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Bulgarian Mohammedans


Bulgarian Mohammedans

The Bulgarian Mohammedans (pomaks) are a population whose mother tongue is Bulgarian and their religion is Islam. They live on the Balkan Peninsula. The most common opinion is that they are heirs of Bulgarian Christians who have forcibly adopted Islam during the Ottoman domination.

In the different parts of Bulgaria, the self-awareness of the Mohammedans is different. Some of them also have Christian names. They are defined as "Bulgarians" by ethnos and "Muslims" by religion.

The Mohammedans in the Pirin and the Southwest Rhodope Mountains - Razlog, Gotse Delchev - are mostly Muslim believers and practitioners who have retained their Turkish-Arab names, dress and customs.

The concrete evidence of the forcible adoption of Islam is controversial. There are a few other things, among which Bulgarians accept Islam because of ill-treatment by the church or in order to get out of disadvantage.

It is believed that the word "Pomaks" evolved from dialectic "pomakka" (torture, harassment). The version of how the Pomaks adopted Islam is highlighted.

According to other beliefs, the word "pomak" derives from the verb "help". It is connected with the fact that during the Ottoman rule the Pomaks played an auxiliary role in the management of the areas in which they lived.

Nowadays, Bulgarian Mohammedans have the same rights as all other Bulgarians. They visit the same schools as Christians and continue to speak Bulgarian. In some villages around Smolyan, Mohammedans except Bulgarian language speak and communicate with each other in Turkish.



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