Muslim with suicide bomber vest arrested in secular, moderate Kosovo, where there is no jihad
Sarajevo: Islam classes in kindergarten seen as part of “obvious attempt to Islamicize the city”
* Ah, but not to worry, didn’t Rotten Totten just travel the country and couldn’t find anything Â other than lots o’love for the good old USA?
Anybody want to guess where this is going, even in modern, moderate, secular Bosnia, where everyone knows there is no jihad or Islamic supremacism?
“It is yet another step in an obvious attempt to Islamicize the city.”
“Islam classes cause uproar,” by Amra Hadziosmanovic forÂ Agence France-Presse,Â ( scroll down for full article from JW)
A Kosovo Albanian from the city of Kacanik has been arrested in a cafe in the southern village of Strpce in Serbia’s province of Kosovo report police spokesman Arber Beka.The arrested Albanian wore a suicide vest loaded with explosives.
He was arrested in the cafe called Kvatro around 8:00 pm today. Police and NATO troops have surrounded the perimeter and are investigating.
The arrest came after a cafe patron spotted that one of the three Albanians who just walked into the cafe had wires under his jacket.
The police was immediately called in and after a search, the police found explosive in a suicide vest on the body of Arben Husi, one of the 3 ethnic Albanians who came into the cafe.
In addition to the explosives, the police found a grenade and a Kalashnikov….
Report by Toma Todorovic: “Kosovo Albanians Only Coming to Serbia for Passports”
Sarajevo: Islam classes in kindergarten seen as part of “obvious attempt to Islamicize the city”
“Islam classes cause uproar,” by Amra Hadziosmanovic forÂ Agence France-Presse,
SARAJEVO â€“ The tiny students, some in their first year at a Sarajevo kindergarten, are led away from their classmates by a woman peering out from a headscarf who will give them a lesson on the basics of Islam.“Kids have been asking me why they are being separated and what a religious class is,” said a teacher, who asked not to be named. “It was so difficult at the beginning.”
The “bula” â€“ an intermediary between an imam and the family â€“ grabs their attention with animal pictures on a laptop. She then goes on to explain how the Prophet Muhammad traveled from Mecca to Medina.
The lesson seems innocent enough for 3- to 6-year-olds.Â But the decision by the Muslim-led county council to allow religious instruction in Sarajevo kindergartens has met a chorus of outrage from critics who fear it is part of an attempt to “Islamicize” Bosnia’s capital.…
“All of this will just deepen divisions among people here, and that is wrong,” said Helena Mandic, a non-Muslim mother who leads a group of parents challenging the decision.
Muslims account for around 40 percent of Bosnia’s 3.8 million inhabitants. Some 31 percent are Christian Orthodox Serbs and about 10 percent Roman Catholic Croats.
Religious instruction in state schools is optional, and has been offered in primary and high schools throughout the country for the three main confessions since the end of the war.
It was offered for the city’s 2,000 youngest students after a survey found that one-third of the parents were also ready to enroll the kindergarteners in such classes.
The county education ministry defends the initiative, saying it is in line with a religious freedom act in force since 2004.
“We would have been violating that law if we did not organize religious teaching,” said Srecko Zmukic, an official with the ministry.
Each faith has been invited to prepare a curriculum, butÂ so far only Islamic classes have been organized in Sarajevo, where the weekly 30-minute lessons are funded by the city’s Muslim government.
The Catholic Church is expected to prepare its program soon but its Orthodox counterpart as yet has shown no interest, Zmukic said….
At the end of the year, the head of the Sarajevo public kindergarten network, Arzija Mahmutovic, banned New Year’s celebrations and “Grandfather Frost,” a secular version of Santa Claus, ending a cherished, decades-long tradition.
The decision triggered public protests, pressuring Mahmutovic into allowing parents to organize New Year’s celebrations in kindergartens by themselves only two days before the holiday.
Nedim Dervisbegovic, a journalist and Muslim father of three, said the developments were worrying for the future of Sarajevo, a multiethnic city though overwhelmingly Muslim.
“It is yet another step in an obvious attempt to Islamicize the city,” he charged, adding, “I wonder what will be the next.”
So do I.
February 25, 2009
Jihad gaining ground in Bosnia
The genuine atrocities committed by the Milosevic regime have become an all-purpose excuse for many to ignore the growing influence of the jihad doctrine and Islamic supremacism in the Balkans, and to defame those who oppose the jihad in Bosnia, Kosovo, and the surrounding regions as supporters of fascism and genocide. This includes people who have dedicated their lives to the defense of the principles of non-establishment of religion and the equality of rights of all people before the law as cornerstones of a just society.
For evidence of just how irresponsible and stupid — and, above all, jihad-abetting — this is, see this article from today’s Spiegel about the spread of jihadism in Sarajevo.
