The Balkan Muslims and the Muslims of Eastern Europe have faced many trials and tribulations over the years. Their communities have been targeted for systematic destruction several times.
Recently, I came across the interesting work and writings of Ćamil Jusuf Avdić, a pioneering Muslim scholar in America, in a nice volume called: “A Heritage of East & West: The Writings of Imam Ćamil Jusuf Avdić.”
In the process of reading some of the his writings I encountered a shocking fact that hitherto I have not read before. It relates to the destruction and murder of 200,000 Bosnian Muslims during World War II. I reproduce below selected passages dealing with the crimes perpetrated by the Četniks and their leader, General Draža Mihailović.
“The Četniks were paramilitary, pan-Serbian units, whose duty, in the beginning, was for the struggle against the Turks, and afterwards against all Muslims in the Balkans, as well as against Croats and Bulgars, Hungarians and Germans. They were both national and religious fanatics. Colonel Mihailović was promoted by King Peter to the rank of general and minister of war to the Yugoslav government in exile. This title and post was a reward for his ‘heroic’ exploits against Muslim children, women and old men, as we shall see. The Western Allies also raised him to the rank of a ‘hero’ due to the propaganda of the Yugoslav government-in-exile. We shall prove here through objective argument what the real plans and actions of this man were, and against whom the Četniks were directed. Firstly the order du jour of Draža Mihailović issued on the 20th December 1941, No. 370, wherein he stated the need to, ‘Create a common frontier between Serbia and Montenegro by cleaning the district of the Sandžak of Novi Pazar of its Muslims, and ridding Bosnia-Hercegovina of all Muslims and Catholics.’
Following this declaration Mihailović let loose his force of Četniks to put into execution his orders. Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandžak became a hell for the unarmed and abandoned Muslim masses. More than 200,000 were killed in a most inhuman and horrible manner; villages and hamlets became graveyards; thousands and thousands of refugees fled to Sarajevo and other great cities.” (p.52-55)