By Nawab Khan
BRUSSELS, Oct 29 (KUNA) -- The Muslim community in Croatia is relatively small, about 60,000 from a total population of 4.5 million, yet it actively engaged in contributing to the economic development and prosperity of the Southeast European nation.
Aldin Dugonjic, the director of the Center for Halal Quality Certification in Croatia, told (KUNA) that they are organizing the World Halal Day in the city of Opatija in western Croatia from November 2-4.
"We are celebrating 100 years since the state of Croatia recognized Islam," said Dugonjic who is in Brussels to take part in an international Halal conference.
He noted that the Muslim community in Croatia is organizing many events to celebrate the occasion and one of these is the Halal Day. Some 28 countries from all around the world are participating in the event which will be inaugurated by the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.
The first day will be devoted to Halal food, second day to Halal tourism and the third day to Islamic finance and banking. Around 40 experts from all the world will be discussing about all these issues.
There will also be an exhibition as a side event in which 11 countries will be presenting their Halal products and services, said Dugonjic who has written over 12 papers on the subject of Halal and Halal certification.
The origin of Muslims in Croatia are mainly from Bosnia, Turkey, Albania, and the Arab world.
In Croatia, there is only one Islamic authority called the Islamic Community of Croatia which is headed by a Mufti who is elected by the Muslim community.
"We have a contract with our government that all our duties and rights as Muslims is recognized. We can build mosques and hold Islamic lessons in schools," he said.
In Croatia there are three mosques with minarets and 15 without minarets and now the Muslim community is building three new mosques with minarets to accommodate the worshipers.
The Islamic Center in Zagreb holds regular lessons in Quran and every year the center organizes an international Quran recitation competition.
"We are trying to attract more Arab countries especially from the Gulf to come to Croatia for investments," said the Croatian Halal expert.
"Croatia has huge potential in sports, tourism, and culture to invest. This event that we are organizing we want to show what Croatia can offer especially because Croatia treats its minorities very well," he said.
"I feel nice to be a Muslim in Croatia. We have all the rights and we don't have any problems. You can come to see it for yourself," he added.
Croatia, an EU member, ranks the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world. (end).