‘My boss kept on discussing my appearance, asking whether I was going to attend meetings in public dressed in this way. During my last days at work, she preferred to have me stay in the office and not go to any meetings.’
Islam in Adjara
A Christian nation
Political scientist George Sanikidze writes that ‘Christianity plays a particularly important role in the Georgian national narrative and Georgian national consciousness, as suggested by the slogan of the nineteenth century Georgian national movement, “language, homeland, faith [Christianity]”.’ In short, the church is one of the main pillars of Georgian national identity today. People cross themselves whenever they see one of thousands of churches dotting the Georgian landscape, and a few minutes later they toss a couple of coins into a donation box for the construction of a new one. At every supra, a traditional feast, at least one toast will be raised to God or the patron saint, Saint George. The opinions of Church leaders are highly valued – especially those in defence of ‘traditional family values’.
Natia, another student from Batumi, had always received good grades, but never discussed her religion. One lecturer often praised her for her outstanding academic performance. Upon discovering that she was a Muslim, the lecturer was shocked. Surely, he thought, the religion must have been forced upon her, as there are no educated and bright Muslims.
A clash of traditions
Converting to Christianity