Islamic
Republic of Iran.
The significance of this overlooked story is that Bosnian Muslim government officials are received and treated in Tehran as allies in a jihad and that Muslims see Bosnia as no less important than Palestine to their strategic design. As for Iran's "humanitarian aid," this is a euphemism for illegal arms shipments from Tehran to Sarajevo in 1994. They were carried out with the active connivance of the Clinton administration and in violation of the arms embargo initially demanded by Clinton. Along with the weapons, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and VEVAK intelligence agents entered Bosnia in large numbers.
The problem of collusion between U.S. administrations and Islamic radicals antedates the wars of Yugoslav succession. Its roots go back to the support Osama bin Laden and others received from the United States following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Mistaken and shortsighted as this strategy turned out to be, it may have been justified by the dictates of the Cold War. The underlying assumption was that militant Muslims could be used and discarded -- like Diem, Noriega, the Shah, and the Contras. For the ensuing two decades, Washington almost invariably supported the Muslims -- most notably in Bosnia and Kosovo. By January 1996, [neocons] Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind of the New Republic approvingly wrote of the U.S. role as the leader of Muslim nations from the Persian Gulf to the Balkans, with the Ottoman lands becoming "the heart of a third American empire"(3).
The strategists who had sought to turn militant Islam into a pliant tool had underestimated the danger of "blowback" at first, but over the years, they have bound good men to bad policy and reinforced failure with gold. Their strategy of effective support for Islamic ambitions in pursuit of short-term political or military objectives has helped to turn Islamic radicalism into a truly global phenomenon.
The Bosnian chapter of this strategy dates back to the administration of President George H. W. Bush, whose Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger made it clear in early 1992 that his goal was to support the Muslim side in Bosnia in order to mollify the Muslim world and to counter any perception of an anti-Muslim bias regarding American policies in the Middle East. President Clinton's policy in the Balkans further strengthened an already aggressive Islamic base in the heart of Europe. The unspoken assumption of the architects of such policies -- that generosity would be rewarded by loyalty -- is mistaken: Loyalty to unbelievers is not a Muslim trait. As Yohanan Ramati has remarked, Muslim pragmatism "prescribes that when dealing with fools, one milks them for all one can get."
The subsequent portrayal in the Western media of Muslims as innocent martyrs in the cause of multicultural tolerance concealed the fact that the Bosnian war was primarily religious in nature. "The small jihad is now finished ... but now we have to fight a bigger, second jihad," Mustafa Ceric, the Reis-ul-Ulema (supreme Muslim cleric) of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared when the November 1995 Dayton Accords were signed. They specifically called for the expulsion of all foreign fighters, but the Muslim-controlled Sarajevo government circumvented the rule by granting Bosnian citizenship and passports to unknown numbers of mujahideen. The result was over a dozen executed or planned outrages -- from a shootout in Lille to a terrorist cell in Montreal, from the planned attack on Los Angeles International Airport to a series of explosions in Morocco and Istanbul in 2003. All were directly traced to the Bosnian connection.
That connection will not go away unless Western policies change. The first step for the Bush administration would be to scrutinize the activities of the high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown of Great Britain. This failed social-democratic politician spent the Bosnian war acting as an advocate for the Muslim side, which he glorified as a paragon of multiethnic tolerance, and, to this day, he continues to deny the Muslim terrorist threat in his Balkan fiefdom. His behavior is reprehensible but not surprising. Politicians hate admitting that they have been wrong; in addition, Ashdown's acceptance of reality would make his current position untenable -- which must be a cause of some anxiety to a 50-something man with no alternative employment, no independent means, and no prospects.
Ashdown's motives in denying the Bosnian reality matter less than the consequences of his actions for the security of the Western world. Especially serious is his current effort to terminate the autonomous intelligence capability of the Serbian entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska (RS), by integrating it with the secret service of the Muslim entity. Over the years, the RS security service has compiled a comprehensive database detailing the activities of Islamic terrorists and the identities of their sympathizers and active supporters in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including many high-ranking government officials. Forcing it into union with the Muslim security service would deny the Serb entity the capability to track terrorist-related activities and would help the Muslim side to cover up its involvement with terrorists.
