Religion in Kosovo

Kosovo is a secular state with no state religion; freedom of belief, conscience and religion is explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution of Kosovo. The society of Kosovo is strongly secularised and is ranked first in Southern Europe and ninth in the world as free and equal for tolerance towards religion and atheism.

In the 2011 census, 95.6% of the population of Kosovo was counted as Muslim and 3.7% as Christian including 2.2% as Roman Catholic and 1.5% as Eastern Orthodox. The remaining 0.3% of the population reported having no religion, or another religion, or did not provide an adequate answer. Protestants, although recognised as a religious group in Kosovo by the government, were not represented in the census.

Islam is the most widely practiced religion in Kosovo and was first introduced in the Middle Ages by the Ottomans. Today, Kosovo has the highest percentage of Muslims in Europe after Turkey. The majority of the Muslim population of Kosovo are ethnic Albanians, Turks and Slavs, including Gorani and Bosniaks.

Christianity has a long and continuous history in Kosovo which can be traced back to the Roman invasion of the region. During the early and late Middle Ages, the entire Balkan Peninsula had been Christianised initially by the Romans and subsequently by the Byzantine Empire. Followers of the Roman Catholic Church are predominantly Albanians with ethnic Serbs following the Eastern Orthodox Church. In 2008, Protestant pastor Artur Krasniqi, primate of the Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church, claimed that “as many as 15,000” Kosovar Albanians had converted to Protestantism since 1985.

The relations between the Albanian Muslim and Roman Catholic communities in Kosovo are considered good, however both communities have few or no relations with the Serbian Orthodox community. In general, the Albanians of Kosovo define their ethnicity by language and not by religion while religion reflects a distinguishing identity feature among the Slavs of Kosovo.

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