What does being a Bosniak mean for a non-religious person?


I did search google, and it said that Bosniaks are primarily Muslim. I was wondering if you could consider yourself Bosniak but not practise Islam, or any religion really.

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I think they prefer “Bosnian”

Bosnia is a country. It’s like calling yourself Italian. Most Italians are Roman Catholic but that is not a requirement, same with Bosnians and Islam. And only like 50% of Bosnians are Muslim.

Source: I am Croatian

Bosniak is a relatively recent term signifying people from Bosnia who identify as Muslim. This area was traditionally predominantly populated by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, primarily Serbs and Croats worth natural crossover from people’s from neighboring regions.

This region had been in parts under occupation by the Romans, Austria-Hungarians and many others over the centuries, but most of the Balkans had been occupied by Ottoman invaders for some 500 years. One popular story I’ve come across (only verification I can offer on authenticity is that I’ve come across this story in multiple unrelated sources, but they could have just as easily been the source for one another) goes that the ruling Ottomans offered an incentive of anyone who converted to Islam not having to pay certain (or any) taxes. Once a significant enough portion converted they abolished that law but the religion stuck for generations.

After the fall of the Ottoman empire it’s been a bit of a mixed bag of religions in the region which has caused some tensions and the Muslim population coined the phrase Bosniak to identify themselves from the Croats and Serbs in the region, though in reality on a genetic level they are apparently the same people and even understand one another as much as say an American, a Brit and an Australian.

From the people I’ve talked to in the region there are tensions but there is definitely a lot of crossover in terms of intermarrying etc. Some people apparently don’t care in the least and coexist as if nothing separates them. Take all of this with a grain of salt, but that’s the gist of it from all the research I’ve done. It’s a fascinating region and mix of cultures to study.