Belgrade Mosque Burned by Young Protestors

March 18, 2004

Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

On March 18, 2004 the Institute for War and Peace Reporting reported, "As the flames flickered through the stone walls of the 17th-century Bajrakli mosque in Belgrade, the sound of Orthodox church music played surreally from a nearby car. A man appeared out of the clouds of smoke, carrying a looted green flag with the crescent of Islam. 'Serbia has Risen!' he shouted...A group of about hundred young demonstrators, most in their twenties, carrying batons and wearing T-shirts wrapped around their heads, clashed with around 30 policemen guarding the mosque - a relic of Serbia's centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule - in Gospodar Jevremova street in the city centre. Most appeared to be drunk, and many clutched one-litre plastic bottles of beer in their hands...One of the protesters, named Milos, aged 19, and from Belgrade, told IWPR they were determined to burn the mosque in revenge for the Serbian homes and churches that the 'Shiptars' were burning down in Kosovo. 'There is no need for this [mosque] to be in the middle of Belgrade,' he added. 'We will raze it to the ground tonight.'"