Bosnians in St. Louis represent One of the First Successful Integrations of Refugees into American Society?

October 31, 2016 2:00 PM

st-louisTwo decades ago, a large number of Bosniaks moved from war-torn BiH and came to the US city of St. Louis, where they became one of the key factors in the city.

“Bosnian Muslims are Europeans. They dress like everyone else in the West. They do not stand out in the crowd,” said Bosnian in St. Louis, Ajlina Karamehic-Muratovic, a professor at the University, adding that only their accent is different.

Currently, about 70,000 Bosnian refugees are living in St. Louis. The majority of them went there in 90’s, while escaping from the bloody war. They got engaged in trade, opened restaurants and even bought apartments that they are now renting.

“Bosnians were skilled to fill the gaps that we had in 90’s. There were some cheap apartments available and work from which they could live,” said Blake Hamilton from the International Institute of St. Louis.

But they are not the only ones who have recently arrived in St. Louis and other countries. St. Louis is planning to receive refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

“Community of Bosniaks in St. Louis has reached an enviable level and we cannot be sure that other migrants will achieve the same, but we can hope,” said Hamilton.

There is a village called “Mala Bosna (Little Bosnia)” in St. Louis, which is the cultural center of the refugee community. Here you can buy various Bosnian products: dried meat, homemade bread, snacks, Bosnian coffee… Also, you can learn traditional Bosnian dance here and Bosniaks who live here really feel like at home.



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