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VOLUME 1 , ISSUE 2-4 ( April-December, 2022 ) > List of Articles


Islamic Tradition of Bosniaks as an Example of Coexistence and Respect for the Other and Different

Safvet Halilović

Keywords : Bosniaks, Coexistence, Islamic tradition, Moderation, Tolerance

Citation Information : Halilović S. Islamic Tradition of Bosniaks as an Example of Coexistence and Respect for the Other and Different. 2022; 1 (2-4):173-179.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-11005-0031

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 20-03-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2022; The Author(s).


Ever since the advent of Islam in these areas, Bosnian Muslims have been members of the mainstream of Islam (Ahl as-Sunna), and when it comes to partial religious matters, they have followed one of the oldest mezheps (law schools) that originated in Islam, the Hanafi mezhep. Thus, for almost 6 centuries, Bosniaks, as indigenous European Muslims, have had their own religious tradition, which, despite going through different, often very difficult stages (wars, exile, occupation, dictatorial regimes, isolation from the Muslim world, etc.), have managed to maintain a high degree of originality and foundation in the primary sources of Islam. The Islamic tradition of Bosniaks is, in fact, considerable experience accumulating over a long period of time, which helps the Muslims of this region to survive and preserve their religious identity despite the harsh environment and all kinds of hardship they have been exposed to Bosniaks, as indigenous European Muslims, have one advantage over other Muslim nations: they do not view modern civilization from the side or from afar but live in its very center and fully feel its impulses and its nature. This means that they feel its strengths and weaknesses, but also their needs better than others. At the same time, they inherit Islam, preserve and nurture it as a treasure and study it with love and loyalty in their hearts. They have never departed from its mainstream practice, turned it into a sect, or ideologized it. Also, they have withstood the challenge of extremism, radicalization, and intolerance of others and their difference. On the contrary, other religions and worldviews have always been respected within their religious tradition. This was especially demonstrated by the followers of Christianity, both Roman Catholic and Orthodox, with whom they have always cherished good neighborly relations and treated their religion, holidays, and customs with the utmost respect. Bosniaks have also had a good relationship with Jewish community members. The tolerance of Bosniaks toward others and different ones was especially demonstrated during the aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when genocide was committed against Bosniaks and when over 900 mosques, several 100 maktabs, and other sacral objects were destroyed and devastated; even in such cruel conditions, Bosniaks did not resort to retribution and did not demolish and desecrate others’ places of worship and sanctities, which provides solid evidence of their high tolerance, respect for other religions, and their readiness for peaceful coexistence.

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