Hearts Beat in Kosovo for Islamist Warriors

Hits: 774

As Kosovo tries to stop its sons from going off to fight in Iraq and Syria, sympathy for their cause remains strong among some hardline Muslims.

The calls stopped coming more than three months ago.

Even while fighting in Iraq and Syria for the militants of Islamic State, Musli Musliu still checked in with his family regularly. He used to post photos on Facebook, showing a beaming young man posing with his comrades. One even shows him in a sweet shop.

It was during one of those calls, in April, that he broke the news that his brother, Valon, had been killed. The two had been fighting alongside each other in Iraq when Valon died. Musli said he had buried him there, too.

Musli has since gone silent, leaving his family to wonder he has shared the same fate as his Valon.

Their brother, Selman, speaks softly when he talks about Musli and Valon outside the family home in the village of Tushile, 50 kilometers west of Prishtina. Selman says their mother is taking it hardest. “She’s suffering a lot with the loss of Valon,” Selman said.

Both Musli and Valon had embraced a strict form of Islam. Valon had gone to a Medressa and had chosen to fight to “protect the word of God,” said another brother, Muhamet, expressing pride in his siblings.

Some 150 Kosovars have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq, primarily for Islamic State, or for the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, according to the Kosovo Intelligence Agency. Around 40 have died in what has become an increasingly dangerous war, with a US-led coalition of countries now attacking both groups via air strikes.

Meanwhile, Kosovo itself is becoming more hostile to those who have fought in Syria and Iraq, or who plan to. Police have arrested dozens of people in recent weeks, including imams and others accused of helping recruit fighters.

This week, President Atifete Jahjaga appeared on Fox News Channel in the US, declaring: “We are taking this threat very seriously and our security mechanisms are working around the clock to address this challenge.”

Kosovars make up only a tiny portion of the thousands of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, far outnumbered by those coming from Western European countries, including Belgium, the UK and France. They have nevertheless become a national embarrassment for a Muslim-majority country that wants to present itself as a secular, progressive European democracy.

A particular source of embarrassment is the leader of the Albanian fighters, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, who this summer posted photographs on Facebook, appearing to show him beheading a captive, with a message encouraging others to come join the fight. It followed a video showing him delivering a firebrand speech in Arabic and tearing up his Kosovo passport.

As outrage has grown across the world at the sheer brutality of Islamic State’s campaign to establish a so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq, it has only hardened the resolve of the Kosovo authorities, and of mainstream leaders in the Muslim community. “This is the right moment,” an official in the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, said, referring to the official crackdown.

Fighters coming for years

Since the civil war there erupted in 2011, it has been remarkably easy for people to travel from Kosovo to join the fight. In November 2012, Naman Demoll became the first Kosovar to die in the Syrian civil war.

The intelligence official noted that it is cheap – requiring only about 100 euros to get from Kosovo to the war zone, with a flight to Istanbul and then a bus to the Syrian border.

The same official says the practice was long largely ignored because no special law exists barring such activities. Until recently, the Turkish authorities also did little to stop would-be fighters from entering Turkey.

The official said there had been multiple cases of Turkish authorities letting Kosovars into the country after being provided with intelligence of their intention to fight in Syria or Iraq.

As for fighters who have returned to Kosovo, the official said most of them have returned to a quiet life. But a small number have come back further radicalized, complete with combat experience and a new disdain for the state.

The official said they have disrupted three terrorist plots involving former fighters already. With a series of high profile arrests in September and August, the official says the members of two terror cells are now in custody, with a third potential cell remaining in Syria or Iraq.

The same official said he believes about 30 Kosovars are still fighting for Islamic State or Al-Nursa. But, with the authorities now arresting and prosecuting fighters, the official says it is unlikely any of them will return to Kosovo. Those remaining have effectively bought themselves a “one-way ticket,” the official said.

Sympathies remain

The town of Kacanik, near the Macedonian border, is known in Kosovo’s history as a place that put up stiff resistance to the Ottoman Empire – which brought Islam to Kosovo and ruled the Balkans for nearly 500 years.

These days, however, it is known as a centre of radical Islam and as the hometown of a large number men fighting in Syria and Iraq. Among them is their purported leader, Muhaxheri.

