Bosnian commentary condemns Islamic leader for understating Israeli "crimes"
BBC Worldwide Monitoring - August 2, 2006, Wednesday

Text of commentary by Senad Pecanin entitled "Mustafa Ceric" published by Bosnian newspaper Dani on 28 July

If there is any doubt that for decades now, Israelis have pulled off a systemic and systematic eradication of the Palestinians in their Palestinian homeland, all the while terrorizing the entire Middle East, one need only read the sermon given last Friday [21 July] by Mustafa Ceric, the religious leader of Bosnia-Hercegovina Muslims.

Even as the entire civilized world, aside from the United States and Tony Blair, is appalled by the massive Israeli crimes in Lebanon and Gaza, the Bosnia-Hercegovina reisu-l-ulema "led the prayers at the Gazi Husrevbegova mosque in Sarajevo", after which he gave a sermon. In it, according to Dnevni avaz, he "called on the world to stop the war in the Middle East" and to "end the suffering of innocent civilians in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel". He then expressed to the assembled worshippers his disappointment with the "lethargic conscience of humanity", which cannot be awakened even by "the hundreds of bombs dropped on Lebanon and Gaza, nor by the hundreds of rockets fired at Israel".

Ceric also explained to the worshippers "no one has a greater right, or obligation, than we in Sarajevo to raise our voices against the bombardment of Beirut and the rocket attacks against Haifa, because we know best what it means to live in a city under siege, without water and food, without electricity and defences against shells".

Precisely because they experienced first-hand the full hypocrisy of the international "appeals for an end to the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina", the equation of the bloodthirsty aggressor with the helpless victim, and the shameless lies about a balance of military power and a balance of victims among the "belligerents" - for that very reason it is incumbent on Sarajevans most of all to be ashamed of Reis Ceric's quoted sermon. Dear God, just look at Ceric's Handke-like lie [reference to German left-wing playwright Peter Handke] when he talks about "hundreds of rockets fired at Israel", just look at how he says nothing about how one of the most militarily powerful machines in the world has been criminally laying waste to one of the world's most powerless states for days now, how the powerful Israeli Air Force is sowing crimes against hospitals, schools, homes, refugee camps and convoys in Lebanon and Gaza. How is it that Ceric has no fear of God, if he feels no shame towards Sarajevans?

His Unprofor [UN Protection Force] vocabulary in describing the latest Israeli crimes, and at a time when that has been abandoned even by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, offers an answer to the question posed at the beginning of this text. As long as Muslims around the world are represented by leaders who are more concerned with how their positions will please the local US ambassador than with the truth, the various extremist-terrorist movements in the Muslim world need not worry about recruiting new members. But Reis Ceric has no reason to worry either: with his latest sermon, he buttressed his candidacy as a global Muslim leader tailored to US-British policies, and he ensured that he will receive further invitations to important conferences about which Dnevni avaz will inform us on its front page. And he showed that the great international recognition that he recently accepted came from the right hands - those of Henry Kissinger.

Source: Dani, Sarajevo, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 28 Jul 06 p 7

Copyright 2006 British Broadcasting Corporation
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