Nuns Report Increase of Verbal Abuse and Discrimination

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Date of incident: January 23, 2012

Nuns wearing habits are being subjected to verbal abuse in public more frequently in Bosnia-Herzegovina, say local Franciscan Sisters.

Everyday life is becoming increasingly difficult in general, according to Sister Ivanka Mihaljevic, Bosnian Provincial Superior of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King, especially as more and more Muslim extremists are immigrating from Saudi Arabia and opening businesses. The nuns often have no other choice but to buy from them, but in doing so are also subjected to discrimination and humiliations. A recent example occurred when one of the Sisters wanted to buy bread: “Although the loaves were in plain sight, the proprietor claimed he was out of bread,” Sister Ivanka said. “But he simply did not want to sell it to a Catholic nun. Again and again, we are made to feel unwelcome, even though this is our home.” By contrast, Sister Ivanka emphasized, native Bosnian Muslims are “peaceable,” and are often ashamed of the behavior of their extremist co-religionists who are migrating to the country. The Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King in Sarajevo are particularly committed to promoting the peaceful coexistence of all religions. They have launched a three-year program entitled, “I extend to you my hand for peaceful coexistence.” In this initiative, Catholics, Muslims and Serbian Orthodox Christians are jointly working to promote tolerance, non-violence and mutual respect. This year, the Province Superior explained, the joint effort against verbal abuse tops the agenda: “These are small steps of peace and goodwill, but we want to imbue the people with courage.” The Bosnian Province of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King comprises 260 nuns, of whom 15 live in Sarajevo. Source: