The Balkans

“The Other” Like “Me”. Traditional and Secular Education for Girls from Muslim Denomination in Bulgaria: The Town of Dzhebel and the Villages of Rogozche and Pripek

Kristina Marinova

Pages: 582-591


In the perspective of socialization and self-determination, a society builds its identity on the basis of common values, morality and ethics. Ethos has been identified on this basis and on the basis of national identity. The question is – how people, who profess different religion from the one officially recognized in a country, are being built as a person and socialized in the society. How is the social and national identity build on, if the idea of “the other”, the non-belonging to “us” is underpinned by education? How, children who are educated in the tradition of Islam, with its attributes: language, mentality and religion, create an authentic image of a citizens of one country? This research is based on assumptions and hypotheses, mainly related to the assertion of women professing Islam, in regions with mixed population in Bulgaria, like city of Djebel, and the small villages - Rogozche and Pripek. The emphasis is put on the upbringing of young Muslim girls, who are more restricted than boys in freedom to be what modernity offers as options for their personal self-realization. It is important to see how Islam allows to women to define themselves as a person with equal rights and obligations in the society. How the different influence of cultural identity affects young Muslim women, if its main characteristic is traditional upbringing? Her godliness consists of a long list of duties, which the girl is obliged to observe during all of her life. In regions with mixed population, the main problem with secular education is the language. Most children who attend secular school for the first time - do not know the Bulgarian language. The reason is that until this moment, children are familiar only with their “mother” language – in this case – Turkish. Some of them are used to visit muslim religious school, where they study Arab alphabet, which helps them to learn some Quranic prayers. So in this case - secular education is important and everyone needs to have access to it and to be adequate to communicate with the modern world on higher level. To imagine the everyday life of a woman grown according to the Islamic traditions and even to try to put ourselves in the place of the “other woman”, in this different occasion in the perspective of modernity, we should go in “her shoes”, to walk with her steps and to experience the other, “not ours” sense of reality. The education of Muslim women, being secular or religious, is very interesting topic. It is important to explore the changing lifestyle and daily practices of modern Muslim women in Bulgaria in the context of education, in the view of their religious formation and emancipation under the influence of family, environment, ethnicity and so on


Islam, women, education.


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