Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina

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This comprehensive survey examines how religion has interacted with other aspects of Bosnia-Herzegovina 's history. The author sees the former Ottoman borderland as a distinct cultural and religious entity where three major faiths - Islam, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy - managed to coexist in relative peace. It was only during the 20th century that competing nationalisms have led to persecution, ethnic cleansing, and mass murder. Emphasizing the importance of religion to nationalism as a symbol of collective identity that strengthens national identity, the author notes that religious groups have a tendency to become isolated from one another. He believes that Bosnia-Herzegovina was unique in its diversity because while religion defined ethnic communities there and kept them separate, it did not create a culture of intolerance. Rather than suppressing one another, the region's ethno-religious groups learned to co-operate and mediate their differences - useful behaviour in an area that served as buffer between East and West for most of its history. The author believes that Bosnians went beyond tolerance to embrace synthetic, eclectic religious norms, with each religious group often borrowing customs and rituals from its rivals. Rather than the extreme orthodoxy evident elsewhere in Europe, Bosnia became the home of heterodoxy. Sadly, nationalism changed all that, and the area became the scene of systematic persecution, forced conversion, and massed more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 148.8 x 254.5 x 33.5mm | 752.98g
  • Texas A & M University Press
  • College Station, United States
  • English
  • 7 maps, bibliography, index
  • 1585442267
  • 9781585442263

About Mitja Veilkonja

MITJA VELIKONJA is currently an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has written several articles and two monographs on myth and religion in Eastern more