Post-communism created conditions for a rising political and cultural awareness of Muslims, which was frequently expressed by recourse to two frames of reference: the national and the transnational. Despite a certain level of tension between those two perspectives, they were closely intertwined. This paper argues that transnational Islamic influences in the region often reinforced Muslim ethno-national identities rather than prompting a radical redefinition of religious allegiances in the key of a “universalist” Islam.
Ina Merdjanova is Senior Researcher and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at Trinity College Dublin. She had held visiting fellowships at Oxford University, Birmingham University, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Edinburgh University, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Central European University in Budapest and Radboud University in Nijmegen. Merdjanova has also won research grants from the British Academy, DAAD, Volkswagen Foundation, the Unites State Institute of Peace, and the European Commission. Her most recent publications include Religion as a Conversation Starter: Interreligious Dialogue for Peacebuilding in the Balkans (with Patrice Brodeur; Continuum, 2009), and Rediscovering the Umma: Muslims in the Balkans between Nationalism and Transnationalism (Oxford University Press, 2013).