Albanian nationalism (Albania)
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Albanian nationalism emerged in Albania during the 19th century. By the late Ottoman period Albanians were mainly Muslims with close ties to the Ottoman Empire. The lack of previous Albanian statehood to draw upon resulted in Albanian nationalism developing later unlike neighbouring nationalisms of the Serbs and Greeks. The onset of the Eastern crisis (1870s) that threatened partition of Balkan Albanian inhabited lands by neighbouring Orthodox Christian states stimulated the emergence of the Albanian national awakening (Rilindja) and nationalist movement. During the 19th century, some Western scholarly influences, Albanian diasporas such as the Arbereshë and Albanian National Awakening figures contributed greatly to spreading influences and ideas among Balkan Albanians within the context of Albanian self-determination. Among those were ideas of an Illyrian contribution to Albanian ethnogenesis which still dominate Albanian nationalism in contemporary times and other ancient peoples claimed as ancestors of the Albanians, in particular the Pelasgians of which have been claimed again in recent times.
Due to overlapping and competing territorial claims with other Balkan nationalisms and states over land dating from the late Ottoman period, these ideas comprise a national myth that establishes precedence over neighboring peoples (Slavs and Greeks) and allow movements for independence and self-determination, as well as irredentist claims against neighboring countries. Pan-Albanian sentiments are also present and historically have been achieved only once when part of Kosovo and western Macedonia was united by Axis Italian forces to their protectorate of Albania during the Second World War. Albanian nationalism contains a series of myths relating to Albanian origins, cultural purity and national homogeneity, religious indifference as the basis of Albanian national identity, and continuing national struggles. The figure of Skanderbeg is one of the main constitutive myths of Albanian nationalism that is based on a person, as other myths are based on ideas, abstract concepts, and collectivism. These ideas and concepts were further developed during the interwar period under Ahmet Zog and later the Socialist People's Republic of Albania (1945–1991), which mainly focused on Illyrian-Albanian continuity in addition to reinterpreting certain Ancient Greek figures and history as Albanian. In a post communist environment, Albanian National Awakening values, ideas and concepts that were enforced, developed further and expanded during Enver Hoxha's regime are still somewhat present within Albanian society and politics that have been reinterpreted within the context of Euro-Atlantic integration.
Ottoman period: Development of Albanian Nationalism during National Albanian Awakening
Albanian nationalism, unlike its Greek and Serbian counterparts has its origins in a different historical context that did not emerge from an anti-Ottoman struggle and instead dates to the period of the Eastern Crisis (1878) and threat of territorial partition by Serbs and Greeks. Competing with neighbours for contested areas forced Albanians to make their case for nationhood and seek support from European powers. Those events were a pivotal moment that led to the emergence of myths being generated that became part of the mythology of Albanian nationalism that is expressed in contemporary times within Albanian collective culture and memory. That historical context also made the Albanian national movement defensive in outlook as nationalists sought national affirmation and to counter what they viewed as the erosion of national sentiments and language. By the 19th century Albanians were divided into three religious groups. Catholic Albanians had some Albanian ethno-linguistic expression in schooling and church due to Austro-Hungarian protection and Italian clerical patronage. Orthodox Albanians under the Patriarchate of Constantinople had liturgy and schooling in Greek and toward the late Ottoman period mainly identified with Greek national aspirations. Muslim Albanians during this period formed around 70% of the overall Balkan Albanian population in the Ottoman Empire with an estimated population of more than a million. Though there was a sense of some sort of communuality among Albanian speakers, the Albanian language came second to different identity markers which took precedence. Albanian speakers of the period mainly identified each other and themselves through terms relating to a settlement or regions, as Gegs or Tosks or through religious categories (Muslim and Christian). Ethnic terminology such as Shqiptar (Albanian) and Shqipëri (Albania) was not indicative as an ethnographic marker of people living in areas. Terminology of the era was generalised and not fixed with Albanian speaking people not all viewing themselves mainly as Albanians. It is unclear to what degree Albanians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries viewed themselves as Albanians or understood that they had affinities with or to each other. The Albanian nation building project did not however emerge without foundations and drew upon a sort of proto-national consciousnesses based on ethnic and linguistic elements that existed prior to 1800 and transformed it into a political and national movement.
"Albanians, you are killing kinfolk,
You're split in a hundred factions,
Some believe in God or Allah,
Say "I'm Turk," or "I am Latin,"
Say "I'm Greek," or "I am Slavic,"
But you're brothers, hapless people!
You have been duped by priests and hodjas
To divide you, keep you wretched....
Who has the heart to let her perish,
Once a heroine, now so weakened!
Well-loved mother, dare we leave her
To fall under foreign boot heels ?...
Wake, Albanian, from your slumber,
Let us, brothers, swear in common
And not look to church or mosque,
The Albanian's faith is Albanianism [to be Albanian]!
Eastern Crisis and Albanian National Awakening
With the rise of the Eastern Crisis, Muslim Albanians became torn between loyalties to the Ottoman state and the emerging Albanian nationalist movement. Islam, the Sultan and the Ottoman Empire were traditionally seen as synonymous in belonging to the wider Muslim community. The Albanian nationalist movement advocated self-determination and strived to achieve socio-political recognition of Albanians as a separate people and language within the state. Albanian nationalism was a movement that began among Albanian intellectuals without popular demand from the wider Albanian population. Geopolitical events pushed Albanian nationalists, many Muslim, to distance themselves from the Ottomans, Islam and the then emerging pan-Islamic Ottomanism of Sultan Abdulhamid II. Responding to the Eastern crisis and possible partition, a group of Albanian intellectuals created the League of Prizren to resist neighbouring foreign Balkan states and to assert an Albanian national consciousness by uniting Albanians into a unitary linguistic and cultural nation. The Frashëri brothers, the main leaders of the league opposed both Pan-Slavism of southern Slavic peoples and the Greek Megali Idea. The league opposed territory containing Albanian speakers being awarded to Greece, Serbia and Montenegro. The Ottoman state briefly supported the league's claims viewing Albanian nationalism as possibly preventing further territorial losses to newly independent Balkan states.
The geopolitical crisis generated the beginnings of the Rilindja (Albanian National Awakening) period. From 1878 onward Albanian nationalists and intellectuals, some who emerged as the first modern Albanian scholars, were preoccupied with overcoming linguistic and cultural differences between Albanian subgroups (Gegs and Tosks) and religious divisions (Muslim and Christians). At that time, these scholars lacked access to many primary sources to construct the idea that Albanians were descendants of Illyrians, while Greater Albania was not considered a priority. Compared with their Balkan counterparts, these Albanian politicians and historians were very moderate and mainly had the goal to attain socio-political recognition and autonomy for Albanians under Ottoman rule. Albanians involved in these activities were preoccupied with gathering and identifying evidence, at times inventing facts to justify claims to "prove" the cultural distinctiveness and historical legitimacy of the Albanians in being considered as a nation.
Taking their lead from the Italian national movement, the Arbëresh, (an Albanian diaspora community settled throughout southern Italy from the medieval period) began to promote and spread national ideas by introducing them to Balkan Albanians. Prominent among them were Girolamo de Rada, Giuseppe Schirò and Demetrio Camarda of whom were influenced through literature on Albania by Western scholars and referred within their literary works to a pre-Ottoman past, Skanderbeg, Pyrrhus of Epirus and Alexander the Great. While Muslim (especially Bektashi) Albanians were heavily involved with the Albanian National Awakening producing many figures like Faik Konitza, Ismail Qemali, Midhat Frashëri, Shahin Kolonja and others advocating for Albanian interests and self-determination. The Bektashi Sufi order of the late Ottoman period in Southern Albania also played a role during the Albanian National Awakening by cultivating and stimulating Albanian language and culture and was important in the construction of national Albanian ideology. Among Catholic Albanian figures involved were Prenk Doçi, Gjergj Fishta and Pashko Vasa who penned the famous poem Oh Albania which called for Albanians overcoming religious divisions through a united Albanianism. The last stanza of Vasa's poem Feja e shqyptarit asht shqyptarija (The faith of the Albanian is Albanianism) became during the national awakening period and thereafter a catchword for Albanian nationalists.
Myth of Skanderbeg
Another factor overlaying geopolitical concerns during the National Awakening period were thoughts that Western powers would only favour Christian Balkan states and peoples in the anti Ottoman struggle. During this time Albanian nationalists attempting to gain Great Power sympathies and support conceived of Albanians as a European people who under Skanderbeg resisted Ottoman Turks that later subjugated and cut the Albanians off from Western European civilisation. As such, the Skanderbeg myth presented Albanians as defending Europe from the "Asian hordes" and allowed Albanians to develop the myth of Albanian resistance to foreign enemies that threatened the "fatherland" and the unity of the Albanian nation. Albanian nationalists needed an episode from medieval history to centre Albanian nationalist mythology upon and chose Skanderbeg in the absence of a medieval kingdom or empire. From the 15th to the 19th century Skanderbeg's fame survived mainly in Christian Europe and was based on a perception of Skanderbeg's Albania serving as Antemurale Christianitatis (a barrier state) against "invading Turks". In Albania, largely Islamicized during this period, Skanderbeg's fame faded and was rediscovered at the end of the 19th century when that figure was brought to the level of national myth. Another measure for nationalists promoting the Skanderbeg myth among Albanians was for them to turn their backs on their Ottoman heritage which was viewed as being the source of the Albanians' predicament. Skanderbeg's Christian identity was avoided and he was presented mainly as a defender of the nation. Albanian nationalist writers transformed Skanderbeg's figure and deeds into a mixture of historical facts, truths, half-truths, inventions, and folklore.
Hellenism, Orthodoxy and Albanian nationalism
For Orthodox Albanians, Albanianism was closely associated with Hellenism, linked through the faith of Orthodoxy and only during the Eastern crisis and thereafter was that premise rejected by a few Orthodox Albanianists. In southern Albania during the late Ottoman period being Albanian was increasingly associated with Islam, while from the 1880s the emerging Albanian National Movement was viewed as an obstacle to Hellenism within the region. Some Orthodox Albanians mainly from Korçë and its regions began to affiliate with the Albanian National movement by working together with Muslim Albanians regarding shared social, geopolitical Albanian interests and aims causing concerns for Greece. Contribution to the national movement by Orthodox Albanian nationalists was mainly undertaken outside the Ottoman state in the Albanian diaspora with activities focusing on educational issues and propaganda. As Orthodoxy was associated with Greek identity, the rise of the Albanian national movement caused confusion for Orthodox Albanians as it interrupted the formation of a Greek national consciousness.
