The first Islamic University in the history of Albania was inaugurated on Thursday in the suburbs of Tirana, the country's capitol. At the ceremony, the head of Albania's Muslim community, Haxhi Selim Muca, said that Islam is not a religion of violence and destruction, but a religion of faith and knowledge. "The first injunction of the Qur'an is to "read'.We are taking a very important step today for our young people, so that they can read and study", Muça declared. A representative of the “Sema Foundation” , one of the Albanian Islamic Community collaborators for the university, confirms that schools like this serve humanity. "I believe that these schools will produce the architects of our future. Violence will not exist anymore, only dialogue", he said. On the occasion of the university's opening, Albania's Prime Minister Sali Berisha appealed all Albanians to unite in speeding up the country's development. "Let us be inspired from this to respect each other, to distribute the message of our civil spirit and to be sure that we will successfully walk toward a future that we are building with so many of our efforts," Berisha declared. Government approval for the university came back in 2005 in order to produce home-grown leaders for Albania's Muslim communities. "We have to put an end to the import-export of theological students with the Arab countries, and instead create a university that prepares leaders who will guide our local communities in the Albanian cultural tradition of tolerance and respect for other faiths," Albania's then Premier Fatos Nano said at the 2005 announcement for approving the university's budget. Conflict between the Albanian traditional Islamic tradition and a new generation of imams trained abroad has caused serious tensions within the country's Muslim communities, which the government hopes to address with this new university.
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