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Eid al-Adha messages: The power of a society lies in how it treats its weakest

The power of a society is measured by its attitude toward its weakest members, the head of Bosnia’s Islamic Community said at the ceremonial gathering for Eid al-Adha, or Kurban Bayram, on Sunday.

The gathering took place in the Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo and was attended by numerous officials, diplomats, representatives of NGO’s, religious representatives and prominent people from culture. Husein Kavazovic spoke of what the four major religions in Bosnia and Herzegovina have in common, saying that “most of the Hajj rituals performed by millions of Muslims from around the world these days are inspired by Ibrahim's (Abraham) life, as is the very ritual of the sacrifice according to which this Bayram was named.”

"I am deeply convinced that our festive gatherings, of Jews, Christians and Muslims, are far more than a protocol of courtesy. We witness how little it takes to disrupt relations in our homeland and the world. We can see how far some are willing to go by telling untrue things in order to damage the relationships between people,” Kavazovic said.

But he said that he believes everyone will show enough responsibility to not fall for such a narrative, although that is difficult.

"That doesn’t mean that one should remain silent regarding evil. Evil precisely counts on our passivity," he said, explaining that for evil to succeed, it is enough that good people do nothing

"It is up to us to recognise their plans and let them now that we understand their intentions,” he said.

The period between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha is the time when the most attacks on Muslim returnees, their property and the property of the Islamic Community usual take place, he said.

"Those attacks remind us of the hardest times we went through. In those difficult times our imams, their families, and the members of our jamaats (congregations) went through, we were encouraged by the gestures of our neighbors from the Orthodox Church who condemned such attacks in Trebinje, Gacko and some other places and publicly expressed support for their colleagues, the imams," Kavazovic said.

The strength of Bosnian communities in Bosnia was never in their numbers, but in their spirit, he said.

"The Jewish community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its history could be an example to us all. Its contribution to the spiritual and material culture of this city and this country is huge,” he said stressing that “our ancestors believed in the words of Prophet Muhammad, who said that Allah would never elevate a group of people who deny the weaker their rights.”

Kavazovic urged everyone to pay special attention to those who are stripped of their rights, regardless of the reason behind it.

"The power of a society is measured by its attitude towards the weakest among us,” he said, stressing that human rights and freedoms not the private property of those in power “so that they use them according to their own will.”

“We should all feel equal. More freedoms mean that we will live in a more free and prosperous society for all. The only principle is that when we ask for rights for ourselves, that those rights don’t breach the basic principles upon which this society exists,” he said.

He concluded that, as believers, "we hope that this society will begin to be led by hope, not fear."