SIPA monitors hate speech

SIPA monitors hate speech

Banja Luka, January 9, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

After the terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, BiH raised the level of security and State investigation and protection agency (SIPA) has a lot of work to do identifying those who call on revenge in comments on internet sites.

“In accordance with its responsibilities, SIPA will act in cases where suspicion that some internet users committed criminal act of hate speech exist. If we find the elements of nationality, race or religious hatred, in accordance with Prosecutor office, SIPA will act within its legal competencies”, was announced from SIPA.

The problem is documented right after the Paris attack when some users on internet forums called on revenge against Muslims in BiH, especially against members of the Salafi movement. Islamic site “Vijesti ummeta” warned that some of the comments are inappropriate and call on “cleansing of those who have long beards and short trousers”.

“On some internet sites, forum users are calling on killing and “euthanasia” of everybody who looks like a Muslim. These people can commit murder of innocent people at any moment. We call SIPA and BiH Prosecution office to react and take the IP addresses of those people, in order to prevent attacks of aggressive atheists on Muslims in BiH and prevent a crime bigger than the Paris attack”, said “Vijesti Ummeta” on the site.

But, there is also other side of this story. On some internet sites radical Islamists expressed their support to terrorists in France and caused an avalanche of reactions on forums. Some users, which represented them as “radical islamists in BiH” said that “Hebdo was just the beginning in the fight of the Islamic world”.

The Paris attack was condemned by all political and religious leaders in BiH, including members of BiH Presidency. Chairman of this institution, Mladen Ivanic, told the media that this is a serious event, which will have consequences in BiH.

“This attack caused the biggest damage to religion in whose name it was committed and it opens a lot of questions in BiH. I think that this is a serious challenge for the Islamic community in BiH, which must decide which kind of Islam will be practiced in the state”, said Ivanic.

He emphasised that everybody in BiH must refrain from using harsh words, especially politicians. For Ivanic, this is a clear warning that must be heeded.

Attack in Paris was also condemned by BiH Islamic community reisu l ulema, Husein effendi Kavazovic, who in his letter to French ambassador in Claire Bodonyi, expressed solidarity with French people and the state in the fight against terrorism and murders of innocent people.

“I strongly condemn those who planned and carried out the terror and sowing fear among people. Freedom of opinion and media, and respect of human dignity are irrevocable values and necessary conditions for the progress of humanity”, said Kavazovic in his letter.

However, it is obvious that the public in BiH is divided in its opinion on the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, but also is largely in fear that something similar is likely to take place in its territory, since it is the host to a large number of Salafis.