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Resistance to Islamist Infiltration Continues in Kosovo and Albania

7:18 AM, Apr 12, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Preoccupied with maintaining their secular educational system, the Kosovo authorities agreed to form a commission with the Turkish regime to review the historical curriculum. The Kosovar government accepted alteration of texts. Still, as disclosed by the news service Balkan Insight, the changes in chronicling Albanians’ experience with the Ottomans were mild. According to the copies released to the public, history texts for grades five, six, and eight, to be introduced in autumn 2013, include the following emendations:

* Replacing “violence” and “killing” with “conquering” and “imprisonment,” on page 62 of the fifth-grade textbook.

* Deleting the sentence: “Ottomans killed many Albanians,” on page 69 of the same volume.

* Editing the phrase “Ruthless Ottoman rule” to read “Ottoman conquest” on page 83 of the sixth-grade history text.

* Changing “They applied strict measures against non-Muslim people” to “All citizens in the countries conquered by the Ottoman Empire, in their daily lives, were equal before the law.”

Aside from the obviously mendacious claim about equal religious rights under the Ottomans, most of the changes appeared almost comically “Balkan” in their ambiguity. The original author of the seventh-grade text, Isa Bicaj, however, declared, “You can cut off my hand, but I will not use the term ‘arrival’ for the Ottomans. They were conquerors.”

On March 27, the daily Tema, based in Tirana, the Albanian capital, published a petition against the textbook reform signed by 140 prominent historians, journalists, authors, artists, and other intellectuals from Albania and Kosovo. They declared, “We can not cover up historical truths. . . . The proposed changes in the history textbooks represent a form of cultural aggression against the essence of our nation.” The signatories were both Muslim and Christian, as well as some known as non-religious. Among them was the Kosovar Catholic Ndue Ukaj, who had warned in 2011, “Turkey must show greater tolerance toward Albanians, to accept the historical facts and repent for the destruction of numerous invasions.”

The Muslims of Kosovo and Albania persist in repudiating Islamist intrigues from all directions. They deserve appreciation and support. 

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