Published on February 19, 2013, American Council for Kosovo
James George Jatras
Director, American Council for Kosovo
What a bizarre situation. Evidence of Islamic violence and intolerance in Kosovo – and in the Balkans in general – is almost completely ignored, since acknowledging it would challenge the cozy myth of successful U.S./NATO “humanitarian intervention” and limit its application to future adventures. (Even the Serbian government, under total management from Washington and Brussels – and reconciling itself to Ankara’s sphere of influence – ignores the worsening situation in Kosovo while “normalizing” ties with the criminal clique in Pristina.)
Indeed, about the only one writing in the American MSM about Islamic radicalism in Kosovo is one of the strongest voices in support of Balkan Muslims (and hostility to Serbian Christians), below, for the precise purpose of defending the myth of the intervention – which opened the door to the very influences he pretends to decry.
Note too that he is writing in The Weekly Standard, the flagship publication of U.S. neoconservatism. This should put to rest the canard that neoconservatives are motivated by hostility to Muslims and Islam. Quite to the contrary, neoconservatives (and their liberal interventionist clones on the Left) can’t be supportive enough of Muslim causes in Kosovo, Bosnia, and elsewhere, because they are convinced that if the U.S. is seen as the Muslims’ champion, the grateful beneficiaries will be oh-so-secular, democratic, peaceful, tolerant, pro-American, etc., etc. On to more “liberations” – in Libya! In Syria!
This is despite the evidence that the members of the “religion of peace and tolerance”© consistently do not behave according to neocons’ and liberventionists’ expectations. Instead, after each intervention, what we get instead of the expected fawning adulation is blowback:
- The granddaddy of all blowback, the formation of al-Qaida itself from Osama bin Laden and his boys, showing their gratitude for our help against the USSR.
- Blowback in the form of (the almost completely ignored) links between our grateful Bosnian Muslim clients and al-Qaida’s preparations for the 9-11 attacks on the U.S. (Nonetheless, the U.S. remains determined to force the rule of a Muslim minority on Bosnia’s Christian majority population of Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats.)
- Blowback in the form of decimation of Iraq’s Christian community at the hands of jihadists (mostly Shiite, in this case) “liberated” from the secular dictator Saddam Hussein.
- Blowback in gratitude for our help in “liberating” Libya, in the form of killing our ambassador (believed to have been assisting in transferring Kaddafi’s weapons stocks to jihadists in Syria, from Benghazi, a jihadist stronghold), followed by the conflict in Mali, the hostage crisis in Algeria, and no doubt more to come.
- Blowback in the form of jihadists in Syria who, even before they’ve taken power, are already showing off their intentions for regional war and praising bin Laden, “the Americans’ worst nightmare” – even as U.S. neocons and liberventionists call for direct U.S. support for their jihad to overthrow the secular regime in Damascus (to empower Islamic “moderates,” of course).
Even from Kosovo, supposedly the textbook example of peaceful, tolerant, secular, pro-American, grateful Muslims (who usually confine their attacks to Serbs, who obviously deserve it), there still have been at least four documented deadly assaults planned or perpetrated by Albanian Muslims on their American benefactors:
- 2007 – Four Albanian Muslims (one from Kosovo, three from adjacent areas of FYROMacedonia) attempted to commit a terrorist attack at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
- 2011 – An Albanian Muslim from Kosovo opened fire on a bus full of American soldiers in Frankfurt, Germany, killing two.
- 2012 – An Albanian Muslim from Kosovo was caught plotting to blow up nightclubs in Tampa, Florida.
- 2012 – An American Albanian Muslim was sentenced to 15 years for funding a Muslim terrorist group in Pakistan.
(If even one Serbian terrorist attack had ever been committed on a U.S. target, The Weekly Standard and other neocons and liberventionists would be howling for blood.)
[excerpts below, full text at link]
February 13, 2013 12:45 PM
Kosovo, the Albanian-majority Balkan republic, is probably best known for its fervent pro-Americanism, understandable given the role of U.S.-led NATO forces in assisting its 1.8 million inhabitants against Serbian oppression in 1999. American troops in Kosovo are drawn from National Guard units and have fallen below a thousand, but continue to symbolize a commitment that Kosovars consider indispensable to their future.
