Seven years after the United Nations assumed control of the Serb province of Kosovo, talks are underway about its future. Orthodox Church leaders for the minority Serb population, which has been subject to attacks for years by Muslim extremists, are hoping to forestall mounting pressure to establish an independent state. Is the Church headed for extinction in Kosovo?

Read the complete commentary here.


  • Alban Dushku

    It is difficult to read this commentary and retain any form of respect for the writer.

    Such a skewed and biased view of the situation in Kosovo and the ramifications of the conflict there can not be taken seriously.

    I was born and raised in Kosovo and I do not remember seeing any form of "Christian Persecution" there, especially since I happen to be Christian. I would think I would have noticed such a thing, but for as long as I can remember I have never been persecuted for being a Christian!

    I do, however, remember being persecuted for being Albanian. I remember my family’s house being burned down. I remember walking past rows of killed women and children. I remember hearing young women and girls talking about being raped. I remember living in a refugee camp.

    Another thing I distinctly remember is the blessings that the Serbian Orthodox "Priests" were giving to the Serb Paramilitaries performing these ghastly acts.

    I would ask the writer of this opinion piece to use facts not fiction when talking about events that occurred in the not so distant past. See in today’s day and age with the technology that we have access to he should be able to gather these facts pretty easily.
    During the unrest of March 2004 19 people did get killed, however only 8 of them were Serbs while the rest were actually Albanians. Just a side note!

    Another fact is that the most accurate estimate to date concerning the number of Serbs and Non Albanians that left the province in 1999 was closer to 65,000 not the 225,000 number that the author throws out so loosely.

    Quoting journalists the likes of Srdja Trifkovic further diminishes any legitimacy this article might hold. She writes for serbianna.com, an openly anti Albanian.

    And last but not least nowhere in Kosovo can we find "a Muslim terrorist movement with a strong jihadist element"!
    In fact Albanians in Kosovo and Albania proper happen to be the greatest supporters of the War on Terror. Albania even has troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and was one of only four countries to actually take part in Combat Operations at the start of the Iraq War!

    By contrast on September 11th the streets of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, were filled with cheering crowds of Serbs dancing and drinking alcohol, celebrating the attack that America suffered that day.

    The streets of Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, were filled with Albanian mourners holding candle light vigils for the innocent fallen victims. Hardly an act of a "Muslim Jihadist people"!

    Characterizing Albanians as Muslim extremists is wrong and misleading. Albanians profess to three faiths, Islam, Catholicism and Easter Orthodox Christianity. Historically the most religiously tolerant nation in the world the Albanians are famous for their saving of the Jews during WWII where they saved 100%% of the Jews of Albania and even saved Jews of neighboring countries. Albania was the only country in Europe to have more Jews after WWII than before.

    So before publishing this kind of slime and slander about my people read some history and realize the political implications that lead to the destruction of these Orthodox Churches. The Serbian Orthodox Church has been at the forefront of the 89 year Genocide that the Albanians of Kosovo have had to endure.

    Kosovo will be independent. No article such as this can stop it. Neither can letters filled with garbage sent to the President.
    This is because Justice is served, always. The brave people of Kosovo have waited for 94 years to gain their independence from the blood thirsty oppressive Serbs. Now their time has come.

    Sincerely,

  • Arben Ceku

    The 19 serbs died is propaganda.. they where 11 Albanians, 7 serbs and 1 Roma who died… next time check your facts befor spreading propaganda, have a nice day

  • Frank Rex

    Such a one sided article, including rubbish galore.
    I wonder who pays you to write such biased crap.
    who fooled/payed you so as to write it was a religous war.

    Shame on you..

  • hassana

    Hey you .I am very sure you are a muslim extremist from the way you have attacked this article.You are not a christrian you are a muslim extremist posing as a christian.

