27 August 2007

Bosniak war widow wants church off her land

Fata Orlović, a Bosnian Muslim woman from the village Konjević Polje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, has been waging a battle for several years to get a Serbian Orthodox church removed from her property. Orlović was expelled from her village during the Bosnian War, and her husband was killed in the war. When she returned in 2000, she found that a church had been constructed on her land, right in front of her house.

Ever since, she has been appealing to the authorities to remove the church. The Bosnian Serb authorities have relented, and are now planning to dismantle the church building and move it to a different location.

It is not dislike for Christianity that motivates Orlović. As she says, "It doesn't bother me that it's a church.... I respect churches as much as mosques. But if they want a church they should just put it on their land instead of mine. I respect all nations and religions, but I can't respect people building on my land."

According to James Rodehaver, the Human Rights Director of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) office in Sarajevo, "If she doesn't get the church off her land you will never have a society that is governed by the rule of law.... The legacy of the war would never be resolved" (BBC).

This story does show that Bosnia has come a long way since the war, though. The very fact that the Bosnian Serb authorities are taking Mrs Orlovi
ć's request seriously and are willing to remove the building that was illegally placed on her land -- despite the fact that it is as politically sensitive a building as a church -- speaks volumes.

No comments:

Something Even More Magical

In other news...