Letter: What now for Serbs?

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In the process of reconstructing something like normality in Serbia, education will play a crucial role. It is vital that the religious aspect of the conflict be fully grasped.

Some 20 years' friendship with several clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church has convinced me of the sincerity and vigour of their belief about their government's policy in Kosovo.

To them, Islam is the arch-enemy. Halting, wherever possible, Islam's territorial expansion in Europe is a religious duty. Of the Muslim hope (as they would see it) for this expansion, the desire for a fuller, and territorially-based, Albanian presence in Kosovo would seem to be irrefutable proof.

As one of my friends put it, one of the "Christian nations" of Europe has been savagely persecuted by the rest of those "Christian nations" for the crime of trying to obey that religious duty.

It is urgent that this culture be replaced by something offering a more constructive and co-operative future. The Serbs of the next generation must be persuaded of an inescapable reality. Mutual tolerance between those hitherto regarding one another as enemies is the only hope for lasting stability in Kosovo.

Whether or not it has been the case that the Serbian civilian population has been mercilessly punished, night by night, for the crime of not sharing the world-view of liberal Western European culture, some leavening of their own culture by ours seems desirable.

Canon C J A JICKLING

Doncaster, South Yorkshire

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