The term "Bosniak" is the historical name referring to the majority ethnic group of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most Bosniaks are Muslims who speak the south-Slavic language Bosnian though there are non-Muslim Bosniaks. Indigenous Bosniaks also live in other lands of Southeastern Europe including in Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sandzak, Serbia and Turkey. The Bosniaks arrived in America and Canada in about three waves, at the beginning of the 20th century, starting in 1902, then during the post-World War II period during the 1950's and lastly, during the war and Genocide against the Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990's.


In fact, the first registered Bosniak-American organization (and American Muslim organization) was registered in Illinois in 1906 by Bosniak immigrants. During the last decade of the twentieth century, Bosniak Muslim immigrants and refugees from all over Bosnia-Herzegovina arrived inNorth America in great numbers during the Bosnian war and Genocide. Unfortunately, despite the growing size of the community, it remained separated along mostly social, educational and geographic differences. The emerging Bosniak Muslim community also lacked the sophisticated, professional resources necessary to effectively advocate on its behalf. In 2000, Bosniak Muslim leaders from across theNorth America met to discuss the possibility of uniting this enormous yet dispersed community under a common umbrella. An ad hoc committee was formed to investigate this ambitious project-a project that was without precedent in any other American Muslim ethnic Community. These leaders formed the Congress of North American Bosniaks in 2000 as a political and social network. Missing was the essential formal religious network.



In 2003, the Islamic Community of North America Bosniacs or “ICNAB” (formerly known as Islamic Association of Bosniaks in North America or ICNAB) was officially formed, with twenty member mosques and organizations. Since then, with the growth of the North-American Bosniak Muslim community, ICNAB has grown to include over 50 formal members, including large mosques and Islamic centers as well as smaller mosques. They are loosely affiliated or otherwise within the networking sphere of the ICNAB. Today, ICNAB is the premiere umbrella organization representing the cross-section of over 200,000 Bosniak Muslims in the U.S. and Canada. By way of its membership, ICNAB has the knowledge, contacts and long-standing relationships to both reach out to and represent this scattered Muslim American community. ICNAB is a not-for-profit organization that does not discriminate on any basis, including sex, gender, color, race, religion, or disability.




Key Objectives of ICNAB



ICNAB's goals and objective are to: facilitate and coordinate communication and key initiatives for North-American Bosnian Muslim organizations; provide effective advocacy on critical civil liberties and social justice issues impacting American-Muslims and others; establish and maintain productive collaborative relationships with government, civic, legal, Interfaith, social, and media organizations; and educate fellow Americans and others about Islam as a religion and a way of life, Muslim cultures and traditions, and critical issues and challenges facing American Muslims as well as Muslim in other parts of the world.

Significant ICNAB Achievements



Over the course of its relatively short history, ICNAB has achieved several significant milestones. The first accomplishment was ICNAB's work to cultivate an open, collegial forum for North-American Bosniak Muslim imams and leaders to share ideas and concerns and to collectively resolve problems. From time to time, based on emerging needs in the community, ICNAB has also actively facilitated support for and cooperation with new organizations such as the Congress of North American Bosniaks.




Through its outreach efforts on behalf of its members, the ICNAB has formed invaluable relationships with several faith-based groups, including: the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Indiana. Consequently, a significant portion of the interfaith dialogue in theU.S. and Canada between Muslims and people of other faiths takes place under the auspices of ICNAB.



Additionally, ICNAB has successfully collaborated on major cooperative projects along with the Congress of North American Bosniaks. Among these: the annual conventions of Bosniaks in North America, successfully uniting Bosniak Muslims from across the United Statesand Canada and the world. ICNAB has been an indispensable partner with the Congress in organizing and managing the conventions. In recent years, the annual convention has continuously grown to become one of the Bosnian Diaspora's largest gatherings of Bosniak Muslims, attended by 20,000 people. During these conventions, ICNAB has also assumed full responsibility for organizing and hosting all religious and educational events held during the convention.



In recent months, ICNAB actively assisted Bosniak Muslims in North America to perform their fifth pillar of Islam - Hajj (pilgrimage).


Underlying Assumptions Guiding ICNAB'S Strategies



Bosniak Muslims are part of the diverse fabric of the United States and Canada. Muslim Bosniak-Americans or Canadians play a productive role in our society as neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, schoolmates, and friends. North-American Bosniak Muslims are also an economically diverse group, utilizing a variety of academic specialties and business skills, and figuring prominently in North America's business world to contribute to the betterment of the U.S. and Canada. Over 10,000 Muslims are in the United States armed forces, some of whom are from Bosnia-Herzegovina. There are Bosniak-Americans serving as American Diplomats. Muslim children are attending the same universities, working in the same work places and living in the same communities as other Americans and Canadians. Bosniak Muslims in North America share in the effort to make the U.S. and Canada more moral, just and peaceful places in which to live, worship and prosper.



Through its education, leadership, advocacy and outreach initiatives, ICNAB strives to empower its member organizations and the Muslim community for the collective benefit of all the people and, hence, contribute to the betterment of American and Canadian societies.


Scope of ICNAB'S Programs and Activities



ICNAB is engaged in diverse community initiatives through a host of structured full-time and ad hoc committees, and the offices of the President and the Director of Community Relations. The topmost are interfaith dialogue and relationships; media relations, including outreach, media watch, and press conferences; government relations, including participation in multicultural forums, high-level talks on critical issues impacting Muslim Americans and Canadians, and assistance with sensitivity training and recruitment; a wide variety of social service and civic projects-both independently and in collaboration with other organizations; advocacy on local, national, and international issues, policies, and events that have a significant impact on Bosniak Muslim-Americans or Canadians; community education on Islam as a religion and a way of life to universities, non-profit institutions, government, media, and corporations; and outreach to other institutions and corporations.



Participation of Our Constituents in ICNAB's Work



ICNAB's constituents are its member organizations and their respective constituents-collectively: the 200,000 strong North-American Bosniak Muslim community. ICNAB's member organizations are involved in ICNAB's work by being part of the decision-making process and by ensuring the participation of their leadership in programs facilitated, supported, or endorsed by ICNAB. Member organizations nominate their official representatives to the Membership Assembly-the ultimate decision-making 'general body' of ICNAB. In most cases, the representatives are experienced Imams and leaders or activists, including men and women, who are current or former presidents, executive directors, or senior officers of their respective organizations. Accordingly, ICNAB's strategies, decision-making, and initiatives are closely in tune with and reflect the concerns and involvement of the grassroots community of Bosniak Muslim North-Americans in the U.S.and Canada.


ICNAB's Interaction with Local, Regional and National Organizations



As a national organization, ICNAB has dedicated itself to building bridges of understanding and productive collaboration on behalf of the North-American Bosniak Muslim community. ICNAB's outreach and advocacy encompasses a vast array of local, regional, and national organizations, focusing on a variety of interests. 
As the leading national Bosniak Muslim religious organization, ICNAB also works with national Muslim organizations to discuss important policy initiatives and ensure representation of the North-American Bosniak Muslim community in national Muslim community decision-making.