The Consolidation of the Islamic Community in Modern Croatia: A Unique Path to the Acceptance of Islam in a Traditionally Catholic European Country

In: Journal of Muslims in Europe
Dino Mujadžević Ruhr University Bochum

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Although relations between Catholic Croatia and Islam were burdened historically by more than three centuries of Ottoman/Bosnian-Habsburg/Croatian warfare on Croatian soil, creating an extremely negative image of Muslims in the Croatian culture and collective memory, during most of the 20th century, with exception of early 1990s, attitudes towards Islam and Muslims in Croatian society were surprisingly mostly positive. The legal status of the sole Muslim representative organisation, the Islamic Community in Croatia, was confirmed by special agreement with the state in 2002. The author argues that besides the obvious cultural and linguistic proximity of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, several factors contributed to this positive environment: the remoteness of Ottoman wars in time, a fear of a common political enemy (Serbia), and the Austro-Hungarian tradition of early legal recognition of Islam.

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