Published on: 19 June 2017

Speech of Minister Bushati on the occasion of the Iftar dinner


Shkodër, 16 June 2017


Honorable Chairman of the Muslim Community of Albania, dear Skender,

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for taking part in one of the most symbolic moments of Muslim believers: the holy month of Ramadan, which constitutes a spiritual oasis where high and sublime feelings such as love for the other, mercy and help are enlivened.

On 28th of November 1913, was held here in Shkoder a memorial event on the occasion of the first anniversary of Albania's independence. Muslims and Christians gathered unanimously and cheered: “Long live Albania”.

That night the bell tower of Gjuhadol’s church and the minaret of the mosque of Fushe-Çeles were connected through a wire in which the national flag was flown over the long line of red and black candles.

Father Gjergj Fishta depicted this episode: “20,000 people gathered, the most selective among Shkodra’s gentlemen… That very day my heart was truly full of joy, not only were we bonding our Muslim and Christian brotherhood in the shadow of the Albanian flag, but also for manhood and generosity that this people was showing in the interest of Albania and the country itself. This is how we always should have worked for Albania: People and many jobs and less noise”.

The words of father Gjergj Fishta for our Muslim brothers, those sons of Shkodra which have contributed a lot, not only for the local community, but the entire country, sound actual even today, when challenges we face require placing national interest above all else.

Hafiz Ali Tari (Kraja), Daut Borici, Haxhi Hafiz Muhamed Bekteshi, Sali Myftiu (senior and junior), Hafiz Ibrahim Repishti and Hafiz Sabri Koci (despite not being born in Shkodra but giving much to Shkodra) are just some of the brightest figures that have exalted Shkodra and our country.

Above all, they have conveyed the message that being Albanian means having the culture to show the religious tolerance that is in the DNA of our people.

On April 7, 1858, at the inauguration ceremony of starting the Cathedral’s construction, the foundation stone of the cathedral was blessed by Archbishop Topich, also attended by Dom Ejll Radoja, the city’s parish priest and other priests.

Daut Efendi Borici, prominent Muslim scholar and patriot, director of education in Istanbul and Shkodra, author of an Albanian alphabet, delivered a speech. He called the beginning of the construction of the cathedral a great joy for all Shkodrans regardless of religion.


We are aware that the world is changing rapidly and adapting to such a world is not an easy quest. At times like today, the millennia question of humanity “How should I live my life?” - becomes more and more imperative. I pose this question as a parent, as a spouse, as a citizen of this country.

Knowledge is taught at school, but where today's and tomorrow's generations are going to learn the moral values and principles upon which a virtuous life should be based?

The family is under the pressure of the labor market which is still not guided by the rule of law. Parents are either seen only at dinner or thanks god there is “what’s app”!

Media and social communication platforms, once proper channels of information, today emphasize consumerism by promoting harmful figures and models for our society.

We often talk on behalf of youth and tomorrow. But, let us not forget the present because people are living today.

The Albanian society is in the process of transformation. We have invested in the material transformation, but we should not forget that true transformation occurs from the inside out. In the persona!

In this transformation it is important that we find support especially in religious communities to highlight what is divine in human.

Society needs good Muslims and Christians, which bear those values that we have inherited, no matter how conscientious we were.

Shkodra is the symbol of inter-religious tolerance, just to recall the fact that the Saverian College was attended and is being attended based on a good tradition, not only by Catholic students, but also by Muslim and Orthodox students.

We learn from the book “The 50th anniversary of the Saverian College” that in this college was also taught Islamic religion for Muslim students. Some of these students were Faik Konica, Tahir Dizdari, Teofik Bekteshi, Myzafer Pipa etc.

Few are the countries that have known a harmonious coexistence between different religions, as we do. But this wealth is not something that came from above. That of which today we take for granted, religious brotherhood, is an outcome of a century-long work and dedication of Albanians from generation to generation. It is our duty to continue their work with humility and modesty.

In the end I would like to conclude with a story from the past, because to understand who you are and where you are heading to, you must know where you came from and who you were.

Father Gjergj Fishta used to say that: “In the North of Albania, there is a Bayrak (the Bayrak of Hoti), where everyone is Catholic except the house of the bayraktar who is a Muslim. In 1904 the church of that bayrak remained without a priest for many days. One of those days, the bayraktar along with another reeve in that land, were heading to Shkodra and to the first priest he met, he told him: “For God’s sake, mister, our church is in a bad condition without a priest. There is no-one who can bless our souls and graves. I plead you Sir to send to us a priest for the church as soon as possible because the situation is not well. That big was the interest of that Muslim bayraktar on the issue of the Catholic Church’s priest!”


Well fasting and may your sacrifices be accepted!

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