Sarajevo: They may
not recognise him as a saint, but Muslims in Bosnia are
considering honouring the late Pope John Paul II with a
monument in the heart of Sarajevo.
Because of his support for inter-religious and
intercultural dialogue, "I think that Pope John Paul II is one
of the most important figures of the 20th century," the head
of the Bosnian Islamic Community, Mustafa Ceric, told a news agency.
Ceric prayed for world peace with the late pope in
The almost 90 per cent Muslim population the endured
the brutal Serb siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 war
waited "every Sunday to hear his messages of hope," as the
pope never failed to call for an end of their suffering, Ceric
"This is why I think he deserves to have a statue here
in the city of Sarajevo," he said.
John Paul had wanted to visit Sarajevo at the height
of the war in September 1994 but the trip was cancelled after
the Serbs said they wouldn`t guarantee his safety.
He visited Sarajevo a year after the war ended and
tens of thousands jammed the streets to welcome him. In front
of the main Sarajevo Cathedral, he shook hands with the crowd
and stroked the foreheads of weeping people, many of them
City authorities are now considering erecting the
statue in that location in front of the cathedral.
He visited Bosnia again in 2003, travelling to the
predominantly Serb city of Banja Luka where he apologised for
crimes committed by Roman Catholic Nazi supporters on
Christian Orthodox Serbs during World War II.
"In the 21st century we are missing such a personality
as John Paul II was," Ceric said.
John Paul II will be beatified by the Vatican on May 1.