Controversy as WW2-era Muslim Nazi collaborator is honored
Minister Without Portfolio Sulejman Ugljanin will have to "report" to First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić over a memorial plaque controversy, says tabloid Press.Source: Beta, Press
The memorial in question was unveiled over the weekend in the southwestern town of Novi Pazar, with Ugljanin in attendance, and was dedicated to Aćif Hadžiahmetović, aka Aćif-Efendi.
Hadžiahmetović was a WW2-era Muslim (Bosniak) Nazi collaborator from the Sandžak region, who was in 1945 found guilty and executed for committing monstrous crimes, including the murder of at least 7,000 Serbs.
Ugljanin could not be reached for comment on Monday, but Minister for Trade Rasim Ljijić condemned his presence at the event.
Both Ugljanin and Ljajić are ethnic Muslims (Bosniaks) from the region informally known as Sandžak, located in southwestern Serbia.
Vučić in the meantime publicly reacted by saying he would "talk to Uglanin about the reasons for his presence at the ceremony", and stressed that he "did not change his mind" about the war criminal that was honored in Novi Pazar.
In 2009, Vučić warned and condemned fans of the Novi Pazar football club, who chose to display a banner reading "Aćif-Efendi Stadium", during a match against Red Star.
"I have not backed down one bit, nor will I give up on my position. I stand by everything I said," Vučić noted on Monday. At the time, he called for the prosecution to investigate the stadium incident.
Ljajić for his part said Ugljanin's presence was "impermissible, unacceptable, and damaging".
"This is a political incident that can have very bad consequences, above all for Sandžak which is an ethnically mixed region. The problem is that now could come a spiral of rehabilitations that would be unacceptable for the other nation, which means that all of us together are taking five steps back," warned the minister.
The controversial plaque was unveiled on Saturday in downtown Novi Pazar, and is placed at the location where Hadžiahmetović's house once stood.
Beside Ugljanin, other officials in attendance were President of the Bosniak National Council Esad Džudžević, Deputy Novi Pazar Mayor Ahmedin Škrijelj, and other council members.