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Austrian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Issue 5-6/2017


DOI: https://doi.org/10.29013/AJH-17-5.6-3-14

Pages: 3 - 14

Authors: Doci Y.

Abstract: Abstract 25 years after the fall of Communism the religious life of Albania has changed dramatically. The full impact of this change with regard to the social cohesion of Albania is yet to be felt, because the first generation living with religious freedom is only now coming of age. Albania still enjoys a remarkably harmonious religious environment. However, a poor understanding of the underlying reasons for such harmony and the understandable eagerness for exaggerating the apparent inter-religious tolerance of Albanians may induce a sleepy ignorance of weaknesses in the face of the global social and religious currents present. This reality could result in upheavals similar to those experienced in other countries with mixed religious populations. Therefore, a good understanding of the much discussed case of the village Malbardh, reflecting the typical shape of Albanian inter-religious harmony, will help in distinguishing the characteristics of true inter-religious tolerance. This requires adding pluralistic wisdom to the Malbardhian goodheartedness. To start this important discussion, I shall present an analysis of the Malbardh case contrasting what I call interreligious harmony with tolerance. I shall then suggest a way to develop an informed and enduring Albanian religious tolerance. Objectives: The objective in this paper is helping the understanding of the nature and meaning of the inter-religious environment of the village of Malbardh selected as a good case of the Albanian environment of inter-religious interactions. Methods: In the context of writing an ethnography the methods included here are interviews and focus groups with participant observation. Results: Determining the nature of such an environment as harmony and distinguishing it from the designation of inter-religious tolerance is the unique contribution of this work. Scientific novelty: I consider the clarification of the sense of harmony and tolerance in relation to different entities such as the two differing religions of Christianity and Islam, is a novelty with special application in our understanding of the Albanian environment of Malbardh. Practical significance: The practical significance of this study is related to the intentional work to be done in preserving what is valuable in the traditions of the Albanians as evident in the village of Malbardh in order to ensure transitioning from harmony toward tolerance.

Keywords: Keywords: inter-religious tolerance, harmony, case study, pluralism

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