  • SteveD

    ** Kosovo is historically an integral part of Serbia — indeed, it was the last stronghold of medieval Serbia before it fell to the Ottoman kaliphate. The Albanian secessionist movement in Kosovo dates back to the aftermath of the death of Marxist dictator Tito and the beginning of the end for the latest in a line of Yugoslav states created by outside powers for their own ends. The Serb political machine, instead of focusing on its own republic’s affairs, sought to gain a more dominant position in the Yugoslav federation by both the formation of the Milosevic-Martina-Seslej Serb-nationalist political coalition and by subterfuge. Their schemes backfired, ultimately driving the Slovenes and Croats to secede rather than have their republics’ languages corrupted, their national guards disarmed, and their comparatively free and productive economies looted to benefit the Serb political machine and its friends in the federal government. While waging futile wars first with Croatia and then with the NATO-backed Bosniak separatist regime in Sarajevo, the Serbs failed to respond promptly to the increasingly brazen separatism in their own backyard. The Serb political machine also earned the unyielding, absolute loathing and hatred of most of NATO’s political and military leaders.
    ** The vast majority of adult ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in the late 1980s were not born there; they had emigrated out of the dysfunctional Enver Hoxha-controlled, bankrupt Albania into then-Yugoslav Serbian Kosovo seeking work in the mines, fields, and factories during the 1960s-70s. The Albanians began an organized, deliberate, and at least initially non-violent plan for secession from Serbia and Yugoslavia. The ethnic Albanians defied the Serbian and Yugoslav governments, established their own non-Slavic media, schools, and security organs, and refused to obey or pay taxes to the republic or federal governments. The approximately half a million Serbs in Kosovo, already a minority due to voluntary migration into the more economically developed parts of Yugoslavia, now faced a deliberate campaign of harassment, vandalism, threats, and assaults by ethnic Albanian gangsters. The Serbs of Kosovo were being ethnically cleansed out of their own land by squatters from Albania. It was this desperate situation of secessionist insurrection and violent ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serb population out of Kosovo that drove Belgrade to act, attempting to drive out the ethnic Albanian immigrants and their Yugoslav-born descendants.
    ** Sadly, NATO has stubbornly backed the Albanians against the Serbs because in the minds of NATO’s politicians and bureaucrats, the Serbs and the Serb-dominated Yugoslav federation have been the source of all of the Balkans’ problems since Tito died. NATO has therefore been working relentlessly to bring about the total breakup of Yugoslavia. NATO’s leaders cannot discern the very real differences between the very different situations that have erupted in Yugoslavia since the mid-80s:
    — The events that led up to the secession of Slovenia and Croatia from an effectively Serb-dominated Yugoslavia they had never wanted to be a part of;
    — The events surrounding the creation of a Bosniak-minority-dominated independent Bosnia-Herzegovina at the expense of the non-Bosniak majority that wanted to re-affiliate with Yugoslav Serbia or Croatia;
    — The events surrounding the creation of a deeply divided Macedonia (whose large ethnic Albanian minority, mostly centered in the western half of the country, is also seeking to secede); and,
    — The events surrounding the COUNTER-ethnic cleansing by Yugoslav Serbs against rebellious Albanian separatists in Serbian Kosovo.
    ** The Serb ultranationalist coalition and its political machine were certainly at fault for the first situation. There was no reason for NATO to endorse the secession of multi-ethnic Bosnia from Yugoslavia under a regime dominated by one of its ethnic minorities and bitterly rejected by most of the rest. There was also no reason for NATO to endorse the creation of an impoverished, ethnically divided Macedonia. Last but not least, there was no reason for NATO to endorse the actions of increasingly violent Albanian separatists in Kosovo, much less backing them against the internationally recognized sovereign government of the territory.
    ** The creation of an independent ethnic Albanian Kosovo, supports the idea that THREE wrongs make a right (the original Albanian separatist rebellion, the Serb counteraction, and the NATO invasion on behalf of the Albanian separatists). There is an old term for what is going on now in southeast Europe — BALKANIZATION. It means breaking up long-standing states into dysfunctional statelets. The population of Kosovo — including all people who were citizen-residents of Kosovo after 1988 even if they are now living in central Serbia or in another country but have not given up Yugoslav or Serb citizenship — should be given only two options: remaining part of Serbia, becoming a state of the Republic of Albania (which has a substantial Christian minority and sound laws protecting religious freedom). There is no need for yet another perpetually impoverished, non-self-sufficient Balkan microstate.

  • Ilirian Kosova

    My question is why the author is doing this? Why this author is writing such biased articles? Is there a personal interest? Is he paid by the serbian lobby? It has to be something like this.

    A person with a sound mind wouldn’t write stuff like this.

  • Valon

    hey John Couretas, are you getting paied by the serbs or what, you should be asshamed of yourself to call yourself american, just think about it, did the america like when the got attacked, think man think, how do u think we felt when we got attacked by the serbs just cuz we wanted freedom and nothign eles, and serbs couldnt accept that. if we are talking about freedom of speach and relgion, culture, than we know that serbs never granted that to KOSOVA in the first place. BE ASSHAMED JUST BE ASSHAMED TO BE AN AMERICAN, OR SHOULD I SAY THAT YOUR BACKROUND IS SERBIAN

  • Bane

    It is nice to hear the other side of the story to.
    Thanks

  • John Couretas

    I have corrected the story to reflect that, of the 19 people killed in the March 2004 riots, 8 were Kosovo Serbs, according to AFP. And I’ve added new information on the event from the news service. I regret the error.

