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October 22nd, 2010
10:49 AM ET

Exhibit: Albanian Muslims saved Jews from Nazis

From CNN affilate KSDK:

With rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country, an untold story is raising greater awareness about the Muslim faith and the teachings of the Quran. That awareness comes from an unlikely source: a small Jewish congregation in Creve Coeur.

Temple Emanuel is premiering a groundbreaking exhibit of photos that reveals Albanian Muslims who saved 2,000 Jews during World War II.

It's a story you've likely never heard. It is a story told through the faces of Albanian Muslims who risked their own lives to live by a code of faith and honor called Besa.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holocaust • Interfaith issues • Islam • Judaism

soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Jace

    Why do people bash other people for being Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any other religion? Let us all be. Every time I read an article on CNN, I come across atheists that try their best to find flaws in Islam and other religions. Why are you so obsessed about religion? If you want to be an atheist, go ahead and be one. No one is stopping you, but why all the hate? Go ahead and say there is no God, that is your belief. The fact of the matter is though, that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Many of our most prominent leaders are scientists and scholars that converted to Islam. There must be something about Islam then, right? If you think Islam is a horrible religion, then fine. That is your belief. Why are you so obsessed about bashing it though? If Muslims don't want to be Muslims, they can always convert or denounce religion altogether. No one is forcing them to be Muslims. Oh, and before anyone says that children are being forced to be Muslims, that is not true. You aren't a Muslim unless you say the shahadah, pray 5 times a day, fast in Ramadan, give money to charity and perform Hajj at least once in your life. If you don't pray properly because you are forced to, or fast, you are not a Muslim. Simple as that. So if the children are being forced to pray, they won't pray with clear hearts, and their prayers won't count. Also, God gives all children a chance. Their sins are not counted until they are old enough to know what Islam is about. So please, stop this obsession with religion if you think it's a horrible idea. You aren't doing anything to change our minds, and trashing our religions are making us believe in our faith even more, because if atheists are people that spew hate all the time, I'd rather be a Muslim. Also, before you talk about terrorism, Muslims don't consider the terrorists to be Muslims, since they are not following the rules of Islam when they kill innocents. They may say they are Muslims, but they are not. They are using Islam for their own agendas.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  2. Miami Beach

    propaganda

    October 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  3. Werdna

    Propaganda!

    October 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  4. Nick

    God will destroy the muslims in the end...

    October 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  5. Nick

    One good muslim and one billion bad ones... sigh!

    October 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
    • Werdna

      So true

      October 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  6. Werdna

    Sorry CNN, your attempt to promote Islam doesn't change the way we feel about ideology's they promote.

    October 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  7. DS

    Interesting discussion. This wasn't the only time that Moslems helped Jews and other people, but belated great thanks to the Albanians. Tolerance is prescribed in the Koran. Jews were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire when Spain kicked them out in 1492 and again in the run-up to and action of World War II. And the Ottoman Empire morphed into the modern Republic of Turkey, our strong NATO ally. Where Jews are free to worship as they please. I lived there for sixteen years and know this from first-hand experience, talking to Jews, both Turkish and American. (I was teaching at the NATO base at Incirlik which is essentially an American base.)

    My kids have dual citizenship, and we now live in Columbia, MO. My children endure racist comments on a monthly basis. Pity most people don't know more about history. Or current American foreign relations. This last is what my students (online) and nephew are now fighting for.

    October 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  8. Dont believe their lies!

    In 1943 a number of Albanians from Kosovo and the Sandžak region were recruited into the Waffen-SS Handschar Division. They were teamed up into Battalion I/2 (later I/28) and received first rate training in Neuhammer, Germany. This was perhaps the best trained and equipped Nazi Albanian military formation during the war but, ironically, was transferred directly from combat in Bosnia to Kosovo via rail on 17 April 1944 following the creation of Skanderbeg. The head of Waffen SS recruitment, SS Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger reported to Himmler that the Albanians "...were quite sad about leaving."[2]

    October 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • Elder

      Really?

      So, the West is lying?
      The Jews are lying?
      The Albanians are lying?

      The only people telling the truth are Serbs?
      And, I'm sure you're Serbian yourself trying to spread propaganda!
      It was Serb Chetnicks who were Nazi collaborators and who killed non-Serbs during WWII.
      Stop the propaganda.

      December 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • BosniaGirl

      I think you are from Serbia and everybody in this whole world knows what serbians are , what they done !
      Albanians from Albania and Kosovo are so nice poeple, they have respect and culture, they help people because they know what pain is. I'm from bosnia and i love Albania.
      I think israel should recognize kosovo because this will be the best way of thanking for everything what albanians have done for jews.
      Love AlbaniaKosova from Bosnia with respect

      August 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  9. Dino

    In 1943 a number of Albanians from Kosovo and the Sandžak region were recruited into the Waffen-SS Handschar Division. They were teamed up into Battalion I/2 (later I/28) and received first rate training in Neuhammer, Germany. This was perhaps the best trained and equipped Nazi Albanian military formation during the war but, ironically, was transferred directly from combat in Bosnia to Kosovo via rail on 17 April 1944 following the creation of Skanderbeg. The head of Waffen SS recruitment, SS Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger reported to Himmler that the Albanians "...were quite sad about leaving."[2]

    October 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  10. truealbo2006

    Has CNN read Kanun of Leke Dukagjini – the Albanian Kanun. Besa derives from there. Kanun was written before Christianity or Islam existed. Besa did exist before A.D. Further, most scholars of religion, whether Albanian, non-Albanian who understand the religious affairs amongst Albanian people, agree that BESA has nothing to do with Islam. Besa is common thing among Christians (Apostolic, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant)Albanians, Muslim (Sunni, Bektashi) Muslims and atheists.

