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Muslim leader: Europe send bad messages to Muslims | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – The Bosnian Muslim religious leader said Wednesday he hopes Europe will restore its values, which he said were violated by the Swiss decision to ban minarets and the EU’s keeping of visa requirements only for Europe’s predominantly Muslim countries.

Mustafa Ceric, the head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia, said it was interesting that both decisions were made on the most important holiday of the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha.

Sunday’s referendum to outlaw the construction of minarets in Switzerland sent a bad message to Europe’s Muslims, Ceric said.

On Monday, the European Union abolished visa requirements for citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia but kept them for Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia.

In Bosnia, where Muslim Bosniaks, Christian Orthodox Serbs and Roman Catholic Croats live, the ban effectively blocks only Muslims from traveling. The country’s Serbs and Croats have, or have access to, Serbian and Croatian passports.

“The message from Brussels told us we are worth less than our Serbian, Montenegrin, Macedonian and Croatian neighbors, and the one from Switzerland told us that our religious and cultural symbols are unwanted,” Ceric said. “Still hurt by the recent genocide committed on them during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, Bosnia’s Muslims should be given assurances that they have the right to live in Europe and they should not fear for the future of their children,” Ceric said.