Albania's 'Stricter' Islam Creates Problems

These problems affect Catholic Church projects. Chapels, churches and parish facilities cannot be built because of the unclear situation.  (Where did we hear that before?)

Turkey, Saudi Arabia Promoting Stricter Islam In Albania


The Albanian Islam factor

Albania was under the Communist rule during the Cold War, the most isolated country in Europe. The break of the Soviet Empire unleashed forces that were kept dormant in the society for decades, and resulted to some very interesting developments. In 1992 Albania becomes a member of the Islamic Conference, an international Islamic organization . The same year as well the government of Sali Berisha, currently also a Prime Minister, signed a military agreement with Turkey, thus enacting a series of discussions in the neighboring states, around the possibility of an Islamic arch from Istanbul to Sarajevo.

Other countries’ propagation of a stricter form of Islam in Albania is causing tensions with Christians and with other Muslims, a charity leader says.

Peter Rettig, head of the South-East Europe Section of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, said that young imams trained in Turkey and Saudi Arabia are spreading “a different form of Islam from what is customary” in Albania. The countries are strongly promoting the building of Islamic schools.

“This is leading to tensions,” he told Aid to the Church in Need.

The Catholic charity’s project partners have reported incidents that are “not dramatic” but their number “shows a worrying trend,” Rettig said.

He noted other problems in the country, such as long-term development being threatened by widespread corruption and unclear property rights.

These problems affect Catholic Church projects. Chapels, churches and parish facilities cannot be built because of the unclear situation.

Albania has a variety of religions but statistics are unreliable and many individuals lack a basic knowledge of their faith.

About 60 percent of the 3.2 million people in Albania belong to Sunni Islam, while eight percent are Bektashi, a religion similar to Islamic Sufism.

Orthodox Christians comprise about 20 percent of the population while Catholics make up 10 percent.

3 thoughts on “Albania's 'Stricter' Islam Creates Problems”

  1. I was born in islamic-comunist( that is the real factual name of the regime) Albania and yes the society is changing very fast. In the next future there will be a revival of islamic culture, especially in the younger generation born under atheism. The bulk of the muslim population( in my opinion) remains indifferent to an extent.
    Albania is constitutionally a non-religious state, but on the other side it is since 1992 still part of the OIC.
    The governement is filo-islamic and most influential ministers are non-christians. Therefore I think that the islamic problem in Albania is mostly a political one. I hope the church will survive this last “assault”.

Comments are closed.