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Albania, like any other Balcanic country, displays a mixture of religions… what’s not usual is that in Albania, all religions (and atheist people as well) live peacefully, without any kind of conflicts.
Albania has 67% of muslims, 20% are orthodox christians, 10% christians and a 3% of aromanians.
We should say that in Kosovo (where 88% of the people comes from the albanian ethnia) this “religious proportion” is quite different, because muslims are more than that: 90% of kosovar people are muslims.
This Kosovar religious trend is due to the need to separate themselves to the serbs, which are orthodox.
I would like to highlight that a paper [written by Gallup] said that Albania is the most tolerant – in religious terms – country in the world. Is also the country where we can find more interfaith marriages (between muslims and catholics).
In Albania both people and buildings coexist together peacefully. In each town you can see in the main square a church and a mosque: no conflicts between them (for example, in Spain, you can barely find a mosque).
The festivities are also respected and celebrated without complications, up to the point where you can find autochthonous shared [among muslims and christians] festivities. We saw one of it. Because everyone is mixed, they just want to integrate as many people as possible in an event. Far from fundamentalism!!
Albania is originally a christian country, in which their national hero – Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg – is an Athleta Christi that fought the ottomans during 15th century. This national hero faced the Ottoman Empire (and the greeks, the serbs and the magyars) untill his death. The siege of the ottomans was brutal. 10 years after Skanderbeg’s death by malaria, the country finally had fallen apart against the ottomans: it was the beggining of 5 centuries of ocupation; untill 1913.
People were forced to exile or convert themselves into muslims.
Nowadays, Skanderbeg is their national hero; a christian hero in a muslim country.
From 1913 to 1944 Albania had a monarquichal period, with King Zog I. He modernized the country and it’s considered one of the most wealthy periods in Albania’s history… he also had re-Christianized the country.
After the second world war, and after they got rid of the italians [Mussolini had invaded the country during the war], the communist party – with Enver Hoxha in front of it – took control of the country.
In 1967 , Hoxha had banned the religious freedom of cult, and he pursued hardly any kind of religious worship. After that, he used to present Albania as “the first atheist country in the world”… and it was not until 90′ that we could return to listen to iman’s voices in Albanian towns.
It’s worth to say that the only place in Albania that has never been muslim is the north. The north – the Balcan Alps part – had always been Christian and they also have their own laws. This was possible because the Ottomans had never entered to those valleys, due to the difficulty to get in.
Hoxha’s regime was the first to submit them. They were subjected to a severe repression that force them to left the kanun and the Christian worship.
Nowadays, Albania is a country that has no kind of religious fervor. One can feel this lack of motivation against religious worship, and that’s what the people told us. Lot of people follows a credo, but simply by inertia.
In fact, you won’t barely see a woman wearing a muslim veil, or any other sign that reminds us that we are in a muslim country… and we can say the same for the Christians.
This religious spleen is probably because they are tired of all issuues about religion: ottoman invasions, communist banning, religious crusades, ethnocides justified on religious grounds…
…the last time that religion was a reason to start a war was during the Balcan war. The serbs atack all the muslims countries… and Albania was a target because is a muslim country. (the same happened in Srebrenica or Tuzla in Bosnia). They made some kind of Crusade, although it was all about nacionalism.
But after reading this post, one could think that Albania is not interested in fight for religious reasons… so it’s dificult to take a crusade where there’s no deep interest on it.
Finally, it’s worth to notice that the most famous albanian characters are not muslims: Skanderbeg, the writer Ismaíl Kadaré and the Mother Teresa (of Calcuta. Although she was born in Skopje, but of albanian ethnicity)… two of them christian eminences (and Kadaré is atheist)
From ladupla.com we want to show Albania as an example of tolerance and wealthy religious coexistence; taking into account that nowadays religious fundamentalism are not unusual (the well known muslim fundamentalism, but also Christian fundamentalisms like US’ Tea Party one; or the Israeli… [etc.])