Sunday, February 26, 2012


In the past week, Muamer Zukorlić received threats that were sent to him via Facebook. In response, Zukorlić published a short video clip announcing that should his head roll, Serb politicians would not be able to enter Sandžak unscathed for the coming 50 years. In Serbia, Zukorlić explained, nothing transpires by happenstance. Every serious liquidation in Serbia has been planned, said Zukorlić, adding they are conspiracies and often connected with the highest echelons of Serbia’s government. Dnevni Avaz reported that Zukorlić’s assassination has been planned for four months by a group of Serbian criminals. After having learned about these threats, the Serbian mešihat announced it would send a letter to the ministry of interior so as to clear up the facts relating to the plans of Zukorlić’s assassination. According to Blic, meanwhile, there are allegedly no signs that Zukorlić’s life is in danger. Rasim LJajic, minister of social and labour policies also demented Zukorlić’s statements adding that they are part of Zukorlić’s attempt to position himself before the elections. Ljajić also stated that by fabricating the story of his threat, Zukorlić seeks to justify the creation of his paramilitary troops that, according to Zukorlić, serve as security guards. Ljajić, however, explains that “people” already wonder who all the individuals are that follow Zukorlić around in black jeeps.

Muamer Zukorlić questions if the main street’s name of Novi Pazar is appropriate. It is unacceptable the street continues to be named Stefan Nemanja when, in reality, the city was established under the auspices of Gazi Isa Beg, so Zukorlić. Zukorlić is also opposed to street names of Sjenica. The main street ought not be Karađorđe given that he murdered about two thirds of the entire population there. Zukorlić assured Serbia’s citizens that he was not against the Nemanja dynasty or against them per se. However, the mufti explained that Novi Pazar has nothing to do with these people. Instead, said Zukorlić, Novi Pazar has everything to do with Gazi Isa Beg. He also explained that the Facebook page, on which appeared threats against the Mufti and his alleged response to the threats, was not set up by him, but by Sandžak youth that joined the social network in his name. Regarding the threats against his person, Zukorlić explained the ministry for the interior knew about the threats for two months already while nobody informed him about it. Why, Zukorlić now asks, was this information hidden for so long? Asked about why exactly negotiations regarding the unification of the Islamic community in Serbia led by Turkey were halted, Zukorlić assured that Belgrade and Ankara’s problems will be solved with the victory of the Bosniak Democratic Association (BDZ). According to Zukorlić, the BDZ is loyal to him. The mufti did not specify how he plans to solve the problems.

In Prijepolje, chauvinistic graffiti that read “knife, wire, Srebrenica”, “this is not Sandžak, this is Raška”, “don’t forget who your grandfather was” and “Serbia for Serbs” have caused uncertainty and unrest among members of the Bosniak population. The city’s municipal board requested that the perpetrators be found as soon as possible adding the graffiti represents the most chauvinistic of outbursts. The board also noted that the cross, accompanied by four S’s, has appeared on the building that houses the BDZ as well as on other buildings around Prijepolje. Meanwhile, the BDZ stated that police as well as the local municipalities have done nothing to punish such display of chauvinism adding that this means the government protects the perpetrators. Should the police fail to find the perpetrators soon, the BDZ requests the police chief be replaced. The BDZ has called on all Bosniaks and “good people” to keep calm and restraint in their fight against chauvinism.

In an interview, Aida Ćorović who heads the non governmental organization UrbanIn, talked about her role in the Sandžak community and the mixing of religious and political questions, among other things. Ćorović is an outspoken critic of Muamer Zukorlić and she explained that Zukorlić is connected to religious, political and economic matters in the area so much so that without his involvement, no serious business can be conducted. Zukorlić, explained Ćorović, run Sandžak as a “religious-nationalist” state in which he will be the “ayatollah”. In Bosnia meanwhile, the terms “Bosniak” and “believer” have become nearly synonymous and Sandžak, says Ćorović, this is especially true. Due to her open criticism of Zukorlić, Ćorović has in the past come under attack so much so that for a while, she was protected by police forces. In the most recent past, verbal attacks against her personality have been especially frequent to which end the journalist sought to know why this is occurring. Is it perhaps, asked the interviewer, because of the upcoming elections, is radicalization truly taking root or is the power of the Islamic community (IZ) waning to which end the IZ seeks to re-establish its prominence? Ćorović explained that it was all of the above. However, sais Ćorović, polls show that religion is the most important aspect of ones life in the region, yet, polls also indicate declining trust in their religious institutions. The IZ of BiH too, so Ćorović, is loosing backing and the outgoing grand mufti Mustafa Cerić is grooming Zukorlić to assume his mantle.

