Rioting destroys ancient Serbian churches
Last Friday, when Weblog noted a mob's destruction of four churches in Nigeria, one loyal reader asked why it got top billing over the destruction of Serbian Orthodox churches. The answer is simple: At the time, Weblog was simply unaware of the extent of the demolition there.
Apparently Weblog wasn't alone. In a meeting with Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu noted that the world community has largely ignored last week's violence, which left at least 31 dead and more than 500 wounded. Thirty churches, several dating back to the 14th century, were destroyed by ethnic Albanians. Another 11 were damaged.
"We remember well a wave of indignation over the destruction by Taliban troops in Afghanistan of the stone statue[s] of Buddha, because it was the destruction of cultural heritage," Shoigu said, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency. But there's no outcry over these attacks, though they're just as damaging from religious, cultural, and historical perspectives.
Serbs apparently retaliated by attacking mosques elsewhere, including one from the 17th century.
The BBC has several photos, along with a good backgrounder of the complicated triggers of the attack, and the even more complicated history of conflict between the Albanians and Serbs. There's much more than religion to this story, but it seems clear that churches were deliberately targeted and took the brunt of the attacks.
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