Bosnia | Gay Rights | News | Sarajevo

9 Injured as Muslim Protestors Clash with Gays in Sarajevo

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Police clashed with anti-gay rock-throwing protestors outside the Sarajevo Art Academy building where the country's first gay and lesbian festival was kicking off. The anti-gay protestors also dragged people out of cars and beat them in the street. Nine were injured, according to news organization B92:

Protestors"The hooligans, some with their faces covered, and other with long beards, were yelling insults at the festival participants and shouting, 'Allahu Akbar!' They also dragged people out of their cars and physically attacked others in the festival on the street. Six people were taken to the hospital with head injuries. The person suffering the most serious wounds was a Danish citizen. One police officer was also injured in the clashes with the hooligans. Police arrested eight attackers. Journalist Emir Imamović and writer Peđa Kojović were also injured. The hooligans gathered right before the opening of the exhibition. The police believe that they were football hooligans, judging by the clothes they were wearing and emblems that were noticed."

At the Academy, artists showed a multimedia exhibit covering gay rights.

International human rights groups sounded warnings in mid-September after posters reading "Death to Gays" were posted around the city. The Muslim community in Sarajevo was accused of stoking the anti-gay rage.

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Comments

  1. ....and please inform me as to why we all should not be standing up to religious zealots across the globe, anywhere and everywhere we can? These are the folks that destroy civilizations. My heart goes out to those who stand up to these sad people everyday around the globe.

    Posted by: Chip Arndt | Sep 25, 2008 8:54:15 AM


  2. I find it incredibly ironic that there are Muslims out there now donning the look of neo-nazis. These people need to freakin' get a clue.

    Posted by: Sami | Sep 25, 2008 9:21:27 AM


  3. Hooligans? How quaint. How about violent zealots or attempted murderers? Nah, they're religious hooligans!

    Posted by: BusyTimmy | Sep 25, 2008 9:36:29 AM


  4. Wow. Muslim thugs in Europe beating up on those who are different, using violence to try and squash their freedom of speech and rights.

    Shocking. A revelation. Unheard of.

    Uh - yeah people. This has been going on for years now.

    At least the media had the guts to describe them as Muslim. Had it been in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, or anywhere else in Western Europe that minor detail would have probably been left out.

    Wouldn't want to appear "racist."

    Posted by: Andy | Sep 25, 2008 9:51:44 AM


  5. ANDY,

    I understand what you're saying, but remember the Muslims of Bosnia are not immigrants. They converted to Islam over hundreds of years ago...I guess when the Ottomans ruled that part of Europe. It's sad nevertheless. Western "style" gay liberation is very dangerous for gay folks in some parts of the world. Perhaps Eastern European/African/Muslim gays have to look at how they functioned tradionally within their cultures. But I guess, the Western version of "gay" is the most liberating. Everybody wants to be free to be who you are...without being crucified for it.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Sep 25, 2008 10:24:44 AM


  6. Yes - I know they have been Muslim for centuries in Bosnia. I am talking about a reluctance to call out people on their crap.

    Unfortunately, I think those people functioned within their cultures by being terrified and suppresed. Think about it. If a woman says "I don't want to wear this veil" - what do you think is going to happen to her?

    Posted by: Andy | Sep 25, 2008 10:44:41 AM


  7. Andy, why did you delete both my comments? I understand, but disagree with, deleting the one asking you to rewrite the lede, but why the second one?

    Posted by: tjc | Sep 25, 2008 11:37:17 AM


  8. what's particularly hideous & disturbing to me is that only a decade ago, these same muslims were being systematically exterminated due to an ethnic cleansing movement that was going on in the same region.

    before they go bashing gays they might think about what it was like for them 10 years ago.

    Posted by: alguien | Sep 25, 2008 11:57:25 AM


  9. For once it might be fun to hear about a gay mob pulling neo-Nazis from cars and beating them up.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 25, 2008 1:18:07 PM


  10. Of course the ultimate irony is that gay men and women were among the soldiers from the US and other countries who helped save these Islamofascists from ethnic cleansing.

    Just two examples:

    Brian Muller – Army bomb squad team leader [who also once served in a protection detail for President Shrub]. Discharged after volunteering that he was gay.

