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BBCM Bosnian Serb analysts criticize Islamic head's mention of jihad during sermon

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  • sibercor2000
    http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/gs102706.htm Bosnian Serb analysts criticize Islamic head s mention of jihad during sermon BBC Monitoring Europe
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2006
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      http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/gs102706.htm

      Bosnian Serb analysts criticize Islamic head's mention of jihad during
      sermon

      BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - October 27, 2006, Friday

      Text of report by D. Momic entitled "Old note of politics", published by
      Bosnian Serb newspaper Glas Srpske on 27 October - subheading as published

      Reis-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric, Islamic Community leader in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
      in his address to the faithful on the first day of Bairam in Sarajevo's
      central mosque, sent a political message for an umpteenth time.

      Ceric said that "the Muslims in B-H have experienced having to move, and
      jihad [holy war]". He asked them "to pay respect to those who died for their
      faith, that is, to shahids [martyrs]," thereby recognizing that the Muslims
      waged a religious war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

      Sociologist Ivan Sijakovic believes that Ceric's words can be interpreted in
      two ways, but he emphasizes that, because of the general atmosphere in the
      world, one needs to be very cautious when mentioning the word jihad.

      "The jihad for Muslims means a holy war for liberation, while for the
      civilized Western world, it is associated with terrorism and the imposition
      of faith by force," Sijakovic has said.

      This is exactly the reason, in Professor Sijakovic's opinion, why religious
      leaders must be cautious, and they should not send such messages,
      particularly not during the week of the greatest Muslim holiday, because
      this is the day when there should be talk about peace, tolerance, and the
      importance of faith.

      "Such messages are not of a religious nature and do not deal with the
      spiritual relationship between God and people. Once this line is crossed,
      one enters into political waters," Sijakovic said.

      However, this is not surprising, he says, because there has been an evident
      aspiration recently expressed by the Islamic Community and its leader in
      Bosnia-Hercegovina to interfere in what is not their business.

      "The Islamic Community wishes to play a dominant role in society and to
      impose its opinion, to behave as someone who sets up moral criteria. This
      will definitely not place B-H among secular and democratic countries, which
      is not good," Prof Sijakovic concludes.

      Political analyst Tanja Topic agrees with Sijakovic, and says that jihad is
      "a loaded word, particularly in our situation".

      "We know that there are still three truths in Bosnia-Hercegovina about the
      war, so any mention of jihad surely represents a step backward in
      establishing trust among the ethnic groups in Bosnia-Hercegovina," Topic
      says, adding that mentioning jihad is not in the spirit of the greatest
      Muslim holiday.

      Besides, Topic notes, we should not forget that the religious institutions
      and their leaders are very influential in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and their
      words carry much more weight than those of the politicians.

      She agrees with Sijakovic that the Islamic Community and Reis-ul-Ulema Ceric
      have tried for a long time to assume a dominant role in B-H social and
      political life.

      "The best illustration of this is the recent election. By openly supporting
      Haris Silajdzic, Ceric ensured him a seat in the B-H Presidency, because
      Ceric's words have the strongest influence on the Bosniaks [Muslims]," Topic
      has said.

      In her view, the state must solve this problem, because the religious
      institutions must be shown their place, and their political influence must
      be reduced.

      [Box] Overt

      Tanja Topic does not deny the interference of the religious leaders of the
      Catholic and Orthodox Churches in politics.

      "This is not the first time that Mustafa Ceric has sent a political message.
      It is a fact that he has enormous influence on political developments, but
      he does it absolutely openly. On the other hand, we should by no means
      disregard the influence of Cardinal Puljic, or the Orthodox religious
      leaders, which is not so overt as Ceric's, but is certainly there," Topic
      says.

      Source: Glas Srpske, Banja Luka, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 27 Oct 06 p4
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