Thursday, 9 April 2020

Muslim World League Donates Funds to Croatia to Help Fight Coronavirus Pandemic

ZAGREB, April 9, 2020 - The Muslim World League has donated US$300,000 to the Croatian government for combating the coronavirus pandemic, and has also donated funds to the Islamic community in Zagreb for the repair of the damage caused by the March 22 earthquake, the governing body of the Islamic community in Croatia said in a statement on Thursday.

The deputy prime minister and head of the national civil protection authority, Davor Božinović, thanked the Muslim World League on behalf of the government and Mufti Aziz Hasangović thanked the organisation on behalf of the Islamic community in Croatia, the statement said.

With its donation, the Muslim World League "showed sensibility for the entire country and our society, which will certainly contribute to stronger ties and cooperation," it added.

The Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al Issa, was involved in the organisation and sponsorship of an international conference held in Zagreb more than two months ago as part of the programme of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which focused on human brotherhood as the basis of peace and security in the world, the statement said.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Ethnic Bosniak Leaders Condemn Desecration of Zagreb Mosque

ZAGREB, March 24, 2020 - The Bosniak National Council in Croatia on Tuesday condemned the insulting messages which appeared on the Zagreb mosque on Tuesday morning, saying that this act of desecration was an expression of serious chauvinism and xenophobia.

"At a time when we are being shaken by the greatest crisis in recent history, when human solidarity is needed more than ever, conduct like this is impermissible. We demand that the relevant institutions, even though they are justifiably involved in managing the crisis caused by the coronavirus and earthquake, should find the perpetrators," the president of the Council, Armin Hodžić said in a press release.

We warn that this type of desecration to a Muslim place of worship is an expression of serious chauvinism and xenophobia and it requires urgent action in order to prevent a chain reaction of dehumanising processes toward minority groups in Croatia, added Hodžić.

Croatian society has to be aware that insulting messages like the one that appeared on a Muslim place of worship could tomorrow already lead to a new wave of desecration of religious premises of other religious minorities and of the serious deterioration of the rights of national minorities, the press release said.

"At a time of general crisis, we once again call for solidarity, togetherness and tolerance and express hope that the majority Croatian population in Croatia will adhere to the principle of 'love thy neighbour as thyself'," Hodžić appealed in the press release.

More news about Islam in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Muslim World League Leader Pleased with Croatia's Religious Communities Living Together

ZAGREB, February 4, 2020 - The Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa, said at a conference in Zagreb on inter-religious relations that he was pleased that Croatia had decided to promote living together and not some abstract coexistence.

The leadership of the Islamic community in Croatia and the Muslim World League in cooperation with the Croatian Conference of Bishops have organised the international conference focusing on the topic of human fraternity for world peace and living together, which was opened on Tuesday by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the League's Secretary General Muhammad bin Abdul.

The two-day conference will present some 30 lectures of various aspects related to peace and security.

All the speakers underscore that the conference is being held during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union hence Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is certain that it will enhance Croatia's activities during its chairmanship recalling that the promotion of open and transparent inter-religious dialogue is a constituent part of European Union Treaty.

The grand mufti of Croatia's Islamic community, Mufti Aziz Hasanović, said that there was no alternative to religious dialogue, as evident in the systematic dialogue between the Islamic community and Catholic Church, which confirms that in Croatia they are living together and not just existing side by side.

President Grabar-Kitarović said that "at the moment, Croatia is the heart of Europe," underscoring that this valuable initiative is an opportunity for Croatia to present itself as a country that promotes the highest standards of religious rights and dialogue.

The conference - Human Fraternity as the Foundation of Peace and Security in the World - is being held under the auspices of Croatia's President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker.

More news about religion can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Islamic Encyclopaedic Almanac Launched in Zagreb

ZAGREB, October 11, 2019 - The Islamic Encyclopaedic Almanac was launched in Zagreb on Thursday evening, with speakers at the event describing it as a very successful publication about the Muslim community in Croatia that has made an exceptional contribution to the development of the Croatian society.

