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The right to be European, Albanian and Muslim at the same time
by Veton Surroi
1. An Albanian killed four people the day before yesterday in Vienna… in an attack of "Islamic terror". The sentence can be simplified even more: an Albanian, a Muslim, killed four people and injured many others. And this serves to further simplify, with which Monday's murder in Vienna serves for two collective / self-accusing questions that swirled on social networks among Albanians: how is it possible for an Albanian to do something like this in the capital of most supporters great Europeans for the establishment of the Albanian state and what is wrong with Islam, for a young man to take these actions on his behalf?
The ease with which these simplifications can be made is also the ease with which the whole public discourse can be trapped in the trap of prejudice and insults, in the trap of Islam. In it, Albanians would be better off if they were not Muslims, and Islam would be better off if it were not Islam. Thus, in the history of mankind, every crime committed - even those against humanity - would link the criminal to the nation, the nation to religion, and ultimately blame religion.
The terror in Vienna can be explained in a more complex sentence, just as life is complicated. The Vienna killer has been arrested as an ISIS volunteer. As a citizen of Austria and Northern Macedonia, he served his sentence in Austria, and due to his young age, he was released before the expiration of his sentence. ISIS was and is an organization that denies two things: nationality and the freedom of different schools of interpretation of Islam. In ISIS 'view, there is an "Islamic ummah," that is, a Muslim people, and there is only one interpretation of Islam, what ISIS ideologues/theologians do. The killer in Vienna is thus an "umma" soldier who applies the ideology/theology of ISIS.
This slightly more complicated explanation, the killer of Vienna as an ISIS soldier has given up his Albanian national identity and the right of Muslims to keep the faith as traditionally held by Albanians, even most nations in the world.
So no, neither Albanians nor Islam is responsible for the murder in Vienna. But, yes, both Albanians and Islam are targeted by ISIS, along with the rest of the world who disagree with ISIS ideology/theology.
2. Any simplification is deficient, and any identity simplification affects neuralgic points. I saw it again last week when I reacted to a simplification of US President Trump, who several times in a row called Kosovo an Islamic country or a Muslim state, which was repeated by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. With this statement of the American President, the theologian and imam Shefqet Krasniqi was enthusiastic, who saw the fulfillment of his way of looking at the relationship between the state, the nation, and religions. I reacted on social media asking for more seriousness. President Trump has very limited knowledge of Kosovo and other things, such as the idea of injecting bathroom tile disinfectant into the human body to cure coronavirus.
The comments of the imam's supporters, if cleansed of personal insults, are that a majority of Muslims live in Kosovo. In fact, this is the simplistic argument, as was the one above, related to the murder in Vienna. Kosovo, in terms of its identity, has become a state as the aspiration of most of its citizens, who are Albanians. Kosovo was not born as a state of aspirations of its believers, Muslims, or others. And, as a secular state, not only does it not accept a "state-building" religion, but it has an obligation to guarantee the right of belief of any religious faith.
When President Trump or Hoxha Shefqet Krasniqi says that Kosovo is a Muslim state, they make the mistake of not recognizing one of the most prominent features of Albanians, their secularism. Albanians have put their national identity before the religious one and have integrated within the nation and then their own states (with the temporary exception of the period of Enver Hoxha) the right for everyone to exercise their faith within the great secular national and state umbrella. This has made Islam among Albanians naturally European before such an effort was undertaken in other countries of the continent.
In Albanian countries, the right to trust in Muslims is not gained by percentage: this would have its citizens whether 1 percent or 99 percent of the population. The right to trust belongs to the individual, the citizen.
So, no, Kosovo is not a Muslim state that has recognized Israel, as Trump and Netanyahu announced. Kosovo is also a European country that has recognized Israel; even a European country where every believer (or unbeliever) lives in peace with his own faith (or agnosticism and atheism).
3. But Kosovo, as a secular state, also has an obligation of protection. It is not only obliged to protect religion from the state, but it must also protect the state from religion. Therefore, it cannot be a Muslim state, nor an Islamic state, or any other religious denomination.
This is a lesson that comes naturally to Albanians and is easy to understand. For other nations, it is part of a social engineering effort. After the founding of the Republic of Turkey, its leader established the state over religion, elevated national identity over religious identity, established the Constitution and laws instead of the Caliphate, the interpretive center of Islam in the world. Such a project - the protection of the state from religion - was often carried out with drastic measures, until the army was taken to the streets whenever it was believed that the country was slipping towards "Islamism". Today's leader of Turkey has put in a new identity test, the one in which faith can become the first identifying feature of the citizen of Turkey, ie the state, a large Middle Eastern country.
And, at the moment when the Middle East is mentioned, one can easily slip into prejudices. So, the Islamization of Turkey is possible, just as the Islamization of Iran became possible earlier. But such an identity movement was more visible than anywhere else in the world last week - not in the Middle East, but in Europe, in Montenegro - when the Metropolitan of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Amfilohije Radovic, died. The crowd gathered to greet him - including kissing the corpse, which died of coronavirus - most closely resembled Imam Khomeini's last escort, and perhaps even surpassed it, as the late ayatollah did not kiss on the final journey. . And he had not died from the plague of today.
4. Amfilohije Radovi Rad, perhaps more than any previous example of an attempt to dominate religious identity over other identities (state, national), shows the force of destruction and the danger faced by contemporary societies, especially those with identity and state fragility, such as some of the states of the former Yugoslavia.
The metropolitan had successfully led an ideological / theological movement of conceiving Serb-Orthodox supremacy in the areas where the Serb population lived or, as Montenegro, what he considered Serb. From the blessing of Serb fighters marching on Croatian fronts, those bombing Sarajevo, and most recently to the launch of religious protests against the Montenegrin law that protected the state from religion, the metropolitan managed to largely blur the natural boundaries between individual, nation, state religion. (Today, Montenegro lives politically divided between the metropolitan-led movement and the political forces of a secular state). In his version, where Serbs live (or those he considers to be Serbs) will be ruled by the Serbian president, the Serbian boot, the cross of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In reading the world of Amphilohija there was something like the orthodox "ummah". In it was the sacred obligation that the faith of Amfilohija, his interpretation, and that of his co-thinkers be established as a Serbian thought and belief of the "Orthodox ummah". That belief could be established by fiery preaching or by killing civilians passing through the streets, as the Vienna assassin did on Monday. Or, some 25 years ago, gathering and executing over eight thousand inhabitants of Srebrenica within a few days, because they had shot the other faith of the orthodox "ummah". Because they had shot Muslims. koha.net