Albanians are an ethnic group connected to Albania and former Albania (Albanian territories were given to neighboring countries in 1913 one year following the proclamation of Albania as an independent state from the Otoman empire). Albanians now live in Albania (2,312,356 ) and the neighboring countries: Kosovo (1,690,000 ), Macedonia (509,083), Greece (274,390-600,000). Beside them Albanians are almost everywhere in Europe (800,000), Turkey ( at least 500,000) and North America (between 250,000-500,000). Albanians in Europe.
The number of Albanians now is greater outside Albania within the Albanian diaspora (not including Kosovo). On the other side the efforts to reach Albanians in diaspora are not to compare with the investment that has been made in Albania. We believe it’s time that missions can direct their focus towards diaspora too.
Albanians in Albania haven’t shown signs of being religious radicals. The coexistence of various branches of Christianity and Muslim has showed that in centuries. In 1967 the communist regime of Enver Hoxha declared Albania as the first atheistic country in the world – nothing to be proud of. Since then the general faith in religion has been uprooted from many people, but since 1991 things have changed. Albania is a secular state (althought adheres to the Islamic Conference). In the 2011 census the declared religious affiliation of the population was: 56.7% Muslims, 13.79% undeclared, 10.03% Catholics, 6.75% Orthodox believers, 5.49% other, 2.5% Atheists, 2.09% Bektashis and 0.14% other Christians.
Albanians in Kosovo have a higher respect for their religion-to compare with Albanians on the other side of the border. At least 90% of them are Muslim, the rest are Catholics and Evangelicals. Orthodox is regarded the religion of the invaders (Serbs) so Kosovars have no attraction towards it. Kosovo became an independent state on Feb 17th, 2008.
Albanians in Macedonia are all Muslims and the difficulty to co-exist with the Macedonian majority, perplexes even the religion affiliations. As it is supposed that all Macedonians are Christian Orthodox, all Albanians are expected to be Muslims.
Albanians in Canada
Most of Albanians have arrived lately in Canada. The numbers are between 22,000 – 30,000 but there are speculations that are more than that. Most of Albanians live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), but they are found at almost every city in Canada. Below is the current number of Albanians for each city/community. The numbers are taken from Census Canada and other sources as Albanian Associations. Numbers are approx due to relativity of the information received. If you have any updated info on these numbers please let us know.
Toronto – 18,000
Montreal – 2,410
Mississiauga – at1000
Kitchener – 1000 -1200
Hamilton – 1000
Windsor – 250 families