Friday, November 6, 2009

Religion in Albania.

The majority of Albanians today are either atheists or agnostics. According to an official US Government report: "No reliable data were available on active participation in formal religious services, but estimates ranged from 25 to 40 percent, leaving 60 to 75 percent of the population non-religious."

The country does not have a history of religious extremism and takes pride in the harmony that exists across religious traditions and practices. Religious indifference and pragmatism continued as a distinctive trait of the society and interreligious marriage has been very common throughout the centuries, in some places even the rule.
There is a strong unifying cultural identity, where Muslims and Christians see themselves as Albanian before anything else. This has been historically by the common experience of struggling to protect the national culture in the face of various outside conquerors.

A Rilindja Komb√ętare (National Renaissance) intellectual and poet, Pashko Vasa (1825-1892), made the trenchant remark, that "Churches and mosques you shall not heed / The religion of Albanians is Albanism" (Gheg Albanian: "Mos shikoni kisha e xhamia / Feja e shqyptarit √Ęsht shqyptaria").

I don't understand what's the deal with using 2 centuries old Ottoman data to speak about religion in Albania? Someone is likely misinterpreting antiquated data , just because someone needs to declare religious affiliations where there aren't any.

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