Strengthening Religious Tolerance for a Secure Civil Society in Albania and the Southern Balkans
# of pages156
It has long been a common place of Balkan Studies and historical writing about the Balkans to state that religion is often a major factor in conflicts. Some contemporary authors have seen it as the decisive factor. In the context of the bloody debacle of the wars of the 1990’s in ex-Yugoslavia which was analysed as a conflict between Roman Catholic Croatia and Orthodox Serbia, or the Bosnian war in terms of re-emerging Islam. The longstanding reputation of Albania and Albanians for tolerance in religious matters is important, and deserves scholarly study and debate. In the period of the emergence of Albania from the chaos and turmoil of the 1989-1992 period and the end of the one-party state, the main priority for Albanians was the reestablishment of religion in Albania after the years of enforced atheism under the Hoxha regime. In the main this process went very well, with a successful programme of church and mosque construction taking place. This publication illuminates the background to this emerging and complex religious culture in Albania and also touches upon subjects of importance in relevant neighbouring nations (Greece and Montenegro). It includes papers by a number of prominent local scholars, and invited foreign experts on Albania and its history.