Bosnia – the EU’s first Moslem country?

The so-called Imperial Mosque at Miljacka in Sarajevo. - Photo: Julian Nitzsche / Wikimedia CC 3.0

Für unsere englis­chsprachi­gen Leser brin­gen wir eine Übersetzung eines unserer meist­ge­le­se­nen Artikel der let­zten Zeit zum Thema Balkankonflikt und Auswirkungen auf die Gegenwart – ver­bun­den mit der Bitte um weit­ere Verbreitung im englis­chsprachi­gen Ausland:

The EU recently gave the green light to assess a mem­ber­ship appli­ca­tion from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Negotiation does not mean mem­ber­ship how­ever and now is the time to assess the basic require­ments for a suc­cess­ful inte­gra­tion of dif­fer­ent cul­tures. Here is where the first prob­lems begin.

Two areas cause con­tro­versy here, that of free­dom of move­ment and democ­racy itself as we under­stand it in Europe. This is because require­ments for adopt­ing Europe’s shared val­ues in these areas are sim­ply miss­ing. Bosnia-Herzegovina is more than 50% Moslem. Sarajevo is the basis for the increas­ing European influ­ence of Salafistic-influ­enced Islam.

Dr Peter Hammond has proven in a long-term study that as the num­ber of Moslems in a non-Moslem coun­try grows, the influ­ence of their ide­ol­ogy goals grows in a far greater pro­por­tion. The result: civil war.

When look­ing at how the Bosnian-Herzegovinian soci­ety has devel­oped, it can quickly be seen that a basic prob­lem of con­flict­ing val­ues has resulted.

Bosnians place the polit­i­cal-ide­o­log­i­cal as the cen­tral fac­tor in their shared val­ues: „Bosnia-Herzegovina is mak­ing no progress into devel­op­ing into an EU coun­try – this vac­uum is being filled by author­i­tar­ian and rad­i­cal-mil­i­tant ide­olo­gies. Much con­flict, much nation­al­ism but no per­spec­tive.”

Rosy per­spec­tives of the local media (eg. seem to sim­ply push parts of this prob­lem away in favour of a “vic­tim” depic­tion. Raymond Ibrahim (direc­tor, Middle East Forum) makes a key state­ment here when he says: “Whoever wishes to under­stand Islam and Moslems must first under­stand Taqiyya.”

Bosnia’s vague pol­i­tics

Bosnia’s pres­i­dency is split in three parts and the chair­man of its state pre­sid­ium changes every eight months.

  • Bakir Izetbegović (Bosnian-Moslem)

  • Mladen Ivanić (Serbian-Orthodox)

  • Dragan Čović (Croatian-Catholic)

Bosnia appears there­fore as a polit­i­cal union (sim­i­lar to the EU) where each cul­ture takes turns at the pres­i­dency with­out a com­mon party-based polit­i­cal sys­tem.

It is the var­i­ous reli­gious-ide­o­log­i­cal groups who deter­mine which major­ity gov­erns a region and not polit­i­cal par­ties.


The major­ity of the pop­u­la­tion is clas­si­fied into three reli­gions.

Following the 2013 cen­sus:
Moslems (Bosniacs) 50 ‚7 %, (1991 42,8 %);
Serbian-Orthodox Christians 30,7 %, (1991 30,1 %);
Croatian-Catholic Christians 15,2 %, (1991 17,6 %);
Agnostics 0,3 %; Atheists 0,8 %.
2,3 % belong to other groups (Protestant etc.) or pro­fessed no alle­giance or refused to answer.

Latent Conflicts

Peace is an inner state and not the absence of war. Bosnia’s latent con­flicts on the other hand, are caught up in its reli­gious struc­ture and the coun­try appears polit­i­cally inho­mo­ge­neous.

While Bosnia puts great hopes in EU money to assuage its inner dis­qui­ets, it is not improb­a­ble that these inner con­flicts will carry over into other EU coun­tries fol­low­ing its entry into the union.

Yet on the other side, there is a readi­ness to invest in Bosnian soci­ety and indus­try. The basis for a com­mer­cial devel­op­ment, how­ever, depends on the country’s social peace.

Bosnian issues already in Austria

Austria is already being influ­enced by Bosnians in its soci­ety. The dis­trict of Vöcklabruck in Upper Austria has already been affected by local Salafistic Moslems. There is already a Shiite Society in the dis­trict that has split away from them.

The cit­i­zens’ ini­tia­tive and inter­est group has cam­paigned for years under the ban­ner „No mosques in the Suburbs“ and strives to restore the qual­ity of life in many cities. It has launched a move­ment “Objection to accept­ing Bosnia-Herzegovina into the EU”.

Emergence of par­al­lel soci­eties destroys soci­ety

Post-war pos­ter­ity in Europe was based on its homo­ge­neous soci­eties. They iden­ti­fied with democ­racy and val­ues while striv­ing for a bet­ter future for their chil­dren. Ironically, the eth­nic cleans­ings of both world wars con­tributed to this.

This trend how­ever is being reversed in mod­ern Europe.

While Bosnian Croats (catholic), Serbs (ortho­dox Christians) and inde­pen­dent Moslem intel­lec­tu­als inte­grated long after the wars of ex-Yugoslavia, Bosnian Moslems in Europe con­tinue to cre­ate par­al­lel soci­eties. They fol­low old Islamic tra­di­tions and show no desire to adopt the val­ues of mod­ern, Judeo-Christian influ­enced Austria.


Latent Violence

A latent propen­sity for vio­lence has been per­ceived in the ide­ol­ogy of organ­ised Islam.

Vöcklabruck has expe­ri­enced an exam­ple of this through the local „Bosnian-Austrian Cultural Society“. The soci­ety has used a build­ing in a res­i­den­tial area, with­out build­ing per­mits or proper usage infor­ma­tion, for an ille­gal mosque for years. This has been the sub­ject of sev­eral pros­e­cu­tions before the Upper Austrian provin­cial court. The con­tent of these court cases says more than a thou­sand words. This “Taqiyya” has tied up city resources, includ­ing the need for police pres­ence, result­ing in seri­ous costs for soci­ety.

Why don’t these Bosniacs return home?

If Bosnia is to be prop­erly pre­pared for Europe, one would assume that Bosniacs would be ready to bring and use their expe­ri­ence of Europe back to their home­land.

It would be log­i­cal for some­one who is not ready to inte­grate into Austria or the EU to return to their home­land and share know-how gained from their stay.

What is sig­nif­i­cant how­ever is that hardly any­one of Bosnia’s major eth­nic­i­ties has returned there after the end of the Yugoslavian wars.

Bosnia-Herzegovina needs peo­ple with man­age­ment skill and expe­ri­ence from the West to return and take lead­er­ship if the coun­try is to have any hope of com­mer­cial devel­op­ment.

On the other side, Bosnia is closely asso­ci­ated with Saudi Arabia which sup­ports its devel­op­ment with gen­er­ous invest­ments. Concurrently, it appears that this has an ide­o­log­i­cal aim – the prop­a­ga­tion of Islam’s Wahabbit and Salafistic streams in Europe.


Europe has inte­grated many ide­olo­gies in its long his­tory but giv­ing room to polit­i­cal Islam is cre­at­ing new and greater con­flicts. Political Islam’s basis (Bosnian: Džemat) is mil­i­tant and its vio­lent poten­tial is becom­ing clearer in cen­tral Europe.

Bosnia-Herzegovina must there­fore work to elim­i­nate Salafism before it can think of liv­ing with and inte­grat­ing with the cul­tures of Europe Union.

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