Lessons From The Bosnian Genocide

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Yasir Qadhi

Channel: Yasir Qadhi

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this week marks the regular commemoration or the anniversary of the horrific massacre that took place in the Bosnian war in Slovenia. And I thought that today inshallah let me remind or perhaps even teach our youth about this reality which was the worst genocide that took place in Europe since World War Two. And a disproportionate number of people who were killed in MasterCard were of course Muslims. So a lot of people are giving lectures and Facebook posts about the lessons learned. So today inshallah and destroyed hotter especially for our youth, who perhaps are not aware of this reality. I wanted to go over and summarize some of the morals some of the wisdoms and lessons we can

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extract from what happened in Bosnia, in our own generation. I myself was in university when the Bosnian war was taking place, many of you above the age of 40 You know this firsthand what happened, we will get updates the whole you know, war that took place we saw what was going on. So this is in our own lifetimes and of the Quran itself tells us to benefit from history to learn from the realities, ALLAH SubhanA wa Tada says in the Quran, our them you see to fill all the for yonder, okay, if I can activate your lead in the academy, why don't they travel in the land and see what happened to the nations before them, kind of ushered them in Hong Kong was the nation's before them

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were stronger than you. And they left more legacies than you and yet, look what happened to them. So Allah tells us to look at the past, Allah informs us to study history, and to extract morals from them. Now, obviously, only so much can be done in a 20 minute or 15 minute Hatha, but just to summarize and shallow to other of the benefits that we learned of the morals that we extract is the reality of what the angel said to Allah. When Allah said, I'm creating man, the angel said, Why would you do this one? This is a species that will always go to war always spread blood, shed blood, how to attach alluvium and youth to rehab? Well, yes, we could Dima Subhanallah, and the whole

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creation around us and the whole cosmos around us. It is only mankind that goes to war perpetually, no other beast, no other animal. No other species is constantly engaged in killing its own. Yes, one amongst the other one might fight for food might fight for land by fight for something, but to be divided. And then entire groups of one species or one animal fighting the same animal. No, we are the only Mohawk. We are the only creation. And this is our trial and test And subhanAllah there are periods of peace. But then after every period of peace, there comes war. And the reality is we never learned from history. Every time such type of mass genocide happens, mankind comes together says

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never again, every time they see the evil of bloodshed, the evil of genocide, people come together say we're going to learn from this lesson. But the one thing we learned from history is nobody learns from history. And within a period of time, people forget what happened. And they neglect the lessons of the past. And the same cycle repeats itself over and over again. And that is one of the reasons why we need to remind our youth of what happened because we cannot forget the legacies of the past. Also of the for those who don't know the history, I don't want to go into all history here. But what happened is Yugoslavia was a nation that was created post World War One out of the

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remnants of the mighty Austria Hungary, Austria, Austrian Hungarian empire, they created a nation called Yugoslavia no longer exists right now. This was a creation from 1914. Up until 1992. Yugoslavia had a majority of Muslims in it in the heart of Europe. How did Muslims end up in the heart of Europe 500 years ago, the Ottoman Empire was in this region, and people organically converted, they appreciated Islam. And so that region became majority Muslim. But over time, the Ottomans had to you know, leave that area. communism came things happen there. Many of these are fellow brothers and sisters, they kind of sort of were not able to practice their faith. They knew

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they were Muslim, but Islamic identity was very weak, frankly, and I know I speak for myself even growing up in the 80s we had no idea that an entire region of Europe was Muslim. It was completely disconnected from our conscious our psyche. Nobody knew that entire regions of Europe were Muslim in 1991 or 92.

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They had a referendum, the majority of Muslims voted for freedom. But the Serbian Orthodox community did not appreciate this make a long story short, they had the army, the majority of the population were Muslim, the army rebelled and started what is basically a civil war. So this is in a nutshell what happened from 1992 to 9095. Three years, in this timeframe, over 100,000 people were killed, majority Muslim, at least half that amount were of women were violated along with Stan again, majority Muslim 10s of 1000s of people were displaced. And from this civil war and genocide, entire countries were created the modern country of Bosnia Herzegovina, the modern country, so all of these

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countries are carved out after this civil war that broke out in Yugoslavia. So of the things that we learned, as I said, is that we realize that one of the most dangerous forces against humanity is what we now call the far right, what is the far right? Every time a mass genocide has occurred in human history. It comes from a group of people that have combined three things memorize this, number one, a notion of purity of identity of skin color of ethnicity, we are one pure race, think of Nazi Germany. Think of the Serbian people think of the BJP in India, right? The same notion we are one pure race. Number two, a fanatical interpretation of religion. So you have pure race combined with

