The dispute is unusual for Albania, where religion was banned for 27 years under the dictator Enver Hoxha, and "mixed" marriages are the norm.
Seventy per cent of the population are liberal Muslims, the rest are Christian Orthodox and Catholic. But Muslim groups in Shkoder rejected the local council plan for a statue, saying it "would offend the feelings of Muslims".
"We do not want this statue to be erected in a public place, because we see her as a religious figure," said Bashkim Bajraktari, Shkoder's mufti, a Muslim religious leader.
Several residents said they felt there was an underground effort to treat Shkoder as a Catholic town, ignoring its majority Muslim community.
Shkoder's Muslims recently protested against crosses being erected on prominent hilltops around the city.