Alija Izetbegovic: Islamist Nationalist or Secular Kemalist?

Alija Izetbegovic was invited in 1993 by the U.S. government through the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum along with Milan Kucan and Franjo Tudjman to attend the opening ceremony. Amid controversy and outrage, Tudjman attended, as did Kucan. Yet Izetbegocvic did not attend, although invited. The U.S. Holocaust Museum and the U.S. State Department were the strongest and most vocal backers of his allegedly secular, pluralist, Kemalist, multi-ethnic regime. Why did Izetbegovic not attend? Why did he snub the Holocaust Museum? Was Izetbegovic a Holocaust denier, a Balkans genocide denier?

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Was Alija Izetbegovic a secular, Kemalist Muslim or was he a radical Islamist ultra-nationalist?

The list of those who attended the opening of the U.S. Holocaust Museum on April 21, 1993:

President Zhelyu Zhelev Bulgaria Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-22, 1993 President Vaclav Havel Czech Republic Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-22, 1993 President Lech Walesa Poland Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-23, 1993 President Michal Kovac Slovakia Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 19-23, 1993 President Ion Iliescu Romania Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-22, 1993 President Arpad Goncz Hungary Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-22, 1993 President Mario Alberto Lopes Soares Portugal Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 18-22, 1993 President Franjo Tudjman Croatia Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 21-22, 1993 President Chaim Herzog Israel Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-22, 1993 President Milan Kucan Slovenia Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-22, 1993 Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi Albania Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21.
April 20-22, 1993 Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli Moldova Attended dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and met with President Clinton on April 21

Tudjman and Kucan attended from the former Yugoslavia. The leaders of Serbia and Montenegro were not invited. Even the Prime Minister of Moldova attended. But Izetbegovic did not. Why?

We have to recall that, contray to U.S. inforwar techniques and a massive media propaganda campaign in the West, Izetbegovic was a militant, radical, ultra-nationalistic Islamic leader who was anti-secular, anti-Ataturk in his world outlook or worldview. Izetbegovic was first and foremost an Islamist, an Islamist ultra-nationalist. A Bosnian Muslim government delegation to Iran in 1993 when Izetbegovic visited Tehran even placed a wreath on the grave of Ayatollah Khomeini. 

Izetbegovic calculated the risks and benefits of attending the opening of the Holocaust Museum. He might gain some PR in the U.S. with Jewish groups but he would alienate his hardcore backers and supporters, which included Ossama bin Laden, the Arab-Afghan mujahedin who were fighting in his secular army, and his Al Qaeda and Iranian backers. Iran was his chief backer during the 1992-1995 civil war. He did a cost analysis and decided not to show up. No reporter ever asked the obvious: Why didn’t Izetbegovic show up for the opening of the Holocaust Museum? This was such an obvious and simple question. Yet no one asked it because to do so would undermine the propaganda construct that the U.S. and other Western governments and the media created of Izetbegovic.

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Separation of Religion and the State?: Bosnian Muslim military ceremony conducted with Islamic prayer services.

It is a no brainer. We have supposedly a new Holocaust in Bosnia with all the attendant images from World War II of concentration camps, refugees, executions, and genocide. And yet the leader of the Bosnian Muslim “victims” snubs the opening of the Holocaust Museum, the source for his genocide paradigm. Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) coined the term “genocide” in 1944 in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation – Analysis of Government – Proposals for Redress to describe the mass murder of European Jews during World War II. In developing the legal concept of genocide, Lemkin had researched the massacres and mass murders committed by Muslim Ottoman Turkish troops against Armenian Christians in 1915, known subsequently as the Armenian Genocide.

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Members of the Mladi Muslimani (Young Muslims) circa 1943 wearing the Ottoman Turkish fez which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had outlawed in the 1925 Hat Law for secular Muslim Turks.

Why did Izetbegovic not attend the opening of the Holocaust Museum? Was it because he was not able to? Izetbegovic did visit the U.S. on Septemner 8, 1993 and met with U.S. President Bill Clinton to discuss U.S. support for his faction in the Bosnian civil war. But he did not make a visit on April 21, when the Holocaust Museum opened, although invited.

People forget now that in the Muslim and Arab world, Izetbegovic was portrayed as this anti-Western radical, a militant Muslim leader fighting for Islam and for an Islamic state. In the U.S. and the West, he was seen in an opposite light, as a secular, moderate, multi-ethnic, pluralist and “democratic” leader fighting for a secular state on the model of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Turkey. So we had two contradictory pictures of Izetbegovic. Which picture or image of Izetbegovic was the correct one? The answer to that question depends on who you ask and what sources you rely on, it depends on which “narrative” you select. It becomes an epistemological issue.

The U.S. State Department told the Museum who to invite. No Serb leaders were invited because Serbs were seen as the “enemy” while the Bosnian Muslims, Croatia, and Slovenia were clients, proxies, and allies, the “good guys”. U.S. foreign policy relies on overly simplistic, black and white, Manichean scenarios. Whoever is perceived to advance U.S. geopolitical and economic and military interests is a “good guy” while those who in some way hinder U.S. interests are perceived as “bad guys”. Anyone who opposed the Serbs was a “good guy”. Indeed, the U.S. was sponsoring Croatia, Slovenia, and Izetbegovic’s Muslim-dominated Bosnia-Hercegovina as “fledgling democracies”.

