Excerpt:

September has seen devout Muslims again flocking to Albania's only "burqa beach" after the Ramadan holy month, where women bathe in full hijab -- a short distance from the "other" Albania where girls romp in scanty bikinis.

The contrast is not to everyone's liking but is a testament to Albania's centuries-old tradition of religious tolerance, which even survived nearly half a century of a communist rule that tried to stamp out all religion.

About two-thirds of this Mediterranean state's 3.2 million residents are Muslim. Much of the rest is Christian -- both Orthodox and Catholic -- and co-habitation among the different faiths is the norm in EU-hopeful Albania.


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