Prof.dr. Esad Duraković : This is partly a consequence of the decades of frustration imposed upon them by challenges to the name Bosniak

Prof.dr. Esad Duraković : This is partly a consequence of the decades of frustration imposed upon them by challenges to the name Bosniak

26 Septembra
04:25 2022

BOŠNJAK (pl. Bošnjaci, English Bosniak) is a historical name for one of the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), who live there together with Serbs, Croats, and other ethnicities. The original name, Bošnjanin (in Latin sources, sing. Bosnensis), originally meant a member of a medieval Bosnian political unit

The name Bošnjanin first appears in the imperial title of the Byzantine emperor Manuel Komnenos around 1166, then in a large number of documents of varying types created in medieval Bosnia, and later, during Turkish rule as used by early South Slavic writers when they were mentioned alongside other South Slavic peoples.

Prof.dr. Esad Duraković 

According to the 2013 BiH census, the number of Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina was 1,769,592, or 50.1% of the total population. This legitimate and historical name has occasionally been disputed for ideological or political reasons. In socialist Yugoslavia, for example, their name was politically contested, and they were officially named Muslims (Muslimani, with the “infamous” capital letter M[1]) in order to suggest that their national identity was controversial, because however one writes it – musliman or Musliman – the name in essence and everywhere in to the world is a marker of religious affiliation (belonging to Islam). The main goal behind referring to calling Bosniaks “Muslims” was to imply that they were in fact ethnic Croats and/or Serbs of Islamic faith, which does not correspond to the historical facts about Bosniaks: that they are an autochthonous European people, a significant part of whom accepted Islam as their religion.

Thus, ideological falsification of history and reality took place in socialist Yugoslavia. The law stipulated that national affiliation was expressed with a capital initial M (Musliman) and religious affiliation with a small initial letter m (musliman). This ambiguous construct was inaccurate and caused great confusion. Bosniaks themselves felt offended by this denial, or problematization, of their national identity from the standpoint of Greater Serbian and Greater Croatian ideologies, despite the historical facts and their own right to national self-determination. The renaming of ethnic Bosniaks as “Muslims” was an act of ideological coercion.

The same ideological inertia was particularly strong in the 1990s, when genocide was committed against Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina because the common goal of the Greater Croatia and Greater Serbia state projects was to divide BiH while partially exterminating and partially displacing Bosniaks around the world. At the same time, the aggressors in BiH insisted with their claims that Bosniaks, as Muslims, are a “disruptive factor” and that they must return to the “faith of their forefathers” (i.e., Christianity). The problem with these ideologies and their projects is that the Bosniaks are a state-forming factor and that it is necessary – from the point of view of these ideologies and their projects – to reduce them to a (non-ethnic) religious community, which as such cannot be a state-forming factor.

In essence, these are two identities of one people: an ethnic identity (Bosniak) and a religious identity (Muslim), and it is necessary to keep in mind that not every Bosniak is also a Muslim, because some of them feel as atheists, agnostics, and the like.

In addition to the terms Bosniak and Muslim, there is also the term Bosnian, which denotes neither ethnic nor religious but rather national affiliation in the sense of being a citizen of a state. Challenging this name implies challenging the state or statehood of BiH. Bosnians include all people who have BiH citizenship, or all those who live in BiH, which has been called Bosnia for a very long historical period. Thus, Bosnians also include ethnic Croats, ethnic Serbs, ethnic Bosniaks, and other peoples who are citizens of BiH. During the last war in BiH, but also after that war, efforts have been made to create confusion among Bosniaks themselves by suggesting, or even imposing, the idea that they should declare themselves exclusively – either as Bosniaks or as Bosnians. Thus it is not unusual to hear some Bosniaks saying that they are only Bosniaks, but not Bosnians. This is partly a consequence of the decades of frustration imposed upon them by challenges to the name Bosniak.

From a scholarly and historical point of view, the point is as follows: The word Bosniak is a sign of ethnicity; the word Muslim is a sign of religious affiliation; the word Bosnian is a sign of national (i.e., state) affiliation. These are three types, or three aspects, of identity, because one people, much like one individual, can have multiple identities (ethnic, national, religious, cultural, gender, etc.). These identities are not mutually exclusive, but neither are they necessarily compatible, because an individual (as well as a community) can be simultaneously a Bosniak who is a Muslim and also a Bosnian, since he lives in Bosnia. However, he can also be a Bosniak who is an atheist and has, say, German citizenship.

Bosniaks call their language bosanski (Bosnian). This is sometimes disputed in some contexts, even though Franjo Vuletić’s Grammar of the Bosnian Language had already been published in 1890; under Austro-Hungarian rule, this language was called Bosnian, and many prominent Croatian and Serbian intellectuals and writers (including, for example, Miroslav Krleža and Isidora Sekulić) called it Bosnian. In fact, as early as 1631 Bosniaks already had a Bosnian-Turkish dictionary, compiled by Muhamed Hevai Uskufi.

[1] In the Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian languages, it is conventional to write names of religious groups with a lower-case first letter and names of peoples or nationalities with a capital first letter. In English, the names of both types of groups are capitalized.

(Zbog naše mlađje raje koja ne razumije sve “finese” bosanskog jezika  i prijatelja  Amerikanaca   pravimo izuzetak i  kolumnu akademika Dukakovića  posvećenu  nekim  fundamentalnim bosanskohercegovačkim pojmovima i  nejasnoćama objavljujemo na engleskom jeziku)



Još nema komentara


Napiši komentar

Vaša e-mail adresa neće biti objavljena.
Obavezna polja su označena *

Idi na alatnu traku