Ashdown's deputy and enthusiastic assistant in the piecemeal liquidation of the Republika Srpska is American diplomat Donald Hays, a Democrat who owed his rise to the Clinton administration -- specifically, to Richard Holbrooke. In October 2003, Hays escorted his former boss Holbrooke around Bosnia, reportedly introducing him as "the next U.S. Secretary of State." According to a report by the International Strategic Studies Association, Hays' motive for attempting to suppress the links between the Islamic establishment in Sarajevo and radical Muslims is partly domestic. He wants to avoid the embarrassment of having the Clinton administration's links to the terrorists in Bosnia and Kosovo brought to light in an election year (4). ...
Recalling Hays and demanding Ashdown's replacement would be a cost-free exercise in prudence by the Bush administration and a long-overdue major step toward countering the terrorist threat in the Balkans. To make that step meaningful, however, it would be necessary to understand the nature of past errors. A generation ago, it was understandable, even excusable, for policymakers in Washington to try to use Muslims in their fight against communism in just the way their predecessors tried to use the Church in Italy in the early 1950's. By now, however, it should be evident that appeasement only breeds the contempt and arrogance of the radicals and fuels their ambition. The West is in a war of religion, whether she wants that or not, and the enemy sees the Balkans as a battlefield (5).
On the Islamic side, this war is being fought in the belief that the West is on her last legs, demographically and culturally. Some leaders -- including President Bush -- may have been hoping to domesticate Islam under the aegis of the nondenominational deism that they profess. That will fail, and an "internal reform" of Islam will remain as elusive as ever. Any potential for internal reform is only undermined by the appeasement of radical Islam in the Balkans. It enhances a downward spiral of hate and spite and breeds more terrorism.
Western policy in the Balkans should be reappraised, because to continue encouraging the Muslim sense of pure victimhood is to feed would-be-suicide bombers with a political pap that nourishes their hate. If the War on Terror is to be meaningful, that appeasement must stop. Pandering to Islam's geopolitical designs -- in the Balkans or anywhere else -- and sacrificing smaller Christian nations in the process is not only bad, it is counterproductive: The morsels only whet the extremists' appetite, paving the way to a major global confrontation well before this century is over.
MIM: In 1981 Mustafa Ceric became the Imam of the ICC in Chicago and received his doctorate in Islamic studies fromt he University of Chicago in 1986 .This webpage about the Bosnian American Cultural Association details their fundraising activities on behalf of Muslims in Bosnia and show that Ceric has longstanding ties to the United States.
BOSNIAN-AMERICAN CULTURAL ASSOCIATION,INC.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful!
The Bosnian-American Cultural Association, Inc. (BACA) has a long and rich history in the Chicago Metropolitan area as a center for the Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Balkans, and other areas, who came mostly as immigrants to the USA. This is the most important and the most prominent organization of Bosnian Muslims, not only in the Chicago area, but in the entire USA. The principal BACA headquarters are located at 1810 N. Pfingsten Road, Northbrook, IL. BACA holds the sole beneficial ownership of that land, its structures and its facilities.
The first Muslim immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, known as BOSNIACS, or simply Bosnians, came to the USA, mostly to Chicago, in 1903 in search of greater economic opportunities and greater freedom. They were young, single and of limited education, but willing to accept the hardest jobs. The first newcomers were greeted by local boys with showers of stones and catcalls of "damned Turks," because many of them wore their native hats, called "fezzes". But being quick learners they adjusted their clothing and behavior very quickly to the new country. Already, on May 1, 1906, they founded the first Bosnian fraternal organization in the USA, under the name of Dzemijetul Hajrije of Illinois (The Benevolent Society), which was later registered by the Secretary of State on July 9, 1906. This is the oldest existing Muslim organization in the USA. Its original charter has been appropriately treasured in the BACA/ICC Museum. Its members organized chapters in other states and purchased cemetery lots. Their purpose was to provide mutual help to their members, especially to pay hospital bills, to make Muslim funeral arrangements, to organize celebrations of Muslim religious holidays and to help preserve their religious and national customs and traditions. Their meeting places were mostly Bosnian coffee houses which they frequented to talk and joke in Bosnian, to eat Bosnian ethnic dishes and to exchange job referrals with each other. They contributed to the growth of Chicago as construction crews working mostly on downtown buildings, railroads, roads, and in the mining and steel industries. They became renowned builders after they completed several difficult projects in the Chicago subway system. After World War II, the second wave of Bosnian immigrants arrived in the USA, mostly in Chicago. The old timers had some temporary or visiting Imams (religious ministers) to serve their needs, but with the arrival of new immigrants a need for a well qualified and permanent Imam became more urgent. They invited and sponsored Sheik Kamil Avdich, a well known Bosnian Muslim scholar who had earned the Alimya with Royal Decree from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, but who refused to return to communist Yugoslavia.
