Accepted Paper:

Being a Muslim in Poland: the Polish Tartar case  

Author:

Katarzyna Warmińska (Cracow University of Economics)

Paper short abstract:

The Polish Tartars are a good example of a religious community which has lived in a multiethnic and multireligious environment for very many years. One of the consequences of being a religious minority is a creation of many different types of cultural strategies of cooperation with the neighbours.

Paper long abstract:

My research interests focus on a small Muslim community of 5000 Polish Tartars who have inhabited Poland for over 600 years. Nowadays Polish Tartars do not constitute a socially compact community, as they are dispersed all over the Poland, living mostly in smaller or bigger towns. They do not cultivate their traditional community life around the place of their residence, but rather around moments of being together on religious, ethnic or family occasions. The Polish Tartars are a very good example of the religious community living in a multiethnic and multireligious environment for very many years. One of the consequences of being a religious minority is a creation of many different types of cultural strategies of cooperation with their neighbours (i.e. the locals, Poles or Christians, and others). The main purpose of these activities has been to preserve group cultural/religious characteristic and not to assimilate but rather to become "a tamed other" within the Polish (Christian) society. This "cooperation strategy" means, e.g., organizeing intercommunal activities on a religious and cultural level; to meet with Christians during their religious holidays or to invite them for Muslim weddings or to develop ideology of complementarity with Polishness, which has taken a shape of an identity description: We are Polish Muslims.

According to my research results, the tendency towards separation from Christians does not dominate in groups actions, which we can observe in a drive to redefine religious resources and it is directed inwards, not outwards, and it concentrates mostly on a "discussion" with other Muslims, not with Christians.

Panel W018
Mutuality and difference in multireligious local communities: the politics of neighbourliness