Friday, November 16, 2007

Youth Despair of Decent Future in Kosovo

by Sokol Ferizi from BIRN (Serbia)

Statistics produced by the World Health Organisation in 2001 show higher rates of drug abuse among Kosovo’s youth than in Western Europe, while local health workers back this up with daily anecdotes. Other young Kosovars find an outlet for their frustrations in hard-line religion. “If it were not for Islam, I would go away from Kosovo right now,” says Armend, returning from Friday prayers at a local mosque ... Since the war, Islam has grown in importance in Kosovo, especially among young people. A revival began a few years ago, when Arab organisations brought in food and clothes in the wake of the 1999 conflict, and granted scholarships to Far Eastern or Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. While most young people still lead a secular lifestyle, the number of devout Muslims has seen a marked increase. More girls are wearing headscarves, and young men can be seen in short trousers and long beards.

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