Area: 28,748 sq km
A mountainous Balkan state on the Adriatic Sea.
Population: 3,169,087 Annual Growth: 0.37%
Official language: Albanian Languages: 7 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
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The least-reached minorities:
a) The Bektashi, a Sufi dervish movement, is deemed heretical by the Sunni majority because its beliefs are more influenced by folk religion and the occult. As many as 600,000 Albanians are associated with this movement. Some have become evangelical believers.
b) The Vlach (related to the Romani Gypsy) are looked down upon by many. Most are culturally Orthodox. A few groups work among them and are seeing some fruit.
c) The Gorani, Golloborda and Cham are culturally Muslim. They are quite isolated, but there is some ministry among them via short-term teams.
d) The Rufai. Another mystic group, similar to the Bektashis but independent from them, is the dervish sect called the Rufai or Rifai (howling dervishes).
The Albanian diaspora. Over half of all Albanians live outside Albania. Their spiritual need is now greater than that of Albania itself. Pray for these:
a) Kosovar Albanians are 98% Muslim, with about 1,000 evangelicals in 12 congregations in Kosovo. The upheaval involving Serbia and NATO opened doors for evangelism and ministry.
b) Albanians living in Macedonia (600,000 to 700,000) and Montenegro (40,000). Almost all are Muslim, with very little Christian outreach to them.
c) Albanians further afield. Indigenous Albanian populations have long been in Italy and Greece, but now their numbers have swelled: Greece (500,000), Italy (450,000) and Germany, as well as Switzerland, Netherlands and the UK, with over 100,000 each. New York City alone may have over 100,000 Albanians, and large populations can be found in Boston and Detroit also.
d) Criminal activities seem sadly widespread among some segments of the diaspora. Most heinous of these is illegal trafficking of people, primarily for prostitution, but other trafficking includes that of drugs and arms.
For an additional 6 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Albania.