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Bosniaks are an ethnic group living in the Southeastern part of Europe, mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 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. Bosnians have a long history of contact with Italy!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. 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.
Today many of the Bosniaks are war refugees in Western countries like Italy.
They still speak Bosnian and maintain a cultural and religious community and visit their mother country regularly. The Bosnians in Italy are well-integrated. They have a wide variety of jobs from domestic workers to mechanics to doctors.
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.
Bosnians are one of Europe's least evangelized peoples. This is also true in Italy. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the gospel, but they need loving ambassadors for Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Bosnians toward Christ so that they will be receptive to His lordship and direction. Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to the mission agencies that are currently working among Bosnians bringing them to faith and discipleship. Pray that those receiving and viewing the JESUS Film will come to faith in Christ and that they will share the DVD with others, leading to home fellowships among Bosnian families. Ask God to use the few known Bosnian believers in Italy as His ambassadors. Pray that God will meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of Bosnians. Ask the Lord to raise up a strong church planting movement among Bosnians in Italy.