“Islamists Gain Ground in Sarajevo,” by Walter Mayr inÂ Spiegel, February 25 (thanks to JW):
Radical Muslim imams and nationalist politicians from all camps are threatening Sarajevo’s multicultural legacy. With the help of Arab benefactors, the deeply devout are acquiring new recruits. In the “Jerusalem of the Balkans,” Islamists are on the rise.The obliteration of Israel is heralded in a torrent of words.Â “Zionist terrorists,” the imam thunders from the glass-enclosed pulpit at the end of the mosque. “Animals in human form” have transformed the Gaza Strip into a “concentration camp,” and this marks “the beginning of the end” for the Jewish pseudo-state.
Over 4,000 faithful are listening to the religious service in the King Fahd Mosque, named after the late Saudi Arabian monarch King Fahd Bin Abd al-Asis Al Saud. The women sit separately, screened off in the left wing of the building. It is the day of the Khutbah, the great Friday sermon, and the city where the imam has predicted Israel’s demise lies some 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) northwest of Gaza.
It is a city in the heart of Europe: Sarajevo.
“Tea or coffee?” Shortly after stepping down from the pulpit, Nezim Halilovic — the imam and fiery speaker of the King Fahd Mosque — reveals himself to be the perfect Bosnian host. He has fruits, nuts and sweetened gelatin served in his quarters behind the house of worship. A chastely-dressed wife and four children add themselves to the picture. It’s a scene of domestic tranquility that stands in stark contrast to the railing sermon of the controversial Koran scholar.
Sarajevo’s King Fahd Mosque was built with millions of Saudi dollars as the largest house of worship for Muslims in the Balkans.Â The mosque has a reputation as a magnet for Muslim fundamentalists in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the imam is said to be the patron of the Wahhabites, although they call themselves Salafites, after an ultra-conservative movement in Sunni Islam.
Halilovic is familiar with the allegations and the usual accompanying thought patterns: Wahhabite equals al-Qaida, which equals a worldwide terror network. He says he has nothing to do with that, but he “cannot forbid a Muslim from worshiping in my mosque according to his own rites.” He explains the general air of suspicion surrounding the King Fahd Mosque as follows: “The West is annoyed that many Muslims are returning to their faith, instead of sneaking by the mosque to the bar, as they used to do, to drink alcohol and eat pork.”
Many Bosnians have despised “the West” since 1992, when the United Nations arms embargo seriously impeded the military resistance of the Muslims in their war against the Serb aggressors. It wasn’t until four years later, and after 100,000 people had died, that the international community — at the urging and under the leadership of the US — finally put an end to the slaughter. Over 80 percent of the dead civilians in the Bosnian War were Muslims.
This traumatic experience left a deep mark on the traditionally cosmopolitan Muslim Bosnians — and opened the door to the Islamists.Â Years later, the religious fundamentalists have declared the attacks by Christian Serbs and Croats a “crusade” by infidels — and painted themselves as the steadfast protectors of Muslim Bosnians.
Imam Halilovic served during the war as commander of the Fourth Muslim Brigade. A photo shows him standing next to a 155 milimeter howitzer, dressed in black combat fatigues, a flowing beard and a scarf wrapped around his head. He witnessed the arrival of the first religious warriors from countries in the Middle East and northern Africa.Â These fighters brought ideological seeds that have now found fertile ground — the beliefs of the Salafites, Islamic fundamentalists who orient themselves according to the alleged unique, pure origin of their religion and reject all newer Islamic traditions.Â […]
Bosnia’s capital city still remains a bustling town with well-stocked bars, concerts and garish advertisements for sexy lingerie. Men with billowing trousers and full beards and women with full-body veils are still a relatively rare sight on the streets. The last reports of sharia militias intervening against public kissing in parks on the outskirts of town date back two years ago.
According to a survey conducted in 2006, however, over 3 percent of all Muslim Bosnians — over 60,000 men and women — profess the Wahhabi creed, and an additional 10 percent say that they sympathize with the devout defenders of morals.Â But since the radicals and their Arab benefactors have been subject to heightened surveillance in the wake of 9/11, they tend to keep a low profile. […]
The older generation of Muslims in Sarajevo’s mosques now has to listen to lectures from bearded missionaries on what is “halal” and “haram” — lawful and forbidden — as if they and their ancestors had been living according to a misconception for over half a millennium. To protest this, the imam of the time-honored Emperor’s Mosque has temporarily locked the doors of his house of worship — for the first time in its nearly 450-year history.
This clash of civilizations also takes place in less prominent places, like the Internet forums of the Bosnian Web site Studio Din. Here the heirs of the officially godless, socialist Yugoslavia can learn about the Salafi doctrine. They ask questions that have to do with everyday life — listening to music, smoking, earning money — but also questions dealing with clothing and moral rules.
