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WHEN THE HEART OF BOSNIAN AMBASSADOR WAS CAPTIVATED BY SURABAYA
Autor: Nia S. Amira
Objavljeno: 26. Mar 2019. 13:03:43

Mehmed Halilovic is the new Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina to Indonesia since November 8, 2018. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador (LBBP) Halilovic, who for the first time has his career in the Southeast Asia region, has carried out many activities that focus on the tourism roles and relations and the creative economy to succeed the bilateral relations between the two countries.


Nia S. AMIRA: However, Suharto's arrival in Bosnia brought a peaceful mission to mediate the conflict and show sympathy for the Muslims in there who were attacked by other ethnic groups. Suharto decided to continue going to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 13, 1995, even though a UN-owned aircraft that passed in Bosnia was shot down on March 11, 1995.
The bilateral relations between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Indonesia have been long established, even from the time of the first Indonesian president, Ir. Soekarno with President Josip Broz Tito (when Bosnia and Herzegovina was still part of Yugoslavia) and then harmonious relations was continued during Soeharto era, the second Indonesian president who had built the Istiqlal mosque or also known as Soeharto mosque. There is a brief story about Soeharto's visit to Bosnia, which at that time was still in a state of war, at that time the conflict in the Balkans was preceraious. The arrival of President Soeharto in 1995 to Bosnia was somewhat desperate. Thousands of Bosnians became victims, Serbian soldiers staged violent acts to wipe out the ethnic of Bosnian (read: Bosniaks), even the massacre of Bosnian Muslims was recorded as the most horrific genocide after World War II was over.

However, Suharto's arrival in Bosnia brought a peaceful mission to mediate the conflict and show sympathy for the Muslims in there who were attacked by other ethnic groups. Suharto decided to continue going to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 13, 1995, even though a UN-owned aircraft that passed in Bosnia was shot down on March 11, 1995.

The Istiqlal Mosque which was initiated by Soeharto was built from the distribution of generous aid from Indonesia and was inaugurated during Megawati Soekarno Putri government. Until now, Bosnian people call the mosque as Soeharto Mosque or Istiqlal Mosque, which wass expected to replace one of the hundreds of mosques destroyed by Serb forces when Sarajevo was devastated.

Mehmed Halilovic is the new Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina to Indonesia since November 8, 2018. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador (LBBP) Halilovic, who for the first time has his career in the Southeast Asia region, has carried out many activities that focus on the tourism roles and relations and the creative economy to succeed the bilateral relations between the two countries.

When attended Indonesian Press Day (HPN) with Mrs. Asmira Halilovic recently in Surabaya, Ambassador Halilovic was very enthusiastic in participating in a series of events held from 7 to 9 February 2019. Twenty ambassadors have attended the annual celebration. Ambassador Halilovic said, although Bosnia & Herzegovina was seen far by the distance, it is in fact very close by the hearts of the Indonesian people. The Ambassador who was happy to wear batik clothes said thank you in good Indonesian language and delivered his message to the Indonesian government for the close relations between the two countries which tend to be more closer atthe present time, when interviewed by TVRI after the HPN closing event.

Ambassador Halilovic who was very fluent in Arabic was pleased when invited to visit Cheng Ho mosque, which was the first Chinese-Indonesian mosque built in Surabaya in 2002 and inaugurated on October 13, 2002. Cheng Ho Mosque or also known as Muhammad Cheng Ho Mosque, was built to respect Chinese admiral Cheng Ho who was Muslim. On his way to the Southeast Asian region, Cheng Ho was not only doing the trade and established brotherhood, but also spread Islam. In the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1643) Chinese people from Yunnan began arriving to spread Islam, especially on the island of Java.

The grand imam of Cheng Ho Mosque, Ustad Haryono, explained to Halilovic that the mosque was built on the initiative of the mosque administrators who are Chinese-Indonesian and Chinese community leaders in Surabaya. The mosque building resembles a Chinese temple. Halilovic was immediately performing sunnah prayers, as soon as he set foot in the mosque that could accommodate 200 worshipers.

Halilovic who studied in Khartoum, Sudan, was very impressed with Cheng Ho's mosque architecture which is a blend of Chinese, Arabic and local styles that characterize Cheng Ho's mosque inspired by the architecture of the Niu Jie mosque in Beijing which was built in 996 AD.

Accompanied by Imam of mosque, Ambassador Halilovic surrounded the building that has red domination, equipped with madrassah and extensive sports field, which is in the middle. At the end of the visit, Halilovic received a souvenir in the form of a large plate decoration with picture of Cheng Ho mosque in the middle.

On the way back to Majapahit Hotel, the historic hotel built in Art Deco style in 1910, Ambassador Halilovic whispered to me, that we must immediately return to Surabaya because the second largest city in Indonesia is an industrial city and has the potential economic for the bilateral relations of the two countries. I explained that East Java Province also has an enchanting charm; starting from coffee plantations, cacao, seafood productions, and seafood industries, as well as historical relics, from the old buildings and temples of the Hindu Majapahit period, ruins of the Majapahit Kingdom, and natural attractions such as Mount Bromo, Ijen Crater and others.

Ambassador Halilovic always takes his spouse who likes art, culture, and culinary to taste Indonesian specialties of menu during a quite shady day in this city of heroes, a short but quite full lunch. The heart of this smiling ambassador was captivated by a dynamic city of Surabaya, full of charm and hospitality of its people.



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