  • Zababurin

    After 15 years of Albanian lobbying and presenting lies,making them self to be the victim finaly somebody stands up and speeks the truth .

    Thanks from a Christian Serb

  • Altin

    The Serbs should understand somthing, Kosova is independent and sooner you realize this the better. We can argue all day and feed propeganda to all the readers, it will not change the fact that Kosovars have moved on thiking for their future. Kosova may be poor, not democratic enough with problems that all the countries in transitions have but at lest they have the will to better themselves. As for gangsterizem and mafia, Serbia has those problems too. Albanians are not terrorists they have never been. They are deeply secular. We have never had a religios war. If you read about our history you will learn that. It would play right in your hands if they were but this does not mean you have to make everything up.
    As for Kosovars being refugees from Albania I would say that you guys are reaching another low point. Albania was so tight under communisem that even a goat would not be able to pass the border.
    Sebia could not hold Kosova when they had it how will it hold it now after what has happend during this 15 years of killing.
    You all need to wake up and think about the future of your country not only you but we all should think about building good relationships and better economy instead of propeganda that helps no one.

  • Bensik

    All the attacks by the albanians on places of worship (which i strongly disagree with) are not motivated by faith but by nationalism. There are still many albanians who have strong feelings towards the serbs and will attack anything that represents their presence in kosovo.
    Once again, its not a religious issue, if you ever been to kosovo you will know that religion is a very small part in society, almost irrelevant.

  • Mel Wolfe

    Thank you for your bravery and for this insightful piece on the suffering Christians in Kosovo, Mr. Couretas.

    Those calling themselves Christian in the West would do well to recall Christ’s words:
    "As you do unto the least of these, you do unto me", because the remaining Christians in Kosovo are truly his "least" — weak old people, priest and nuns living on virtual Christian "reservations", subject to daily threats and harassment everyday from Muslim Albanians.

    Everyone who opens their mouth about this horrible injustice gets insulted and harassed by these same Albanians — or gets called a "paid Serb propagandist". They can’t fathom someone who sees their "treasure in Heaven", not on earth.

    Our great "shame as Americans" was the day we let president Clinton turn Kosovo into a haven for terrorist and drug dealers!

    My message to those Albanians is this: we are not like the suffering Christians of Kosovo; we are not priests, nuns or old people living in constant fear of you. We are Americans with a voice, a vote and legal right to do as we see fit to protect our own — and a true moral obligation to do so!

    http://www.savekosovo.org

  • Dr William Gissy

    It aseems that a majority of the responses seek to defend Albanian assaults on Serbs…the Serbian attemts at ethic cleansing in Bosnia were a horor to be sure but how does that justify Albanian cleansing of Serbs in Kosovo?….wheter it is religious or ethnic is immaterial…the concern is an independent Kosovo, ruled by the Albaian majority will persecute the Serbian minority. None who attack Couretas have refutted that part of the concern.

  • Westerner

    In addition to supporting the USA, I’ll show my solidarity with the Serbian people by supproting their team in the World Cup!

  • tony

    Hi just please stop the propaganda kosovo people are nices people you ever meet i’m Italian and i lived in kosovo whare muslimes are extrymlly nice to ather religos becous they don’t prectis ther own first off all we need to know thet kosovo people com from roman cotholic witch they bcam a muslim by Turky rule in 1741 so stop you secretly are serbian and making this coment Serbia was and is enti USA and allways will be so stop this boll shit and USA know thet serbia is tiet with russia secretly igantes America.

    Love Tony Giovani

  • Djeri Lo

    I am seeking information about evangelist christians in Kosovo. djerilo@yahoo.com

  • John Peterson

    Kosovo has always been Serbian land and center of Serbian heritage as well as Eastern Christianity. Serbia itself has inherited Byzanium after Ottoman Turks (Muslims) took it over and destroyed it. Every single Christian should take action to protect this place from becoming an Islamic state ruled by radical Islamic imams, drug traffickers, and white-slave traders. It is true that Albanian Muslim criminals and fanatics have destroyed 150 CHRISTIAN churches and monasteries which date back to 1200’s. Please note that Albanian Muslims were present on this territory since 1950, and that they have became Muslims when Ottoman empire came to Serbia in 1389. Ever since 1970’s Albaniam Muslim terrorist have been killing Yugoslavian (serbian) policemen and soldiers in order to establish an Islamic state there. Ever since 1970’s Albanians in Kosovo did nothing but making efforts to destroy the country which gave them refuge from poverty in their country Albania. How ungrateful from them.

    Kuran says that Muslims can’t be friends to Christian and Jews and this truth is reflected by action of Muslims worldwide. Bible teaches tolerance.

    It is up to you to decide who you are going to support.

    God Bless!