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Interfaith Dialogue in Albania as a Model of Interreligious Harmony

Publication Illustration
Genti Kruja
Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies
Year of Publication

Over many centuries, Albanians have been mostly followers of Islam, Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. There are also other smaller religious communities, including Muslim Bektashi, Protestantism, and Judaism. Christianity and Islam, have coexisted in Albania for centuries. Tolerance is a characteristic of Albanian people, which is probably related to their geopolitical position. Being at the intersection of East and West, Albanians were influenced by both. The lands of Albanians were the meeting and division point of the two greatest empires of the Middle Ages, the Roman and the Byzantine Empires. Experiencing many vicissitudes, this peaceful co-existence, as a national value of a small nation, has continued for centuries and is still ongoing. However, a communist government lasting from 1944 to 1991 imposed a severe prohibition of the practice of religion. The interreligious cooperation during the reopening of the first church and mosque in 1990 was an expression of tolerance despite even though the communist regime was still in power. This paper presents some essential historical facts as well as a sociological approach of the interfaith understanding among Albanians.