Thinker and philosopher, humanist and jurist, statesman admired by the East and respected by the West, first president of independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, supreme commander of the Army of the Republic of BiH, lifelong fighter for human rights and freedom. This is how the late Alija Izetbegović is described by country leaders, friends, former colleagues…
“My father Alija Izetbegović was the first democratically elected president of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Reading the literature he left behind and which has been translated into all world languages, you will never find anything that goes against the principles of good or freedom for man,” she said. for Anadolu Alija’s daughter Lejla Akshami.
He is of the opinion that “such of his views came from his deep religious conviction because God has left us the freedom to choose between good and evil”.
“Such an attitude that runs through all his books was recognized by many people in the world and they awarded him prestigious awards, among which I would mention the ‘Democracy Award’ and the ‘Thinker of the Year’ award. That is why I am surprised but also concerned by the fact that nowhere in our school books , teaching programs, at the academic and high school level, there is no content that would scientifically read and study his views without prejudice. I do not mean here only the Bosniak people, I mean all peoples, I think that he treated everyone very broadly and represented the leader of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the world,” said Akšamija.
He believes that he was consistent – he wrote what he thought, and he acted the way he wrote and that way all his life.
“He believed that people of different religions and nations could live together. His decisions were always guided by the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country of all peoples and citizens and that everyone should be who they are and pray to God as their mother did learned theirs,” Akšamija pointed out for Anadolu.
Unfortunately, according to her, his vast experience through two wars and two prisons, then leading the country in a defensive war and those great world awards, did not provide Alija Izetbegović with a positive framework in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Alija Izetbegović was the first president of the Presidency of the internationally recognized Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the supreme commander of the RBiH Army during the 1992-1995 aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He was born on August 8, 1925 in Bosanski Šamac, and died on October 19, 2003 in Sarajevo. He died at the age of 78 from heart failure. He was buried at the Martyrs’ Cemetery “Kovači” in Sarajevo.
He grew up and was educated in Sarajevo, where he graduated from the Faculty of Law. As a legal advisor, he worked in several Sarajevo companies. Due to his political affiliations and actions, he was imprisoned and convicted twice during the former SFR Yugoslavia. In the well-known, politically staged “Sarajevo trial”, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1983, as the first defendant in a group of thirteen Muslim intellectuals.
Alija Izetbegović is the founder of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and at the first founding assembly of the SDA, on May 25, 1990, he became the first president of the party. After the victory of the SDA in the first multi-party parliamentary elections in 1990, Izetbegović was elected the first president of the Presidency of the Republic of BiH.
In the conditions of the disintegration of the former SFR Yugoslavia, the declaration of independence of its republics, the accumulation of weapons and personnel of the former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Izetbegović was one of the supporters of the referendum on the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the referendum, held on February 29 and March 1, 1992, about 64 percent of BiH citizens with the right to vote came out, among whom 99 percent declared for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, after which the Declaration of Independence was adopted in the Assembly of RBiH and followed international recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the turbulent time at the beginning of the 1990s, Izetbegović participated in all activities and discussions aimed at preserving peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the most difficult times of aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina by the former JNA and paramilitary Serbian units, the siege of the capital Sarajevo, Izetbegović remained in the country, together with his people, and very often he himself was in danger.
He was a participant in the peace negotiations in the American Dayton in 1995, which resulted in the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which stopped the four-year war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“This is not a just peace. But it is more just than the continuation of the war. In the situation as it is, in the world as it is, a better peace could not have been achieved,” said Alija Izetbegović just after the signing of the Dayton Agreement.
After the first post-war multi-party elections, in 1996, he was elected a member and then chairman of the BiH Presidency.
After serving ten years as a member of the BiH Presidency, for health reasons, in 2000, he resigned as a member of the BiH Presidency.
Alija Izetbegović is the author of a large number of journalistic works, studies and books that have been translated into several world languages, and Islam and the state of Islamic nations were the focus of his attention. The most famous works are “Islamic Declaration”, “Islam between East and West”, “My Escape to Freedom”… He is the winner of numerous national and international awards for his work promoting democracy, peace and Islam.
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