The Bosniak-American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAACBH) condemns the acts of violence and vandalism that destroyed the Fazlagica Kula mosque in the Republika Srpska controlled town in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) a few hours before local Muslims were to perform their religious prayer of the Eid al-Adha, the holiest day in the Muslim calendar. Eid al-Adha is the Festival of Sacrifice which commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.
The 16th century mosque along with the village was completely destroyed and its Muslim inhabitants ethnically-cleansed during the aggression on BiH from 1992 to 1995. It was rebuilt again in 2000 by a number of survivors who returned, only to be destroyed again yesterday during the holy day of Eid al-Adha. Although the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, this act of vandalism is a warning sign of rising tensions and has brought back the memories of the atrocities committed against the local non-Serb, mainly Bosniak, population.
As the world commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, BAACBH once again would like to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive approach to the reconstruction and post-war democratic development of BiH. It is morally imperative to denounce and strongly condemn any act that perpetrates impairment on a specific group of people, in this case Bosniaks, who were ethnically-cleansed and who survived the genocide in BiH. Ethnic tensions and human rights abuses are preventable with a committed political leadership dedicated to democratic governance. It is because BiH needs better democratic governance that BAACBH strongly believes that an end to the ethno-territorial divisions and a constitutional reform is imperative to accentuate equal rights for all of its citizens. It is essential that the survivors and returnees of ethnic-cleansing and genocide are not betrayed in BiH, that their rights are protected and their courage to return commended.
BAACBH advocates on behalf of Bosnian-Americans, a majority of whom are genocide and concentration camps survivors. We are appalled by the destruction of Fazlagica Kula mosque and call upon all authorities to investigate this incident which has sent a shiver throughout the Bosnian Muslim community.