Associations of ethnic Bosniaks living in Croatia launched the "I Am Bosniak" campaign on Thursday ahead of the 2021 Croatian census, calling on all members of this minority to identify themselves as Bosnian-speaking Bosniaks, because "that way they would gain the civil and political rights guaranteed by the Croatian Constitution," state agency Hina said.
“We call on all members of the Bosniak ethnic minority living in Croatia to identify themselves as Bosniaks who speak Bosnian as their native language in the population census that begins on Monday,” the president of the council of the Bosniak ethnic minority in Zagreb, Armin Hodzic, told a press conference.
The problem is that a certain number of people identify themselves as Muslims in the sense of an ethnic group, which is not recognized by Croatia, and hence “these people cannot exercise the rights they would otherwise enjoy if they declared themselves as Bosniaks,” Hodzic said.
He said that they had been highlighting this problem for years and hoped that the forthcoming census would remove all technical obstacles to these people declaring themselves as Bosniaks. He said that in the 2011 census about 9,500 people identified themselves as Muslims and more than 31,000 as Bosniaks.
“If we added these figures together, we would get a much more accurate statistic on the number of Bosniaks in Croatia,” Hodzic said, noting that the Bosniaks are the second largest ethnic minority in Croatia but do not have their own representative in the Croatian parliament and are represented by a member of another ethnic minority.