Saturday, January 13, 2007

Muslim women pray in Albania

Albanian Muslim women pray in a mosque in the capital Tirana. For five centuries Albania was part of the Ottoman empire.

Albania was earlier considered the only Muslim majority nation in Europe though years of communist rules had turned the society un-religious.

Until 1960s, 75% Albanians were Muslim, the rest Christian. However, in 1967 Albania was proclaimed the first aethistic country in the world.

Pig farms sprang up all over the world. Eating of pork was encouraged. The Bektashi sect grew up that also pushed the anti-Islamic movement ahead. It believed in reincarnation of God. Mosques were shut down. After nearly a quarter century the country began to open up. The first Friday prayer was publicly held in 1990 after nearly 20 years. Both Christian missionaries and Tablighi Jamaats have turned their attention to Albania in recent years and mosques have been re-opened.