Muslims by nationality
(Muslimani, Муслимани) was a term used in Socialist
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as an official designation of nationality of
Slavic Muslims. They were one of the
constitutive groups of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In connection to the national rebirth and
awakening in Yugoslavia during the 1990s they are now officially
recognized as Bosniaks in Bosnia and
Herzegovina by its historical name. A handful of people
consider themselves to be Muslims by nationality, while other
self-identify as Bosniaks, and to a lesser extent Gorani, Torbesh
or Pomaks. The two latter names
are also used by Slavic Muslims living outside of the former
Yugoslavia, mainly in Bulgaria where they
form a part of the wider Slavic
demographic majority, and also where they live as minorities in
non-Slavic countries such as Greece and Turkey.
The Constitution of SFRY
peoples which were explicitly named in the Constitution, giving
them special privileges) and narodnosti
, with status comparable to that of
The Austro-Hungarian Empire
officially introduced the term Bosniaks
for Slavic Muslims
who lived in Bosnia; prior to it, it was used to describe a
resident of Bosnia regardless of nationality or religion.
debate that went on during the 1960s, many Bosniak communist intellectuals argued that Muslims of
Herzegovina are in fact a native Slavic people that should be
recognized as a nation.
But the name
was sometimes rejected - to quote Bosniak
politician and president Hamdija
As a compromise, the Constitution was amended in 1968 to list
Muslims by nationality
recognizing a nation, but not the
Bosniak name. The Yugoslav "Muslim by nationality" policy was
considered by Bosniaks
to be neglecting and
opposing their Bosnian identity because the term tried to describe
Bosniaks as a religious group not an ethnic one.
Sometimes other terms, such as Muslim with capital M
used (that is, "musliman" was a practicing Muslim while "Musliman"
was a member of this nation; Serbo-Croatian
uses capital letters for names
of peoples but small for names of adherents).
1990s, most of these people, around two million, mostly located in
Herzegovina and the region of Sandžak,
declare as ethnic Bosniaks
(Bošnjaci, sing. Bošnjak
On the other hand, some still use the old name Muslimani
(Muslims), especially outside Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The election law of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the
Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, recognizes the results from
1991 population census as results referring to Bosniaks .
Serbia, the census of 2002 that covered Central Serbia and Vojvodina (but not Kosovo) registered
19,503 Muslims by nationality and 136,087 Bosniaks.
Montenegro census of 2003, 24,625 (3.97%) of the population
have declared as Muslims by nationality, while 48,184 (7.77%) have
declared as Bosniaks.
the Republic of
Macedonia, the census of 2002 registered 17,018 Bosniaks and
2,553 (0.13%) Muslims by nationality. It is also important
to note that most members of Pomaks and
Torbesh ethnicities also declared as Muslims
by nationality prior to 1990.
Croatian South Slavic Muslim community, is around 50,000,
and is divided among three identities. Around 10,000 of them
declare themselves as Croats; 20,000 continue
to use Muslims by Nationality, whilst the other 20,000
2002 Slovenia census, 21,542 persons identified as Bosniaks;
8,062 as Bosnians, while 10,467 chose Muslims by
- Imamović, Mustafa (1996). Historija Bošnjaka. Sarajevo: BZK
Preporod. ISBN 9958-815-00-1
- The New Constitution of Bosnia and
- Statistics Office of Republic of Serbia. Population by
- Statistics Office of Republic of Macedonia - Државен
завод за статистика:Попис на населението, домаќинствата и становите
во Република Македонија, 2002: Дефинитивни податоци
- Statistics Office of Republic of Slovenia - Statistični urad Republike
Slovenije: 7. Prebivalstvo po narodni pripadnosti, Slovenija,
popisi 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 in 2002