Yugoslavia - Kosovo Conflict

Religious aspects of the
Yugoslavia - Kosovo conflict

Kosovo was a province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The main players in its recent war were the government, army and militias of Yugoslavia, NATO, and the Kosovo Liberation Army. The Presbyterian Church (USA) stated in 1999-APR that the main victims were the people of Kosovo who were murdered
"at a scale unknown in Europe since the end of World War II. These reports have become so numerous and so consistent that it is difficult not to give them credence...If, as it now appears, genocide is taking place in Kosovo, it must stop...No person in Kosovo or anywhere else should be forced to become a refugee merely because he or she belongs to one ethnic group or one religious tradition." 11
At its core, the conflict was largely a religious one:
"...religious identity has been present constantly in the antagonisms that have fragmented the Balkans for centuries - setting neighbor against neighbor, Muslims against Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Christians against Western Christians..." 20
Precise data is impossible to obtain. The religious affiliation of the approximately 1.9 million residents of Kosovo,   includes on the order of:
Muslims: 1.6   million
Serbian Orthodox: 150,000
Roma and Ashkali: There once numbered on the order of 150,000 people. However, many have been forced out of the country   30,31
Roman Catholics: 60,000

Was the Kosovo crisis an ethnic conflict or a religious conflict?
There have been a series of struggles for independence during the 1990's in the area once covered by the country of Yugoslavia: This series started in 1990 in Slovenia; 1991 in Croatia; 1992 in Bosnia Herzegovina. Each of these conflicts have often been described as an "ethnic conflict." In reality, the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes and Muslims in those countries share a common Slavic ethnic origin. They view themselves today as distinct peoples, largely because of their different religious...