On a recent Friday, at afternoon prayers, few were willing to discuss those fighting in Syria or Iraq. But a young man, who refused to give his name, expressed openness to fighting for Islamic State.

“I would seriously think of going there if someone invited me,” he said. The young man says he has practiced Islam strictly for the past year-and-a-half and feels an affinity for Islamic State because “my heart feels for Sharia Law… My brother, I think ISIS is Allah’s will,” he continued.

The same man also drew parallels with the 1998-99 conflict, in which the Kosovo Liberation Army took on Yugoslav and Serbian forces. He says there is a similar imperative today to go to fight in the Middle East.

Mentor, a middle-aged man in Kacanik, agreed, comparing the intervention of NATO forces in Kosovo to Kosovars fighting in Syria in Iraq.

“When foreigners came to help us in Kosovo, no one complained at that time,” he said. “Now the Kosovars are doing the same thing.  They are going to help liberate a people,” he said.

The Kosovo intelligence official agreed that the legacy of the war is one factor driving young Kosovars to fight abroad today.

“Most were very young when the Kosovo war happened. They want to try war – and feel it,” the official said, adding, however, that, based on the Intelligence Agency’s interviews, many come away disappointed.

For years, the leader of Kosovo’s Islamic Community, Naim Ternava, has drawn accusations of turning a blind eye to rise of extremism in the country’s mosques. Since the end of the war, strict forms of Islam, imported from and funded by the Middle East, have proliferated.

While the hardliners remain a minority among Kosovo’s Muslims, they have nevertheless become a visible and vocal presence. One of those arrested by police in September was Shefqet Krasniqi, the imam of the Grand Mosque, the largest in Prishtina.

In the wake of the arrests, however, Ternava has sharpened his rhetoric against the hardliners.

In a recent interview on Klan Kosova, Ternava warned of the rise of hardline Islam, brought in by people from outside Kosovo, “who have sown a sort of a seed of trouble.

“Now, that seed has somewhat grown up and is present. For instance, we have people who say the Kosovo Mufti is a nonbeliever because he does not grow beard,” he said. “This is not in line with real Islam; there are individuals who want to interpret Islam in very narrow terms, and to misinterpret Islam,” he added.

Skender Perteshi, of the Kosovar Center for Security Studies, blames a bad economy and a poor education system, as well as radicalised Islam, for creating the conditions that have sent Kosovars off to fight in Syria and Iraq.

He said recent police actions are encouraging. “It sends a message that the state is capable of coping with all the threats against the state, including terrorism,” he said.

It remains to be seen, however, if the crackdown stems the flow of fighters in the long term.

Muhamet Musliu remains proud of two of his brothers who went to fight in Iraq and Syria, even with one dead and another missing.

“They went to fight for Allah, to defend the words of Allah,” he said.  “I wish I could go there but the moment of destiny has not come yet.”