According to Muamer Zukorlić, talking about a unified and autonomous Sandžak ought not be deemed subversive in Montenegro. At any rate, northern Montenegro is in fact southern Sandžak, said the mufti. Zukorlić explained that Sandžak is a unique cultural and civilizational space and “special autonomy” for the region would neither harm Serbia nor Montenegro.

The Turkish youth delegation of Recep Tayyip Ergogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) visited Novi Pazar where it met its counterpart, the youth delegation of the Democratic Action Party (SDA). The two party organs discussed further cooperation and toured the city during their multiple day visit. Sulejma Ugljanin, head and founder of Sandžak’s SDA and president of the Bosniak National Council (BNV)Esad Đuđević also welcomed the delegation. Young people are thought to be strongest link between Serbia and Turkey and the goal of the visit was to establish solid relations between the two states.

“Mladi spona između Srbije i Turske”. Dnevni List Danas. Accessed February 23, 2012.

“Zukorlić: Sever Crne Gore Je Južni Sandžak”. RTS. Accessed February 23, 2012.ć%3A+Sever+Crne+Gore+je+južni+Sandžak.html

“Aida Ćorović: Muftija Zukorlić kopa rovove između Bošnjaka i Srba”. Sandžačke novine. Accessed February 20, 2012.

“Šovinističku graffiti u Prijepolju”. B92. Accessed February 22, 2012.

“Ne prihvatam da se glavne ulice zovu po Stefanu Nemanju ili Karađorđevu”. Aladin. Accessed February 21, 2012.

“Zukorlić pričom o atentatu opravda svoju paravojnu formaciju”. SMedia. Accessed February 21, 2012.

“Zukorlić: Za slučaj da me ubiju…” B92. Accessed February 2, 2012.

Bosna i Herzegovina (BiH)

Vjekoslav Bevanda, chairman of the rotating presidency of BiH, noted that the “Greece syndrome” can happen to any body, including BiH. The state of BiH could face the same situation, said Bevanda, if one were to continue irresponsibility and live removed from the reality. The way to improve the economic and fiscal situation in BiH would by implementation of radical actions. Bevanda assured that the ministries’ priorities lie in improving BiH’s budget. Specifically, the ministry seeks to allocate funds for the upcoming census and local elections in addition to securing funding for the border crossings toward Croatia that will, starting next year, be border crossings into the European Union. Pointing toward an easy exit of agreements with the International Monetary Fund, Bawanda stated that this would be the worst of all as reaching an agreement with the IMF is opening doors to investments and cooperation with other world banks.

As grand mufti Mustafa Cerić prepares to leave office, he assured that elections will be held in accordance with religious guidelines of the IZ. Asked about the EU’s MP Doris Pack and her investigation into Wahhabi groupings of BiH, Cerić answered that Pack is uninformed, and that he felt sorry about that. Asked about Mevlid Jašarević’s and his shooting at the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo, Cerić said the IZ took the incident seriously, considered it and condemned Jašarević’s actions.

“Cerić: Imam izveštaj o islamofobiji”. B92. Accessed February 23, 2012.

“I Bosni se može dogoditi “Grčka””. B92. Accessed February 20, 2012.

Kosovo and Serbia

Following dialogues between Kosovo and Serbia, Edita Tahiri announced “the historic agreement will open a new chapter for Kosovo’s relations with regional states and the EU”. Kosovo is now regarded on equal footing during regional meetings and will be able to sign intergovernmental agreements. “Also, there is no longer any need for the UNMIK mission”, said Tahiri. Today’s signing of the integrated border management/crossing means that Serbia de facto recognized Kosovo’s independence. Reader comments reached from relieve that the status of Kosovo be resolved soon to sheer outrage over Tadić’s alleged role as a traitor to Serbia. In a statement, however, Borislav Stefanović, assured that Serbia did not recognize Kosovo’s independence. Instead, said Stefanović, new life was given to Res. 1244 on the international stage.

“Srbija nije priznala Kosovo”. RTS. Accessed February 25, 2012.

