Islamic Community head responds to fatwa

BELGRADE -- Head of the Islamic Community of Serbia Mufti Adem Zilkić says that a fatwa issued against him represented an abuse of Koran quotes and holy norms.

Adem Zilkić (file)
Adem Zilkić (file)

Zilkić was the subject of the fatwa issued by the outgoing Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Cerić, that contained strong criticism against him.

The text of the fatwa was published on Tuesday on the website of the Islamic Community in Serbia - a rival organization to that headed by Zilkić.

In his reaction, Zilkić also noted that Cerić "maliciously overlooked the fact that he was not only the mufti of Bosniaks but also of all other Muslims of Serbia", and in a statement to Tanjug, accused him of a "flagrant meddling in internal affairs of the Islamic Community of Serbia".

He added that Cerić had also "maliciously" neglected to take into account that this Muslim organization received its autonomous status in 1868 - four years before the same status was granted to the Islamic Community of Bosnia.

Zilkić explained that his Sharia authority was based precisely on the document that in 1686 gave the Islamic Community in Serbia its legality in performing any religious function.

He also asserted that "at lest three quarters" of the overall number of Muslims in Serbia were loyal to his organization.

"Cerić's fatwa is an attempt to abuse his position and show evil intentions and intolerance toward Serbia, and the Islamic Community of Serbia," said the mufti.

As for the newly elected leader of Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Husein Kavazović, Zilkić expressed his "sincere wish and hope" that relations between the two organizations would change during his tenure.

"Such changes would contribute to the strengthening of good neighborly relations between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. A change in the policy of the previous reis (mufti) would annul the animosity, frustrations and tendencies transmitted by him," Zilkić concluded.