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religion. Again, Nazi Germany, again, BJP again, Serbian realities in this region. And then number three, you need a minority that is of a different ethnicity, and a different religion. And you blame all the problems on that minority. If you have these three things, you have the recipe of genocide, if you have these three things, a large group of people who think they are pure, they are the only inhabitants the original inhabitants of this land, so you have racial identity, then you have bigoted religion, perverted religion, because no mainstream religion encourages violence, but you have a far right religion. And then you have a minority that is different ethnicity, different

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religion, this is the recipe for disaster. And that's why especially what we're seeing happening in India, we need to be very careful, because we're going down the same path in this land as well, the far right, the same realities happen. Look at right now, again, not to be current news here. But the the trials taking place in the Senate, though sixth of January, what happened, right, they literally attack their own government, they tried to overthrow their own government. Look at how mad how crazy people become when you have this toxic combination. So we need to be very careful and learn from history, when we see the signs of this type of fascism, of Neo Nazism. If you don't stop it in its

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tracks, which nobody did back then we're not doing right now in India, Allah who was done the next stage is nothing other than genocide, you cannot stop it until it is too late. So that's why we learned from history one of the main lessons when you see this toxic combination of fascism, of Neo Nazism of the far right, you had better do your best to prevent it from becoming mainstream. Once it becomes mainstream. Allah when was the one of the lessons we learned as well. Don't be fooled by a false sense of security. At times of peace, everybody gets along, at times of peace doesn't matter what your ethnicity and faith and background is. But at times of war, real colors come out. If you

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look at the interviews of those people, they are all and many of them, they give interviews, they still see them on on BBC on YouTube, they say we could never have imagined our neighbors, our colleagues, when we grew up with our neighbors who were our neighbors for generations, even though they're different than us. We thought we are one. But when this conflict happened, they flipped completely. And we did not believe that they were participating in the very killings against our own people. Subhanallah The reality is at times of peace, it's easy to get along. But we have seen ourselves at times of war. Even if the majority of people don't support a genocide. They will not

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stand against it. When it is their own people. They will sympathize with their own kind. This is the reality of human nature. And that is also why Allah subhanho wa Taala reminds us in the Quran, many of our youth don't understand these verses. They think they are politically incorrect. But Allah speaks the truth. Well and thorough and clear who do not know Surah terbium and Mila to whom Allah says in the Quran, these other faith nations they will never be fully pleased with you until you become one of them. It is the reality Allah says in the Quran. Do not take them as Olia as protectors. They will never be your protectors. Yes, we are friendly in this dunya Yes, we give them

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Dawa. Yes, we live in a civil society. But in the end of the day, we need to realize when the going gets tough, true colors come out. And so don't be lulled. Oh you Oh youngsters or youth

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by a false sense of security, these are times of peace. Everybody gets along, learn from the lesson. And by the way, in India as well, same thing happening speak to the people of India back in the 80s, back in the 80s, Hindus and Muslims would get along totally fine. Muslims would, you know, protect the rights of the Hindus and viceversa. There was Brother brotherhood and camaraderie now, the same people that might have been very good friends, now, there are on two sides of the divide. This is the reality of human existence. So our youth should learn from this as well. Another point of benefit we learn from this conflict that took place in Yugoslavia. And this is a deep point, and I

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hope, I hope I'm able to convey it's a very complex point.

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We are accustomed to viewing the world through the lens of countries of nation states, we cannot imagine a world without countries. But if you study history, countries are a very, very modern phenomenon. They only go back two centuries, three centuries, and countries keep on changing country's borders, keep on changing most of our borders today are from World War 100 years ago. That's it right? We have to understand that this notion of being united because your mother happened to be giving birth to on one side of a line, because that's what a country is right? What is a country, your mother gave birth to you on one one side of the line, you're one nationality, if

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another lady gave birth to another place, another nationality? We have to be very clear here. Countries are frankly, and this is not me speaking, these are very, very learned political philosophers, figments of collective imagination, you imagine there's a line, you imagine it's not there, and you say everybody on this side of the line will pretend to be one thing. Everybody on that side will pretend to be something else. But in reality, there's nothing in common between people of the same country, in reality, nothing in common of values, of religion, of ideals of philosophy of living. Now, this is not to say that we should just abandon all countries we live in

