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Prior to this, the great majority of Bosnian Muslims had declared either Ethnically Undecided Muslim or – to a lesser extent – Undecided Yugoslav in censuses pertaining to Yugoslavia as the other available options were Serb-Muslim and Croat-Muslim.
For instance, the 2003 Montenegrin census recorded 48,184 people who registered as Bosniaks and 28,714 who registered as Muslim by nationality.
Some people, such as Montenegrin Abdul Kurpejović, recognize an Islamic component in the Bosniak identity but see it as referring exclusively to the Slavic Muslims in Bosnia.
As a political compromise, the Constitution of Yugoslavia was amended in 1968 to introduce "Muslims" in a national (as opposed to religious) sense; effectively recognizing a constitutive nation whilst avoiding the recognition of "Bosniak" or "Bosnian" as ethnic or national designations.
As a melting ground for confrontations between different religions, national mythologies, and concepts of statehood, much of the historiography of Bosnia and Herzegovina has since the 19th century been the subject of competing Serb and Croat nationalist claims part of wider Serbian and Croatian hegemonic aspirations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, inherently interwoven into the complex nature of the Bosnian War at the end of the 20th century.
As Andras Riedlmayers's meticulous research for the Hague Tribunal demonstrates: What happened in Bosnia is not just genocide, the willful destruction of the essential foundations of one particular community or group of people within a society [....] What happened in Bosnia is also described as sociocide, the murdering of a progressive, complex, and enlightened society in order that a regressive, simple, and bigoted society could replace it.