The unifying and peaceful role that religions can play in the region of the Western Balkans in order to avoid upheavals and conflicts was highlighted by Albanian President Ilir Meta at the opening of a regional conference on “The Role of Religion in Western Balkan societies”, organized by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Tirana.
During the first day of the Conference, June 11, 2019 at the Presidential Palace in Tirana, Mr. Meta gave his speech, in the presence of the President of the Inter-religious Council of Albania, Archbishop Anastasios, the Grand Mufti of the Muslim Community of Albania Bujar Spahiu, Catholic Archbishop George Anthony Frendo, the head of the Bektashi Edmond Brahimaj and the head of the Evangelical Fraternity Pastor Ylli Doçi.
Albanian President Ilir Meta said that “I am proud that my state is based on the coexistence and harmony of religious communities. This has been one of the strongest privileges of my people over the centuries”.
He explained, however, that “our history has also experienced periods of darkness against religion. The totalitarian communist regime had forbidden religious freedom. History is not just a reminder, but a lesson for the new generations to never allow a total and atheistic situation where freedom is lost and hope has vanished”.
He praised the religious leaders, who “through their daily action serve as a model for society, for the political order, dialogue and cooperation as the only way to solve political and social conflicts.
“May your prayers for the peaceful resolution of political conflicts in Albania be heard by everyone”, said Mr. Meta.
The conference was attended by clergy from the four major religious communities of Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia, as well as ambassadors from other countries.