The answers from the preachers on the Web are unequivocal: “Music is forbidden in Islam, listening to instruments is a sin.” “Smoking is forbidden in Islam.” “Whoever works as a cleaning lady at a bank that charges its customers interest is an accessory to a sin. It’s no different than having cleaning ladies in bars and brothels.”
In October, 2008, the Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg state branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, conducted a study on the Studio Din Web site, which is also regularly visited by Bosnians living in exile. Entries in the forum — which includeÂ discussions on jihad, the holy war, as a direct way of reaching AllahÂ — indicate time and again visitors from the Wahhabi King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo, Imam Halilovic’s flock.
Could a radical, potentially violent parallel society be emerging in the Muslim dominated region of the war-torn republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, eight months after the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union?
There are indications of this. Resid Hafizovic, a professor at the Islamic University, was the first to speak of a “potentially deadly virus” in Bosnian society. The head of the Bosnian federal police has recently admitted thatÂ there is a growing threat of “terrorism with an Islamistic character” and has cited indications that suicide bombers have begun to equip themselves with explosive belts.
“They have everything to blow themselves up. Whether they do it depends on the orders from their leaders,” says Esad Hecimovic, author of a standard work on the mujahedeen in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Last March, officials of the special anti-terror unit arrested five men, including four Salafites in Sarajevo.
The Bosnian leader of the group, a former fighter in the Al-Mujahedeen Brigade, reportedly hasÂ sponsors in Germany and AustriaÂ who helped him acquire explosives. In connection with the arrests, police conducted raids in remote mountain areas and seized caches of arms and military equipment that were used for combat training exercises.
After discovering thatÂ some of the masterminds behind 9/11, such as Khalid Scheikh Mohammed, had been active in Bosnia, international pressure increased on the government in Sarajevo in 2002. Foundations were closed and police searched the Sarajevo office of the Saudi High Commissioner for Aid to Bosnia, which had until then enjoyed the protection of the United States.
Al-Qaida veteran Ali Hamad from Bahrain and Syrian-born Abu Hamza are currently in custody on the outskirts of Sarajevo and awaiting deportation. Intelligence sources say that HamzaÂ secretly channeled money between Arab sponsors and Bosnian Salafites. The amount of â‚¬500 — an average monthly salary — is reportedly rewarded for every woman who decides to wear a full-body veil.
The Islamists are slowly but surely permeating the firm ground upon which Sarajevo’s society stands.Â They are influencing men like the quiet, bearded cab driver who waits for customers day after day at the bridge where the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in June, 1914. On the evening of Sept. 24, 2008, the cabbie suddenly appeared at the front of a protest, right in the midst of those who shouted “Allahu akbar!” at the police line in front the Art Academy of Fine Arts and attacked visitors to Bosnia’s first gay and lesbian festival.
Wahhabites scuffled alongside common hooligans. Eight people were injured and all subsequent events were canceled. Srdjan Dizdarevic, chairman of the Bosnian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights — an independent, nonprofit organization for the protection, promotion and monitoring of human rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina — spoke afterwards of a defeat for civil society, ofÂ “fascist rhetoric” leading up to the incident, and called it reminiscent of the “pogroms that happened in the times of Adolf Hitler.”
‘We Are only Interested in Opening Ourselves as an Islamic Society’
The fact of the matter is that politicians from all parties are playing the background music to a radicalization that threatens not just the secular character of Bosnia, but also the unity of this country comprised of Muslims, Serbs and Croats. This includes some local politicians who have demanded that school classes be strictly divided according to religious confessions — and in December, 2008 obtained the first ban affecting state-run daycare centers in Sarajevo. The ban concerned the Christian Santa Claus who, until then, even Muslim children had revered as “Little Father Frost.” […]
[Bosnian Mufti Mustafa] Ceric has never left any doubts about his deep roots in the liberal Bosnian Islamic tradition. But the fact that he does not shy away from maintaining close contacts with the Salafit camp, including one-time Osama bin Laden mentor Sheikh Salman al-Auda from Saudi Arabia, has drawn criticism. “Totally unfounded,” says Ceric:Â “We are only interested in opening ourselves as an Islamic society.”
Sure enough, he recently even allowed a woman and her film crew to enter the King Fahd Mosque. The huge, Saudi monumental style building made of gray-brown sprinkled marble looks like a UFO — complete with antennas shaped like minarets — stranded among high-rise apartment buildings on the edge of Sarajevo. […]
The film was about a man who became an “Islamist.” Read it all.
