Bosnia's top Muslim cleric issues fatwa on colleague

NOVI PAZAR -- The outgoing head of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mustafa Cerić, has issued a fatwa concerning "the work and activities of Adem Zilkić".

Mustafa Cerić (Anatolia, file)
Mustafa Cerić (Anatolia, file)

Zilkić is the head of the Islamic Community of Serbia - one of the two rival Muslim organizations in the country, the other, the Islamic Community in Serbia, being led by Muamer Zukorlić.

It was Zukorlić's organization, based in the southwestern town of Novi Pazar, that announced on Tuesday that the fatwa had been issued.

Zukorlić's Islamic Community recognizes the authority of the reis-ul-ulema (grand mufti) who sits in Sarajevo.

Zilkić and his followers, however, believe that Serbia's Muslims should have their own grand mufti in the country.

The Islamic Community in Serbia explained the contents of the fatwa on its website, to say that Zilkić was accused of "breaking apart the Islamic Community, creating discord among believers, and putting himself in the service of those who are previously known to not wish any good on the Islamic Community."

According to the website Cerić said that he used his powers to issue the fatwa because "nobody has the right to weaken and break up the spiritual, national, cultural and political unity of Bosniaks after the genocide".

Zilkić is further accused of "representing himself falsely" and in this way bringing "great disgrace upon Muslims in Serbia, Sandžak, and the Balkans".

Cerić also demanded that Zilkić issue an apology "for the spiritual pain that he has caused Muslims".

According to the website, the Bosnian grand mufti also stated that his message should serve as a lesson, "so that nobody ever again thinks about selling the honor of the faith and giving up on the right to freedom in favor of those who wish to trample on that right and freedom".

Adem Zilkić did not wish to comment on the fatwa on Tuesday, telling instead the Beta news agency that he would "first have to read it".