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· University of Azhar, Cairo (Faculty of Arabic Language and Literature) Graduation, 1978

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During the Balkans War, Ceric is thought to have had ties to the Third World Relief Agency, a religious front organization found to have funneled money and arms from the Arab world. Ceric was not placed on a list of people prohibited from entering the US in the aftermath of the investigation, however

  • In 2006, Ceric condemned the stripping of 150 Wahhabis’ citizenship who had gained it after fighting in Bosnia during the civil war. Ceric said that "the state doesn't have the right to discriminate based on religion, appearance, nationality or origin."

  • In February, 2009, Ceric condemned those who are worried over the spread of this extremist islamic doctrine (Wahhabism) for “spreading islamophobia”. “Those that are accusing us that their situation is bad because of Islam and the ‘new’ Muslims, are joining the islamophobia that is us, Bosnian Muslims, old and new remind on the experience of the survived genocide,” said Ceric during prayers in the eastern town of Sokolac. Ceric also said that to some, “new Muslims who call themselves Wahhabis” are troubling and that is because these Muslims have “survived genocide and are against the regime of apartheid” that dominates in Bosnia.


    Response to question about his support for teaching of Islam in public school: Ceric: You have only one perspective of that particular problem. This perspective is not correct and not based on the facts and it is not well attended. First of all, there is an accord between the state of Bosnia and the Vatican in which the right of religious education in kindergarten is explicitly stated. This is the law. This is the accord. You should go to the state of Bosnia and the Vatican and ask why they signed this. In the law of freedom of religion that we have proposed and that was passed by the parliament, it is also explicit that children have the right to religious education from kindergarten through high school. This was passed by members of the parliament. Now we have only one party -- the ex-Communist party -- that cannot tolerate tolerance of religion. They are still living in their nostalgia for putting religion in what they call the private sphere. But if anything in this world is public, it is religion. My strongest argument against this kind of Islamophobia -- I would call it Islamophobia because they are only concentrating on Sarajevo; they are not speaking about what is happening in Mostar or Banja Luka. They are only concentrating on Sarajevo because it is, as they call it, Islamic education. And they are afraid of Islam. And this is a kind of Islamophobia that we are witnessing all the time. So who is going to teach our children about religion; are we going to teach them according to our Bosnian tradition of Islam?

    • Along with several Bosnian Muslim leaders, Ceric has called for Bosnia to be transformed into a unitary state of “Bosniac” people, prompting protests by the country’s two other main groups.


    On Sharia Law in Bosnia: “Shari'a in Bosnia-Herzegovina has a consultative role. We are here for consulting, if somebody asks us, and basically for more on a moral and ethical ground than on legal or court grounds. Bosnia-Herzegovina had Shari'a laws until 1946, when all the Shari'a courts were closed. And now we have state courts -- secular, if you like. Of course, you may have some form of the moral background for the law in Bosnia-Herzegovina that is based on Shari'a as a part of custom. But Shari'a law is not the state law. Whether we are going to have some individuals who will be influenced by the ideas that are coming from the interpretation of the Shari'a from that part of the world -- yes, it is possible. We have many students who are studying all over Muslims countries, including Saudi Arabia and even Iran and Egypt. But the mainstream of the Bosnian understanding and of the Ulama [legal scholars] that are raised and educated here -- I am not afraid that we will lose our continuity in our understanding of "fiqh" or Shari'a or the way we are approaching the whole issue.



    In early 2007several dozen imams and religious leaders from several towns in Sandzak dismissed Muarem Zukorlic from the position of head mufti of the Islamic Community of Serbia and appointed Adem Zilkic in his place. Zukorlic refused to accept this, and Sandzak now has two opposing Islamic communities.

    Muamer Zukorlic was relected as grand leader of Sandzak Muslims on July 14. His seat is in Novi Pazar. At that time he re-stated that he recognises solely reis-ul-ulema Mustafa Ceric as the supreme leader of Sandzak Muslims.

    Adem Zilkic leads another group of Muslims in Serbia, with his seat in Belgrade, calling itself "the Islamic Community of Serbia.” This group believes that Muslims in Serbia should be autonomous from those in Bosnia, and takes a much more fundamentalist approach to Islam, accused by some to represent the Wahhabi fundamentalist strand.

    Differences between the two groups have led to many clashes in the past.

    • On a visit to Sandzak on May 20th, Ceric said: nothing could separate Muslims in Serbia from those in Bosnia. “We are one, and there is no force that could separate us,” Ceric told Muslims in the Sandzak town of Tutin. “Sarajevo has been and will remain a spiritual centre for all Bosnian Muslims, wherever they live,” he said as he ended a three-day visit on Wednesday. We, the Bosniacs (Bosnian Muslims) in the Balkans, demand no more and no less than what others have,” Ceric said. “We know very well what it is, and they (Serbian leaders) will learn soon what it means.” Ceric also said that Muslim human rights in Sanzak were being violated. Zilkic appealed to Ceric to postpone his visit, warning it could have a “bloody epilogue” but there were no incidents. Ceric also criticised Bosnian Muslim leaders in Sarajevo for “loving less” their fellow Muslims in Serbia.

    • On May 22, Serbian Religion Minister Bogoljub Sijakovic announced that Ceric was not welcome in Serbia because of the above remarks he made during his stay in several cities in Sandzak.
      The Meshihat of the Islamic Community in Serbia on May 25 asked Sijakovic to resign over the announcement. The Meshihat also asked Serbian President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic to distance themselves from the position of the Ministry of Religion, saying that not doing so could stoke violence.

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