Invisible Traces of Islam in the Urban Space of Rustavi: Interpreting the Religious Diversity in Post-Soviet Georgia
Keywords:Muslim community, public visibility, diversity, religious in urban space
The article discusses the revelation of the religiosity of the Azerbaijani community in the postSocialist city of Rustavi and their visibility in the urban space. The subject of research is how their religiosity is expressed in the city space. The article pinpoints the attempt by the Muslim community to build a mosque in the city. This unsuccessful try is forgotten by both members of the community- the Azerbaijani and the Christian population. Everyone has forgotten about it, and the topic has become a subject of taboo. In the article, the search for the invisible traces of Islam in the urban space of the city can be linked to two pasts of the city; one is the experience of the Soviet multi-ethnicity and the more distant, historical past of the city interpreted by the Communists. It is also influenced by the peculiarities of the region, the ethno-confessional composition, and the state's attempt to control religious groups and their activities, which has a corresponding impact on the self-perception and self-representation of the Azerbaijani
community in the city. Findings presenting in the article based on the ethnographical research done in Rustavi 2019-2020.
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