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Bosniaks in Croatia

  • Profile

    Bosniaks are Muslims who speak Serbo-Croatian (called ‘Bosnian’ by these speakers during and after the war) and are the second largest minority ethnic group in Croatia. Bosniak organizations promote Bosniak culture and publish magazines for adults and children. According to the 2001 census, there were 20,755 Bosniaks.

    Historical context

    The majority of Bosniaks in Croatia are recent arrivals, since there is no historic Islamic community in Croatia.  Bosniak numbers swelled during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with tens of thousands seeking refuge in Croatia.  When Bosniak and Croat forces within Bosnia and Herzegovina began fighting against each other in 1993, there were reports of intimidation of Muslim clergy and other leaders by local police and authorities, as well as the destruction of Muslim-owned property in Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb.  Following the war’s end in 1995, many Bosniaks returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the 2001 Croatian census, many persons registered as Muslims in 1991 declared themselves Bosniaks. Muslims and Bosniaks registered by the 2001 census number 40,529 persons, a seven per cent decrease compared to the number of Muslims registered in 1991.

    Current issues

    Key problems facing Bosniaks in Croatia are indirect discrimination, negative attitudes of the majority, limited participation in public and economic life, and limited opportunities to foster Bosnian culture.

    Updated July 2008

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