    Bridget Altenburg, West Point graduate, a captain and an engineer. "She led a unit of 35 soldiers in Bosnia who rebuilt bridges so that Bosnians could vote for their new government; she served as an aide to a three-star general in Kosovo and was perhaps the only woman at the time who was serving as an aide in a hazardous fire zone." Resigned over DADT. [vis Independent Gay Forum]

    And, in double irony, Bosnia's military, unlike ours, is open to out gays.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Sep 25, 2008 1:36:58 PM


  11. It now appears the remainder of the festival will be either called off or closed to the public, according to a press conference they held today.

    The police protected the location of the festival, but attackers followed festival visitors up to several kilometers away and attacked them there. The Dane injured was the selector of the films for the festival. He was beaten up a good 1/2 kilometer away. Others were attacked in a cafe in a completely different part of town.

    Opposition came in two groups, just as it did in Beograd in 2001: religious fanatics, in this case members of a Wahhabi group (NOT indigenous to Bosnia, but now present and probably supported from abroad) and football hooligans. The former group stood around the entrance & made pronouncements & tried to get in; the latter marched on the other side of the river and chanted "Kill, kill, kill, kill the fag!" just as they did in Beograd in 2001.

    It is indeed sad that a people who experienced the brunt of violence in the wars of the 90s seem again susceptible to hatred and violence. Many in the Muslim community in Sarajevo are in favor of tolerance of all kinds. But many still are not (as hateful comments on media message boards reveal).

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Sep 25, 2008 1:41:18 PM


  12. According to the press, there were some 250 visitors at the opening of the festival, with 70 protesters standing outside. Those numbers are significantly better than the Beograd parade of 2001, where there were more than 10 times more opposition than queer marchers.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Sep 25, 2008 1:46:31 PM


  13. You have to respect the Muslims; at least they are being true to their religion. Same thing for the Christian fundies. I just hate the people who follow religion a la carte instead of acknowledging its corrupting, hateful influence on the world.

    Posted by: Tim | Sep 25, 2008 3:06:43 PM


  14. Religion is a drug that employs superstition and mythology to exert control and to create an external source of "truth". When humans move beyond religion and each person creates their own, personal truth, the world will be better off.

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 25, 2008 11:06:14 PM


  15. your "personal truth" is bullshit. there is such a thing as objective truth. it's called reality and its testable through scientific experimentation. let's refrain from accepting new age woo-woo solipsistic bullshit WHILE also rejecting the obvious idiocy of religion.

    Posted by: Blake | Sep 26, 2008 3:09:05 AM


  16. It's funny, nay strange, that any gay individuals could be so bigoted. The festival took place, if I'm not mistaken, during the fasting month of Ramadan despite pleas from the Muslim community for the date to be changed. It seems that the organisers themselves shown no respect for the feelings of the largest segment of Bosnia's population. And now to blame how things turned out wholly on the Muslim community is a bit too much. Gays have often been the object of misunderstanding and hatred - I would think that we wouldn't be because of our own experiences.

    Posted by: Coolidge | Sep 27, 2008 11:50:31 AM


  17. "The festival took place, if I'm not mistaken, during the fasting month of Ramadan despite pleas from the Muslim community for the date to be changed."

    And if the date had been changed do you think religious fanatics would have been fine with the festival? There's no excuse for religious zealots fanning the flames of hatred no matter when it was taking place. That said, as KevinVT pointed out, many Bosnian Muslims are tolerant and have learned from history, and much of the actual violence--as in Hungary this past summer--is perpetrated by ignorant thugs with no religious ties.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 27, 2008 12:50:37 PM


  18. As the Q folks said, the date was chosen so as not to conflict with the many other festivals.

    Anyone who engaged in violence was surely committing a greater offence to Ramadan than those who organized a festival of art and culture. The thugs were not religious. The religious fanatics who were there were from a Wahabbi sect not native to Bosnia. They're the ones who should be kicked out, not the fags.

    And Coolidge, I would turn your argument exactly on its head: the Muslims who endured years of violence for their difference should have learned to be more tolerant. Many of them, in fact, have. Some, innately intolerant homophobes, remain unchanged.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Sep 27, 2008 1:45:04 PM


  19. Blake: Yes, I should have been clearer about the objective truth of science, but that's not what clearer-thinking religionists pin their emotions on. What I meant about personal truth has to do with morals and values, not scientific truth or facts, which I would never put in quotes, rather, Scientific Truth.

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 27, 2008 4:07:11 PM


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