Contemporary Bosnian Sufism: Bridging the East and West
The Sufis of Bosnia are bridging the divide between Islam and the West by teaching the Qur'anic concepts of peace, including tawhid (unity with all) and tolerance towards others. These spiritual Muslims have been in the Balkan Peninsula since the 14th century, influencing the nature of Balkan Islam towards moderation. This paper looks into the notions of Sufism, its historical and contemporary existence in Bosnia, and the beliefs that they promote concerning the other Abrahamic religions. On-site research in 2006 and 2007 in Zenica, Zivcici, Kacuni, Tuzla, Blagaj, Pocitelj, Mostar, and Sarajevo in Bosnia and Hercegovina provides details of numerous active Sufi Orders and the presence of visuals promoting interfaith tolerance and harmony with Christians and Jews. The Bosnian Sufis are a moderating force in Islam that may play an important role in drawing the world together and lessening the chances of a major clash between Islam and the West.