ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN CROATIA

      

General Information

Republic of Croatia

National Name: Republika Hrvatska

Land area: 21,781 sq mi (56,414 sq km); total area: 21,831 sq mi (56,542 sq km)

Population (2008 est.): 4,491,543

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Zagreb, 685,500

Other large cities: Split, 173,600; Rijeka, 142,500; Osijek, 89,600

Monetary unit: Kuna

Languages: Croatian 96% (official), other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, German)

Ethnicity/race: Croat 89.6%, Serb 4.5%, Bosniak 0.5%, Hungarian 0.4%, Slovene 0.3%, Czech 0.2%, Roma 0.2%, Albanian 0.1%, Montenegrin 0.1%, others 4.1% (2001)

National Holiday: Independence Day, October 8

Religions: Roman Catholic 88%, Orthodox 4%, Muslim 1%, other Christian less than 1%, none 5% (2001)

Literacy rate: 99% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2005 est.): $53.56 billion; per capita $11,600. Real growth rate: 3.5%. Inflation: 3.2%.

Croatia is a former Yugoslav republic on the Adriatic Sea. It is about the size of West Virginia. Part of Croatia is a barren, rocky region lying in the Dinaric Alps. The Zagorje region north of the capital, Zagreb, is a land of rolling hills, and the fertile agricultural region of the Pannonian Plain is bordered by the Drava, Danube, and Sava Rivers in the east. Over one-third of Croatia is forested.

Croatia, at one time the Roman province of Pannonia, was settled in the 7th century by the Croats. They converted to Christianity between the 7th and 9th centuries and adopted the Roman alphabet under the suzerainty of Charlemagne. In 925, the Croats defeated Byzantine and Frankish invaders and established their own independent kingdom, which reached its peak during the 11th century. A civil war ensued in 1089, which later led to the country being conquered by the Hungarians in 1091. The signing of the Pacta Conventa by Croatian tribal chiefs and the Hungarian king in 1102 united the two nations politically under the Hungarian monarch, but Croatia retained its autonomy.

Following the defeat of the Hungarians by the Turks at the battle of Mohács in 1526, Croatia (along with Hungary) elected Austrian archduke Ferdinand of Hapsburg as their king. After the establishment of the Austro-Hungarian kingdom in 1867, Croatia became part of Hungary until the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918 following its defeat in World War I. On Oct. 29, 1918, Croatia proclaimed its independence and joined in union with Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929.

When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, Croatia became a Nazi puppet state. Croatian Fascists, the Ustachi, slaughtered countless Serbs and Jews during the war. After Germany was defeated in 1945, Croatia was made into a republic of the newly reconstituted Communist nation of Yugoslavia; however, Croatian nationalism persisted. After Yugoslavian leader Tito's death in 1980, Croatia's demands for independence began multiplying.

In 1990, free elections were held, and the Communists were defeated by a nationalist party led by Franjo Tudjman. In June 1991, the Croatian parliament passed a declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. Six months of intensive fighting with the Serbian-dominated Yugoslavian army followed, claiming thousands of lives and wreaking mass destruction.

A UN cease-fire was arranged on Jan. 2, 1992. The UN Security Council in February approved sending a 14,000-member peacekeeping force to monitor the agreement and protect the minority Serbs in Croatia. In a 1993 referendum, the Serb-occupied portion of Croatia (Krajina) resoundingly voted for integration with Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia proper. Although the Zagreb government and representatives of Krajina signed a cease-fire in March 1994, further negotiations broke down. In a lightning-quick operation, the Croatian army retook western Slavonia in May 1995. Similarly, in August, the central Croatian region of Krajina, held by Serbs, was returned to Zagreb's control.

Islamic History and Muslims

Islam in Croatia was introduced by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. The Muslims constitute about 1.3% of the population of Croatia. The Muslim Ottoman civilization conquered part of Croatia from the 15th to the 19th century and left a deep imprint. Some Croats converted to Islam. The advancement of Ottoman Empire in Europe was stopped on Croatian soil, which could be in this sense regarded as a historical gate of European civilization. Since 1519 Croatia has been known as Antemurale Christianitatis in Western Europe. The name was given by Pope Leo X.

Croatian Muslims
The historical names of many officials in the Ottoman Empire reveal their origin (Hirwat = Hrvat or Horvat, which is a Croatian name for Croat): Mahmut Pasha Hirwat (= Hrvat), Rustem Pasha Hrvat, Pijali Pasha Hrvat, Sijavus Pasha Hrvat etc. In the 16th century a traveler and writer Marco A. Pigaffetta wrote that almost everybody on the Turkish court in Constantinople knows the Croatian language, and especially soldiers. Marco Pigafetta in his Itinerario published in London in 1585 states: In Istanbul it is customary to speak Croatian, a language which is understood by almost all official Turks, especially military men.

