Thousands of Muslims flocked to the town of Foca on Saturday for the reopening of a historic mosque leveled at the beginning of the Bosnian war, in a ceremony aimed at encouraging religious tolerance between deeply divided communities, ONA reports citing Reuters.
The 16th century Aladza Mosque was one of the most prominent masterpieces of classical Ottoman architecture in the Balkans before its destruction in the 1992-95 war by Bosnian Serb forces trying to carve out an ethnically “pure” state.
The eastern town of Foca became notorious for the mass persecution and killings of non-Serbs that took place there during the conflict. Before the war, the Bosnian Muslims, or Bosniaks, made up 51 percent of its 41,000 residents with the remainder mostly Serbs. Today, among some 18,000 residents, just over 1,000 Bosniaks remain.