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. http://www.danas.rs/dodaci/sandzak/mladi_spona_izmedju_srbije_i_turske.42.html?news_id=234640
“Zukorlić: Sever Crne Gore Je Južni Sandžak”. RTS. Accessed February 23, 2012. http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/11/Region/1050162/Zukorlić%3A+Sever+Crne+Gore+je+južni+Sandžak.html
“Aida Ćorović: Muftija Zukorlić kopa rovove između Bošnjaka i Srba”. Sandžačke novine. Accessed February 20, 2012. http://www.sandzacke.rs/info/intervju/aida-corovic-muftija-zukorlic-kopa-rovove-izmedu-bosnaka-i-Srba
“Šovinističku graffiti u Prijepolju”. B92. Accessed February 22, 2012. http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2012&mm=02&dd=22&nav_id=584645
“Ne prihvatam da se glavne ulice zovu po Stefanu Nemanju ili Karađorđevu”. Aladin. Accessed February 21, 2012. http://vesti.aladin.info/2012-02021/1035603-zukorlic:-ne-prihvatam-da-se-glavne-ulice-zovu-po-stefanu-nemanji-ili-karadjordju
“Zukorlić pričom o atentatu opravda svoju paravojnu formaciju”. SMedia. Accessed February 21, 2012. http://www.smedia.rs/vesti/vesti/87051/#
“Zukorlić: Za slučaj da me ubiju…” B92. Accessed February 2, 2012. http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2012&mm=02&dd=21&nav_category=12&nav_id=584265
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. http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2012&mm=02&dd=23&nav_category=167&nav_id=585216
“I Bosni se može dogoditi “Grčka””. B92. Accessed February 20, 2012. http://www.b92.net/biz/vesti/region.php?yyyy=2012&mm=02&dd=20&nav_id=584148
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. http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/9/Politika/1051584/Srbija+nije+priznala+Kosovo.html
“Država Srbija de fakto priznala Kosovo”. Vesti online. accessed February 24, 2012 http://www.vesti-online.com/Vesti/Srbija/205424/Drzava-Srbija-de-facto-priznala-Kosovo