Mustafa ef. Cerić at the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo
5 February 1952
Visoko, SR Bosnia, Yugoslavia
|Alma mater||University of Chicago (PhD)|
|Occupation||World Bosniak Congress, Bosniak Academy of Sciences and Arts|
|Religion||Sunni Islam (Hanafi, Maturidi)|
Mustafa Cerić ([mustafaː tserit͡ɕ]), born 5 February 1952) is President of the World Bosniak Congress. He is one of the founders of the Bosniak Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is a Bosnian Muslim cleric and was serving as the Grand Mufti (reisu-l-ulema) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is fluent in Bosnian, English and Arabic, and cites a "passive knowledge" of Turkish, German and French. Cerić is married and has two daughters and a son.
Cerić graduated from the Madresa in Sarajevo and received a scholarship to Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He then returned to Yugoslavia, where he became an Imam. In 1981, he accepted the position of Imam at the Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago (ICC) in Northbrook, Illinois and lived in the United States for several years. During his time in the United States, he learned English and earned a Ph.D. degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago. After his studies, he left the ICC and returned to Yugoslavia and became an Imam again in a learning center in Zagreb in 1987. He officially became the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999, although he has led the Islamic community in Bosnia since 1993, a fact that has sparked controversy in his re-election.
Cerić is a member of several local and international scientific organisations and societies, including the Interreligious Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Foundation of Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery, the Council of 100 Leaders of the World Economic Forum, the European Council for Fatwas and Research, Religion for Peace, the Executive Committee of the European Council of Religious Leaders, the Board of Trustees of International Islamic University Islamabad, the Sharia'h Board of Bosnia Bank International, the Fiqh Academy in Mecca, Aal Albayt Foundation for Islamic Thought in Jordan, the World Council of Religions for Peace, International Commission for Peace Research chaired by Henry Kissinger, UNESCO and the Executive Council of World Forum of Ulama. He has delivered numerous lectures and led several workshops on interreligious and interfaith issues at local and international conferences.
He is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding. Cerić is also a member of the Committee of Conscience fighting against the Holocaust denial.
At his public speeches as the one in 2010 organised by Foundation For Ethnic Understanding he calls for common efforts on behalf of humanity and better understanding between the religious communities.
Cerić is known for having made many controversial comments which have drawn criticism from secular Bosniaks, Serbians and Croatians alike. In May 2009, while visiting a Muslim community in Serbia’s Bosniak-majority Sandžak region bordering Montenegro, Cerić said that no force could separate Muslims in Serbia from those in Bosnia, which he has described as a homeland for Muslims. On 15 August 2009, while conducting Bosnia's first Sharia mass wedding in Zenica, he called for Islamic Sharia law to be incorporated into the Bosnian constitution.
Some have criticised Cerić for what they claim is the glorification of "the Ottomans who ruled the Balkans for six centuries, converting the local Slavic Christian population to Islam." After an International Court of Justice opinion, he said "nobody needs to prove to us nor we need to prove to somebody who planned this, executed it and who did not punish those who committed the genocide." in accusation against Serbia. He added that "We know everything came from Belgrade and we will live with it...because the right way for misunderstandings among people to be solved is the International Court, it said its business and it remains for eternity."
Cerić also sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for The Elijah Interfaith Institute.
He was the co-recipient of the 2003 UNESCO Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize and recipient of the International Council of Christians and Jews Annual Sternberg Award “for exceptional contribution to interfaith understanding." He also received the 2007 Theodor-Heuss-Stiftung award for his contribution to spreading and strengthening democracy." In 2007, he was named the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Muslim Social Scientists UK “in recognition of his distinguished contributions to better understanding between Faiths, outstanding scholarship, for promoting a climate of respect and peaceful co-existence, and a wider recognition of the place of faith in Europe and the West.” He is also a 2008 recipient of Eugen Biser Foundation award for his efforts in promoting understanding and peace between Islamic and Christian thought. In 2008, Cerić accepted the invitation of Tony Blair to be on the advisory council of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
- The challenge of a single Muslim authority in Europe, European View, December 2007, Center for European Studies
- Roots of Synthetic Theology in Islam
- A Choice Between War and Peace
- A Declaration of European Muslims by Reis-ul-Ulama Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Radio Free Europe, 16 March 2006
- Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo
- Committee on Conscience
- Bosnia: Muslim spiritual leader urges more Sharia law - adnkronos, August 17, 2009
- The Elijah Interfaith Institute - Muslim Members of the Board of World Religious Leaders
- Monsignor Etchegaray and the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mustafa Ceric to receive UNESCO's 2003 Félix Houphouët-Boigny peace prize, UNESCO.org
- Dr Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti, Bosnia-Herzegovina addressed a large audience at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies on Wednesday, March 7, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
- Theodor-Heuss-Stiftung, German wikipedia
- Association of Muslim Social Scientists UK
- Mustafi ef. Ceriću nagrada Fondacije „Eugen Bizer“, Infobiro.ba
- Full biography on the website of Faculty of islamic studies in Sarajevo (in Bosnian)
- A Conversation with Dr. Mustafa Ceric
- Qantara.de: Islam in Europe. “Bosnian Islam” as a Model?, November 29, 2007
- Qantara.de: Bosnian Muslims in Germany. Everyday Euro-Islam., May 11, 2007
- Qantara.de: A Dialogue of the Cultures Instead of the Clash of Civilisations, March 17, 2006
- Qantara.de: Interview with Mustafa Ceric. “The West Does Not Want to Share Its Values”., May 6, 2004
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