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A Serb Orthodox monastery in religiously polarised Kosovo is breaking stereotypes by making its nuns learn Albanian so they can talk to Muslim villagers who come to pray at a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Muslims from all over Kosovo flock to the Sokolica monastery because they believe its 14th-century sculpture of the Virgin with Christ can cure deaf-mute children and help childless couples fall pregnant.

"When they ask how to pray, we tell them to pray in their own language and in the way they are taught to. We let them praise their Allah as we do our God," the 67-year-old head of the monastery, Mati Makarija, told AFP.

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