Bitter Catholics: This initiative has embittered ethnic Croats in Mostar, most of them Catholics. They claim that almost all organizers of the signing of the petition are known from before as spent Communist cadre or Islamic fundamentalists. "It is extremely arrogant to openly demand removal of catholic religious symbols. Does that mean that Croats must hide their religious feelings? We are justified in wondering whether such cadre can impose on Bosnian Croats Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina based on their diktat and impose their preferred rules of conduct, using all available means," one resident of Mostar, an ethnic Croat, told us bitterly. Many others agree with his opinion.
"This illustrates the basic problem of the so-called Federation BH. Our Muslim neighbors obviously do not respect us, Catholic Croats and Catholic symbols, and that is the main reason why this country cannot survive in the future. It lives a virtual existence as a hypothetical paper creation backed up by the weaponry of the Stabilization Forces that rule the lives of the citizens in the currently existing state-construction," our collocutor concluded.
Forced removal of Catholic symbols: Undeniably, lack of respect for Catholics in Mostar and their religious symbols can backfire. Events related to the Cross on the Hum Hill are not the only attempt to force removal of Catholic symbols. In the whole Neretva river valley Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian cemeteries have been leveled to the ground, removed, devastated or damaged. Thus, one must wonder who is bothered by the Cross on the Hum Hill. Does that mean that Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina cannot openly display their religious symbols?
Would the Cross, if it were on the territory under Muslim control, be demolished just like numerous Catholic graves?
Also, it is interesting that "advocates of tolerance and coexistence" from Mostar fail to mention a whole series of incidents of open intolerance in other regions, for example in Sarajevo and Zenica, even the violent assault on a Catholic nun, in which the cross on the necklace around her neck was torn away. Perpetrators of that disgusting and savage act, you've guessed, haven't been identified until today.
"If citizens to not respect religious, national, cultural and other symbols of other ethnic groups and minorities, the Federation cannot survive, regardless of whether someone likes that or not. If the Cross is removed from the Hum Hill by force, we shall defend it by force," many residents of the western bank of the Neretva river [Croat controlled] in Mostar are bitter.
Cruel jokes: residents of western Mostar openly talk about "Muslims who do not want to see the Cross above their heads". It is claimed that the true reason, regardless of how silly it is, is that a part of Mostar, old city with Kujundziluk and nearby streets with cafes lies almost directly under the Hum Hill. Wherever Muslim residents of Mostar look, they see the Cross, which has been especially bothering them lately. Residents of Western Mostar tell a joke according to which Muslims in Eastern Mostar "drink coffee through straw to avoid seeing the Cross on the Hum Hill while drinking coffee". Besides, ethnic Croats claim that most Bosniaks in Mostar are not Muslims, but atheists.
Regardless of how cruel these jokes may be, we must realize that for the sake of tolerance we must respect religious symbols of others. For example, for several years already, at five o'clock in the morning, every morning residents of Mostar can hear hoja's yodeling from the eastern part of the city. So far, no one from Western Mostar, neither Croats nor Catholic priests, has called for the abolishment of early morning and very noisy religious calls. Consequently, demands of neighbors from Eastern Mostar were rejected as totally unacceptable.