Excerpt:

The call to prayer drifting from the spindly minarets of Pristina's Ottoman era mosques struggles to be heard over the din of the city. Pristina is home to 22 mosques, but most are too small, causing worshippers to spill on to surrounding streets on Fridays and religious holidays.

The lack of space has led to calls for the construction of a large, flagship mosque here in the capital of Europe's youngest Muslim- majority state. The debate over this and other issues, including the wearing of the hijab, or headscarf, in schools, contains echoes of similar handwringing elsewhere in the continent when it comes to the place of religion in public life.

While 90 per cent of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority identify themselves as Muslim, this has more of a cultural than a religious resonance centuries after Ottoman Turks first brought Islam to the region. In general, Kosovar Muslims wear their faith lightly – overall mosque attendance is low and several other tenets are either observed casually or not at all.


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