Gorani decide against forming minority council
Serbia's Gorani population will not be forming their national minority council, the Gorani Civic Initiative decided on Wednesday.Source: Tanjug
The initiative is "the sole political and national organization of this autochthonous people in Serbia," Tanjug reported.
The decision was not a difficult one to make because, "to the Gorani, Serbia is their only country, and they neither have, nor seek another," Orhan Dragaš, the president of the Initiative, said in a statement.
"The general definition of the term 'national minority' implies that a part of a nation lives outside its mother country - outside its national state. The Gorani have what is their only country - their mother country of Serbia," the statement said.
"Aside from the fact that establishing a national minority council in our own country would be pointless, declaring the Gorani a national minority in their own country by such an ill-considered, petty political gesture is even more dangerous," the Initiative noted.
Serbia's Gorani live in 19 residential areas, mostly in the Gora region, situated in the province of Kosovo.
Figures from the 2002 census show that around 5,000 Gorani live in Serbia excluding Kosovo, while Gorani themselves estimate that their population totals 60,000.
Unlike Albania or Macedonia, Serbia recognizes all the specific attributes of the Gorani as an autochthonous people. A parliamentary decision in 1991 allowed them to declare themselves as Gorani and form their own municipality.
The Gorani are Muslims who speak a special dialect of the Serbian language and receive education according to a syllabus defined by the Serbian Ministry of Education.
In Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians unilaterally declared independence in 2008, unrecognized by Serbia, the Gorani are "under great pressure to receive education in the Albanian or Bosniak languages," Tanjug reported.