“Država Srbija de fakto priznala Kosovo”. Vesti online. accessed February 24, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012


On Sunday, February 12, a Sandžak delegation visited with Muhamed bin-Nasser al-Hussein in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, so as to talk about the situation of Bosniak Muslims in Sandžak. The hosts to the Sandžak delegation indicated their knowledge of the situation on the ground in Serbia adding that an on sight visit will determine what kind of aid Sandžak will receive. Al-Hussein praised the Islamic Community of Sandžak as being one of the most organized and attentive regarding the observance of religious rules. During the visit, the delegation visited the Islamic Bank in Jeddah so as to discuss future projects. The visit to the bank was followed by prayers at the Ka’aba were the senior delegation of Sandžak pleaded for the help in their fight for truth and freedom.

The following letter was written by a student of Novi Sad University, Serbia, and published by Dnevni List Danas

History has left an indelible mark on Priboj, Sandžak. The area has been ruled by many differing states and rules and is located in a unique geographical location. As a result, Priboj has been and still is a multiethnic area. All citizens of Proboj, including Bosnaiks and Serbs, whether they are Christians or Muslims, experienced the same conflicts, including the most recent war years, and fate has not separated them – yet, fate has also not spared them. Immediately following WWII, Serbia as well as Bosnia experienced skyrocketing development all the while Bosnians and Serbs boasted about their shopping trips to Trieste and Poland and their vacations in Pula. Then, after the exhilarating 60’s, 70’s and 80’s came the gloomy 90’s and the 21st century during which Serbs and Bosnians waited in the same line to receive a slap in the face from fate, or anybody else for that matter. Good neighborly relations came to be seriously questionable as men in distress change for the worse. Yet, even under these difficult circumstances, neighbors proved resilient and showed that they could get along as they used to during the more carefree times. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you any of those stories out of personal experience, as I was not born during these happy times. My peers and I meanwhile, be they Serb or Bosnian, only waited in line for a slap in the face instead of visiting Triest, Poland or Pula. The war filled our harts with deep fear that we might get “contaminated” by the vile war relations that ensued across the boarder. Prior to the war, relations among differing ethnicities where similar in Priboj and BiH while the mixture became flammable in BiH – in Priboj, we sought to maintain tolerance. Later, we were together in shelters during the bombing, the madness, the power cuts and during the protests, though we did not know why, or for whom we protested. Today, the level of interethnic interaction is very high. For instance, friendships develop among peers of mixed backgrounds; my circle of friends is neither the rule nor the exception. Our stomachs ache from eating too much baklava for Eid, and hard-boiled eggs for Easter. We are all critical of the 1990’s. In Proboj, restaurants and other places of social gatherings are not ethnically segregated as is so often the case in other multiethnic places. Employees hire Bosnians as well as Serbs and classes in schools are mixed. Young Bosnians and Serbs together seek to enrich the lives of Priboj residents, despite the chronic shortage of funds. Handball team coach Alem Toskić represents all of Priboj, regardless of nationality and these days, everybody tries to shovel Proboj out of the snow – together. To be sure, there are disagreements and not all is wonderful. Yet, it is not so important so as to jeopardize existing relationships and centuries of establishing good relations among the people of Priboj.

It is increasingly becoming clear that Mufti Muamer Zukorlić will partake in the upcoming elections of Serbia. Whether he will participate in the elections officially or will play an important role behind the scenes, however, is not clear as of yet. It appears that the Bosniak Democratic Union (BDZ) will play a key role in Zukorlić’s politicking. The BDZ enjoys the Mufti’s full support and is headed by Zukorlić’s brother in law Emir Elfić. In Novi Pazar, there is overall little doubt about the Mufti’s involvement during the upcoming elections. Head of the local NGO UrbanIn Aida Ćorović explained “power and money are no longer satisfactory for Zukorlić” while Rasim Ljajić, head of the Social Democratic Party (SDPS), stated “Zukorlić will experience a debacle should he enter the race. Zukorlić’s entry into the field of politics will cause tension and exacerbate hatred”.

“I Zukorlić na izborima”. Accessed February 17, 2012.

“Suživot u Priboju”. Dnevni List Danas. Accessed February 16, 2012.

“Saudijska Arabija Će Pomoći Bošnjacima Sandžaka”. Accessed February 12, 2012.

