Muslims in Balkan Should Promote Europe of Peace and Hope

DSC_6639Prof. Dr. Enes Karic has summarised his speech at the opening session of the conference “Islam in the Balkans” saying that Islamic communities of the Balkans should promote Europe of meeting, Europe of peace and Europe of hope.

“Islam in Balkans” conference was opened on October 10 2014 at Hilton hotel in Vienna under the patronage and in the presence of the Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer. It was organized jointly by the Islamic Community in Austria, (IGGiÖ) and the Islamic community institutions in the EU.

The conference was attended by high level representatives of the Islamic community in the EU. It was sponsored by the Austrian ministry for foreign affairs, the city of Vienna, the (ICCiÖ), Austrian Integration Fund, Austrian Islamic Union for Culture and other organizations and banks. An audience from universities, cultural and academic circles attended the ceremony. Ms. Carla Amina Baghajati, IGGiÖ spokeswoman was the moderator of the opening sessions of the conference.

Dr. Karic said: “This year marks the anniversary of the one hundred years of the beginning of the First World War and the Sarajevo assassination. The last, twentieth century left millions of victims in the Balkans. Almost all the views to the past are known and I would not like to speak about those.”

He added: “Peace among religions today in the Balkans is a view into the future. Peace is a value without alternative. The Islamic communities in the Balkans have the opportunity to create many peace projects among the Muslims, but also among all the religions. Islam as a faith, a culture and a civilization has potential for peace projects.”

In his speech, Dr. Karic gave two examples were mentioned in the holy pages of both the Bible and the Qur’an. He said:

“Firstly, our father Adam (Adem a.s.) symbolizes this great possibility for promotion of peace. This Adamic dimension of Judaism, Christianity and Islam connects all the Muslims of the Balkans to all the people.”

“Secondly, the Jews, Christians and Muslims of the Balkans trace their spiritual roots also from an Abrahamic source. This Abrahamic branch brings to one spiritual place Muslims, Christians and Jews. Whenever we interpret the Qur’an, we should have in mind both the Adamic and Abrahamic dimension of Islam. Both dimensions open spaces of peaceful contact and coexistence of Muslims with Christians and Jews.”

He emphasized the nurture of a traditional Islam in the Balkans saying: “Under the syntagm ”traditional Islam in the Balkans” I mean a set of religious, cultural and civilization forms of Islam that survived and outlived both the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and also survived the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the socialist Yugoslavia.

The traditional Islam in the Balkans is an autochthonous Islam. It is an Islam of the local cultural roots. It contains many syncretic elements and it is open to a ”folk Islam”, to sufism and sufi orders, and it also has had its distinctive character from the 1878 onwards, in the context of the secular states created in the Balkans.”

He stated that the traditional Islam in the Balkans our religious scholars developed fruitful interpretations of Islam. These interpretations did not come into conflict with the secular states in the Balkans. Of course, it is known that secular states of a communist type did not offer large spaces of freedom for religion, but alims, hojas and religious authorities of Islam in the Balkans avoided problematic interpretations and promoted peace options.

He said that the Islamic scholars in the Balkans realized a great importance of inclusive interpretation of Islam and non-resistance of the state which is respecting the basic civil freedoms and rights. Therefore ulema, hojas, sufis of the Balkans, preserved those spiritual sources of traditional Islam in the Balkans. It proved to be a right decision.
Therefore, it is important to direct our Islamic education in madrassas and Islamic faculties in the Balkans to the aim of preservation and affirmation of the spiritual sources of traditional Islam in the Balkans. Our Islamic education in the Balkans should affirm universal values of Islam.

Islam and the European Union

Dr. Karic said that the third priority of the Islamic communities in the Balkans is European Union. I would like to mention that two Islamic communities with members from the Balkans now exist in European Union: Islamic Community in the Republic of Slovenia and the Islamic community in the Republic of Croatia. Of course, I have in mind the fact that a large number of small micro-Islamic communities with members originally from the Balkans found their home in the European Union as well.

In relation to the European Union and the Balkans I would like to mention a few important things. Firstly, one should pragmatically observe the arrival of the European Union to the Balkans. The European Union has for tens of years already been a homeland of prosperity and welfare for the hundreds of millions of people, among them for millions of Muslims as well.
Secondly, the project of Europe after 1945 is not a project of a closed Europe, but of an open Europe.

Thirdly, the first two priorities I mentioned, peace and traditional Islam, can be saved in an easier way in the case of the inclusion of the whole Balkans into the European Union.
It is our task today to strive in the path of promoting these spiritual and practical interpretations of Islam, in the context of the upcoming European and Euroatlantic integrations in the Balkans. These interpretations should not be problematic, but inclusive. Naturally, we hope that European Union, as our de facto current and future ruler, shall respect Muslim components of the Balkans and Europe.

I would like to say in the very end of this speech that we, the Muslims coming from the Islamic communities in the Balkans, should contribute to further creation of this European openness. We should always point out that Europe, in cultural and civilizational sense, apart from its Greek and Biblical roots, has its origins in the classical forms of Muslim medicine, mathematics, philosophy, geography, etc.

Muslims and Islamic communities of the Balkans should promote Europe of meeting, Europe of peace, Europe of hope.

2 comments to Muslims in Balkan Should Promote Europe of Peace and Hope

  • TZ512

    “Naturally, we hope that European Union, as our de facto current and future ruler, shall… ”

    Say what? Last time I looked, neither was Bosnia in the EU nor did EU “rule” anything, since it is not a state to begin with. Then, the “islamic community” in Slovenia and Croatia is a few hundred people at best. The only real islamic community outside Bosnia would be in the drug hell in Kosovo and in Sandjak in Serbia, which are both certainly not in the EU.

    As for the rest, such a bunch of bondoogle… next he will call the extremist book “Islamic Declaration” by Izetbegovic a “peace” literature and the SS-Hanjar brigades will have become a peacemaker mission. Yeah right.

    Yes, I know the comment will get deleted… but at least you will know that the people out there aren’t deaf and blind and not buying your lies.

  • Defiant

    “Muslims in Balkan Should Promote Europe of Peace and Hope”


    Yeah…they SHOULD. And Obama should stop pathologically lying and golfing and partying…but what people SHOULD do is a LOT different than what they actually do.

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