Belgrade University Professor Danijel Sinani told the Wednesday issue of Belgrade daily Danas that he expects an apology from the editor in chief of the pro-government Happy TV who demeaned him in a talk show on Monday.
Happy TV editor in chief Milomir Maric made several offensive remarks about Sinani, alluding to his name whose origin is thought to be Albanian and denying him the right to be a “moral judge”.
Sinani has lived in Belgrade all his life and Serbian cultural heritage and religion is his area of expertise. He is deputy dean of the School of Philosophy and stood with University chief Rector Ivanka Popovic during efforts to end the recent student protest. Several School of Philosophy professors have sided with students and the 1 in 5 Million protests over the past few months,
“I don’t want to comment statements about my “suspicious” surname and anything else that was said,” Sinani told the daily. He denied Maric’s claim that he teaches Albanian, saying it is taught at the Philology Scholl, not his School of Philosophy. “I teach Serb popular religion and other subjects in religious anthropology,” Sinani said.
Maric told Danas that he “has nothing against Albanians” adding that they are some of his best friends.
A statement from Sinani’s University School of Philosophy condemned Maric’s statements about Sinani, calling them hate speech. It also condemned his statements about Rector Ivanka Popovic and her family.
The statement recalled that he heads the National Committee for Non-Material Cultural Heritage and that three traditional Serbian customs – the family slava or saint’s day, kolo folk dance and folk singing with the gusle string instrument – were placed on UNESCO’s world cultural heritage list during his tenure. The statement also condemned Maric’s demeaning statements about Rector Ivanka Popovic.