Wednesday, February 27, 2013

ICG: Islam, nationalism - Bosnia’s dangerous tango

2/27/2013 12:18:00 PM

BRUSSELS - Nationalism remains the main threat to the integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), but it becomes even more dangerous when combined with Islam, reads the latest report of the International Crisis Group (ICG).

"Political Islam is a novelty in Bosnia," says the report dubbed "Bosnia's Dangerous Tango: Islam and Nationalism," published in Brussels on Tuesday. The report adds that the Islamic community (IZ) in BiH, when led by Mustafa ef. Ceric, embraced Bosniak identity and became an important political actor which advocated Bosniak national state, arguing that Croats and Serbs already had countries of their own. That vision is appealing to many Bosniaks, including some who are thoroughly secular, but it repels most Croats and Serbs.

 "Instead, the IZ should foster a view of the state as a shared enterprise in which all groups feel equally at home," the report reads. ICG experts have assessed that radical Islamic groups, including former mujahideen, are relatively harmless, because they are small, live in secluded communities and do not participate in public life, but that the combination of mainstream Islam and nationalism poses a serious threat. "The Islamic community has been promoting a patriotic embrace of the state," Sabine Freizer, Crisis Group's Europe Program Director, said while presenting the report, and added that stability depends on whether it succeeds in framing a vision of Bosnia that can be shared by Croats and Serbs. Photo Tanjug, Iva

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