Before the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 90`s it was quite unusual to see some public manifestations of religion of domestic muslims. Today, more women are wearing hijabs and one of them has recently become mayor of small mountain town in the central Bosnia.
Amra Babić was elected as a major in Visoko last year and that made her the first mayor in Balkans and Europe with hijab. Her political rising in the town with 46.000 people means a lot for the muslims in whole Bosnia and Herzegovina who practice the wearing of religious clothes.
Bosnia met Islam in 1463 when Mehmed The Conqueror conquested this area. Hijab was usual in Visoko during the centuries but when communists came to the power the public manifestations of religion weren`t welcome.
Many women in Visoko and Bosnia say that they focused on Islam during the war. They think that Europe and United States were refusing to help them because they`ve been worried about Islamic terrorism.
The war brought some mujahideens in Bosnia but there`s a lot of Bosnian muslims who believe that moderate Islam is the best counterbalance to these radical forms.
Amra Babić is economist with reputation of smart, clear-sighted and strict leader. People in Visoko think that she is able to push forward this undeveloped town and that she could help Bosnia and Herzegovina to go faster to the European integrations.
“I am European and I am muslim. That`s my identity. Hijab is what you see outside but inside there is power not to do bad things. To live my life honestly and without any hate”, says Mrs. Babić.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is very poor country. There lives three constitutive nations: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats (Bosniaks are muslims, Serbs and Croats are christians). Corruption is big problem. “Regular people don`t need much. They just need to know that someone cares about them“, says Mrs. Babić who rised three children by herself because her husband died during the war.
There are more women who are wearing hijab in Bosnia. Even in capital Sarajevo. Still, it is more often in small places such Visoko. The reason-most people think that you are uneducated if you wear hijab, according Djermana Seta, the head of department for researching in Center for Education and Researching (NAHLA). That`s way many muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina hope that the elections of Mrs. Babić will change this presumption.