Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bosnians in Astoria

New York is home to many Bosnians, who are split into Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks). Bosnian Serbs tend to associate with local Serbs, and Bosnian Croats likewise associate with the local Croatian community. Bosnian Muslims have cultivated a distinct community which has its own contacts with local Muslims from the former Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Sandzak) as well as with other Muslims in the area.

Regardless of whether they are Serb, Croat or Muslim, most Bosnians arrived in New York city during or shortly after the war in Bosnia (from 1992 to 1995) and settled in Astoria.

The Bosnian Muslims are well organized around religious and social organizations. They are the primary audience of at least two Islamic centers, the
Bosnian Hercegovinian Islamic Center (25-17 Astoria Boulevard, Astoria) and the Islamic Unity and Cultural Center of Plav-Gusinje (Bosnian Muslim Community of New York, 31-33 12th Street, Astoria). They are also the primary community served by the Ali Pasha Mosque in Astoria.

The Bosnian American Association Of New York (26-40 18th Street, Astoria) is the community's central social organization, and was recently featured at
Ethnic The BAA was initiated in 1997 to help meet the needs of newly arrived Bosnians and to help them acclimate themselves to New York, and to the United States. The Bosnian American Association was finally formed in 1999 in Astoria with 300 members.

Its membership is currently around 1000, and it focuses on five areas: English language instruction, computer training, elderly assistance, translation services and naturalization and citizenship classes. Mrkanovic and Elezovic told that the biggest challenge facing the group now is funding, as it would like to expand its program offerings.

We hope to add additional sporting events to help organize the young people in our community, as well as movie nights that focus on post-conflict and development issues in Bosnia,” he told the website. Other ideas include micro-enterprise instruction and advanced English and citizenship classes, as well as branching out to non-Bosnian refugees in the area.

Aside from the Bosnian American Association, Bosnia and Bosnians are also the focus of the New York-based
Academy of Bosnia and Herzegovina and America Bosnia Cultural Foundation. They are also active within Raccoon, which strives for reconcilation among all of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia.

Among Bosnian media locally is the newspaper
Sabah, the web magazine, Radio Muslimanski Glas (Radio Muslim Voice), and Radio Voice of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

One of the most prominent features of the Bosnian community is the Cevabdzinica, the traditional Bosnian restaurant featuring the sausage-like cevapci (or cevapcici). Of the many if the five boroughs are
Bosna Express (Astoria), Cevabdzinica Sarajevo (Astoria) and Djerdan (Astoria, Manhattan, Brooklyn).

Another Bosnian cultural institution popular with New Yorkers is the
Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival, now in its third year. The next festival will be from 19 to 21 May.

(Photo: Ali Pashna Mosque from, and Bosnians at the 2003 Muslim Parade in New York, from Radio Muslimanski Glas)


Anonymous said...

This article is not about Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is about Muslims from
Bosnia and Herzegovina. For those of you that do not know that, most of the Muslims from Bosnia used to be Croatians or Serbs and they were forcibly converted into Muslim religion during Ottoman Empire. Even today Muslims in the Bosnia and Herzegovina are not majority, comparing to Christians, but this article is all about them.

Anonymous said...

Yes but as you know the majority of people that respect Bosnia and certify themselves as Bosnians are Bosnian Muslims.As they said in the article, the Bosnian Serbs associate with the local Serbs and the Croats associate with the local Croatian community, therefore it's bassicly a way of them denying that they are Bosnian in any way, so why should they be included in the article?And actually there have been estimates that Bosnian Muslims do make the majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Anonymous said...

are u kidding.....muslims the majority?
there are more of them than serbs for sure......either way, they identify themselves as bosnians and not like some serbians living in bosnia since the birth and now proclaiming that he/she is serbian.....u got to be freaking kidding me....or more likely be ashamed for not being proud that you are bosnian....

Anonymous said...

