Bosnia and Herzegovina: The challenges Muslims face (Part 2)
Conditions of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The wars in the 1990s devastated Bosnia and Herzegovina up till now the country is devoid of political stability. It proves that the Balkan has not learned anything from history yet. The country has a federal structure established by Croatians and Bosnians and the Serbian Republic parallel to it.
The influence of Serbia and Croatia has hijacked the political system of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is why the economic development is slow. The political turmoil in Bosnia and Herzegovina has created a very negative impact on the Balkans.
The horrors of war still haunt the Bosnians which can disintegrate the Republic if economic investments and Euro-Atlantic connections keep on moving slowly. The demand for Integration with Serbia by the Serbs population in Bosnia increases its chances which have been delayed due to the pressure from the international powers.
The disintegration of Bosnia will be bound to happen in the presence of the strong influence of China and Russia. Also, there is the shifted balance of power at the loss of the Western bloc. Bosnia Herzegovina’s integrity can be protected if it is supported in its membership struggle for NATO and the EU. In this regard, Turkey which is already a member of NATO and an ally of the US can be instrumental in its support to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Revival needed for Bosnia and Herzegovina
What distinguishes Bosnia and Herzegovina is its Islamic tradition which brings native Muslims bordering Europe. The Faculty of Sarajevo Islamic Disciplines and the Gazi Husrev Bey Islamic institution have established a strong authentic Islamic theology tradition. A radical image has been attributed to Bosnia Herzegovina in Europe. It is maybe due to the war and post-war issues or some religious groups.
But it’s a fact that Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina have great intellectual capacity. It remains one of the focal points of Balkan Muslims representing Islam in Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to be supported in areas such as science, culture, and economy through new investments to catch up with the rest of the developed regions of Europe.
Conditions of Muslims in Kosovo
The situation of Kosovo is not different from that of Bosnia Herzegovina. Largely, due to the aftermath of the tragic war that its people have experienced. Kosovo has not yet achieved its political stability. It has been dependent on the USA and on other international powers.
Kosovo announced its independence in 2008 and it has been recognized by almost 80 countries of the world but still, it is not a member of any international organization. The Serbs residing in the north demand separation from Kosovo which has increased the chances of its disintegration.
There is great academic, cultural, and religious potential in Kosovo. The University of Pristina has played its role in the field of education. But as the university was founded in 1969 in a communist government so the new generation was kept away from Islamic history and culture.
There have been demands from the Education Ministry of Turkey to remove offensive material against the Ottomans from the school text-books. Some intolerant people reacted to these suggestions harshly.
Reforms needed for Kosovo
The country needs reforms to include The Faculty of Islamic Disciplines into the new system so that the intellectual capacity of the people is enhanced. Madrassas in Pristina and in other cities of Kosovo need to be restored.
Today Kosovo is a much-deserved country for investments in the field of culture, media, and social aspects of life. The Religious Directorate of Kosovo can play a better role in this regard if good projects are implemented through them.
Many liberal and Christian learning institutions have been founded after the 1999 Wars so now the Islamic world should invest in the restoration of Islamic learning and tradition in Kosovo.
(To be continued)
(Written by Ijaz Ali, a freelance journalist from Pakistan. He holds a Master Degree in European Studies from Germany and can be reached at [email protected])