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THE MUSLIM FORUM OF ALBANIA

Press Release

12.01.2006

Re: Reaction for the incident of crosses in Shkodra


The Muslim Forum of Albania met yesterday in order to analyze the tense situation created in the city of Shkodra after the bringing down of the cross that was placed near the village of Bushat. The Forum is saddened by this act and believes it to be a threat and provocation to the believersí emotions and to the inter-religious harmony of our country.

After condemning the grave act, the Muslim Forum of Albania expresses its distress about the fact that in the last few years, religious monuments in forms of crosses have sprung up all over the country, from north to south. The placement of religious monuments or objects outside the places of worship and for the purpose of defining territories on notions of religiosity, by certain communities, is undermining the secular nature of our state, as well as goes contrary to our cultural and religious traditions. From the official statements of the Albanian Catholic Church Authorities, we understand that the crosses near Bushat were placed by some foreign missionaries from Britain or France. These are some examples of a long list of unknown practices brought in by foreign clerics or missionaries, who are not sensitive to Albania and our specifics of inter-religious balances.

The marking of the Albanian landscape with religious symbols outside the places of worship is a bad omen of the shredding off the territorial as well as social integrity of our country. The presence of religious monuments of a particular religion in public places, that are accessible by everyone in our multi-religious society, create exclusions and unnecessary rivalry among communities that lead to tragic incidents such as the one perpetrated against the cross near Bushat was.

The Muslim Forum of Albania appeals, that such acts that provoke gravely the feelings of Christian and Muslim believers, never to be repeated again. Mindful of the bad taste left after the use of explosives by state authorities for the demolition of the cross placed inside the Butrinti National Park, the Forum suggests that even though these objects are illegally constructed, the crosses cannot be dealt with as simple illegal constructions. Their removal should be done through dialog that includes the believers, and nurtures maximum respect for their sanctity.

The Muslim Forum of Albania appeals to the state authorities and religious communities in our country to take all necessary steps in order to check all the activities of foreign missionaries in Albania and to curb the further placement of religious monuments in public places, which might be placed with good religious intentions, but result in unpleasant social and political situations.

The Muslim Forum of Albania
Tirana

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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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