Identity and Religion: The Bulgarian Muslims Cover Image

Идентичност и религия: българите мюсюлмани
Identity and Religion: The Bulgarian Muslims

Author(s): Goran Blagoev, Evgenija Krăsteva-Blagoeva
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: The paper deals with one of the contemporary identity tendencies among the Bulgarian Muslims (Pomaks). Its’ creation began in the years after 1989 and because of the strong differentiation of the group it is typical for one part of it. It acknowledges religion as primary and dominant element of identity. Because of political, historical and ideological reasons the group does not have “true” identity of its own. That’s why some of the young people tend to find it in Islam. Religion became a matter of prestige and even fashion for the most people in contemporary Bulgaria. For the members of the local community studied it is something more. It is the main element of their identity in a situation when all other elements are considered uncertain for some reasons. “ We are Muslims and that is all’ – they use to say. A vernacular mythology claiming that Bulgarian Muslims were converted to Islam long before the Ottoman invasion on the Balkans is studied. Another part of the analysis is dedicated to the fact that Islam of the examined group differs in some aspects from the traditional religion of their forefathers. Young people tend to accept the forms of classical Islam typical for the Arab countries. This is visible in the Arab names of the children (quite new for the group) and in their religious behavior as a whole. Classical Islam is considered an opposition to the traditional Islam typical for the region and professed by the older generation. Some generation conflicts that this identity tendency causes will also be analyzed.

  • Issue Year: 2003
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 44-54
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Bulgarian