The top international envoy in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, and Muslim spiritual leader Reiss-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric have been plunged into row over religious education with each accusing the other of intolerance and religious incitement.
The controversy was sparked by the resignation last week of Sarajevo canton minister for education Emir Suljagic after his proposal that religious education should be optional and not included in overall rating of students’ success was rejected.
Ceric accused Suljagic, himself a Muslim, of “hating Muslims and Islam”. The cleric called on Suljagic to resign and warned a “Sarajevo summer could happen” similar to the violent unrest that topped Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak in February.
Inzko, who has broad powers in Bosnia, said in a statement he was “personally disappointed by such a statement from a person obliged to promote peace and understanding”. “Such rhetoric can have only negative consequences for peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Inzko said.
“If this country can’t find the humanity to reject hatred and mistrust, then it can’t offer a future for its children,” Inzko added.