Pomaks. History of the Slavic people of the Muslim faith – History and modernity

Slavic Muslim representation in the Balkans is not confined to bosnians, so loudly had become in the early 90’s. 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. Attempts statehood 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. forcible Christianization 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.

Comments

Are Pomaks speaking Ukrainian

Are Pomaks speaking Ukrainian or Bulgarian? Why Pomaks had always defended themselves and their territories against Russians and Russian invation? Is the Ukrain homeland of Pomaks?

If you speak a Slavic

If you speak a Slavic language, you are a Slavic people. End of story. No one asks you for your DNA. The language and your physical appearance define you. As a Bosnian, I can understand the Pomak language-dialect quite well, because I also speak a Slavic language. Nobody knows or cares about my real origin (I'm actually descended from an Anatolian Turk, on my father's side). I speak a Slavic language as a native tongue, therefore I'm a Slav. End of story. The same goes for being a Turk, or a Bulgarian. The moment a population experiences a mass language-shift, it usually changes its ethnicity as well. The language usually brings new cultural influences, which alter the course of cultural development of the given ethnic group. That's exactly what happens when Pomaks switch to speaking exclusively Turkish, or Slavic Macedonians switch to speaking Greek only. If I were living in Turkey, and still speaking Bosnian, I'd still be considered a Turk. Why? Because..... That's what Turkey is..... A post-imperial nation composed of peoples of heterogeneous origins, who've by necessity been forced to close ranks and create a new national identity. As far as modern Turkey's fathers were concerned, all Balkan Moslems were potential Turks. Their motivation wasn't the annihilation of Balkan cultures and languages, but they were concerned for the physical-biological survival of Ottoman Moslems in general, and the creation of a safe and secure post-Ottoman homeland in Anatolia. The problem with Turkish nationalism is that it's created a lot of myths and absurd claims, which really have no basis in history or reality. But then, those absurd claims and myths seem to be right in line with their neighbors'. Monkey see, monkey do.

I am agree with you. These

I am agree with you. These are the real things which we don't want to accept them.

James, I disagree

Hi James, As far as I know history, your are making a lot of mistakes in your assumptions: 1) "The POMAKS are not Slavic, nor are they Turks or Bosnians or Greeks or whatever!." - Well, I have not seen any historical document dating before 15 Century and speaking about Pomaks. So did the Pomaks come to the world in 15-16 Centuries from Mars or another planet ? I believe not, so the POMAKS origin have to be searched in some of the nations on the Balkans at that time. Based on many arguments (they are evident enough for everybody who wants to accept them), the only nation POMAK can originate from is the Bulgarian one 2) "Their ancient roots first appear in Thrace (an important part of Greece since antiquity) where they have lived for many THOUSANDS of years on the mountains of Rodopi [Thoukides 3,96,3 (460 -397 BC)]. " - Ha-ha-ha, Would you show me the historical map where Thrace is a part of Greece ? Thrace has never been a part of Greece. Thrace has been independent, then a part of the Rome Empire and later of Byzantium. Although Greece is considered today inheritant of Byzantium, Byzantium (East Rome Empire) has been multinational emporium and nobody claims that Byzantium = Greece. So the regions where Pomaks live have been never before part of Greece 3) "Rodopi is also the name of an important prefecture of Hellenic (Grecian) Thrace where very many thousands of POMAKS live up to today." - This territory belonged first to Bulgaria and then it was given from France and England to Greece after the 1st World War. The Greeks are still leaving there only on the coast area and the mountain region of South Rodopi next to the Bulgarian border is populated with the Pomaks - Bulgarians that have accepted Islam in the period between 15 and 19 centuries. 4) "The POMAK ancestors of the Balkan region of ancient Thrace even fought together with the army of Alexander the Great of Macedonia [Fragm. Hist Graec Vol. 3, Theopomb. Philipp. Book. I, part. 44](378/377 BC). So surely the POMAKS are NOT Slavic in ethnicity!!!" - Nobody speaks about Thracians after 5-6 Century. So they should have become a part of another nation on the Balkans. And that cannot be the Pomaks as they appear as separate ethnic group only after 15-16 Century. 5) "These people are being exploited by all the neighboring countries in which they live and are presented as Albanians, Turks, Bulgarians and so on, only because they speak the native language! All countries (except one) have used them and have tried to convince them to believe that they are not of a different or unique ethnicity of their own." - The exception you mean is Greece, right ? Greece try to make from the Pomaks a separate nation due to political interests. And your whole comment tries to support that: however with historical arguments that contradicts the real facts. 6) "What POMAKS wish is to live in harmony within the borders of the countries which incorporate their people. The POMAKS should have respect for their different cultural background, they want all to know of their heritage, their special POMAK language and culture which are different of those of the surrounding countries (Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, etc). POMAKS do not want to be told that they are Turks, Slavs, Bulgarians or whatever else! They only want respect of their unique identity and to live in harmony with the inhabitants of all countries which they now call "home"." - I have no problem with that. But if the Pomaks want to know about their heritage, language, culture, they should stop listening to people like you and they should accept that being Muslims does not make them being non-Bulgarians. You know, I am leaving in Pirin Macedonia: we have their a lot of Pomak villages. The music of the Pomaks, the dances, the language is the same as in the rest of the Bulgarian villages and they are quite different than in the Pomak villages in the Central and South Rodopi mountains. Only the cultural background has differences based on the different religion. James, at the end I want to ask you a simple question - you and all those who claims that FYRO Macedonians and Pomaks are not Bulgarians: If >90% of the music and dances of my region (Pirin Macedonia) is the same as the 90% of the music and dances in the Pomak villages as well as the 90% of the music and dances in FYRO Macedonia, how come can those 3 separate ethnic group have developed the same culture ?

