In addition to his existential concerns and his interest in matters Islamic, Izetbegović was still preoccupied with certain inevitable subjects: communism, capitalism, and the nature of these different social systems. He could never reconcile himself to the ideas proposed by communism as the pattern and measure of existence, and was profoundly offended by the hypocrisy that held there was one standard for ordinary, impoverished people and another for communist apparatchiks and officials, enjoying the good things of life and the hedonism specific to socialism and communism.
Izetbegović realized that the essential problem of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and indeed of the Balkans as a whole, was the absence of democracy. Countries that called themselves socialist were at different levels of development. What even a superficial analysis revealed, however, was the extremely strong, and indeed decisive, impact of certain key figures on the state of affairs in those countries. Though each was based on the same matrix, the actual, real-life circumstances of ordinary citizens differed from country to country, depending on their leaders. Živkov, Hoxha, Ceauçescu, Tito – four different men, four different lifestyles, and as a result, four different regimes. Yet despite their differences, all four regimes were of the same authoritarian essence.
A new shadow fell over Alija Izetbegović’s life in 1979, when the President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, received Raif Dizdarević and Branko Mikulić, leading officials of the Communist League, at his favourite hunting lodge, Koprivnica near Bugojno. Izetbegović recorded in his memoirs that Sarajevo Television’s prime time news programme reported Tito’s order to the two officials to “use the harshest measures to deal with attempts to revive clero-nationalism and pan-Islamism in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
Izetbegović saw this as applying to him, and could already hear the knocking at the door. Following the brief relatively liberal era of the 1970s, this was none other than the intimation of a new showdown with those who were not in sympathy with or were “opponents” of communism, a warning that the final reckoning was to come for those who were pondering the merits of Islam, and who were therefore unable to agree with the atheist postulates of a socialist or communist society that was falling ever deeper into crisis.
Despite his previous unhappy experience and constant threats against him, Izetbegović’s interest in study did not wane. He continued writing, publishing his articles in the Takvim, the Islamic calendar, using the initials L.S.B. as a pseudonym, taken from the initial of his three children, Lejla, Sabina and Bakir. The articles were a series with the general heading “Problems of the Islamic Revival.” The articles were later published as a book, which received excellent reviews.
For example, Prof. Dr. Esad Duraković, noting that the book consisted of a collection of articles dealing with some of the issues of Islamic revival, wrote that the author, “in a kind of revolutionary zeal” emphasized the importance of reinterpreting the sources of Islam as a priority, a thread that runs through all his writings. According to Izetbegović, “there can be a revival only in a bold return to the fundamentals of Islam.” In fact, the whole of Izetbegović’s contribution to Islamic thought, and this book in particular, reveals him as a reformer, not so much of Islam itself as of Islamic societies and states. Many years later, speaking at the Islamic Summit conference in Tehran in 1997, Izetbegović made direct reference to all the failings, as he saw them, of the countries that called themselves Islamic, putting it in the plainest of terms: Islam is the best, but we are not.
In addition, these articles, which appeared over a thirty-year time span and were reissued under the general title Problems of Islamic Revival, reveal an ecumenical approach to the problems: far from expressing religious exclusivity, the manuscript actually affirms the diversity of religions and cultures as a blessing from God. It is true that Izetbegović also insisted that Islam should be on an equal footing with others in this world, saying that his ultimate aim was, first, to conduct an objective analysis of contemporary Islamic thought and, second, to revitalize the Islamic world and incorporate it into the modern world on the principles of mutual respect and equality.
It is worth noting that Izetbegović’s approach to the problems he studies in these articles is largely essayistic rather than scholarly, which does not prevent them from achieving objective value, as a significant and original contribution to thought in general, not confined solely to Islam.
The permanent museum exhibition is located in the towers Kapi-kula Ploča and Širokac. In the Ploča tower, the life of Alija Izetbegović as statesman and politician is displayed on chronologically arranged exhibition boards, accompanied by text and photographs. In the Širokac tower, the exhibition is dedicated to Izetbegović's role as the Supreme Commander in the defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Serbian agression.
Established in the recent times, the Museum „Alija Izetbegović“ offers modern answers to questions from the past, but also sets the foundation for the future. Through its objective scientific approach, it encourages young people, intellectuals and researchers to approach modern history with expertise and knowledge.
The Museum educational programs are designed for elementary and secondary school students. They include professional tours of the permanent museum exhibition, interactive school workshops, pedagogical and educational publications, lectures, special programmes observing important historical dates, etc.