THE MUSLIM FORUM OF ALBANIA
The Muslim Forum and other Muslim associations are annoyed by the racism and Islamophobia of Ben Blushi
The Muslim Associations of Albania have followed with regret and indignation the publication of Ben Blushi’s book “Living in an island” and the media promotion of it. Though underhand during its promotion, the book was presented as a novel that talks about tolerance and religious coexistence in our country, from reading of the book and the comments on it in the press, we find quite the contrary. The whole book is characterized by a feeling of contempt for Islam in particular, and also for values and symbols of the Albanian nation in general.
First, the book exposes a series of falsities and inaccuracies about Islam giving therefore a deformed image of the religion. In the novel, the sacred book of the Muslims, The Quran is referred to as the book of prevention. It is said that it is written by Muhammad himself and that it is not a revelation. The book also displays prejudice about other religious issues misinterpreting them and also attaching to Islam principles and views not relevant to it.
Second, the novel is characterized by a great lack of ethics, by insulting human value, faith and religious symbols. The author not only jokes with some of the religious practices and rituals of Islam, but also doesn’t hesitate to blemish the image of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) describing him using insulting terms.
In this novel Albanian Muslims are particularly attacked and offended, by being referred to as traitors of Christendom, violators of the Christians, barbarians, bandits, uncivilized, and disloyal. The novel is very disturbing also for the level of racism addressed at other ethnicities and peoples living in Albania such as Turks, Gypsies etc.
Third, the book deforms the history of the Albanian people by providing a negative perspective which impinges its values and historical figures.
The Muslim Associations of Albania judge that this book produces negative effects and is extremely provocative in the Albanian context. It purposely insults that which is more sacred for a believer-his religion, thus encouraging hatred amongst parts of society which practice different religions, it impinges one of the highest values of the spiritual culture of Albanians, harmonious coexistence of religions, on which Muslims have played a fundamental role.
Aware on the constitutional freedom of expression and the right of artistic creation, we emphasize that we are not dealing with just another book, considering that the author, Ben Blushi, cannot by judged separately from his central position in the political spheres of our country, a position which makes so that the novel gains the maximum attention of the public opinion. We also emphasize that the views of the author cannot be understood out of the context of its political position and preferences.
The author, Ben Blushi, even though a lawmaker representing one of the most powerful political forces of the country, the Socialist Party, elected to the Albanian Parliament primarily with Muslim votes, does not realize that the message sent out in his book goes against the fundamental values of the Albanian Constitution, in the preamble of which it is declared:
"We, The Albanian People, proud and aware of our history, with responsibility for the future, with faith in God...
with the determination to build a just, democratic and social state, to guarantee the rights and fundamental freedoms of people,
with the spirit of tolerance and religious coexistence, and with the pledge on defending the human dignity and personality...for peace, prosperity, culture and social solidarity,
with the age-long aspiration of the Albanian people for the identity and national unification...
WE APPROVE THIS CONSITUTION: ...”
We want to remind Mr. Blushi and those who agree with him that the Islamic religion is the religion of most Albanians wherever they live, within the Republic of Albania, in the ethnic territories or in the Diaspora. It has been accepted by them after a long historical process and has now become an important part of their spiritual and national identity. Therefore, any attack against the Islamic religion would definitely be an attack to the Albanian nation.
Our greatest concern on the issue is the fact that books like this one will give good arguments against Albanians to our historical enemies. After the great achievements of Albanians, such as the Independence of Kosova, the Invitation for Albania to join NATO and its clear European perspective, the enemies of Albania have only one weapon at hand: that of dividing Albanians by turning them against each other. Therefore, poisoning the climate of religious coexistence between Albanians will help these circles in fulfilling their mission.
Feeling insulted and provoked by this book, the Muslim associations call upon the civil society, the Albanian and international public opinion, media and the Albanian government and whoever is proud of the history and values of his country, to distance themselves from viewpoints that set dangerous precedent for the social coexistence and promote racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia in Albania.
It would be also an ethical obligation for the political party, which the author represents, and also for other members of the Albanian Parliament to distance themselves from Blushi’s novel, which endangers the inner harmony of our society.
Below are the associations signing this release:
Note for Editors:
The Muslim Forum of Albania is an NGO, part of the Albanian Civil Society whose aim is the fight against racism, discrimination and Islamophobia. For having more information on us please visit: www.forumimusliman.org
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