Reply to anonims' comment concerning Pomak descendent

Dear anonim I wish to thank you for your reply. I honestly believe that the differences of opinion are what make a discussion all the more interesting. I wish to thank you for your reply because it means that many other people are seeking the truth about the time-line of Pomaks. I am not Pomak so I do not feel the need to defend myself in any particular manner. I also wish to thank you for opening up your view and opinion on this very difficult and sensitive topic. All I have written was carefully typed based on factual matters and after discussion with university professors on Balkan history. I have read many books, I have searched many sources, I have spoken to very many people who are much more knowledgeable on the specific topic and have concluded some very interesting facts. 1) A certain race does not begin its long journey in history only after someone has given then a name. So to discuss the descent of the Pomak tribe (even before they were named "Pomaks") means that we must forget where the boarders of each country are right now, because when these people started to inhabit the region of the mountains of the Balkan area, they didn't have a name to call themselves and countries like Bulgaria didn't even exist on the map yet. So that is a very definite region not to accept the theory that Pomaks are "Bulgarian" or "Slavic" in descent. 2) We all know that the southern Balkan area has been called Thrace since thousands of years (Homer etc.). The language spoken was the Greek language (although some dialects -as they do in all countries- did exist). The boarders of this greater Thracian region of Greece were not the same as today (as with most countries in this world their boarders have changed through time). 3) The fact that the region of Thrace - no matter where its boarders stood - had been conquered or occupied by different armies or "empires" does not mean it still wasn't the Thracian part of Greece under the rule of a foreign occupier. Therefore the people which lived in the mountainous region of the Thracian area are still to be called Greeks under anyone's recent rule. 4) The fact that some Pomaks listen to similar music today, is not proof of their descent, but it shows that they are a homogenous group of people with a (more or less) common descent stemming a long time ago. 5) The friendly and lovely country of Bulgaria (which I visited recently-truly beautiful country) didn't exist at the time that these people were mentioned in ancient history-certainly not with their contemporary name of Pomaks-but as inhabitants of the Rodopi mountains of the southern Balkan area (ie. Rodopians) 6) The different "empires" that conquered Thrace did not affect the every day culture of Greece in whole. Thrace like Macedonia has always been a part of Greece even in antiquity. Yes they were more or less independent but not totally different countries (eg the USA has many independent states within their own State Legislature and Laws and mayors and so on but they still belong to the same country no matter how far away they are from each other - see Hawaii-or what kind of dialect they speak eg Indian, Eskimo, southern or northern US dialects), they are still part of the same country! And we must remember that although Roman rule over Thrace existed for some time, the Greeks in Thrace continued to speak Greek and worship the same Gods and love the same Heroes. Just as during the Byzantine era. Back then the Byzantine emperors had Hellenic (Greek) culture, they wrote and spoke in Greek! So they too were an important part of Greek Heritage and the continuation of the Hellenic race. 7) How can any territory, especially ancient Thrace, first belong to Bulgaria (as you mentioned) when Bulgaria didn't exist when Thrace was a lively part of Greek culture since ancient times. If we are to seek the ancestral descent of a certain race we must go back-far back-before the formation of the recent countries in Balkan history. 8) You mentioned that the Pomaks accepted islam during the 15-19th cent AD. Well, a closer look at the book of the Medieval sourcebook of Anna Comnena: "The Alexiad" BOOK V. War with the Normans (1082-83) (i-vii) : Alexius' First Battle with Heretics - John Italus (viii-ix), we find mentioned a certain race or culture of people in the Balkans as turkish (as they were islamists), unfortunately with no more details as to this islamic population. 9) Your mention that Greece is trying to make the Pomaks a separate nation for political reasons is not right. It is Turkey which is dead set in making the Pomaks believe they are turks (solely for turkish political reasons) so that one day Turkey can ask for independence of a muslim state in Thrace so as to engulf Thrace into its muslim boarder in the long run. This is a very well known degenerative turkish tactic in the wider Balkan area. 10) The arguments my friend anonim are endless. Your views are not unique and I respect your opinion. I will support any belief which has some ground to it, without the pressing effects that contemporary political/ethnic beliefs carry with them. I am very happy to have read your comments and wish to converse with you in the future. Thankyou James

