Bosnia: Religious leader deplores European stance on Muslims

Sarajevo, 2 Dec. (AKI) – Bosnian Muslim spiritual leader Reiss-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric has criticised European policies towards Muslims, claiming they are treated as second-class citizens. His comments came days after voters in Switzerland opposed the building of minarets in a controversial referendum.

The Swiss minaret ban and the European Union's exclusion of Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina from a recent visa waiver were two poor messages for European Muslims, Ceric said ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

“Unfortunately, the message from Brussels that we are less worthy than our neighbours Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians and Croats, and the one from Switzerland that our cultural and religious symbols are unwelcome, are discouraging,” Ceric said.

The EU this week abolished visas to the three Balkan countries of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro but said Muslim-majority Albania and Bosnia had failed to qualify for the waiver.

Ceric said the minaret ban was important for Bosnian Muslims.

"But it is more important to secure the right to life in Europe and to be freed of fear for the future of their children,” he stated.

“Obviously, Europe is not only in economic, but in a moral crisis as well,” Ceric said.

“If it is aware of that, instead of sinking further into the crisis Europe should see in European Muslims partners for economic and moral recovery,” he concluded.


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