August 7, 2008
Jihad in Kosovo: a Response to Critics
In a recent posting by Michael Totten on Little Green Footballs (“Totten: An Israeli in Kosovo”), and particularly in a number of the comments following, questions have been raised about assertions by myself and others, such as Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer and commentator Julia Gorin, about the relevance of jihad ideology to the violence committed by Albanian Muslims in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija against other communities, notably Christian Serbs.The comments, many of them repetitive, expand the posting to, at my last count, 84 pages, so it will be hard to address all of them. Boiled down to their essence, the criticisms can be summarized as follows:
1. The supposedly “moderate” nature of Islam among secular Kosovo Albanians, and the absence of Islam as an ideological incitement to Kosovo Albanian violence, as opposed to Albanian nationalism;
2. Indigenous Kosovo Albanian resistance to attempts by Saudi Arabia and other external forces to import Wahhabist radicalism into Kosovo;
3. The pro-U.S. (and pro-Israel) sentiments of Albanian Muslims in Kosovo and the merits of U.S. support for a moderate, pro-Western Muslim country; and
4. My purported role as a highly-paid lobbyist for Serbian interests.
To take each point in turn:
1. The supposedly “moderate” nature of Islam among secular Kosovo Albanians.
I hesitate to respond in detail to this assertion, mainly because Robert Spencer has done such a fine job of doing so in his comments on LGF. The main point to keep in mind is that there is a world of difference between asserting the existence of “moderate Islam” — which does not now exist, never has existed, and, I suspect, never will exist — and the unquestionable fact that many Muslims around the world are indeed cultural Muslims who are either unaware of or do not agree with Islam’s undeniable mandates of jihad, sharia, and dhimmitude. There is no doubt that many of the Albanians in Kosovo fall into the latter category. Primarily a function of the secularizing influence of communist rule following World War II, particularly in urban areas, the residue of this factor can be confirmed by the liberal attitude Mr. Totten experienced in Kosovo, the fact that many nominally Muslim Albanians in Kosovo do indeed drink the fiery local distillateÂ rakijaÂ (but generally do not, as asserted by some, eat pork), and consider themselves Europeans, not Middle Easterners.
That tendency, however, needs to be balanced against a few others. To begin with, as has happened in other former communist areas, as well as places like Turkey, Iraq, and Pakistan where the local secularizing ideology (respectively, Kemalism, Baathism, and militaristic nationalism) has been weakened, there is a counter-tendency of a once-secularized Muslim population to return to its Islamic roots. This is reflected in Kosovo by the boom in mosque-building, which despite the massive aid poured into Kosovo from the United States, the European Union, and other sources, far outstrips other pressing needs. This has been attested to by Paul Andrew Kirk (see the last comment below the main articleÂ here), an American who served two tours with the U.S. military in Kosovo. Kirk says:
Islamic extremism is on the rise in Kosovo. KFOR [the NATO-led military mission] soldiers have been attacked in Gjilan [actual name in Serbian: Gnjilane], Ferizaj [UroÅ¡evac], and Prizren when I was there. You just won’t see or hear about it in the news. More mosques have been built in Kosovo in the last five years than schools, roads, health clinics, and all other sanitation projects combined. Compliments of Muslim charities from the Middle East.
Mr. Kirk’s comments point to another factor: that Islamic violence in Kosovo is systematically underreported because the governments, notably that of the United States, have so publicly committed themselves to the Albanian Muslim cause that they don’t want it reported — it complicates their black and white, good (Albanian Muslim) and evil (Serbian Christian) caricature.Â Neither do the laptop bombadiers in the media, who, as they had in Bosnia, cheered on the great Kosovo “humanitarian intervention” in 1999 to stop a nonexistent “ethnic cleansing” of Albanians — and which led directly to the real eradication of more than two-thirds of the Serbian community, as well as Roma (mostly Muslim, some Orthodox Christian), Croats (Roman Catholic), Jews, and others. This leaves most of the reporting of attacks on Serbs to the Serbs themselves, and as certified genocidal monsters, who cares what they say, or for that matter, what happens to them?
