In the town of Rabrani, located between Neum and Stolac, a legal battle is being waged over the restoration of the Tucakovicmosque. Namely, while the mayor Dragan Jurkovic threatens to collapse the already completed works, the locals say that they will not allow it. With their own funds and donations, they are renovating the mosque, which, they say, serves to encourage the return of Bosniaks to these areas.
Although only a few families now live in Rabrani, the determination to preserve what has belonged to them for four centuries is greater, they say, than ever. For this reason, they have been fighting a legal battle with the municipal mayor in Neum for the expansion and adaptation of the Tucakovicmosque for several years. Namely, this is the only religious building for Muslims living in this municipality.
“We continued the adaptation two years ago, we started to arrange everything that is missing in the mosque, to make a wet room, i.e. an ablution room, to make the entrance and, of course, the minaret – which is the basic thing that every mosque should have,” told Ejub Tucakovic adding that they encountered bureaucratic barriers at the beginning – the Municipality rejected their requests.
They rejected the requests, they say, under the justification that the building is not located on land belonging to the Majlis or that the works are premature, which is not a sufficient argument for the locals. They started the initiative to rebuild the mosque themselves and have already successfully completed a large part of the work with donations. Although the inspection came out several times and threatened to forbid further work on the religious building here in Rabrani, the locals did not allow it and said that they would forbid any attempt to demolish it.
Ramiz Tucakovic claims that the Municipality has no reason for the ban: “Simply, believe me, it’s beyond all reason”.
Ilham Puce, head of the Department for Religious Affairs and Education of the Majlis of islamic community, states that local congregations, foreign guests, visitors from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the whole world who come to the only BiH city by the sea, who spend their vacations there and are looking for an adequate space so that they can perform their religious duties with dignity.
The party which was called out, Neum mayor Dragan Jurkovic(HDZ BiH) says that he wants everything to be according to the law: “I have repeatedly emphasized that I do not want to create any case out of this. I do not want to drag politics into religion. This is solely about violating the law regulations”.
The Majlis of the Islamic Community, as well as the locals, emphasize that they will not give up submitting requests to the municipal structures to approve the works. They said that this is a matter of religious rights and freedoms, which is why they hope for a positive outcome of the whole story, Radio Sarajevo writes.