In some areas, bitter schisms emerged among the Orthodox population as local pro-Greek and pro-Albanian factions confronted each other. This was especially the case in Lunxhëri, a Albanophone Orthodox region near the Greek border in Gjirokaster County. In the early 1800s, Western European travelers remarked that, going north from ethnically Greek Delvinaki, it "felt like a different country" whose people had different customs, and that the locals themselves believed that "Albania... the native country of the Albanians, begins from the town of Delvinaki." In that century, the region produced many prominent Albanian patriots and nationalist activists such as Koto Hoxhi, Vangjel and Kristo Meksi, Petro Poga, Pandeli Sotiri and Kosta Boshnjaku, but also powerful Grecophiles such as Zografos, the leader of the North Epirote insurgency (there were also those who were simultaneously Albanists and Hellenists, such as Anastas Byku). In the late Ottoman period, powerful Grecophile families forced the departure of many pro-Albanian Christians from the region, with some fleeing to America. Many local Orthodox Albanian nationalists died for their beliefs: Pandeli Sotiri was murdered by Grecophiles, while Koto Hoxhi was excommunicated and died in jail. After the failure of the North Epirote insurgency, a number of powerful pro-Greek families fled to Greece while some pro-Albanian families returned, and until modern migration to Greece, the remaining population came to mostly identify strongly as Albanian, including families which know they had originally been Grecophones from much further south.
At the onset of the twentieth century the idea to create an Albanian Orthodoxy or an Albanian expression of Orthodoxy emerged in the diaspora at a time when the Orthodox were increasingly being assimilated by the Patriarchate and Greece through the sphere of politics. The Orthodox Albanian community had individuals such as Jani Vreto, Spiro Dine and Fan Noli involved in the national movement and some of them advocated for an Albanian Orthodoxy in order to curtail the Hellenisation process occurring amongst Orthodox Albanians. In 1905, priest Kristo Negovani who had attained Albanian national sentiments abroad returned to his native village of Negovan and introduced the Albanian language for the first time in Orthodox liturgy. For his efforts Negovani was murdered by a Greek guerilla band on orders from Bishop Karavangelis of Kastoria that aroused a nationalist response with the Albanian guerilla band of Bajo Topulli killing the Metropolitan of Korçë, Photios. In 1907, an Orthodox Albanian immigrant Kristaq Dishnica was refused funeral services in the United States by a local Orthodox Greek priest for being an Albanian nationalist. Known as the Hudson incident, it galvanised the emigre Orthodox Albanian community to form the Albanian Orthodox Church under Fan Noli who hoped to diminish Greek influence in the church and counter Greek irredentism. For Albanian nationalists, Greek nationalism was a concern toward the end of the 19th century due to overlapping territorial claims toward the ethnically mixed vilayet of Yannina. Those issues also generated a reaction against Greek nationalists that drove the Albanian desire to stress a separate cultural identity.
Western influences and origin theories
In the 19th century Western academia imparted its influence on the emerging Albanian identity construction process by providing tools that were utilised and transformed in certain contexts and toward goals within a changing environment. This differed from the context from which Western authors had originally generated their theories. Albanian nationalists of the period were educated in foreign schools abroad. Some 19th century Western academics examining the issue of Albanian origins promoted the now-discredited theory of Albanian descent from ancient Pelasgians. Developed by the Austrian linguist Johann Georg von Hahn in his work Albanesiche Studien (1854) the theory claimed the Pelasgians as the original proto-Albanians and the language spoken by the Pelasgians, Illyrians, Epirotes and ancient Macedonians being closely related. This theory quickly attracted support in Albanian circles, as it established a claim of precedence over other Balkan nations, the Slavs and particularly the Greeks. In addition to generating a "historic right" to territory, this theory also established that ancient Greek civilization and its achievements had an "Albanian" origin.
The Pelasgian theory was adopted among early Albanian publicists and used by Italo-Albanians, Orthodox and Muslim Albanians. Italo-Albanians being of the Greek rite and their culture having strong ecclesiastical Byzantine influence were not in favour of the Illyrian-Albanian continuity hypothesis as it had overtones of being Catholic and hence Italianate. For Italo-Albanians, the origins of the Albanians lay with the Pelasgians, an obscure ancient people that lived during antiquity in parts of Greece and Albania. To validate Albanian claims for cultural and political emancipation, Italo-Albanians maintained that the Albanian language was the oldest in the region than even Greek. The theory of Pelasgian origins was used by the Greeks to attract and incorporate Albanians into the Greek national project through references to common Pelasgian descent. The Pelasgian theory was welcomed by some Albanian intellectuals who had received Greek schooling. For Orthodox Albanians such as Anastas Byku a common ancestry of both Albanians and Greeks through Pelasgian ancestors made both peoples the same and viewed the Albanian language as a conduit for Hellenisation. For Muslim Albanians like Sami Frashëri Albanians stemmed from the Pelasgians, an older population than Illyrians thereby predating the Greeks making for him the Albanians descendants of Illyrians who themselves originated from Pelasgians. Figures originating from the ancient period such as Alexander the Great and Pyrrhus of Epirus were enveloped in myth and claimed as Albanian men of antiquity while Phillip II of Macedon, the ancient Macedonians were Pelasgian or Illyrian-Albanian.
Albanian writers of the period felt that they had counter arguments that came from the Greek side and from Slavic circles. The Greeks claimed that Albanians did not constitute a people, their language was a mixture of different languages and that an Albanian member of the Orthodox church was "really a Greek", while Slav publicists claimed that Kosovan Albanians were "really" Slavs or they were "Turks" who could be "sent back" to Anatolia. Apart from Greek nationalism being viewed as a threat to Albanian nationalism, emphasizing an antiquity of the Albanian nation served new political contexts and functions during the 1880s. It also arose from the Albanian need to counter Slavic national movements seeking independence from the Ottomans through a Balkan federation. In time the Pelasgian theory was replaced with the Illyrian theory regarding Albanian origins and descent due it being more convincing and supported by some scholars. The Illyrian theory became an important pillar of Albanian nationalism due to its consideration as evidence of Albanian continuity in territories such as Kosovo and the south of Albania contested with the Serbs and Greeks.
Geopolitical consequences and legacy
Unlike their Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian neighbours who had territorial ambitions, Albanians due to being mainly Muslim lacked a powerful European patron. This made many of them want to preserve the status quo and back Ottomanism. By the early 20th century, Albanian nationalism was advanced by a wide-ranging group of Albanian politicians, intellectuals and exiles. An Albanian emigrant community was present in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the majority being illiterate and individuals like Sotir Peci worked to impart a sense of Albanian nationhood among them encouraging the spread of literacy in Albanian. In 1908, an alphabet congress with Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox delegates in attendance agreed to adopt a Latin character-based Albanian alphabet and the move was considered an important step for Albanian unification. Opposition toward the Latin alphabet came from some Albanian Muslims and clerics who with the Ottoman government preferred an Arabic-based Albanian alphabet, due to concerns that a Latin alphabet undermined ties with the Muslim world. Due to the alphabet matter and other Young Turk policies, relations between Albanian elites and nationalists, many Muslim and Ottoman authorities broke down. The Ottoman Young Turk government was concerned that Albanian nationalism might inspire other Muslim nationalities toward such initiatives and threaten the Muslim-based unity of the empire. Though at first Albanian nationalist clubs were not curtailed, the demands for political, cultural and linguistic rights eventually made the Ottomans adopt measures to repress Albanian nationalism which resulted in two Albanian revolts toward the end of Ottoman rule. The first revolt was during 1910 in northern Albania and Kosovo reacting toward the new Ottoman government policy of centralization. The other revolt in the same areas was in 1912 that sought Albanian political and linguistic self-determination under the bounds of the Ottoman Empire and with both revolts many of the leaders and fighters were Muslim and Catholic Albanians. These Albanian revolts were also a turning point that impacted the Young Turk government which increasingly moved from a policy direction of pan-Ottomanism and Islam toward a singular national Turkish outlook.
Albanian nationalism during the late Ottoman era was not imbued with separatism that aimed to create an Albanian nation-state, though Albanian nationalists did envisage an independent Greater Albania. Albanian nationalists of the late Ottoman period were divided into three groups. Pan-Albanian nationalists, those who wanted to safeguard Albanian autonomy under an Ottoman state and an Albania divided along sectarian lines with an independent Catholic Albania envisaged mainly by Catholics. In the late Ottoman period Bektashi Muslims in Albania distanced themselves from Albanian Sunnis who opposed Albanian independence. Though neglected in Albanian historiography, there were people who came from an Balkan Albanian speaking or cultural space, mainly from urban centres and stemming from the elite who often though not always when migrating to Anatolia did not identify with a concept of Albanianess. Instead they adopted an Ottoman Turkish outlook and came to refer to themselves as Turks or Ottoman Turkish speaking citizens. Due to the effects of socio-linguistic assimilation, promoters of Albanian nationalism became concerned about migration to Anatolia and degraded Albanians from the lower classes who undertook the journey. The emerging Albanian nationalist elite promoted the use of the Albanian language as a medium of political and intellectual expression. Policies of national exclusivity by Serbs and Greeks like an abandonment of the common Pelasgian descent theory and stressing the importance of Greek language as a component of Greek nationalism left little room for alternative national affiliations among Albanian Catholics and to an extent Orthodox Albanians. Non-Muslim Albanians accepted the idea of a multi-faith Albanian nation due to a number of other factors such as a distinct language differing from other Balkan peoples and imagined common Illyrian descent. Albanian nationalism overall was a reaction to the gradual breakup of the Ottoman Empire and a response to Balkan and Christian national movements that posed a threat to an Albanian population that was mainly Muslim. Efforts were devoted to including vilayets with an Albanian population into a larger unitary Albanian autonomous province within the Ottoman state.
Albanian nationalists were mainly focused on defending rights that were sociocultural, historic and linguistic within existing countries without being connected to a particular polity. Unlike other Balkan nationalisms religion was seen as an obstacle and Albanian nationalism competed with it and developed an anti clerical outlook. As Albanians lived in an Ottoman millet system that stressed religious identities over other forms of identification, the myth of religious indifference was formed during the National Awakening as a means to overcome internal religious divisions among Albanians. Promoted as civil religion of sorts, Albanianism as an idea was developed by Albanian nationalists to downplay established religions such as Christianity and Islam among Albanians while a non-religious Albanian identity was stressed. Within the Albanian movement a few members of the elite promoted other religions as the basis for unity, such as syncretic Bektashi beliefs or the call to adhere to the original faith of the Albanians purported to be based on ancient Pelasgian-Illyrian roots or Christianity. Overall Albanian nationalists of the period viewed religion as a private matter and stressed the need that Albanians ought to tolerate the differences of other faiths existing among them. Religion did not play a significant role as in other Balkan nationalisms or to mainly become a divisive factor in the formation of Albanian nationalism which resembled Western European nationalisms. The Albanian language instead of religion became the primary focus of promoting national unity. Albanian National Awakening figures during the late Ottoman period generated vernacular literature in Albanian. Often those works were poems which contained nationalist aspirations and political themes which in part secured support for the Albanian nationalist cause when transformed into narrative songs that spread among the male population of Albanian speaking villagers in the Balkans. Nation building efforts gained momentum after 1900 among the Catholic population by the clergy and members such as craftsmen and traders of the Bektashi and Orthodox community in the south. With a de-emphasis of Islam, the Albanian nationalist movement gained the strong support of two Adriatic sea powers Austria-Hungary and Italy who were concerned about pan-Slavism in the wider Balkans and Anglo-French hegemony purportedly represented through Greece in the area. The Austro-Hungarians and Italians supported the development of an Albanian national consciousnesses as a precursor for the creation of an Albanian state and devoted assistance toward that aim mainly among Albanian Catholics.
