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Europe’s first hijab-wearing mayor to take office in Bosnia

11 October 2012 General 47 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Europe’s first hijab-wearing mayor to take office in Bosnia

VISOKO: A new woman mayor in Bosnia who is the first in her country and the continent to wear the hijab headscarf, said on Tuesday her election was “a model for Europe and Islam.”

“This is a great victory of democracy. My fellow citizens showed a great open spirit because they elected me first as a woman but also as a woman who wears a veil,” respecting Islam, said Amra Babic, elected Sunday in the town of Visoko.

“This is a model for Europe but even beyond, for the East and the West which meet here in Bosnia,” she told AFP at the local branch of her party, still plastered with her campaign posters.

Babic, 43, who regularly wears the hijab, won 30 percent of the votes in the mayoral race in Visoko, a town of some 40,000 people near the capital of Sarajevo.

Two days after the vote, Babic, wearing a scarf covering her hair, ears and neck, was busy receiving by telephone congratulations for her victory. Others were coming in to bring her bouquets of flowers.

“Islam is very clear regarding the woman. It reserves for her a place in the public life and all those who interpret it correct know that this is the way it is,” said Babic, who belongs to Bosnia’s main Muslin party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA).

However, she is confident that the place for her country is “among modern European states.”

“I believe that my headscarf should not be a hindrance…. Europe will understand that it has to do with people who respect their own identity, but who are tolerant enough to respect the rights of others,” she said.

Babic, a mother of three and an economist, served as finance minister in the central canton of Zenica prior to running for mayor.

Muslims are the biggest religious group in Bosnia, making up some 40 percent of its 3.8 million population. Orthodox Christian Bosnian Serbs account for 31 percent while the traditionally Roman Catholic Croats represent 10 percent.

Bosnian Muslims are Sunni Hanafi and mostly supporters of a moderate Islam, introduced in the Balkans in the 15th century by the Ottomans.

The hijab was banned under communism when Bosnia was part of the federal Yugoslavia from 1945 until the early 1990s. A number of Muslims in Bosnian nowadays wear the hijab, although most women do not cover their heads.

“I will never abuse politics for religion. If I have the strength to protect my own rights, I will find the strength to protect the rights of others,” she said.

Having lost her husband in the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war in Bosnia, Babic has for years led an association of families of Muslim fighters killed in the conflict.

“I put on the veil after my husband’s death,” she recalls, adding that the religion had helped her to overcome the loss.

“My religion tells me that everything that happens is God’s will. It helped me to concentrate my energy and survive. My sons are my greatest motivation,” she said.

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Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

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47 Comments »

  1. Wow. Truly a model for other Muslim countries. Especially Turkey, who wont let scarved women attend university.

  2. Our Queen often wears a head scarf. It’s no big deal.

  3. A woman in hijab, a role model for Europe?
    Come on….rom

  4. MashaAllah

  5. This is history!!!!

  6. SubhannAllah!!! :) yay

  7. Congratulations!! MashaAlla!

  8. Omg! This is awesome!<3

  9. Congratulations!

  10. way to go, <3 from Africa. <3

  11. Congratulations and best wishes!

  12. Would a Muslimah not wearing a hijab have a equal chance of being elected?

  13. was that article not up for every long. totaly missed it. i must have been out looking for a life. that won’t happen again. i’m chaining myself to the computer.

    you know what we really need is an international blasphemy law. if the muslim brotherhood could only take control, then when 1.5 billion muslim have their feelings hurt, people will be held accountable for their “crimes”.

    http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=30286

    “Thus hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their Faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable.

    We denounce abuse of all Messengers of God, Prophets and Apostles, and condemn this heinous crime. We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions.”

    so who is a messenger, prophet and apostle? confucius? bahá’u’lláh? mirza ghulam ahmad? oh shit what am i thinking, he’s a heretic. romney going to throw joe smith on that list? wait he came after muhammad, must also be a false prophet. no soup for you , come back one year.

  14. congratulations Amra <3<3<3

  15. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19928452

    They are wary of the MB in Egypt.

    The pillars of Islam:

    1. destroy Israel
    2. kill Jews
    3. kill/persecute anybody else on the hitlist
    4. Headscarves on ladies
    5. demand territory. It’s all about real estate.

  16. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19440656

    “If the girls were dressed respectably, no-one would touch them. It’s the way girls dress that makes guys come on to them”

    Male Cairo teenager”

    It’s always the fault of the women isn’t it? Are arab males not able to control themselves?

  17. I have read that the men there will grab women no matter how they are dressed.

  18. Is it true that the US is the rape capitol of the world? Do we need to know why?

  19. “Is it true that the US is the rape capitol of the world? Do we need to know why?”

    It isn’t true. However if you look at the list of nations by rape per capita very few so called muslim nations are in the list. Of course in so called muslim nations reporting a rape can get a woman in to a lot of trouble and many muslim “scholars” sanction rape within marriage

  20. I wish her luck

  21. Another muslim mob on the rampage attacking churches and other property because they claim a boy urinated on a silly book

    http://thecitizen.co.tz/component/content/article/37-tanzania-top-news-story/26479-chaos-hits-dar-as-boy-defiles-quran.html

  22. Bosnoa news – islamisation is at full steam and the usual restrictions apply

    http://www.bosnewslife.com/24019-report-christians-flee-bosnia-amid-discrimination-islamization

    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.

    Additionally tens of thousands of people, many of them Catholic Croats, have been prevented from returning home following the war, Church in Need said. These obstacles violate the Dayton peace accords that ended the 1992-1995 Bosnian War, which split the nation between a Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation.

