Digital Muslimahs: ICTs and Changes of Minority Women in Greek Thrace

Digital Muslimahs: ICTs and Changes of Minority Women in Greek Thrace

Keratso Georgiadou (Democritus University of Thrace, Greece)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9304-1.ch007


The rationale of this chapter is to help to fill the gap observed in Greek literature on Muslim minority women in Greek Thrace regarding their contact with ICTs. The study contributed to the increase in empirical research among 137 minority women, in both technology acceptance model (TAM) and the theory of planned behavior (TPB) methods, to pinpoint that Muslim minority women in Greece show a behavioral intention towards computer use that aligns with Western attitudes. The research appraised the positive aspects of computer training, as concern the character and depth of empowerment experienced by 28 minority women. Additionally, the research looked into the reflections and views of key informants about the potential of computer education to encourage the social integration of women. It can be concluded that access to ICTs gives women the ability to find a more forceful voice at a societal, national, and international level.
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The specific region to be studied is Greek Thrace, which is located in north-eastern Greece. Thrace is made up of three administrative parts – Xanthi, Rodopi and Evros, and is bordered by Turkey to the east, Bulgaria to the north, while its southern coast is on the Aegean Sea. The geographical region of Thrace, which along with Greece takes up part of Bulgaria, Romania and north-western Turkey, was first settled more than 8.000 years ago. Throughout this period Thrace has been colonized and conquered by several different peoples. The first written account of the Thracians was that in Homer’s Iliad, of powerful warriors fighting for Troy. Herodotus describes the Thracians as a fractious people, who would be invincible were it not for their constant infighting. Thucydides describes Thrace as being inhabited at one time or another by Agrians, Alitous, Astaiaous, Apsinthious, Venous, Vesous, Visaltes, Bistones, and Vriantes. The region was also subject to raids by Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Celts, Huns, Bulgarians, Serbs, and others

Thrace was conquered in its entirety by the Ottoman Empire a century before Constantinople fell in 1453. More than half a millennium of Ottoman occupation followed. A period of Bulgarian dominance began in 1908, before the Turks once again occupied the region. However, Thrace was once again ceded to Bulgaria through the treaties of London and Bucharest (1913). As the First World War came to an end in 1919, Western Thrace was occupied by the French general Sarpy, while Greek troops seized the Eastern half. Greek troops occupied all of Thrace the following year. Upon the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1922 a population exchange took place involving Muslims living in Greece and Orthodox populations of Greek origin residing in Turkey. These exchanges were stipulated by the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. This treaty had three main results: Firstly, 1.5 million Anatolian, Pontic and Caucasus Greeks were forced to leave their homes in Turkey. Secondly, 356.000 Muslims living in Greece were required to move in the opposite direction. Thirdly, the Treaty allowed for Muslim populations of Turkish, Roma and Pomak origin to remain in Thrace, while Greek communities maintained a presence in Constantinople and the islands of Imvros and Tenedos. As well as Christian and Muslims, both Armenians and Jews inhabited Thrace for hundreds of years, though the latter were almost entirely wiped out during WWII. A number of bilateral and multilateral agreements secured the rights of Greek Thrace’s Muslim Minority. Article 45 of the Lausanne Treaty stipulates that “the rights conferred by the provisions of the present Section on the non-Muslim minorities of Turkey will be similarly conferred by Greece on the Muslim minorities in her territory”. Thus, the turbulent years of the early twentieth century set the scene for agreements which led to the formation of borders and settled the existence of a Muslim minority in north-eastern Greece. The influx of Greek refugees created a Christian majority in the region, and the Muslims – previously the dominant community – had to settle for minority status.

Consequently, this minority had to live and constantly fight for its rights and adjust to Greek social changes through the huge upheavals and events that shaped Greece during the course of the 20th century. As described by Gounaris (2013) when the Junta of 1967-74 fell Greece instituted – for the first time in its history – a liberal parliamentary democracy upon western European lines. Although this period ushered in a new era of constitutionally guaranteed individual, social and political rights – in contrast with the persecution of previous years – the same could not be said for the members of the Muslim minority of Thrace. For them, this only happened in 1990, 16 years later. During these years the minority was effectively under the control of the state. In order for a minority Greek citizen to purchase property, to take part in any professional field, to obtain a driving licence, to renovate property it was necessary for them to pass through bureaucratic procedures both official and unofficial. There was a bar which divided the prefecture of Xanthi into two parts and effectively putting in place a curfew preventing them from returning home after midnight. The Greek citizenship of many Muslim citizens who had visited Turkey was arbitrarily removed upon their return to Greece, with no reason being given.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Shariah Law: The code of law taken from the Koran and the words and deeds of Mohammad, and which has to do with many parts of daily life such as politics, finance, banking, business, contracts, family, sexuality, health, and social matters.

TPB (Theory of Planned Behaviour): In psychology, the theory of planned behaviour (abbreviated TPB) is a theory that links one's beliefs and behaviour. The theory states that attitude toward behaviour, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control, together shape an individual's behavioural intentions and behaviours. The concept was proposed by Icek Ajzen to improve on the predictive power of the theory of reasoned action by including perceived behavioural control. It has been applied to studies of the relations among beliefs, attitudes, behavio AU19: Anchored Object 1 ural intentions, and behaviours in various fields such as advertising, public relations, advertising campaigns, healthcare, sport management, and sustainability.

Muslimahs: The term for a Muslim woman.

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