Originally published on 2014-09-26

Authors: Nektar Zogjani, Petrit Collaku and Nate Tabak

Source: Balkan Insight

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
The USA – The Real Reason Why They Are Never Winning Their Wars
This essay is inspired by Professor James Petras’s article, describing that the US never wins wars despite trillions of investments in her war budget and obvious military superiority. Professor Petras is of course right, the United States is currently engaged in seven bloody wars around the globe (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya) and has not been winning one, including WWII. The question is: Why is that? To these wars, you may want to add the totally destructive and human rights adverse war that literally slaughters unarmed civilians, including thousands of children, in an open-air prison, Gaza, the US proxy war ...
READ MORE
Did U.S. and Allies Commit War Crime by Bombing Syria on April 14th?
INTRODUCTION Bombardment (or other military invasion) of a country that has not invaded nor threatened to invade the attacking country(s) is “aggression” under international law, and is the chief crime that the Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg after World War II. The U.S. and its allies have routinely committed aggression, in places such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. A particular instance of it, to be discussed here, could be especially prosecutable, because the alleged ‘cause’ for the invasion could turn out to have been a provable lie, an intentional fabrication which had been concocted by the perpetrators so as to ...
READ MORE
Israeli-Zionist Genocide and Racism Unmasked
Is Israel and its infamous Wall of Separation representative of a modern evolving democratic state, based upon Biblical principles and teachings, as applied towards the original indigenous Palestinian peoples of Palestine, or is it an example of yet another ethnic-cleansing, apartheid state, possessive of the same genocidal-racist tendencies as those 19th century colonial-imperialistic powers – like the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa – who also once invaded and committed wholesale destruction of other ancient indigenous peoples entire ways of life; sweeping their survivors aside onto reservations, reserves and Bantustan-type compounds to be ultimately ignored and forgotten? Professor Ilan Pappe, ...
READ MORE
Islam: Beheadings, Decapitation and Butchering
Kosovo after June 1999: Serbian Orthodox church destroyed by Kosovo Albanian MuslimsThe horrible pictures of the atrocious ritual beheadings of ICS, the Islamic Caliphate State, on the Internet, have shown an ugly face of Western leaders, avoiding and denying what is crystal clear, as if these heinous acts are not Islamic, and continuing their march of folly as if Islam is a religion of peace and compassion; as if ICS and Qaeda are in fact not Islamic; and as if these and other Islamic terrorist organization hijacked Islam, in order to smear it and de-legitimized its presence in the West.However, ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: When the Spoils of War are Human Organs
Former President Bill Clinton continues to be feted around the world as a progressive champion of human rights. However, a European Union task force last week confirmed that the ruthless cabal he empowered by bombing Serbia in 1999 has committed atrocities that include murdering individuals to extract and sell their kidneys, livers and other body parts.Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from ...
READ MORE
The Post-WWII Albania and Kosovo
Stalinist “Land of Eagles” As in neighboring Yugoslavia, the communist revolutionary guerrilla forces, established by the aid and crucially supported by the Yugoslav communists led by local Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha, took over the power in Albania in 1944.[1] From 1945 to 1948 Albania was under the strong influence of Titoist Yugoslavia and both counties being under the hand of J. V. Stalin. Yugoslavia lavishly supplied Albania with deficient material, mainly nutritious ones, like wheat, etc. As testified by the Montenegrin zealot communist and revolutionist Milovan Đilas, one of the leading Yugoslav politicians at the time, and a member ...
READ MORE
Kosovostan – Islamization of EuroChristian Kosovo: Photo Evidence
Photo evidence of a rapid Islamization of EuroChristian southern province of the Republic of Serbia - Kosovo-Metochia. The province is occupied by NATO gangsters in June 1999 and since that time the province is experiencing massive destruction of Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries followed by building of new mosques by Muslim Albanians. Financial support for Islamization of Kosovo-Metochia is of three sources: 1) Muslim Albanian diaspora living & working in Western countries; 2) The Wahhabites of Saudi Arabia; and 3) Other Sunni Islamic countries especially Turkey. During the last 15 years there were more built mosques than during 400 years of Ottoman ...
READ MORE
The Future of Syria is in Your Hands
Recently, the West and the Middle East pundits and analysts have been trying to analyze the provisions of the new draft constitution proposed by the Russian side as a solution to the Syrian conflict.Naturally, analyzing the provisions, any of the sides involved in the conflict is trying to present itself as the legitimate government. That raises the question of whether to adopt such a draft or not, because a newly appointed government would have to comply with a new constitution. Not surprisingly, not only the moderate opposition and illegal armed groups, but the official Syrian authorities as well subject the ...
READ MORE
The Idea of Pan-Slavic Ethnolinguistic Kinship and Reciprocity in Dalmatia and Croatia, 1477–1706
