Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kosovo's independence: Birth of third Muslim country in Europe

Kosovo is the latest country to have proclaimed independence. After Albania and Bosnia, it is the third country* with a Muslim majority in Europe.

The reactions have been mixed. USA, France, Germany and some other countries have decided to recognise the fledgling nation. Some other countries including Spain, Russia and Serbia (that lays claim over Kosova) have criticised the move of Kosovan government, to unilaterally declare its independence.

The birth of Kosova should be seen as another sign of harmony between Europe and Islam. The fact that such large Muslim populace has existed in Europe for centuries, should also serve as an eye-opener for those who consider Islam as incompatible with West.

Kosovo has a population of 2.1 million (21 lakh) and 90% populace practice Islam. There is a Christian Serb minority in the country also. The new government has downplayed its religious affiliation and is all set to be a secular nation on lines of Albania.

After disintegration of Yugoslavia, and subsequent war in this region Kosovo was administered by United Nations. *Apart from these countries, Balkan region including Bulgaria, Macedonia and Croatia has susbtantial Muslim population.

[The photograph shows 'New Born' and banner of 'Kosova is born' in the capital city Pristina]