Thursday, January 05, 2006

Kosovo's President asks to be buried as a Catholic?

KOSOVO: RELIGIOUS INTRIGUE AS RUGOVA DECLINES

Pristina, 5 Dec. (AKI) - Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova’s religious beliefs have become the subject of wild speculation as the health of the 61 year old, who is spearheading Kosovo's independence drive, worsens. Rugova has been hospitalised since last week with lung cancer and there have been widespread rumours in Pristina that he has told close associates he wants to be buried as a Catholic. About 95 per cent of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians are Muslims and the matter of Rugova’s religion has until now never been raised. Kosovo political analyst Nexhmedin Spahiu says that Rugova was a Muslim, though he never visited a mosque, and had strong Catholic inclinations. “Personally, I believe that Rugova has converted to Catholicism, but there is not a single proof for it,” Spahiu told Belgrade daily Kurir.

During half a century of communist rule, following World War Two, religion in former Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, was marginalized or practiced clandestinely. However it gained new impetus after the collapse of communism in early nineties. Rugova graduated in linguistics at the Sorbonne University in Paris in the mid-sixties and the issue of his religion never really mattered at the time.“We all know that Rugova has asked to be buried as Catholic,” said a source close to him, who asked to remain anonymous.

There has been speculation that Rugova was converted to Catholicism in 1994 personally by Pope John Paul II, but there is no concrete proof of this.Rugova has spearheaded the independence drive by majority ethnic Albanians in the province, which has been under United Nations control since 1999, and the talks on the final status are expected to start later this month. According to Spahiu, Rugova’s health is “extremely grave” and it wasn’t clear how active a role he would be able to play in the negotiations. But even if Rugova were to be buried as Catholic, one should expect no stormy reactions from Kosovo's Albanian Muslim community, in view of his political merits, said Spahiu.But Kosovo Serb leaders, who oppose independence, said that Rugova’s decision, if correctly interpreted, would be a ploy to boost the independence drive.

“Rugova’s turning to Catholicism is a hoax,” claimed Kosovo Serb leader Marko Jaksic, an Orthodox Christian. “In that way he’s appealing to the Catholic world to support Kosovo independence,” said Jaksic. Rade Negojevic, a Kosovo Serb journalist, was equally critical. “If Rugova has switched from Islam to Catholicism, he must have done it for purely political reasons,” said Negojevic.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its not a big deaL Albanians were all catholic once.

Anonymous said...

religion in Albanians never was sucha big deal, if he was converted to a Chatolic, I can not see a big deal, it was his right as to all of us to decide about the religion.....

Anonymous said...

Whomever stated that religion is not a "big deal" needs to know what they are speaking of before they open their mouth. From my own family line, 5 of my ancestors were executed for refusing to convert to Islam. Executed for their strong belief in Jesus Christ! Speak to any christian Albanian, they can go on with the stories which were passed on to them from parents and grandparents. All christian Albanians are true blooded Albanians and among the most faithful people in the world. Our ancestors were ridiculed, tortured, murdered, and abused for refusing to abandon their beliefs. Albanians were introduced to Christianity by St. Paul. Unlike the Greeks, whom converted back to Christianity when the Ottaman occupation ended,Many muslim Albanians lost their self identity and culture during the 500 years of turmoil of this oppressor. To this day, you can look at a muslim Albanians face and notice that many of them have strong Turkish features from inter-mixing and marrying with the oppressors. Most of these converters assumed that the occpation would not last long, they would be treated favorably, and pay less taxes than if they were christian. Unfortunately, the occupation lasted 500 years. A small percentage has converted back to their true religion, but many are still lost! I applaud Dr. Rugova for converting back to what he truly is. By converting, he has finally ended the oppression of the Ottoman in his home! Muslim Albanians need to think the previous sentence over. I understand it is vey difficult to abandon all you have know your entire life. I understand that your community may mock you. I understand that this is the religion your father may have passed down to you, but we must break the chain. If you convert back, in reality you are not doing anything wrong, so on what basis can one mock you on? If you go down your family tree there is a 100% chance you will find christian names, not Arabic.Break the web the oppressor has cast on you. Rrofte populli Shqiptar!

Anonymous said...

Catholics had let Albania down
Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania had firecely resisted Turkish attacks.

He was then promised aid by one pope. He renewed his attacks when it was otherwise disadvantageous to him and the help never came due to a change of Pope. Turkey then over-ran the area.

-Montalban

Anonymous said...

Hmmm,

Yes, mistakes were done in the past. But Islam is the enemy today, and all denominations that believe in the word of Christ should unite and force it out of Europe. Whether you're Catholic, Orthodox or Mormon, I don't care. It's time we all stood up to be counted instead of constantly turning the other cheek.
I would have preferred Milosevic to have waged a war of liberation in Kosovo against Muslim terrorism, then perhaps the West might have reacted differently and Bush would have another ally in the war against Muslim terror.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Islam is 'the enemy' today... The (previous) Pope however had stated that 'we' all worship the same God; Christians and Moslems.

One should recognise however the politics of conversion...The 'alliance' I referred to, and the one in the blog where one commentator stated that again policital factors may be at play.

-Montalban