Thousands of Muslims gather in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka to celebrate the reopening of an historic mosque destroyed during the country's war. Diane Hodges reports.
The spire of the Fehadija mosque soars above the Bosnian city of Banya Luka, as the Muslim call to prayer echoes through the air. This city is now mainly Orthodox Christian, but thousands of Muslims from across Bosnia have gathered to celebrate the reopening of this historic structure. It's restoration is a symbol of the slowly healing rifts between the country's various ethnic and religious groups, according to outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davatoglu. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKEY'S OUTGOING PRIME MINISTER AHMET DAVUTOGLU SAYING: "Bosnia-Herzegovina, with all its nations, its Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox and Jews, is one body, one heart." The mosque was originally built by Ottoman rulers in the 16th century but was demolished during the Bosnian was in 1993 and its stones scattered. Experts said they were able to find 70-percent of the stones for the rebuilt structure. But as difficult as that was, it could prove to be easier than bridging the rifts that still divide the country, according to former Serb Republic president Dragan Cavic. (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) DRAGAN CAVIC, BANJA LUKA RESIDENT AND POLITICAL OPPOSITION LEADER SAYING: "The next thing that will happen is we will be rebuilding the trust, but it will take more time to do that." But Banya Luka now has the soaring spire of the rebuilt mosque to show that difficult goals can be achieved.