X-mas news from Bosnia were a bit confusing. The directors of Sarajevo’s day-care centres, kindergartens and pre-schools banned Santa. I personally detest Santa – especially its Coce version – but if someone likes him it’s up to them. More serious however is if this event reflects something more about today’s society in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The reason to ban Santa was according officials that the capital is predominantly Muslim and Santa Claus is not part of the Muslim tradition. Locally Santa is known as Father Frost who has given out presents to generations of Bosnian kids in kindergartens and other institutions and even during communist rule. After ban some multi-religious group of parents demonstrated in Sarajevo saying that Santa/Father Frost should be seen as a Bosnian tradition.
During last months some small but alarming events – related to intolerance and rise of radical Islam – have took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina such as following examples:
- On August 2008 The Croatia Libertas NGO says that the decision to paint pavements in Sarajevo in green – the color traditionally linked with Islam – is pure provocation stating that the painted pavements were a clear message from Muslims to all the city’s other residents that Sarajevo was not the capital city of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but an ethnically Bosniak capital.
- On September 2008 I wrote (http://arirusila.wordpress.com/2008/09/28/radical-islamist-network-spreading-in-balkans/) about two cases: hunt by Bosnian Muslim Intelligence agency of two Islamic terrorists and second when a Gay festival were attacked by a group of young Muslims (Wahhabis) in Sarajevo.
- On October my concern (http://arirusila.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/islamic-terror-in-bosnia-follow-up-and-some-background) was how Croatians in Bosnia felt that they are victims of Bosnian Muslim terror.
- On November 2008 after Mumbai attack I wrote how arms trafficking in Bosnia had changed more alarming not because their selling in EU but because their planned use in Europe by radicals (http://arirusila.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/radical-islamists-arming-their-selves-in-balkans).
While now December reading Santa story from Bosnia one aspect is that the actors are not radical Wahhabis, terrorists, hooligans and common criminals; in this case the officials – public authorities – were in key role. Does this mean that the whole (Muslim) society is going towards intolerance, does these small isolated events mean that last nail has hammered to coffin of multi-ethnic ideals. Let’s hope not, in year 2009 we are more wise.