Bosnia’s Dangerous Tango: Islam and Nationalism

The Islamic community (Islamska zajednica, IZ) in BiH has grown from a religious organisation into an important political actor that has helped shape Bosniak identity. Its influential and charismatic former leader, Mustafa ef. Cerić, painted a BiH which, though multi-ethnic, should be a Bosniak nation-state, since, he argued, Croats and Serbs already had countries of their own. That vision is appealing to many Bosniaks, including some who are thoroughly secular, but it repels most Croats and Serbs. If this becomes the dominant Bosniak view, it is hard to see how it could be reconciled with the viewpoints of Bosnia’s other communities; persistent conflict and instability would then be likely. Instead, the IZ should foster a view of the state as a shared enterprise in which all groups feel equally at home and focus on renewing its own institutions.

Read the full article here.

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