The conference promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio "Albania, an example of interreligious living together in Europe" was held at the Press Circle of Milan on 2 July.
Present was the Orthodox Bishop of Kruja, Andon Merdani, who recalled the many places of worship destroyed in Albania under the Communist regime and the martyrdom of the faithful of every creed, and added: "No one can become the defender of God when they perform acts of violence".
The great faith and suffering that united Albanians was also recalled by Lucjan Avgustini, Catholic bishop of Sapa and vice president of the Albanian Episcopal Conference. Baba Mondi, leader of the Bektashi Sufi Brotherhood, spoke about the history of cohabitation between religions in Albania, in particular he recalled that during the Second World War no jew was deported from Albania. Collaboration and solidarity among religious communities was also highlighted by the Kosovar evangelical pastor Femi Cakolli and one of the leaders of the Albanian Muslim community, Genti Kruja.
Albania emerges as a reality that can be an example of living together for many other countries and for the major European cities, as well as showing a healthy sense of national unity that is very different from closed and aggressive nationalisms. In conclusion, Alberto Quattrucci of the Community of Sant'Egidio explained how dialogue is a challenging way to be built over time, and above all "an explosive multiplication of positive energy".
At the end of the conference, the representatives of the Albanian religions invited all those present to participate in the next interreligious meeting for peace promoted by Sant'Egidio to be held this year in Tirana from 6 to 8 September.