THE MUSLIM FORUM OF ALBANIA
SU: The Muslim Forum is disturbed from the racism and islamophobia of Ismail Kadare
The Muslim Forum of Albania has read and monitored since March 2006 the article of Ismail Kadare, ‘The European Identity of Albanians’, the replicas of academic Rexhep Qosja and the debates which have been going on, in our press, about the national identity of Albanians and the role that religion plays in it.
The Muslim Forum of Albania has been shocked by the racist and hate-inciting tones that Mr. Kadare’s article has produced in the Albanian public. Very shocking are the attacks that Mr. Kadare has issued against Albania’s membership in the Islamic Conference, against the Islamic character of Albanian Muslims and their belongingness to the Islamic Civilization. Those attacks offend and shock the Muslims living in the Balkans.
The one-sidedness that Kadare shows in his article, when he claims that Albanians culturally belong only to the European civilization or more exactly to Christianity only, are very offending. The attacks that Kadare issued against Albanians who think that they belong to the Islamic civilization too, or the attacks that he directs against cultures and peoples of other continents, like those of Africa, Asia etc, resemble very much with the racist attacks which Europe heard during the era of the Third Reich. Kadare’s qualifications of Albanians as whites only, as pure Europeans living in the heart of Europe, to the Forum resemble with the racist qualifications of Nazis. They used to declare Germans of being white Arians, superiors to the rest, while the other people of the world, such as the Africans, Asians and Jews were treated as inferiors. Nazi Déjŕ vu-s can be seen in Kadare’s article even when he declares that the white Catholic Latin – Albanian literature is superior against the oriental Aljamiado Albanian Muslim literature of the Ottoman centuries. Even the Nazis in the past used to talk like this, when they were pretending that their music and the Arian German culture, was superior to the Jewish, Asian and African one.
The Muslim Forum of Albania cannot accept Mr. Kadare’s logic, when he claims that the Ottoman Empire enslaved spiritually Albanians though Islam. But in opposite, we believe that the Islamization of the majority of Albanians is the main factor that preserved and made them a nation in the front of Greek and Serbian assimilating threats.
Mr. Kadare’s attacks on Islam, Aljamiado literature, and moreover his attempts to portraying king Ahmet Bey Zog as an anti-Muslim monarch, sadden very profoundly the Forum, since they aim to plant a wild Islamophobic hate in our public. Kadare’s article is full of slanders. One of the gravest is Kadare’s theological lie, when he claims that during the time of King Zog, the latter tried to prohibit the Muslims of Albania to prostrate during their prayers, and for this ordered the Islamic Community to order the Albanian Muslims, from than on, pray standing, since the prostration was against the dignity of the nation!
The islamophobic ideas of Kadare which are directed even against the Muslims of ex-Yugoslavia and the Balkans at large, seem to go hand in hand with the anti-Albanian and anti-Muslim thesis, that Kadare’s friend, Maks Velo has shown in the article he published on Shekulli newspaper on 21 June 2006, entitled ‘Qoseizmi, ose teoria e urrejtjes’. There Maks Velo attacked the Albanians of Kosova and Macedonia because of their Islamic identity. Among others he was claiming that:
We must be very careful with Kosova and the Kosovars. If a referendum was to be held for uniting Albania with Kosova I was going to vote against it. Kosovars are still primitive people and they will cause us unending problems; let them stay alone and repair themselves
The Muslim Forum of Albania, while seeing the articles that are inspired by the racist ideas of Mr. Kadare, whose poetries and prose we teach to our kids at school, is deeply shocked and appalled with the hate this person inspires against our nation. We find extremely hard to understand how can Mr. Kadare be in one mind with some Albanian haters like Maks Velo, when they attack the cultural heritage of Tirana, and its founder Suleyman Pashë Bargjini, only because this Pasha was to be a Muslim.
Since the ideas of Ismail Kadare have incited a campaign of racist, anti-Albanian and anti-Muslim attacks, which go against the principles of human rights and dignity, the Forum, appeals to the whole Albanian intellectuals to distance themselves from the hate ideas that Mr. Kadare preaches, and contribute to the defense and development of the best values that our nation inherits from history.
The Muslim Forum of Albania believes that the cultural and religious identity of Albanians, is an element that was formed in the long journeys of our country’s multicultural history. We believe that the attack against the religious and cultural identity of our nation is an anti-Albanian attack.
The Muslim Forum of Albania
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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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