Bosnia i Herzegovnia (BiH)

BiH’s head of the Islamic Community (IZ) Mustafa Cerić has as of yet not proven willing to condemn the growing Wahhabi movement as Europe’s Parliamentarian Doris Pack had requested the previous week. The EU is in the process of drafting a new resolution for BiH that will repeat the same request leveled at Cerić last week. Cerić, instead of condemning the growing Wahhabi movement in BiH, criticized the EU delegates of leading psychological warfare against BiH’s Muslim community. In their fight, so Cerić, “they” are responsible for crimes committed against Bosniak Muslims and even genocide.

Upon member of BiH’s presidency Bakir Izetbegović’s visit with Turkish president Abdullah Gül, Izetbegović foresees an even stronger relationship between Turkey and BiH. Izetbegović stated his content regarding Turkeys growing economic clout and hopes that Turkey will invest “significantly” into BiH’s economy. The president in turn reiterated Turkey’s support to BiH and its path toward a Euro-Atlantic future. Gül also expressed his satisfaction regarding intensified meetings with other Western Balkan heads of state adding that he expects to see results regarding outstanding issues among those states. All participants agreed that the continued trilateral meetings are necessary as good results emanated from these encounters. Among the results of the meeting was that BiH reintroduce agricultural production as there is need and interest among the population to bring back production thereof. Izetbegović is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Ergogan who is currently recuperating from a successful surgery.

Following Angelina Jolie’s film debut “Land of Blood and Honey” in Sarajevo, Mustafa Cerić explained that this was the most fortunate event for BiH since the Dayton Agreement was signed in the 1990’s. The film, so Cerić, is significant for BiH as well as for the greater region as it illustrates the aggression and genocide carried out against the people of BiH. Cerić said he was initially nervous “that the movie would only illustrate half the people’s plight and that he would suffer in his hart should there be nobody honest enough to show the cold truth after all the lies that have been told thus far”. Cerić is now sure that Jolie is that person as she is not afraid to tell the truth. Cerić thanked Jolie for openly demonstrating her fondness for BiH and for showing to the world that there is talent in BiH. The Mufti suggested that the movie be shown in Belgrade and Banja Luka because “shock therapy serves as the best medicine against some diseases”.

Should BiH not follow suit regarding the economic framework between 2012 and 2014, the EU will block financial aid to BiH, said head of EU delegation Peter Sorenson. This includes assistance in microfinance from the EU commission worth €100 million. Sorenson assured the EU’s support of the newly formed council while also reminding the ministers about the need to produce tangible results soon. Sorenson explained that it is important the council of ministers find a way to finance institutions on the national level while BiH needs to meet its external debt obligations.

German MP and rapporteur of BiH for the EU Doris Pack expressed distress regarding Mustafa Cerić’s statement upon having drafted a resolution that called for Cerić’s and Izetbegović’s denouncing of the growing Wahhabi movement in BiH. Pack stated that Cerić had raised serious allegations against her person including her alleged conducting of psychological and propaganda warfare against BiH’s Muslims while being on somebody’s payroll to do so. Pack stated that somebody who holds a religious office should “really not speak this way” adding that Cerić’s allegations are especially astonishing to her as she initially received compliments from Cerić’s office.

Miorad Živanović, professor of philosophy at the University of Banja Luka stated that the people of BiH no longer live “next to each other”. Instead, explained Živanović, people are against one another and everything is based on anti-Serb, anti-Bosniak and anti-Croatian sentiments. Živanović stated that published books, movies and songs resonate sentiments of political separation proclamation of “disorders” of the other. Such sentiments have been resonating in Serbia and Croatia for a whole century while in BiH it has lasted 25 years. As a result, according to Živanović, people are reduces to lives their lives along ethnic patterns. As an example, Živanović cited the discourse around the publication of the movie In the Land of Blood and Honey.

“Živanović: Ljudi u BiH žive jedni protiv drugih”. Radio Televizija Vojvodine. Accessed February 19, 12. http://www.rtv/sr_lat/region/zivanovic:-ljudi-u-bih-zive-jedni-protiv-drugih_301172.html

“Mustafa Cerić jedno piše, drugo izjavljuje”. Vesti Online. accessed February 16, 2012. http:/

“EU će blokirati pomoć BiH”. B92. Accessed February 16, 2012.

