Slavic Muslim representation in the Balkans is not confined to Bosnians only, so loudly had become propagated in the early 90’s. of the last century. For several centuries the territory of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey inhabits the other Slavic peoples of Muslim faith, calling themselves ahryane and outside the society known as Pomaks.Modern Pomaks live mostly in southern and south-eastern Bulgaria – mainly in the Rhodope Mountains, south of Plovdiv, and in Pirinski Macedonia. A large number of Pomaks live in the neighboring regions of Greece, especially in the rooms of Xanthi (Western Thrace). Most of the communities in Turkey, assimilated, no longer slave language and cultural backgrounds, and joined in the Turkish ethnic group.
As a Muslim, Pomaks preserved slave language (which experts consider a model of “pure” Bulgarian), culture and traditions.
The origin of this ethnic community, as well as its history of relatively early (before mid 19 th century) is poorly understood.
In fact, each country has its own accommodation Pomaks “easy” concept of their origin.
So, according to Bulgarian historians Pomaks – it Islamicize Bulgarians have kept the Bulgarian culture in its purest form. This conclusion is based on the similarity of the Bulgarian language and dialects used by Pomaks. Proponents of this view believe that the word “Pomaks comes from Turkish” pomogats – Assistant or Bulgarian “pomohamedantsy” – that is Islamicize. The name “ahryane” is interpreted as derived from the Bulgarian “agaryane” – that is incorrect or later – Muslim. This concept is considered the most reliable, and it is in accordance with the modern science includes Pomaks to Slavs.
More original point of view of Greek authors, who believe that people descended from the ancient Thracian tribes who inhabited data area. Based on this theory, they note “vital” affinity Pomaks with the Greeks, which, however, does not have any serious evidence.
Turkish scholars, in turn focus religious community Pomaks Turks, linking it with the common origin. In their version, Pomaks – descendants of Turkic tribes settled Thrace before the Ottoman conquest – Accidents and Pechenegs. The name “ahryane” Turks feel derived from the Arabic “Ahi” – a brother.
The first question of the origin of Pomaks was raised in 1762 Paisii Hilendarskim in his “History of slavyanobolgarskoy”.
Forced Islamization or “baptism” dead
It is believed that Islamization Pomaks started with Sultan Bayazide, the 70-ies. fourteenth century.
Bulgarian historiography traditionally puts forward the thesis of its violent nature. For example, one of the most famous Bulgarian historian Nikolai Todorov shows that two waves of forced Islamization – when Sultan Selim II – in the 16 st century, and Mehmet Fourth – at the end of the 17 th. However, this concept does not stand up to serious scientific criticism – firstly, the main source Todorova was some Bulgarian chronicle of the 18 th century, which he himself had not even been able to quote in his study. The second source, which is based on the concept, is a chronicle of the Bulgarian priest Draganov, written, according to Todorova, ‘a little after the events referred to. ” At the same time, scientists have recognized that the original Chronicle was lost, and it is available only in the compilation of Stephen Zahareva. For now, however, proved that this – fake, what came almost all the major European specialists on the history of the Ottoman empire and Bulgaria.
However, the Bulgarian scientists, especially during the rule of the Communists, were so are the desire to prove his “point” that does not hesitate to open frauds. For example, in the 1980’s the city of Smolyan History Museum organized archaeological expedition to find the graves of the villages in pomakskih Christians who supposedly chose to die conversion to Islam. When they were not found, the head of the expedition ordered to put crosses in the Muslim graves in the “proof” that “initially they were Christian.” This information was provided by the village mayor pomakskogo Smilyan, historian Boryanoy Panayotov.
As a Muslim, Pomaks serve as a reliable pillar of Turkish domination in the Balkans. They provide the finest soldiers the Sultan, and even gifted pashey, participated in the repression of the Greek insurrection in 1821, supported by Turkey during the recent uprising of the Bulgarian and Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. Pomaks are not even subject to some time to the Berlin Congress, the associated part of the territory they live in Eastern Rumeli and expressed loyalty to Turkey during the Greco-Turkish war in 1897
In 1878 Pomaks fought for autonomy for the ethnic community, which is de facto and there in the next few years, in twenty communities in the Rhodope Mountains.
