Islamic Roots Important as Cultural Rather Than Religious Identity

September 12, 2003

Source: BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/3104130.stm

On September 12, 2003 the BBC News reported that "Bosnia-Hercegovina, which emerged as an independent state in 1992, is one of only a handful of countries in Europe where Muslims form the largest group in the population. But religion in Bosnia - or the cultural tradition it represents among the many secular-minded people - is a crucial badge of self-identity. Without that form of self-definition, there would be no easy way of differentiating Muslims - who form 44% of Bosnia's population - from the predominantly Catholic Croats and the traditionally overwhelmingly Orthodox Serbs...Since the war of 1992-95 Muslims have preferred to be known as Bosniaks - a definition that does not carry an overtly religious meaning. Indeed, for the many secular Bosniaks, awareness of their Muslim identity has much more to do with cultural roots than with religious beliefs."