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She voiced the frustration felt by many Bosnians over the political divisions that still plague the country and that block progress towards EU accession.

The paralysis is so bad that last month the frustration boiled over into protests, when thousands marched to demand an end to the crisis over the registration of babies.

The CIA World Factbook put the population ratio in 2000 at roughly 48 per cent Bosniak, 37 per cent Serb and 14 per cent Croat.

During the civil war that accompanied the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, its two main Christian groups, Croatian Catholic and Serb Orthodox, first ganged up on the mainly Muslim Bosniaks, before the Croatians sided with them against the Serbs.

"We are Muslims but we feel we are different Muslims, not like in Turkey and Egypt, for example.

We are European," said Alida Vracic, director of Sarajevo-based think tank Populari.

The outcome, imposed by the United States at the 1995 Dayton talks and backed by the force of Nato fighter-bombers, is an unruly hodgepodge of a state where old animosities are never far beneath the surface and where leaders on all sides seem mainly out to sabotage each other.


Saudi Arabia built the largest mosque and Islamic centre in the Balkans in Sarajevo and is helping to fund the new university library.

Countries such as Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE have all provided aid and investments.

SARAJEVO // Sarajevo's many minarets have been meticulously restored in the almost 20 years since Bosnia's devastating war and new ones that have been built are predominantly in the modern Turkish style topped with conical grey roofs.

Foreign interest in Bosnia's once beleaguered Muslim community is evident all around.

Because of persistent political divisions along sectarian Muslim-Christian lines, the law on passports and IDs lapsed in February and parents cannot obtain the papers for their babies, impeding such things as travel and medical treatment.Bosnia, a country of less than four million, is a cauldron of religious and sectarian feelings on a par with Syria and Lebanon.


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