News 20 Jan 14

Kosovo Probes Mystery Mother Teresa Statue Collapse

Police said it’s unclear why the Roman Catholic nun’s statue in Mitrovica collapsed, but fears have been raised that it could have been vandalised in an act of religious hatred.

Edona Peci
BIRN
Pristina

Mother Teresa statue in Mitrovica.

Photo: Wikicommons/Pikolomini83

The monument dedicated to the ethnic Albanian nun Mother Theresa “fell down” in the late hours of Saturday night, police in the northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica said.

“We are still investigating the case but we don’t know the reasons why it fell down. It may have fallen down because of broken screws, but we do not rule out the possibility that it was demolished by human beings,” Avni Zahiti, police spokesperson in Mitrovica, told BIRN.

“The monument was not destroyed; it has some damage because of the fall,” he added.

The statue was restored to its plinth by the municipal authorities less than 12 hours after it collapsed.

But the incident was condemned by the Kosovo Association of Architects, which described it as “cowardly and vandalistic destruction”.

“This vandalistic act, no matter who did it, aims to incite hatred and damage the image of Kosovo and inter-religious and inter-cultural coexistence,” the association said in a statement on Facebook.

But, Don Lush Gjergji, an Albanian priest and the president of the Kosova Humanitarian and Charitable Society ‘Mother Teresa’, said the incident should not be used to cause rifts in society.

“We pray to God it was not pushed down by people’s hands,” he said.

“We are waiting for the findings of experts and the Kosovo police,” the priest told local media.

Monuments and statues of Mother Teresa of Calcutta have been erected in several cities throughout Kosovo during the past few years.

She was born to ethnic Albanian parents in Skopje in Macedonia, where a series of monuments to her have also been installed, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her charity work. She died in 1997.

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