“Mustafa Cerić: Andželinin film je dokaz genocida”. Blic Online. Accessed February 16, 2012.

“Izetbegović: Turska i BiH bratske I prijateljske zemlje”. Vesti Online. Accessed February 15, 2012.

“Cerić neće da osudi vehabije”. Accessed February 13, 2012.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


The EU and the Swiss government recently allocated € 300,000 so as to assist the economic development in the municipalities of Novi Pazar, Sjenica, Tutin, Priboj, Prijepolje and Nova Varoš. The greatest expectations are leveled at Novi Pazar, explained Marko Vujačić who is the coordinator of the project. In the focus of the economic assistance is the production of jeans and distribution of local food items including Čevape (a kind of sausage) and local cheese. The brands should be promoted as something special and unique, something that will make the region stand out in Southeastern Europe, explained Vujačić. Vujačević’s explanation is based on a seminar held by EU PROGRES that sought to find out what exactly made the region special, and how to market the subsequent products. Among the “brands” to be promoted are healthy and all natural food items, historical monuments and the possibility to promote Sandžak as an area suited for winter sports.

Last week, the 108th hearing was held in which 25 Bosniaks are prosecuted to have endangered the integrity of the former Yugoslav republic in the form of an armed rebellion in Sandžak and for the illegal possession of weapons. The individuals are from Novi Pazar, Tutin and Sjenica and have been persecuted since 1993. However, only ten of the 25 defendants appeared in court. Two of the individuals died, some have been pardoned as they were only tried for the illegal possession of firearms, others now live abroad while Suleijman Ugljanin has in the meantime become a senior official in Belgrade. Since the trial began in 1993, Ugljanin fled to Turkey while the others underwent a “marathon trial” in Novi Pazar and were convicted to long prison terms in 1994. However, the case was reopened in 1996 and has tried since. Vesti Online reported that there is little hope the case will be completed any time soon. All defendants, except Ugljanin, claimed to have undergone “untold” torture while they have been victims of the Milošević regime. The trial, the defendants explain, has been politically motivated yet the current government, of which their former “boss” Ugljanin is now a member, refuses to acknowledge this. Therefore there is no end in sight regarding the trial. Rifat Dupljak who is one of the defendants explained that the group tried to find an end to their trial having written to many “important men”, including Serbia’s president Boris Tadić – to no avail. As the group sought another way to end the trial, the Serbian government stated that “Serbia is a lawful state and the government is not able to dictate to the courts what to do, and what not to”.

The interethnic youth alliance of Novi Pazar that started out as an informal non-governmental group has so far held three meetings it calls “Sofra”(a Turkic word for meal). The events aim at promoting multiethnic and multicultural dialogue and cooperation in the city of Novi Pazar and the surrounding region. The alliance seeks to promote the multiethnic character of the city as an advantage and organized events in the past have included photography showings and exhibitions of young and unknown artist as well as musical entertainment by choirs and tastings of culinary delicacies. This year, the alliance hopes to bring its event to other parts of the area. The group is supported by the UN fund for young alliances, the U.S., Dutch and German embassies and the Open Society institute.

Serbia’s minister for labour and social policies Rasim Ljajić traveled to the municipality of Sjenica were authorities declared an emergency situation due to unusual and very heavy snowfall. Ljajić reportedly came to check on how social services functioned as well as to announce that Serbia’s Sandžak municipalities were among the 46 towns of Serbia’s underdeveloped regions that were to receive financial aid from the government. Ljajic explained that 3 million dinars are set aside for gerontology. Sjenica is destined for another million dinars for the purchase of oil for its poorest citizens. The most disadvantaged citizens of Nova Varoš too are destined to receive 500,000 dinars. The Mayor of Sjenica explained that citizens there have been hit hardest by the weather as temperatures reached as low as -30 Celsius. Ljajić added that he will also try to get snow plowing machines to the region so as to clear the snow from the streets.

“Sandžačke opštine dobijaju 4.5 miliona dinara pomoći”. Dnevn list Danas. accessed February 9, 2012.

“Novi Pazar za uho, oko I dušu”. Dnevni list Danas. accessed February 10, 12.

“Teroristi” na sudu 20 godina. Vesti Online. accessed February 9, 2012.

“Netaknuta priroda I zdrava hrana mogući brendovi”. Dnevni list Danas. accessed February 2, 2012.

