Muslims Attend Christmas Mass in Kosovo

December 16, 2003

Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.

On December 16, 2003 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. reported, "In Kosovo this year, thousands of Muslim Kosovar Albanians will again be attending midnight Mass along with their Christian neighbors...[Dom Nosh Gjolaj, a priest at St. Ndou Roman Catholic Church] says he does not know how or precisely when the custom of interfaith visitation began in Kosovo...'When it started, I don't know, [at least] since I've been here for the past 11 years. But it is obvious that massive participation began before the war. I think we're talking about approximately 10,000 people, most of them standing inside the church's front yard, since there was not enough place for all of them inside.'...The Kosovar Muslim interest in Christmas signals neither an abandonment of Islam nor the adoption of Christian belief. Blerta Krasniqi plans to attend Christmas Mass at Father Gjolaj's church this year. She's a Muslim who lives in Pristina. 'It is a fact that I will participate because I have friends who are Catholics. It doesn't have to mean that since I'm a Muslim I won't go. I go because of my friends and that's it. Our religion teaches us not to hate other religions, but we go to celebrate together because Catholics are Albanians just like us,' Gjolaj said."