Persecution of Non-Muslims (Macedonia)
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Protesting Muslims "offended" by a carnival sketch burn the Macedonian flag, stone buses, damage one church and set another on fire. The Islamic Community demands criminal charges be brought against the carnival
The January 13 Vevcani carnival, in which an Orthodox Christian man dressed as a Muslim cleric was mocked by others wearing burqas, sparked protests in the south-western Struga region, and late on Monday a church in the area was damaged by fire.
The cause of the blaze was not known.
The carnival, held annually for hundreds of years, often has satirical sketches, including this year a mock funeral for Greece in a joking reference to that country's dire economic problems.
Macedonia still struggles with ethnic tensions more than a decade after clashes between government forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas demanding greater rights for the 25 percent Albanian minority were narrowly prevented from escalating into civil war.
Western diplomacy stopped the fighting in 2001 and the guerrillas entered politics, but relations remain difficult.
Most of Macedonia's Albanians are Muslims and, like the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the Balkans, follow a moderate form of Islam.
Amid calls for calm on Tuesday, President Gjorge Ivanov met the head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church HH Stefan and the leader of the Islamic community, Reis-ul-Ulema Sulejman Rexhepi.
“President Ivanov asked the religious leaders to use their authority to encourage greater inter-faith understanding,” said a statement issued by the president's office.
Protesters in the region, near Macedonia's western border with Albania, burned a Macedonian flag and stoned buses over the weekend. A church in the area was damaged, and there was a fire in a second church late on Monday.
A special parliamentary committee on ethnic relations, set up after the 2001 conflict, was due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the spike in tensions.
“We are working intensively to calm passions, sending a message that we should avoid further incidents and not be influenced by politics,” Struga mayor Ramiz Merko told media.The Islamic Community in Macedonia issued a statement on Monday calling on Muslims to resist the influence of “provocateurs” and demanding criminal charges be brought against those involved in the carnival.
Reuters, January 29, 2012
Muslims fabricate a hate-crime to counter the hate they have been showing towards Christians:
However, this orchestrated vandalism is almost certainly an act of ethnic Albanian muslims. The reason for this as both local population and police state the culprit wrote the graffitis in terrible Macedonian, mixing both the latin and cyrilic alphabets!?
"A Macedonian won't butcher both the language and the alphabet as this individual did, not a chance!" says a local who saw the graffiti.
It is well known most Albanians aren't able to write in Cyrilic, however the individual sure made a valiant effort to do so.
Macedonians in Bitola laughed off the "incident" claiming Albanians were trying to portray the Christians as bad after being slammed by the international community (including official Tirana) for burning a Macedonian Church few days ago.While ethnic Albanian muslims damage Christian churches, a group of Albanians in the village of Mala Rechica has been asking local officials to donate buildinig materials and money to rebuild the St George Church after they themselves burned it in 2001.
MINA, February 2, 2012
5 Muslim "radicals" slaughter 5 ethnic Macedonians, including 4 children, on Good Friday. Several thousand Albanian Muslims brandishing Al Qaeda insignias demand their release, chant "Allahu Akbar", "Death to Christians"
Macedonians are predominantly Christians while ethnic Albanian minority in Macedonia that accounts for around 20% of the population are predominantly Muslims. In the last decade there have been increased incidences of imported radical Islamism from the Middle East that has not found a fertile ground among Macedonian Albanians despite their attempt to lure them into extremism. However there are reported Islamist terrorists cells in whole of the South East Europe including in Macedonia too.
Macedonian police ensured that protest and march through the streets take place and after an hour the crowd dispersed. The radical Islamist protesters chanted Allahu Akbar, Death to Christians, and brandished Al Qaeda insignia.
Macedonian police have arrested three out of the five suspects directly implicated into carrying the horrific crime that Macedonia has not seen since the WWII.All the neighbouring countries pledged support to the Macedonian Interior Ministry in arresting the two remaining suspects for whom Interpol warrants have already been issued.