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The Muslim Forum of Albania has learned through the media and other documents at its possession that the Institute of Cultural Monuments in Tirana is planning to reconstruct the Mosque of Sultan Fatih, on the Rozafa Castle, by claiming that this building was once a Serbian orthodox church called the Church of St. Stefan. The Institute has requested funds for this project from the United States Embassy in Tirana. In connection to the above mentioned facts, there has been a reaction by the Muftini of Shkodra, which has requested the suspension of the works on this project that sees the mosque as a Serbian and Venetian Church. This project which seems biased, risks provoking conflicts among the religious communities in the northern town.

As a result of the above, the ambassador of the United States, Ms. Marcy Ries seems to have understood the concern of the Muftini of Shkodra and has promised to re-assess the sponsorship of this project.

The Muslim Forum of Albania congratulates the stance of the ambassador, and the understanding she has shown towards the sensibilities and concerns of the Muslims of Albania. Her act shows a great deal of maturity and respect for the preservation of inter-religious harmony.

In line with the above, the Muslim Forum of Albania appeals to the United States Embassy, and other institutions under its jurisdiction, as well as to all other institutions interested in the preservation and renovation of the cultural heritage in Albania, like UNESCO, UNDP, the Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports and Tourism etc, to pay more attention and show more interest and concern, in order of preserving and protecting the Islamic heritage in our country. While during the last few years, a large number of Byzantine, Greek and Aromunian churches and sites have undergone renovation, there has been very little done for the preservation of the Ottoman culture in our country. That is why nowadays, important sites to the Albanian Culture such as the “Iljaz Bej Mirahori” Mosque in Korca, the “Sulltan” Mosque in Elbasan, the “Plumbi” Mosque in Shkodra and many more are almost totally ruined.

It seems that often, the organizations in charge of the renovation of cultural sites in our country, forget the five-hundred-year-heritage that the majority of the Albanian people share. Regrettably, a great deal of attention has gone to the pre-Ottoman period, while towards the Ottoman period there is a great state of denial.

With regard to the above, the Muslim Forum of Albania appeals to these institutions to be more sensitive in their initiatives in order of avoiding the commotion that one sided actions can provoke.




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