From: Die Morina van Uijtregt
57 Incidents against Religious Sites in Kosovo in 2020, US State Department Reports

Kosovo Police received reports of 57 incidents against religious sites or cemeteries during 2020, compared with 61 in 2019, according the 2020 International Religious Freedom Report published by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday.

Most incidents were classified as theft, with some involving damage to cemeteries or other property.

Of the total, 45 incidents took place at Muslim sites, 8 at Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) sites and 3 at Catholic sites, while one targeted property not belonging to a specific religious group.

However, police did not classify any of the incidents as religiously motivated.

The report recalls that in September, the government sent parliament for approval legal changes to the law on religious freedom, which haven’t passed yet due to lack of quorum.

As a consequence, the report says that “communities such as the Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church (KPEC) said they continued to be taxed as for-profit businesses”.

The Islamic Community of Kosovo (BIK) reported multiple cases in which elementary schools denied access to female Muslim students as a result of a ministerial order banning “religious attire” in schools.

The report also notes the repeated refusal by the municipality of Decan to implement a 2016 Constitutional Court ruling that recognized the SOC’s Visoki Decani Monastery’s ownership of 24 hectares (59 acres) of land in the monastery’s vicinity.

The U.S. government estimates the total population of Kosovo at 1.9 million. According to the last census of 2011, 95.6% of the population is Muslim, 2.2% Catholic, and 1.4% Serbian Orthodox.