In the village Slatina between Jablanica and Prozor, where Croat and Bosniak population lives and which used to be a border line between the Croatian Defense Council (HVO) and the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) during the war, it seems like war never happened.
People in this village live a peaceful life with their neighbors. They do not differ among themselves in religion and nation, but in human values.
Amir Effendi Drežnjak is an imam in the village Lizoperci in the Municipality of Jablanica. For three and a half years now, he has been taking the Catholic believers from the neighboring village Slatina by car to the village Gračac every Sunday for mass. In the same village imam Amir teaches religion classes in a mosque.
“They told me they do not have a bus or cars. I drove them one Sunday, and then another one. I drove them three Sundays in a row and then I told them that there is no need for them to wait for someone else to take them because I go there every Sunday. I told them they can rely on me and that I will take them to church to pray to God as long as I am there,” said Amir Drežnjak.
Village Slatina is a mixed Croat-Bosniak village with majority of Bosniak residents. During the past war, it was the border line between HVO and ARBiH; today it is an example of neighborly love.
“We nourish good relationships. We cannot live without each other. In our village it was always like this. Whatever happens, we all gather, help each other, we don’t care who is who, and luckily there are many other villages like ours,” said Marica Drinovac, a local.
They built mosques and churches together. Muslims helped the construction of the church in Gračac, said Friar Mato. After it was flooded, imams ordered their jemaat members and told them that it is their duty to collect stones for its reconstruction.
In the same way, Catholics from these villages were the first ones to launch a fundraiser for the ill girl Ajla, who erased all borders and prejudices in this area.
“Our parish was the first to help and no one said anything negative. In situations like this, we showed that we are all humans and what matters the most is to be a man. It only takes some courage to tell people to free themselves from all the fear and help each other,” said Mato Topić, parson in the Parish of Saint Antony of Padua Gračac.
This is the only way in which this country can survive, and these kinds of events connect people of different religions and nations.