“… There’s a part of Sarajevo, a block where within a hundred meters I believe . . . there’s a church, Orthodox church, there’s a Catholic cathedral, there’s a synagogue, there’s a mosque, all with the radius of, you know, a hundred meters, and it’s just something that you don’t see that much around the world, it’s unique.” – Muhamed Hasanović 2016
Religious Diversity in Bosnia
The country of Bosnia and Herzegovina is religiously diverse, as is the Bosnian diaspora. Of the major religions of Bosnia, Islam, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism are the largest. In addition to these three, one may find members of religious minorities, including Judaism, as well as non-religious or non-practicing people. This religious diversity throughout the course of Bosnia’s long history has heralded a rich and diverse culture, but it has also served as a source for conflict. Though the Bosnian War of the 1990s centered on Bosnia’s declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia, political allegiances were divided largely on ethnic lines, which were in turn defined by the religious affiliations practiced by the majority of each ethnic group: Bosnian Muslims (or Bosniaks), Bosnian Serb Orthodox Christians, and Bosnian Croat Catholics. Because the Bosniak people were the primary target of ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, the majority of Bowling Green’s Bosnian population identify as Bosniak, reflecting a large portion of the Bosnian diaspora in the United States and the world.
Sarajevo, the “Jerusalem of Europe”
“The religious call it’s fascinating to me… you know you hear [it] and it’s like it has a melody to it…When I was back [in Bosnia] this past September, it’s just something I missed about home. And yeah it’s just call for prayer…but it’s just like [you’re in] the city and there’s every mosque … [and] there’s that melody coming from speakers, and then all of a sudden at the same time you can hear the church bells ring, and then, you know, [the] synagogue…[and] you just close your eyes and it’s music of life for me, you know, it’s amazing.” – Muhamad Hasonovic
Call to Prayer
On a 2017 visit to Sarajevo, WKU folklorist Kate Horigan recorded the call to prayer:
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