Imam Kamil arrived in February 1954 and on May 3, 1954, he and other Bosnians founded a new organization, the "Muslim Religious and Cultural Home", which was later registered on March 14, 1955, with Imam Kamil Avdich as its first president and Safet Sarich, who was from the first generation of Bosnians born and educated in the U.S., as its first secretary. Cadi Seid ef. Karic, a very prominent Bosnian, was Imam Kamil's first assistant. They collected donations from Bosnians and on August 15, 1956 they purchased two buildings at 1800 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL., for $36,000. With the volunteer work of their enthusiastic members they remodeled a large hall in the larger building into the first mosque, which opened on February 10, 1957. This was the first Muslim institution in the Chicago area which served Bosnians and all other Muslims. It remained open for almost 20 years. On September 12, 1968, the name was changed to the Bosnian-American Cultural Association, abbreviated BACA, and Imam Kamil was again elected as its president. However, soon the building could no longer meet the needs of the growing BACA membership. On July 20, 1971, BACA purchased, for about $45,000, two-acres of vacant land at 1810 N. Pfingsten Road, Northbrook, IL. On December 2, 1972, the BACA Building Committee, decided to form a new corporation, the Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago, Inc., abbreviated ICC. The ICC was incorporated on December 26, 1972. Imam Kamil was elected as its first president.
After a search, Mustafa Ceric from Bosnia, a graduate from Al-Azhar University, was selected as the new Imam. He arrived in May 1981 from Bosnia and was appointed by the ICC Board as the full time ICC Imam. Dr. Mustafa Ceric received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1986. After very successfully serving BACA and ICC for over five years, he returned to Bosnia where he became a great religious leader of Bosnian Muslims during the 1992-1995 war and aggression on Bosnia and was elected as their spiritual head with the title of Reisu-l-ulema of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The second phase of the ICC was completed with a prayer hall, minaret and a lecture hall, at the cost of about $800,000. The opening was held on October 15, 1988. Both BACA and ICC, experienced some internal problems in the period from 1988 until 1991, but they overcame them and came out stronger and more united. The BACA and ICC Board of Directors have learned to cooperate with each other very closely as is required by the Trust (Waqf) Agreement.
Biography of Mustafa Ceric
· Comprehensive School in Veliko Cajno, Visoko, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Grammar School)
PUBLICATIONS IN ENGLISH:
· Roots of Synthetic Theology in Islam: A Study of the Theology of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (ca. 235/850-333/944), ISTAC, KUALA LUMPUR, 1995
PUBLICATIONS IN BOSNIAN:
· "Ljudsko ponaڑanje izmeًu teorije i prakse" (Human Behavior in Theory and Practice), Preporod, 1987
· "Palestine and Justice: the Next Phase", Forth Annual Commemoration for the Victims of the Sabra-Shatila Massacres, September 16-18, 1982; Palestine Human Rights Campaign: National Conference, Chicago, September 19-20, 1986,
· A member of the Bosnian official presidential delegation to Saudi Arabia that held talks with His Majesty King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz in March, 1992
· European Council for Fatwa and Research, Dublin;
MIM: The humanitarian aid which was being sent to Bosnia in the 1990's often went to help the Mujahadeen. Many of the Bosnian 'charity' organisations were actually funding fronts for Al Qaeda.
This biography of the Bosnian president Izetbekovic was written by former CAIR communications director Ismail Royer. Royer is currently in prison after being convicted of planning to wage Jihad against the United States. In the 1990's Royer had went to Bosnia where joined the Jihad against Americans and Europeans. I views was the website started by Royer.