With respect to the nexus in Kosovo between religion (Muslim vs. Christian) and nationalism (Albanian vs. Serb), it needs to be kept in mind that sharia rule under the Ottoman Empire ended less than a century ago, in 1912, when Kosovo (then known as “Old Serbia”) was liberated during the First Balkan War. For the preceding centuries, Muslim Albanians had migrated at will over the mountains from Albania, taking over land from which Serbs had fled from reprisals following repeated unsuccessful revolts against the Ottoman caliphate. (That the Serbs are the original inhabitants in Kosovo is beyond question. There are no pre-Ottoman Albanian structures, no Albanian toponyms. There is not even an Albanian word for Kosovo itself, the Albanian term “Kosova” being merely their rendering of the Serbian name — derived fromÂ kos, “blackbird,” in reference to the famous 1389 battle — much as we English-speakers callÂ MÃ¼nchenÂ “Munich” andÂ RomaÂ “Rome.”) As increasing numbers of Albanians moved into Kosovo, their status as part of theummaÂ was inseparable from their establishing mastery over the declining number of Serbian dhimmis. As was the case with conquered Christians elsewhere, Serbs in Kosovo had little ability to defend their churches, homes, and persons against Muslim abuse.As in some other areas that were subjected to Islamic rule, over time religious identity became closely associated with nationality — for example, Turks vs. Greeks and Armenians, or Arabs and Berbers vs. Spaniards. Even today, with respect to Israel, with the decline of the supposedly “moderate” and “secular” PLO the “Arab” cause against Jews increasingly is indistinguishable from Islamic jihad. Even Arab secular rulers regarded as apostates by many Muslims, like Saddam Hussein, did not hesitate to conflate Arabism with Islam to invoke jihad against non-Muslim enemies. As noted on a posting on muslimstudent.org.uk (since removed), “Fighting and exterminating Israel is an obligation even if the Muslims fighting are Arab armies loyal to regimes of unbelief, like the Egyptian soldiers when they fought Israel during the Sinai war.” By the same token, the prevailing attitude among Kosovo’s Albanian Muslims, even those with no discernable Islamic piety, reflects their sense of entitlement to mastery over the land and itsÂ rayahÂ (essentially, “cattle”) inhabitants. The attitude is hardly different from those of Turks with respect to Constantinople or Arabs to “al-Quds,” no matter how secular they may be: “we” conquered it, and no one can take it back from us.
It should not be thought this is a phenomenon belonging only to the distant past. Less than three decades passed between the lifting of Muslim Albanian supremacy in Kosovo in 1912 and its restoration under Axis occupation. It is specious to compare, as some of the commentators on Mr. Totten’s essay did, the Nazi recruitment of SS units of Dutchmen, Belgians, Frenchmen, Danes, etc., to that ofÂ Muslims in KosovoÂ andÂ BosniaÂ where Islam, as opposed to National Socialist racial dogma, was a specific factor. (Note the Serbian source for the links. No doubt they forged the photos too.) The role of Haj Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who was notorious for his hostility to Israel and encouragement of the persistent Nazi-inspired leitmotif in Arab/Muslim anti-Israel propaganda, in encouraging the Muslim SS units in the Balkans as part of the jihad against the Allies is well known. Also of note is the comment ofObergruppenfÃ¼hrerÂ Gottlob Berger, who boasted that in the Nazi sponsorship of Islamic forces,
“ . . . a link is created between Islam and National-Socialism on an open, honest basis. It will be directed in terms of blood and race from the North, and in the ideological-spiritual sphere from the East.”
In the present day, all this means that implementing Albanian control in Kosovo amounts to theÂ restorationÂ of the rule of theÂ umma, regardless of how secular or unobservant of Islamic practice many individual Muslims may be. This is entirely in keeping with the vision of other proponents of Islamic power seeking what is seen as the return of once Muslim-ruled lands (again, from muslimstudent.org.uk):
The uniting of Muslim [lands] includes the land that Muslims lost control of, including, Turkistan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and the land that Muslims had lost like Andalous (Spain) . . . Our duty as Muslims . . . [is] to kick the American, British, and Israeli forces from Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) and Palestine, and to overthrow all these non-Islamic regimes in order to establish the Islamic state on their ruins.
It is perhaps something of a digression to point out that this does not mean, as one commentator to Mr. Totten’s column accused Robert Spencer of suggesting, that “all Albanians are Nazis.” Far from it. Indeed, not in Kosovo but in Albania itself all the indigenous Jewish population was sheltered during World War II, according to information at Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial, which I recently visited. The role of those brave Albanians considered by Jews to be “Righteous Gentiles” should not be minimized. But neither should it be exaggerated at the expense of that of the Italian Army and the communist resistance in Albania, which operated as an integral part of the Yugoslav communist movement. (This historical observation should not be inferred as approval of either Italian Fascism or communism.) At the same time, given the vilification of Orthodox Serbs and, in one comment, of Greeks (I am of Greek, specifically Spartan, ethnic origin), it is worthy of note that in the wartime Balkans only those two nations maintained an overwhelming anti-Axis orientation.
Finally, as one of the litmus tests of Islamic intolerance, I would be remiss not to mention the subjugation ofÂ Albanian womenÂ in Kosovo. Marketed as near-chattels and beaten at whim (per the Qur’an,Â an-Nisa’Â 4:34), the lot of Albanian Muslim women, notably in rural areas, remains familiar to students of women’s condition in other Muslim areas. While wife-beating is hardly confined to Muslims, and while some anti-woman violence considered “Islamic” may simply reflect tribal attitudes (such as female circumcision, which does not exist in Kosovo as far as I know), its prevalence and persistence is maintained by solid Islamic authority.
