Memorie.al publishes an archival document with the initials “To top secret” dated February 27, 1967, issued from the fund of the former Central Committee of the ALP, Enver Hoxha has sent a long letter to all-party committees of the districts, where he explains to them the measures that should be taken in the fight against religious beliefs in Albania, giving detailed and detailed explanations, “how to work concretely with the measures of the people to uproot you from their conscience religious belief and how to work with people to convince them first and then to destroy cult objects, such as churches, mosques, monasteries, tekkes, tyrbes, etc.
Although the communist regime of Enver Hoxha had begun to crack down on religious institutions and various clerics of the three faiths since his coming to power in December 1944, when executions, imprisonment and mass deportations of hundreds of clerics began, the ban on religion and the demolition of various cult objects, began to be implemented only in 1965-’66. To the decision taken by the senior leadership of the ALP and personally Enver Hoxha at that time, to ban religion and the destruction of all religious institutions and various cult objects, which was initially camouflaged, attributed to initiatives and demands of some school youth organizations of Tirana and Durrës gymnasiums (high school “Naim Frashëri”) had many strong objections and reactions, both from the believers and the clergy of the three religious faiths, which exercised the activity of their religions throughout the country. But the reactions of various clerics and believers were further heightened when the directive of the senior leadership of the ALP, on the prohibition of religion and the demolition of cult objects, was becoming a reality by senior party and government leaders in the districts of various of the country, who launched attacks on churches and mosques, initially targeting school students, military units, and fanatical youth organization activists. At that time, when the attack on religion and the demolition of various places of worship had just begun, some of the high clergy and many believers remembered that it was indeed an initiative of the school youth organizations! And, to prevent what was happening, they started sending various letters to Enver Hoxha, (most of them signed and signed with their names, but also many anonymous letters) where they denounced the actions they had undertaken against religious objects the leaders of the party and the power in the districts, hoping that the chief leader would intervene with his absolute authority and stop it. Which turned out to be a vain hope, as the fight against religious beliefs was not a “youth initiative”, as presented at the time, (but also afterward) by the senior leadership of the ALP, but it was a directive. its, which is confirmed by a long letter with the initials “Very secret” that Enver Hoxha on behalf of the Central Committee of the ALP sent to all committees of the district parties, where he gave the relevant directives, giving detailed and very detailed explanations of the war and the final blow that was and were being undertaken against religion in Albania.
The letter in question that we are publishing in this article, is part of a voluminous file available to Memorie. al, where it is only about the wild campaign that was undertaken at that time by the senior leadership of the ALP with the entire state dictatorial apparatus against religious beliefs. in Albania, which not only led to the demolition and destruction of hundreds of cult objects, such as churches, mosques, monasteries, tekkes, turbes, etc. but also the arrest, imprisonment, internment or execution of dozens of clerics and believers. various who opposed that savage violence campaign that made Albania “the only atheist country in the world”.
Letter of the Central Committee of the Albanian People’s Party to the Party Committees of the districts on the fight against religion, prejudices and religious customs.
ALBANIAN WORK PARTY Top secret
Nr. 133 Prot. Tiranë, on 27.II. 1967
COMMITTEES OF THE COUNTRY PARTY
February 27, 1967
Considering that the fight against religion, prejudices and religious customs has recently intensified in many districts, and for this war to be waged as fairly as possible, without mistakes and with more success, it was deemed necessary to give the following orientations. :
Religion is the opium of the people. We must do our best to make everyone understand this great truth, and we must heal those who are poisoned (and not a few). This is not an easy task, but neither is it impossible. We must not leave this great struggle to spontaneity or be content with saying that the younger generations will abandon this opium, or that religion and its practices exist only in the elderly and the elderly. This is not correct; they can lose their virulence only if we fight and unmask them, but they are revived, propagated, and expanded if we underestimate them.
