Hidden in the picturesque setting of Log pod Mangartom, a small Slovenian settlement, stood an ethereal edifice reflecting a significant fragment of Bosnian heritage – a mosque. Its quaint and charming architecture held a unique touch of Herzegovinian origin, manifested in the form of its relatively small minaret, a striking similarity to the stone-built minarets of Herzegovina. Fashioned in wood and bathed in white, the mosque’s actual dimensions remain shrouded in mystery.
The “Slovenec”, a Slovenian daily, caught wind of this curious construction and announced its existence to the world in the “Primorske novice” section on October 25, 1917. This news item introduced readers to a “beautiful mosque,” an abode of spirituality for the numerous Muslim soldiers battling on the Soča front, offering them a space to fulfill their religious obligations.
An Opening Amidst the Ravages of War
The mosque’s inauguration had been planned as a grand event, with the prestigious Sarajevo Reis-el-ulema, the senior Islamic authority, and the military mufti scheduled to grace the ceremony. However, the harrowing times had other plans. Just a day prior to the scheduled opening, on October 24, 1917, the 12th Isonzo battle flared up, casting a shadow over the planned festivities.
The Bosnian regiments had relocated from Rombon and other slopes to the formidable Krn Mountains roughly three weeks before the intended inauguration date. As the day arrived, the landscape was not adorned with festive decorations, but instead shook under the onslaught of the last offensive.
Lost Opportunity for Revival
Many years later, during Jožef Školč’s tenure as the Slovenian Minister of Culture, a project was initiated to breathe new life into this historical structure. Sadly, this vision of a resurrected mosque never saw the light of day.
Yet, the mosque’s legacy lived on. In close proximity to the mosque, a cemetery stands as a testament to the Bosniaks who fought valiantly on the Soča front, with 102 of these brave souls resting in peace.
Shamefully, the grave markers, initially bearing the traditional nišans – Islamic tombstones, were replaced post-war, with crosses. But, in a poetic turn of events, on August 18, 2007, the crosses were restored back to the original nišans, preserving the cultural integrity of the Bosniaks who once made the site their spiritual home.
An Enduring Legacy
The mosque at Log pod Mangartom, though long gone, echoes through time with its enduring narrative. While the mosque may be gone, the memories and the cemetery remain, serving as a testament to the resilience and dedication of the Bosniak soldiers who once fought on Slovenian soil.