Islam in Albania became dominant during the Ottoman period when many Albanians over time, slowly converted to Islam and in particular two of its denominations : Sunni and Bektashi a Shia - Sufi order. Following the Albanian National Awakening Rilindja tenets and the deemphasizing of religion during the 20th century, the democratic , monarchic later the communist governments followed a systematic dereligionization of the Albanian nation and national culture. Due to this policy in the country, Islam , as well as every other faith, was banned in the nation. A period of state atheism , which lasted decades and ended in and brought a decline in religious practice and traditions. The post-communist period and the lifting of legal government restrictions on religion, allowed Islam to revive through institutions that generated new infrastructure, literature, educational facilities, international transnational links and other social activities.
Virginity pressures in Albania bring women to the operating table
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After well-groomed Croatia and Montenegro, Albania appears as shaggy and ill-kempt as a lovable hound, all dirty paws and enthusiastic tail. Our guidebook says there are Illyrian tombs near a village called Selca. The road becomes a track and divides. We stop to ask directions and at this moment we finally arrive in Albania. The man speaks a lot and waves his arms.
Ann Snitow is a writer and teacher, as well as activist with the Network of East-West Women, composed of movement activists on both sides of the former Iron Curtain. Photo: John Feffer. Cross-posted from JohnFeffer.
Blood feuds still exist in Albania and those involved have to live a life in hiding. They include people like Leonard Qukaj, who has left his home only rarely in the last four years for fear of being murdered by a rival clan -- or by his own uncle. On nights when a strong wind sends the clouds scudding over the mountain tops and carries the smell of freshly cut grass through the window, Leonard's sleep is a bit more restful. The breeze makes the decrepit front door rattle, which covers up the sound of the squeaky gate hinges outside. Amid all the noise, the teenager is convinced, he wouldn't hear the assailant's steps and the click of his silenced pistol.