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Su: The President of Albania, Alfred Moisiu, insults the Muslims

On November 10th, 2005, in the printed and electronic medias of our country we have read of the news that the President of Albania, Alfred Moisiu, gave a speech in the Oxford Forum entitled: “The inter-religious tolerance in the tradition of Albanians”. In his speech, the president said among others that Islam in Albania is not an original religion but was brought in the country by the Ottoman army…’ and, ‘that Islam in Albania was not spread at the time of its origin and it is not a residing religion, but a notion inherited in the languages and religious literature of those who brought it into Albania… As a norm, it is Islam in Albania is a shallow Islam. If you dig just a little into any Albanian you will uncover his Christian roots.’ The president went on to say that “You will find 15 centuries of Christianity in every Muslim of Albania” and that “it is not true that in our country there is a Muslim majority population” but “from the viewpoint of a religious timeline, all Albanians are Christian”. The president also said that “one can conclude that until the appearance of the Ottoman political, military and religious factors, for the average Albanian, the important thing was being a devout Christian”.

The Muslim Forum of Albania considers the above quoted statements and the whole content of our president’s speech as being very insulting against the Muslim identity of the Muslims of Albania. Statements that declare that the Muslim of Albania are not Muslims but Christians, are propagated in those intellectual circles in Albania and the Balkans, who based on their hate against Islam want to see Bosnian style conversions of Muslims to “their ancestral religion.” The justifications that those people give for the conversions are, as they claim, that Europe does not accept Muslims in its midst. But when these insults are carried out by the president of a country, they become part of an official attack that the state makes on the identity of its constituents.

The Muslim Forum of Albania cannot understand why somebody claims to be speaking for inter-religious tolerance in the tradition of the Albanian people, when declares that all Albanians are Christians. We ask our president: If here in Albania, all the Muslims turn out to be Christians, than towards whom does the tolerance exist in this country sir? How is it possible that in our neighboring Balkanic countries with populaces and regimes that are declared to be Orthodox Christian there is no such tolerance as we see in the Muslim Majority Albania?

While our president declares that in Albania it is not customary to officially register one’s religion, with the exception of the years 1929-1930, where does he base his claims that there is no Muslim majority in our country? The Muslim Forum of Albania expresses its disbelief in light of the statements of the head of our state, when he claims that he is not aware that in his country, besides devout Christians, there are very large number of equally devout Muslims who base their beliefs in Islam of the times of its origin that derives its teachings from the authentic sources of the sacred book, the Holy Quran, that God Almighty descended upon humanity through the Prophet Mohammed, just as He did with the Gospel descended to Prophet Jesus Christ.

Islam in Albania, Mr. President is as familiar for us as Christianity is (which just like Islam, is not a residential religion but brought from the Middle East) and both are inseparable parts of our national identity. Furthermore, Islam is more representative of our national identity than other religions or foreign idols, that regional politics of these last few years are trying to impose in our nation. We would like to stress that the President of the Republic of Albania by virtue of our constitution is a symbol of national unity. For this reason, he is not allowed to express one-sided views before international forums, while completely ignoring the feelings of a good part of the population of a country. That is why we think that it will be of great honor for our President to apologize to his Muslim constituents, who feel insulted and misrepresented by him.

The Muslim Forum of Albania


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