f_0019846_16916

f_0019846_16916 - Religious Freedom in Albania Thomas P....

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Fall 2010 The Ambassadors REVIEW 31 Religious Freedom in Albania Thomas P. Melady, Ph.D. * Professor and Senior Diplomat in Residence, Institute of World Politics United States Ambassador to the Holy See, 1989-1993 United States Ambassador to Uganda, 1972-1973 United States Ambassador to Burundi, 1969-1972 Senior Advisor to the US Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly President Emeritus of Sacred Heart University Former United States Assistant Secretary for Post Secondary Education eligious freedom, for the past century, is a key indicator of the state of democratic institutions in a nation. What is the situation in Albania? First, the State’s official position on religious freedom is normally reflected in the constitution. The legal and policy framework of Albania is favorable to religious freedom. While the current constitution provides for freedom of religion, there are other laws and policies that have contributed to the generally free practice of religion in Albania. The 2009 International Religious Freedom report issued by the US Department of State made the following declaration about religious freedom in Albania: The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion. The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice…The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors. The Government is secular. According to the Constitution, there is no official religion and all religions are equal; however, the predominant religious communities (Sunni Muslim, Bektashi, Orthodox, and Catholic) enjoy a greater degree of official recognition (e.g., national holidays) and social status based on their historical presence in the country. Official holidays include holy days from all four predominant faiths. The Hoxha Dictatorship: A Nightmare for Albania The state of religious freedom in Albania today is totally different from the period during the Hoxha communist dictatorship. Enver Hoxha, soon after taking leadership of * The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of J. Cushman Laurent, Assistant to the Senior Diplomat
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f_0019846_16916 - Religious Freedom in Albania Thomas P....

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