Muslim leader urges reconciliation with rival
The leader of one of the rival Islamic organizations in Serbia has said that heads of both communities should step down in order to allow for reconciliation.Source: Beta, Blic
Adem Zilkić, who heads the Islamic Community of Serbia, spoke for Belgrade-based daily Blic to say that he believed the seat of the Islamic Community should be in Belgrade - "as is the case with Islamic Communities of Montenegro, Turkey and Macedonia, their seats are in the capital cities."
He also stated that the unification with Muamer Zukorlić's Islamic Community in Serbia should happen in a way that would incorporate existing institutions of the two organizations, without abolishing any.
Zilkić told the newspaper that he did not take part in an attempt to reconcile the two communities, that included authorities from Serbia, Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina, noting that "reconciliation is wanted and needed by us, just as we expect Turkey to be an impartial mediator".
"The Islamic Community of Serbia has always been autonomous throughout history, therefore Mustafa Cerić is the head of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina, not Serbia. If the reconciliation initiative wishes to (establish) the Islamic Community of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), it would be quite appropriate for Cerić to be appointing muftis and verifying mandates. However, since the Islamic Community of Serbia is transnational, such possibility is ruled out," said the mufti.
Zilkić further stated that due to internal divisions, he was not satisfied with the position of the Islamic Community in the country, but that by launching the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Belgrade, and the Consultative Center in Novi Pazar, his organization brought the institutional basis in the area of education to a full circle.
Worshipers are satisfied with this, he continued, as they are with the fact that madressas and kindergartens are working successfully.
Zilkić also described the cooperation the organization had with the state as being raised to a high level, but that they were not satisfied with the issue of the return of the waqf property.
Beside the ongoing economic crisis, Muslims in Serbia, the mufti explained, face an additional problem of living in the country's least developed regions, and lack religious infrastructure and qualified personnel.
According to Zilkić, the most significant problem faced by Muslims from the southwestern Sandžak region are "divisions in all segments of life".