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Old 08-05-2010, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Bronx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedog2 View Post
While I agree that there are lots of Muslim Albanians,especially in Albania, it is not as simple as you think at all.

If anything,Albanians consider both Christianity and Islam to be "foreign" influences and they are beholden to neither.The largest group in Albania actually has a weird religion of their own that is a hybrid of the two.They tend to adapt and change with the political winds.Religous pragmatism more than anything else.

Until recently,the Moslems were definitely in control in Albania as the ruling elite BUT that is exactly why the majority of Albanians who fled to the U.S. were Christian( mostly catholic).They were Catholics fleeing persecution by Moslems and it is one of the factors that allowed so many into the US. So while there might even be more Moslems than Christians in Albania,more Christian than moslem Albanians have come to the U.S.
Whether you encounter Christian or Moslem Albanians here in NY might also depend on what part of Albania they come from( Albania itself,Kosovo,
Macedoni,Montenegro,etc.

In any event,the Albanians in my neighborhood( Pelham Parkway),which has the first and now still the largest Albanian community in the U.S. seem to be quite Christian as far as I can see and tend to send their kids to the catholic schools and go to the Italian and Greek churches although I do see some that appear to be moslem.They are also rather involved in near worship of Mother Theresa,had a section of Lydig Avenue changed to " Mother Theresa way" and talk about building a big Albanian Catholic church in the neighborhood and having the Pope come for the dedication.LOL. A lot of dreaming I am sure and maybe just another case of religious pragmatism.

Religion is a very complicated subject with Albanians.
We can not also forget that Albanians at one time professed Athiesm and not Islam or Catholism. Albania was a communist country at one point and Athiesm was the states religion not chirstianity and islam, at one point both christianity and islam were both presecutued religion under communism in Albania and also in Yugoslavia. Jews faced worst. But anyway Albania historically was rough, like Afghanistan I guess every generation taht area of the Balkans suffers from a conflict that makes people rough like for example medieval Spaniards who killed off Muslims and later Aztecs and Incas or 16th century Russians after expelling the Mongols. For the past 100 years Albanians witnessed alot of conflict probably on par with Afghans, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania itself was communist, world war 2 and the nazi occupation, and then in Albania, Greeks and Italians fought over Albania because Albania is part of Greek sphere of Influence and also Italian sphere of influence based on historical empires such as Roman and Alexander Macedon or Venetian and Byzantine. Greeks won. Italy was promised Albania after world war 1 but never got it. Also world war 1 and prior to world war 1 was certain conflicts against the Turks supported by the Greeks and Russians. So every generation for Albanians was a conflict and thats why some of these people are messed up in the head.

Last edited by Bronxguyanese; 08-05-2010 at 02:42 PM..
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordandubreil View Post
every albanian i met was muslim
Most of the Albanians in the Bronx are Catholic, they are all from the Kosovo region, they probably are really Muslim, but due to the genocide that was going on in Kosovo from the Orthodox Christian Serbs, they converted to Catholicism, so they didn't get heat from either side. I know plenty of Albos and their history. The Bronx has a very large Albanian population they are the third largest white population in the Bronx behind Italian and Irish. When I went to Catholic school in Manhattan (St Judes) I even had some Albanians in my class, it was majority Irish or Hispanic though, but there was a good amount of Albos in there, that was when they were coming over in HUGE numbers in the 90s.
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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What is the history about the Albanians in The Bronx. Why did they move there? Why not in Queens or Brooklyn like many other immigrant groups?
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mekitor View Post
What is the history about the Albanians in The Bronx. Why did they move there? Why not in Queens or Brooklyn like many other immigrant groups?
They moved into alot of Italian neighborhoods, Pelham Pkwy, Pelham Bay, Morris Park, Belmont(Theres some Italians left, but its mostly Albanians and Puerto Ricans), Westchester Square(Same as Belmont), Bedford Park(Which actually has more Irish then Italians, but theres alot of Albanians there) are all big Albanian neighborhoods in the Bronx. Theres probably numerous other reasons they moved there as well, Albanians are a tough group and don't mind moving into ghetto/hood areas if its cheaper, when they came, they came in LARGE numbers, they took over blocks, Majority of them in the Bronx are Catholic and the Bronx is most definitely a Catholic borough, the Irish, Italians and Hispanics are ALL Catholic. All of these reasons probably contributed to it.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolchris4000b View Post
They moved into alot of Italian neighborhoods, Pelham Pkwy, Pelham Bay, Morris Park, Belmont(Theres some Italians left, but its mostly Albanians and Puerto Ricans), Westchester Square(Same as Belmont), Bedford Park(Which actually has more Irish then Italians, but theres alot of Albanians there) are all big Albanian neighborhoods in the Bronx. Theres probably numerous other reasons they moved there as well, Albanians are a tough group and don't mind moving into ghetto/hood areas if its cheaper, when they came, they came in LARGE numbers, they took over blocks, Majority of them in the Bronx are Catholic and the Bronx is most definitely a Catholic borough, the Irish, Italians and Hispanics are ALL Catholic. All of these reasons probably contributed to it.
Pretty much right except the neighborhoods the Albanians moved into were not and still are not ghetto/hood neighborhoods at all.For the most part they moved into thriving Italian middle class neighborhoods.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,the Albanian people and culture are amazingly similar to Italians.I travel in Italy every year and speak Italian so I have gotten to know the Italian culture quite well.Now I live in an Albanian neighborhood and I really can't believe how similar they are in every respect.The Albanians sometimes buy Italian restaurants and pizza places and don't change the name or the menu.They just keep running it as the same old Italian restaurant and nobody can tell the difference.So it's definitely the Italian affinity that was most important.

