Muslims, Bosnians and Bosniaks shaped among Sarajevo, Sandžak and Belgrade

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REVACERN Final Conference
12-14 November 2009, Budapest

In the first of this project, I analyzed how the official Bosnian Ulama represented by the institution of Islamic Community (Islamska Zajednica/henceforth IZ) used religious advices, either in the form of pure religious texts such as religious advisories (fatwas) and sermons (hutbas) or official texts of the IZ, and religious manifestations to deconstruct the secure boundaries of the Muslim Bosniak religious and national identity, through constructive, transformative or dismantling strategies on identity.
In the second part of my research I will extend the scope of my analysis by focusing on two additional variables for a comparative analysis of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, while drawing on the same theoretical and methodological approaches of critical discourse analysis.
The first part will be the analysis of the discursive construction of Muslim religious and national identity by the “peripheral” and “oppositional” ulama representing salafi approach, mainly through their periodicals Novi Horizonti and Saff and several internet websites published in both countries.

The main research question related to this first part will be (a) how deviations occur at the discursive level; and (b) how these challenge and (re)shape the hegemonic construction of national and religious identity of Muslims living in these particular states.
The second part of my analysis will focus on the dynamics of power relationships between the centers of the Islamic religious hierarchy in the region, namely Sarajevo, Novi Pazar (Sandžak) and Belgrade. While this analysis aims to clarify the dynamics of the conflict between the two approaches of “One Community (for) One Nation” and “One Community (for) one State,” namely the Bosniak and Serbian ones, it would answer how the rivalry between these centers in the region affects the continuity and change in the dynamics of the formation of Muslim Bosniak national identity or Serbian Muslim identity, beside the third ‘local’ identity of Sandžakhood (Sandžaklija). Furthermore, this analysis will clarify the inter-relationship between political and religious dynamics to make sense of how that rivalry affects the development of non-establishment groups in the region, which would also provide inputs for policy-makers in the region.

 “Muslimhood, Bosnianhood and Bosniakhood shaped between Sarajevo, Sandžak and Belgrade,” in András Máté-Tóth and Cosima Rughiniş (eds.) Spaces and Borders. Young Researchers about Religion in Central and
Eastern Europe
.  Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, forthcoming.