A first-generation immigrant, Sharif moved to Switzerland in 1988. Like thousands of young Albanian men who had flocked to Europe in the 1980s, he arrived with a dream of a better life. Indeed, many thousands more like him flooded into Switzerland during the years of the war in Kosovo.
Today, Sharif works in an unsatisfying job in a large factory. He dreams of one day returning home to start a business or return to a Ã¢â‚¬Å“better placeÃ¢â‚¬Â that he can only just remember. He has spent much on building the family home in his original village, and he has visited many times, being sure to bring back some money for those in need.
However, Sharif and his wife stay in Switzerland so their boys may attend a Swiss university and make a better life for themselves. With their parents aging and siblings growing apart, they visit home less and less. Slowly, their dream of returning is fading.
About 300,000 Albanians now live in Switzerland. They have a strong community, with most Albanian mosques teaching a moderate form of Sunni Islam. Yet, for most of them, Islam plays a very small role in their daily life. Indeed, most Albanians in Switzerland have many other worries competing for their energies, from work to family to the widespread discrimination they face.
PRAY FOR THEM
- There is no ethnically Albanian church in Switzerland and there are few Swiss Albanian believers. Pray for these believers to be a bright witness in their communities.
- Pray for deep friendships between Swiss believers and Albanians that allow deep faith conversations.
- As migration mixes up ethnic communities in Europe, pray for good to come out of the mingling of cultures.
These pages are made available every day during the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World for those who cannot afford to purchase, or do not have access to the booklet.
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