August 31, 2011
Kosovo’s parliament on Monday, August, 29th, 2011 confirmed a ban on teaching religion in schools when it voted against changes to the education law in the Muslim-majority nation.
by Vedat Xhymshiti on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 – Pristina, Kosovo.
A majority 64 members of the 120 strong parliament voted against a proposal to introduce religion into schools and another motion to lift a ban on wearing the Muslim headscarf (hijab) in the classroom.
|Photo / Vedat Xhymshiti
Some Islamic clerics are stepping up a campaign for religion to be taught in schools, amid fears this could deepen divisions in the troubled region. There have been several protests this year with hundreds of Muslims chanting anti-government slogans against the banning of the headscarf in school. There have been also widely published cases of girls barred from class for refusing to take off their headscarves.
Under the regime of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Belgrade in 1990 put an end to decades of broad autonomy for Kosovo Albanians and introduced direct rule in the province, where minority Serbs led all institutions. Calls for renewal of autonomy by ethnic Albanians were rejected. This led to armed rebellion by Kosovo Albanian groups, followed by stern Serbian repression in 1998 and 1999.
The international response came by way of 11 weeks of NATO bombing of Serbian installations. The war in Kosovo erupted in 1998 when Serbia launched a brutal crackdown against the Albanian civilians, as well as people fighting for liberation of their country from Serbia. The UN administration was introduced after 11 weeks of NATO bombardment of Serbia due to Belgrade’s repression against two million Kosovo Albanians.
Kosovo has a muslim tradition of moderate Islam and has enshrined the secular nature of the state in its constitution. Pristina declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognised by more then 80 countries including the US and a majority of European Union member states.