The Islamic Encyclopaedic Almanac was published by the Islamic Community in Croatia, with assistance from the Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography. The 431-page publication consists of about 1,200 entries, of which 500 refer to persons and the rest to terms from the history of Islam, notably in Croatia.

The book was published on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the recognition of Islam as a religion in Croatia, marked three years ago.

The head of the Islamic Community and the publication's editor, Aziz Hasanović, said that he was proud of the Muslim community because there was not a single area of activity where its members did not leave a visible mark, from science and culture and the struggle in the 1991-95 Homeland War, in which 1,170 Muslims were killed.

He recalled that at the time when Islam was made equal to other religions in Croatia 103 years ago, the Muslim community had 204 members whereas today it has more than 63,000 members.

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said that the purpose of the Almanac was to set in time and space the most important events in the Islamic community in the past 100 years as well as events in its rich history before that, and make them part of the collective memory, not just of the Islamic community but of the entire Croatian culture.

She warned that the date when Islam was recognised as an official religion must not be forgotten or its importance disregarded as there were, also today, few European states that had made such a step.

The head of the Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography, Antun Vujić, spoke about the most important sections of the Almanac, including the one on the recognition of Islam in Croatia.

The Almanac was made by 57 members of the Islamic Community and the Institute of Lexicography, and its publication was supported by Ankara's Yunus Emre and Sarajevo's Ibn Sina institutes.

More news about Islam in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Croatia's Officials Offer Best Wishes to Muslim Faithful for Kurban Bayram

ZAGREB, August 11, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković have extended their best wishes to the head of the Islamic community in Croatia, Mufti Aziz Hasanović, and the Muslim faithful on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Kurban Bayram.

The officials wish them to spend the holiday together with their loved ones and families in a joyful atmosphere.

"May this feast day be an inspiration for all Muslim believers to think about their own contribution to common good. Bayram Sherif Mubarek Olsun," said the president's message.

"May this feast day be an inspiration for all Muslim believers for new reflections and sacrifice for the benefit of their community and faith" said the message issued by the office of Prime Minister, which also underscores the premier's wish for the further development of good relations.

The Islamic community in Croatia started celebrating the four-day feast of Kurban Bayram on Sunday morning.

More news about Islam in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Bosnian Officials Slam Grabar-Kitarović over Alleged Statement about ‘Militant Islam' in Bosnia

ZAGREB, July 31, 2019 - The Croat and Bosniak members of the Bosnian Presidency, Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović respectively, on Tuesday strongly attacked Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović over her alleged statement to Israeli reporters that Bosnia and Herzegovina "is now controlled by militant Islam."

The Jerusalem Post reported on its website that, Grabar-Kitarović, who is on a state visit to Israel, said BiH "was very unstable, and had in some respects been taken over by people who have connections with Iran and terrorist organizations."

The paper was reporting details of her closed-door meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

"The country is now controlled by militant Islam, which is dominant in setting the agenda," the paper reported Grabar-Kitarović as saying, without naming sources.

Komšić said Grabar-Kitarović was "unstable and not BiH," while Džaferović accused her of "repeating lies which spread xenophobia."

"I'm sorry that the Croatian president is continuing with propaganda at the expense of BiH, stating brutal untruths. However, when it comes to these imputations, it seems this is not the exception but the rule in Grabar-Kitarović's attitude towards BiH," Komšić said in a press release.

He accused her of a "malicious attitude" towards the neighbouring country. "Such perseverance in propaganda against BiH only additionally strengthens our belief that it is the services of the Republic of Croatia that wish to stage in BiH something which would damage the reputation of our state, closing its door to NATO and EU membership, and thereby bringing its survival into question."

BiH Presidency Chairman Džaferović said in a press release that Grabar-Kitarović's statements proved that Croatia had a "fascist policy" towards BiH. "It's clear to everyone in Europe and the world that these are lies fabricated by Zagreb's aggressive and xenophobic policy towards BiH and Bosniaks, which has all the elements of fascism."

"The statements by the Croatian president represent the same propaganda vocabulary which was used by convicted war criminals and leaders of the so-called Herceg-Bosna as they tried to justify the monstrous crimes they committed against Bosniaks," said Džaferović.

