THE MUSLIM FORUM OF ALBANIA
The Muslim Forum of Albania welcomes President Bush and expresses its distress about the insinuations on the European Union in our media
The Muslim Forum of Albania has welcomed President George W Bush’s statements on his future visit to Albania and his describing of the Albanian people as “Muslims who live in peace”. We regard the visit of the head of the state that has in the past and is currently providing great support for our national cause as a distinguished event in the history of our nation and welcome him.
The Muslim Forum of Albania expresses its sincere thanks to the United States of America and the European Union countries for the clear and unwavering support that they are giving to chairman Ahtisaari’s plan for Kosova’s final status. President Bush’s declaration clearly outlines his view of Albania as a country and the Albanian nation as a whole, as comprised of a Muslim majority and that this fact constitutes no problem for our integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures.
Despite this, some Islamophobic circles that exert influence on electronic and printed media have raised the alarm in the Albanian public opinion by claiming that the Muslim identity of the Albanians is problematic. As a result of this propaganda, Islamophobes have succeeded in marginalizing Muslims by discriminating them, keeping them out of universities, state administration and in some occasions, private businesses as well.
Discrimination against Muslims is clear for all to see nowadays in Albania, as they are not permitted to build a mosque in the center of the capital, Tirana but are forced to pray on the street, while a similar thing is not happening to their Christian compatriots. In Albania we are witnessing a “par excellence” discrimination of the majority.
The Muslim Forum of Albania notes in amazement how some spokespersons of the Islamophobic circles are paradoxically rushing to give their advice to President Bush on his benevolent declaration on the Muslim Majority in Albania and trying to show that “he does not have a good understanding of how things really are”. An Albanian proverb says: “The owner wants to sell but the announcer won’t tell”.
A culmination of such efforts resulted in the article of Ervin Baku in the “Shqip” newspaper of June 07, 2007 entitled “The Albanian’s religion is Albanianism”. In this article, Ervin Baku insists that Albanians should proclaim their Christian origin because, in his view, they are not Muslims. To whom should Albanians proclaim their Christian origin, to the Europeans and Americans whose scientists have taught them their history? Albanians have also learned from them that before being Christianity they were pagans. Should we proclaim our pagan roots since they date back before Christianity?
Ervin Baku is terrified of the idea that Albania adheres in the Islamic Conference. According to him, our continued adherence in this conference constitutes a great handicap in our progression towards EU accession. “This will never be declared to Albanian officials by their European counterparts but it was told to me more than once in table conversations in Brussels and Strasburg”.
The Muslim Forum of Albania is not inclined to believe that Ervin Baku is a person in whom European Union officials confide more than in Albanian state officials who have signed a Stabilization and Association agreement with them. To the best of our knowledge, no conditions have been imposed on Albania to leave the Islamic Conference in order to sign the above-mentioned agreement. If Albania’s adherence in this conference were seen as problematic, the first request to leave it would have come right after September 11th, 2001. But strangely, even with President Bush’s visit to Albania no such requests are made. Quite to the contrary, President Bush praises the Muslims of Albania.
The Muslim Forum of Albania would welcome a clear statement from Brussels on Ervin Baku’s insinuations regarding EU’s highest officials and the Muslim identity of Albanians.
The Muslim Forum of Albania
Note for Editors:
The Muslim Forum of Albania is an NGO, part of the Albanian Civil Society whose aim is the fight against racism, discrimination and Islamophobia. For having more information on us please visit: www.forumimusliman.org
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