“Evropa pomaže džins, ćevape I sjenički sir”. Vesti Online. accessed February 5, 2012.


In the foreign affairs meeting of the EU parliament that was convened for the reading of the first draft resolution, rapporteur Doris Pack accepted the resolution submitted by the Dutch deputy Bastian Belder. The resolution calls for the Islamic Community (IZ) of BiH to condemn the growth of the Wahhabi movement in BiH. Pack stressed that BiH is not a place were fundamentalism is welcome adding that the movement is isolated. The Wahhabis, so Pack, is exploiting the disadvantaged segments of the society as individuals that become members get reimbursed with financial contributions. In explaining the initiative, Belder stated that the EU must be aware of the growth of religious fundamentalism in BiH, especially those that seem connected to Wahhabi movements. Terrorism Expert Dževad Galijašević believes that BiH will face increasing challenges regarding actions taken by Wahhabi groups as long as the members of BiH’s presidency Bakir Izetbegović and Mustafa Cerić do not clearly define and condemn the movement. Galijašević added that in his view, the EU has acted too late as many moderate imams have already been removed with imams that ascribe to salafi teachings. This, says Galijašević, has strengthens the movement’s position within the Islamic community. Nađa Dizdarević, wife of one of the members of the so called “Algerian group” called Pack a collaborator and supporter of RS’s president Milorad Dodik whom Dizdarević called the greatest enemy for the security of BiH.

In an interview with political science professor Asim Mujkić and sociology professor Ivan Šijaković from the University of Sarajevo, Radio Slobodna Evropa discussed the fate of BiH’s government and the formation of the council of ministers 14-months after the election took place. Though the council of ministers finally formed, Mujkić believes that little will change. In his words, “BiH will only solve the current crisis as much as it must”. In other words, BiH will change its politics only to the point as is dictated from outside pressures. Šijaković added that perhaps the political crisis will quite down a bit, but the general societal crisis will prevail. Mujkić explained that BiH has a bit of a League of Nations character. BiH, Mujkić estimates, is a “totally dysfunctional country” that is created by and for national elites and not for the citizens of BiH. Mujkić further explained that politics in BiH are based on questions and loyalty toward ethnicity and politicians campaign for votes among their ethnic nationals. In this process, politicians spread fear and distrust of “the other” so as to capture the majority of votes. Thus, says Mujkić, our system is based on spreading distrust and fear, which is BiH’s key problem. Perhaps, said Mujkić, it is time that 75-80 percent of the population cast a blank vote into the ballot box so as to send a signal to the government that the people of BiH are tired of politics that are based on nationalism as was the case for the past 20 years.

“BiH može spasiti samo vladavina stručnjaka”. Radio Slobodna Evropa. accessed February 2, 2012.

“Pakova poziva IZ u BiH da osudi vehabizam”. Politika Online. accessed February 10, 12.


In light of the Serbian governments crackdown of individuals with dissenting views as to how policies ought to be conducted, Radio Slobodna Evropa discussed if politics carried out during the 1990’s are once again prevalent with historian Dubravka Stojanivić and writer Vladimir Arsenijević. In question are the minister of interior Ivica Dačić’s dismissal of the director of Serbia’s national library; the government’s blind eye toward hooligan movements; the involvement of Serbia’s recently appointed chief of the army Ljubiša Diković in crimes carried out in Kosovo, etc. Stojanović suggested that Serbia indeed never parted from the 1990’s and that this fact is especially noticeable in Serbia’s development of its national policy, or lack thereof; economic questions and political progress. Arsenijević adds that during the 1990’s, there was at least strong opposition to the Milošević regime as people demonstrated against the destruction of Vukovar, Dubrovnik and Sarajevo. Now, says Arsenijević, there seems to be a consensus about some sort of sacred innocence of Serbia. Answering to the question whether the above actions have to be analyzed in terms of the upcoming elections, Stojanović stated that Serbia is yet fighting an enemy, imagined or otherwise. If there is no external enemy, the leadership will find an internal enemy as became clear with the dismissal of the director of Serbia’s national library Sreten Ugričić. Then, added Stojanović, the media will focus on that enemy and make said story number one priority until another scapegoat turns up.

