Death of the Mufti of Banja Luka


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Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 08:45:43 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: Death of the Mufti of Banja Luka

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Death of the Mufti of Banja Luka


To the Death of the Mufti of Banja Luka
 
Society for Threatened Peoples pays Tribute to the unparalleled
courage of this Principal Witness of the Warcrimes committed against
the Muslim Bosniaks

Goettingen, 21 July 1998
 
The principal witness of expulsion and destruction of the Muslim
community in the today Serbian controlled west Bosnia, the Mufti of
Banja Luka, Hadzdzi Ibrahim Efendi Halilovic, died yesterday in the
capital of the so-called Republika Srpska at the consequences of a
cardiac infarct. The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) payed
tribute to his unparalleled courage during the Bosnian war as
"reminder to the international community to never again only stand and
watch genocide and expulsion and to support the victims of these
crimes in their struggle for justice with all means".
 
Mufti Halilovic spent the war years with its wife Emina in its
Dioezese hidden in the underground. He survived two assassination
attempts and was arrested several times by the police of the Serbian
war criminal Radovan Karadzic, who himself is looked for with
international warrant of arrest. Mufti Halilovic had to witness, how
93 per cent of the Bosniak Muslims of its Dioezese, approximately
210,000 people, were driven out. 205 Imame, which is 99 per cent of
the Muslim religious dignitaries, were deportied, six of them
murdered. Thus the Imam Ahmed Lihovic of the village Hanifici was
burned with 60 members of its parish in the mosque of Kotor Varos. All
207 mosques as well as 60 religious buildings in West Bosnia were made
equal to the ground by Serbian units. Among them were the 1579 built
Ferhadija mosque and the 1595 established Arnaudija mosque, which were
blown up on 7 May 1993 by Serbian units. The rubble was shifted away
with bulldozers. The entire private and religious possession (Vakuf),
i.e. the property of the Islamic community, was expropriated. Today
Muslim cemeteries are garbage depots or parking lots.
 
While before the Bosnian war 50 per cent of the inhabitants of west
Bosnia and of Banja Lukas were Muslims or catholics, today only each
50. inhabitant is a not of aerbian origin. Almost only old people
stayed in the region, most of whom must live in cellars and ruins. The
deaths rate of the Muslims is today 50 times higher than the birth
rate.
 
"The Muslims in Banja Luka do not have any civil rights and only a
reduced right to survival ", avowed Mufti Halilovic last on 5 May 1998
on the hearing of the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) Return to
Bosnia 1998 - real chance or illusion?. He made attentive to the fact
that the allegedly liberal Serbian regime under Milorad Dodik does not
undertake any serious efforts to initiate the return of the refugees
and expelled of West Bosnia. Both Dodik and today's Serbian mayor of
Banja Luka, Djordje Umicevic, rejected even the reconstruction of the
mosques in west Bosnia, the mayor with the note, that "the realm of
the darkness may never return".

---------------------------

Society for Threatened Peoples

Serbian authorities prevent funeral of the deceased Mufti of Banja
Luka in the "Republika Srpska" 

Goettingen/Sarajevo, 24 July 1998 

On Thursday, 23 July, the Mufti of Banja Luka, Hadzdzi Ibrahim Efendi
Halilovic, should have been taken to rest in front of the 1597 built
and 1993 by serbian extremists destroyed Ferhadija mosque in his West
Bosnian hometown. The 52 years old Mufti had died last Monday at the
consequences of a cardiac infarct. The Major of the today Serbian
controlled Banja Luka Djordje Umicevic, who was elected without the
votes of the refugees, forbade the the funeral of the Mufti and
deployed extremistic demonstrators at the Ferhadija square. 

In a common declaration Sharon Silber (Jews Against Genocide/New York)
and Tilman Zuelch (Society for Threatened Peoples
International/Luxembourg/Goettingen) condemned the prohibition to bury
the Mufti in Banja Luka: 

"The authorities of Banja Luka and the government "of the Republika
Srpska" under prime minister Milorad Dodik demonstrated with this
prohibition before the whole world that they are determined to
continue the pursuit of the Muslims. Obviously after the mass
expulsions in the heart of Europe they want to fix Apartheids politics
and to prevent the return ofMuslim and other Bosnian refugees. Jews
Against Genocide and the Society for Threatened Peoples International
request the high commissioner of the international community, Carlo
Westendorp, to dismiss the mayor of Banja Luka immediately.
Additionally the international community must remove prominent war
criminals from the Dodik government and from the Serbian parliamentary
group. To them belong the Minister for justice, Petko Cancar, and the
chairman of the human right commission of the Bosnian parliament,
Velibor Ostojic, who both where responsible for the establishment of
concentration and rape camps in the city of Foca."

"Mufti Halilovic had to watch for four years the most terrible
pursuits and destructions of his Islamic parishes. 93 per cent of the
Muslim Bosniaks in his West Bosnian district (Muftijstvo) were
expelled or murdered. Only some thousand old people remained in their
hometown as pursued minority. 205 Imame, which is 99 per cent of the
Muslim religious dignitaries, became deported six of them were even
murdered, the Imam Ahmed Lihovic of the village Hanifici was burned
with 60 members of his parish in the mosque of Kotor Varos. All 207
mosques as well as 60 religious buildings of the district were made
completely destroyed by the Karadzic troops. Among them the 1579 was
delighted Ferhadija mosque and the 1595 established Arnaudija mosque,
which were blown up on 7 May 1993 by Serbian units. The rubble was
away-shifted with bulldozers. The entire private and religious
possession (Vakuf), i.e. the property of the Islamic community, was
expropriated. Today Muslim cemeteries are garbage depots or parking
lots. " 

"Jews Against Genocide and the Society for Threatened Peoples 
International remind of the Reichspogromnacht, when everywhere in
Germany and Austria the synagogs came up in flames. Today there is no
undestroyed mosque to be found anymore in the entire Serbian
controlled part of Bosnia. All 1183 Muslim places of worship were
damaged, destroyed or blown up. " 

----------------
Gesellschaft fuer bedrohte Voelker
Society for Threatended Peoples
PO-Box 20 24
D-37010 Goettingen
Tel. +49/551/49906-0
Fax. +49/551/58028

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