Is it Santa only?

X-mas news from Bosnia were a bit confusing.  The directors of Sarajevo’s day-care centres, kindergartens and pre-schools banned Santa.  I personally detest Santa – especially its Coce version – but if someone likes him it’s up to them.  More serious however is if this event reflects something more about today’s society in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The reason to ban Santa was according officials that the capital is predominantly Muslim and Santa Claus is not part of the Muslim tradition.  Locally Santa is known as Father Frost who has given out presents to generations of Bosnian kids in kindergartens and other institutions and even during communist rule.  After ban some multi-religious group of parents demonstrated in Sarajevo saying that Santa/Father Frost should be seen as a Bosnian tradition.

During last months some small but alarming events – related to intolerance and rise of radical Islam – have took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina such as following examples:

While now December reading Santa story from Bosnia one aspect is that the actors are not radical Wahhabis, terrorists, hooligans and common criminals; in this case the officials – public authorities – were in key role.  Does this mean that the whole (Muslim) society is going towards intolerance, does these small isolated events mean that last nail has hammered to coffin of multi-ethnic ideals.  Let’s hope not, in year 2009 we are more wise.

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One Response to Is it Santa only?

  1. Slavko says:

    Ari
    Is it wrong that the BiH government removing “Father Frost” from their nurseries and schools. “Father Frost” is a fairy tale from Russia. It was used by the Soviets to keep up public moral and take people away from “father Christams” percieved as part of wetern imperialism. What exactly has that got to do with Bosnian Muslims? The communist regime in Belgrade saw fit to copy the Soviet culture in this aspect and forced it on the Yugoslav people until they accepted it as normal. But by no stretch of the imagination can it be said to be Bosnian tradition (and even less Bosnjak tradition). Bosnian Muslims have their own traditions and heros, who don’t happen to be fairy tales.

    More to the point, what is this article about? Is it another one of your Bosnian Muslims becoming radicalised (fundamentalised, Wahaabiised) articles that have no basis?
    Are Bosnian Muslims turning towards their religion? After 50 years of communist rule, forcibly wiping out practiced religion is that a suprise? Don’t you like that? Then just say it. Don’t try to be clever by publishing articles claiming to show dangerous radicalisation. If you want to see extremism go look at the politicians and intellectuals who called for the murder, rape and ethnic cleansing of the Croat and Muslim people.

    In Sarajevo Bosnian Muslims continue to show their tolerance and willingness to live with people from the Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish faiths practising their worship in cathedrals, churches and synagogues. Go look in the Repubika Srpska capital there is not one of its 15 mosques left.

    All over the Balkans people of all religions are turning back to faith and practice. Bosnian Muslims are no exception. The difference is that in their faith they don’t have fairy tales of Father Frost or anyone else. At the same time they don’t stop other people celebrating the figure in private. They just don’t want their schools to be teaching young children silly Russian fairy tales.

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