Radical Islam is again in headlines thanks for recent attack in Mumbai. Already during battle discussion had started about foreign connections of terrorists. Besides Pakistan also British and Bosnian connections were mentioned. The question is mostly related to Muslim immigrants living in West. As far as Bosnia or western Balkans is concerned the core problem is created after mid-90s when region started to transform to safe haven for radical Islam.
In my article “Radical islamist network spreading in Balkans” (28/09/2008) I summarized that
Radical Islam has enforced and widened their activities in Balkans last 15 years. During Bosnian war many foreign Islamists came to fight in mujahedeen brigade also many Al Quida figures – including Osama bin Laden – were supporting Bosnian Muslims 1990’s. Later they gave their support to KLA/UCK (Kosovo) which leaders now are leading Kosovo province based on US and EU support. After bombing campaign 1999 radical Islam has been one major donor in Kosovo and Wahhabi schools and former secularized Kosovo Muslims are displaced by radical Islamic movement. During Balkan wars e.g. Bosnia was acting as Europe’s leading training camp for domestic and foreign Islamists and their supporters. So it is easy to see the real or exaggerated connections between Britain, Bosnia and Afghanistan/Pakistan.
In an article of one British publication(Telegraph.co.uk 29/11/2008) is a pithy description over Brit-Paki way to Radicalism.
The path from Britain to the terror training camps of Pakistan is a well-trodden one, with dozens of young Muslim extremists from this country travelling abroad to learn their deadly trade. In most cases they make the journey after being radicalised by preachers in Britain, who tell them that Islam is under attack around the world and that they cannot stand by idly or simply raise money for the cause. Some claim they only wanted to fight against the enemy in Kashmir or Afghanistan, or to learn how to defend fellow Muslims in other warzones such as Bosnia or Chechnya.
Radical Islamists arming their selves in Bosnia
Western Balkans is known as junction of different kind of trafficking. Biggest profits probably are coming from drugs arriving from Afghanistan to be distributed in EU area. Related to issue of terrorism the arms trafficking is now alarming not only because their selling in EU but because their planned use in Europe by radicals.
Last week an article in Serbianna (24/1/208) gave more light to topic. A group of radical Islamists that is ready to engage in terror activities is based in Bosnia, says Bosnia’s police chief Zlatko Miletic. “Wahabis have become the synonym for that sort of terrorism, but here is matter is about salafis as well,” says Miletic. He continues that 4 different groups operate in Bosnia, all of interest, because of their views of the world. Most concerning, says Miletic, is that these groups are buying suicide vests adding that early in 2008, Wahabis and other groups sympathetic to al-Qaeda are moving large quantities of explosives and weapons to Croatia. Islamic terrorists believe that Croatia will soon become a member of the EU which would allow an unimpeded weapons transfer from Croatia and into Europe.
Wahabi trial in Serbia
At the regional conference on security held in October in Slovenia’s city of Kranj, Serbia’s security minister Ivica Dacic stressed that there is evidence of presence of the international and domestic terrorism in Serbia citing Albanian terrorism in the south and the influence of Wahabis in the Raska area, referred to as Sandjak by the Muslims. End of November 2008, a trial of 15 Wahabis started after Serbia’s police broke up the group involved in a plot to bomb buildings across Serbia and the US Embassy in Belgrade. One of the Wahabis, Ismail Prentic, escaped to Kosovo where local Albanians gave him sanctuary. Prentic was later apprehended but died in a shoot out with the police. According sources the Wahabis secretly train, mobilize, inspire and train recruits from the converts to be experts in explosives.
The prosecution at the trial of 15 Wahabis charged that they have plotted terrorism has shown Osama bin Laden videos that have been found on the laptop confiscated during a raid on the Wahabi camp earlier this year. Many security analyst note that al Zawahiri’s (probably N:o 2. in al-Qaeda) brother was dispatched to the Balkans to establish al-Qaeda cells in regions dominated by Muslims such as Bosnia and Raska and Kosovo regions in Serbia. (Source Serbianna 29/11/2008)
Croats in Bosnia under attack
In my article “Islamic terror in Bosnia” (13/10/2008) I described how a Croatian NGO Libertas made public statement in which it says that Croatians in Bosnia are victims of Bosnian Muslim terror and are asking Bosnian Croat political leadership to initiate a plan that will break up the Bosnian Federation entity and form a Croatian one.
The tensions have continued since October. E.g. police in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, are still on alert, although eight days have passed since Muslim and Croat students engaged in a fierce clash.Five days ago, local police prevented a mass free-for-all of some 300 students. The date and time for the fight was set in advance via an internet portal, and was to take place between Croat and Muslim youths on the line which divides the town of Mostar to its eastern and western parts. (Source B92 29/11/2008)
The Wahabism is “alien” not only to Bosnia and Kosovo but in the entire south-eastern Europe, where secularism has been common until last decade. The issues of Wahabism could quickly disturb the harmony of the Kosovo Albanian patriarchal family structure dominated by honor and vendettas.
The Radical Islam is relatively new phenomenon in Balkans. It has good connections to other relevant players on scene and motivation enough to die for their case. Is it now with more arms progressing on new more aggressive stage shall be seen.