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Abstract

The violence that erupted in the Balkans at the end of the second millennium made fierce enemies of people who had lived together in peace as neighbors, friends, classmates, and married couples. Nationalism, chauvinism, and religious fanaticism quickly grew stronger, leading to the disappearance of centuries-long harmony among its inhabitants. Among the reasons for the conflict were the experienced communist leaders who skillfully used religious slogans to advance their campaigns; also, religious leaders became close associates to political leaders with hopes that they would attain the religious rights denied and limited during the old governance. As a result, nationalism and resilient religious identities appeared as important elements of rhetoric of public figures.

The last century ended with the dark events of two world wars and the Balkans as a center of ethnic and religious armed conflicts. The conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina was the first major, post-Cold War-era test of the international community’s ability to resolve ethnic conflicts. Its efforts were not effective in preventing a catastrophic war and establishing conditions for stable, long-term peace and stability once the war ended. As a result, Bosnia-Herzegovina has remained troubled by the contradiction between integration and partition. The tension between communities is still evident and powerful. Interfaith relations are also delicate. Memories of the war are still fresh, people have war traumas and there is a fear that another war could break out anytime.

Author Bio(s)

Jusuf Salih is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, Ohio. He has taught various courses on religion in different universities prior to join the University of Dayton. His main area of scholarly interest is Islamic Theology, Islam in the West, Comparative Religions and Ottoman Intellectual History.