Serbia: Religious attack on Balkan orchestra

15 June 2006

Ten Muslim extremists donning long beards, short pants and white hats broke up a concert in Novi Pazar, reports Belgrade radio B92 on 5 June 2006

The Balkanika Orchestra was about to enter stage for a concert organised by the Novi Pazar municipality and the Serbia Culture and Sport Ministry when ten young men dressed like members of the radical Islamic movement Wahhabi climbed up onto the stage and threw around the instruments that were set up for the musicians to play, vandalising and damaging the band’s equipment.
One of the men took the microphone and told those attending the concert: “Brothers, go home, they are working against Islam here. This is Satan’s work.”
He then threw the microphone, which was damaged, as were the speakers, mixing board and some of the lighting. Four police officers were present at the concert in Novi Pazar and used force to get the youths off of the stage and stop them from coming back.
Further public concerts in the region will probably all be cancelled, writes B92 on their website. The city Novi Pazar is the main economic and cultural centre of the Sandzak region in Serbia.

Press release from Law Centre
The Humanitarian Law Centre in Belgrade condemned the attack in a statement, saying: “The music of the band Balkanika, inspired by folklore heritage of the Balkans and performed on traditional instruments, presents a part of this region’s cultural heritage in an artistic fashion that does not infringe on cultural or religious beliefs of any nation or ethnic group.” According to the statement, “the claims presented by the group before the concert that the band ‘works against Islam’ are utterly fabricated and false.”


Humanitarian Law Center – 7 June 2006:
‘Humanitarian Law Center Condemns Incident at “Balkanika” Concert’
About Wahhabi
Wahhabism is a Sunni fundamentalist Islamic movement founded in Saudi Arabia. In recent years it is has gained increasing support in the city Novi Pazar and the region of Sandzak in southern Serbia, according to B92.
Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia:

About B92
B92 was founded in 1989 as a youth radio broadcasting to Belgrade audiences and has since grown into a company which includes a regional radio and a national television network, a web site, a book publishing department, a record label and a cultural centre.

B92 – 5 June 2006:
‘Muslim extremists break up concert’

About the orchestra Balkanika
The official home page of Balkanika

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