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Orthodox fear violence in Kosovo

ICC Note: Orthodox Serbian Christians have good reason to fear Muslim control in Kosovo, as the list of attacks on churches and Serbs is long.

2/18/08 Kosovo/Serbia ( – The Vatican called for “prudence and moderation” after Kosovo’s declaration of independence, while the Serbian Orthodox Church urged UN intervention to protect the Christian minority in the breakaway Serbian province.

“We are all expecting something difficult and horrible,” said Bishop Artemije, the head of the Serbian Orthodox community in Kosovo. He urged the Serbs living in Kosovo to stay in their homes and churches, avoiding conflicts with ethnic Albanians celebrating independence, “regardless of what God allows or our enemies do.”

Although the population of Kosovo is 90% Albanian, the land retains a strong historic significance for Serbians, who recall the 14th-century battle there in which Serbian forces repelled Turkish invaders. That battle, pitting Muslim attackers against Christian forces, forms an emotional background for Serbians contemplating the loss of Kosovo to Muslim leadership.

The Orthodox leadership went on to complain of “occupation and tyranny” by the Albanian majority in Kosovo. The Serbian Orthodox community there has frequently reported acts of violence and intimidation since the bloodshed of the 1990s, and the synod asked the UN to intervene to protect “the tramples human and religious rights” of Serbians there… [Go To Full Story]