DENVER – Hundreds of members of the Muslim Bosnian community in Colorado, US, gathered Saturday to celebrate the opening of the Mile High Islamic Center.
“We want the center to be an educational hub to teach those who are interested in learning about Islam. We welcome anybody here that would like to learn,” Ademir Ceric, president of the mosque’s board, told Denver Post on March 31.
Members of mosques from across North America celebrated the center’s opening by a ribbon cutting ceremony, which included free refreshments and food. Afterward, community leaders and imams gave scheduled speeches after prayer times.
A member of the mosque’s board, Binet Alagic, said “the mosque is more like a home. It’s a place for us to find peace and serenity.”
Out of Colorado’s 5,540,545 total population, the ethnically-diverse Muslim community constitutes 1% according to the 2016 report of Pew Research Center.
According to the news release of Mile High Islamic Center, the Muslim Bosnian community in Colorado is about 275 families.
“We have a lot of young kids who were born and raised here in Colorado, and we’ve put together a Sunday school where they can come and learn about their Bosnian Islamic culture and see where their parents came from,” said Minela Ibisevic, a youth leader at the mosque’s board.
The Muslim Bosnian Community in the US is formed of Bosniaks; the inhabitants of the Muslim European country of Bosnia, which is located in west Balkans.
The Bosniaks are predominantly Muslim South Slavs who speak the Bosnian Language. They started to embrace Islam in the 15th century, and they number now between three to five million people.
Over two million Bosniaks still live in their homeland Bosnia, but due to the Serbian massacres committed against them during the three-year war in the early 1990s, about two other million Bosniaks were forced to live in diaspora.
According to the United Nations, Serbia killed nearly 31,583 Bosniak Muslims between 1992-1995.