The Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina initiated disciplinary proceedings against the Imam from Kozarac, Amir Mahic, for making inappropriate statements about the Serbian Orthodox Church and Saint Sava, N1 learned.
“We are sorry for everything, no one needed this, we also expect a statement from the Imam”, the Islamic Community told N1, adding that an official and detailed announcement will be made Friday afternoon.
The Imam from Kozarac had allegedly made a scandalous statement on January 27, the day of St. Sava, which he linked to fascism, and compared the Serbian Orthodox Church to a sect.
Reacting to Mahic’s statement, the Metropolitan Chrysostom of Dabro-Bosnia said that churches and mosques are God's houses and should be used only to spread kindness.
“We must never sow poison, or hatred, which is exactly what happened in Kozarac. Unfortunately, this is not the only example, there are dozens of similar sermons in mosques, insulting the Serbian people and the Church,” he said.
The mayor of Prijedor, Slobodan Javor, and the deputy speaker of the city assembly, Azra Pasalic, strongly condemned the insults against the Serbian saint and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The District Prosecutor's Office in Prijedor confirmed that they are working on a case related to the hate speech of imam Amir Mahic.
Later on Friday, the Imam apologized by saying his intention was not to offend or harm anyone, and that his statement is wrongly being used for daily-political purposes in BiH.
“I am aware of the weight that those words carry, and the least I can do is to issue a humanly and professional apology for what was said, which was offensive to Orthodox believers and their church community. I want to say that Imams in the Islamic Community have complete freedom in creating the content of their sermons, and therefore my sermon, which was published in the media, was not motivated by political or similar motives but is partly a consequence of the overall aggravating circumstances in which Bosniaks in this entity [Republika Srpska] live ever since the war ended.
In his Friday sermon, Amir Mahic said:
“My intention was not to hurt anyone's religious feelings, especially my friends and neighbours, clergy and members of the Orthodox Church. I was clearly too harsh in some of the conclusions, and therefore if my words upset or hurt anyone, I take this opportunity to issue a sincere public apology. I express my remorse for that. My wish was to point out the present phenomenon of abuse and instrumentalization of faith for dishonourable purposes and what consequences arise in society when faith becomes a means of manipulation and ideological abuse.”