Albanians in Serbia
|61,467 (2002 census)
5,809 (2011 census-boycotted)
Bektashi and Atheism (minority)
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An estimate of 50,000 Albanians live in Serbia out of whom majority live in the municipalities of Preševo (Albanian: Preshevë), Bujanovac (Albanian: Bujanoc), and part of the municipality of Medveđa (Albanian: Medvegjë). According to the results of the 2011 Census which was mostly boycotted, there are 5,809 Albanians in Serbia.
In the municipalities of Preševo and Bujanovac Albanians form the majority of population (89.1% in Preševo and 54.69% in Bujanovac according to the 2002 census). In the municipality of Medveđa, Albanians are second largest ethnic group (after Serbs), and their participation in this municipality was 28.67% in 1991 and 26.17% in 2002. The region of Bujanovac and Preševo is widely known as the Preševo Valley (Serbian: Прешевска Долина, Preševska Dolina, Albanian: Lugina e Preshevës).
In 1992, the Albanians of southern Serbia organized a referendum in which they voted that Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac should join Kosovo. Between 1999 and 2001, an ethnic Albanian guerilla organization, the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (in Albanian Ushtria Çlirimtare e Preshevës, Medvegjës dhe Bujanocit, UÇPMB), was operational in this region with a goal to secede these three municipalities from the FR Yugoslavia and join them to Kosovo upon achieving independence. The activities attracted less international media interest than the related events of Kosovo and Macedonia.
Education in Albanian is provided for primary and secondary schools. There may be some university-level courses provided in Albanian, in the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, but students mainly do their university degree in the University of Prishtina in Kosovo, in Macedonia, or in Albanian Universities.
The main religion of Albanians in this region is Islam. Prior to the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans, the population of the Presevo Valley was mostly Roman Catholic. There are still Catholic churches in the Karadak villages, located in Kosovo today.
Prominent Albanian individuals
- Riza Halimi, a politician, the former mayor of Preševo municipality.
- Jonuz Musliu, head of the UCPMB political wing.
- Donika Nuhiu, well-known pop singer.
- Preševo Valley conflict
- Central Serbia
- Albanians in Kosovo
- Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia
- Albanians in the Republic of Montenegro
- UCPMB, Former guerilla Liberation Army of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa
- "South Serbia Albanians Seek Community of Municipalities". Retrieved 17 July 2013. "South Serbia is home to 50,000 or so Albanians."
- . BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1043583.stm. Retrieved 24 October 2013. "Initially, the guerrillas' publicly acknowledged objective was to protect the local ethnic Albanian population of some 70,000 people from the repressive actions of the Serb security forces." Missing or empty
- "The Presevo Valley of Southern Serbia alongside Kosovo The Case for Decentralisation and Minority Protection". Retrieved 24 October 2013. "The total population of the Valley is around 86,000 inhabitants of whom around 57,000 are Albanians and the rest are Serbs and Roma"
- "Yugoslavia: Serbia Offers Peace Plan For Presevo Valley". Retrieved 24 October 2013. "The Serbian peace proposal calls for integrating the Presevo valley's 70,000 ethnic Albanian residents into mainstream Serbian political and social life."
- (Serbian) PDF (441 KB), pp. 12–13
- Popis stanovništva, domaćinstava i Stanova 2002. Knjiga 1: Nacionalna ili etnička pripadnost po naseljima (in Serbian). Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. 2003. ISBN 86-84433-00-9.