Bosniaks came to Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were mostly young, unskilled male laborers who found work in the construction and mining industries. This largely-Muslim community received new migrants after World War II who were displaced by the war and the Communist takeover of their country. Many more came as refugees during the 1990s and early 2000s, following the Bosnian War. With 70,000 Bosniaks now living in Chicago, it has become the largest Bosniak community outside of Bosnia, with the largest concentration living on the North Side.
Bosniaks in Chicago have always been active in preserving their culture, and helping new arrivals cope with trauma from past hardships. While the Illinois Department of Human Services founded the Bosnian Refugee Center in 1994 to assist new arrivals, in 1997 it became the Bosnian & Herzegovinian American Community Center and is staffed by Bosnian refugees. The Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center is located in Chicago, as is the Consulate General of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian Islamic Cultural Center is also in Chicago, consisting of both the Bosnian School for teaching children, and the Bosnian Youth of Chicago for teenagers.
The Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago serves Muslims of many different ethnic backgrounds who reside throughout Chicagoland. The imam of the ICC-GC is a Bosnian Muslim scholar, as the Center has its roots in Bosnian leadership. Besides offering Friday prayer services, the Center has a goal of educating communities of other faiths about the peaceful nature of Islam through social exchanges and interfaith dialogue.
The Bosnian Islamic Cultural Center, commonly known as the “Western Mosque,” was founded in 2000 to provide a mosque for the growing community of Bosniaks on the west side of Chicago.
Unreached people groups can also be viewed as "hidden" people groups (i.e., they are largely unnoticed and unaffected by the global Body of Christ). In the prayer gallery section below, as well as through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool, you can visualize these hidden people group communities. By doing so, we pray God gives you insight into how to pray through what you see. By scrolling through major points of interest in the prayer gallery section, pray for people you see, and pray that the peace and hope of Jesus will become known to people who frequent these places. Through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool linked at the bottom of the page, you can virtually prayerwalk through the community, praying "on site with insight." You could also take the route and points of interest from that tool and save them to your "Google Maps" to prayerwalk in person. Allow the following three steps to guide your prayers using these tools, and try prayerwalking with another person or small group! God hears the voice of His people, and He responds to our prayers!
Praise God for who He is. Thank Him for His blessings and salvation that is extended to all peoples. Praise and thank Him for appointing the time and boundaries of this people group's presence in North America so that they might seek Him and find Him (Acts 17:26). Pray Scriptures that come to mind about His glory being made known among all peoples and nations (e.g., Rev 7:9-10).
Luke 10:2 says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Pray for God's laborers to share Christ's love through hospitality to this people group. Pray for laborers among this community to establish loving relationships and proclaim the gospel. Pray for Christians to emerge from within this people group who will reach their friends and family members.
Most members of unreached people group communities remain unreached because they have failed to hear the gospel in ways they can understand. Others have heard the gospel but have many barriers to overcome before receiving the gospel. Pray that this community will understand the gospel. Pray for God to draw them to Jesus and remove the barriers that keep them from salvation in Christ.
Islamic Cultural Center – Greater Chicago
A large mosque and cultural center that is predominantly Bosniak. The Islamic Cultural Center is on Chicago’s north shore, around 25 miles north of downtown. The groundbreaking ceremony of this mosque’s location took place in 1974. Among its former imams is Imam Dr. Mustafa Cerić, who later became the Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina. While the mosque has increased in diversity through the years, most members are Bosniak or from elsewhere in the Balkans.
Bosnian Educational and Cultural Center of America – BECCA
This Bosniak mosque was founded in 2000. It is also known as the Bosnian Islamic Cultural Center or “Western Mosque.” It was created for the Bosniak community in the area to have a place to gather, socialize, and educate themsleves in Islam. The mosque has over 700 members and their Islamic studies classes for children has over 250 students.
Visit this page to learn general information about Bosniak communities in North America and their religious beliefs. Also, discover resources to help share Jesus with them in their language.
Prayerwalk through some of the main Bosniak restaurants, places of worship, and businesses in Chicago using a tool we developed in Google Earth. You could also do a prayerwalk in person using the same points of interest.