    I should not blame CNN for this, but the author who lacks of understanding the basic knowledge of the Albanian culture.
    Personally, I am offended by this article, since as a Christian, Besa is even preached by our Priest on Sunday Sermons.

    October 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  11. Sulejman the Magnificant

    Google the Albanian Skenderbeg SS division.

    October 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  12. Sulejman the Magnificant....

    They forgot to mention the Albanian Skenderbeg SS division. LOL

    October 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  13. dwight huth

    See not all Muslim's hate Jew's. Actually, everyone who did not fall into a certain perfect person category was deemed sub-human by the Nazi's. So if you looked a certain way or talled differently than the Nazi's wanted you to talk then you were taken off to the gas chamber.

    I wonder how many untold stories of different cultures have been kept in secret tomb's to who and how many the Nazi's actually killed. I can bet there are even Asian stories of Nazi's rounding up the less desirable and exterminating them.

    October 23, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  14. Mqurashi

    Muslims had always protected the Jews, who took refuge in the Muslim territories after Queen Isabel threw them out of Spain. The Jews had been banned from entering Jerusalem since 70 CE it was in the 8th century when the Muslim Caliph invited 70 Jewish families to settle there. Europe had always been biased against the Jews and that was where the Jewish Ghettos exited.

    October 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  15. Adrian Zupp

    WE NEED MORE STORIES - AND EXHIBITS - LIKE THIS TO SHOW THAT WE ARE ALL PART OF THE ONE RACE.

    Sincerely,
    Adrian Zupp
    http://adrianzupp.blogspot.com/

    October 23, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  16. Muneef

    Just do not understand what we are fighting for or over and but do understand the cont-entment,satisfaction,consent,assent,approval,acceptance of people purpose,aim,goal,objective,intentions, miss-ion unaccom-plished,unachieved,uncompleted,unfinished.
    They will never agree on one thing and always some ones would want it their way to play Gods on Earth by all means that are provided to mankind by God the creator or his rights.

    October 23, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      Think I shouldn't teach you how that can be accomplished to make life on earth a better place for unending generations yet to come that can exchange knowledge and trade as multicultural nations or multicultural societies with out negat-ivities? Before bases the trust and fear of God people used to deal making agree-ments,tre-aties,vow,conv-ention verbally or written  taking an ought witnessed by others two or more. But if that is no longer existing and those dealt with are neither trust or fear God which makes their ought worthless? How nations can trust who can not keep a word or a promise or a vow they have given but never committed to it? Sx-Bko!

      We are not sure where you are getting your con-duct,atti-tudes,mo-rals,et-hics,beh-aviors from as an example must be bibles for some but not sure about the other many who have no bible or reject any bible?
       As for us Arab and non Arab Muslims we are supposed to get to learn those from the Quran as to stories of the Prophets and messengers of God as well as Muhammed's and comp-anions biogr-aphies written history which are supposed to shape Muslims perso-nalties in life otherwise the Muslim can not be a complete because we say "The religion is the treat-ment,the deal-ing,the be-havior" so if the muslim is not like that and no examples taken or learnt, well then I do not know what kind of Islam is that. Other Muslims have exceeded the above mentioned examples to latter ones whom I can not judge as Good or Bad but all should know that any doing w-rong, the whole religion is being sha-ken up and not only the branches that might did the w-rong. So are those Muslims giving a chance or a favor for some one to find excuse to re-move the tree of Islam as the with the removing of the olive trees of the holy lands stating it would speak telling that some Jew hiding behind it? 
      In Islam all beliefs lived together in harmony until the WW side eff-ects came in addition to other non WW, all those along the way have planted neg-ative seeds which might be they today har-vesting.
       

      October 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  17. Labi

    People this are The Albanian Men, this has nothing to do with religion. In Albania religion comes in the second place. Finally the world has to know who Albanians are. You have Catholik Albanians, Muslim and Orthodox Albanians. One thing is very important is that during the WWO2 Albania was the only country that protected Juish people.

    October 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  18. Abu Kareem Muhammad al-Jameel ibn Nidh'aal ibn Abdulaziz aal-Filisteeni

    Saving Jews what they going to do next, convert to Chistianity. Traitors!!

    October 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  19. g

    What a bunch of muslim agenda pushing crap.

    October 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  20. Big B

    Who cares?

    October 23, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.