Raisu-l-ulama Mustafa Cerić
Grand Mufti of Bosnia
On the Occasion of 11th of July, 2009The day of Commemoration
of the Srebrenica genocide all over the European Union
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The arrival of Islam in Europe is as natural as the arrival of both Judaism and Christianity. None of the messengers of God are of the European origin.
Hence, no one has the right to claim the priority of his/her faith of the land of Europe. All three Abrahamic traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam belong to Europe and thus Europe has the right, nay, an obligation to treat them as its own.
The arrival of Islam into Europe has come via two main gates: the gate of the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century and the Balkan Peninsula in the 14th century.
Eight centuries of the Islamic presence in Andalusia, Spain, have produced a unique tradition of religious and cultural tolerance as well as academic freedom which has greatly helped Europe on its way to humanism and renaissance.
Unfortunately, the idea of the Andalusian tolerance did not survive the European history.
By the grace of Allah, Islam did survive in the Balkan Peninsula despite the hardship which the Muslims have witnessed over the last century the most difficult one being genocide in July 1995 in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which was at that time a Protected Zone by a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
During several days of carnage more than 8 000 Muslim men and boys, who had sought safety in this area under the protection of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), were summarily executed by Serb forces commanded by General Mladić and by paramilitary units, including Serbian irregular police units which had entered Bosnian territory from Serbia.
Nearly 25 000 women, children and elderly people were forcibly deported, making this event the biggest war crime to take place in Europe since the end of the Second World War.
Therefore, the European Parliament thought it appropriate that the institutionalisation of the 11th of July as a day of remembrance is the best means of paying tribute to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.
Thus, with the majority vote of its 565 members the European Parliament has adopted the resolution of 15 January 2009 on Srebrenica whereby it commemorates and honors all the victims of the atrocities; expresses its condolences to and solidarity with the families of the victims, many of whom are living without final confirmation of the fate of their relatives; recognizes that this continuing pain is aggravated by the failure to bring those responsible for these acts to justice.
Also, the European Parliament calls on the Council and the Commission to commemorate appropriately the anniversary of the Srebrenica-Potočari act of genocide by supporting Parliament's recognition of 11 July as the day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide all over the EU, and to call on all the countries of the western Balkans to do the same.
The victims of Srebrenica genocide are aware that the past cannot be changed, but they appreciate the recognition of their pain by EU as a good sign that genocide will not be repeated in the future to anyone.
Not only Muslims in Europe, but all people of good faith are also appreciative of the fact that the lives of innocent boys of Bosnia were not in vain. It is exactly what the Holy Qur’an teaches us to say:
O our Sustainer, grant us that which Thou hast promised us through Thy apostles, and disgrace us not on Resurrection Day! Verily, Thou never failest to fulfill Thy promise! And thus does their Sustainer answer their prayer: - I shall not lose sight of the labour of any of you who labours [in My way], be it man or woman: each of you is an issue of the other. Hence, as for those who forsake the domain of evil, and are driven from their homelands, and suffer hurt in My cause, and fight [for it], and are slain - I shall most certainly efface their bad deeds, and shall most certainly bring them into gardens through which running waters flow, as a reward from God: for with God is the most beauteous of rewards (Asad, 3:194-195)
And this is exactly what we would like to ask all the mosques in Europe today as well as all the people of good faith to join us in our prayer on the 11th of July in the noontime in Potočari where only parts of hundreds of innocent Muslim men and boys will be buried. This prayer is our hope that our future shall be better than our past and that our children shall not have fear of genocide.
O Man, whoever you are and wherever you might be, remember God who created us all in the same way and the same sway so that we all might say our honest prayer:
Do not let success deceive us
Nor failure takes us to despair!
Always remind us that failure is a temptation
That precedes success!
Teach us that tolerance
Is the highest degree of power
And the desire for revenge
The first sign of weakness!
If you deprive us of our property,
Give us hope!
If you grant us with success,
Give us also the will to overcome defeat!
If you take from us the blessing of health,
Provide us with the blessing of faith!
If we sin against people,
Give us the strength of apology!
And if people sin against us,
Give us the strength of forgiveness!
If we forget Thee,
Do not forget us!
May grief become hope!
May revenge become justice!
May mother's tears become prayers!
That Srebrenica never happens again!
To anyone, anywhere!