SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina, OCT. 17, 2001 (ZENIT.org–Avvenire).- New York and Sarajevo could be considered as examples of civilization, tolerance and liberty — in time of peace, as well as in time of war — because of their multiethnic fusion.
So says Auxiliary Bishop Pero Sudar of Sarajevo. “However,” he adds, “there are differences.”
“The history of the Bosnian people, abandoned for five years to a long war, did not have the ´good fortune´ of the United States today, surrounded by international solidarity,” Bishop Sudar lamented. “Our war was not understood because at that time there was no desire to understand.”
The international community did not wish to understand that “if someone tries to abuse others with violence, he must be stopped, as they are trying to do now,” the bishop added.
The future of world peace depends on achieving peaceful coexistence among religions, the bishop believes. He explained that Islam, as practiced by the inhabitants of Bosnia, “is based on convictions that cannot be compared to those of some Muslim theocracies of the world.”
“Fundamentalism has little in common with the Islamic faith,” the bishop emphasized.
However, there are cases of Muslims in Bosnia that are similar to Muslim fundamentalists. “Suffice it to think of what has happened in recent weeks in Zenica, where religious centers, churches, cemeteries have been the objects of attacks on the part of a fringe of Muslim extremists,” the bishop revealed.
The real solution is to lessen social inequalities, he said.
“Following Sept. 11, no one can behave as before,” the bishop insisted. “Everyone´s commitment should be to lessen the distance between the weak and the strong; between those who are rich and those who are increasingly poor. If this doesn´t happen, it will be the strong who will not be at peace.”