Independence, Interwar period and World War Two (1912-1944)
The imminence of collapsing Ottoman rule through military defeat during the Balkan wars pushed Albanians represented by Ismail Qemali to declare independence (28 November 1912) in Vlorë from the Ottoman Empire. The main motivation for independence was to prevent Balkan Albanian inhabited lands from being annexed by Greece and Serbia. Italy and Austria-Hungary supported Albanian independence due to their concerns that Serbia with an Albanian coast would be a rival power in the Adriatic Sea and open to influence from its ally Russia. Apart from geopolitical interests, some Great powers were reluctant to include more Ottoman Balkan Albanian inhabited lands into Albania due to concerns that it would be the only Muslim dominated state in Europe. Russo-French proposals were for a truncated Albania based on central Albania with a mainly Muslim population, which was also supported by Serbia and Greece who considered that only Muslims could be Albanians (and not even all Albanophone Muslims necessarily). As more Albanians became part of the Serbian and Greek states, Albanian scholars with nationalistic perspectives interpret the declaration of independence as a partial victory for the Albanian nationalist movement. After recognising Albanian independence and its provisional borders in 1913, the Great powers imposed on Albania a Christian German prince Wilhelm of Wied to be its ruler in 1914. In the ensuring power struggles and disquiet over having a Christian monarch, a failed Muslim uprising (1914) broke out in central Albania that sought to restore Ottoman rule while northern and southern Albania distanced themselves from those events. During this period and that of the early 20th century most Orthodox Albanians in southern Albania supported the unification of the area with Greece and were opposed to living in an Albania under leaders composed of Muslim Albanians.
On the eve of independence the bulk of Albanians still adhered to pre-nationalist categories like religious affiliation, family or region. Both highlanders and peasants were unprepared for a modern nation state and it was used as an argument against Albanian statehood. With the alternative being partition of Balkan Albanian inhabited lands by neighbouring countries, overcoming a fragile national consciousness and multiple internal divisions was paramount for nationalists like state leader Ismail Qemali. Developing a strong Albanian national consciousness and sentiment overrode other concerns such as annexing areas with an Albanian population like Kosovo. Albania during World War One was occupied by foreign powers and they pursued policies which strengthened expressions of Albanian nationalism especially in Southern Albania. Italian and French authorities closed down Greek schools, expelled Greek clergy and pro-Greek notables while allowing Albanian education with the French sector promoting Albanian self-government through the Korçë republic. Another factor that reinforced nationalistic sentiments among the population was the return of 20-30,000 Orthodox Albanian emigrants mainly to the Korçë region who had attained Albanian nationalist sentiments abroad. The experience of World War One, concerns over being partitioned and loss of power made the Muslim Albanian population support Albanian nationalism and the territorial integrity of Albania. An understanding also emerged between most Sunni and Bektashi Albanians that religious differences needed to be sidelined for national cohesiveness. Abandonment of pan-Muslim links abroad was viewed within the context of securing international support for and maintaining independence with some Muslim Albanian clergy being against disavowing ties with the wider Muslim world.
Interwar period (1919-1938)
During the 1920s the role of religion was downplayed by the Albanian state who instead promoted Albanianism, a broad civic form of nationalism that looked to highlight ethnonational identity over religious identities. Orthodox Albanians undertook to implement many reforms due to their previous Ottoman status of being an underclass by desiring to move Albania away from its Muslim Ottoman heritage. In Southern Albania, Albanian nationalists (many Orthodox) were the majority in the Korçë region, while west of the Vjosa river and in the Gjirokastër region the Orthodox Albanian population retained Greek sentiments. A generational divide emerged among the Orthodox with youth supporting nationalist ideas due to their perceived modern character, while support for Greece remained with older generations. Among the Orthodox a new group the moderates emerged which supported the state and nationalism while holding reservations about being included in Albania and viewed Greece as an alternative option. In areas such as the Korçë region where Orthodox Albanians became affected by Albanian nationalism they moved away from Orthodox church influence and tended to lose their religious identity, while in areas were the Orthodox population was the majority they often retained their religious identity. A congress of Berat in 1922 was convened to formally lay the foundations of an Albanian Orthodox Church which consecrated Fan Noli as Bishop of Korçë and primate of all Albania while the establishment of the church was seen as important for maintaining Albanian national unity. The Patriarchate in Istanbul recognised the independence or autocephaly of the Orthodox Albanian Church in 1937. In northern-central Albania an attempt was made by Albanian Catholics to secede and create the Republic of Mirdita (1921) with Yugoslav support and assistance due to Catholic claims that the Albanian government was going to ban Catholicism and the secessionist move was put down by Albanian troops. In 1923, an Islamic congress supervised by the Albanian government was convened by Sunni Muslim representatives to consider reforms and among those adopted was a break in ties with the caliphate in Istanbul and to establish local Muslim structures loyal to Albania. Sharia law became subordinated to a new civil law code and Muslims in Albania came under government control. The Bektashi order in 1922 at an assembly of 500 delegates renounced ties with Turkey and by 1925 moved their headquarters to Albania.
The ascension of Ahmet Zog as prime minister (1925) and later king (1929) during the interwar period was marked by limited though necessary political stability. Along with resistance by Zog to interwar Italian political and economic influence in Albania those factors contributed to an environment were an Albanian national consciousness could grow. Under Zog regional affiliations and tribal loyalties were gradually replaced with a developing form of modern nationalism. During that time Zog attempted to instill a national consciousness through the scope of a teleological past based upon Illyrian descent, Skanderbeg's resistance to the Ottomans and the nationalist reawakening (Rilindja) of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The myth of Skanderbeg under Zog was used for nation building purposes and his helmet was adopted in national symbols. Zog's concerns during the interwar period about suspected propaganda within foreign run schools, Greek in the south and especially Italian run Catholic ones in the north prompted a complete shutdown which overall was a major set back for nationalism. Generating mass nationalism was difficult during the interwar period as even in 1939, 80% of Albanians were still illiterate. Apart from using the title King of the Albanians Zog did not pursue irredentist policies such as toward Kosovo due to rivalries with Kosovan Albanian elites and an agreement recognizing Yugoslav sovereignty over Kosovo in return for support. Zog's efforts toward the development of Albanian nationalism made the task simpler for leaders that came after him regarding the process of Albanian state and nation building. By the 1930s Muslim Albanians were divided into three groups. The Elders (Të vjetër) who were Muslim conservatives, the Young (Të rinjtë) who rejected religion and the Neo-Albanians (Neoshqiptarët) who opposed religious sectarianism stressing Albanian identity and culture with some preferring Bektashism due to its links with Albanian nationalism. During the interwar period Catholics viewed the Albanian central government as a Muslim one, while the Orthodox felt that in a political context they were dominated by Muslims.
World War Two (1939-1944)
On 7 April 1939, Italy headed by Benito Mussolini after prolonged interest and overarching sphere of influence during the interwar period invaded Albania. Italian fascist regime members such as Count Galeazzo Ciano pursued Albanian irredentism with the view that it would earn Italians support among Albanians while also coinciding with Italian war aims of Balkan conquest. The Italian occupying force in 1939 was welcomed by most Catholic Albanians who viewed them as their co-religionists. Italian authorities deemed northern tribal chieftains as being overall politically insignificant and allowed them freedom to run their affairs which damaged emerging Albanian nationalism by undoing Zog's attempts at supplanting local loyalties with state loyalties. The Italian annexation of Kosovo to Albania was considered a popular action by Albanians of both areas. In newly acquired territories, non-Albanians had to attend Albanian schools that taught a curricula containing nationalism alongside fascism and were made to adopt Albanian forms for their names and surnames. Members from the landowning elite, liberal nationalists opposed to communism with other sectors of society came to form the Balli Kombëtar organisation and the collaborationist government under the Italians which all as nationalists sought to preserve Greater Albania. While Italians expressed increased concerns about conceding authority to them. In time the Italian occupation became disliked by sections of the Albanian population such as the intelligentsia, students, other professional classes and town dwellers that generated further an emerging Albanian nationalism fostered during the Zog years.
The same nationalist sentiments among Albanians which welcomed the addition of Kosovo and its Albanians within an enlarged state also worked against the Italians as foreign occupation became increasingly rejected. Apart from verbal opposition, other responses to the Italian presence eventually emerged as armed insurrection through the Albanian communist party. Italian authorities had misjudged the growth of an Albanian national consciousness during the Zog years with the assumption that Albanian nationalism was weak or could be directed by the Italians. Regional divisions became heightened when resistance groups with differing agendas emerged in the north and south of Albania which slowed the growth of nationalism. With Italy's surrender in 1943 they became replaced outright in Albania with German forces. German occupational authorities instigated a policy of threatening the collaborationist government with military action, communist ascendancy or loss of autonomy and Kosovo to keep them in line. The Germans like the Italians misunderstood Albanian nationalism with; as a result, Albanian noncommunists lost credibility while the communist partisans appealed to growing Albanian nationalism. In a post-war setting this meant that groups such as Balli Kombëtar who had aligned with the Axis powers were unable to take power, while emerging leaders such as communist Enver Hoxha solidified his claim to that role by being a nationalist.
Albanian Nationalism during the People's Republic of Albania (1945–1991)
Neither Moslem nor Christian, but Albanian.
Neither Gheg nor Tosk, but Albanian.
Albania in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War entered into a dependent economic and political relationship with Yugoslavia that sought to bring together and eventually unite the two countries. Within the Albanian communist leadership Koçi Xoxe supported Tito and the Yugoslavs and both disliked Hoxha for being nationalistic. Hoxha later took advantage of the Tito-Stalin split by siding with the Soviets and preserved Albanian independence. Hoxha emerged as leader of Albania at the end of the war and was left with the task of reconstructing Albania from what foundations remained from the Zog years. Hoxha viewed as his goal the construction of a viable independent Albanian nation state based around a "monolithic unity" of the Albanian people. Albanian society was still traditionally divided between four religious communities. In the Albanian census of 1945, Muslims (Sunni and Bektashi) were 72% of the population, 17.2% were Orthodox and 10% Catholic. The support base of the communist party was small and the need to sideline the Kosovo issue resulted in Hoxha resorting to extreme nationalism to remain in power and to turn Albania into a Stalinist state. Hoxha implemented widespread education reform aimed at eradicating illiteracy and education which became used to impart the regime's communist ideology and nationalism. In Albania nationalism during communism had as its basis the ideology of Marxism–Leninism.
Nationalist ideology during communism
Nationalism became the basis for all of Hoxha's policies as the war created a "state of siege nationalism" imbued with the myth that Albanian military prowess defeated Axis forces which became a centrepiece of the regime within the context of education and culture. Other themes of Hoxha's nationalism included revering Skanderbeg, the League of Prizren meeting (1878), the Alphabet Congress (1908), Albanian independence (1912) and founding father Ismail Qemali, the Italian defeat during the Vlora War (1920) and Hoxha as creator of a new Albania. During communism numerous historians from Albania with nationalist perspectives (Ramadan Marmallaku, Kristo Frasheri, Skender Anamali, Stefanaq Pollo, Skender Rizaj and Arben Puto) intentionally emphasized "the Turkish savagery" and "heroic Christian resistance against" the Ottoman state in Albania. Some scholars that resisted those anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish propaganda trends were persecuted while the communist regime highlighted myths related to medieval Albanians by interpreting them as the "heroic Illyrian proletariat". Within that context Hoxha preserved national monuments in urban areas with some settlements being designated as museum cities and he also stressed the need to preserve cultural heritage, folk songs, dances and costumes. Hoxha created and generated a cultural environment that was dominated by doctrinal propaganda stressing nationalism in the areas of literature, geography, history, linguistics, ethnology and folklore so people in Albania would have a sense of their past. The effects among people were that it instilled isolationism, xenophobia, slavophobia, linguistic uniformity and ethnic compactness.
