Overwhelmed by cheap Chinese competition and divided by rival Muslim groups, Serbia's once-thriving Sandzak region is languishing in a deep economic and social malaise that has sparked the first calls for autonomy.
In recent years, a bitter battle has been waged for influence among Sandzak's Muslim religious community, stoked by two rival muftis. So far incidents have been minor, mainly skirmishes over rival property claims.
On one side of the divide is a group led by Adem Zilkic, which is based in the capital Belgrade and recognised by the Serbian government as the official interlocutor for the country's Muslims.
But his influence is being undercut by the mufti of Novi Pazar, Muamer Zukorlic, who accuses his rival of kowtowing to Belgrade and who set up a rival organisation in 2007.