Decision to Build More Mosques in Sarajevo Sparks New Debate

May 14, 2008

Author: Azra Martin

Source: Southeast European Times

Since the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) announced plans to build several more mosques in Sarajevo, a vigorous debate on the issue has resurfaced. Many question whether such plans will threaten the country's multi-ethnic character, especially since foreign donors helped finance the construction of a number of mosques in an effort to undo the destruction of several religious buildings after the 1990s conflict.

The new construction effort met little enthusiasm, since critics sense that the new mosques' advocates intend to spread Islam in a multi-ethnic and a multi-religious country. This diverse character is particularly pronounced in Sarajevo, where residents are proud of their religious tolerance and Euro-Muslim tradition.

After the 1990s conflict, ten to 15 new mosques rose in the capital alone -- one of them, the largest, bears the name of Saudi King Fahd. Today, there are about 85 mosques in central Sarajevo that stand as architectural as well as historical monuments.