In 1913, after departing from pomakskih territories Bulgarian and Turkish armies (during the Balkan wars), there was formed Gyumyurdzhinskaya republic existed, however, only a few months. However, during this time Pomaks those who were forcibly converted to Christianity by Bulgarian troops again returned to the true faith.
After the First World War, in 1918, 8 pomakskih Bulgarian parliament deputies were forced to appeal to the leaders of Greece and France to protect of their ethnic and religious minority from the forced Christianization.
Actually, if the question of whether Islamicize ahryane force, modern science tends to give a negative answer, then attempted forcible Christianization recorded clearly and indisputably.
All of these “campaigns” were four – in 1912, 1938 – 1944, 1962 – 1964, 1971 – 1972 biennium. and all of them were Bulgarian Government. The most brutal and blatant was the last attempt to “integrate” Pomaks. Help was called upon the army, military police, special services, territorial formation. And all this – with a rather innocuous at first glance, the goal – to change Turkish names to Bulgarian ahryan.
But in fact it was a real attempt, perhaps, one of the last organized campaigns of its kind in the world, forced to draw the entire nation to Christianity.
But, despite everything, Pomaks not broken. Is still unknown how many were killed and tortured for refusing to change Muslim names to Christian. In addition, several hundred people were sent to the infamous prison in Belém do Pará island on the Danube.
However, in 1989, together with the collapse of socialist governments, there fell, and that the planned “modern inquisitor.” Virtually the entire population with the change of name changed to the old.
Now Pomaks is one of three Muslim nations of Bulgaria, two others – Muslims, Gypsies and Turks. In recent years, emerging trends to increase the influence of the Slavic community is among the Bulgarian Muslim Ummah.
Pomaks in Greece
On the territory of Greece are far less Pomaks than in Bulgaria – only about 30 thousand people, while the overall strength of the ethnic community – 500 thousand people. Their residence in Greek Thrace was enshrined the Lausanne Treaty. Pomaks not want, like a huge number of ethnic Turks to go to Turkey because they were irreconcilable enemies sekulyaristskogo kemalistskogo regime. In many ways their situation affected the victory of Communists in Bulgaria in 1944. The point is that in Greece Pomaks soon became seen as potential supporters of the Bulgarian Communists. Therefore, policies on them was carried out on two vectors.
First – isolation pomakskih settlements. Up until the early 90’s, entry to and exit from there only on special permission of local administration.
The second – the desire to merge with the Slavic Muslim Turks. In fact, in Greece at the state level was found to only one ethnic and religious minorities – Turks. In it, except Pomaks, “joined” Gypsies, Muslims and black Muslims in a very small number of residents in Greece.
Pomaks have been isolated not only from all sides (including from their Bulgarian brothers, as well as the border with the socialist camp had been “at the Castle”), but also deprived of education and even raise children in their mother tongue. They had to send their children to Turkish schools and, sometimes, because of their lack of – and in Turkey itself. Subsequently, among Pomaks a sufficiently large number of supporters of a merger with the Turks, the perception of culture and language of the past.
Some mitigation of the situation of Greek Pomaks can be observed only in recent years due to liberalization of the political regime , end the cold war and the collapse of the socialist camp. In 1994, for the Slavic Muslim countries have been partially lifted restrictions on movement, as in the 1995-m – opened the Greek-Bulgarian border.
Pomaks in Turkey
Turkey Pomaks traditionally inhabited the area around Edirne, and some villages up to the Istanbul, finding themselves in the Turkish area, quickly assimilated and became part of Turkish ethnicity. Generally, pomakskie roots are about 300 thousands of modern Turkish. At the same time in 1965, according to the census of the Turkish, Bulgarian possessed only about 27 thousand inhabitants. At present, this number and is close to zero.
History Pomaks eloquently shows that the Slavs are not only able to accept the Muslim religion, but on the basis of religious community form a common ethnicity. Thus, we can safely conclude that the Bosnian case in this regard is not isolated and therefore exclusive. Living in a much more complex than the Bosnians, and, unlike them, not the creation of their own statehood, Pomaks demonstrated incredible force of faith, Pronya to Islam through all the tests, harassment adversaries, and struggling to regain its natural and inalienable rights – civil and religious.