Peoples of Europe who accepted Islam

The number of Muslims in Europe is increasing every year. But we will talk today: whether it is about migrants who came to Europe in large numbers from Muslim countries in Asia or Africa; and not about Muslims living in the border areas between Europe and Asia, such as the Caucasus; and not about newly converted Muslims from among the French, English, Germans and other nations that are considered Christian (although their number is also constantly increasing and every year more and more Europeans consciously choose Islam). The topic is about indigenous European peoples who have been practicing Islam for several centuries, and so:

1. Albanians. This is a people who live in the Balkans, mainly in Albania, as well as in the partially recognized Republic of Kosovo and in neighboring countries. The number of Albanians in the world is estimated at 6.5-8 million people. There are various hypotheses about the origin of this people, for example, that they are descendants of such ancient peoples as the Pelasgians, Thracians or Illyrians. Slavs and Greeks also took part in the formation of the ethnos. Most Albanians practice Islam, there are also Catholics and Orthodox. Islam began to penetrate Albania as early as the 14th century and initially spread among the nobility. Over the course of several centuries, a large part of the Albanian people became Muslims.

2. Bosniaks (Bosnians, Muslim Slavs, Bosniaks, etc.) are a people belonging to the southern Slavs and living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they make up more than 50% of the population. They also live compactly in the neighboring regions of Serbia and Montenegro. There are many Bosnians in Germany, Austria and the USA. There are about 3 million of them in the world. In the Middle Ages, the Bogomil movement was widespread among the ancestors of today’s Bosnians, which differed significantly from the official version of Christianity and was persecuted by the Greek Orthodox Church. Bosniaks accepted Islam quickly and quite peacefully. Over time, they formed a very interesting and beautiful fusion of ancient Slavic and Eastern cultures, which was reflected in cuisine, clothing, music and architecture.

3. Pomaks are a Slavic-speaking people (ethno-confessional group) who live mainly in the territory of the historical region of Thrace in the east of the Balkan Peninsula. Today, this territory is divided between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. The Pomaks speak Bulgarian with a lot of borrowings from Turkish and Old Slavic. Their number is determined in a wide range from several hundred thousand to 1 million people.

4. Torbeshi – An ethno-religious group or sub-ethnic group that lives in the west of North Macedonia, in Albania and in Kosovo. They speak the Macedonian language, which belongs to the southern subgroup of Slavic languages, but they do not practice Orthodoxy, but Islam, which they adopted in the 15-17 centuries. The population of Torbesha ranges from 120,000 to 200,000 people.

5. Mountaineers. They are southern Muslim Slavs, one of the small Balkan nationalities. Their total number is approximately 25,000 people. Goranians themselves call themselves Nashintsami or Nashinskie. They live mainly in the Hora region of the historical region of Metohija (Republic of Kosovo), after which they got their name. Also, part of Goran people lives in Albania. Goranci are famous for their pastries and confectionery. Due to the wars and pressure from the Albanian majority, many Kosovar mountaineers became refugees, moving mostly to the related country of Serbia.

6. Poturechentsi (Muslim Montenegrin-Poturechentsi, Kupa) – a community of Muslim Slavs living in Montenegro. Despite the fact that of all the Balkan countries, only Montenegro did not fully submit to the powerful Ottoman Empire, and the Montenegrins repeatedly resolutely and successfully repelled the Ottoman troops, part of this people also accepted Islam. The number of Turkish citizens is several thousand people.