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news 15 May 14

Serbia's Bosniaks Urged to Scrap Serbian Surnames

Bosniak National Council head has announced a drive to abolish Serbian-sounding endings to Bosniak surnames - the move Serbian parliamentarians have dubbed nonsensical.

BIRN
Belgrade

Esad Dzudzevic, acting head of the Bosniak National Council, BNV, in Serbia, said the council will urge members of the Bosniak [Muslim] community in Serbia to remove Serbian-sounding endings to their last names, such as "vic" and "ic".

"The endings were forcibly added to Bosniak's last names [by Serbs] over the last one hundred years, after 1912," Dzudzevic said, referring to the year when Serbia annexed the southwest Sandzak region - home to most Bosniaks - from the crumbling Ottoman Empire during the Balkan wars.

He said the transformation of people's surnames would only form one part of a more far-reaching "national plan of great importance".

Serbian MPs, including some drawn from the Bosniak community, are not impressed however.

Meho Omerovic, president of the Serbian Parliament's Committee for Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, condemned the idea as repressive.  

"Dzudzevic has the right to change his own name, shorten it and do with it whatever he wants, but to impose new surnames to everyone is repression against his own people," Omerovic told Tanjug news agency on Wednesday.

Omerovic added that the idea was nonsense.

According to the 2011 census, the Sandzak region on the Montenegro-Bosnia border is home to 142,373 Bosniaks who make up about 60 per cent of the local population. Confusingly, another 12,441 simply declared themselves "Muslims" (5.21 per cent).

The region is home to 77,565 Serbs, who make up 32.48 per cent of the region's population. Part of the historic Sandzak region lies over the border in Montenegro.

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