In addition, Kosovo’s Muslim majority of 80 percent is notable for its moderation and the robust presence of spiritual Sufism. Like other Albanians, they insist that their first loyalty is to their nationality, quoting ubiquitously a 19th-century Albanian Catholic poet and governor of Ottoman-ruled Lebanon, Pashko Vasa, who wrote, “The religion of the Albanians is Albanianism.” The constitution of Kosovo defines it as a secular state.
Kosovo borders on Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia—all Slav countries with significant Albanian and Muslim minorities. American influence, heterodox Balkan Islam, an ethnic character that tends to overshadow the strictures of faith, and unsympathetic neighbors offer tempting opportunities for disruptive agitation in the name of fanatical Islam. This may explain why Kosovo has become, more than a decade after the NATO campaign against Belgrade, the leading Balkan battleground between traditional, local Muslim habits and the doctrines of radical Islamist interlopers. Exponents of Saudi-financed Wahhabism and of the Muslim Brotherhood have penetrated the highest levels of the official Kosovo Islamic apparatus, although they encounter adamant hostility when they appear in long-established mosques.
Still, Kosovo has achieved an unfortunate distinction: Early in February, its most prominent radical Islamist adherents announced the formation of the first fundamentalist Muslim political party in the Balkans, the “Islamic Movement to Unite,” or LISBA, its Albanian-language acronym. The party registered with the Kosovo authorities to run candidates for the national assembly.
Known more generally as “Bashkohu!” or “Join!,” LISBA has a public leader, Arsim Krasniqi, though Fuad Ramiqi is widely reported to be its controlling figure. Neither Krasniqi nor Ramiqi would comment to Kosovar media on the intentions of their new party, but its goals may be judged by Ramiqi’s previous public activities. He indicated his interest in electoral politics before 2007. But in that year the Muslim Forum of Kosovo (FMK) with which Ramiqi is affiliated began protesting against a legal ban on girls wearing headscarves (hijab) in public schools.
The Muslim Forum of Kosovo is associated through the fundamentalist European Muslim Network, led by the Islamist media celebrity Tariq Ramadan, with the Qatar-based hate preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Ramiqi was involved in the 2010 anti-Israeli maritime raid at Gaza, and Turkish media reported the formation of Ramiqi’s new Islamist party, while recalling his Gaza participation.
[ . . . ]
Agani remains in the Kosovo government although his marginal party is increasingly divided. In July 2012 its branches in the towns of Lipjan and Fushe-Kosove, as well as the major city of Gjakova, split. Its most important regional leader, Munir Basha in the southern Kosovo city of Prizren, complained that party voters had supported a conservative economic perspective rather than the inveiglement of Agani in the issues of the headscarf and religious instruction in public schools. Charges that Agani has ignored the needs of the health sector, was manipulating religious controversies, and used the party for his personal enrichment have long been heard.
For their part, Ramiqi and his coterie claimed considerable public attention in 2011 when they began holding Muslim prayer services in the streets of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. They demanded erection of a “megamosque” to match the Catholic Cathedral of Blessed Mother Teresa, which is under construction in the city center. Ramiqi’s crowds claimed they lacked sufficient facilities for Islamic observances, although Pristina has 22 mosques.
The Pristina municipal authorities granted the Islamists the right to build a new and expansive “Central Mosque of Pristina,” which is intended to include 80 businesses, and has been criticized by some Muslims as a “mall with a minaret.” A property was designated in the Dardanija neighborhood, somewhat distant from the historic mosque quarter in Pristina’s core area and also from the new Catholic edifice. A cornerstone for the “Central Mosque” was laid on October 8, 2012. Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga, a woman who does not wear Islamic dress, spoke at the ceremony, noting that Kosovo is secular but seeks to protect religious and other community rights. Jahjaga was the target of whistles by Islamists at the scene, who waved signs accusing her of “offending the Koran,” but the intruders were removed by police.
[ . . . ]