Rediscovering the Umma: Muslims in the Balkans Between Nationalism and Transnationalism

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OUP USA, Mar 21, 2013 - History - 198 pages
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This book discusses the role of Islam in the political and social developments in the Balkans after the end of the Cold War. With the newly-gained religious freedom, and in the context of multiple structural and cultural transitions, Muslim communities underwent remarkable transformations. They sought to renegotiate their place in formally secular legal and normative environments, mostly as minorities in majority-Christian societies. They reclaimed their Islamic faith, practices, and identities in a complex geopolitical situation dominated (particularly after 9/11) by anti-Muslim sentiments. The rising political and cultural self-awareness of Muslims in Southeast Europe was frequently expressed by recourse to two frames of reference: the national and the transnational. Despite a certain level of tension between those two perspectives, they were closely intertwined. Transnational Islamic influences often reinforced Muslim ethnonational identities rather than prompting a radical redefinition of religious allegiances in the key of a "universalist" Islam. Merdjanova explores the transformations of Muslim identities in the region under the influence of various national and transnational, domestic and global factors, while also looking at the historical legacies that inform present complexities. Her book adds detail and nuance to ongoing debates about Islam in Europe.
 

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Contents

1 Islam and National Identities in the Balkans
1
2 Muslim Transnationalism and the Reclaiming of Balkan Islam
51
3 Islam and Women in the Balkans
82
4 Balkan Muslims and the Discourse on a European Islam
103
Divergent Trajectories of Islam in the Balkans
130
Notes
133
Selected Bibliography
181
Index
191
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About the author (2013)


Ina Merdjanova is a senior researcher and an adjunct assistant professor at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin. She is the author of Religion, Nationalism, and Civil Society-The Postcommunist Palimpsest, and Religion as a Conversation Starter: Interreligious Dialogue for Peacebuilding in the Balkans (with Patrice Brodeur).

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