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Bosnian PM Denies Muslim Population Poses Terror Threat

"IS flags are not flying in Bosnia," Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said.
"IS flags are not flying in Bosnia," Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said.

Bosnia-Herzegovina's prime minister, Denis Zvizdic, has denied allegations that Muslims in his country pose a terrorist threat to Europe.

Zvizdic told reporters on September 12 said such accusations were politically motivated and could damage the Balkan country as an investment and tourism destination.

He dismissed comments by some European leaders that Muslims in Bosnia were openly showing support for the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

"IS flags are not flying in Bosnia," Zvizdic said.

Experts say Bosnian Muslims generally adhere to a moderate form of Islam.

However, some were radicalized by foreign fighters who came to Bosnia to fight alongside Muslims against Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats in the bloody war of 1992-95.

In 1995, the U.S.-brokered Dayton accords mostly ended the violence, with Bosnia being split into two entities -- the Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnian Muslims and Croats and the ethnically Serb-dominated Republika Srpska.

Czech President Milos Zeman has alleged there was a risk the IS group could form its European base in Bosnia, where the group's "black flags are already flying in several towns."

And Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic warned of "thousands of fighters returning to Bosnia from Syria and Iraq."

Zvizdic dismissed the allegations, saying that "we have not had any incident that could be characterized as an act of terrorism, and we work to prevent the possibility of any such incident."

Bosnian security agencies say 240 citizens left the country to fight for IS over the past five years. Of the 44 who have returned, 23 have been jailed, officials say.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Lider Media