Bosnian Court To Rule on Police Beards

Source: Balkan Insight

The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina was expected on Wednesday to rule on a regulation obliging the Border Police of BiH to shave and on whether this violates their right to manifest their religious belief.

The first deputy speaker of parliament’s House of Peoples, Safet Softic, asked the court to rule on this issue, which he said affected the religious rights of Muslims serving in the border police. Conservative Muslim men tend not to shave and to grow beards.

Softic, a member of the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the main Bosniak [Muslim] party in Bosnia, did not return BIRN’s phone calls, seeking his views on the matter.

However, political analyst Ivana Maric told BIRN that the request for a court ruling was a simple diversion.

“Nothing has been done [by politicians] for people since they were elected under this mandate, which is the reason why we have this and similar requests,” she said.

“Having a beard, wearing headscarves at work, holidays, referendums – this is just a way for the politicians to try to avoid the fact that nothing has been done in the EU integration process, that salaries are low and that prices will rise next year,” Maric said.

“Politicians know these topics will be popular and that, for the moment, citizens will stop thinking about the other, more important, issues BiH is facing,” she observed.

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