By Ismail Royer
"Our goal: the Islamization of Muslims. Our methods: to believe and to struggle."—Alija Izetbegovic, "Islamic Declaration," 1970
"O' Alija, O' honored! You drive America crazy!" –Line from Arabic poetry sung by foreign mujahideen during Bosnian war
Last week, Alija Izetbegovic announced his decision to step down as president of Bosnia. The man Bosnians affectionately call "Deedo," or Grandpa, will leave office in October. In a speech announcing his resignation, Izetbegovic cited health problems as the main reason for his decision—but tellingly, he added, "The international community is pushing things forward in Bosnia...but it is doing it at expense of the Muslim people. I feel it as an injustice," he said. "These are the things that I cannot live with."
Izetbegovic's resignation is an event upon which Muslims around the world should reflect. He is one of the few Muslim political leaders of our time who demonstrates real love for Islam, and his career contains lessons in the way the West views Muslims in Europe and deals with Islamic movements in power.
"Do we want the Muslim people to leave their going-around-in-circles, their dependence, backwardness, and poverty?" Izetbegovic once wrote, "Then we show clearly which path will take us to that goal: establishing Islam in every field in the personal life of the individual, in family and society…and the establishment of a unique Islamic community from Morocco to Indonesia."
For Izetbegovic, these were not just words; they were a plan of action that he acted upon his entire life.
In 1940, at the age of 16 he co-founded the Young Muslims, a religious and political group modeled on Egypt's Ikhwan al-Muslimeen. Six years later he and his friend Nedzib Sacirbey were jailed by the communist government of Yugoslavia for helping publish the journal "Mujahid." After their release, the Communists again cracked down on the young Muslims and in 1949 sentenced four members to death and jailed many more for their Islamic activism. In 1983 Izetbegovic was arrested again for disseminating "Islamic propaganda" and sentenced to 14 years in prison and was released in 1988.
It would seem unthinkable that such a man would ever become president of a European country. But in 1990, Izetbegovic was elected president of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the eve of that country's descent into a David-and-Goliath war with Yugoslavia and Croatia. Instead of packing up his family and fleeing his country as it was overrun, as the leaders of one Persian Gulf nation recently did, he stayed to lead his people throughout the war from his sandbagged office and his modest apartment. In doing so, he became for the world the face of the Bosnian people's struggle for survival in the face of genocide.
Izetbegovic led an army that managed to beat back vastly superior Croatian and Serbian forces. But he leaves another crucial legacy: for Bosnians, he took the shame out of being a Muslim. In Yugoslavia, regular visits to the mosque meant being snubbed for jobs in the Communist Party-controlled economy. Islam was demonized in history books, and practicing Muslim students could expect vastly lower grades regardless of how much they studied. Even the Arabic and Turkish words and expressions that enrich the Bosnian language were systematically removed and derided as "uncultured."
But "Alija Izetbegovic succeeded in organizing Muslims as a nation in Bosnia," Dr. Zuhdija Adilovic, a professor at the Islamic Pedagogic Academy in Zenica, told iviews.com in an interview. "This was the first time that Muslims had come to power in Bosnia."
With that power, the president embarked on a policy of reaffirmation of Bosnians' cultural identity. Today, children study their religion in public schools. Government employees, businessmen, soldiers, and university students can openly practice Islam with a sense of dignity. A worshipper in one of Sarajevo's packed mosques today might find a street sweeper praying on his left side and the city's mayor praying on his right.
Izetbegovic's unapologetic approach to his religion and his political power made the West uneasy. Amid warnings of a "fundamentalists Islamic state" in Europe, America and the EU stood by for three years facilitating the genocide of the Bosnian Muslim people. In 1995, when Islamic brigades of the Bosnian army launched a massive assault on Serb forces and seized thirty percent of Serb-controlled territory in a few days, it dawned on the West that Muslims might actually be victorious. America and Europe suddenly demanded peace.
A "peace plan" drawn up and imposed by the United States and enforced by NATO military occupation rewarded Serbs with their own state on half of Bosnia's territory, while Croats received another twenty-five percent. The US plan left Muslims, which make up approximately half of Bosnia's population, quarantined and landlocked on one quarter of their country.
