Bosnians condemn incendiary Hungarian PM Orban comments on Muslim community

Bosnians condemn incendiary Hungarian PM Orban comments on Muslim community

Bosnian leaders have denounced Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for questioning if Bosnia and Herzegovina could be integrated into the European Union because of its large Muslim population.

Orban’s spokesman Zoltan Kovacs tweeted about “the challenge with Bosnia is how to integrate a country with 2 million Muslims”. 

Orban is strongly opposed to west Asian immigrants and has said they should be referred to as “Muslim invaders”.

On Tuesday in Budapest, the populist Orban said Hungary backed Bosnia’s application but warned of “the enlargement fatigue that has taken hold of the European Union”. 

“I am doing my best to convince Europe’s great leaders that the Balkans may be further away from them than from Hungary but how we manage the security of a state in which 2 million Muslims live is a key issue for their security too,” Orban said. 

He described Serbia and the Bosnian-Serb entity Republika Srpska as “key to the stability of the western Balkans” and urged the new German government to help integrate the region into the EU. 

Some Bosniak parties asked for the anti-migrant prime minister’s planned visit to Sarajevo to be cancelled. 

The head of the Islamic community, Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic, said the comments were “xenophobic and racist”. 

“If such ideologies become the basis on which the policies of a united Europe are based, then it takes us back to the times when the European unity was to be built on similar fascist, Nazi, violent and genocidal ideologies that led to the Holocaust and other horrific crimes,” said a statement from Kavazovic, Bosnia’s top Islamic scholar since 2012. 

The Bosniak member tripartite presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, said Orban’s speech was “shameful and rude”. 

“It is not a challenge for the EU to integrate 2 million Muslims because we are an indigenous European people who have always lived here and we are Europeans,” he said.

The tripartite presidency of Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats has been described as one of the most complex political solutions to end an armed conflict. 

Bosnia is mired in ethnic divisions that threaten to break up the country. 

Russia and Serbia have backed the Bosnian-Serb community in demanding its own judiciary, military and tax administration, which form the backbone of the Bosnian state. 

There are fears the steps may lead to secession and armed conflict.

On Tuesday, Orban said Hungary would not support EU sanctions against Bosnian-Serb presidential representative Milorad Dodik because of his separatist demands. 


Dsiplaced Muslim women during the Bosnian War. Picture credit: Picryl

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