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Alija Izetbegovic

Alija Izetbegovic (born August 8, 1925) was born in Bos Samac, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He attended the University of Sarajevo[?] where he gained a BS in Law. Izetbegovic spent much of his life working as a lawyer, being particularly active in defending the rights of Muslims. He was twice imprisoned by the Communist Yugoslavian government for 'pan-Islamic activity' which included the writing of his highly controversial book "The Islamic Declaration" *.

Izetbegovic helped found with Fikret Abdic the Muslim Party of Democratic Action[?] (SDA). Although Abdic recieved the popular votes from the party base, Izetbegovic took over. In the 1990 elections, the SDA formed a ruling coalition with the Croat nationalist HDZ party. He was elected President and played a leading role in the hardline Bosnian Muslim government during three years of war in this former Yugoslav republic. Fikret Abdic however, established his powerbase in his native Cazinska Krajina in which he established an Autonomous state of Western Bosnia which fought alongside the Serbs against the Sarajevo Muslim government which was viewed as too hardline in its interpretation of Islam. He signed the Dayton Agreement in December 1995 on behalf of the Bosnian Muslim government and was re-elected as President in September 1996. In June 2000, aged 74, Izetbegovic announced his decision to stand down as President of Bosnia. He cited, as one of his reasons for leaving office, that he felt that while the international community was helping to improve things in Bosnia they were achieving it at the expense of the Muslim population which was something that he could not live with.

Izetbegovic is also a published author and his book Islam Between East And West has been a best-seller throughout Europe.

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