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Old 13.09.2016, 10:13
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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In some parts of the Balkans most traditional Muslims are actually of Turkish or Tatar ethnical origins, legacy of the Ottoman Empire.
I don't know what's the situ in ex-Yugoslavia, but back home they identify more with an ethnicity/culture than with a religion. They're proud Turks, not proud Muslims. I don't remember the tiniest conflict in those areas that are indeed very multicultural.
There are a lot of differences between the gentle Islam they practice and the religious ethos from other regions, you can't even compare. They were practically "assimilated" into the main culture and are one of the most loyal minorities. (along with the German minority)

Edit: I miss the coffee from "the Turks". :-)

Actually often in the Balkan region, but also in other regions, culture gets confused with ethnicity. The Turks converted some folks to Islam whereas other resisted. The Ottomans on the whole were smart rulers and understood the concepts of carrots and sticks and also of recognizing talent when they saw it and giving people opportunities. And they weren't racist. they didn't discriminate according to ethnicity. So the son of a goat herder from an outlying region could work his way up to high office and then later in life return home, bringing with him Turkish culture and values and Islam. Ethnically there isn't much difference between a Bosnian Mulsim and an Orthodox Serb. Culturally the divide is bigger.

Also elsewhere in easter Europe, people would identify themselves by their language rather than their ancestry. And typically switching to the language of the ruling group opened doors to social mobility. This is how German spread into Eastern Europe for example, but also Hungarian in the days of the Doppelmonrachie. This is how Russian spread into outlying regions of the Tsarist empire. And this is how Islam and Turkish spread acroiss the Ottoman empire. It's also why people in the USA dropped their ancestral languages and adopted English.

Of course the reverse side of the coin is that this linguistically enabled social mobility means you get a ruling and middle class speaking an adopted language whereas the peasants and poor speak their ancestral language. Language thus becomes a class identifier and also a rallying point for nationalism and insurrection. The Ottomans felt this when one by one the Balkan nations rebelled against them and it also fuelled the irreversibility of the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Last edited by amogles; 13.09.2016 at 10:26.
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