Mustafa Cerić

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Mustafa Cerić
Cerić in 2012
TitleFormer Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Born (1952-02-05) 5 February 1952 (age 71)
ReligionSunni Islam
Alma materAl-Azhar University
University of Chicago
OccupationWorld Bosniak Congress (2012–present)
Senior posting
Period in office1993 – September 2012
PredecessorJakub Selimoski (as Grand Mufti of Yugoslavia)
SuccessorHusein Kavazović

Mustafa Cerić (Bosnian pronunciation: [mustafaː tserit͡ɕ], born 5 February 1952) is a Bosnian imam who served as the Grand Mufti (Reis-ul-Ulema) of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is currently president of the World Bosniak Congress. He was also a candidate for a Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 2014 general election.

Cerić ensured that Islam is a strong element of Bosniak nationalism and has argued that Bosnia and Herzegovina should become a Bosniak nation state as Croats and Serbs already have their own nation states, Croatia and Serbia.[1]


First Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish leaders in Brussels, December 2010 - left to right: Grand Mufti Mustafa Cerić - European Council President Herman Van Rompuy - Marc Schneier - Abduljalil Sajid

Cerić graduated from the Gazi Husrev-beg Madrasa 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.

Cerić led the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1993. He officially became the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999. He was replaced as reis-ul-ulema in 2012 by Husein Kavazović. In 2011, Cerić was one of the founders of the Bosniak Academy of Sciences and Arts. In December 2012, Cerić was one of the founders of the World Bosniak Congress, and serves as its president.


Cerić meeting Pope John Paul II in Sarajevo in 1997

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.[citation needed] Cerić is also a member of the Committee of Conscience fighting against the Holocaust denial.[2]


He was the co-recipient of the 2003 UNESCO Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize[3] and recipient of the International Council of Christians and Jews Annual Sternberg Award “for exceptional contribution to interfaith understanding."[4] He also received the 2007 Theodor-Heuss-Stiftung award for his contribution to spreading and strengthening democracy."[5]

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.”[6]

He was a 2008 recipient of Eugen Biser Foundation award for his efforts in promoting understanding and peace between Islamic and Christian thought.[7] In 2008, Cerić accepted the invitation of Tony Blair to be on the advisory council of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.[8]


Personal life[edit]

Cerić is fluent in Bosnian, English and Arabic language, and cites a "passive knowledge" of Turkish, German and French language.[9][10][11]

See also[edit]


Other sources[edit]

  • International Crisis Group (26 February 2013). "Bosnia's Dangerous Tango: Islam and Nationalism" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Jakub Selimoski
as Grand Mufti of Yugoslavia
Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Succeeded by