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Last Day in Sarajevo

Today’s blog post comes from Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Building Bridges to Albania and Bosnia traveler Inas Younis…

Today we departed from the beautiful city of Sarajevo , but not before we were treated to another spectacular day filled with quotable guests and five star meals. After we congregated for breakfast we headed to the conference room to meet with the director of women’s health and breast cancer awareness pioneer, Nela. Her motto; ” you can only break taboos with the facts.” More than just conquering taboos, Nila has managed to bring Bosnians, Croats, Serbs and other minorities together to fight our common enemy of cancer.

Following our introduction to Nila and her work, we had the privilege of meeting the recently retired grand Mufti of Bosnia and his lovely wife , who gave us an honest heart wrenching account of the horrors of war. The mufti enlightened us on the subject of forgiveness, hope, and cooperation. When asked what he believed would be the future of Islam, he admits to feeling that Muslims are undergoing a crisis of religious leadership. Although Muslims are going through a collective catharsis, he feels encouraged by initiatives like the Sisterhood.

Before departure we were hosted by Jakob Finci to a tour the only active synagogue in Sarajevo. Mr. Finci is known as the saviour of Sarajevo. It was Finci’s charity, Benevolencija, that delivered humanitarian relief on a non-sectarian basis. Benevolencija found a way to get people out of the dangerous war zone by organising mixed convoys of Muslim, Croat and Serb families. He shared many profound words that deserve repeating , but the one that best captures his “Roberto Benini” spirit was this opening line. “If you speak three languages you are trilingual. If you speak two, you are bilingual, if you only speak one, you are an American.” We will miss Sarajevo, as we head out to south to Albania. Thanks to Mr. Finci we are leaving The city of Sarajevo with one more language to our credit; The language of love.