Letter: Mostar's bridge between faiths must be built afresh

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would like to make a correction to Jana Valencic's letter (16 November). The Mostar Bridge was not built by Suleiman the Magnificent, it was built by the Jannissari architect and engineer by the name of Sinan. He, like most of the Jannissaries, had Christian parents who were converted to Islam by the Ottoman system of Devshirme, which means conversion. They served Suleiman and most of the Ottoman sultans as a unique military and engineering corps. It was the only way Christians of the empire could reach high military rank.

The Jannissari Ottoman institution kept the peace among Christians and Muslims of the empire because they had unique connections with both faiths. The sultans trusted them for their own personal security and in battle.

The greatest contribution of Sinan the Jannissari was as a builder of bridges and mosques. This master builder and friend of Suleiman without any doubt had a civilising influence on the emperor.

Today's Christians and Muslims must rebuild the Mostar Bridge in good faith. An appropriate name for it would be 'the bridge of master Sinan'.

Yours sincerely,


Ruislip, Middlesex

16 November