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countries where this is to say, when it comes to identity politics, right? Our identity is Islam. Yes, we are Americans, yes, we pay taxes. Yes, we are, you know, happy to live here we will obey the law, no problem. But our ultimate identity is Islam. What combines us with other human beings more than anything else is Islam. And we see this one thing at a time is of conflict. Now, it is true, there are other identities, their identities of ethnicity, the same ethnicity, identities of tribe Babila, but our Quran has taught us that identity is based upon skin color is very shallow, and we can see that we can understand that identity is based upon Kabila is also very shallow, the real

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identity your real brother is the one who shares your values of life, your values of existence, your God, that is your real brother. And that is why the whole war of Islam is far more powerful than any other identity. Now, we're allowed in Islam Alhamdulillah, to have all other identities as long as they are subservient to the identity of Islam. So yes, I am Muslim, and I'm also ethnically of the Indo Pakistani race, right, biologically or ethnically from a certain background or do speaking Kota wearing but Yanni eating no problem, okay, and Hamdulillah. And if I had a Kobina, I don't ever had a Kabila, we align ourselves to that Kabira. But all of these other identities are underneath the

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ultimate identity, which is Islam. And at any point in time, if one of the lower identities conflicts with the higher one, there is no choice, there is no option, we will choose the first identity that is Islam. Everything else is secondary, I am proud to be any other identity, as long as it does not conflict with Islam. We see this reality in Bosnia as well. Yugoslavia, what was Yugoslavia a figment of the imagination, it tried to sustain itself for 3040 50 years, it cannot do so. And this is the reality. Every nation rises and falls, every nation's borders will change. No nation lasts forever. And we have to be very blunt about this, even though it is politically

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incorrect to say but still it's a deeper point, and I hope inshallah we understand this point. Another benefit that we learned from what happened in Bosnia, what happened in 25 or 27 years ago, is the sad state of affairs of the global world order. The United Nations, in the case of Bosnia was directly involved. Most of our youth don't know this. The United Nations had actually set aside a region of the country strip furniture was supposed to be under UN watch. There were UN peacekeepers wearing you and vests un helmets. There were hundreds of UN troops around struggle each year, and it was claimed to be safe territory. Therefore, 10s of 1000s of Muslims fled for their lives from the

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A Serbian army to Serbian teacher because the UN had said this is safe territory. 10s of 1000s of people had lost their lives mass rape, although this is occurring for during the conflict, all of these Muslims are coming to the safe zone. The Bosnian sorry, the Serbian warlord now turns his eyes to Slobodan Milosevic and all of these warlords, they turn their eyes to Serbian each year. And they say we're not going to keep this Muslims safe. And so they were around 40,000 Muslims in southern Asia around 40 50,000 The Serbian surrounded they they told the UN to leave, the UN did nothing, they did not intervene. Now pause here some say that they couldn't there was not the forces. And the

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point is the UN was there. That's the point. Maybe they couldn't I'm not saying good or good or bad. I'm simply telling you the facts. The UN was there, they had direct access, and the UN stepped aside and under their watch, the Serbian warlords marched in. There is video footage that Wallahi it is gruesome to watch Wallah, your stomach churns. This is 1995 this is not back in the 1800s there is color video footage of what took place here. All of the men without exception from the age of 1617 to 18 years old, all of the men were rounded up and they were massacred in around a week for five days. 8500 At the bare minimum 20 30,000 women and children were expelled along with our with a

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biller things against the women, we don't want to mention that oh, the villa mat and stuff. Well, I don't like saying this, but our youth need to know, camps were set up to do the evil deed or with a bill. I don't want to be more explicit women, we're putting those out with a villa stop for Allah, you get the point here under the UN watch this took place here. And this is in 1995 out of Billa. So this took place the largest massacre of human beings the largest genocide since World War Two, it took place again 1995 I just graduated university. This is not many, many generations ago, all of you above the age of 40. You remember this timeframe, right? And this took place. So recently, so

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one of the things we learned as well, the impotence of these global superpowers Wallahi I remember and again, my first activism in my life was the Bosnian war. I was 17 years old when I started hearing about this and getting you know, getting involved attending lectures in America in Houston, Texas. My first letter to the editor that I ever wrote about the Bosnian war. I still have it somewhere that this is my first activism called that. How can we remain silent? There's a genocide taking place. Right? You the UN, the UN made a law, what is it called the call what policy whatever. Nobody can supply any arms to the Bosnians. It was an international policy. The problem was the army

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was Serbian. The Serbians had all the weapons, they had the ammunition. They had the tanks, the peasants were Muslim. And the UN said and America supported this, the UN said, We don't want to increase the conflict. We don't want to cause more bloodshed. So there was a embargo. That's the way there was an embargo. arms embargo. No arms can be sold to the Bosnians basically let them die. For four years. We're watching three and a half years and no arms were allowed for the Muslim stuff. But Allah We saw this in front of our eyes. And this is the reality. Don't think any other superpower is going to intervene. We saw this in our own lives. And this shows us Muslims need independence.

