Sarajevo Mayor Abdulah Skaka said that he condemns all forms of fascism, commenting on the announcement of a mass in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Sarajevo, which should be organized by the Church in memory of Ustasha army of the Independent State of Croatia.
“As the mayor of Sarajevo and as a citizen, I was the first to strongly condemn the announced event and any kind of promotion of fascism and fascist symbols as we saw in the past years at the commemorations in Bleiburg,” Skaka pointed out.
Skaka said that Sarajevo is a world symbol of resistance to all kinds of violence, totalitarianism, repression and aggression.
“This is not a place for any revitalization of fascist slogans, but a city where the victims are honored with dignity and humanity,” he stated.
“I expect that everyone, including the Catholic Church, respects that and does not give themselves the right to violate those values,” he said, adding that Sarajevo is a city of anti-fascist achievements and that today, May 9, Europe Day and Victory Day over fascism, to pay tribute to the victims of fascism at memorials.
“The time when the authorities could ban religious rites has passed. Our obligation is to publicly condemn the announced act and point out to the organizer that in this way they are insulting thousands of victims of the fascist NDH in Sarajevo,” the mayor of Sarajevo emphasized.
“I also believe that the innocent victims of the communist regime should be honored in a dignified manner. There are and have been such victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said.
The Catholic Church in Carinthia in Austria on Friday rejected a request from the Croatian Bishops’ Conference to hold an annual mass at Loibacher field near Bleiburg in May because it said the event is being used to promote nationalist ideas.
“The mass in the field near Bleiburg has become part of a manifestation that is politically instrumentalised and is part of a political-nationalistic ritual that serves a selective experience and interpretation of history,” said a letter signed by Engelbert Guggenberger, interim administrator of the Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt, explaining the decision, according to Balkan Transitional Justice.