Born in Bare, Ilovaca, Gorazde County, Bosnia, in 1912, Hussein Djozo was a very well educated young man. After studied Islamic theology and law in Foca and Gorazde, he went to Cairo, where he graduated in theology at the Al-Azhar University. As a scholar, he was fluent in several languages, including Arabic. He later served in the pre-war Yugoslavia Kingdom army as a military imam and captain.
Djozo was a leading member of El Hidaja Organization in Bosnia before volunteering for the SS ‘Handschar’ Division in June 1943. As a Muslim formation, the ‘Handschar’ Division needs a cadre of imam-preachers, an Islamic military chaplain. Thus, by Himmler order, a new institute for imams was established in the town of Guben, some 100 km southeast of Berlin. Waffen Sturmbannführer der SS Hussein Djozo, was appointed to directed this course for Bosnian imams from ‘Handschar’ and, later, ‘Kama’ divisions. He was known made some anti-Semitic, anti-Capitalist, and anti-Communist speeches and writings
After the ‘Handschar’ Division Imam, Abdulah Muhasilovic, deserted with 101 his men to join the Partisans, Djozo had taken his position. He served with the division until the end of the World War II.
After amnestied in July 1946, Djozo eventually regained his university teaching post and was elected as President of the Ilmis (Muslim clerics) Association in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1964. Even he served as Tito's interpreter during the latter's state visits to the Arab world.
In 1968, Djozo stirred a controversy in Yugoslavia after he supported former Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj-Amin el-Husseini, an old friend from his ‘Handschar’ old days, “jihad calling” against Israel during a Muslim cleric’s congress in Cairo. Even he promised that Muslim religious community of Yugoslavia would recruit volunteers from its ranks and contributed money for the sake of Palestinian struggle.
Hussein Djozo died in 1982.
Copyright © Nino Oktorino 2009