Muslim believers are marking the 100th anniversary of the official recognition of Islam in Croatia and although they make up only 1.5% of the country's population, they are an example of the most successful integration of the Muslim minority in Europe, experts and Islamic dignitaries in Croatia have told Hina.
Croatia's parliament adopted a law recognising Islam as an equal religion in the country on April 27, 1916, four years after Austria and a year after the Kingdom of Hungary. By comparison, Belgium recognised Islam in 1974 and Spain in 1992.
A number of events have been organised to mark this centennial jubilee and the Croatian Parliament will hold a special session which will also be attended by visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the latest census, 62,977 Croatian citizens declared their religious affiliation as Muslim.
Broken down by ethnicity, the majority of the 62,977 Islamic believers are Bosniaks (27,959), followed by Croats (9,647), Albanians (9,594), and Roma (5,039), while 6,704 identified themselves as ethnic Muslims.
The Muslims religious community in Croatia is organised in 15 majlises, territorial units comprised of jamaats. The highest religious and administrative body of the Islamic Community in Croatia is Meshihat, led by Mufti Aziz Hasanovic.
Other important institutions are the Islamic High School in Zagreb and the Halal Centre, an institution that certifies products prepared in accordance with religious principles.
Regardless of their ethnicity, Muslims are an integral part of Croatia's religious, cultural and national identity, sociologist Ivan Makresic.
They proved their patriotism with decisive and mass-scale inclusion in the defence forces during the 1990s Homeland war, Mufti Hasanovic said recently, adding that 25,000 Muslims participated in the war of whom 1,180 were killed.