Belgrade Mosque Attacks Cause "Inestimable [Political] Damage"

March 19, 2004

Source: Transitions Online

On March 19, 2004 Transitions Online reported, "Just before midnight on 17 March, Belgrade’s 17th-century Barjakli mosque became the target of an hours-long attack by hooligans incited by Albanian assaults on Serbs and Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo. The Belgrade mosque survived attempts to set it ablaze, but the attackers managed to set a fire that gutted the main floor of a nearby building that served as the Islamic community’s administrative center and residential school... A stream of diplomats from Western and Islamic countries, civic officials, Serbian government officials, and ordinary Serbs and Muslims arrived at the mosque the morning after the attack to express support, offer help, and condemn the violence...In an interview with B92 radio and television at the Belgrade mosque, Serbian Human and Minority Rights Minister Rasim Ljajic, himself a Muslim, said the mosque attacks caused 'inestimable damage for this country, above all political.' Ljajic said he felt humiliated by the attacks as a Muslim and as someone 'who has worked for three years to show the world that there is religious tolerance here.'"