Muslims in Bosnia packed mosques at the crack of dawn on Friday to pray and listen to the annual message from the head of the Islamic Community before they head back home to celebrate Bayram, the most important Muslim holiday, also called Eid al Fitr.
The most prominent prayer and speech, called hudba, was broadcasted live from Sarajevo’s biggest Gazi-Husrev Bey Mosque shortly before 6 a.m.
After the prayer, the head of the Islamic Community, reis Husein Kavazovic reminded believers of “primordial” values of preservation of life, dignity, unity and security and warned them to stay away from those who try to lead them toward Islamic radicalism.
"From time to time, people who went astray or joined sects appear in our communities and cause disturbances among our brothers and sisters,” Kavazovic said, referring to Islamic radicals that have first arrived during the 1992-1995 war to help the Muslims Bosniaks.
The Islamic Community has to the most part successfully dealt with most of the radicals since then, but in some areas in Bosnia, groups of them still try to influence people to move away from Bosnia’s traditionally moderate Islam.
"They do this with the help of intelligence agencies from either eastern or western countries who have their own interests," he said, adding that Muslims in Serbia are being "burned" by the division among themselves.
"We must pull ourselves together, come to our senses and turn toward each other," he said, appealing on people to stay in the country, referring to the brain-drain Bosnia’s political and economic situation is causing for years.
"Our homeland will remain empty and only our mosques will be those telling that we once lived here," he said.
"Those waiting in lines as migrants for others to decide about them while not doing anything for themselves will experience harsh times," he warned.
Kavazovic also called for reconciliation among Bosnia’s nations who fought each other during the country’s 1992-95 war.
"Let us forgive each other, as this strengthens the connections between people and nations and it frees us from the heavy burdens of the past," he appealed.
"Let us build a century of peace, let us raise our families together in harmony and friendship," he said.
The three-day holiday Bayram or Eid el Fitr concludes the month of Ramadan. Families and friends visit each other to congratulate and eat together.