Bosnian Witch Hunts Always Target Women

Within hours of the announcement, video clips of her, some years' old, were circulating online. Unnoticed and unremarkable until now, suddenly they were problematic, scandalous and offensive.

For days, she was subjected to a barrage of hate speech, threats and offensive language. Her intentions, background, skills, nationality, looks, marital status and, above all her loyalty and patriotism, were all put in question.

The most problematic thing she had ever said, apparently, was from an event held in London in 2017 where, at a conference, she had drawn parallels between Bosnia and Ireland - and between the complex relationship of Ireland's Catholics and Protestants and relations in Bosnia between Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Muslims.

She pointed out that while Bosnian Catholics identify as Croats and the Orthodox as Serbs, the link between the term "Bosniak" and Bosnia's Muslims was less clear. Muslims had "found out" this term, she argued, so they too could name their identity.

This is because there are some Muslims in Bosnia who don't consider themselves Bosniaks, or even refuse to be called by that name - and there are members of other national groups who might consider themselves Bosniaks, in the sense of being from Bosnia, regardless of religion.

This discussion has always been heated, but it is not new. Others have examined it in the past and expressed similar opinions.

But there was a difference between them and Maric. Those who questioned sensitive identity issues and terminologies earlier were all men. Maric's "sin" was not merely touching a taboo topic - she was also an easy target, being a woman.

Maric was deluged by an avalanche of disapproval of such intensity and force that the real concerns of...

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