• Pray for continued freedom to evangelize among the 80% Muslim population.
• Pray for the peace of Jesus to heal the hatred between ethnic Serbs and Albanians.
• Pray for spiritual growth and bold proclamation among the small group of committed Christians.
The unique Kosovar national anthem has no words, as the government feared the addition of lyrics might offend minority ethnic groups. To this day, the anthem remains purely instrumental. Such concessions may seem polite and peaceful, but they highlight centuries of ethnic strife that have divided the southern European nation of Kosovo and nearly destroyed it.
During the 600's, Ethnic Serbians migrated to Kosovo and maintained control until 1389, when they were defeated by the Ottoman Empire. For nearly 500 years, Kosovo saw an influx of Turkish and Albanian migrants. In 1912, Serbian forces regained control of Kosovo and established it as a province of Serbia, leaving the growing Albanian majority without political recognition. During the early 1990's, Slobodan Milosevic, a Serbian national, assumed control of Kosovo and disregarded Albanian requests for independence. After a failed attempt to secure an alternative government, progressive Albanians formed a resistance army. Serbian militants responded harshly to the movement, massacring many and forcefully relocating over 800,000 ethnic Albanians. With NATO and UN intervention, Kosovo eventually gained independence from Serbia in 2008, after nearly 10 years of negotiation and brutal ethnic conflict.
The intense conflict devastated both Serbs and Albanians alike, making Kosovo one of the poorest nations in Europe, with more than half its inhabitants living in poverty and an unemployment rate of 70%. Kosovo is dominated by Islam, as 80% percent of the population is Muslim, the vast majority of those of Albanian descent. Though many are nominal in their faith, extremism is increasing, as is opposition to Christianity. Even so, there are a growing number of believers, especially among the youth and young adults, and more churches are being established. Pray that believers in Kosovo would grow into mature Christians who lay aside ethnic differences and strive for reconciliation and healing for their fellow countrymen.
Capital City: Pristina
Government: Parliamentary republic
Major People Groups: 90% Kosovar (Gheg Albanian); 4% Serb; 3% Bosniac (Muslimani); 2% Romanian; 1% Turk
Religion: Muslim 93%, Christian 6%, Agnostic 1%
Language: 90% Albanian, 4% Serbian, 3% Bosnian, 1% Romanian, 1% Turkish
GDP Per Capita: $10,800
Literacy Rate: 93%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 96.2%
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