The criteria the State Deptment used are bogus. Holocaust Museum officials admitted that they asked for advice on which leaders had been “democratically elected” in Eastern Europe making its invitations. Of course, the State Department listed all those leaders who were proxies, clients, and allies of the U.S. Only U.S. proxies were “democratically elected”. Adolf Hitler was “democratically elected” too. That doesn’t mean that he should be invited to the Holocaust Museum. Slobodan Milosevic was also democratically elected. All the leaders in the former Yugoslavia were. It is a bit of obfuscation. All the State Deptment had to say was that Tudjman was invited because he was a proxy and a client of the U.S., that he was an “ally”. The whole “democratically elected” jargon is just nonsense. 

 It is ironic that Milan Kucan was saved by the Nazis during the Holocaust by the Serbs and by Serbia. During the Holocaust, Kucan and his family along with 58,000 other Slovenes fled from Slovenia and escaped to Milan Nedich’s Serbia where they found refuge from the Nazis. This is a remarkable fact. Slovenes were fleeing to Serbia to escape Nazi persecution.

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What is censored by the mainstream U.S. media: Alija Izetbegovic with Arab-Afghan mujahedeen troops including Al-Qaeda volunteers.

What is censored by the mainstream U.S. media: Alija Izetbegovic with Arab-Afghan mujahedeen troops including Al-Qaeda volunteers.

Could Izetbegovic’s background as a radical Islamist, an Muslim ultra-nationalist, have a bearing on his decision not to attend the opening ceremony for the Holocaust Museum? What did Izetnegovic do during the Holocaust, during World War II? His role during the Holocaust is meticulously and scupulously censored and covered-up in the U.S. and in the West. No one seems to know or care about this missing chapter in his biography. It is a blank. What do we know about this period?

Izetbegovic was a member during the Holocaust of the radical, ultra-nationalist Mladi Muslimani (Young Muslims) movement, an Islamist organization that he joined circa 1940. He is usually regarded as the co-founder of the Mladi Muslimani. But who were the Mladi Muslimani? What were the policies and ideology of the Young Muslims?

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What does this photograph tell us about Bosnian Muslim history during the Holocaust? Nothing according to Marko Attila Hoare and Oliver Kamm. As Sgt. Schultz used to say on Hogan's Heroes: "I see nothing. I hear nothing. Nothing!"

What does this photograph tell us about Bosnian Muslim history during the Holocaust? Nothing according to Marko Attila Hoare and Oliver Kamm. As Sgt. Schultz used to say on Hogan’s Heroes: “I see nothing. I hear nothing. Nothing!”

Do not read what Serbs have written. Read what Bosnian Muslims have written about the Mladi Muslimani. In the Sarajevo newspaper Dani from June 18, 1999, in the article “Bosniaks Under the Control of Panislamists”, by Xavier Bougarel in a translation to Bosnian by Zijad Imamovic, the Mladi Muslimani organization was explained:

“The roots of the Bosnian Panislamic faction go all the way back to the 1930s and the founding of the organization named ‘Mladi Muslimani’ [Muslim Youth]. During WWII, these ‘Mladi Muslimani’ advocated the idea of autonomous Bosnia-Hercegovina under German patronage, and some of them joined ‘Handzar’ SS division established at the initiative of the Jerusalem mufti Amin el-Huseyni. Banned by the new Communist authorities, ‘Mladi Muslimani’ continued to work in secret with the goal of establishing a common state for all Muslims in the Balkans, similar to Pakistan on the Indian sub-continent.”

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The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, a Palestinian Muslim and self-proclaimed religious and political leader of the Arab and Muslim world, reviewing the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar with Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, the SS commander of the division, in Germany in 1943.

The article in Dani concedes that the Mladi Muslimani sought “autonomy” for Bosnia under the “patronage” of Nazi Germany, under the patronage of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, who was a major backer of Bosnian Muslim autonomy and separatism. Second, the article admits that “some of them joined” the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division “Handzar”. The Mladi Muslimani organization thus was “collaborationist” and “collaborated” with the Nazis. This is an important admission.

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Bosnian Muslim religious leaders and protesters at an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rally in Zagreb. The sign reads in Bosnian Genocid u Gazi: "Genocide in Gaza."

So far, Marko Attila Hoare and Oliver Kamm have claimed that there is no evidence whatsoever linking Alija Izetbegovic and his organzation to Nazism or fascism or even the Holocaust, even though the Bosnian Muslims formed two Nazi SS Divisions during the Holocaust. Clearly then, the Mladi Muslimani were leaning towards Nazi Germany, rejecting the Ustasha regime because it did not support Bosnian Muslim “autonomy” and Bosnian Muslim nationalism sufficiently enough. Ustasha Poglavnik Ante Pavelic supported Bosnian Muslim autonomy but so long as Bosnian Muslims acknowledged that they were ethnically Croats and subordinated their identity to Croatian nationalism.

