Different theories argue that the notion of “religion” is not a cultural universal but rather developed under specific historical and political conditions. “Religion”, they say, is a social construction. Recently, during my work stay in Spain, in a Catholic –majority county, most of the Spanish Roma were discussing the role of the religion in their families or communities. Usually the first question was “How many times do you visit a Culto?” (An evangelic church which in the last decades is growing up among Spanish Roma), implying that I, as a Romani woman automatically should visit a Roma church. The negative surprise came when actually I answered that I do not go to the Culto, “I am a Romani Muslim woman”, I said. Frozen face expression! “That’s a problem”, one of them said. I was struggling with my thoughts and efforts to understand why for Roma that live in Spain is unknown the existence of Roma Muslim, until I understood that the identity, including the Roma identity, particularly the gender and religion construction is based on the created Western narratives about which religion “should be practiced” or which one is “better”, or what means to be a “real woman”. Although Dubuisson respects the study of beliefs and belief-systems as legitimate, he argues that the word “religion” is too tense with ideology and too Western in its associated meaning to be useful.
As a Romani Muslim woman and a feminist, in this paper I discuss the urgent need of addressing the intersectional experience of Romani women for being Roma, women and for practicing different religion than the dominated one, their experience inside and outside Romani and non-Romani communities. I also look upon Western construction of narratives about “saving oppressed” Muslim women and how actually those narratives not only have consequences on accepting the diversity with-in the Roma communities, but also increase the multiplied discrimination faced by Romani Muslim women. In other words, any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner in which Romani women are subordinated. As follows, in this paper, I also present literature opinions that establish the adjustment of broadly accepted understandings of the above mentioned concepts.