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The MFA is concerned by the pressure exerted on Muslims by the Albanian Informative Service (SHISH)

October 30, 2009

For the attention of:

The President of the Republic, Mr. Bamir Topi, head of the High Council of Justice
The Prime Minister, Mr. Sali Berisha
The Head of the OSCE in Albania, Mr. Robert Bosch
The US Ambassador in Albania, Mr. John Withers


The Muslim Forum of Albania has closely followed the arrest on October 12th 2009 of Islamic religious leader Artan Kristo, accused of terrorism.

The Forum has been made aware of the prosecution arguments and after researching the case in detail and consulting with theological experts and other developments within the Muslim community, concludes that there was no incitement for terrorist acts in the materials published in the websites and, sites in which Artan Kristo has been active. On the contrary, Mr. Kristo has been a harsh critic of that line of thought that justifies terrorist acts by using the religious tenets of Jihad.

Based on the above, the Forum expresses its opinion that:

1-                  The speech of Artan Kristo on Jihad does contain in some parts a language that is not acceptable for the time and place where we live, a language that belongs to a different environment and imports, with no reason at all, a problematic discourse that does not belong to us. In his speech there are clearly visible elements of a utopian romanticism, but no elements of incitements for terrorist acts, for which Kristo has been accused.

2-                  Even though Artan Kristo uses such language, we are of the opinion that no one should be imprisoned in a free and democratic country, where the freedom of thought and expression is guaranteed by the Constitution and by international convents on human rights that our country adheres to, only because he has expressed his opinion, however unpopular it may be, but that cannot be considered as incitement to acts of terrorism.

The Forum has been shocked to read in the press the declarations of attorney Ilir Mandili, who claims that the Albanian Informative Service (SHISH) has tried to recruit under pressure Artan Kristo as a spy, with the intention to have him spy on his fellow believers. Equally troubling is the illegal use of eavesdropping on Kristo’s phone calls (un-authorized by any court) and the refusal to make this material available to the defense attorneys.

The greatest concern of the MFA is that the community of Muslim believers in Albania continues to be under psychological pressure and unjustified harassment by the intelligence services which seem to intend the intimidation of Muslim believers.

The community of the Muslims of Albania and other religious communities of our country have deeply felt the actions of the security services during the Communist dictatorship, through the infiltration of agents in their midst. It is unfortunate that these same tactics seem to continue in today’s Albania. The situation within the Albanian Muslim Community (AMC) is a clear mirror of what is going on.  

We were under the impression, that gone were the times when men such as Ilir Kulla (with his secret service background) would send Muslim religious leaders in police stations and fingerprint them as if they were ordinary criminals.

The MFA is also worried by the fact that unbased and exaggerated accusations are often made in the media against Muslim believers and religious leaders of our country, accusations which have a negative effect on the image of Islam and Muslims.

We are saddened to note that certain segments of the Albanian state seem to want to keep alive the atmosphere of Guantanamo, even though this has ceased to exist even in the politics of the United States of America.




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:


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