The issue of Islam in the Balkans in general, and in Bosnia-Herzegovina in particular, is often framed by three distinct narratives: local Islamic communities are perceived in danger of radicalisation or are presented as examples of a Europeanised Islam with long history of coexistence with other faiths, or, finally, studied as communities exposed to a variety of foreign influences.
By focussing on extremism, local tradition of moderation, or on transnational and ideological influences, research all too often tends to problematise and securitise Islam and overlook local dynamics and agency in self-transformation and coping with change. Especially the capacity of Islamic institutions to cope with challenges and regulate religious diversity has yet to be systematically studied.
Presenting research on Bosnia-Herzegovina, another, institution-centred perspective will be proposed. Focussing on the governance of Islam by the uniquely centralised and self-governing Islamic community, the short lecture will present the way the religious institutions in Bosnia dealt with the so-called Salafi challenge. Departing from a securitising perspective, the “challenge” of religious pluralism was not ideological but mainly administrative. As the presentation will argue, Bosnian centralised organisation of religious life had first accommodated, overlooked or condoned neo-Salafism, later had to cope with outright challenge to its monopoly and legitimacy and has, finally, develop varisou strategies to co-opt and meet the challenge of neo-Salafism as internal competition.
Please register for participation per email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Number of participants is limited.
Presentation will be available on our youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/CentreforSoutheastEuropeanStudies/