“Vraća li se Srbija u devedesete”. Radio Slobodna Evropa. accessed February 12, 12.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Muamer Zukorlić, mufti of the Islamic Community (IS) of Sandžak, Serbia, pronounced late January the coming of the month of unity and amnesty for those that have split form the IZ. Zukorlić asked for his invitation to be understood as sincere and sent in god faith so as to remedy the damage brought on to the Islamic community of Serbia and all Muslims resident in the greater area. Zukorlić appealed to those willing to accept the invitation stating there will be no additional administrative, nor any other conditions levied against those willing to accept the amnesty. However, Zukorlić made sure to clarify that extending amnesty for the service of reconciliation of the IZ in Serbia does not mean abstention from creating a parallel Islamic Community in Serbia. The mufti added that negotiations that were initiated by Turkey brought to light interesting and important facts while not having specified said information. At any rate, Zukorlić explained that the rancor between the two IZ’s in Serbia cannot be resolved at once while the final results regarding negotiations between Ankara, Novi Pazar and Belgrade are as of yet pending. Zukorlić further expressed his relieve that Turkey and Serbia cannot ignore and demonize Sandžak any longer adding that recognizing said fact is a great step forward. Zukorlić also reaffirmed his view by which Serbia’s government was/is involved in separating the IZ as was proven by the involvement of Serbian top officials during the negotiations. This, so Zukorlić, is contrary to previous statements as the government likened its regret regarding the Muslim community’s division, having had nothing to do with the matters of Sandžak. Now, said Zukorlić, ‘they’ are suddenly sorry. The problem, said Zukorlić, is created politically and it must be solved by way of political avenues. The coming elections, added Zukorlić, will be telling and open the eyes of Ankara and Belgrade.

In response to the above-mentioned amnesty offered by Zukorlić, regional analysts do not consider the proposal appropriate, as it constitutes more of an ultimatum than amnesty. Živica Tucić, analyst for questions pertaining to religious matters, stated that extending amnesty to somebody does imply a dialogue and rapprochement between the two Islamic Communities that have been divided since 2007. To be sure, Tucić deems it right for Zukorlić to wish for peace within the Islamic Community, however, says Tucić, such harmony cannot be achieved by posing ultimatums. Mirko Đorđević, conversely, believes that problems faced by the Islamic Community of Serbia are a creation of political origin and should thus be resolved by way of political avenues. Tucić pointed to the possible failure of the dialogue though nobody had made an official statement regarding the success or failure thereof. At any rate, says Tucić, somebody in the Turkish foreign ministry could have made an announcement as Turkey proposed to mediate in the matters of the IZ simply on the basis of goodwill. Tucić believes that, should the mediation process have failed, Turkey should by no means be encouraged to repeat its efforts. Meanwhile the mufti too appears tight-lipped regarding the outcome of the meeting. Tucić thus recalled Zukorlić’s statement by which history will be the judge regarding the matters of the Islamic Community of Serbia, adding, however, that history will judge Zukorlić, as well as his opponents too. He further believes that seeking to solve the conundrum by way of political involvement is unwise as politics and religion ought to remain separated. Tucić thus advises the Serbian government to remain on the sidelines while offering “good services” so that the question can be resolved successfully. Đorđević meanwhile believes that the problems faced by the IZ ought to be resolved by way of political involvement while he does share Tucić’s sentiment about the failed dialogue that has been mediated by Turkey. Đurđević, however, finds the reason for the failed mediation in the states differing values as Turkeys constitution divides religion and state. Also, Đurđević does not believe that Zukorlić’s extension of amnesty was appropriate as the mufti does not posses the right to pardon anybody. The only way for the IZ to find common ground, says Đurđević, is through dialogue between Muamer Zukorlić and Adem Zilkić, as well as their respective successors. Đorđević further pointed toward the differing nature of the two IZ’s by which Zilkić’s community recognizes Serbia as her home state while Zukorlić’s does not. Zukorlić instead follows the spiritual guidance of Mustafa Cerić, the Reis ul Ulama of BiH. Adem Zilkić has as of yet, and is likely not to embrace the amnesty.

Rasim Ljajić, minister for labour and social affairs, in response to Esad Džudžević’s Bošnjačko Nacionalno Vijeće (BNV) draft, stated that the rights of Bosniaks resident in Serbia are not compromised. Ljajić stated that the problems Bosniak citizens face are the same ones Serbian citizens face. These problems relate to poverty and generally low socioeconomic statuses while rights of identity are respected in accordance with international laws. The problems listed by the BNV, so Ljaić, ought to be resolved by systemic changes while internationalizing them will not relieve any of the issues.