Reply back

Hallo James, Thank you for your answer Here my further comments on it: 1) "So to discuss the descent of the Pomak tribe (even before they were named "Pomaks") means that we must forget where the boarders of each country are right now, because when these people started to inhabit the region of the mountains of the Balkan area, they didn't have a name to call themselves and countries like Bulgaria didn't even exist on the map yet" - Well, actually I am not saying that today's Pomak cannot originate from the Thracians. I am saying that they cannot directly originate from them. And as far as I know history the Bulgarian nation have been formed from the proto-Bulgarians, Slavic tribes and the indigenous populations of today's Bulgaria territory: the Thracians. So I can very well accept that the Pomaks may originate from the Thracians that have become part of the Bulgarian nation in the early Middle Age. In that case however also a lot of the Bulgarian christian population have the same (Thracian)origin and therefore that origin cannot be unique to the Pomaks. Also as I said the Thracians cannot be the direct ancestors. And concerning the possibility of having no name to call themselves for centuries: I am sorry this just cannot work. 2) When I speak about Thrace I speak about the territory that has been inhabited by the Thracian tribes (odrysians, midians, besians etc) in the antique. And that territory has not been part of Greece in the antique. There have been Greek settlements only on the coast area. And regarding the Thracian language as far as I know there have been only a few Thracian inscriptions of any length that have been found (using the Greek alphabet), but the meaning of the inscriptions is not known, and they bear no resemblance to any known language. 3) Well this comment of yours still makes me believe that you have been reading only Greek sources. Please send me at least one link to a non-falsified historical map where Thrace has been part of Greece in the ancient times. 4) I agree with that. And that is what I wanted to say: the current population in Pirin Macedonia (christians and pomaks) have the same descent, just different religion. 5) Rodopians is not ethnic, but geographical term 6-7) As previously said Thrace <> Greece 8) I have never read before about islam exiting on the Balkans before the coming of the Turks. If such source really exist, please send me the link to it. I am quite skeptical 9) I see: Turks try to convince Pomaks they are Turks, so why not Greece convinincing the Pomaks they are Thracians and the Thracians are Greeks (which is of course not true but some people, that you believe to, claim it), so the Pomaks are Greeks 10) James, there are areas where the facts are not enough to make unique conclusions and leave room for discussions. I welcome such discussions. However discussions where one starts right away with non-truth are useless. I would recommend to read a bit more about the Thracian history. Convince yourself that Thrace <> Greece and then we can still discuss, because the rest leaves room for interpretations. But the fact, that Thrace is not Greek and has never been part of Greece in the ancient times, is for me out of question: it stay everywhere on Internet, books, maps etc. Best regards Anonim

турци в хрониките си говорят за мюсюлмани балгари. Защо са забра

Pherhaps few people know that the Turks themselves in chronicles talk about Muslims Balgar. Why did they forget this? Mozhe bi malko hora znayat , che samite turci v hronikite si govoryat za myusyulmani balgari. Zashcho sa zabravya tova?

