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News 26 May 17

Serbian Mufti Denounces Demolition of Illegal Mosque

Authorities in Belgrade have demolished an unauthorised mosque in the Zemun Polje district, despite the protests of local Muslims including the city's Mufti.

Maja Zivanovic
BIRN
Belgrade

Demolished mosque on Friday morning. Photo: GMS Media Group

An illegal mosque on the outskirts of Belgrade lay in ruins on Friday morning after the city authorities destroyed it overnight, despite protests by local Muslims. N1 television reported that police forces blocked the area until Friday morning.

The Mufti of Belgrade, Muhamed Jusufspahic, condemned the overnight demolition in the Zemon Polje area. On Friday, on his Facebook account, he called it an “attack on the Muslims in Serbia”.  

Jusufspahic complained that Serbia's authorities had not allowed the long-established Muslim community to build any new mosques in the city for the last 50 years.  

Some people on social networks compared the nocturnal demolition of the mosque to the Savamala case, when masked people during the night of April 25, 2016, demolished sites in the Savamala part of Belgrade, presumably to make way for the construction of the new government-backed Belgrade Waterfront project.

The Savamala case sparked massive protests and the issue of responsibility became an important political topic.

Serbia has a significant Muslim population, mostly concentrated in the southwestern Sandzak area, where they make up the majority of the population.

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