Origin theories during communism
Imitating Stalinist trends in the Communist Bloc, Albania developed its own version of protochronist ideology, which stressed the national superiority and continuity of Albanians from ancient peoples such as the Illyrians. At first the issue of Albanian ethnogenesis was an open question for Albanian scholarship in the 1950s. Hoxha personally supported the Pelasgian theory though officially intervened on the matter by declaring Albanian origins to be Illyrian (without excluding Pelasgian roots) and ended further discussion on the subject. Albanian archaeologists were directed by Hoxha (1960s onward) to follow a nationalist agenda that focused on Illyrians and Illyrian-Albanian continuity with studies published on those topics used as communist political propaganda that omitted mention of Pelasgians. Emphasizing an autochthonous ethnogenesis for Albanians, Hoxha insisted on Albanian linguists and archeologists to connect the Albanian language with the extinct Illyrian language. The emerging archeological scene funded and enforced by the communist government stressed that the ancestors of the Albanians ruled over a unified and large territory possessing a unique culture. Toward that endeavour Albanian archaeologists also claimed that ancient Greek poleis, ideas, culture were wholly Illyrian and that a majority of names belonging to the Greek deities stemmed from Illyrian words. Albanian publications and television programs (1960s onward) have taught Albanians to understand themselves as descendants of "Indo-European" Illyrian tribes inhabiting the western Balkans from the second to third millennium while claiming them as the oldest indigenous people in that area and on par with the Greeks. Physical anthropologists also tried to demonstrate that Albanians were biologically different from other Indo-European populations, a hypothesis now refuted through genetic analysis.
Nationalism and religion
The communist regime through Albanian nationalism attempted to forge a national identity that transcended and eroded religious and other differences with the aim of forming a unitary Albanian identity. The communists promoted the idea that religious feeling, even in a historic context among Albanians was minimal and that instead national sentiment was always important. Albanian communists viewed religion as a societal threat that undermined the cohesiveness of the nation. Within this context religions like Islam and Christianity were denounced as foreign with Muslim and Christian clergy criticised as being socially backward with the propensity to become agents of other states and undermine Albanian interests. Nationalism was also used as a tool by Hoxha during his struggle to break Albania out of the Soviet bloc. Inspired by Pashko Vasa's late 19th century poem for the need to overcome religious differences through Albanian unity, Hoxha took and exploited the stanza "the faith of the Albanians is Albanianism" and implemented it literally as state policy. The communist regime proclaimed that the only religion of the Albanians was Albanianism. In 1967 the communist regime declared Albania the only atheist and non-religious country in the world and banned all forms of religious practice in public. Within the space of several months the communist regime destroyed 2,169 religious buildings (mosques, churches and other monuments) while Muslim and Christian clergy were imprisoned, persecuted and in some cases killed. The Catholic Church of Albania in particular bore the brunt of the regime's violent anti-religious campaign as Hoxha viewed it as a tool of the Vatican and Albanian Catholics as less patriotic than the Orthodox and Muslims. The communist regime through policy destroyed the Muslim way of life and Islamic culture within Albania. Though Muslim Albanians were affected, the Orthodox community made up of Albanians, Macedonians, Aromanians and Greeks was affected more due to the Ottoman legacy of Orthodox identity being associated with religious practice and language.
Within the context of anti religion policies the communist regime ordered in 1975 mandatory name changes, in particular surnames for citizens in Albania that were deemed "inappropriate" or "offensive from a political, ideological and moral standpoint". The regime insisted that parents and children attain non religious names that were derived from Albanian mythological figures, geographical features and newly coined names. These names were often ascribed a supposedly "Illyrian" and pagan origin while given names associated with the Muslim tradition or Christianity were strongly discouraged. This trend had originated with the 19th century Rilindja, but it became extreme after 1944, when it became the communist regime's declared doctrine to oust Muslim or Christian given names. Ideologically acceptable names were listed in the Fjalor me emra njerëzish (1982). These could be native Albanian words like Flutur "butterfly", ideologically communist ones like Proletare, or "Illyrian" ones compiled from epigraphy, e.g. from the necropolis at Dyrrhachion excavated in 1958-60. Non-Albanian names were replaced which went alongside the regime's brutal version of Albanian nationalism. These approaches resulted for example in the Albanianisation of toponyms in areas where some Slavic minorities resided through official decree (1966) and of Slavic youth though not outright of the Macedonian community as a whole. The communist regime also pursued an nationalistic anti-Greek policy. Greeks in Albania were forced to Albanianise their names and choose ones that did not have ethnic or religious connotations resulting in Greek families giving children different names so as to pass for Albanians in the wider population. Albanian nationalism in the 1980s became an important political factor within the scope of Hoxha's communist doctrines.
Contemporary Albanian nationalism (1992-present)
Post-communist developments in society and politics
Due to the legacy of Hoxha's dictatorial and violent regime, Albanians in a post communist environment have rejected Hoxha's version of Albanian nationalism. Instead it has been replaced with a weak form of civic nationalism and regionalism alongside in some instances with a certain anti-nationalism that has inhibited the construction of an Albanian civil society. Within the context of nationalist discourses during the 1990s the governing Albanian Democratic Party regarding European aspirations stressed aspects of Catholicism and as some government members were Muslims made overtures about Islam to join international organisations like the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Post-communist Albanian governments view the tenets of the Albanian National Awakening as being a guiding influence for Albania by placing the nation above sociopolitical and religious differences and steering the country toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Themes and concepts of history from the Zog and later Hoxha era have still continued to be modified and adopted within a post communist environment to fit contemporary Albania's aspirations regarding Europe.
Trends from Albanian nationalist historiography composed by scholars during and of the communist era onward linger on that interpret Ottoman rule as being the "yoke" period, akin to other Balkan historiographies. The legacy of understanding history through such dichotomies has remained for a majority of Albanians which for example they view Skanderbeg and the anti-Ottoman forces as "good" while the Ottomans are "bad". The Albanian government depicts Skanderbeg as a leader of the Albanian resistance to the Ottomans and creator of an Albanian centralised state without emphasizing his Christian background. Christian communities in Albania highlight Skanderbeg's Christian heritage, while Muslim and non religious Albanians deemphasize his religious background and mainly view him as a defender of the nation. Skanderbeg is promoted as an Albanian symbol of Europe and the West. In a post communist environment among some circles myths based on religion with an anti-Western outlook have been generated that views Muslims as the only "true Albanians" by celebrating the conversion to Islam as saving Albanians from assimilating into Serbs and Greeks. Some also hold the view that Skanderbeg should not be the national hero as he served the Christians after he betrayed the Ottomans. The Albanian state emphasizes religious tolerance and coexistence without pressuring its citizens to follow a particular faith. The Albanian political establishment promotes Christian figures over Muslim ones in relation to nation building with the idea of deemphasizing Albania's Islamic heritage to curry favour with the West. Figures from the Muslim community such as state founder Ismail Qemali is revered by the government and viewed by Albanians as a defender of the nation though their religious background has been sidelined.
The figure of Saint Mother Teresa, an Albanian nun known for missionary activities in India has been used for nationalist purposes in Albania. Within Albania she is promoted inside and outside Albania by the political elite as an Albanian symbol of the West to enhance the country's international status regarding Euro-Atlantic aspirations and integration. Some Muslim Albanian circles have expressed that promotion by the Albanian political elite of Mother Teresa in Albanian society has been at the expense of Islam and its heritage while contravening the Albanian government's secularist principles. Mother Teresa is an important symbol of the Albanian Catholic community, while Muslim Albanians deemphasize her religious background and acknowledge her charitable works. Albanian nationalism overall is not attached to a particular denomination or religion. The ambiguity of Islam and its place and role among Balkan (Muslim) Albanians has limited the ability of it becoming a major component to advance the cause of Great Albania. During the Kosovo crisis (1999) Albania was divided between two positions. The first being an Albanian nationalism motivating Albania to aid and provide refuge for Kosovan Albanian refugees while being a conduit for arming Kosovan Albanians and the second that the country was unable to provide those resources, aid and asylum.
Within the sphere of politics anti-Greek sentiments exist and have for instance been expressed by the nationalist movement turned political party the Red and Black Alliance (AK). Anti-Greek sentiments expressed as conspiracy theories among Albanians are over perceived fears of hellenisation of Albanians through economic incentives creating a "time-bomb" by artificially raising Greek numbers alongside Greek irredentism toward Southern Albania. There are conspiracy theories in which the identification with Greek expansionist plans would classify them as potential enemies of the state. However, while within the context of migration to Greece in a post communist environment, many Orthodox Albanians have expressed that they have Greek origins and declared themselves as Northern-Epirots (Greek: Βορειοηπειρώτες Vorioipirotes, Albanian: Vorioepirot) which is synonymous with Greek identity, as Greeks are given pensions and preferential treatment in emigration; however, it has been noted that many of the same Orthodox Albanians who are claiming "North Epirote" identity or even forging documents to present themselves as Greek minority members also voice strong Albanian nationalist views, and furthermore that Muslim Albanians from regions such as Devoll have converted to Orthodoxy and changed their names to Greek as they emigrated, drawing the mockery of their Albanian Orthodox neighbors who did not emigrate and insist on a solely Albanian identity. Some Albanians are in favour of Albania being more self-assertive and having a more ethnonationalist strategy toward the "Greek issue".
Greater Albania and Albanian politics
Political parties advocating and willing to fight for a Greater Albania emerged in Albania during the 2000s. They were the National Liberation Front of Albanians (KKCMTSH) and Party of National Unity (PUK) that both merged in 2002 to form the United National Albanian Front (FBKSh) which acted as the political organisation for the Albanian National Army (AKSh) militant group. Regarded internationally as terrorist both have gone underground and its members have been involved in various violent incidents in Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia during the 2000s. In the early 2000s, the Liberation Army of Chameria (UCC) was a reported paramilitary formation that intended to be active in northern Greek region of Epirus. Political parties active only in the political scene exist that have a nationalist outlook are the monarchist Legality Movement Party (PLL), the National Unity Party (PBKSh) alongside the Balli Kombëtar, a party to have passed the electoral threshold and enter parliament. These political parties, some of whom advocate for a Greater Albania have been mainly insignificant and remained at the margins of the Albanian political scene. Another nationalist party to have passed the electoral threshold is the Party for Justice, Integration and Unity (PDIU) representing the Cham Albanian community regarding property and other issues related to their Second World War exile from northern Greece. The current socialist prime minister Edi Rama in coalition with the PDIU has raised the Cham issue, while at PDIU gatherings made comments about ancient Greek deities and references to surrounding territories as being Albanian earning stern rebukes from Greece. Some similar views have also been voiced by members from Albania's political elite from time to time. The Kosovo question has limited appeal among Albanian voters and are not interested in electing parties advocating redrawn borders creating a Greater Albania. Centenary Albanian independence celebrations in 2012 generated nationalistic commentary among the political elite of whom prime-minister Sali Berisha referred to Albanian lands as extending from Preveza (in northern Greece) to Preševo (in southern Serbia), angering Albania's neighbors. Greater Albania remains mainly in the sphere of political rhetoric and overall Balkan Albanians view EU integration as the solution to combat crime, weak governance, civil society and bringing different Albanian populations together.
