Continuity and Transformation in the Religious Life of Immigrant Muslim Women in Bulgaria Cover Image

Приемственост и трансформация в религиозния живот на имигрантки мюсюлманки в България
Continuity and Transformation in the Religious Life of Immigrant Muslim Women in Bulgaria

Author(s): Evgenia Troeva, Mila Maeva
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: This paper presents the Muslim women’s religious life within the context of their immigration in Bulgaria. The study is based on semi-structured interviews, taken in 2009 in Sofia from immigrants from Iraq, Lebanon, Albania and Palestine. In immigration changes take place in the celebration of the traditional Muslim holidays, whereby the rites and rituals are reduced. Major local feasts (Christian included) begin to be celebrated, too. Muslim immigrants apply a simplified model of practicing rites and rituals related to the life cycle (childbirth, circumcision, wedding, funeral), which is due to the complicated financial situation and the reduced social network. In their overwhelming majority the interviewed women do not attend prayer in mosques, but go to church in Bulgaria, a tradition they carry from their homeland (this is particularly valid for Iraqi women). They discharge the religious obligations required by Islam like prayer, giving of charity, fasting. Some of the interviewed immigrant Muslim women are attracted by the Fokolare movement, because of the possibility of expanding social contacts in a friendly milieu, thereby facilitating their integration. The religious display of immigrant women (by way of clothing and outer appearance) in public space is the result of an agreement between the husband and wife in the family conditioned by various considerations and strategies of adaptation in the host country. This also determines the existence of diverse forms of showing confessional belonging, arranged along the visibilityinvisibility axis. Profession of a religious cult by the immigrant women in Bulgaria is focused at home, in the search of subdued, non-public forms of expression.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 5-19
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Bulgarian