Slovenia: Muslim community protest against Israel flag on the Government building

Slovenia: Muslim community protest against Israel flag on the Government building

The Muslim Community of Slovenia considers the flying of the Israeli flag on the Slovenian government building as an “abuse of power” and support for “Israel’s genocidal policy.”

Leaders of the Muslim Community of Slovenia, one of the two organisations representing Muslims in the country, have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Janez Janša saying that “the government has raised the flag of an occupying power in the name of its ideology, not in our name”. They added that support for Israel is even more worrying at a time when “the Israeli authorities are pursuing a policy of genocide and apartheid”.

The Muslim Community believes that “Hamas has only a potential desire to destroy Israel”, while on the other hand the Israeli state “is actually destroying the people and the society of Palestine”.

In the letter, Muslim leaders reminded Janša that the initiating moment of the latest events in the Middle East was when Israeli forces storming on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most important in the Muslim world, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, what represents an “unprecedented violation of basic human rights” in recent history.

They asked the prime minister “how he would have felt if the police broke into a cathedral where he and his family were peacefully attending a Christian religious ceremony”.

“Do you really have such an insensitive attitude towards victims and do you not care how 50,000 Muslims in Slovenia feel?” added the letter signed by Muhamed Čerkez, the president of the committee of the Muslim Community of Slovenia.

The organisation is the smaller of the two Islamic religious organisations in Slovenia. It was established in 2006 after a split in the Islamic Community in the Republic of Slovenia.

“Our community believes that international conflicts must be resolved peacefully and non-violently. Both Jews and Palestinians have a right to exist. But above all, truth must have the right to exist,” concluded the letter.

Prime Minister Janša responded on Twitter by saying that the Muslim community was making “a big mistake by supporting terrorists”.

He said Israel had been attacked by neighbouring countries when it declared independence in 1948 and three more times after that. “This year as well #Hamas attacked first, shelling civilian targets in [Israel] while hiding behind its own civilians.”

The Israeli flag was raised on the government building in Ljubljana last Friday as a sign of solidarity with Israel. The move came amid the worst conflict in the Middle East in seven years.

The Palestinian ambassador to Slovenia, Salahem Abdel Shafi, condemned the displaying of the Israeli flag. He told the daily Dnevnik that it was an outrageous and very worrying act and a display of one-sided, even racist politics.

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador Eyal Sela said that Israel has the duty to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks as much as any other country.