2. Indigenous Kosovo Albanian resistance to attempts by Saudi Arabia and other external forces to import Wahhabist radicalism into Kosovo.
In view of the foregoing discussion, the question of Saudi-inspired Wahhabism in Kosovo is something of a red herring. As in other places in the Islamic world, there is of course a tension, and sometimes conflict, between efforts to import what locals regard as an alien and unwelcome influence by petrodollar-rich intruders and the locals’ traditional observances. However, this is a long way from proving the existence of a “moderate” peaceful Islam in Kosovo that stands in opposition to Wahhabism.
The tradition of Islamic violence against Christians in the Balkans and elsewhere long precedes Wahhabism. Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab cannot take the rap for the initial Islamic conquest of the Balkans and its attendant massacres, the centuries of subjugation and humiliation, theÂ blood tax, and attempts to revive Muslim mastery during World War II and today. Fingering Wahhabism as the font of the global jihad threat is effectively a ploy to whitewash an indigenous traditions of Islamic violence and to assert a history of tolerance where none exists.
In Kosovo, it is not Wahhabism that has reduced Kosovo from once an entirely Christian Serbian province to one that is edging toward entirely Muslim Albanian. It is not Wahhabism that is responsible for the toll on the Serbian community since the 1999 NATO attack on Serbia. It is not solely Wahhabism that inspires the clearly Islamic animus that focuses on theÂ Holy CrossÂ and icons ofÂ Jesus Christ, His Mother, and the saints in attacks on churches, monasteries, and gravesÂ that have characterized the Albanians’ demand for an independent state. It is not Wahhabism that explains theÂ beheadingsÂ of Kosovo Serbs, as seen in other jihad regions and which has aÂ long pedigree in the Balkans.
This does not mean that there has not been since at least the mid-1990s aÂ major element of outside support for the Kosovo Albanian jihad by outside forces, including the involvement ofÂ Osama bin Laden personally. There is evidence that the explosives used in theÂ London and Madrid train bombingsÂ were networked through Kosovo. That the commentators on Mr. Totten’s essay seem to know nothing about such matters is not my problem. If they wish to educate themselves, they are welcome to peruse theÂ numerous articles on this topiccollected on the website of the American Council for Kosovo.
Finally, as with American support for the creation of a Muslim-dominated state in majority Christian (Serbian Orthodox and Croatian Catholic) Bosnia, the attempt to appease Muslim sentiment by separating Kosovo from Serbia needs to be seen for what it is: yet another step in the imposition of Muslim power over the infidel, a way-station in the third invasion of Europe. As the author of the bookÂ Hiding Genocide in Kosovo: A Crime Against God and Humanity, published by the American Council for Kosovo, relates from personal experience:
“On my last visit to Vitina in October 2006 I was accompanied by an American photo-journalist. We visited the new mosque which is called the Medina mosque after the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia which is revered by Muslims. This is the first mosque ever built in Vitina town. We met with the Imam Akram Selimi, who explained that he was the mullah of the mosque. He told us how he had studied Islam at the Azhar University in Egypt for three years and was just newly returned to preach to his flock. His new flock, he explained, were very new, as Vitina was a Serbian town up until 1999. He further explained that the Albanians had lived in the villages and only started coming into the town after June 1999. He even elaborated on this point by telling me that they had ‘taken the town from the Serbs.’ He also pointed out that all women should be covered up as this is the will of Allah.”
3. The pro-U.S. (and pro-Israel) sentiments of Albanian Muslims in Kosovo and the merits of U.S. support for a moderate, pro-Western Muslim country.
American officials of both parties who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia in order to create an independent Albanian Muslim state have made no secret that an important part of their motivation is to curry favor with the Islamic world. As part of his insistence that Islam is a “religion of peace and tolerance” and a faith that has “enriched civilization for centuries,” President Bush’s adoption of the State Department’s policy, carried over from the Clinton Administration, must be seen in the context of other pandering, such as hisÂ advocacy of for the creation of a Palestinian stateÂ (regardless of the accuracy of his claim that he is the first American president to take that position.)