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Muslims need to have their own understanding of this reality. Also on a theological note on a theological Arkady note of the things we learn this dunya will never provide you justice. Yes. 20 years later, the International Court of you know, genocide convened and in a Slobodan Milosevic and some of the leaders of the Serbian army were rounded up and set on trial. You know, Milosevic died during the trial. He didn't wasn't sentenced. Still, he was found guilty. You know, some of the leaders of the of the Serbians were found guilty. And they got 20 years, 15 years. So is that justice after all that they've done, and now they live their life in an air conditioned room food

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being provided to them, you know, television, what not? This is justice. This is not the dunya for justice. That's why Maliki omit Dean wala here if we didn't believe in religion, we would go crazy. If we didn't believe in an era, people would just do anything. Alhamdulillah we thank Allah there is your Medina. This dunya cannot give you justice. Your injustices might not be you know, manifested in this dunya in a way of reality, but that's why we believe in an Africa that's what we believe on that day. Everybody will get their Huck and everyone who was harmed or killed or raped or anything happened. They will see the punishment on that person and they will feel a sense of justice. Only

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Allah azza wa jal can mete out ultimate justice. And that's one of the main benefits or Thumma of believing in Deen. As I said, if a person does

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does not believe in Dean than Subhanallah really, this world becomes almost unlivable, which explains the rise of suicide and the rise of depression Wallahi this world is very difficult to live in, Dean brings a sense of calmness, religion gives you a sense of higher purpose in any case, to conclude, one final point is that look as Muslims, we always try to see the positive not to justify the evil, Nothing justifies evil, but we tried to see the positive and from this genocide from this war that took place, a lot of good also came out this is not to justify, but we are as Muslims are told to look at the good and of the good that came out is that Subhanallah Islam returned to this

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region after having been gone from it for almost 100 years. Everybody knows that this region was hardly nominally Muslim, by the way that didn't save them against the Serbs Subhanallah even though they weren't like practicing praying, many of them didn't even know the kind of Islam it was almost gone after communism after so many years of you know, secular rule. They didn't know Islam, but still they knew they were Muslim. And that was bad enough for the Serbian Orthodox. And so what happened happened after this war, and after the peace of course of 1995 Islam began to flourish, do art began to pour in Alhamdulillah, the massager then our pact, there is a clear sense of religious

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identity amongst the people of that region, an entire country, Bosnian Herzegovina was formed out of that, which is over all Muslim countries. I'm not saying it's ideal like all Muslim countries, but clearly when you go there, you will see that you will hear the Advan everywhere. There's Halal shops, everywhere, there's hijab, everywhere there is Quran. This was not the case back in the 80s, in the same region, the same region back in the 70s. And 80s, was not there. So religion has been reintroduced and Dawa is now public. And the Bosnian people, every one of us, we know the Bosnian people here as well. There's a clear identification with Islam that perhaps wasn't there as well.

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One of the benefits that came out, we studied and learned about the history of European Islam. We had no idea I had no idea most of us had no idea. There are pockets of Muslims all around the world, even we didn't know about the Chinese Muslims growing up and now we know there are hundreds of millions of these pockets around the world. So in the heart of Europe, completely European looking, they're speaking to everything. They're European, and they are Muslim for many, many centuries, and they are connected to the OMA so positives have come out and we need to re emphasize those positive bond in line brothers and sisters, these types of tragedies we should never forget them, especially

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because they're so recent. They're so pertinent so many wisdoms can be extracted and the goal is we learn from the past so that we can try to live a better future it's not a guarantee. Maybe the future might have some negatives, but at least we will not repeat the mistakes of the past at least we'll be aware and try our best to have a better future that's the goal. May Allah subhana wa Tada protect all of us and our loved ones inshallah we'll continue next week. Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah what I can

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me down