Influence of origin theories in contemporary society and politics
Within the sphere of Albanian politics, the Illyrians are officially regarded as the ancestors of the Albanians. Catholic Albanians are generally in favour of the Illyrian theory while Orthodox Albanians do not support it due to associations with the Illyrian movement of Catholic Croats or Roman heritage and they do not oppose it openly as power is held mainly by Muslim Albanians. The Illyrian theory continues to influence Albanian nationalism, scholarship and archeologists as it is seen as providing some evidence of continuity of an Albanian presence in Kosovo, western Macedonia and southern Albania, i.e., areas that were subject to ethnic conflicts between Albanians, Serbs, Macedonians and Greeks. For some Albanian nationalists claiming descent from Illyrians as the oldest inhabitants of the Western Balkans allows them to assert a "prior claim" to sizable lands in the Balkans. Greek and Roman figures from antiquity such as Aristotle, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Alexander the Great and Constantine the Great are also claimed. Those from the elite like Ismail Kadare, a prominent Albanian novelist has repeated in his writings themes from communist nationalistic Albanian historiography about Albanian closeness to ancient Greeks based on Homeric ideals, claiming that the Albanians are more Greek than the Greeks themselves, and initiating debates on Albanian identity claiming Albanians as being a white people and Islam as foreign.
Rejected by modern scholarship, during the late 1990s and early 2000s the Pelasgian theory has been revived through a series of translated foreign books published on Albania and other related topics and plays an important role in Albanian nationalism today. Among them are authors such as Robert D'Angély, Edwin Everett Jacques and Mathieu Aref, whose works have revitalised 19th century ideas about Albanian descent from the ancient Pelasgians and Europeans being a "white race" originating from them. Another notable book is by the Arvanite activist Aristeidis Kollias, which rehabilitated in post-dictatorial Greek society the Arvanites (a community in Southern Greece descended from medieval Albanian settlers who today self identify as Greeks) by claiming alongside the Greeks a shared Pelasgian origin and that many Greek words had an Albanian etymology. In an Albanian context this book has been used by Albanians in Albania and Albanian immigrants in Greece as a tool to rehabilitate themselves as an ancient and autochthonous population in the Balkans to "prove" the precedence of Albanians over Greeks. The book has been used to legitimise the presence of Albanians in Greece by claiming a prominent role by Albanians in the emergence of ancient Greek civilisation and later in the creation of the Greek state, so as to counter the negative image of their communities. The revival of the alternative Pelasgian theory has occurred within the context of post-communist Greek-Albanian relations to generate cultural hegemony and historical precedence over the Greeks and sometimes toward other (historical) European cultures by Albanians. Albanian schoolbooks, mainly in relation to language, have also asserted at times that the Illyrians are the heirs of the Pelasgians.
In 2011 research conducted by Austrian linguists Stefan Schumacher and Joachim Matzinger caused controversy in Albania due to the fact that they accepted that Albanian does not originate from the language of the ancient Illyrians. Although this connection has long been supported by Albanian nationalists and is still taught in Albania from primary school through to university, it does not receive universal acceptance. However, the theory retains many supporters among Albanian academics.
The purportedly Illyrian names that the communist regime generated continue to be used today and to be considered of Illyrian origin. The museum in the capital, Tirana, has a bust Pyrrhus of Epirus next to the bust of Teuta (an Illyrian), and under that of Scanderbeg, a medieval Albanian.
Contemporary Albanian identity
Throughout the duration of the Communist regime, national Albanian identity was constructed as being irreligious and based upon a common unitary Albanian nationality. This widely spread ideal is still present, though challenged by religious differentiation between Muslim and Christian Albanians which exists at a local level. In a post communist environment, religious affiliation to either Muslim and Christian groups is viewed within the context of historical belonging (mainly patrilineal) and contemporary social organisation as cultural communities with religious practice playing a somewhat secondary to limited role. These communities nonetheless possess perceptions of their group and others. Muslim Albanians see themselves as the purest Albanians due to participation in the National Awakening, resisting Serbian geopolitical aims while Islam is seen as a force that maintained Albanian independence, united Albanians and prevented them from being assimilated by the Serbs, Greeks or even Italians. Albanian Muslims view Christian Albanian communities like Orthodox Albanians as historically having identified with the Greeks by referring to them as such while attributing to them pro-Greek sentiments and Catholics with the Italians. Orthodox Albanians view themselves as the purest Albanians belonging to Christianity, the oldest religion among Albanians and perceive Muslim Albanians as having historically collaborated and identified with the Ottomans earning the epithet Turk. Catholic Albanians view themselves as the purest Albanians due to keeping morals intact and traditional customs such as the Kanun with its codes of law and honour while some have expressed negative views of Islam and past Muslim Albanian political dominance. Catholic and Orthodox Albanians hold concerns that any possible unification of Balkan areas populated by sizable amounts of Albanian Muslims to the country would lead to an increasing "Muslimization" of Albania. Among Albanians and in particular the young, religion is increasingly not seen as important. Albania's official embrace of a civic framework of nationhood has led to minorities regarding Albania as their homeland and Albanians regarding them as fellow citizens with some differences of views among the young.
- Kressing 2002, p. 19.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 72–86.
- Kostov 2010, p. 40.
- Skoulidas 2013. para. 5.
- King & Mai 2008, p. 209.
- Puto & Maurizio 2015, p. 172.
- De Rapper 2009, p. 7. "by identifying with Pelasgians, Albanians could claim that they were present in their Balkan homeland not only before the "barbarian" invaders of late Roman times (such as the Slavs), not only before the Romans themselves, but also, even more importantly, before the Greeks‟ (Malcolm 2002: 76-77)."
- De Rapper 2009, p. 7.
- Wydra 2007, p. 230. "Albanians tended to go further back in time to the sixth and seventh centuries, claiming an Illyrian- Albanian continuity and superiority over Slavic people...."
- Bideleux & Jeffries 2007, p. 513. "Ethnic Albanians not only comprise the vast majority of the population in Kosova. They have also been brought up to believe that their nation is the oldest in the Balkans, directly descended from the ancient Dardanians (Dardanae), a branch of the 'Illyrian peoples' who had allegedly inhabited most of the western Balkanas (including Kosova) for many centuries before the arrival of the Slavic 'interlopers'...".
- Judah 2008, p. 31.
- Nitsiakos 2010, p. 206.
- King & Mai 2008, p. 212. "three main constitutive myths at work within Albanian nationalism ...Secondly, the myth of Skanderbeg, ..."
- Steinke, Klaus. "Recension of The living Skanderbeg : the Albanian hero between myth and history / Monica Genesin ... (eds.) Hamburg : Kovač, 2010 Schriftenreihe Orbis ; Bd. 16" (in German). Quelle Informationsmittel (IFB) : digitales Rezensionsorgan für Bibliothek und Wissenschaft. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
Im nationalen Mythus der Albaner nimmt er den zentralen Platz ein,...
- Nixon 2010, pp. 3–6.
- Free 2011, p. 14. "Betrachtet man die Gesamtheit der albanischen Nationalmythen, so ist offensichtlich, dass es fur Albaner mehr als nur den Skanderbeg-Mythos gibt und dass nicht nur auf diesem Mythos die albanische Identitat beruht. Es gibt noch weitere wichtige Mythenfiguren, doch diese beziehen sich auf Vorstellungen, abstrakte Konzepte und Kollektive, aber nicht auf Personen."
- Galaty & Watkinson 2004, pp. 2, 8–17.
- Fischer 2007b, p. 267.
- Barbullushi 2010, pp. 151, 154–155.
- Misha 2002, p. 34.
- Misha 2002, pp. 40–41.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 21–22.
- Poulton 1995, p. 65.
- Skendi 1967a, p. 174. "The political thinking of the Orthodox Albanians was divided into two categories. Those who lived in Albania were dominated by Greek influence. The majority of them- especially the notables-desired union with Greece. The Orthodox Christians in general had an intense hatred of Ottoman rule. Although this feeling was shared by their co-religionists who lived in the colonies abroad, their political thinking was different."
- Nitsiakos 2010, p. 56. "The Orthodox Christian Albanians, who belonged to the rum millet, identified themselves to a large degree with the rest of the Orthodox, while under the roof of the patriarchate and later the influence of Greek education they started to form Greek national consciousness, a process that was interrupted by the Albanian national movement in the 19th century and subsequently by the Albanian state."; p. 153. "The influence of Hellenism on the Albanian Orthodox was such that, when the Albanian national idea developed, in the three last decades of the 19th century, they were greatly confused regarding their national identity."
- Skoulidas 2013. para. 2, 27.
- Jordan 2001, p. 1986.
- Goldwyn 2016, p. 276.
- Jordan 2015, p. 1583.
- Merrill 2001, p. 229.
- Endresen 2011, p. 39.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 43–53.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 86–105.
- Psomas 2008, p. 280.
- Endresen 2011, pp. 40–43.
- Goldwyn 2016, p. 255.
- Kostov 2010, p. 40. "These scholars did not have access to many primary sources to be able to construct the notion of the Illyrian origin of the Albanians yet, and Greater Albania was not a priority. The goal of the day was to persuade the Ottoman officials that Albanians were a nation and they deserved some autonomy with the Empire. In fact, Albanian historians and politicians were very moderate compared to their peers in neighbouring countries.
- Jordan 2015, p. 1586.
- Misha 2002, p. 40.
- Trencsényi & Kopecek 2007, p. 169.
- Puto 2009, p. 324.
- Puto & Maurizio 2015, pp. 173–174. "Writers like Angelo Masci (1758– 1821), Emanuele Bidera (1784– 1858), De Rada’s mentor and teacher, Demetrio Camarda (1821–82), Giuseppe Crispi (1781–1859) and Vincenzo Dorsa (1823–85) were thus among the first to entertain the prospect of an autonomous Albanian nationality, collecting local folklore, turning their ancient Albanian dialect into a written language at a time when Albanian still lacked a written form, and building a national pantheon, which included Philip and Alexander the Great of Macedonia, King Pyrrhus of Epirus (fourth century BC) and Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg (1405–68). They did so under the influence of works by Western scholars on Albania, and, more importantly, in the context of the cultural revival associated with the rise of southern Italian patriotism. Calabria and Sicily, where the main Albanian diaspora was settled, were the theatre of major social and political changes in the first decades of the nineteenth century."
- Jordan 2015, p. 1585.
- Skendi 1967a, pp. 115–120.
- Skendi 1967a, pp. 181–189.
- Skoulidas 2013. para. 19, 26.
- Shaw & Shaw 1977, p. 254.
- Takeyh & Gvosdev 2004, p. 80.
- Skendi 1967a, p. 143.
