SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA — Christians are massively leaving post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina amid mounting discrimination and Islamization, according to a new report released Friday, October 12.
“Many believers leave the country since war raged 20 years ago,” said Netherlands-based advocacy and aid group Kerk in Nood, or ‘Church in Need’, in the report obtained by BosNewsLife.
There are just 440,000 Catholics left in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure, the group said.
The report came on the heels of talks between the cardinal of Sarajevo, Vinko Puljic, and European Council President Herman van Rompuy about difficulties faced by Bosnia’s Christians.
Puljic reportedly complained that while dozens of mosques were build in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions were given for Christian churches.
“The cardinal already waits 13 years on permission to build just a small church,” Church in Need said. Authorities so far refused to return hundreds of nationalized church buildings, despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights to do so, according to Christian officials.
“Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” Puljic said, who added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”