  23. When other people do this it is called “occupation”. When muslims do it it is called winning territory for Islam or some such thing.

  24. anon, it’s odd we rarely here about the people displaced by muslims over the years – while the palestinians in the west bank and gaza get billions in aid and endless OIC pushed UN resolutions and the palestinians in the surrounding arab countries are kept in refugee camps and denied basic human rights the refugess from muslim persecution just seem to get on with life.

  25. I have read that when Lebanon accepted Palestinian refugees their country was torn apart. The world should take a lesson from that.

  26. anon, basically, the PLO armed forces kicked it all off in Lebanon after many of them were kicked out of Jordan (where they had also tried to mount a coup

  27. I think the most pitiful thing I ever heard in regard to the hijab was that people in Aceh – imams no doubt – said the tsunami came because some women were not wearing hijabs.

    They blamed women and exalted a piece of cloth.

  28. I read that article about the 14 year old boy and the crowd wanting to behead him. What a bunch of scumbags. I would say savages but people take umbrage to that term.

  29. “I would say savages but people take umbrage to that term”

    Nope, they are savages

  30. Shariq Jamal,

    “Is it true that the US is the rape capitol of the world?” i suppose it depends on what stat you look at. if you just go by number of rapes we probably lead the world. of course one has to wonder about reporting reliability in china and india.

    “Do we need to know why?” yes, please tell us. perhaps you meant to say: do we need to ask why? so anyways, why? you got a ground breaking theory? too many women in the work place? women in positions of power, causing some men of lower social satus, felling emasculated, to try and reassert their manhood through rape? did you read the bbc article jane posted? you do know most modern theories are that rape is more about power than sex.

    or were you going to say the style of … well i won’t even try to guess what you mean.

  31. With up to 80% of women in Pakistan jails there because they were raped it is fair to say most rapes aren’t reported in places such as Pakistan

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/sep/17/pakistan.theobserver

    “According to a recent report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a woman is gang-raped every eight hours in the country. However, because of social taboos, discriminatory laws and the treatment of victims by police, campaigners believe the real figure is far higher. Women who report their rapists remain more likely to go to prison themselves than see justice, so most cases are never reported”

    and

    “For a rape trial to go ahead in Pakistan, four adult Muslim men, ‘all of a pious and trustworthy nature’, must have witnessed the attack and be willing to testify. Evidence from female and non-Muslim witnesses is considered worthless. A woman who can’t produce those witnesses can be prosecuted for fornication and alleging a false crime, the penalties for which are stoning, lashings or prison.”

    Sharia eh?

  32. Not really sure the headscarf should be considered a big deal. If Muslims are a plurality in the area, it isn’t much of an accomplishment to win over a plurality vote. It would be far more impressive for this to happen in, say, Switzerland or France.

  33. Everyone knows that no country in the world fully implements Sharia, so don’t go ranting on about how bad Muslims are. We are not doing a good job about following our own teachings! As for this Qur’an burning nonsense, we don’t need to worry about it as Muslims because enough of us have it memorized!

  34. Muslim is the Good one,

    “Everyone knows that no country in the world fully implements Sharia,” so you would be in favor of implementing sharia? so what would your form of sharia be? women can dress however they like? if someone publishes cartoons of the prophet, what should happen? if satan worshipers want to build a temple to satan, they should be allowed? idol worship should be allowed?
    “so don’t go ranting on about how bad Muslims are.” ok, sharia is bad. the hudud is terrible. you going to stone adulterers? cut the hands off of thieves? would you punish blasphemy? apostate? do you follow any of the schools of jurisprudence?
    “We are not doing a good job about following our own teachings!” strange that perfection is open to misinterpretation, don’t you think? so you would follow the inheritance law of 4:11? the clear surah of “the light”, 24:2?
    “As for this Qur’an burning nonsense, we don’t need to worry about it as Muslims because enough of us have it memorized!” first reasonable thing you have said. plus don’tyou have your own copy? so how many muslim have it memorized yet don’t know what it means. you don’t find it strange that people memorize it in arabic, yet don’t know what it is they are saying?

  35. siyaj k’ak,

    you know what would be more impressive? is if muslim could make it a week without blowing something up.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19945955

    but i agree this is a non-story, other than bosnia is in europe. she is in the majority. still only won 30%. how many people ran? maybe they all wore headscarfs?

  36. “Everyone knows that no country in the world fully implements Sharia”

    Mali seem to be making good progress

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/15/mali-girl-in-timbuktu-whipped-for-speaking-to-men/

  37. Bosnians are hot!

  38. jane,

    that would be hilarious, if it wasn’t true. or if muslims didn’t have a history of lashing women and teenage girls. sometimes to death. then again the koran says to lash people. and when your divine revelation allows you to beat your wife, what do you expect.

  39. Volume 8, Book 81, Number 769:

    Narrated ‘Ali bin Abi Talib:

    I would not feel sorry for one who dies because of receiving a legal punishment, except the drunk, for if he should die (when being punished), I would give blood money to his family because no fixed punishment has been ordered by Allah’s Apostle for the drunk.

  40. In one of those places they hit a woman 4 times with a rod made up of 10 sticks, she died. Tissues swelled up and couldn’t get cleared.

    They were lashing that Bangla girl with twisted cloth, for being raped. She died after 80 lashes.

  41. Well, Bosnians are a Muslim people.

  42. “Well, Bosnians are a Muslim people”

    No they aren’t. Some people in Bosnia are muslim – some aren’t and they have a hard time

  43. LOVE IT!!!!

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