The Muslim cultural and educational associations
The alteration of social and political relations having been caused by the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 led to a number of important changes in all areas of life. The Moslems were particularly exposed to these processes. Under the new conditions, they were forced to adjust and become involved into the contemporary trends and currents of the Western European civilization.
The first beginnings of the modern alliance of Moslems took form of reading rooms as the most suitable and most acceptable ways for the Moslems. For quite some time these were the only institutions of cultural and educational character in Bosnia and Herzegovina until the emergence of the Gajret Society, which was established in 1903 in Sarajevo.
The establishment of the Gajret Society came as a result of activities and endeavors by the first generation of Moslem intellectuals who have been educated in the European spirit. They were instigators and promoters of all cultural activities at the beginning of 20th century. The most prominent representatives of this generation were Dr. Safvet-beg Bašagić, Edhem Mulabdić, Osman Nuri Hadžić and others.
The establishment of the Gajret Society meant an exceptional trial of the Moslem awareness and one of the most notable crossroads in the more recent history of the Moslems. This history was all in transformation and alteration from the Oriental and Islamic civilization to the Western European one.
Although its basic function was to create the Moslem intelligentsia through the process of education of young people in secondary schools and at University levels, respectively, the Gajret Society had a wide influence in the larger Moslem environment. It developed activities that were meant to achieve the cultural and educational transformation of the Moslem people. This function was attained through the number of activities, such as "Gajret's" publishing activities (a journal and calendars), its popular public lectures, and a work to spread literacy (various types of literacy cours- es), reading rooms, social gatherings and outings. In addition to the "Gajret's" activities, the new cultural and educational societies emerged. They followed and complemented its activity because their program goals were similar. These societies were somehow organically linked to the Gajret Society. These societies were: The Moslem Society of University Students "Zvijezda" /The Star/, Cultural and Sports Club "El-Kamer", the Moslem Club, The Imams Muallimin Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina and others. All these societies, with the Gajret in the center made a unique cultural and educational movement of the Moslems in the first decades of 20th century. The movement fulfilled the tasks on the cultural and educational transformation of the Moslems.