Ylli H. Doci


With the demise of the communist governments in the Balkan region in the early 1990s, we have entered a phase in which serious religiously related issues challenging the social cohesion of our societies need serious analysis and action at different levels. Interfaith councils as a way of engaging the different religious communities in one society are not new and not the same. Nor are they unquestionably accepted or easily dismissed as ineffective in addressing challenges of peacebuilding and social cohesion in a religiously pluralistic society. There are political, cultural, ethnic and national considerations beside religious and educational ones which figure large in the role of an interfaith council and influence its character and effectiveness, but their contribution to peacebuilding and the social cohesion of our pluralistic societies cannot be ignored. As such this paper will explore, from different perspectives, the role of an interfaith council as a helpful instrument for the wellbeing of our societies.

The virtues of an interfaith council discussed in this paper should give us hope for fruitfully addressing the challenge of different traditions in the same social space, but it remains to be seen if it can win the support of the majority culture’s stakeholders with their concerns in providing for a peaceful and harmonious society. The Albanian context with its similarities and differences from the religious pluralistic context of the other countries in the region provides a good case study to evaluate the merits of an interfaith council as an instrument to facilitate tolerance and social cohesion.



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