The head of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Husein Kavazovic, on Thursday dismissed accusations that he was spreading inter-ethnic hatred and intolerance after his statement that one must not allow "a Vlach to govern Srebrenica."
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vlach is a derogatory term for Serbs and Orthodox believers. Kavazovic made the statement earlier this week at a Bosniak meeting in St. Gallen, Switzerland and a video was posted on Youtube, eliciting responses from Bosnian Serb officials, who interpreted it as a direct ethnic slur.
Two days after the video was made public, Kavazovic told Sarajevo's Dnevni Avaz daily that he did say that but that it was taken out of context, as he was primarily referring to those negating the genocide committed against Bosniaks in Srebrenica in 1995.
Kavazovic said he had an equally negative opinion of those trying to negate the crimes committed against Serbs. "I call those people balije and vlasi, primitives, because that's what they are. Any Serb or Bosniak who treats these planetary tragedies humanely is my brother and I have no problem with that," he was quoted as saying.
He said only that was true essence of his message before the displaced Srebrenica Bosniaks living in Switzerland, whom he tried to urge to register for voting in Bosnia's municipal election scheduled for October.