Religious communities of Kosova, in an open letter yesterday addressed UNESCO in support of our country’s application for membership with this international organization. Letter addressed to Director General of UNESCO have signed the heads of these communities, Naim Tërrnava by the Islamic Community of Kosovo, Don Lush Gjergji Catholic Church, Pastor Driton Krasniqi, Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church, Tarikat Community Shehu Lulzim, Mumin Lama of Bektashi community and Votim Demiri of the Jewish community in Kosova.

Through this letter is intended to give support to the protection of religious and cultural heritage of our country. The Letter of religious leaders was welcomed by the Deputy Prime Minister and also Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosova, Mr. Hashim Thaçi in his public profile on facebook.

Below you will redirect the full text of the aforementioned letter:

“Honorable Madam Director General,

We are you on behalf of the vast majority of all the religious communities in Kosovo that represent 96% of all the population of Kosovo. Please consider this letter as a further argument in your support for the membership of Kosovo in UNESCO.

Kosovo has always been at the crossroads of civilizations, empires and religions. Even today, although the majority of the population considers itself Sunni Muslim, strong historic presence of Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, Muslim Bektashi, Muslim Sufi, Evangelical Protestant and Jewish communities and others enrich the joint land that we call Kosovo. We consider to have been truly blessed with this richness.

We cherish the historic tolerance and interfaith cooperation although a vicious war tore apart our country only 16 years ago. Kosovo is the country where a young girl named Gonxhe Gojaxhiu took her first vows to become Mother Teresa of the entire humanity and where Albanian Muslim Righteous families hid Jews to save them from Shoah or Holocaust.

The richness and diversity needs preserving and protecting.

Too much of our heritage was lost throughout history, especially in the last decades. Houses of God must remain intact so they serve as lighthouses for future generations. Borders and empires come and go, but all the people, regardless of religion, must have their Houses of God intact. This being said, the religious communities of Kosovo today have contributed great to build peaceful, tolerant society where we can coexist and support each other, regardless of our ethnicity or religion. These efforts have been noted in the reports of Secretary General of UN, Ban Ki-moon.

This is why we strongly support Kosovo’s membership to UNESCO. We are neither political individuals nor representatives of political organizations. This being said, we believe that Kosovo’s secular authorities must have all tools at disposal, legal, technical and financial, to protect our joint heritage – and we, as religious communities, must also have all tools at disposal to pressure present and future governments of Kosovo to be mindful and commit themselves to protection of our sites, traditions, intangible and tangible heritage.

We hope you will do your utmost to support Kosovo’s bid. Leaving our population isolated and without direct access to UNESCO will not help the cause of protection of our joint heritage, promotion of interfaith dialogue and inclusive approach to all peace-loving people in the world. You must also understand that Kosovo’s population is very young and in need of good education, access to science and connected to global culture.”