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July 14, 2014 at 4:57 PM

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Tears, prayers for Bosnia genocide victims


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Medina Mehmedovic, center, 17, of Renton, prays on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington in Shoreline. Around 200 people gathered for a commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the Bosnian genocide, alongside prayer services. Mehmedovic said her grandfather and uncle lived through two years in concentration camps during the Bosnian War. "I feel like it is important for people to remember because it should never happen again to any country," she said. "It's very painful thinking of all the murders that happened." Her cousin Fatima Mehmedovic, 17, is at right.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Imam Begzudin Jusic prays with Bill Clark, with Vineyard Christian Fellowship during an interfaith prayer at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington in Shoreline. Jusic grew up in the town of the Srebrenica, and had around 50 members of his family killed in the massacre.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Meho Mestrovac, center, tears up during a commemoration of the Bosnian genocide. About 200 people gathered for the interfaith program aimed to honor the victims, share local families' stories and unite the Bosnian community and their neighbors in hope of preventing future genocides. Many local Bosnians lost family members during the July 1995 massacres, where Serbian forces executed more than 8,000 Muslim boys and men. Some of those families are still waiting for their loved ones remains to be found. During the Bosnian War, Mestrovac lost around 20 members of his family, and spent 10 months in a concentration camp. "It's not often we get to tell our story," said Irfan Mirza, with the non-profit Voices of the Bosnian Genocide, who organized the program. "These stories help us form the collective memory of this community, we are part of mosaic of American fabric and we don't speak out, then we become underlayment." (The cloth under the quilt.) Representatives from the Jewish and Christian community also attended the event, and shared the iftar, the evening meal when Muslims break fasting during Ramadan.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

More than 200 people gathered for a Bosnian genocide commemoration ceremony at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington in Shoreline. The non-profit Voices of the Bosnian Genocide, comprised mostly of young people, organized the event.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Women pray before the program commemorating the 19th anniversary of the Bosnian genocide.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Amina Becic, center, cries while singing with the Zem Zem Choir at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington in Shoreline. The song shared the story of a mother standing next to her son's grave.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Hundreds gather for a service commemorating the mass killings in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Hundreds gather for a service commemorating the mass killings in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Becar Hodzic, 20, in pink, survived the Bosnian War on a United Nations base with his mother, grandmother and cousins. His uncle and many other cousins were killed in the Srebrenica massacre. "It's heartbreaking," he said. "I feel like a lot of people are forgetting about it. I fear history may repeat itself."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Imam Begzudin Jusic leads prayers at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington. Jusic grew up in the town of the Srebrenica, and had around 50 members of his family killed in the massacre.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Women pray before the program commemorating the 19th anniversary of the Bosnian genocide at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From left, Adisa Dzamalija, Edina Kunduklija, Amina Becic and Anela Becic talk after singing at the commemoration of the Bosnian genocide at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The Bosnian community, as well as members from the Jewish and Christian community, share the iftar-the evening meal when Muslims break fasting during Ramadan- at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington in Shoreline.



ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The Bosnian community, as well as members from the Jewish and Christian community, share the iftar, the evening meal when Muslims break fasting during Ramadan, at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington in Shoreline.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A grenade injured Admira Sejfic, of Sarajevo, during the Bosnian War. Sejfic said the shrapnel pierced her brain, left her in a coma, and paralyzed her left side. Almost 20 years after the incident, she still has a difficult time walking and moving her arm, despite years of occupational and physical therapy. Around 10 members of her family were killed during the war. "I want people not to forget what horrors we went through," she said. "And I would like them to build a better future where little girls like me don't have to go through such atrocities."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From left, Hajra Dedic, Ena Zukanovic, Sabina Avdic, Elmedina Arnautivic, Sefika Avdic and Rezija Hodzic pray at Saturday's remembrance. Avdic said she lost family members in the July 1995 massacres and an uncle's remains were recently found: "This week is very emotional. It's hard to bring it up."

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