News 24 Aug 12

Serbia To Remove Bosniak’s WW2 Leader Plaque

The Serbian Ministry of Justice has instructed the municipality of Novi Pazar to remove the plaque dedicated to the Second World War Bosniak community leader Acif Hadziahmetovic.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

According to Veljko Odalovic, the government’s state secretary, the deadline for the removal of the plaque that stirred controversy in Serbia is 30 days.

  Who was Acif Hadziahmetovic?

Acif Hadziahmetovic (1887 – 1945) was appointed by Nazi Germany in April 1941 as the head of the town of Novi Pazar which later during the war acted as part of the “greater Albania”.

In Bosniak literature, he was perceived as “the saviour of the Muslims from the Chetniks,” while the official Serbian history treats him as a traitor and ally of Nazi Germany, and is responsible for killing a number of Serbs and other non-Muslims. 

When the partisans freed the town of Novi Pazar from Nazi Germany and their allies in January 1945, Hadziahmetovic was killed, together with a number of others who were viewed as collaborating with the occupiers.

On August 4, at the initiative of the Bosniak National Council and the Party of the Democratic Action, SDA, a plaque dedicated to Hadziahmetovic was placed on the house where he resided during WWII in Novi Pazar, the main town in the predominantly Bosniak populated southwest Sandzak region.

Officials in Belgrade condemned the event describing it as “an act of celebrating fascism,” conversely, the Bosniak leaders view Hadziahmetovic as “the legitimate leader of the Bosniaks.”

The Serbian government decided to initiate the removal of the memorial plaque explaining that controversial historic events should not jeopardize good inter-ethnic relations.

As a response, the Bosniak National Council called on the Serbian authorities to first remove monuments dedicated to Chetniks across Serbia before they embark on removing  the plaque dedicated to Hadziahmetovic.

 

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