Tuesday, June 13, 2006

BOSNIA: MUSLIM LEADER ACCUSES CHRISTIANS OF UNDERMINING STATE

Sarajevo, 8 June (AKI) - Bosnian Muslim religious leader Reiss ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric has accused the country's Catholic and Orthodox Christians of undermining the country and advocating the partitioning of Bosnia. Ceric was quoted by the Sarajevo daily, Dnevni Avaz, as saying that former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and Croatia's Franjo Tudjman deal, allegedly made in the early nineties to divide Bosnia, had been taken over by the Serbian Orthodox and Croatian Catholic Church.

As a proof of an alleged conspiracy, Ceric said that the bishops of the two churches have been meeting without Muslim representatives.

"It is well known that when in Bosnia the two meet and talk without the third, it means trouble and a call to war," said Ceric.

In a lecture to the students of the Islamic pedagogic faculty in the northern city of Zenica, Ceric predicted that his statement might trigger "bitter reactions", but he called on Catholic bishops to allow him to hold sermons in their churches, inviting them to do the same in the mosques.

Ceric also demanded an apology from Dan Brown, the author of the best-seller The Da Vinci Code, saying the book was promoting atheism among Bosnian youths. The Muslim religious leader also reproached local television for saying that the Bosnian "Islamic community was turning Sarajevo into another Tehran". He appealed to his followers to "raise their voice against the fire of secular Kalashnikovs".

In a related development, the parliament of the Muslim-Croat federation on Wednesday passed a declaration demanding that the high international representative in Bosnia Christian Schwarz Schilling, sanction the Prime Minister of the Serb entity, Republika Srpska (RS) for suggesting that Bosnian Serbs should hold a referendum on independence, just like Montenegro did on May 21, to separate from Serbia.

Dodik said his suggestion was made as a reaction to Muslim pressure and calls for the abolition of the RS. He added that if Schilling, who has wide arbitrary powers, "tries anything, it would only show that he has been instrumentalised by the [pro-Muslim] policy conducted from Sarajevo".



(Vpr/Aki)

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