We here present the commentary of the Rijaset [Administration] of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Hercegovina on the article by our friend and colleague Prof. Rešid Hafizović regarding the Wahhabi danger, titled They Are Coming for Our Children and listed in CIP WahhabiWatch, dated November 25, 2006.
We further note that principals associated with the Center for Islamic Pluralism have been publicly identified with the Bosnian struggle for freedom, as well as the newspaper Oslobođenje, for more than a decade.
With many selams
Center for Islamic Pluralism
Washington, DC, USA
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STATEMENT OF RIJASET
[ADMINISTRATION] OF THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY
(I.C.) OF BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA
ON THE TEXT OF REŠID HAFIZOVIĆ
Sarajevo, November 26, 2006.
On the publication of a text in the daily paper Oslobođenje with the title "They Are Coming For Our Children," in a section titled "Perspective," on November 25, 2006, issue no. 336, page 2, which was signed by Rešid Hafizović, professor of aqida [Islamic theological doctrine] at the Faculty of Studies of the Islamic Community (I.C.) of Bosnia-Hercegovina, the Rijaset (Office of Reis ul-Ulema Mustafa efendija Cerić) of the I.C. has issued the following statement:
"The Rijaset of the I.C. is surprised by the undue rhetoric used by Prof. Rešid Hafizović, in his analysis of certain concepts and phenomena in Islamic history, such as the concept of 'Wahhabis.'
"The Rijaset of the Islamic Community respects the academic freedom of the muderris (religious teacher), professors and instructions, but it condemns inappropriate characterizations of any Muslim source of guidance. It is inappropriate that an aqida professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the I.C. calls anyone, and not to mention the Imam Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, 'a lunatic from Najd.' Nor is it in the spirit of Islamic morals and the Bosnian Islamic tradition.
"Prof. Rešid Hafizović has the right of freedom of mind and speech, but he does not have the right to spread wrong information. It is wrong to say, and even more wrong to write: 'They (Wahhabis) are coming to take our children… to take a blood tax [devshirme in the Hafizović text, i.e. the Ottoman youth levy – CIP].' It has to be said truthfully and it needs to be written clearly: They are not 'coming to take our children…to take a blood tax.'" It is known who is coming to take our children and to take such a tax. At the same time, it has to be known that they are not in our "executive, academic, religious institutions: in our mosques, in our medresas, our academies, everywhere." And one more thing, they did not commit the massacres in Srebrenica and throughout our country. It is well known who did.
"The Rijaset of the I.C. condemns the inappropriate characterizations by Prof. Rešid Hafizović regarding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which immensely helped our country and our people when we were most in need. It is not in the spirit of academic dignity, or in the spirit of a Bosnian upbringing to make blanket judgments about anybody, and especially about the Saudi king as the custodian of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.
"The Rijaset of the I.C. distances itself from inappropriate characterizations by Prof. Rešid Hafizović and it demands that he respect the working rules of the Islamic Faculty of the I.C. in BH. The Rijaset has issued clear fatwas in 1993 about the duty to respect the Hanafi madhdhab [school of Islamic law] in mektebs (primary schools), mosques, medresas and academies of the I.C., and at its thematic and plenary conference in Lukavac it repeated it once again.
"Two extremes do not make one good. Therefore, the Rijaset of the I.C. will insist on preserving the 'Islamic tradition of the Bosniaks' as a constitutional signifier of the I.C. in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but without insulting anybody and without violence against anybody. According to reports from muftis and deans at our extended session in Lukavac, the Rijaset of the I.C. has assured that there is no mosque, mekteb, medresa, academy or faculty of the I.C. where anything is taught that is opposed to the 'Islamic tradition of Bosniaks.' But, in order to avoid any doubt, the Rijaset has formed commissions which will analyze the spiritual condition of the I.C., with a special focus on programs and textbooks in medresas and faculties.
"The Rijaset of the I.C. calls on imams, khatibs, muderrises and professors to sustain from exaggeration (tefrit) and sloppiness (ifrat) in their work and speech. Not for the first time, our destiny hangs on a wire which is thinner than a hair and sharper than a saber. Because of that, destiny should not be challenged where the wire can break and damage our faith and country. More than ever, today we need a voice of reason and word of wisdom about our inner capacity for tolerance. Any narrow, single-minded attitude is extremely dangerous for us.
"We ask the help of Allah a.s. that we speak sincerely and work correctly!"
– The Islamic Community of Bosnia-Hercegovina
Translation by Center for Islamic Pluralism
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