Of course, religion has to do with worldviews, with conscience, it operates with concepts that for centuries clerics have not only turned into philosophical dogmas but, to root these animistic dogmas in people’s consciousness, they have also associated them with concrete disciplines, with special organizations related to the events of human life. Religion has tried to connect everything with the events of human life and has made him associate every thought, every action of his with religion, with the idealistic, mystical faith, etc.
Our fight against religion must be directed against religious dogmas themselves, its idealistic and mystical philosophical views, as well as against religious disciplines, which have entered into the daily habits of those who believe, even those who do not believe, but which they sometimes apply without knowing, without showing care, often by force of habit. Our people, in general, are not religious in that sense, as are many other peoples, but they still believe in something.
Clerics, except for Catholics, are currently ignorant and the religion they preach and rely more on the preservation of religious discipline, through an archaic liturgy, with psoas and diaries or with memorized prayers, in the case of imams, without being understood. nor the interior, let alone their philosophical interpretation. We have not left any of the schools, even the lower ones, where the new clerics came from, to interpret their religious doctrine. So clerics of all faiths in our country have constantly exhausted themselves as cadres. As for the publication of their books and dogmas, this opportunity has long since died for them. Muslims neither have, nor can have, nor can they read any old Qur’an, because it is in Arabic. Practically, they “live” with some eyes of the Qur’an, which they memorize, which they do not understand and transmit orally. The Orthodox are neither richer in religious books nor more elevated. They only have the advantage of having the gospel in Albanian.
And Catholics, especially their clergy, are richer in books, more elevated, and they continue to develop Catholicism as a philosophy wherever they can. So we have eradicated the material and propaganda basis for the multiplication of religious books. We have also eliminated the possibility of preparing a new clerical cadre. Now the issue is with the churches and mosques that exist in our country, as the only major means by which clerics gather believers to keep the faith alive, even in decadent forms. The demolition of churches, mosques, tekkes, and monasteries, of course, presents a difficulty, because one should not go in direct opposition to that part of the people who believe. Therefore, care must be taken in this regard. But many of them have been disrupted by the initiative of the masses without provoking any reaction, some others have fallen, some have returned to the warehouse or have been left without an imam or a priest and practically do not work. We need to look for these forms, but they are revived, propagated and expanded if we underestimate them. Of course, religion has to do with worldviews, with conscience, it operates with concepts that for centuries clerics have not only turned into philosophical dogmas but, to root these animistic dogmas in people’s consciousness, they have also associated them with concrete disciplines, with special organizations related to the events of human life. Religion has tried to connect everything with the events of human life and has made him associate every thought, every action of his with religion, with the idealistic, mystical faith, etc. Our fight against religion must be directed against religious dogmas themselves, its idealistic and mystical philosophical views, as well as against religious dogmas, which have entered into the daily habits of those who believe, even those who do not believe, but which they sometimes apply unknowingly, without showing care, often by force of habit. Our people, in general, are not religious in that sense, as are many other peoples, but they still believe in something.
We have also eliminated the possibility of preparing a new clerical cadre. Now the issue is with the churches and mosques that exist in our country, as the only major means by which clerics gather believers to keep the faith alive, even in decadent forms. The demolition of churches, mosques, tekkes, and monasteries, of course, presents a difficulty, because one should not go in direct opposition to that part of the people who believe. Therefore, care must be taken in this regard. But many of them have been disrupted by the initiative of the masses without provoking any reaction, some others have fallen, some have returned to the warehouse or have been left without an imam or a priest and practically do not work.
