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How religious are Albanian and Bosnian Muslims?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanApril 16, 2009 8:29 PM


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There are some really weird comments about Albania below. Part of these confusions have to do with ambiguities as to the religious identity of Albania, traditionally majority Muslim, but after decades of Communism very secular. What exactly are the religious breakdowns? How religious are Albanians? Additionally some of the same questions are thrown toward the Bosnian Muslims. Are Balkan Muslims true religious moderates, or, are they simply secular Europeans whose ancestors practiced the Muslim religion? The World Values Survey can help answer these questions, or least put some numbers on them. In addition to Bosnia & Albania, I also present data from Poland and Turkey, as points of comparison. Poland being one of the more Christian European countries, and Turkey being a secular, of not ex-communist, Muslim one. Below are the data....



Not Atheist 91.78897.398.1


A religious person 68.374.394.480.6

Not religious

Convinced atheist


No Religion 1324.74.31.9

Belong to Religion 8775.395.798.1





Attendance At Religious Services AlbaniaBosniaPolandTurkey

More than once a week 3.811.88.618.4

Once a week 16.515.950.419.2

Once a month 9.117.519.21.9

Only on special holy days 32.429.49.316

Once a year

Less often


Politicians Who Don't Believe In God Are Unfit For Public Office



Agree strongly 179.419.


Neither agree or disagree


Disagree Strongly 711.83.919.213.524198.4

Some notes: 1) The data are probably best as comparisons across countries. They don't match up with other data from other surveys, probably because of the way wording influences people. 2) Even within the sample wording matters; some of those who don't believe in God would rather define themselves as "Not Religious" than "Convinced Atheists." 3) Despite decades of Communism most Albanians retain some sort of religious identity. Only about 10% are atheists or agnostics in that they don't believe in God. Nevertheless, 10% is not a trivial number, the equivalent in the United States, a far wealthier nation, is 2%. A large minority of the remaining 90% presumably do not believe in a personal God. 4) Interestingly, despite Albanian state atheism being far more militant than that of the former Yugoslavia, a much larger proportion of Bosnians claim that they have no religious affiliation. Bosnia has (obviously) had religiously motivated conflicts in the recent past, while Albania has not. Nevertheless, looking into the age breakdowns, younger Bosnians are more religiously affiliated and more likely to believe than the old, while Albania is the opposite. 5) In both Albania and Bosnia Muslims and Catholics seem to resemble each other in religiosity more than they do the Orthodox, who are more secularized. I do know that traditionally Bosnia was dominated by Catholics and Muslims, the latter presumably converts from the former, while the Orthodox have only been emigrating into the region in the past few centuries. So there might be some latent cultural variables which aren't discernible because of the historically closer relationship between Catholics & Muslims. 6) Turks are big on talk & belief, but not so much in action. They seem to be more strident believers in the basic tenets of religion, but large numbers aren't too involved with regular religious attendance. 7) Cultural attachment to religious holidays seems strong in both Albania and Bosnia, where only attendance during holy days is the mode. Addendum: Please do not make up strange facts in the comments as occurred in the previous thread.

How Important Is God In Your Life?



Not Important






Very Important 35.226.754.556.427.250.653.879.9

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