He linked Grabar-Kitarović's alleged statements in Israel to a recent visit by Croatian Parliament Deputy Speaker Milijan Brkić to convicted war criminal Bruno Stojić, calling her out for not condemning the visit, "which the president of any civilised country would do."

"In this way, Grabar-Kitarović supported that joint criminal enterprise policy which is the real source of instability and undermines peace in the region," Džaferović said.

Speaking to the press after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Grabar-Kitarović said the two countries had to bring the attention of Europe and the US to the situation in their respective regions.

We can do a lot of good but we can also sink into chaos. Therefore, we have to monitor what is going on around us and, as far as Croatia is concerned, help neighbouring countries - BiH and Macedonia - to come under the wing of the European Union, the Croatian president said.

Netanyahu warned of the danger of radical Islam, saying it wanted to return humanity to the darkest ages and that Israel was on the front line.

If Israel was not here, the Middle East would fall into the hands of radical Islam. By defending ourselves, we are defending all of the Middle East and by defending the Middle East, we are defending Europe, he added.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Iftar Dinner Points to Excellent Relations Between Islamic Community and State

ZAGREB, June 4, 2019 - The role of the Islamic community in Croatia is particularly important in the establishment of interreligious dialogue, and its relationship with the state can serve as an example to other countries, it was said at an iftar dinner held in Zagreb on Monday to mark the end of the Ramadan month of fasting and celebrate Ramadan Bayram.

Those attending the event were welcomed by the head of the Islamic Community, Zagreb Mufti Aziz Hasanović, who said that Islam "teaches that all people are brothers and come from the same father, Adam, and the same mother, Hawa/Eve, and that they are connected by humanity."

He said that those who gathered for the event showed mutual respect and readiness to share the universal values of faith "which makes our society recognisable and open to all its citizens regardless of their religion, ethnicity, skin colour, sex or any other status."

"We are recognised in Europe and the rest of the world as a well-organised community and a community with a hundred-year-old institutional tradition many European countries aspire to. On the other hand, we enjoy the reputation of a community whose programmes prevent all forms of deviation in faith and our experience on that path is necessary both to the East and to the West. We have become recognisable for how relations within our community are regulated and for well-regulated relations with the state," Hasanović said, expressing gratitude in his address to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić and noting that Croatia had high standards in the protection of minority and religious rights.

The iftar dinner was attended by President Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Plenković, Deputy Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner, Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević and Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps and other religious and ethnic minority communities in Croatia.

Addressing those attending the event, President Grabar-Kitarović said, among other things, that "We in Croatia rightfully stress that it is possible to establish interreligious dialogue and respect those who share with us our present and look forward with us to our future."

The role of the Islamic community and each of its members is especially important in that process, she said, thanking the Islamic community for recognising the wish for true togetherness. "The well-being of our Croatia and all its residents is what we have been building our mutual respect, tolerance and joint success on," she said.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Plenković said that Croatia was one of the few countries in Europe and beyond that had recognised Islam as an official religion a hundred years ago. "By doing so, the state guaranteed all human and religious rights to Muslims in Croatia, which the Croatian society can be especially proud of because we were among the first in Europe to do so," he said.

The current model of relations between the government and the Islamic community in Croatia serves as an example to all, he said. "It shows that an open dialogue and mutual respect... can lead to a consensus on respect for the freedom of conscience and religion, a fundamental human right for all our citizens. We have achieved all of that through cooperation and commitment," he said, citing as an example a government decision to co-fund the construction of an Islamic cultural centre in Sisak.

The prime minister also recalled the numerous Muslims who defended Croatia in the 1991-95 Homeland War and of whom many were killed. "To them we are eternally grateful," he said.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Reiner said that Muslims in Croatia had been contributing to the country's economic, scientific, cultural and sports life for centuries, "making the country better and more prosperous."

He especially thanked Croatian Islamic religious leaders "who teach Islam as a faith of peace, cooperation, dialogue and tolerance, opposing any kind of extremism, exclusiveness and fundamentalism."