Džudžević’s efforts where also rejected by Muamer Zukorlić who stated his rejection of the BNV headed by Džudžević. Zukorlić explained that he does not recognize the technical mandate by the BNV that has been elected during the last elections and has been recognized by the government. By recognizing the BNV, the government simply seeks to obstruct and overshadow the BNV’s efforts, said Zukorlić. This comes after the BNV’s drafting of a document that requested for the rights of Bosniaks to be accepted. However, Zukorlić expressed satisfaction that Džudžević, who according to Zukorlić is Ugljanin’s mouthpiece, adjusted his rhetoric to what sounds like Zukorlić’s own he employed two years ago. Then, as Zukorlić explained, he was deemed to disturb the peace. Zukorlić thus said that the declaration was “not bad” while pointing toward the yet missing status of the Sandžak area in addition to the Bosniaks status in the Serb constitution.

In the upcoming elections, according to Muamer Zukorlić, citizens will have two political options: One is voting for the Sandžak while the other option is Belgrade. Zukorlić, however, is sure that Bosniaks will choose Sandžak and predicts a win of 70%. It came as no surprise, so Zukorlić, that the Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDPS) and the founder of Sandžak’s Democratic Party Rasim (SDP) Ljajić joined forces with Sulejman Ugljanin’s Democratic Action Party of Sandžak (SDA). Zukorlić suggested that Ljajić’s and Ugljanin’s collaboration came by Belgrade’s command in the face of Zukorlić who, according to himself, poses a threat to the establishment. Zukorlić then called on all individuals in support for the right of Sandžaklias to join the Sandžak Democratic Community (SDZ) that has formed in 2010. Asked about possible fraud during the upcoming election, Zukorlić answered that votes have been rigged before while, at any rate, no more than 10% of the votes can be stolen. Thus, so Zukorlić, the SDZ will still be left with 60% of the overall votes. Zukorlić again asserted that he is not interested in secession but simply in “speaking the truth”. Zukorlić concluded his interview by reprimanding the analysts who suggested his amnesty to be an ultimatum.

“Zukorlić odbacuje Džudževićevu deklaraciju”. Politika Online. Accessed January 30, 2012.

“Zukorlić: Pobede Sandžačka opcija”. B92. Accessed January 31, 2012.

“Rasim Ljajic: Prava Bošnjaka nisu ugrožena”. Sandžačke Novine. Accessed January 29, 2012.

“Analitičari: Zukorlićev poziv je ultimatum”. Mondo. Accessed January 29, 2012.

“Zukorlić: Bratski pružimo ruku pomirenja”. Blic. Accessed January 28, 2012.

Bosna i Herzegovina (BiH)

Darko Trifunović, head of the anti terrorism and organized crime team of Southeast Europe issued a statement announcing that training of radical Islamists was a daily occurrence in Bosnia. Likeminded individuals, says Trifunović, meet under the guise of friendship and recreation in gym halls across the city of which the greatest number – about ten – are located within the city herself. There are allegedly three more “training camps” located in the municipalities of Zenica and Tuzla. Trifunović contends there is a network of 30 such camps in the Federation of BiH. Trifunović pointed toward the existence of recordings that illustrate the training of young men for combat in urban areas adding that one year prior to the attack on the school in Beslan, the team was in possession of recordings exposing young men training for terroristic actions in a school. Trifunović considers BiH a dangerous territory for the training of radical individuals adding that plots to carry out terrorist attacks haven been planned and performed in BiH. However, laments Trifunović, the U.S. government understands these occurrences to be isolated cases rather than regular activity. In extrapolating on the possible gravity of the situation, Trifunović points toward Sulejman Talanović, a citizen from BiH, who in Salt Lake City attacked U.S. citizens. This incident too, says Trifunović, was understood to be an isolated incident by the U.S. administration while in Trifunović’s assessment, the group is well organized and criminal. Trifunović ruminates the group may be supported by the state department and officials who work ‘there’, adding that these people’s career’s depend on the crisis in BiH.

“U BiH obučavaju islamiste u salama za fizičko”. Vesti Online. accessed January 28, 2012.