100. obljetnica islama, kolinda grabar kitarović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

A special session of the Croatian Parliament, marking the 100th anniversary of the institutionalised Islam in Croatia, was held on Wednesday with top state officials attending the event.

Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic  recalled that Islam had been present in Croatia for several centuries. "Through that time, the relations between the state and Islam had been exposed to challenges, but ever since 1916 we have been building these relations on new foundations. Croatia is the second European country to recognise Islam as an official religion and that was done only four years after Austria which recognised Islam in 1912," Oreskovic said.

Croatia and the Islamic community can be proud of what they have built through joint effort, the prime minister said.

"Today we have the experience of coexistence and regulated relations between the state and the Islamic community, which can serve as a model for many countries in Europe and the world," Oreskovic said, underscoring that he was proud of the fact that Croatian Muslims were an integral part of modern Croatian society.

Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner said the law adopted by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia on this day in 1916, proved to be a wise and long-reaching decision.

"We particularly appreciate the meaning of this decision in today's turbulent world of wars waged by an instrumentalised minority allegedly in the name of Islam thus unfortunately causing immeasurable damage to Muslims, but also to global peace and development of humanity. Because Islam is a religion of peace," Reiner said.

He said that for centuries Croatia has been the homeland to the biggest three monotheistic religions -- Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

"Inter-religious respect and the right of every persons to freedom of religion, but also the obligation of those individuals not to deny that same right to members of other religious groups, have always been the prerequisite for life in peace and stability in these parts. Even more so, given that the interests of big political forces had always been overlapping in Southeast Europe whereby faith was used for ideological purposes, resulting in the outbreak of conflicts and wars," Reiner said.

Reiner also underlined the large contribution of the Islamic community to Croatia's heritage. "Muslims in Croatia for centuries have been part of the the economic, scientific, political and cultural  and sports life, making Croatia a better and progressive country," Reiner said.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that generations of Muslims in Croatia has proved themselves through their work and activities in numerous areas, as responsible participants in the development and progress.

The president also underscored the contribution of the Islamic believers to the Homeland War, saying that many of them gave their lives for Croatia's freedom.

The head of the Islamic Community in Croatia, Mufti Aziz Hasanovic said he was proud of the fact that the Islamic Community and the Republic of Croatia had reached the highest level of regulated and good relations. He also said Croatia should serve as an example to other countries which are facing certain problems with their Islamic communities.

He underscored that in the past 100 years, the Islamic Community in Croatia had always had a positive and constructive role in society.

At the session, numerous charters and certificates were awarded to the Office of the President, the Croatian Parliament, the mayors of Zagreb, Rijeka and Dubrovnik and the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (diyanet).

Related stories

Islam is Croatia's cultural legacy, says FM

Muslims celebrate century of recognition of Islam in Croatia

Prime Minister receives Mufti Hasanovic

Croatia to mark 100th anniversary of recognition of Islam

Foundation stone laid for Islamic cultural centre in Sisak

Latest news

SpaceX plans to fly two passengers around moon

SpaceX is planning to fly two private citizens around the moon next year, the first manned trip to the Earth's satellite in more than four decades, the private company said Monday.

Key congressman has 'no evidence' of Trump contacts with Russia

The chairman of the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee said he is not aware of any evidence of improper contacts between Russian officials and Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Gambia's new President Barrow fires army chief

Gambia's new President Adama Barrow has sacked army chief Ousman Badjie, replacing him with a presidential military aide.

Star investor Buffett takes a bigger bite of Apple, doubling shares

Stock market guru Warren Buffett on Monday revealed that his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway doubled its share of iPhone producer Apple stocks last month.

Minister: Erdogan not welcome in Austria for referendum campaign

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not come to Austria to campaign to Turkish citizens living there ahead of a constitutional reform referendum in his country, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Monday.

Migrant group: Britain hits 'new low' by deporting grandmother

Britain has hit a "new low" by deporting a grandmother from north-eastern England to Singapore, a migrants' rights group said on Monday.

Turkish judge remands German reporter in custody

A Turkish judge remanded German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in custody Monday, according to newspaper Die Welt, sparking strong condemnation from the German government.

1.4 million people without water after deadly floods in Chile

More than 1.4 million people were without drinking water in the Chilean capital of Santiago on Monday following catastrophic flooding that left at least three people dead.

Serbia PM says no snap parliamentary election

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that an early parliamentary election would not be held simultaneously with a presidential vote, although the state leadership had announced such a possibility.  

Trump touts 'security budget' with 10-per-cent defence spending hike

US President Donald Trump says he will present a "public security and national security budget" that hikes military spending by 54 billion dollars or about 10 per cent.

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen fined for Roma comments

The founder of France's far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had a 5,000-euro (5,300-dollar) fine for inciting racial hatred and discrimination confirmed on appeal on Monday.

Croatia-Montenegro relations example for region, says minister

After meeting Croatian Ambassador Veselko Grubisic in Podgorica on Monday, Montenegrin Defence Minister Predrag Boskovic said that relations between Croatia and Montenegro were very good and could serve as an example to other countries in the region.

Over 31,000 South Sudanese flee fighting and hunger to Sudan

Fleeing escalating fighting and famine in South Sudan, over 31,000 people have arrived in neighbouring Sudan so far this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Monday.

SDP urges gov't to pull statement making radical turn in human rights

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday called on the government to take a position on the Croatian foreign policy's turn in human rights, which it said was initiated by Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, and to withdraw a Foreign Ministry statement on that sent to Brussels.

Police says photoshopped photo of Milanka Opacic motivated by hate

An investigation has proved that a photograph showing Parliament Deputy Speaker Milanka Opacic wearing a shirt with four Cyrillic letters "S" (standing for "only unity saves the Serb", a popular motto and slogan in Serbia and among Serb nationalists) is a photomontage and the police suspect that publishing and distributing the said photo has been motivated by hate and intolerance.

Finance Ministry says didn't analyse HEP's readiness for IPO

The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced that it had not analysed the justification or the readiness of power provider Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) for an initial public offering with regard to a possible acquisition of Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

Berlin confirms murder of German hostage in the Philippines

Berlin confirmed on Monday the murder of a German hostage by the militant Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines with Chancellor Angela Merkel condemning the killing as "barbaric" and "abominable".

Syrian refugees arrive in Italy with help from Christian groups

A group of 50 Syrian refugees, more than half of them children, landed in Italy early Monday, entering the country on humanitarian visas obtained with the help of a lay Catholic NGO, Protestant organizations and the Italian government.