By Olivier Roy, Arolda Elbasani
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Additional resources for The Revival of Islam in the Balkans: From Identity to Religiosity
The concluding chapter by Olivier Roy revisits the current state of the art on the post-communist recovery of Islam in the Balkans in light of the evidence gleaned from the empirical chapters. It also draws together main empirical and theoretical findings and outlines some future prognoses on emerging Islamic religiosities and the evolution of Islam in the Balkans and beyond. Going against the main thrust of the existing literature, the concluding chapter emphasizes the diversity of Muslim religiosities playing out at the local level and enacted by local agents – individual believers, religious authorities and state elites.
Such choices seemingly reflect socio-cultural binds and individual preferences, thus, challenging assumptions of clear-cut ethno-religious boundaries exacerbated by decades of ethnic conflict. In Chapter 8, Trovimova analyzes the syncretic practices of the worship of saints, evolving at the interplay between Sufism and ‘popular’ Islam, among Muslim communities of Roma in Southern Serbia and Macedonia. All the chapters in Part II show that post-communist believers have embraced a relational and negotiable conception of faith, while ‘living’ practices have developed in an increasingly detached manner from the organized religious field and the clear categorical ethno-religious confines set out at the nation-state level.
In this discourse, Islam is presented in a negative light, as the antithesis of European values like tolerance, secularism, multiculturalism, gender equality and as the nemesis of Western modernity in general. As demonstrated in Chapter 2 in this volume, some of the Christian clergy join in and give some legitimacy to this discourse propagated by the extremist and racist right, especially when, like in Greece, there is a strong symbiosis between the official religion or the established church and the national identity.