Lately | Religion

Open discussion: God, Kosovo and the ‘West’

By - 14.10.2019

Lokomotiva talk on Oct. 17, 2019, from 17:30 at Hub 2.0.

Religion is a topic that has dominated societies, state-building and public discourse throughout much of human history — countless wars have been fought over it, identities forged through it and for millions it has quite literally been a matter of life and death.

But despite its fundamental role in shaping our world today, what do we really know about religion?

The rise of terrorist attacks in the name of religious beliefs has made religion a topic that permeates mainstream media. In international “Western” media, the narrative is often framed in terms of the “good Christians” and the “bad Muslims.” But in places where the majority of people identify as Muslims, things are different.

Like many countries throughout the world, Kosovo has at times struggled with its relationship with religion. The majority of the population may identify as Muslims — even though many rarely visit a mosque — but others practice Orthordox Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism and even Judaism. There are also plenty of people who actively attempt to distance themselves from religious affiliation and political leaders have often viewed religion as a topic that’s too “hot” and that’s best to be avoided completely.

Technically a “secular” state according to Kosovo’s Constitution, what does this mean in practice?

A recent study showed that young people are more likely to trust religious leaders than the president, while 1 in 3 young people attend a religious service at least once a month. So what role does religion play in young people’s day-to-day lives?

Much has also been made of an apparent rise in extremist discourse within parts of the Muslim community in Kosovo and the “import” of a “foreign Islam,” while — like in many countries — hundreds of Kosovars have joined Islamist militias in Syria and Iraq. 

Where has this radicalization come from? Is it only the fault of certain Imams preaching extremism? Or is there an underlying trend of fighting back against “Westernization?” 

And amongst all the different standpoints, what should Kosovo’s relationship with religion look like moving forward?

K2.0 is organizing an open discussion on the theme of religion in order to explore the opinions of young people about religion, Kosovo and the “West.”

To frame the discussion, we will begin by screening a part of the documentary “The story of God with Morgan Freeman: Proof of God.” 

Then, to get the conversation started, we’ve invited:

  1. Ardian Gola – Lecturer at University of Prishtina
  2. Skender Perteshi – Researcher at Kosovar Center for Security Studies

Join us in our exploration of young people’s perceptions and attitudes toward religion on October 17, 2019, from 17:30 at Hub 2.0K