“Leave Allah and his faith alone, or the hand of the believer will reach you!”
That was the message -- accompanied by a bullet -- that Emir Suljagic received in an envelope slipped into his mailbox earlier this month. Shortly thereafter, he resigned as education minister for Bosnia-Herzegovina's Sarajevo Canton. He has since left the country, reportedly for Austria, citing safety concerns.
Suljiagic is a survivor of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Serb paramilitaries. But recently he came under intense pressure from Bosnian Muslim hard-liners due to a ruling he made last year that children’s grades in primary school religion classes would no longer count as part of their final annual average grade.
He said the decision was meant to ensure fairness for children who chose not to take religion classes, which are optional in Bosnian schools. But it nevertheless set off a firestorm of criticism from Islamic clerics, including Mufti Mustafa Ceric, leader of Bosnia's Muslim community.