This can also be confirmed by the 1553 visit of Antun Vrančić, Roman cardinal, and Franjo Zay, a diplomat, to Istanbul as envoys of the Croat - Hungarian king to discuss a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire. During the initial ceremonial greetings they had with Rustem Pasha Hrvat ( a Croat) the conversation led in Turkish with an official interpreter was suddenly interrupted. Rustem Pasha Hrvat asked in Croatian if Zay and Vrančić spoke Croatian language. The interpreter was then dismissed and they proceeded in the Croatian language during the entire process of negotiations.

he mufti of Zagreb during the was Ismet Muftić. He was executed by the Partisans in 1945.

Statistics
According to the 2001 census the population of Croatia is 4,437,460. Of these Muslims make up: 1.3% (57,687)

The Croatian South Slavic Muslim community, per census 2001, is divided between around 20,000 people who still declare themselves as Muslims by nationality, around 20,000 who declare themselves as Bosniaks, and around 10,000 who declare themselves Croats of Islamic faith.

The population of other Muslim minorities in Croatia (from the 2001 census) is as follows:

Turks: 300 (0.01%)
Population of other minorities in Croatia who have a sizable amount of Muslims (2001 census):

Roma: 9,463 (0.21%)
Albanians: 15,082 (0.34%)

Muslims in Croatia
As regards the status of the Muslim Bosniak minority, the situation is the following. On the territory of the present Republic of Croatia, Muslim believers were registerd for the first time during the 1931 census: 1,239 of them were in Zagreb and their overall number in Croatia being only about 4000. The next censuses that registered Muslim believers were as follows:

1,077 persons in 1948, 16,185 persons in 1953, only 3,113 persons in 1961. After 1971, when SFRY (former Yugoslavia) recognized the Muslim nationality to Muslim believers, the census showed the following:

18,487 persons in 1971, 23,740 persons in 1981, 43,486 persons in 1991.

On the bases of the censuses from 1931 to 1961 it is clear that a certain number of Muslim believers declared themselves as Croats or Yugoslavs. Their number augmented during immigration from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Islam today

Croatia's capital Zagreb has one of the biggest and most beautiful newly built mosque in Europe, although in Ottoman time it had none (Zagreb was never occupied by the Ottomans).

The Mufti of Zagreb is imam Ševko Omerbašić the leader of the Muslim community of Croatia.

Muslims are currently trying to build a mosque in Rijeka, it will be constructed that it suits the Mediterranean style so it blends in with the city/town. Muslims also plans to build a Mosque in Dubrovnik on top of the mountain that is behind the old town, the council however rejected this but suggested if they build it behind the mountain, which they rejected. The Muslim community are also planning to build a Mosque in Osijek & Sisak. A mosque in Karlovac is also being considered.

Zagreb´s mosque

Islamic Center and Mosque - Zagreb - Croatia

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

http://www.hr/darko/etf/et02.html

http://www.islamska-zajednica.hr/

http://www.zg-medresa.hr/

ISLAMIC RELIGION UNIT, Rieka, CROATIA
Phone: 00385-051 212833

Islamic centar Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
URL: www.islamska-zajednica.hr   Phone: 00385-16137162

Medresa, Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: 00385-16131057

Medzlis Islamske zajednice Pula, Pula
URL: www.medzlis.org   Phone: +38552211175

Medžlis islamske zajednice Umag, Umag, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0) 52 463-662

Islamska zajednica u RH Džema'at Bogovolja, Bogovolja, Cetingrad
Phone: 098-194-27-14

Islamski centar gunja, Gunja
Phone: o32-881-138 Islamic centar Zagreb, Zagreb
  ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF SPLIT, Splitska Luka
  ISLAMIC RELIGION UNIT, Rieka
  Islamska Zajednica Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik
  Islamska zajednica u RH Džema'at Bogovolja, Bogovolja
  Islamski centar gunja, Gunja
  Medzlis Islamske Zajednice Slavonski Brod, Slavonski Brod
  Medžlis islamske zajednice Umag, UmagIslamic Student Hostel for Boys, Zagreb
  Islamska zajednica u Hrvatskoj Džemat Maljevac, Maljevac
 
Medzlis Islamske zajednice Pula, Pula

   Muslim Owned Business

References
Islam in Croatia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Croatia  , October, 2008).
Info please ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107439.html ,  October, 2008).
Islam Finder ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=croatia   , October, 2008).
World Religions Statistics ( http://www.adherents.com/adhloc/xx , October, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Croatia, October 2008.