- Merdjanova 2013, p. 41.
- Petrovich 2000, p. 1357.
- Stoyanov 2012, p. 186.
- Skendi 1967a, pp. 169–174.
- Aberbach 2016, pp. 174–175.
- Elsie 2005, p. 88. "Feja e shqyptarit asht shqyptarija (The faith of the Albanian is Albanianism) which was to become a catchword of Albanian nationalists both in the Rilindja period and later.
- Trencsényi & Kopecek 2006, p. 120.
- Misha 2002, p. 43.
- Nitsiakos 2010, pp. 210–211.
- Misha 2002, p. 43. "..an episode taken from medieval history was central for Albanian national mythology. In the absence of medieval kingdom or empire the Albanian nationalists choose Skanderbeg..."
- Skendi 1968, pp. 83–84, 87–88.
- Srodecki 2013, p. 817.
- Endresen 2010, p. 249.
- Misha 2002, p. 43. "The nationalist writers... transform history into myth ... As with most myths his figure and deeds became a mixture of historical facts, truths, half-truths, inventions and folklore."
- Clayer 2005b, pp. 217.
- Kokolakis 2003, p. 56. "Η διαδικασία αυτή του εξελληνισμού των ορθόδοξων περιοχών, λειτουργώντας αντίστροφα προς εκείνη του εξισλαμισμού, επιταχύνει την ταύτιση του αλβανικού στοιχείου με το μουσουλμανισμό, στοιχείο που θ' αποβεί αποφασιστικό στην εξέλιξη των εθνικιστικών συγκρούσεων του τέλους του 19ου αιώνα. [This process of Hellenisation of Orthodox areas, operating in reverse to that of Islamization, accelerated the identification of the Albanian element with Islam, an element that will prove decisive in the evolution of nationalist conflicts during the 19th century]"; p. 84. "Κύριος εχθρός του ελληνισμού από τη δεκαετία του 1880 και ύστερα ήταν η αλβανική ιδέα, που αργά μα σταθερά απομάκρυνε την πιθανότητα μιας σοβαρής ελληνοαλβανικής συνεργασίας και καθιστούσε αναπόφευκτο το μελλοντικό διαμελισμό της Ηπείρου. [The main enemy of Hellenism from the 1880s onward was the Albanian idea, slowly but firmly dismissed the possibility of serious Greek-Albanian cooperation and rendered inevitable the future dismemberment of Epirus.]"
- Vickers 2011, pp. 60–61. "The Greeks too sought to curtail the spread of nationalism amongst the southern Orthodox Albanians, not only in Albania but also in the Albanian colonies in America."
- Skendi 1967a, pp. 175–176, 179.
- Kokolakis 2003, p. 91. "Περιορίζοντας τις αρχικές του ισλαμιστικές εξάρσεις, το αλβανικό εθνικιστικό κίνημα εξασφάλισε την πολιτική προστασία των δύο ισχυρών δυνάμεων της Αδριατικής, της Ιταλίας και της Αυστρίας, που δήλωναν έτοιμες να κάνουν ό,τι μπορούσαν για να σώσουν τα Βαλκάνια από την απειλή του Πανσλαβισμού και από την αγγλογαλλική κηδεμονία που υποτίθεται ότι θα αντιπροσώπευε η επέκταση της Ελλάδας. Η διάδοση των αλβανικών ιδεών στο χριστιανικό πληθυσμό άρχισε να γίνεται ορατή και να ανησυχεί ιδιαίτερα την Ελλάδα." "[By limiting the Islamic character, the Albanian nationalist movement secured civil protection from two powerful forces in the Adriatic, Italy and Austria, which was ready to do what they could to save the Balkans from the threat of Pan-Slavism and the Anglo French tutelage that is supposed to represent its extension through Greece. The dissemination of ideas in Albanian Christian population started to become visible and very concerning to Greece]."
- Pipa 1989, p. 196. "Most of the Tosk Orthodox patriots came from Korçë and its regions."
- Babuna 2004, pp. 294–295. "The Orthodox nationalists were mainly active outside the Ottoman Empire. They made their greatest contribution to the national cause (mainly educational and propaganda work) through the Albanian colonies."
- De Rapper, Gilles (2008). Better than Muslims, not as Good as Greeks: Emigration as Imagined and Experienced by the Albanian Christians of Lunxheri. Page 10. "The dress of the peasants was now changed from the loose woollen brogues of the Greeks, to the cotton kamisa, or kilt of the Albanian, and in saluting Vasilly they no longer spoke Greek... a notion prevails amongst the people of the country, that Albania, properly so called, or at least, the native country of the Albanians, begins from the town of Delvinaki"
- De Rapper, Gilles. Better than Muslims, not as Good as Greeks. Page 11. "Lunxhëri was actually included in the definition of Northern Epirus as a land of Hellenism that should have been given to the Greek state in 1913, and many families left the area, and Albania, during and after the First World War, to avoid becoming citizens of the new Albanian state. These people are called in Albanian propaganda filogrek and seem to have been powerful enough at some times to force pro-Albanian families to leave Lunxhëri. It the interwar period for instance, the village of Selckë is said to have been ‘full of filogrek’ and an informant told me the story of her husband’s father, who secretly left the village one night with his wife, after a cousin told him that his pro-Albanian commitment did not please a powerful pro-Greek family. They left for America, while the pro-Greek family eventually left for Greece."
- Jacques, Edwin (1994). The Albanians: an ethnic history from prehistoric times to the present. McFarland & Company. pp. 290–292. ISBN 0-89950-932-0. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- Özdalga, Elisabeth (2005). Late Ottoman society: the intellectual legacy. Routledge. p. 264. ISBN 0-415-34164-7.
- De Rapper, Gilles. Better than Muslims, not as Good as Greeks. Page 12. "Due to the departures of the filogrek and to the policy of Albanisation undertaken by the Albanian state since its creation, the sense of national  belonging in Lunxhëri was, until recently, quite clear: not only are the Lunxhots ethnically and nationally Albanian, as opposed to the Greeks and Vlachs, they are even supposed to be the only true Albanians of the area, as opposed to the Muslims of Labëria who are seen as having abandoned their religion to become ‘Turks’ and, in so doing, have betrayed. The slightest variation from this discourse was suspected of being filogrek. It must be noted that when people leave the question of national identity aside, for instance to tell their family histories, things become much less clear: shifts from one national identity to another are not rare, and they do not seem to be a problem as far as the individual or familial level is concerned. Several families thus acknowledge a Greek origin a few generations ago, others recognise branches that ‘became’ Greek just by crossing the border, and so on. This is for instance the case of an informant from Qestorat, who, although being definitely Albanian as far as national identity is concerned, and very critical vis-à-vis the Greeks, tells the story of his father, arrived from Athens in 1942 and who ‘learned Albanian here, by himself’."
- Austin 2012, p. 4. "Noli... Hoping to eliminate Greek influence within the Albanian Orthodox Church, he focused his early activities on translating the church liturgy into Albanian and establishing an independent Albanian Orthodox Church. The latter he considered as vital to Albania's evolution into a unified nation and as a major blow to the supporters of the Greek 'Great Idea'."
- Skoulidas 2013. para. 18, 27-29.
- Gawrych 2006, p. 91. "In one case, a guerilla band executed Father Kristo Negovani (1875-1905) on 12 February 1905, two days after he had performed a church service in Albanian. To avenge his death, a guerilla leader named Bajo Topulli (1868-1930) waylaid and murdered Phiotos, the bishop of Görice, in September 1906.
- Ramet 1998, p. 206. "The nationalist cause was given impetus in 1905 when the Albanian priest and poet, Papa Kristo Negovani, was killed by Greek chauvinists after he had introduced the Albanian language into Orthodox liturgy."
- Clayer 2005. para. 7. "Negovani... Au début de l'année 1905, avec son frère lui aussi pope et trois autres villageois, il est victime d'une bande grecque et devient le premier « martyr » de la cause nationale albanaise"; para. 8, 26.
- Blumi 2011, p. 167. "Negovani’s actions caused institutional responses that ultimately intensified the contradictions facing the church and its imperial patron. In the end, Papa Kristo Negovani was murdered for his acts of defiance of the explicit orders of Karavangjelis, the Metropolitan of Kastoria, who condemned the use of Toskërisht during mass.
- Biernat 2014, pp. 14–15.
- Skendi 1967a, p. 162.
- Vickers 2011, p. 61.
- Puto & Maurizio 2015, p. 176."However, Greek nationalism continued to be a source of concern for Albanian nationalists later on in the century. After the creation of the Greek state in 1830, and in the light of its mounting expansionist ambitions in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Albanian desire to assert a separate cultural identity represented also a reaction against Greek nationalists, who coveted territories inhabited by Albanians in the Ottoman Balkans, especially in the fiercely contested vilayet of Yiannina, a province containing a mixture of different populations."
- Malcolm 2002, p. 77. "The greatest expansion of Hellenic civilization and rule thus occurred thanks to an 'Albanian' and not a Hellene".
- De Rapper 2009, p. 7. "These theories were of particular importance in southern Albania, whose territory was disputed between Albanian and Greek nationalisms.... On the Greek side, the Pelasgic theory was at first used to facilitate the incorporation of all Albanians (and other inhabitants of the Balkans) into the Greek national projects as common descendants of the Pelasgians; this theory was at first welcome by some Greek educated Albanian intellectuals (Sigalas 1999: 62-85). On the Albanian side, it supported the claim of priority and ownership of Albanians on the territories they inhabited"
- Kostovicova 2005, p. 50.
- Skendi 1967a, pp. 114–115; p. 114. "The Greek propagandists, on the other hand used it in order to attract Albanians to their side."
- Malcolm 2002, pp. 76–77.
- Pipa 1989, p. 155.
- Madgearu & Gordon 2008, p. 145.
- Skoulidas 2013. para. 9, 12-14, 15, 25.
- Brisku 2013, p. 72.
- Malcolm 2002, pp. 77–79.
- Pipa 1989, p. 180. "We saw that Italo-Albanian scholars in general do not favor the Illyrian-Albanian continuity thesis. Why? Because Italo-Albanian culture has a strong Byzantine imprint. All the aforementioned scholars were followers of the Greek rite... For to them 'Illyrian' has strong overtones of 'Catholic,' and 'Catholic' in turn connotes 'Italianate'."
- Puto & Maurizio 2015, p. 176. "De Rada’s contribution to the formulation of a theory about the historical origins of the Albanian nation reflected both his concern to emphasize the close association between Italy and Albanian nationalism, and his preoccupation with the distinctiveness of the Albanian nationality as against the Greek. The Italo-Albanians identified the origins of the Albanian nation in the Pelasgian or Pellazg people (otherwise known as Pelasgi in Risorgimento literature), whose history could be traced back to 2000 BC, and whose territories covered parts of Greece, Albania itself, and, further to the west, Italy and Sicily; they stressed the sheer antiquity of the Albanian language, deeming it to be the oldest in the region, even older than Greek, in order to justify their claims to political and cultural emancipation."
- Elsie 2005, p. 71.
- Lubonja 2002, p. 92.