Турци в хрониките си говорят...

Vv Volozhka Blgariya ,Blgarite sa bili myusyulmani i sa ostavili sotvetni materialni sledi ot tozi period.Dazhe ima film za tozi period ot BG zhurnalisti posetili vprosnite mesta i zasneli memorialni pametnici ,muzeyni sbirki i ostatci ot religiozni sorzheniya /kaleta,dzhamii /,interesna e istoriyata i sshchevremenno tragichna.

vav voljka bulgaria

vav voljka bulgaria bulgarite preimat musulmanstvoto sled kato bulgarite sa pokrusteni na dunavska bulgaria, no da kazvat che e imalo musulmani bulgari ...v koraina smetka ...zsto trybva da se delim ...v vsuka zivilizovan strana horata jiveyt zaedno i se razbirat nezavisimo ot religiata ...nie bulgari i pomazi jiveem s vekove zaedno ...kakvo delim ...vsicki imame obsta rodina ..li vsichki ya obichame dnakvo ....vsichki sme vremenno na tazi zemia i vsichki edin den ste si zaminem.....neka se uvajavame i da praivm jivota po dobur i za vas i za nas .....:)

Abe vse o6te byrkate islqma s

Abe vse o6te byrkate islqma s - musulmanstvo mohamedanstvo i ne znam kakvo sitam. Tova sa Bulgarite prieli Islqma za reigiq tolkova.

Турци в хрониките си говорят...

Ami vv Volozhka Blgariya ,Blgarite sa bili myusyulmani.Predstavete si,che celokupniyat Blgarski narod se osznae i ne se deli -koy togava shche mozhe da ni pobedi ?

on pomag etnicity

Pomags are only Turk, not slavic,not greek.Only Turk. (Pechenag tribe). tnx

Pomak ethnicity

Dear anonymous, your comment on Pomak ethnicity is very ........ interesting.  I have seen it written on brick walls in Turkey!!! I truly suggest my friend you open a book, any history book on Europe's history so that you might inform yourself.  I am not Pomak, I have not grown up in Bulgaria, nor in Greece nor have I grown up in Turkey, Albania, Yugoslavia, Russia, Poland, Germany, France, Italy or any other European, African or Asian country  So I am trying to study these people as objectively as possible.  All I have written is in accordance to objective, concise and world recognized authorities-not on ethnic driven booklets.   So dear anonymous commentator, your view on Pomak ethnicity  "(...Only Turk...)"   will remain written on the bricks of Turkish walls until you find the truth.   I wish you good luck in your quest for a true answer.     Apnea

Thank you, James, please provide some more information!

Hello James! Thank you very much for writing your comment here and trying to provide us true information about the descendance of the Pomaks! I would be really grateful if you can give references to books (e.g. by their ISBN numbers) and respectively other kinds of publications, as well as web links to sites, that have information on the true descendance of the Pomak tribes (specifically the ones inhabiting the Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria and neighbouring Greece). What we really need is TRUE and INDEPENDANT INFORMATION: all Pomaks are sick and tired of governmental regimes trying as hard as they can to deprive them of the undisputed and politically unpolluted truth about their real origin, roots, inherited traditions, culture, proper ethnic characteristics, etc. It's hard to believe that there are still such nasty, shameless, disgusting discrimination attempts towards the Pomaks in Europe in the 21st century!...

