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Muezzin Role Returns Albanian Star to Islam

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Muezzin Role Returns Albanian Star to Islam



By Hani Saleh, IOL Correspondent


TIRANA, October 10 (IslamOnline(contact admin if its a beneficial link)) - At first it was simply another role we wanted to play, but the character of a young muezzin (the person who makes the call to prayer) became a turning point in the life of Mirush Kabashi, one of Albania’s leading actors.


Kabashi wanted, as always, to carefully and thoroughly study the character of the protagonist, who happened to be a young muezzin in the south Albanian town of Berat.


Out of an actor’s curiosity, he started reading Islamic books and listening to tape recordings of different muezzins.


He studied the meanings of the words of the Adhan (call to prayer) and even insisted to record the Adhan in the movie in his own voice, again for strictly professional considerations.


Religious Oppression


The film, based on a true story, features the ordeal of the young muezzin under the anti-religion communist regime which came to power in 1943 and rule until 1990.


Albania is the only communist country where religion was completely banned and which was proclaimed “atheistic� by the 1976 constitution.


In 1967, the regime outlawed all religious ritual which led to the demolition of most Masjids in the European country.


There are now some 270 Masjids in Albania out of 1667 established before the Communism era.


Muslims make up a majority of 75 percent of Albania’s 3.2 million population.


Like many who refused to relinquish their religion, the muezzin was thrown into jail for eight years and because we continued to perform his prayers inside prison he was slapped with another eight-year term.




The Albanian movie star, who received several international acting awards, was touched by the story of the fresh graduate who sacrificed long years of his life in defense of his religious beliefs.


Kabashi, a Muslim who did not really get a chance to know or practice his religion under the communist regime, started to frequent Tabaq Masjid in the capital Tirana.


He was heart-heatedly welcomed by the Masjid imam, Sheikh Elvis, and the worshipers.


Kabashi had many questions about Islam and how a practicing Muslim spends his day to which he received answers from both Elvis and Albania’s vice mufti Bledar Myftari.


The New Kabashi


Kabashi’s repeated visits to the Masjid over a period of one year and a half had an indelible marks on his character and lifestyle.


Six months ago he committed himself to the practice of his religion and has since then been performing the five daily prayers in the Masjid.


By early October, Kabashi finished his training as muezzin with imam Elvis.


And for the very first time in his entire life, he started to fast during the Muslims holy month of Ramadan.


Kabashi regretted anti-Islam campaign in the local and international media, asserting that thanks to the tolerance nature of Islam Albania’s multi-ethnic society remains largely homogeneous.


He also highlighted a generally amicable relationship among the religions in society.


The Islamic Sheikdom in Tirana, the highest Islamic body in the country, has paid $4,000 for the state television to buy airtime to broadcast part of the Maghrib Adhan (call to Sunset Prayer that marks fast breaking).


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