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|Christian Adherents:||0.50 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||Slav, Southern|
|Affinity Bloc:||Eurasian Peoples|
Bosniaks are an ethnic group living in the southeastern part of Europe, mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is proposed that their 'genetic roots' are reflective of numerous pre-historic components. The earliest known inhabitants of the area now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina were the Illyrians, who spoke a language related to modern Albanian. The Romans conquered Illyria after a series of wars, and Latin-speaking settlers from all over the empire settled among the Illyrians.
In the Seventh Century, Slavs settled in Bosnia, Herzegovina and the surrounding lands. In 1463 the Turkish Ottoman Empire conquest at that time the independent Bosnian kingdom and it was the beginning of the influence of Islamic Civilization in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although the Ottomans did not, as a rule, actively seek to convert their Christian subjects to Islam, it is thought that the greater rights afforded to Muslims in the Ottoman Empire motivated Christians to convert to Islam. As the Ottoman Empire began to contract after the defeat at Vienna in 1683, many Muslim refugees from the lost Ottoman territories in Croatia, Slavonia, Hungary, and many centuries later Serbia found refuge in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and were assimilated into the local Bosniak population.
When Bosnia and Herzegovina was occupied and administered by Austria-Hungary in 1878, and a number of Bosniaks left Bosnia and Herzegovina. Official Austro-Hungarian records show that 56,000 people emigrated between 1883 and 1920, but the number of emigrants is probably larger, as they don't reflect emigration before 1883, and don't include those who left without permits.
Another wave of Bosniaks emigration occurred after the end of the First World War, when Bosnia and Herzegovina became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, known after 1929 as Yugoslavia.
After the Second World War, Bosnia and Herzegovina became one of the six republics of Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. In Yugoslavia, unlike the preceding Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bosniaks were not allowed to declare themselves as Bosniaks. As a compromise, the Constitution of Yugoslavia was amended in 1968 to list Muslims by nationality recognizing a nation, but not the Bosniak name. The Yugoslav "Muslim by nationality" policy was considered by Bosniaks to be neglecting and opposing their Bosnian identity because the term tried to describe Bosniaks as a religious group not an ethnic one. When Bosnia declared independence from Yugoslavia, most people who used to declare as Muslims began to declare themselves as Bosniaks.
Most Bosniaks identify themselves with Bosnia and Herzegovina as their ethnic state and are part of such a common nation. The largest number of Bosniaks outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina is found in the Sandzak region of Montenegro and Serbia. The city of Novi Pazar is home to the largest Bosniak population outside of the motherland. There is also a smaller indigenous population present in Croatia, Kosovo, Slovenia and North Macedonia.
Once spread throughout the regions they inhabited, various instances of ethnic cleansing and genocide have had a tremendous effect on the territorial distribution of their population. Partially due to this, a notable Bosniak diaspora exists in a number of countries, including Austria, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Turkey, Belgium, and the United States.
Being part of Europe and influenced not only by the oriental but also by western culture, Bosniaks are considered to be some of the most advanced Islamic peoples of the world. The nation takes pride in the melancholic folk songs "sevdalinke", the precious medieval filigree manufactured by old Sarajevo craftsmen, and a wide array of traditional wisdoms that are carried down to newer generations by word of mouth, and in recent years written down in numerous books. National heroes are typically historical figures, whose life and skill in battle are emphasized in their folklore.
The small Bosniak community in Belgium has been in Belgium and other safer countries since 1992. They enjoy their cultural events, but some of them are still getting settled economically.
Most Bosniaks are Sunni Muslim, although historically Sufism has also played a significant role among them.
For many Bosniaks, Islamic identity has more to do with cultural roots than with religious beliefs. Even among most religious Bosniaks, there is a disdain for religious leaders exercising any influence over day-to-day life. Bosniaks are no different than other Muslims in that they view Islam from the foundation that is their culture.
Today many of the Bosniaks are war refugees in the Western countries. They still speak Bosnian and maintain a cultural and religious community and visit their mother country regularly.
The Bosnians are one of Europe's least evangelized peoples. Although there are mission agencies currently working among the Bosnians of Bosnia-Herzegovina, very few have accepted Christ. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the gospel.
Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Bosniaks in Belgium for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow Him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Bosniak families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Bosniak people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
Pray for the lives and culture of the Bosniak people to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them.