In this regard, he has the support of top congressional Democrats, as well as some Republicans. As stated by the late Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in support of the State Department’s policy:
” . . . just a reminder to the predominantly Muslim-led governments in this world that here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue. . . . the United States stands foursquare for the creation of an overwhelmingly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe.” [Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA),Â hearing on Kosovo, April 17, 2007]
Not to be outdone, Mr. Lantos’ Senate counterpart holds the same view in support of the Bush policy:
“ . . . adroit diplomacy to secure Kosovo’s independence could yield a victory for Muslim democracy, . . . a much-needed example of a successful US-Muslim partnership . . .” [FormerÂ Presidential candidateÂ andÂ Senator Joseph BidenÂ (D-DE),Â Financial Times, 1/3/07]
The problem is that there is no evidence that any of this has worked. One can search the web in vain for Muslim commentary praising U.S. support for Muslims in Kosovo, or Bosnia for that matter. To the contrary, the one-sided narrative that underlies westernÂ support for the Kosovo Albanians actually works against us:
“Most Muslims were simply not interested in hearing that the US government had been a staunch supporter of Bosnian Muslims. By the time I added that prominent American Jews — among them Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz — were leading protagonists of intervention on behalf of the Bosnain Muslims, they had switched off. Bosnia and Kosovo were simply subsumed into their broader narrative of Muslim victimhood. My interlocutors were neither stupid nor insincere; it was just that they were wired in such a way that precluded them from seeing the United States as anything other than the global foe of Muslims, and the catspaw of Israel.”
The expectation that support for Muslims in Kosovo, or elsewhere, will lead to pro-U.S. attitudes — and the uncomprehending disappointment when it doesn’t — is simply further evidence of Washington’s (and London’s, Paris’s, etc.) utter incomprehension of the nature of the jihad ideology. For all our fawning, Kosovo instead registers in the Islamic mind alongside “Palestine,” Kashmir, Iraq, Chechnya, Mindanao, Bosnia, Xinjiang, etc., in a litany of persecution by an undifferentiated conspiracy of Jews, Americans, Russians, Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, and anybody and everybody else. The simple fact is that offering theummaÂ a chunk ofÂ kaffirÂ land and sacrificing its inhabitants does not assuage them. It incites them. That doesn’t mean, however, that proponents of policy of appeasement will cease trying, in a textbook case of fanaticism as “redoubling your effort after you’ve forgotten your aim.”
There is perhaps no better proof of Albanian Muslim “gratitude” than theÂ jihad terror plot against Ft. Dix, New Jersey, by six Muslims, four of them Albanians from Kosovo and the adjoining area of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, also aÂ target of irredentist claims. It is interesting that none of the commentators on Mr. Totten’s essay made reference to this matter.
In Kosovo, as elsewhere, the western advocates of adoption of Muslim causes as a path to “getting the Islamic world on our side” in order to defeat the “tiny handful of extremists” will not be successful. Their pursuit of “moderate Islam” and “tolerant Islamic democracy” will be as fruitless as Diogenes’ vain quest for an honest man.
4. My purported role as a highly-paid lobbyist for Serbian interests.
Guilty as charged.
This is hardly a matter for detective work. By law, all items distributed by the American Council for Kosovo include the following disclaimer:
“The American Council for Kosovo is an activity of Squire Sanders Public Advocacy, LLC, and Global Strategic Communications Group, which are registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as agents for the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, under the spiritual guidance ofÂ His Grace, Bishop ARTEMIJE of Ras and Prizren. Additional information with respect to this matter is on file with the Foreign Agents Registration Unit of the Department of Justice in Washington DC.”
The work of the American Council for Kosovo is compensated by the Bishop and his community, reported at rates consistent with Washington lobbying activities, which are not inexpensive. At the same time, it should be understood that we are battling the full weight of the Administration, much of Congress, a well-funded Albanian lobby that has been entrenched of decades, almost all think tanks, NGOs, and the media and — without naming names — a lot of people who pontificate on the matter based on superficial impressions and biased information. Our job is to provide American opinion-makers and the American people the other side of the story, which we began very late, only in the spring of 2006. On behalf of Bishop Artemije and his suffering community we are grateful to stalwarts on ourÂ advisory board, including Robert Spencer and Julia Gorin, who without remuneration (as some have falsely alleged they receive) have been unafraid to stand up to the barbs directed against them by know-nothings.