The US peace plan imposed a system of government on Bosnia that guarantees perpetual economic and political stagnation and weakens Muslim political power. Serbs, Muslims, and Croats each have an equal voice in a three-member "presidency" in Bosnia, even though Muslims make up the majority of the population. If the country were a "real" democracy, with each citizen having an equal voice, Bosnia would be virtually guaranteed Muslim leadership by virtue of demographic. And under the current system, the government only takes action by consensus. With Serbs and Croats determined to undermine Muslims at every step, consensus never occurs, and in practice, the real power in Bosnia is wielded by the European Union.
Iviews.com asked Nedzib Sacirbey, Bosnia's ambassador-at-large and Izetbegovic's friend and cellmate from his youth, what Izetbegovic meant when he said, "the international community is pushing things forward in Bosnia...at expense of the Muslim people."
"The number one obstacle is that the international community did not use its power to return refugees, which would create a multi-ethnic society," Sacirbey said. "And for example, in Banja Luka, the Serbs leveled all mosques, but now 5 years after the war, there is still no permission to build one single mosque. It is the same in Croatian part."
The European Union's failure to return Muslim refugees to their homes in occupied areas of Bosnia enforces the war's ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, for the most part, Serbs and Croats travel to and live in Muslim areas freely. On a recent trip to Mostar, a city divided in half with Muslim and Croat areas, iviews.com spoke to residents on both sides of the fault-line. Asked whether she would feel afraid to travel to the Muslim side, a Croat woman said, "No, I go there all the time to shop and visit my daughter." On the other hand, several Croats said they did not want Muslims on their side, and many Muslims said they faced harassment and threats of violence whenever they crossed the river separating the two communities.
The United States and the EU do, however, use their power to actively undermine Izetbegovic and his Party for Democratic Action (SDA) and to promote the former Communist Party of Bosnia, which was renamed the Social Democrat Party (SDP). Fed up with a lack of economic progress, a large number of Bosnian Muslim voters shifted support to the neo-communists in the most recent elections. The fact that the US State Department provided SDP with crucial logistic support for its campaigns didn't hurt either.
At the same time, Wolfgang Petritsch, the head of the European Union's civil authority in Bosnia, urged voters to dump "the leaders from the war," of which Izetbegovic is the only one remaining. And the EU ran advertisements on the television network it operates urging viewers to vote for "change"—in other words, change the leadership of the communist opposition.
With characteristic doublespeak, the, US State Department describes the result of its efforts as a victory for "political pluralism…at the expense of the ruling national parties." Sacirbey, as would most rational observers, calls it interference in the democratic process. "We expect them to say, 'Use your voting rights, vote for the best candidate,' not, 'Vote for or against so and so'," said Sacirbey.
Muslims have plenty to worry about with regard to the SDP. At an outdoor rally in Tuzla two months ago, SDP members feasted on barbecued pork chops to demonstrate their "secularism." They have announced their intention to rename the main road in the Muslim stronghold of Zenica, after Yugoslavia's communist dictator. Additionally, a group of party activists reportedly hurled stones at a mosque recently.
So many of the problems of the Islamic world that we typically blame on others are fundamentally the fault of Muslims, but not so in Bosnia. In the face of this internationally organized quagmire designed to paralyze and underdevelop Muslim progress in Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic decided he didn't have the strength to continue. "Somebody must come who can deal with such problems," he said.
The tragedy of Bosnia is not only that 350,000 men, women, and children died because their neighbors hated them for their religion, or that thousands of women were raped, or that hundreds of mosques were razed. What does it say about our civilization, that politicians in Europe and America had the power to intervene, but chose not to? It suggests not only that for the West, the lives of Muslims are not worth the trouble. The failure to stop the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims, along with the behavior of the West in post-war Bosnia, suggests that genocide will be tolerated for the sake of a political goal; in this case, the prevention of a European Muslim state. The lesson for Muslims deluded by our era's lofty talk of "democracy" is that for America and Europe, the stated goal of "promoting democracy" will be overridden by their pathological fear of Islam.
But in the face of the tragedy of genocide and betrayal by the West, Izetbegovic triumphed. He led Bosnia to freedom from Yugoslavia as an independent, sovereign state. He raised an army to defend his people. He led the renaissance of Islam in Bosnia, while protecting the rights of Christians in the areas under his control. For this, we should thank him, and wish him well.