Why they came into Pelham Parkway and Morris Park and didn't go to places like Bay Ridge I can't answer for sure but it may have been money.The Albanians came with an ingrained desire to own real estate and they also seem to have arrived with some money.Not lots but some.They didn't arrive destitute like a lot of immigrants.Maybe they came to the Italian neighborhoods in The Bronx because they were cheaper than the Italian neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Queens.They certainly started buying up the place in short order. Many Albanians who have been in the Pelham Parkway neighborhood for only 20 years own multiple apartment buildings! Same reason a lot of people from other boroughs are moving to The Bronx right now.Money goes a lot further here.

Last edited by bluedog2; 08-05-2010 at 07:44 PM..
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:18 PM
 
Location: New York
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Default Arbëreshë

There are also parts of Italy where they speak a Italian dialect called Arbëreshë is that is heavily influenced by Albanian. Indeed the Italians and Albanians have a very similar culture.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Bronx
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The reason why is that albania lies between the greco and italian spheric influences. Albania has greek influences from the greek byzantine empire. Later albania was part of the venetian empire. I have also seen albanians in astoria who try yo associate as greeks like how albanians in the bronx try to be italian. Albnanians has been influenced by boyh greece and italy and mind you that 70 years ago battle of albania was fought between greeks and italians and the greeks won.
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:30 AM
 
12,687 posts, read 18,418,076 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samyn on the green View Post
There are also parts of Italy where they speak a Italian dialect called Arbëreshë is that is heavily influenced by Albanian. Indeed the Italians and Albanians have a very similar culture.

I believe Albania was some kind of Italian colony or dependency at one point. During the monarcy, wasn't the Italian monarch known as King of Italy and Albania?

I remember when the Albanians started coming to the Bronx. They are indeed hard-working people. They also have a real element of toughness- maybe a crazy streak. Not people to be messed with. I have some "stories", none involving me.

People in Italy describe them the same way as those on this thread.

If they ever do a remake of Happy Days, Fonzie should be an Albanian-American.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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most albanians went to waterbury conn.in the early 1900s. some went to bidford maine also to work in factories.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:11 AM
 
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I'm impressed by the knowledge and thinking on this thread applied to understanding Albanian culture. Wow. (how do I give you all reputation points?)

You're all correct -- Albanian history (and consequent mindset) is confusing. The flashpoint in the Kosovo conflict was thought to be Milosevic's screaming racism against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo (who were largely Muslim and well-educated, unlike Serbs, who are Orthodox with a high rate of illiteracy). Even though Albania itself is a chunk cut out of the former Yugoslavia, Albanians in Albania felt a deep commitment to ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo. Kosovo was part of that Russian science experiment known as "Yugoslavia", but official atheism didn't 'take', nor did fealty to communism as a system.

I helped lead an emergency relief organization assisting refugees from Kosovo who were streaming into Europe at that time. Our over-arching principle was to help everyone irrespective of religion or ethnicity, and to force them to share resources with each other. Before the conflict they did, and neighborhoods and towns were peacefully multi-ethnic.

But Albanians had learned to trust no one (that might explain something about Albanians in NY). They had been betrayed by the Russians, the Chinese, and all other ethnicities in the Slavic states. Europe turned their back on them, although the Slavic states were technically in Europe, and fellow Muslims didn't help either. It was only when Americans had enough of seeing explosions in Sarajevo on the evening news, that Clinton sent Gen. Wesley Clark to prosecute that war (which he did, and goes down in history as the only U.S. general to lose not a single soldier in combat. That's a fact, jack.)

By then, Albanians had retained a seething resentment and disillusionment towards authority figures. The only local leaders who had ANY authority and leadership were, believe it or not, Roman Catholic priests. They led villages from the bombed-out basements of churches, and organized and managed with a lot of selfless dedication. As a result, some Albanians did convert to Catholicism, although they were not proselytized. Everyone was basically in survival mode.

Some wondered why Albanians moved to certain Italian neighborhoods, like in the Bronx. My guess would be, and this is a total guess, the Catholic Church, and Catholic relief organizations with a nod from the Vatican, initially sponsored those families financially and every other way. Probably some Albanian kids got scholarships to Catholic schools, etc. After the first wave of immigrants settled, their relatives came in, some of them raw from betrayal and conflict, and hammered into their kids's heads the credo "Trust No One".

So, upshot is -- for Albanians, Italians are good, Catholics are good, and Americans are good (we were the good guys that brought peace), so Italian-American Catholics they trust. Everyone else they just might happily send to he11.

(@stevej64, I live in that area of Maine, and no, the factory workers were French Canadians. French is still the lingua franca of the older generation, particularly those who worked in the mills.)
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