Bosnia's mufti urges authorities to act after Islamist threat

24.02.2016

Bosnia's Muslim religious leader Husein Kavazovic urged authorities on Tuesday to act after he was threatened by a presumed Islamic State group member following his denunciation of Islamist extremism.

"The Islamic community of Bosnia takes seriously threats... to (Bosnia's) Muslims and the Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic," a statement released from his office read. "We hope that the state's institutions will take up this issue," the statement continued.

The appeal was issued after some local media broadcast a video of a Bosnian-speaking man in front of an Islamic State flag threatened to "cut the throat" of Kavazovic, adding that the "mujaheddin are coming to Bosnia."

According to public broadcaster FTV, the man is Bosnian Muslim Amir Selimovic who joined jihadists in Syria in 2014. Bosnia's security minister Dragan Mektic said the authorities were taking the threats "seriously."

"We are taking and will take additional security measures" to protect Kavazovic, Mektic told reporters.

After the November terror attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, Kavazovic repeatedly denounced Islamic extremism and radicalisation among Bosnian Muslims, who make up 40 percent of the Balkan country's 3.8 million people. Five days after the French attacks two Bosnian soldiers were killed in Sarajevo in a suspected Islamist attack.

A college of Bosnian muftis announced in December it would integrate into the nation's official Muslim community some 60 "illegal" places of worship that were believed to attract radical Muslims and serve as jihad recruiting centres. Out of some 200 Bosnian citizens who have joined jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, at least 26 have been killed, but some 50 have returned home, according to authorities.    (AFP)

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