- Malcolm 2002, p. 80. "The myth of ethnic homogeneity and cultural purity, however, dictated otherwise... That Albanian writers felt the need to argue in this way was easily understandable at a time when Greek propagandists were claiming that the Albanians were not a proper people at all, that their language was just a mish mash of other languages and that any member of the Greek Orthodox Church was 'really' a Greek. At the same time, Slav publicists were insisting either that the Albanians of Kosova were 'really' Slavs, or that they were 'Turks' who could be 'sent back' to Turkey."
- Misha 2002, p. 41.
- Puto & Maurizio 2015, p. 177."In the political context of the 1880s, however, emphasis on the antiquity of the Albanian nation served new political purposes, since Greek nationalism was no longer the sole threat to Albanian nationalism. In fact, it was designed to counter also the Slavic national movements, several of which in the 1880s were planning to create a Balkan federation as a means to liberate themselves from the dominion of the Sublime Porte."
- Misha 2002, p. 42. "But gradually, while the Albanian national movement matured, the romantic Pelasgian theory and others were replaced by the theory of Illyrian descent, which was more convincing because it was supported by a number of scholars. The Illyrian descent theory soon became one of the principal pillars of Albanian nationalism because of its importance as evidence of Albanian historical continuity in Kosovo, as well as in the south of Albania, i.e in the areas contested by Serbs or Greeks."
- Saunders 2011, p. 97.
- Gingeras 2009, p. 31.
- Skendi 1967a, pp. 370–378.
- Duijzings 2000, p. 163.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 182.
- Nezir-Akmese 2005, p. 96.
- Nezir-Akmese 2005, p. 97.
- Poulton 1995, p. 66.
- Shaw & Shaw 1977, p. 288.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 177–179.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 190–196.
- Karpat 2001, pp. 369–370.
- Bloxham 2005, p. 60.
- Puto & Maurizio 2015, p. 183."Nineteenth-century Albanianism was not by any means a separatist project based on the desire to break with the Ottoman Empire and to create a nationstate. In its essence Albanian nationalism was a reaction to the gradual disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and a response to the threats posed by Christian and Balkan national movements to a population that was predominantly Muslim. In this sense, its main goal was to gather all ‘Albanian’ vilayet's into an autonomous province inside the Ottoman Empire. In fact, given its focus on the defence of the language, history and culture of a population spread across various regions and states, from Italy to the Balkans, it was not associated with any specific type of polity, but rather with the protection of its rights within the existing states. This was due to the fact that, culturally, early Albanian nationalists belonged to a world in which they were at home, though poised between different languages, cultures, and at times even states."
- Massicard 2013, p. 18.
- Jordan 2015, p. 1592.
- Gingeras 2009, p. 34.
- Gingeras 2009, p. 195.
- Jordan 2001, pp. 1584, 1592–1593.
- Jordan 2015, p. 1593.
- Petrovich 2000, p. 1371.
- Misha 2002, pp. 44–45.
- Nitsiakos 2010, pp. 206–207.
- Duijzings 2002, pp. 60–61.
- Duijzings 2002, p. 61.
- Barbullushi 2010, p. 146.
- Clayer 2005b, pp. 215–217.
- Bardhoshi & Lelaj 2008, pp. 299–300.
- Sugarman 1999, pp. 420–421.
- Gawrych 2006, pp. 197–200.
- Fischer 2007a, p. 19.
- Vickers 2011, pp. 69–76.
- Tanner 2014, pp. 168–172.
- Despot 2012, p. 137.
- Kronenbitter 2006, p. 85.
- Ker-Lindsay 2009, pp. 8–9.
- Jelavich 1983, pp. 100–103.
- Guy 2007, p. 453.
- Fischer 2007a, p. 21.
- Volkan 2004, p. 237.
- Guy 2007, p. 454. "Benckendorff, on the other hand, proposed only a truncated coastal strip to form a central Muslim dominated Albania, in accordance with the common view amongst Slavs, and also Greeks, that only Muslims could be considered Albanian (and not even Muslims necessarily)."
- Vickers 2011, pp. 82–86.
- Psomas 2008, p. 280. "The Orthodox Christians did not have the same reasons to support Albanian nationalism. They remained faithful to 'Romanity' asking union with Greece, the Orthodox State. Only the Orthodox Christians from or abroad supported nationalism, as they were affected by the modern nationalistic ideas of Europe and the United States of America. Thus, the Orthodox Christians, either Albanian or Greek-speaking supported, their majority, the Greek claims at this stage of the beginning of the 20th century."
- Winnifrith 2002, p. 130."It is true that most of its inhabitants, though not all, spoke Albanian rather than Greek as their first language at home, and it is clear that it was the factor which principally influenced the Boundary Commission. On the other hand Greeks naturally made much of this fact, and it is true that in Northern Epirus loyalty to an Albania with a variety of Muslim leaders competing in anarchy cannot have been strong."
- Schmidt-Neke 2014, p. 14.
- Kostov 2010, pp. 40–41.
- Psomas 2008, pp. 263–264, 272, 280.
- Psomas 2008, pp. 263–264, 268, 280–281.
- Psomas 2008, pp. 263–264, 272, 280–281.
- Lederer 1994, p. 337. "Most Muslims and Bektashis understood that religious differences had to be played down in the name of common ethnicity and that pan-Islamic ideas had to be rejected and fought, even if some so-called 'fanatical' (Sunni) Muslim leaders in Shkoder and elsewhere preferred solidarity with the rest of the Islamic world. Such an attitude was not conducive to Albanian independence to which the international situation was favourable in 1912 and even after World War I."
- Merdjanova 2013, p. 39.
- Babuna 2004, p. 300. "The Orthodox Albanians carried out the most energetic reforms. They wanted to move Albania away from its Muslim, Turkish past in which the Christians were the peasants and constituted the underclass."
- Psomas 2008, pp. 270–271, 281–282.
- Psomas 2008, pp. 268.
- Psomas 2008, pp. 278, 282.
- Austin 2012, pp. 31, 95.
- Babuna 2004, p. 300.
- Besier & Stokłosa 2014, p. 239.
- Pula 2013, pp. 47–48.
- Tomes 2011, p. 46.
- Doja 2006, pp. 86–87.
- Fischer 1999, pp. 6–7. "This degree of political stability, limited though it was, did much to create an environment necessary for the growth of an Albanian national consciousness. Zog significantly contributed to the process of replacing tribal loyalty and local and regional pride with a rudimentary form of modern state nationalism."
- Fischer 1999, p. 273.
- Fischer 2007a, pp. 48–49.
- Bideleux & Jeffries 2007, p. 23. "they thus claim to be the oldest indigenous people of the western Balkans".
- Fischer 1999, pp. 50–51.
- Fischer 1999, p. 70.
- Babuna 2004, p. 301.
- Clayer 2003, pp. 2–5.
- Clayer 2003, p. 5.
- Fischer 1999, pp. 5, 21–25.
- Fischer 1999, pp. 70–71.
- Clayer 2003, p. 5. "In 1939, the majority of the Catholics welcomed the Italian occupants, their coreligionists."
- Fischer 1999, p. 57.
- Fischer 1999, p. 88.
- Fischer 1999, p. 260.
- Rossos 2013, pp. 185–186.
- Fischer 1999, pp. 115–116.
- Ramet 2006, pp. 141–142.
- Fischer 1999, p. 96.
- Fischer 1999, p. 274.
- Fischer 1999, pp. 263–264.
- Fischer 1999, p. 267.
- Fischer 1999, p. 251.
- Pipa 1989, p. 217.
- Fischer 2007b, p. 253.
- Czekalski 2013, p. 120. "The census of 1945 showed that the vast majority of society (72%) were Muslims, 17.2% of the population declared themselves to be Orthodox, and 10% Catholics."
- Fischer 1999, p. 255.
- Nitsiakos 2010, pp. 160, 206.
- Fischer 2007b, p. 251.
- Fischer 2007b, p. 262.
- Standish 2002, pp. 116–123.
- Kopanski 1997, p. 192. "The sophisticated culture, literature and art of Islam were ignored by the generality of historians who hardly even tried to conceal their anti-Muslim bias. Their ferociously anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish attitude not only obscured and distorted the amazing process of mass conversion of entire Christian communities to Islam, but also provided an intellectual prop for the ultra nationalist policy of ethnic and religious cleansing in Bosnia, Hum (Herzegovina), Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. For against the backdrop of the history of the Balkans, as generally portrayed, what appeared as a kind of historical exoneration and an act of retaliation for the 'betrayal' of Christianity in the Middle Ages. The policy of destroying Islamic culture and way of life in Albania after the World War II is the primary reason why the history of medieval Islam in this land has not been properly studied. And when it was studied, it was studied within the parameters of the Stalinist ideology which emphasized only the mythical image of medieval Albanians as the 'heroic Illyrian proletariat'. The handful of Muslim scholars in the Communist Eastern Europe who resisted the anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish propaganda were ostracized and often penalized. Albanian nationalist historians like Ramadan Marmallaku, Kristo Frashëri, Skender Anamali, Stefanaq Pollo, Skender Rizaj and Arben Puto in their books deliberately emphasized ad nauseam only 'the Turkish savagery' and the 'heroic' Christian resistance against the Osmanli state in Albania."
- Priestland 2009, p. 404. "Protochronism became an enormously popular idea in Romanian culture in the 1970s and 1980s... Protochronism, of course had been seen before, in the Soviet claims of the 1940s... Romania was essentially importing a version of high Stalinism: a politics of hierarchy and discipline was wedded to an economics of industrialization and an ideology of nationalism. It was joined in this strategy by Albania"
- Stan & Turcescu 2007, p. 48.
- Tarţa 2012, p. 78. "The official doctrine that Ceaușescu adopted was called Dacianism, Romania is not the only country to invoke its ancient roots when it comes to show national superiority, Albania also emphasized its Thraco-Illyrian origin."
- Lubonja 2002, p. 96. "but when Enver Hoxha declared that their origin was Illyrian (without denying their Pelasgian roots), no one dared participate in further discussion of the question".
- De Rapper 2009, p. 7. "Although Enver Hoxha himself supported the Pelasgic theory in his own writings (Cabanes 2004: 119), the directions he gave to Albanian archaeologists in the 1960s focused on the Illyrians and on the Illyrian-Albanian continuity. As a result, studies on the origin of Illyrians and Albanians published at that time do not even mention the Pelasgians."
- Galaty & Watkinson 2004, pp. 8–9.
- Belledi et al. 2000, pp. 480–485.
- Lakshman-Lepain 2002, p. 35.
- Ramet 1989, p. 17.
- Reynolds 2001, p. 233. "Henceforth, Hoxha announced, the only religion would be "Albanianism." Hoxha was using nationalism as a weapon in his struggle to break out of the Soviet bloc."
- Trix 1994, p. 536.
- Crawshaw 2006, p. 63.
- Duijzings 2000, p. 164.
- Buturovic 2006, p. 439.
- Poulton 1995, p. 146.
- Fischer 2007b, p. 264.
- Nurja 2012, pp. 204–205.
- Ramet 1998, p. 220.
- Endresen 2015, pp. 60.
- Vickers 2011, p. 178. "The persecution of the Catholic clergy by the Tirana government was more drastic than that aimed at the Muslims or Orthodox church, primarily because the Catholic Church in Albania was viewed as an instrument of the Vatican. Hoxha viewed Catholics as less patriotic than either Muslims or Orthodox Christians."
