Quotes by Alija Izetbegović

“Power either corrupts people dangerously or gives corrupt people a chance.“ 

Alija Izetbegović

And that which we call Bosnia is not merely a slip of land in the Balkans; for many of us, Bosnia is an idea, it is the belief that people of different religions, ethnicities and cultural traditions can live together.

“When you go through it all and endure it, when you rise again after a hundred stumbles, when you give up false hope and comfort and clench your teeth to openly face the truth, then you realize that the whole meaning of life is to fight evil.“

“Islam is, or should be, a permanent searching through history for a state of inner and outer balance.”

“Education, too, can be inhuman: if it is one-sided, orchestrated, indoctrinated; if it does not teach one to think but serves ready-made solutions; if it merely prepares people for different functions instead of broadening their horizons and thereby their freedom.”

“Just as we carry the weight of our own body unconsciously, so we do not perceive our own defects and vices, but only those of other people.”

“The courage of the Bosnian woman, her strength and her pride, were one of the decisive factors in the struggle of Bosnia and its people for survival.”

Some people think that an advantage can be achieved by terror. It is a delusion that is spreading dangerously. Terrorism is an expression of our current and possible cause of our future weakness. It is not only immoral but also unproductive. Immoral, because innocent people die, and unproductive, because it has never and nowhere solved anything. Terrorism has been rejected by all serious political movements in history. I think the Qur’an has explicitly forbidden it with the sentence ‘Whoever kills an innocent human being it is as if he has killed all of humanity.’
Unfortunately, there are people who forget that.

“I believe that the measure of freedom is the attitude towards minorities, and that the freedom of thought is first and foremost the right to think differently.

“The ritual prayer (salat) is not just an act of worship; it was once and should be again a school of discipline, togetherness, and solidarity. It stands for purity, work, and collaboration.”

“What can we, therefore, advise our parents and educators? Above all, we can tell them not to kill the forces in the young being. Instead, let them shape and guide them. Their conformist is not a Muslim, nor is there a way for a dead person to “convert” to Islam. To raise Muslims, let them raise human beings, and let them do so as fully and wholeheartedly as possible. Let them talk more about pride than humility, more about courage than submission, more about justice than mercy. Let them raise a dignified generation that will live and go its own way, without seeking anyone’s permission.”

“We should all ask ourselves what we have done to make this country stronger, better and suited to all its citizens.”

“A true patriot is not the one who glorifies his homeland above the rest, but the one who makes it worthy of that praise. More than glory, he cares about the dignity of his homeland.“

Bosniaks should feel free in their homeland,  only fear God, be proud, hardworking and always be truthful.


“When I travel to Europe, I never walk with my head bowed, because we did not kill children, women or elderly and because we did not attack or demolish any place of worship.”

“Don’t seek revenge, but justice, however, by no means forget what happened.”

“Our country and our people were doomed to destruction. Our very survival is our victory.”


“We cannot be good Muslims unless we are good people.”

“What is fasting? It is an immediately experienced struggle between body and soul. While fasting, the body is tormented, it demands and does not receive, and it is the soul that commands this suffering. It is the victory of spirit over the body, a painful, directly experienced victory. If a person can experience fasting in this way, he/she will find pleasure in fasting, not just torment.”

“For we should remember: the progress of Islam – like any other progress after all – will not come from the quiet and obedient, but from the brave and rebellious.”


“The question is: should social institutions or people’s hearts be changed? The only real answer is: both. Still, where to start? From the heart, of course, if that is possible and if you know how.“

“Education, too, can be inhuman: if it is one-sided, orchestrated, indoctrinated; if it does not teach one to think but serves ready-made solutions; if it merely prepares people for different functions instead of broadening their horizons and thereby their freedom.“

“My mind constantly wavers and questions, but my heart has always been and remains on the side of faith. My moments of happiness have been those in which my mind and my heart were in harmony.”


“Weak people are advocates for and supportive of authoritarian governance. They lack a sense of self-worth from which the desire for freedom and independence originates. A weak man runs away from freedom and responsibility. Authoritarian governance is a refuge to them from this burden without which one can live comfortably. The condition for this is known, why repeat oneself?“

“The power of the strong is a fact, not the law. The law starts where the limitation of this power begins and where it has taken the stand of the weak as opposed to the benefit of the strong.“