We must continue with these forms until we flatten them from the face of the earth. We need to get rid of religious institutions, where we have left something, all the land, some olive roots or other income that they may still have. It is interesting that in our village there is no resistance to these things. This is the result of the atheist work that the Party has done and continues to do, but also of the lack of imams, priests, and religious books. In general, in the village, the issue of religious belief is held in the customs of life and their pragmatic interpretation, but this should neither be underestimated nor neglected because it greatly harms the development and progress of the country. To eradicate religious practices, we must fight them mainly with a patriotic and revolutionary spirit. Let us take the issues of Muslim religious practices. For 14 centuries they have maintained the character of Arab unity, of Arab domination by religion; The Qur’an is the book of this law. To him, everything preaches the preservation of this idea, its propaganda, intertwined, of course, with idealistic, monotheistic, more rational, as it were, Judaism or Christianity. Muslim religious disciplines keep intact the issue that, when a person prays, whether Egyptian, Chinese or Albanian, he must turn his face away from Mecca. This means maintaining the belief in religious unity not only spiritually but also temporally. According to the Muslim religion for the whole center is Mecca. The discipline of the Muslim religion requires that every Muslim, of whatever nationality he may be, should pray in Arabic, learn the Qur’an, and recite it only in Arabic. Muslims pray the same thing everywhere, the number of prayers every day is the same, taking ablution is the same. They are the same everywhere until their dates are set: fasting, Eid holidays, math, etc. We need to break these practices and show all those who believe how absurd it is to maintain and apply such habits that have nothing to do with our lives, not only with the present but also with the past. To explain their origin and purpose, to prove to them how, under the guise of God, the law of the Ottomans, the Turkish invaders, and their servants were hidden. So, nothing connected us or connects us with religion, with its practices, not only as atheists but also as Albanian patriots.
Can it be imagined that the Albanians will continue to obey the laws of foreigners, the laws of the occupiers, whether these laws are dressed in the garb of religion and sharia? To continue to obey these laws and customs means to be spiritually with strangers, with the darkest reaction. It is not possible on the one hand to think and act politically on the other hand, and on the other hand to think ideologically crooked. Religion makes you make serious political mistakes and prevents you from moving forward. The world is progressing. Albania is building socialism, and some people still believe in the dreams of a sixth-century man who had his worldview on life, his own goals over his people, and other peoples. What can these dreams of Muhammad have to do with our twentieth-century reality? No connection! Therefore, these connections that tighten a person’s legs and hands and humiliate him should be finally and without a mark. We must not forget this aspect of the historical explanation of the practices of the Muslim religion, but use it and, together with it, revive and oppose the great patriotism of the masses against religious practices.
Let us explain to the masses, historically and materially, what suffering, misery, bloodshed and impression our people have suffered, especially from religion, how it divided us and brought our brother to war against the brother, serving them. oppressors and invaders to oppress us, to enslave us more easily, and to drink our blood in the name of religion. This must be done against the Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic religions because all of them have the same strong reactionary, oppressive, idealistic character, both in the development of dogmas and in their content, or in the charged, refined and pompous liturgy. , whether in religious practices and disciplines. When the Muslim religion sees in Muhammad only the prophet, that is, the man to whom, ostensibly, God transmitted his commands, which were summarized in the Qur’an, Christ for the Orthodox and Catholic religions is the man who became man, descended to earth, and so on. etc. If Muslimism considers the mosque as a simple place to pray, Christianity considers the throne churches of God, where God is idealized and the human being is minimized, the soul and physique of man are enslaved and oppressed under a terrible and pompous liturgy, under one unbridled luxury of the clergy and cathedrals, under a terrible daily practice that has been sewn on the believer since he was born and until he dies. To the believer, as long as he is alive, the church not only acquires wealth through a thousand predatory habits, inspiring practice and brutal enslavement, but, through a thousand animistic theories, it tries to preserve in people both the cult and the “dead soul” practices. of four to six thousand years ago, such as being taken to the tombs of wheat, various cakes, and zahir’s, which, of course, are collected in the evening by the priests. The fight against religion, especially in our country, where it has not been able to develop in elaborate philosophical forms, due to the lack of a developed and cultured clergy base, must be done with perseverance, especially against customs, traditions, way of life. , the interpretation of phenomena, why through this way the clergy have been able, for centuries, to introduce the poison of religion and to mix this poison with the joys, with the sorrows, with the daily events of human life. So, we are given the task to study in detail where and how this poison appears, in what form it appears, what treatment it has received during development, what practices are applied, how they are applied and how they are camouflaged. In human life, from his birth to his death, religious rites, baptism, the laying of the crown, circumcision, etc., have penetrated like worms inside the red moth. By analyzing and knowing these well, the fight against religion will become studied and systematic, ideological, political and organizational, without rest and rest. To combat religious concepts, we must prepare theoretical lectures based on Marxism-Leninism, simple, real, and adapt them to our country, people, customs, and intellectual level.
