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On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Some are concerned about what NATO, the United Nations, and the European Union have nurtured there since the military and humanitarian intervention in 1999. James Jatras, a U.S.-based advocate for the Serbian Orthodox Community, put it bluntly last year when he said Kosovo was a “a beachhead into the rest of Europe” for “radical Muslims” and “terrorist elements.” It’s an assertion without evidence. “We’ve been here for so long,” said United States Army Sergeant Zachary Gore in Eastern Kosovo, “and not seen any evidence of it, that we’ve reached the assumption that it is not a viable threat.”

Nine in 10 of Kosovo’s citizens are ethnic Albanians, and more than 90 per cent of them are at least nominal Muslims. Most are so thoroughly modern and secularised that moderate doesn’t quite say it. The only word that can fairly describe Islam as practiced by the majority of Albanian Muslims is liberal. No nation can be entirely free of extremists, but Kosovo is one of the least religiously extreme Muslim-majority countries on Earth. Radical Islamists aren’t there in significant numbers now, and they aren’t likely to be in the future. Some places may be fertile ground for radicalism in the future, but Kosovo isn’t one of them for many of the same reasons that Christian theocracy isn’t coming to Western Europe.

I arrived here shortly after the declaration of independence, and the first thing I looked for – as always when I visit a Muslim-majority country – was the treatment and status of women.

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May 19th, 2011
9:05 PM
My congratulations mate on this very interesting and colorful article. I thought it was spot on and i am sure you would have had the same experience in any part of the region inhabited by Albanians. Keep your articles coming.

January 24th, 2011
9:01 PM
As a Kosovar-Albanian, i would say this article sounds pretty spot on. Obviously its not right to generalise an entire population as everyone is different but the war between serbia and kosovo was 100% nothing to do with religion. Most countries around serbia as it is today that were a part of former yougoslavia seperated themselves from serbia through violence which was initiated by serbia to keep the former republic of Yugoslavia together. The balkan countries range from different religions but yet experienced the same thing. I dont think its fair to say that people would actually use religion to portray themselves in certain ways. All the countries from the former republic of yougoslavia were being driven by an authority that they didnt believe was fair and so wanted independence. Thats what it comes down to.

Trefor Walters
April 15th, 2010
8:04 PM
I think Dave S' comment from April 2010 really hits the nail on the head. I've been saying something very similar regarding atheism vs Christianity for years. However, the focus is always on the centre of the action, the fighting, the religion, the politics, not on the factors on the outside that fuel them. Trefor Jason Zadrozny - Persuasive Language

Dave S
April 12th, 2010
9:04 AM
It's amazing to read this article and the comments, knowing what I know about history. I can see the distortions and lies in both the article and many of the comments. Here's the truth: The issue isn't between Christianity and Islam, or civilisation and Islam, it is between Western Christianity and Orthodox Christianity. The so-called Muslims of Bosnia and the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo are just cannon fodder in an ancient rivalry between two Christian cultures. The ethnic Albanians, (like others e.g. the Chechens) have played up to this, knowing what power the "international community" (the USA led coalition of the insidious) have on the world stage. Portraying yourself as the persecuted when in reality, you're the persecutors is an easy trick to play on the Christian mind, and when the received wisdom is that those nasty Russians and Serbs are part of an evil empire, it's a synch to get the West's sympathy for anything that's against them. And all because of collective guilt over the sacking of Constantinople 806 years ago.

February 14th, 2010
10:02 AM
hiii, i see a lot of serbs-cannibals are posting comments here! yooo you serbs zip it plz! just for ur information, i am muslim from Kosovo , i pray 5 times per day, i am an actor and model here in new york where i moved to study physical therapy almost three years ago,now i just got married to my beautifull christian wife, she is a journalist; Albanian from Kosovo, we enjoy living together as we enjoy sharing peace in the world, oki today is valentines day, is the day to celebrate our love , may God bless it !!! this is the Albanian reality for those who didnt know!!!

November 13th, 2009
10:11 AM
this article is totally wrong

a shala
October 11th, 2009
5:10 PM
serbs got what the asked for,not only in kosovo but in croatia and bosnia also.

Jonathan Davis
October 4th, 2009
11:10 AM
As much as I like Michael Totten and love his on-the-scene reporting from places like Iraq and Lebanon, he is dead wrong about Kosovo and is, in my opinion, strongly biased against Serbs in his reporting about Kosovo and Serbia. I have analysed and exposed both his errors and his biases on this topic and this article on my own blog. Feel free to come and get a dissenting view of Mr Totten's assessment of Kosovo from an Irish-South African based in Belgrade. See also:

December 15th, 2008
3:12 AM
Jesse you self advertising d..k. It was in Albania that practicing religion was abolished not in Kosovo. You seem like do not know much about the place so please be quiet and keep your seat on the back of the room. You still will get the help you from Serdja Trafkovic

September 3rd, 2008
2:09 PM
Kosovo is Serbia!

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