A Bosnian Spring?

Sarajevo

Sarajevo (Photo credit: Putovati Balkanom)

12 February Wednesday, 2014

Thousands of disgruntled workers, students, and unemployed youth without any ethnic ties have poured onto streets across Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of angry protests last Tuesday. The long-awaited wave of demonstrations—the biggest and most violent of its kind since the end of the war in 1995—has already been dubbed the “Bosnian Spring”. However, media analysts and experts are still not sure how those demonstrations will develop and what impact they will have on the country.
Demonstrations started in Tuzla and spread over the country
Demonstrations began after Tuzla’s massive gathering of over 10,000 angry workers from the Dita detergent factory, the Konjuh furniture factory, the Resod-Guming motor parts firm, and the Polihem and Poliolchem chemical plants on Tuesday. Demonstrators gathered in front of the cantonal government building to protest against what they said was a catastrophe that had hit their companies.
Police started to fire tear gas and flash-bang grenades at demonstrators at the behest of the cantonal government. After the police interfered and clashed with the demonstrators the situation quickly got out of control and some protestors entered the government buildings and started burning it. The Tuzla demonstrations triggered demonstrations in the capital, Sarajevo, in Mostar, in Zenica, and in the autonomous region of Brcko, where similar demonstrations have been witnessed. On Friday afternoon demonstrators started stoning and burning the presidential building in Sarajevo. During the Bosnian war thousands of Bosniaks were killed defending the presidential building in Sarajevo, but now protesters burned the building and its remarkable library within hours.

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Grand Mufti Of Bosnia Once Again Singles Out Kuwait For Praise

English: Mustafa Ef. Ceric at the 2008 World E...

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Kuwaiti media is reporting that Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, has once again praised Kuwait for he calls the Kuwaiti role in supporting Bosnia and its people. According to a Kuwaiti news agency report:

SARAJEVO, Jan 27 (KUNA) — Head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr. Mustafa Ceric praised the Kuwaiti role in supporting his country and people. Moralistic and financial aid provided by the Government of Kuwait have left good impact among Bosnian people, Ceric said in a meeting with the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mohammad Khalaf. He added that his discussions with the ambassador dealt with the Kuwaiti assistance, namely contributions to financing construction of the new Islamic headquarters in Sarajevo, which would manage affairs related to scholars and religious teaching. Ceric admired the deep relations between Kuwait and Bosnia and Herzegovina on different levels. For his part, the diplomat expressed gratitude for Ceric, due to his appreciation for the Kuwaiti efforts, noting that the Kuwait’s position on Bosnia and Herzegovina is based on its foreign policy in aiding nations, especially Muslim countries.

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With Launches In Balkans and Beyond, Al-Jazeera Building New Spheres Of Influence

Al-Jazeera is promoting itself as the Balkans only regional broadcaster

Mirna Sadikovic November 26, 2011

Until recently, the Al-Jazeera satellite television network had been best known to global audiences as a worldwide provider of news programming in Arabic and English.
But this month, the Qatar-based company went regional, launching a station broadcasting in local languages in the Balkans, with headquarters based in Bosnia-Herzegovina‘s capital Sarajevo. And its growth is set to continue, with similar channels planned for Turkey and East Africa.
Al-Jazeera Balkans (AJB), which debuted November 11, offers six hours of daily programming to all of the countries of the former Yugoslavia, promoting itself as the Balkans’ only “regional” broadcaster. (RFE/RL’s Balkans Service offers national and regional radio programming in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia, in addition to national coverage in Kosovo and Macedonia.)
In style and content, AJB offers the same sleek production values and in-depth investigative programs as its parent company, and taps frequently into the vast network of far-flung field reporters that have become Al-Jazeera’s calling card.
‘The People Will Come As Well’
The Balkans, a virtual minefield of linguistic nuance and historical tensions, might have seemed a surprising choice for a glossy, far-sighted network like Al-Jazeera, which is owned by the oil-rich state of Qatar and has an operating budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
But Goran Milic, a respected Balkan broadcaster who serves as AJB’s chief editor, argues the region’s gradual integration into Europe makes it a sound business investment for its minders in Doha. Continue reading

Wahhabist Militancy in Bosnia Profits from Local and International Inaction

Relationships between Bosnian constitutive nat...

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 9 Issue: 42

November 17, 2011 03:28 PM Age: 4 days
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Global Terrorism Analysis, Home Page, Featured, Europe

Ali Pasha’s Mosque, constructed in Sarajevo during 1560-61

Though the United States once took the lead in international efforts to save the Muslims of Bosnia during the bitter conflict that struck that nation in the 1990s, it is now under attack by the Salafist/Wahhabist community that began to flourish there after foreign jihadists were allowed to settle in Bosnia after the conflict. The current Wahhabist perception of America has even found its way into song:

America and other adversaries should know
that now the Muslims
are one like the Taliban
listen, brothers,
believers of the world
with dynamite on their chest
lead the path to dzennet (heaven)

The above lyrics were written by Bilal Bosnic, a Wahhabi community leader from the city of Bihac in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) (radiosarajevo.ba, November 4). [1] Bosnic sings it at weddings and other kinds of social gatherings. How, then, did America become the enemy of radical Islam in the Balkans after undertaking two military interventions aimed at protecting Muslim civilians (Bosnia in 1994 and Kosovo in 1999)?

Many claim that Islamic extremism established itself among Bosnian Muslims thanks to the “inaction” of the West when the 1991 UN arms embargo left Muslims defenseless and when the West failed to secure UN protection zones in Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde during the war. The failure to protect these zones led to what some termed the first post-WWII genocide in Europe. This “inaction” gives a partial explanation but not a complete one. There is another “inaction” of local origin that contributed much more to the growing influence of Islamic extremists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There are countless examples of local authorities in Bosnia failing to act properly against Islamic extremism. The majority of these criminal cases have not been resolved and when the terrorists are identified the trials take years. There are some claims that “inaction” in Bosnia had its roots nearly 20 years ago when Bosnian authorities granted 50 passports to foreign mujahideen, most of whom were Salafist/Wahhabis (Oslobodjenje [Sarajevo], November 3). This “inaction” is not related to the police or court capacity or poor equipment, but rather to the ethnically divided BiH police and judiciary that has political sponsorship. Continue reading

Separating religion and state in Bosnia | TransConflict

Dayton peace agreement

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With the role of religion having remained largely ignored in post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina, there is a need to promote a process of secularization by upholding the separation of religion and state.

By Dusan Babic

Bosnia and Herzegovina (henceforth, ‘Bosnia’) is now more than ever burdened by the legacy of war and the contradictions of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Post-Dayton Bosnia is a unique country in many respects, particularly its complex, irrational and inefficient administrative structure. This can, in part, be attributed to the ethnic concept of governance which is – by all relevant parameters – a failed concept; yet one which is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Whilst many obstructive elements – including the paternalism and hegemonism of neighbouring Croatia and Serbia – have been identified, the role of religion has remained entirely ignored. Continue reading