THE MUSLIM FORUM OF ALBANIA
The speech of the president of Albania, Mr. Alfred Moisiu, at Oxford University, on the subject of “Inter-religious Tolerance in the tradition of the Albanian people”, that was published by the Albanian medias, has aroused the indignation of the Muslim Forum of Albania, its Kavaja branch. This indignation which has affected the Islamic sensitivities of our entire Muslim community in the city, is forcing us to make this open public letter, by which we want to communicate in a civil way with the president of the Republic, who at the same time is a son of an honorable family of Kavaja. At the same time we want to achieve public awareness for a true understanding of the values and the religious tolerance in Albania.
Driven by civic and religious tolerance, the meaning of our sensitivity emerges from the devotion to Islam which pushes us to communicate and articulate its contributions to our country, that were not mentioned in our president's speech.
Mr. President, your speech, even though had all the desire to transmit n understanding of historic religious realities in Albania at the Oxford Forum, contains inaccuracies, especially when not given at the appropriate religious and historical levels, with their values and specifications. Furthermore, it is very much appalling for us to read that you state that Islam is in minority in Albania.
Below we will present our disagreement given in several points:
• Mr. President, in your speech, there is no reference to the values of Islam in the history of Albanian, by ignoring the fact that it is this affiliation of the majority of Albanians that protected and preserved them from the Greco-Slavic chauvinistic assimilation, keeping all the popular and national feelings of Albanians in coherence.
• In Islam there are no concepts like “European Islam” or “Asian Islam”. Islam is based on fundamentals that come from the Holy Kuran, while the geographic extension has only played a secondary role. Since you do not mention any of the above, we are led to the conclusion that intentionally or not a cleavage is created in the religious tolerance in Albania, for which you took the effort to address in Oxford.
• In your speech you fail to admit the truth that Islam constitutes the majority of people in Albania, and due to this, when we speak of historic religious tolerance among Albanians, this exists because tolerance is a value of the majority, which in our case are the Muslims.
• You say that in a vertical historical perspective, all Albanians are Christians, declaring something false and therefore making a severe mistake underlining that supposedly Christians have brought the religious tolerance in Albania. We know and stress that both faiths, the Christian and Islamic one are treasures for our nation and treating them as such they obtain values of religious co-existence, a rare example among other peoples and an aureole for the Albanian nation.
• Whereas the term “Mohammedan faith”, that you mention in one occasion, is both unacceptable and speculative, because it is not recognized by Islam and it is not parallel to Christianity that comes from Christ. This is indicative of shallow knowledge of the history of religion or it is presented to you with bad intentions.
• This naďve touch in your speech when you say that Islamism in Albania at the end of the Medieval Period affected only part of the Albanian population, when it is known that from the very start Islam spread among Albanians in larger numbers than the other faiths. It resembles a word game with many exclamation marks what you say in order to minimize the role of Islam stating that the latter is not indigenous and residential. And then we ask: Is Christianity an indigenous faith in Albania? (!)
• It is a paradox when you state that Islam in Albania has a ‘European face’, and it is a shallow Islam that in essence in every Albanian there is Christianity. In this logic we not only find poor knowledge of historical reality, but also mischief that could be argued to be extreme.
In your speech, Mr. President, there is a phobia due to the desire to Europeanize, that lets us understand that you have learned by heart that the Islamic affiliation of Albanians impedes their integration, bringing you down to that level of Albanian politics that is not able to leave the beginners stage.
Mr. President, the fact that Islam has deep roots in the identity of the Albanian nation has to be admitted, as it important to remind you here, that it was the great Islamic family of Haxhialushajve in Kavaja the one that sheltered your honorable father and family during the difficult days of his life. Hence, he has well encountered the roots of goodness, sacrifice and tolerance of Islam. And because of this past goodness that our good Muslim families have offered to yours, you should have not forgotten the goodness of Islam in Albania, when you generalized your claims in your Oxford speech.
Embracing you as our fellow citizen and at the same time with deep indignation, we request from your part to intervene and make sure that there are no more uncrossable barriers for the Albanian Muslim Community for the legalization of the permit to build the Mosque of Namasgja in Tirana, at the same place as it stood before. In this way we shall really understand your support and gracefulness towards Islam. At the same time, and in order for you to correct your speech, we believe that it is minimally required from your part to publicly apologize in the front our great Muslim Community for the false statements that your speech had, so that we can again come to believe that you are the President of all the Albanians in the Republic of Albania.
Respectfully and with
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