- Vickers 2011, p. 196. "One by-product of the regime's anti-religious policy was its concern with the question of people's Muslim and Christian names. Parents were actively discouraged from giving their children names that had any religious association or connotation. From time to time official lists were published with pagan, so called Illyrian or freshly minted names considered appropriate for the new breed of revolutionary Albanians.
- Macedonian Review 1990, p. 63.
- Psomas 2008, p. 278.
- Veikou 2008, p. 159.
- Gilberg 2000, p. 23.
- Barbullushi 2010, pp. 148–150.
- Schmidt-Neke 2014, p. 15.
- Endresen 2016, p. 207.
- Endresen 2015, pp. 57–58, 69.
- Endresen 2016, pp. 207, 218–219.
- Alpion 2004, pp. 230–231. "The huge interest in Mother Teresa of different political, nationalist and religious figures and groups in Albania, Kosova, Macedonia and elsewhere in the Balkans has all the signs of a calculated ‘business’. Mother Teresa is apparently being used by some circles in the region, after her death as much as when she was alive, to further their political, nationalistic and religious causes."; p.234.
- Endresen 2015, pp. 54, 57, 67–69, 70–71.
- Endresen 2015, pp. 54, 61–64, 67–70.
- Endresen 2015, pp. 60–61, 71.
- Schmidt-Neke 2014, p. 15. "Albanian nationalism is not intrinsically linked with a specific religion or denomination."
- Merdjanova 2013, p. 49.
- Jordan 2001, p. 129.
- Endresen 2016, p. 208. "Many Albanians still consider Greece a religious, political and territorial threat and believe that Athens is hellenizing the Albanians by giving them economic privileges for defining themselves as ethnic Greeks... According to this view, true and false ethnic Greeks in Albania may even be a 'time bomb'... because the Greater Greece policy, according to Albanian consipracy theories, is to legitimize an annexation of South Albania by artificially inflating the number of 'Greeks' in Albania...
- Todorova 2004, p. 107.
- Nitsiakos 2010, p. 43. "The geographical and cultural proximity of the two areas on the two sides of the border, the composite character of ethnic relationships, the historical background of the social and economic relations involved but also of the translocations and relocations from one area to the other, the fluidity of identities in the past but, to a certain degree, in the present as well, with respect to a large part of Albanian population (mainly the Orthodox Christians), do not allow us to approach the migrational phenomenon in nationalist terms, namely assuming a national purity and homogeneity, which presupposes the existence of nationalism identities, consolidated in time and space and coinciding with the territorial ground of the nation-states"; p.171. "I keep hearing here in the south, mostly from Orthodox Albanians that they are of Greek origin"; p. 466. "When they mention their national identity they are very careful. They never define themselves directly as Greek and use the terms “Northern Epirote” or “Orthodox” instead. The term “Northern Epirote” is particularly convenient in its ambiguity, but they prefer it because they know it means “Greek” to the Greeks. This way they both appear honest and achieve their goal without falling into the trap of denying the true identity. This is actually the case with the majority of the Orthodox Christians of the Albanian south."
- De Rapper, Gilles. Better than Muslims, not as Good as Greeks. Page 18: "It is also striking that people who most openly claim an Albanian identity and loyalty to the Albanian nation are at the same time making attempts to get forged certificates of Greek nationality!"
- De Rapper, Gilles. Better than Muslims, not as good as Greeks. Page 2: "Villagers told me about people from the closest Muslim village, down in the valley: ‘Look at them, down there. At the time of the cooperative, they used to insult us by calling us “damned Greeks”, “bloody Greeks”. But today they all work in Greece and have Greek names, while we did not go to Greece. Who is Greek then?’ As a matter of fact, people from the Christian villages – who insist on their Albanian national identity and refuse to be called Greek – have been moving to the town and even more to the United States, where they retain links dating back to the time of the pre-World War II migration known as kurbet. Meanwhile, their Muslim neighbours started in the early 1990s to migrate to Greece, where most of them changed their names and some converted to Orthodoxy."
- Endresen 2016, p. 212. "However as with the 'Greek issue' above, a considerable number of Albania's citizens at any rate seem to call for a more self-assertive, ethnonationalist strategy than their politicians do."
- Stojarova 2010, p. 49.
- Banks, Muller & Overstreet 2010, p. 22.
- Schmid 2011, p. 401.
- Vickers 2002, pp. 12–13.
- Stojarová 2016, p. 96.
- Austin 2004, p. 246.
- Gjipali 2014, p. 51.
- Clewing & Sundhaussen 2016, p. 228.
- Προκλητικές εθνικιστικές κορώνες του Ράμα στο Συνέδριο των Τσάμηδων. Kontranews. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- Έντι Ράμα: Αλβανός ήταν ο Δίας και ο Όλυμπος έχει τις ρίζες του στην… Τσαμουριά.... To Vima. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- Προκλητικές εθνικιστικές κορώνες του Ράμα στο Συνέδριο των Τσάμηδων. Himara.gr. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- «Οι Θεοί του Ολύμπου μιλούσαν Αλβανικά»!. Newsbomb. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- Endresen 2016, p. 208.
- Endresen 2016, pp. 205–206.
- Pipa 1989, p. 206. "Byzantinism pervades the culture of the Albanian Orthodox: their folklore, their traditions and legends, their monasteries and churches. It shows up in the toponymy of many of their villages and towns, in some of their customs, and also their names. This explains the deeply rooted disaffection for Western civilization and, in the language area, their resistance to the Illyrian-Albanian continuity. Illyria to them means the Roman Illyricum, and Illyrism the Croatian revival movement of the same name. Yet, since the power belongs to Moslems, and Moslems in general -and Catholics as a whole- are for the Illyrian origin theory, Byzantine Albanians do not dare to oppose them openly."
- Bowden 2003, pp. 30, 32.
- Ahrens 2007, p. 23. "They claimed that Alexander the Great and Aristotle were of Albanian descent."
- Winnifrith 2002, p. 11. "Pyrrhus who lived a century later has been hailed as primary Albanian hero".
- Endresen 2016, p. 206.
- Valtchinova 2002, p. 112. "Beyond the claims of Illyrian descent and continuity a more powerful myth emerges here: that the Albanians are more Greek than the Greeks themselves because Albanians are closer to Homeric society and Homeric ideals."
- De Rapper 2009, pp. 8–9.
- Malcolm 2002, pp. 78–79.
- De Rapper 2009, p. 12. "They state that the Pelasgians were spread all over Europe and the Mediterranean: according to those authors, all ancient civilisations in Europe (Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Celtic, etc.) stemmed from the Pelasgic civilisation. They were the first Europeans; their direct descendants, the Albanians, are thus the most ancient and most authentically European people."
- De Rapper 2009, p. 8. "Schoolbooks however differ on what they assert on the relation between Pelasgians and Illyrians: the latter are sometimes said to be the heirs of the former, especially with regard to their language (Kuri, Zekolli & Jubani 1995: 32-33)."
- Rödinger, Knaus & Steets 2003, p. 110.
- Likmeta, Besar. "Austrian Scholars Leave Albania Lost for Words :: Balkan Insight". www.balkaninsight.com. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- De Rapper 2002, p. 191. "It is common in Albania to say that all Albanians, whether Christian or Muslim, are brothers, and that their only religion is their common Albanian nationality. The dogma of national unity as against religious differentiation is at the core of the most widely-spread Albanian national rhetoric. However, this rhetoric is challenged when local society is underpinned by, and conceptualised in terms of, religious differentiation. This is the case in mixed areas, where Muslims and Christians live in separate villages (or in separate neighbourhoods), and both have strong identities as religious communities – as in Devoll. In this specific context, religion cannot consist of just being Albanian. On the contrary, people are very well aware of their belonging to a specific religious community, and national identity is rarely thought of outside the basic opposition between Muslims and Christians."
- Elbasani 2015, p. 340. "Another crucial dimension of the post-Communist format of secularism is the imprint of decades of Communist-style propaganda in the perceptions and practices of Muslim believers. Almost everywhere in the post-Communist world, forced Communist-style modernization and eviction of religion from the public arena, has led to a certain secularization of the society and a sharp decline in religious practice. Post-Communist citizens seem to embrace religion more as an aspect of ethnic and social identity rather than a belief in the doctrines of a particular organized spiritual community. This is reflected in the gap between the great number of Albanians who choose to identify with religion and the few who attend religious services and serve religious commandments: 98% of Albanians respond that they belong to one of the religious communities; but only 5.5% attend weekly religious services and 50% only celebrate religious ceremonies during poignant moments in life such as birth, marriage and death (University of Oslo 2013). Additionally, post-Communist Albanians appear strongly committed to institutional arrangements that confine religion strictly within the private sphere—away from state institutions, schools, the arts and the public sphere more generally (ibid). Such secular attitudes show that post-Communist citizens are in general little receptive to concepts of religion as a coherent corpus of beliefs and dogmas collectively managed by a body of legitimate holders of knowledge, and even less receptive to rigid orthodox prescriptions thereof."
- Kokkali 2015, pp. 129, 134–135.
- Bogdani & Loughlin 2007, p. 83.
- Nitsiakos 2010, p. 209. "On their part, the Muslims believe that they are the purest Albanians, because they constituted the nucleus of the national renaissance and as great patriots resisted the Serbs, who tried to penetrate and conquer Albanian territories. In reference to Christians, they claim that the Orthodox identified with the Greeks and the Catholic with the Italians."
- Clayer 2003, pp. 14–24.
- Saltmarshe 2001, p. 115."It is frequently said that how there is no difference between the religions in Albania. While it is true that there is a considerable degree of toleration, indications deriving from this study suggest that religious affiliations plays a significant part in identity formation and therefore in social relations... However the story from the Catholics was very different... there was varying mistrust of the Muslims. Many Catholics expressed resentment of the dominant position of the Muslims during communism and subsequently. Some expressed and underlying dislike of Islam and what they perceived to be its philosophy."; p. 116. "However the Muslim position was that Islam had proved to be a vital force in uniting and maintaining the independence of Albania. Without it they would have been subsumed by the Greeks, Serbs or Italians. From this perspective, they believed, Islam formed the basis of Albanian national identity and should provide the foundation upon which its state was constructed... Yet not far below the surface there was a degree of disdain for the Catholics. In Gura, Catholic migrants reported that Muslims called them kaur, a most unpleasant derogatory term used by the Turks to describe Christians."; pp. 116-117. "So whatever might be said to the contrary, tensions were observable between Catholics and Muslims. At most basic of levels Gura was segregated into Muslim and Catholics areas. The same situation existed in Shkodër where the city was broadly split into neighbourhoods defined by faith with the Roma living on the southern outskirts of town. Yet there were many in the younger generation who did not see religion as being important."
- Nitsiakos 2010, pp. 200–201. "Traces of this historical differentiation are still evident in South Albania today between Christian and Muslim Albanians. Very often on hears Christians call Muslim Albanians "Turks"; they, in their turn, often attribute pro-Greek sentiments to Orthodox Christian Albanians."
- Lesser et al. 2001, p. 51.
- De Waal 2005, p. 201.
- Endresen 2016, p. 210.
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