Let’s not copy things that don’t fit our reality. Let’s not get into things and thoughts that aren’t necessary for our condition. The fight against religion is quite complicated, so those who are not well-armed in this war cannot achieve the results they want. We have all the opportunities and our ground is favorable for us to carry out this war successfully. A historic weapon against religion and reactionary clerics is the fact that the Muslim religion has been the ideology of the Turkish occupiers, the Orthodox religion the ideology of the Greek chauvinists who have invaded our country in the past, and the Vatican-based Catholic religion has been the ideology of the Italian occupiers, of Austrian imperialism and Italian fascism. The patriotic feelings of our people and their struggle to free themselves from the yoke of foreigners have, over the centuries, also clashed with the religious ideology of the occupiers and reactionary clerics of every faith that served them. In this historical fact, we cannot fail to see one of the reasons why our people are not so fanatical and religious, because this, in essence, and fact, has been contrary to the idea of national liberation. Throughout the history of the Albanian people, there have been patriotic clerics who, even without denying their faith, have been associated with the people and the idea of national liberation, but at no time has religion as a religion been a progressive factor, not even given not even the slightest help in national liberation.
So this is another historical argument that we should not neglect in our fight against religion. Given all of the above, we as communists and atheists must also be realistic. Despite our organized propaganda against religion, rites, dogmas, religious institutions, and professional clerics, we must constantly keep in mind not to enter into open warfare with people who believe in religion, because there will be honest, connected people in the people. with the Party and ardent patriots, who will keep in their consciousness even for a long time, may even until they die, their beliefs. With them we must do a convincing, continuous and patient work, but not allow it to turn offensive. With these people, the Party must behave, so to speak, as the good doctor who makes every effort to heal the sick, to bring him back to the joys of life. We will not find vain religious beliefs only in clerics, who are professional people who propagate and keep alive, who make speculations and deceptions. Religious beliefs also exist among the people. Therefore, without slowing down for any moment the propaganda against religion, let us always keep in mind that we are dealing with the people. Immeasurable, exalted actions must be avoided, every action must be carefully prepared on the political ground. Closing mosques and churches with a campaign or an order is easy, but it is more difficult to prepare believers spiritually and ideologically to understand the futility of the existence of these institutions, to eradicate religion from the customs of life, to give up obedience. from its practices. Then the mosque or the church, the priest or the imam is of no less important to them. Many churches and mosques are being abandoned and demolished. There is no need to overdo it when we have so many useful constructions to do. Some may return to the museum, if they are valid as such, some become warehouses, not hesitate, deal, but not by force or without the approval of the people, who must be prepared spiritually.
In these revolutionary situations, we have learned that the leadership of the Bektashi clergy and that of the Muslim clergy have issued a circular to all imams and dervishes to remove the turbans and taças, to remove the hijabs and to hand over the tekkes and mosques. There is no push, no pressure, no suggestion from the state. This is entirely their initiative. When the opportunity arises, explain that this is the initiative of the clergy themselves, because the enemy elements can use this against the government. Since we know these clergymen, we think that, for the zeal they have shown, they have not been driven by any evil intentions, because they are connected with the people and with power.
Their gesture, however hasty, still serves the general interest. It is a patriotic and courageous gesture, because, even though they will continue to believe in religion, they break a centuries-old tradition, which honors them. After all, in itself it is a progressive thought and action. But it would be more political for the clergy to understand and help, carefully following the Party’s strategy and tactics in the fight against religion. There will be people in the people who will not approve of the actions of these clerics. We must not stand idly by, but defend them in their good intentions, for most of the people, especially the young and the old, will approve of them. This is of great importance. Let everything be done patiently, consistently, on the path we explained above.
For the Central Committee of the ALP