Reactions to swastika graffiti on mosque walls in Banja Luka

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Source: N1

Offensive graffiti on Arnaudija mosque, in Northern-Bosnian city of Banja Luka, represents continued pressure on Bosniaks and Muslims living in the Serb-dominated region of Bosnia – Republika Srpska (RS), the RS Vice President Ramiz Salkic said on Wednesday.

“The Bosniak Muslims living in this entity are here on their land and homes, living with their neighbours Catholics and Orthodox. We expect everyone to understand this and that the (Muslim) call to prayer will not to be called by offensive names,” Salkic said, adding that he expects the police will arrest those who drew a swastika on the mosque wall.

The Banja Luka’s Arnaudija mosque is among the 15 mosques which were destroyed in this city during the 1992-1995 war, and it was the last one to be rebuilt. Its walls were vandalised on Tuesday night when unknown perpetrator(s) drew a swastika and a four ‘S’ symbol, a Serb nationalist symbol beside it.

Salkic also asked the RS authorities to change their attitude towards Bosniaks which will influence the behaviour of other RS residents.

The Islamic Community’s centre in Banja Luka condemned the act, saying they expect the authorities to find the vandals.

“We hope this act of vandalism will not negatively affect the tolerance and coexistence among the Banja Luka residents,” they said.

The RS Secretariat for Religions also condemned the act of vandalism, saying whoever did it is working towards the detriment of “peace and tolerance which is in everyone's interest in this city and Republika Srpska.”

Banja Luka police officers investigated the scene on Wednesday morning and said they are taking measures to solve the case as soon as possible