POMAKS - POMAKY

James warmest congratulations to the sober and true comment! One of the most credible and plausible theory is that pomaks are local and indigenous people of the Rhodope Mountains and other geographical areas where they live or are displaced. Pomaks are direct descendants of the Thracians and it is the same indigenous people who lived in the Rhodope Mountains many years ago. Long before to come out there and the Slavs and the Bulgars and the Turks and all other guests who were admitted under the customs of pomaks with respect. Their well-intentioned friends and welcome to pomaks swollen to other guests does not mean that guests are completely changed their hosts, as some historians they want to be so!

True POMAK descendance.

In general this is a very nicely written article with a few exceptions. The most important of all issues which needs to be straightened out is the reference to the POMAKS as being "Slavic". The POMAKS are not Slavic, nor are they Turks or Bosnians or Greeks or whatever. Their ancient roots first appear in Thrace (an important part of Greece since antiquity) where they have lived for many THOUSANDS of years on the mountains of Rodopi [Thoukides 3,96,3 (460 -397 BC)]. Rodopi is also the name of an important prefecture of Hellenic (Grecian) Thrace where very many thousands of POMAKS live up to today. The POMAK ancestors of the Balkan region of ancient Thrace even fought together with the army of Alexander the Great of Macedonia [Fragm. Hist Graec Vol. 3, Theopomb. Philipp. Book. I, part. 44](378/377 BC). So surely the POMAKS are NOT Slavic in ethnicity!!! All historians agree that the first signs of Slavs in the region appeared AFTER the 6th century AD! And we all know that the ancestors of the modern Bulgarians, after moving South from other regions of Eurasia during the 6th century AD, first inhabited the region around the Bolga river (hence their name Bolga-rians/Bulgarians) for many years before moving more South towards Greece where they now live within the modern boarders of the country that formed contemporary Bulgaria. The inhabitance of countries took its toll on their ancient language. Slowly many POMAK words were lost and the regional language infiltrated their own soon to produce a mixture of regional/POMAKS dialect. So the fact that they speak a special POMAK language that resembels modern Bulgarian language certainly does not mean that they are Slavic. If that were true then the fact that some POMAKS live in Turkey and also speak the Turkish language would mean that they are Turkish in descent!! Of course not- that is silly! These people are being exploited by all the neighbouring countries in which they live and are presented as Albanians, Turks, Bulgarians and so on, only because they speak the native language! All countries (except one) have used them and have tried to convince them to believe that they are not of a different or unique ethnicity of their own. So they have taught them to speak a language which is not their native one (eg Bulgarian), or they have made them believe that they are not POMAKS but something else (eg Turks) and have deprived them of their own religious beliefs and made them convert to another religion- a religion of another ethnicity (eg Islam). But history is history and in the West we say "there is no use in crying over spilled milk" so we must go on. What POMAKS wish is to live in harmony within the boarders of the countries which incorporate their people. The POMAKS should have respect for their different cultural background, they want all to know of their heritage, their special POMAK language and culture which are different of those of the surrounding countries (Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, etc). POMAKS do not want to be told that they are Turks, Slavs, Bulgarians or whatever else! They only want respect of their unique identity and to live in harmony with the inhabitants of all countries which they now call "home". Thank you for your time in reading this comment. If there is anyone which has different views, I would be more than happy to hear them and it would be my pleasure to address issues concerning many common beliefs about the POMAKS. James

hello pomak muslim brothers in bulgaria

i am very glade and happy to know that there is a muslim slavic community in bulgaria called pomaks. before that i knew that there is more than 10 millions muslims in balkans (albanians,bosniaks,tatars,roma people,turks) majority of muslims know that there is a great turkish muslim community but few of them know that there is also a bulgarian muslim community/pomaks. i think yhat there is also pomaks of macedonia "macedonians muslims " and in kosovo 'gorani people ". one word i want to say you brothers and sisters ,in the last of my comment you are not a minority .. you are not only 150.000 pomaks .. you are just a part of a great islamic community "UMMMAH " of 1.600.000.000 muslims in all countries ,and all continents, all languages all coulour of skins,all peoples .. wich say all .. like me .. and like you ...LA ILAHA ILLA ALLAH MUHAMMED RASUL ALLLAH mehdi msaad casablanca,morocco faceboook: mehdi msaad hotmail: adejmehdi@hotmail.com