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The cover of the untranslated and suppressed history of the Bosnian Muslim 13th Nazi SS Division by Bosnian Muslim historian Enver Redzic. The politically incorrect history of World War II and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Is this the only evidence that exists for uncovering the role of the Mladi Muslimani during the Holocaust? If so, Marko Attila Hoare can easily pooh-pooh and dismiss this evidence. There is other evidence. In the landmark book Muslimansko autonomastvo i 13. SS divizija – Autonomija BiH i Hitlerov Treci Rajh published in 1987 by Svjetlost in Sarajevo, Bosnian Muslim historian Enver Redzic explained the role of the Mladi Muslimani on page 215:

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Censored and suppressed Bosnian Muslim anti-Semitism: Bosnian Muslim graffiti in Mostar, Bosnia-Hercegovina in Bosnian reads Ubij Zidova: "Kill a Jew." There is also a Nazi swastika and a Star of David. Is it an instance of Bosnian Muslim "extremism" or does it demonstrate a "worldview"?

Is this the only evidence that exists for uncovering the role of the Mladi Muslimani during the Holocaust? If so, Marko Attila Hoare can easily pooh-pooh and dismiss this evidence. There is other evidence. In the landmark book Muslimansko autonomastvo i 13. SS divizija – Autonomija BiH i Hitlerov Treci Rajh published in 1987 by Svjetlost in Sarajevo, Bosnian Muslim historian Enver Redzic explained the role of the Mladi Muslimani on page 215:

“The Germans were satisfied that they had one miltant group for support in the organization ‘Mladi Muslimani’. On the other hand, the Mladi Muslimani found in the German occupiers not only the proper ideological-politicxal outlook but also as a source for weapons. From one Ustasha source, Mladi Musilimani in Sarajevi had 400 guns. All of the weapons they had were of German origin. 
 
 “What united the Mladi Muslimani and the Germans was the idea of the autonomy of Bosnia-Hercegovina. The Ustasha saw autonomy as the greatest danger to the existence of the NDH. The Germans, however, offered autonomy. This idea of autonmy thus united the Mladi Muslimani and the German occupiers as best serving their own interests. Islamic and Nazi German fanaticism were united in this objective.”

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Bosnian Muslim historian Enver Redzic. He wrote the politically incorrect history of Bosnia during World War II.

Redzic corroborates the Dani article in acknowledging that the Mladi Muslimani organization, which Izetbegovic co-founded, was in many respects allied and oriented with Nazi Germany and thus with Adolf Hitler and with Nazism.

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Censored Bosnian Muslim anti-Semitism: Graffiti on a wall in Mostar, Bosnia-Hercegovina reads in Bosnian Ubij Zidova, "Kill a Jew". There is also a Star of David equals a "U" depiction, equating Israel with the genocidal Ustasha regime of World War II, which was led not only by Croats, but also included Bosnian Muslims in the leadership.

 The Vice-President of the Ustasha NDH was a Bosnian Muslim, Dzafer Kulenovic.

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The Islamic Declaration Trial, 1983: Alija Izetbegovic, second from left, was tried and convicted in Sarajevo of seeking to create a pure Muslim state in Bosnia and for inciting racial, ethnic, and religious hatred. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, serving five years of his sentence.

Not surprisingly, Redzic’s history of the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division “Handzar” has remained untranslated into English. It remains an obscure and ignored history book. Why is that? Does it make sense? With a media obsession with all things relating to the Holocaust and genocide, why censor and suppress an account of the real Holocaust in Bosnia itself written by a Bosnian Muslim historian? Why can’t the Marko Attila Hoares and Oliver Kamms spin doctor this history away? Why are Hoare and Kamm engaged in self-denial and self-repression? Why can’t they examine the evidence? Not even Marko Attila Hoare or Oliver Kamm can explain away a Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division. That type of legerdemain is best left to the Jamie Sheas and James Rubins of the world. Franjo Tudjman’s historical opus, his masterpiece, also remains ignored and neglected in the so-called West. No one is interested. No one wants to translate it into English, although an expurgated and Bowdlerized version did appear. Alija Izetbegovic’s magnus opus, The Islamic Declaration (1970, republished in Sarajeo in 1990), remains neglected and ignored. Why is this? Although English translations do exist, they are marginal and difficult to obtain. The mainstream media and the so-called historians shun it like a plague. It is censored and covered-up by the mainstream. As if self-denial and self-repression and self-delusion aided in our understanding of history. Hoare and Kamm would have us better understand history by burying our heads in the sand. Or by watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus reruns. Turn off the TV and open up a book, preferably The Islamic Declaration (1970, rep. 1990) by Alija Izetbegovic, Muslim Autonomy and the 13th SS Division (1987) by Enver Redzic, and Wasteland: Historical Truth (1988) by Franjo Tudjman. It is remarkable that these important books remain untranslated and unknown in the U.S. and the West. These writings will reveal and explain who the real Holocaust and genocide deniers are. And that is why they remain censored and covered-up.