by Sabri Lushi

The further we go back into the past, two thousand years ago, for example, the less relevant it would be to talk about the tribes and nations of the Balkans as they all fell under the umbrella of the Roman Empire. The Balkans must have been inhabited by more or less one tribe, which currently is divided into many nations, who speak several languages.

In this regard, the balkanization of the Balkans is a political phenomenon of the 19th and the 20th centuries, which does not reflect a tribal or racial division. Obviously, the Balkan inhabitants, who are known in the modern time as Greek, Albanian, Serbs, Bulgarian, Romanian, Croatian etc. are of the same origin. It is not their DNA what differentiates them, but the politics and ideology.

Speaking of ideology, it is the religion of Islam which made Albanians a distinguished nation of Europe. Given the fact that Muslims ruled the Iberian Peninsula from the 8th to the 15th century, as well as for hundreds of years they dominated Cyprus, Malta, Sicily and southern parts of the Italian Peninsula, the people of the Balkans have interacted with Muslims and clearly been exposed to Islam.

The pan-western European crusade against the Muslims of Al-Andalus of the Iberian Peninsula, the massacres, the Catholic genocides of King Ferdinand V and his wife Isabella I against Muslims and Jews and their forced conversion into the Catholic Church, and all the looting of the Muslim libraries – millions of precious books of all disciplines, all this difficult time of survival of Muslims in Europe marked at the same time the beginning of the modern history of Albanians.

The Albanian people had the honor not simply to embrace the religion of Islam, which has taken place even before the Ottoman Empire, but they soon became the political custodians of Islam in Europe. God closed a door in Spain for Muslims, but He opened a new one in the Balkans.

For more than five centuries, Albanians made history. The religion of Islam elevated this tribe of the Balkans to the highest historical glory. They became the impenetrable barrier. They were the fear of the western Europeans. By becoming part of the Muslim Caliphate, their political power was incredible. The Ottoman Empire belonged to them more then they belonged to it. They became its grand viziers and viziers and generals.

During the Ottoman Empire, not only were Albanians the undisputed power of the Balkans and the shield of the Empire against the European barbarians, but the dynasty of Muhammad Ali Pasha ruled Egypt – one of the most important and strategic regions of the world, Sudan, Lebanon, and Hijaz. The defeat of the British army by the legendary Muhammad Ali is probably the pinnacle military and political achievement of the Albanian people.

Regardless of the ruthless European war against Islam and Albanians for more than a century, they continue to uphold the religion of Islam ardently and fervently.

Sabri Lushi

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