The Bosnian of Macedonia
Former Yugoslavia, with its immense ethnic diversity, is probably Europe's most explosive region. Macedonia is a disputed country in southeastern Europe. From 1946 to 1991, it was the southernmost of the six republics that made up Yugoslavia. In 1991, after the republics of Croatia and Slovenia broke away from Yugoslavia, Macedonia also declared its independence. However, most nations have not recognized Macedonia.
Macedonia is officially called the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Bulgaria claims some of Macedonia's territory, and with 20% of Macedonia's population is of Albanian descent, it is feared that Albania will eventually claim its share as well.
The Bosnian of Macedonia are a small minority, numbering less than 40,000. The Macedonians, Serbs, and Bosnian are all Yugoslavs (South Slavs) speaking similar languages. Religion is their main distinguishing factor.
What are their lives like?
Macedonia was one of the first areas in the Balkan peninsula to be conquered by the Ottoman-Turkish empire, and was one of the last to be liberated during the Balkan Wars. The Turkish influence in Macedonia is evidenced by Ottoman-style domed mosques with their pencil-thin towers, wooden houses with latticework windows, and marketplaces where specialty stores are grouped together.
In the beginning of the Ottoman-Turkish rule, large numbers of Bosnian Christians became Muslims. The conversions happened because as Muslims, they could get better jobs and pay lower taxes. The Bosnian quickly dominated the professions and civil-service posts in the cities. Rural Bosnian remained largely involved in producing grains and livestock (mainly sheep).
Traditionally, the Bosnian Muslims lived in male-dominated, extended farm households called zadrugas. All members contribute to their collective economic well-being. Ideally, Bosnian marriages are endogamous (within the group). In rural areas, marriage to a non-Muslim is extremely uncommon. When marriage to and "outsider" does occur, it is usually to a Muslim of another ethnic group. Polygyny (having more than one wife) is prohibited by state law.
The brutal civil war between the Serbs and Croatians began in 1992 after the Bosnian declared their independence. Seventy percent of Bosnia's factories, homes, schools, and mosques have been destroyed. About 100,000 Bosnian Muslims have been reported dead or missing. In 1993, more than 60,000 Muslims lived in concentration camps. Bosnian Muslims are widely seen in the West as the main victims of this civil war and refugees can be found in nearly all European countries.
What are their beliefs?
Virtually all of the Bosnian are Muslims. The Islamic religion is based on the teachings of Mohammed. Islam is a religion of works that is based on five teachings or "pillars": (1) A Muslim must affirm that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet. (2) Five times a day he must pray while facing Mecca. (3) He must generously give alms. (4) He must fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. (5) He must try to make one pilgrimage to Mecca in his lifetime.
Even after the establishment of the Communist government in Yugoslavia in 1946, authorities tolerated Bosnian Muslim religious observances. Islamic schools were also allowed to remain open, as long as they followed the compulsory state educational program. Today, however, Macedonian authorities are not as lenient toward Muslims, regarding Islam as a tool to ignite Albanian nationalism.
What are their needs?
The Bosnian are one of Europe's least evangelized peoples. Although missions agencies are currently working among the Bosnian of Macedonia, few Bosnian have responded. There seems to be a great resistance toward the Gospel message. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the Truth.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Bosnian toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
- Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently working among the Bosnian.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Macedonia and share Christ with the Bosnian.
- Ask God to encourage the few known Bosnian believers in Macedonia.
- Pray that God will meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of the Bosnian.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Bosnian by the year 2000.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Bosnian bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
See also the following related groups:
The Bosnian of
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Bosnian
- Country: Macedonia
- Their language: Serbo-Croatian
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 12
- Scriptures in their own language: Bible
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 4
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 17,900 (46%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 21,000 (54%)
- Country: Macedonia
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 17
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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