Friday, February 10, 2006

Sarajevo & Europe


In all the controversy around the cartoon crisis it is worth noting that the protest from Muslims in Europe has been almost universally peaceful and orderly. Protest, certainly, but within the bounds of European democratic socities.

This applies to Sarajevo and Bosnia as well.

On Wednesday a demonstration was organized in Sarajevo to express protest against the by now rather famous cartoons. But it turned out to be a rather modest affair. A couple of hundred protesters went from the central mosque to the Norwegian, French and Danish embassies, burning a couple of flags, handed over protest letters and dispersed peacefully.

Among the flags burned was the Croat one. The background was that the rather nationalistic Zagreb magzine Nacional had published the cartoons, bringing hard criticism from the Croat government and parliament. The magazine itself was evidently not available on the newsstands in Bosnia in order not to inflame tensions unduly.

One reason for the moderate nature of the protest was probably the appeal of the head of the Islamic community in Bosnia Reis al-ulema Mustafa Ceric. He's a Chicago-educated and rather decent man representing European Islam in a country that is both European and Muslim.

And it is a good sign that the extremists in other parts of the Muslim world haven't been able to get much of a following among the Muslims of Europe on this highly emotional issuel. Posted by Picasa