ADDENDUM:Â Kejda Gjermani, a frequent poster at Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs site, has penned a libelous “exposÃ©” of Jatras and me, in which there is hardly a single true statement. Much of her case hinges upon this assertion:
“The deceptively named American Council for Kosovo is in fact a front group for the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, whose president Milan Ivanovic was arrested by the UN administration (he took his sweet time to turn himself in after initially going into hiding) on charges of attempted murder (later dropped) and of leading a violent demonstration, during which at least one hand-grenade was thrown at the police (Ivanovic has been personally accused of this act but evidence was inconclusive for a conviction, hence the dropped charge of attempted murder), and 22 mainly Polish peacekeepers were injured. […]Mr. Ivanovic is a hard-line nationalist by anyone’s definition, a staunch supporter of the neo-fascist Serbian Radical Partyâ€” an ultra-nationalists‘ melting crackpot of greater scale and proportion than even its name suggests. For starters, the Party organized the recent rallies in Serbia to protest Radovan Karadzic’s arrest, in which the same Ivanovic was visibly involved…
The only problem with this is that her basic assertion, that the American Council for Kosovo is a front group for Ivanovic’s group, is false, and she provides no evidence to establish it. Jatras explains:
With respect to the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija as identified in the American Council for Kosovo’s disclaimer, and the suggested relationship with Dr. Milan Ivanovic: in Kosovo today there is more than one organization operating under the name “Serbian National Council,” or some variant of that name. These groups, some of them quite small, have differing political perspectives — though all categorically reject separation of the province from Serbia — and accordingly may align themselves with different Serbian political parties. As already noted, the American Council for Kosovo reflects the views of the Kosovo Serbian community as voiced by Bishop Artemije. I am unaware of Dr. Ivanovic’s affiliation with any organization connected with the Bishop. If the implication of the comment is that the American Council for Kosovo is somehow controlled or directed by Dr. Ivanovic, that absolutely is not the case. However, I have met Dr. Ivanovic in the course of my visits to Kosovo and believe the aspersions cast against him are unwarranted. There is nothing “radical” or “anti-American,” much less “supremacist,” about him as far as I am aware, unless one regards opposition to Washington’s illegal, pro-jihad anti-Serbian policy as being anti-American.
Kejda Gjermani is an accomplished liar, but in the final analysis that is all that she is: a liar.
UPDATEÂ November 8, 2008: This just in from James Jatras, on the latest from Kejda Gjermani (and whomever is feeding her information):
I’m beginning to think the person referred to on Michael Totten’s site as “our resident Albanian Kejda” — let’s call her Al-Kejda for short — has nothing better to do than finding ways to defame me, and by extension Robert Spencer. Al-Kejda’s latest “smoking gun” consists of the earth-shattering discovery that SNC and SNV are initials for the name “Serbian National Council (of Kosovo and Metohija),” in the English and Serbian languages respectively; and a photo in which Dr. Milan Ivanovic is shown with Bishop Artemije, the spiritual leader of Kosovo’s Orthodox Christian Serbs and leader of their defense against Albanian Muslim separatists, together with other SNV leaders. To the extent I can follow her bizarre path of illogic she seems to be claiming that:1. Dr. Ivanovic is a nationalist, fascist (pick your favorite adjective).Â
2. He is part of the SNV, for which I work.Â
3. I therefore work for a fascist.Â
4. I have tried to conceal that fact, so I am a liar, and Robert Spencer is too.
It would be a gross understatement to say that dealing with Al-Kejda’s ravings has gone from annoying to just silly. But for the record, the fact that SNV and SNC mean the same thing has nothing to do with there being more than one organization of that name or something similar. The photo (which I don’t recall ever having seen) was evidently taken in 2003. I started working for the Bishop in March 2006. At that time, Rada Trajkovic, also in the photo, was with the SNV working with the Bishop. She since has started her own organization that I believe has the same or similar name.
In any case, in all my work with the Bishop I never had any contact with Dr. Ivanovic until I met him for the first time last year in a meeting with community leaders in Northern Mitrovica, in the part of nothern Kosovo not under Albanian Muslim control. If he is or was affiliated at any time with any SNV connected to Bishop Artemije is a matter about which I have no knowledge and, frankly, no interest.
In any case, as far as I know there’s nothing fascist about Dr. Ivanovic at all, and in fact everything I know about him leads me to the opposite opinion of him — that he is a courageous, dedicated, and responsible community leader. But of course anyone who dismisses people resisting jihad as “crusaders” and “jewhadists” no doubt takes a dim view of a leader of a Christian community that is determined not to become extinct.
Again, whatever SNV he might have been with, I never had any contact with him till I met him in another context, as noted above. Whoever may be leaders at any given time in any organization called SNV, I take my instructions from Bishop Artemije and only from Bishop Artemije. And as far the charge that Robert Spencer and I are “liars” — so what’s to lie about?
With all the ample time Al-Kejda seems to have on her hands, instead of trying to discredit those who struggle against jihad, maybe she could take note of the real state of affairs in Kosovo. For example, the leaders of Kosovo’s illegal Muslim Albanian separatist administration are stonewalling efforts by Serbian prosecutors and organizations like Human Rights Watch to find out what happened to 300 Serbs kidnapped by the so-called “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA) and, according to reliable information from former Hague prosecutor Carla Del Ponte (hardly a Serbophile), had their organs removed while they were still alive (they were later killed of course) for the illegal transplant trade. Given that the administration is itself headed by KLA commanders, who double as kingpins in the Albanian Mafia’s drug, slave, and weapons rackets, I’m not holding my breath. Who cares about a few livers and kidneys ripped from Christians, who after all are only Serbs? But I’m sure the intrepid Al-Kejda, with her keen interest in the region, will soon dig up a smoking gun on that one too.