More news about the Islamic Community in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Conference on Religion and Nation Opens at Islamic Centre in Zagreb

ZAGREB, March 30, 2019 - A two-day international scientific conference entitled Religion and Nation opened at the Islamic Centre in Zagreb on Friday.

The conference was attended by senior religious figures, including the head of the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Reis-ul-ulema Husein Kavazović, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, the Serb Orthodox Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana, Porfirije Perić, and the Chief Rabbi for Croatia and Montenegro of the Jewish community of Zagreb, Luciano Moše Prelević.

Reis-ul-ulema Kavazaović said in his opening remarks that "worshipping the nation ends up in a dead end" and that "man, being God's creation, can only realise himself in God."

The head of the Islamic community in Croatia, Mufti Aziz Hasanović, said that Islam gives priority to the faith without neglecting the nation, but is against nationalism because it excludes religious and humanist values.

Cardinal Bozanić highlighted the importance of social studies of relations between religion and the nation in Croatia and neighbouring countries which had experienced various forms of totalitarianism in the last century, noting that this should be done with due consideration and respect for the other.

Asim Kurjak, a member of the Scientific Committee, said that the main message of the conference should be that disputes between science and religion should be confined to the past because in that case it would be easier to deal with controversies between them.

More news on the religion issues can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Croatia's Islamic Community Leader Presents Book "Understanding Islam"

ZAGREB, February 9, 2019 - "Understanding Islam", a book by the head of Croatia's Islamic Community, Aziz Hasanović, was launched in Split on Friday, on which occasion he said the institutional form of Islam in Croatia was a Croatian brand which could serve as a model to the East and the West for regulating the status of minority communities.

"The institutional form of Islam in Croatia has existed for more than a century and is a big Croatian brand, and this book promotes the message that Croatia can serve as a model in resolving the status of Christian minorities in the East as well as Muslim minorities in Europe," said mufti Hasanović.

Croatia is a "bright example" of how to treat the Islamic and Muslim communities, he said, adding that there were "big campaigns against Islam" in the world, notably in Europe.

"This book is aimed at strengthening relations between people and strengthening dialogue between religions," the mufti said, adding that the book also analysed Sharia and "the difference between Islamic and Muslim countries."

Hasanović said he was proud to have attended in Abu Dhabi the signing of the Declaration for World Peace and Living Together between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed At-Tayyeb.

Asked if the declaration would have a positive impact on Christian-Muslim relations in the Balkans, Hasanović said that it would. "I expect us in the Balkans to practice and follow the declaration too."

More news on the Islamic Community in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Islamic Community in Croatia Model for Status of Muslims in Europe

ZAGREB, January 15, 2019 - Opening an international conference on Muslim communities in Europe and their duties and responsibilities, the head of the Islamic Community in Croatia, Mufti Aziz Hasanović, said in Zagreb on Tuesday that the local community of the Muslim faithful had been showing for years that it could serve as a model for addressing the Muslim issue in Europe as well as for solving the status of Christian minorities in the Islamic world.

The conference was organised by the leadership of the Islamic Community in Croatia and the World Council of Muslim Communities.

"The Islamic Community in Croatia has been promoting for years the idea that it can serve as a model for resolving the Muslim issue in Europe and also the issue of Christian minorities in the Islamic world. In the same vein, we have today brought together participants from 25 countries in Europe to share our positive experiences and to send a message that all who want to make contributions to their respective societies and to Islam as a religion, need to consider certain experiences that have been confirmed in Croatia by the institutionalised work of the Islamic Community in the past 103 years in this region," the dignitary said.

I am happy to be the host of this gathering and I thank the World Council of Muslim Communities and our government as well as the Justice Minister, who is also responsible for religious matters, for cooperating in efforts to address the issues facing us, said Mufti Hasanović.

Every time has its own challenges, said Hasanović expressing satisfaction with efforts aimed at solving those challenges and at the fact that Croatia's Islamic Community has become a regional centre for sending messages about joint efforts to deal with those challenges.

Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković underscored the fact that a conference of this kind was taking place in Croatia.

More news on the Islamic Community in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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