For all of you who wish to read this page, perhaps you should read it with less of a forked tongue and more with open mind and arms. From what i can see, the site is meant to explain how some communities live. it cannot be denied that some people stay within their own comfort zone and choose to socialize with people who speak the same way, who come from the same area and quite possibly know the same people. it is a matter of convenience for many. Being Bosnian is a geographic description of people, just as being American is just that too. Now, Americans come in all shapes and sizes and colors. We are all Slavs, with different holidays, maybe different way of cooking, and generally doing things.
Yet, even the war could not erase the stupidity and how narrow minded some of you sound. Grow up.
And YES, the Muslims are the majority in Bosnia. Check the census numbers if you don't believe me.
So I suggest you chill out a bit, open your mind, let others in and ask about them. You will be surprised how many wonderful people there are. The same people you pegged into a group you clearly loathe.
and c'mon, "opanak" isn't a bosnian nor a croatian thing.OK?!

Asmira said...

Hello :)

Anonymous said...

bosniaks are not slaves of NY like russians or serbs,there is no one bosniak who see his self as an slav,learn more about this people before you write bullshit,but i`m sure you are an serbian or croatian,so it`s normal that you write this shit

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great article! By the way, Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) are the majority people in Bosnia-Herzegovina according to the recent estimates but it will not be known for sure until the next census which has not been held since 1991. Why do you have to have this nationalist disgusting tone janko? You are spreading lies about Bosniaks. Almost every bosniak today is descend of medieval Bosnian bogomil people that converted to islam in the 15th century. Most serbs and croats did not convert and thats why there are no muslims in Croatia and Serbia except for the Sanjak region in Serbia which used to be bosnian medieval territory...Read some book instead of just spreading ignorance.

Anonymous said...

And for anonymous: Bosniaks are not slaves but they are slavs (learn how to spell right). And no bosnian is rejecting the FACT that they have slavic descent and language. It's not a big deal.

Anonymous said...

Those born in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be only Bosnians and Herzegovinians. Your religion shouldnt play part in what nationality you are. Bosnia and Herzegovina is accepted country by all UN nations and as such there is a Bosnian nationality! It is a shame most Orthodox Bosnians and Catholic Bosnians do not like to call themselves Bosnians and it is also a shame that most muslim Bosnians call themselves muslim first and then Bosnian. Being Muslim, Orthodox or Catholic makes you a devoted person to a specific religion but in no way does it categorize which nationality you are. All Bosnians and Herzegovinians should wake up and unite together. No matter what religion they are. We are all brothers and sisters!

Good Article by the way.

MuhamedTheSarajlia said...

Lmao. I'm bosnjak (Muslim if I should include) and posting this article will only bring u a bunch of annoying hard headed ppl arguing. Idk what every1 is blabbering abt...but living in NY for the last 16 yeArs...I have met hundreds of Bosnian Muslims and abt 2 (two!) Bosnians who proudly admitted to being "Bosnian Serbs". Am just saying that there's many more Muslims than Serbs in Bosnia and Bosnian-American community's. Am not hating. Ppl should not forget that during the war in Sarajevo...there were catholic Serbs, Bosnian born n raised, who loved Bosnia n fought along side the Muslims against the Serbia Serbs.

Anonymous said...

For everyone choosing to use this innocent and informational article as a vehicle to further spread the ignorance, intolerance, and hatred that has fueled centuries of war and senseless deaths, shame on you. You're in America, a long way from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, etc...How dare you come to this country that welcomed all and gave each refuge a chance at a better life and choose to spread your poisoned tongue rather than embrace the openness and freedoms that the US has to offer all. You choose to live in the United States of America so start acting like it. If you can't handle being "United" and if you don't believe in "Liberty and Justice for all", then go back to where you came from.

Anonymous said...

Bosna jarane

Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that the origin of bosnians (bogumils) is not Slavic at all. It is Illyrian. Today's Bosnians are mixed of Illyrians and Slavs, with their language being of Slavic descend. As for religions, Bosnians are Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, Roma, and Jewish. Although Bosnian Jews are a very small minority, with most of them having emigrated to Israel during the 1990's civil war. It has been the world's political agenda to classify Orthodox and Catholic Bosnians as Serbs or Croats, to ensure infinite division and instability in the region. I wish that Bosnians would put aside their religious differences and unite as one, as they would prosper better as one united folk, rather than 3 different entities