The arrest of 14 judges and an over-dramatized possible case of Ebola took over Macedonian media in October, overshadowing news of a damning EU progress report on the country.
It appears that Islam in the Balkans does not offer readily exportable solutions for Western European Muslims but rather a rich experience to learn from. In words of Bougarel, studying the experience of Balkan Muslims “as non-sovereign Muslim minorities in Europe - and the way their politcal, religious and intellectual elites responded to this challenge enables a better understanding of the specific features of Balkan Islam and its potential contribution to the emergence of a European Islam”.
Undoubtedly, Muslim scholars from the region have made important contributions to debates on how to reconcile Islam and European modernity, by engaging issues such as secularism, science, the status of women, the modernization of education and religious institutions, and the reform of Shari’a. It seems that those theoretical and practical contributions can offer a major input to the discourse on a “European Islam.” Yet, until now, the flow of intellectual exchange has been mainly from Western Europe to the Balkans, rather than the other way around. While authors such as Tariq Ramadan and Yusuf al-Qaradawi are translated to local languages and referred to in academic writings and public debates in the Balkans, most of the writings of significant Balkan authors remain largely unknown to the Muslim publics in the West; this is despite the fact that some of their works have been published in English, German and French. After a public lecture by Tariq Ramadan in Sarajevo in 2009, I was told by local scholars that “Ramadan did not know about Bosnian Islam, did not refer to Bosnian Muslims, whereas most of the topics he discusses in his books were subject of debate here one hundred years ago.” There is an overwhelming feeling that the intellectual legacy of Muslim response in the region to challenges of European modernity “has still to be systematized, studied and presented in major European languages”.
Ina Merdjanova “rediscovering the umma”
As I’ve said before Balkan Muslims should be included more often in discourses about Islam and Muslims in Europe, you all could learn from them.
According to a (new) Gallup poll the top 12 countries that hate their governments the most are the following:
1. Bosnia and Hercegovina
4. Czech Republic
9. Costa Rica
What contributes to this are the high unemployment rates and corruption.
Bosnia-Hercegovina has an unemployment rate of 27 %, Greece tops it by 27,3 % [x]
For many countries in Eastern Europe, Holliday noted, perceptions of capitalism’s success may influence approval ratings. “Capitalism, or western private market economics, as [a] system that can provide for broad well-being has been no longer necessarily a given.”
Perception of corruption can also play a role in shaping residents’ approval of their government. In 10 of the 12 nations with the lowest governmental approval ratings, more than 80% of those polled believed that government corruption was widespread in 2013. Further, 89% of Spaniards surveyed felt this way, the eighth highest share of any country in the world. Residents of Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina felt even stronger. Ninety-one percent of those polled in each of those countries said corruption was commonplace.