Imam who held the Friday sermon at the Cologne Central mosque was just born when the Serb forces stormed the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica to murder more than 10 thousand innocent civilians. 25 years later, he climbed the steps of the minbar to condemn the condoned genocide on its 25th anniversary.
Cologne Central Mosque the compound of which also holds the headquarters of Turkish Islamic Union, DITIB, largest Muslim organization in Europe hosted around one fifth of its usual capacity due to praying while social distancing. Several hundred people whom made it there for the Friday prayer, remembered the victims of Bosnian genocide which took place in Srebrenica 25 years ago.
Young Imam started his sermon by reminding a verse in Holy Quran which says ‘Whosoever kills a person … it shall be as if he has killed all mankind’. Official numbers put the genocide toll at 8367 but Bosnian NGOs says the number of people butchered by Serb forces under the command of Radovan Karazic is over 10 thousand. The young Imam went on to say “We hope the mankind has taken a lesson from the genocide thar took place in the middle of Europe.” He ended his sermon by reminding a saying from Alija Izzetbegovic, the first president of free Bosnia. “We lose the war not when we die but when we resemble our enemy,” said Izzetbegovic when one of the soldiers asked him why they should not bomb churches to take revenge for dozens destroyed mosques which aimed to eradicate Muslim heritage in Bosnia.
Dutch peacekeeper soldiers were stationed at a battery factory just outside of Srebrenica when Serb forces were closing in on the city. The Dutch were there to make sure civilians went unharmed but instead they left the city after having champagne with Ratko Mladic, the head of the Serb forces. Following day, a relentless beheading started. Hasan Nujanovic, the translator for the Dutch commander once said on his Twitter account that Bosnian suffer beheadings in the hands of Serbs way before than ISIS started using the vicious execution. Another Bosnian activist urged everyone to call the genocide as “Bosnian genocide.” “The murders took place in all corners of Bosnia not just Srebrenica,” she said. Confining the genocide to Srebrenica is no different than denying it and disrespecting the other victims, she continued.