Jasikovac Mosque in Bosnia exhibits demolished minaret as remnant of war

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Bosnia and Herzegovina's Jasikovac Mosque maintains its demolished minaret in its yard as a reminisce of the bloody Bosnian War.

The Jasikovac Mosque in Teocak municipality in the northeast, reveals wounds inflicted by the 1992-1995 Bosnian War with the ruined minaret in its courtyard.

The mosque was burned by Serb forces in the early days of the war on July 23, 1992. Its minaret was destroyed by numerous tank shrapnels.

But years later, the mosque was repaired with the support of the community in 2001.

Imam of the mosque Bedirhan Hadzic told Anadolu Agency that as soon as he was appointed to the mosque he began to collect information about its history.

"When I arrived, I gathered information about the demolition of the mosque, I talked to those who witnessed the event. We left the demolished minaret of the mosque as it is. In 2002, we surrounded it and preserved it in this way for future generations," said Hadzic.

He said that the Republika Srpska (RS) army did not leave a single solid residence in Jasikovac during the war.

"We were born from our ashes, so to speak. By looking at the old photos of the mosque, you can clearly see what was the situation in the past, everything was destroyed,” said Hadzic.

He added the names of 31 soldiers martyred in Jasikovac were included in the monument in the courtyard of the mosque.

"We showed our morals during the days of struggle. We did not touch a church even though the church in Rastosnica was under construction during the war. Our religion commands us not to do such things. Thank God we came out of this struggle with our pride," he said.

Sakib Jusic, a trustee of Jasikovac Mosque, said the mosque, which was repaired in 2001, was of great importance for people in the region.

– 614 mosques destroyed in war

According to Bosnia's Islamic Union, 614 mosques, 218 prayer rooms, 69 Quran course sites, four dervish lodges, 37 tombs, and 405 pieces of historical heritage that belong to Muslim foundations were destroyed.

A total of 534 mosques in territories controlled by Serb forces were destroyed, while 80 mosques were destroyed in territories under Croat forces.

According to the union, 80% of the 1,144 mosques in Bosnia were destroyed or damaged. In addition to the demolished mosques and other religious buildings, more than 100 imams were killed by Serb and Croat forces.

Bosnia has 1,912 mosques presently, according to statistics. A total of 789 mosques and prayer rooms that were destroyed were reopened for service, while 89 are waiting to be rebuilt.

After 15 years of restoration, the Ferhadija Mosque reopened on May 7, 2016, on the anniversary of its destruction thanks to extensive restoration work by Turkey’s state-run aid agency, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).

The mosque was built in 1579 by Ottoman Sandzak Bey and Ferhat Pasha and is considered one of the greatest achievements of Ottoman-inspired Islamic architecture in Europe.

But during the Bosnian War. the mosque was demolished by the Army of Republika Srpska.

The first restoration project was launched in 2001 by the Bosnian Islamic Union but ran into difficulties because of a lack of resources.

TIKA took control of the restoration project in 2014.