Iftar Dinner Points to Excellent Relations Between Islamic Community and State

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 4, 2019 – The role of the Islamic community in Croatia is particularly important in the establishment of interreligious dialogue, and its relationship with the state can serve as an example to other countries, it was said at an iftar dinner held in Zagreb on Monday to mark the end of the Ramadan month of fasting and celebrate Ramadan Bayram.

Those attending the event were welcomed by the head of the Islamic Community, Zagreb Mufti Aziz Hasanović, who said that Islam “teaches that all people are brothers and come from the same father, Adam, and the same mother, Hawa/Eve, and that they are connected by humanity.”

He said that those who gathered for the event showed mutual respect and readiness to share the universal values of faith “which makes our society recognisable and open to all its citizens regardless of their religion, ethnicity, skin colour, sex or any other status.”

“We are recognised in Europe and the rest of the world as a well-organised community and a community with a hundred-year-old institutional tradition many European countries aspire to. On the other hand, we enjoy the reputation of a community whose programmes prevent all forms of deviation in faith and our experience on that path is necessary both to the East and to the West. We have become recognisable for how relations within our community are regulated and for well-regulated relations with the state,” Hasanović said, expressing gratitude in his address to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić and noting that Croatia had high standards in the protection of minority and religious rights.

The iftar dinner was attended by President Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Plenković, Deputy Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner, Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević and Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps and other religious and ethnic minority communities in Croatia.

Addressing those attending the event, President Grabar-Kitarović said, among other things, that “We in Croatia rightfully stress that it is possible to establish interreligious dialogue and respect those who share with us our present and look forward with us to our future.”

The role of the Islamic community and each of its members is especially important in that process, she said, thanking the Islamic community for recognising the wish for true togetherness. “The well-being of our Croatia and all its residents is what we have been building our mutual respect, tolerance and joint success on,” she said.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Plenković said that Croatia was one of the few countries in Europe and beyond that had recognised Islam as an official religion a hundred years ago. “By doing so, the state guaranteed all human and religious rights to Muslims in Croatia, which the Croatian society can be especially proud of because we were among the first in Europe to do so,” he said.

The current model of relations between the government and the Islamic community in Croatia serves as an example to all, he said. “It shows that an open dialogue and mutual respect… can lead to a consensus on respect for the freedom of conscience and religion, a fundamental human right for all our citizens. We have achieved all of that through cooperation and commitment,” he said, citing as an example a government decision to co-fund the construction of an Islamic cultural centre in Sisak.

The prime minister also recalled the numerous Muslims who defended Croatia in the 1991-95 Homeland War and of whom many were killed. “To them we are eternally grateful,” he said.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Reiner said that Muslims in Croatia had been contributing to the country’s economic, scientific, cultural and sports life for centuries, “making the country better and more prosperous.”

He especially thanked Croatian Islamic religious leaders “who teach Islam as a faith of peace, cooperation, dialogue and tolerance, opposing any kind of extremism, exclusiveness and fundamentalism.”

More news about the Islamic Community in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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