Abstract: This paper sets out to examine and clarify the historical development of the ideological concept of Pan-Slavism, which was created by the writers of Dalmatia and Croatia at the time of the late Renaissance and early Baroque (from the end of the 15th century to the very beginning of the 18th century). The literary works of that time by many of Dalmatia’s and Croatia’s writers deal with the ethnolinguistic aspect of Pan-Slavic unity, solidarity, kinship and reciprocity. Their writings established an ideological framework for making both Pan-Slavic common national identity and program of the united single national state of ...
READ MORE
Israeli Historians’ New Study Claims 30-year Genocide against Anatolian Christians
The Christian population that had made up one fifth of the Ottoman Empire’s population was wiped out in waves of violence by successive Ottoman and Turkish republican governments that left Christians a tiny minority in Anatolia, two Israeli scholars have said in a new study.The controversy over the killings of the Armenian Christian minority living in Anatolia during the last days of the Ottoman Empire is already well known – while the majority of the scholarly community and many international states recognise the killings as genocide, Turkey accepts that killings took place but rejects they constituted a genocide.Israeli historians Benny ...
READ MORE
Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor
I am an Israeli-American. I was raised in a middle-class academic ‘Liberal Zionist’ household (aligned with the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz), which is an inherent contradiction. Liberal Zionism maintains a belief in universal human rights yet it supports a Zionist ideology that endorses and promotes Israel as a Jewish state – one that has been systematically carrying out a project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people. Since I can remember, my birth town of Jerusalem has been highly segregated. Growing up, I never interacted with Palestinians other than Abed the soft-spoken gardener from Hebron (aka El ...
READ MORE
Baltics cannot Rely on Germany any more
On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel. In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The ...
READ MORE
Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate
War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it. We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our parklands and water supply. People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on. What are we to do? The following text is Part III of  a broader analysis entitled War and the State: Business ...
READ MORE
Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo and the Rights of Serbian Minority: Ten Years after the “March Pogrom 2004”
IntroductionThis article deals with the question of political and human/minority rights in the region of Kosovo & Metohija ten years after the „March Pogrom 2004“ and fifteen years after the NATO’s military aggression on Serbia and Montenegro and occupation of the region. An importance of this research topic is in a fact that for the first time in the European history a terrorist-style and mafia-ruled (quasi)independent state was created by a full diplomatic, political, economic, military and financial sponsorship by the West under the umbrella of the NATO’s and the EU’s protective administration. The precedence of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence in ...
READ MORE
Srebrenica: Bosnian Muslim Jihad Killings of 3,500 Christian Serbs
The image of Srebrenica tells us more about the reality of the majority of the media and of course the “Muslim victim card” is being used in order to cleanse the Bosniak Muslims. After all, from enslaving Orthodox Christians during their brotherly love with the Turkish slave masters of the Ottoman Empire to having Muslim SS units who supported Adolf Hitler; then “victimhood” is needed in order to justify their history and culture.Of course the wishy-washy brigade will tell us that the Ottoman period was enlightened and that the system of taking the eldest Christian boy (devshirme system) in the ...
READ MORE
Rape and War: Bosnian Muslim Rapes at the Celebici Camp
War President of Bosnia-Herzegovina Alija Izetbegovic - author of jihadist "Islamic Declaration" in 1970 One of the most outrageous and heinous hoaxes and Hitlerian Big Lies perpetrated by the US and Western media during the Bosnian civil war of 1992-1995 was that Bosnian Serbs had used rape as an “instrument of war”. In order to discredit the Bosnian Serbs, they were accused of committing mass rapes against Bosnian Muslim women, in “rape camps” and “rape motels”. Even the United Nations commander in Bosnia, Canadian Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, a veteran of eight UN peacekeeping missions, was accused of committing rapes against Bosnian ...
READ MORE
Persecuted Serbian Orthodox Church: The Islamization of Kosovo
The NATO occupation was seen by Arab/Muslim countries as an opportunity to transform Kosovo-Metohija into a Muslim state. Terry Boyd in the Stars and Stripes article “In Kosovo, Islamic groups work to rebuild country, attract followers,” September 21, 2001, examined how Muslim countries were seeking the Islamization of Kosovo. The US State Department listed Kosovo as having active cells of al-Qaeda, Ossama bin Laden’s terrorist network. Al-Qaeda and Ossama bin Laden were aiding the UCK jihad in Kosovo. Iran was also active in Kosovo and Bosnia. Boyd reported that an Iranian Islamic group offered 120-300 German marks a month for ...
READ MORE
09.03.2001, Berlin, Berlin, Germany - Zoran Djindjic, serbischer Ministerpraesident der Bundesrepublik Jugoslawien. 00M112016CARO.JPG GT, Image: 141207614, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, Alamy
Odd as it may seem, October 5, 2000 was not the first time the Western powers engaged in “regime change” in Serbia. There are many similarities between the October 5 regime change and the Western involvement in putting the government of Josip Broz Tito and the Communist Party in charge of Yugoslavia in 1945. Just as Slobodan Milošević received faint praise from the West as “factor of peace and stability” in the Balkans, General Draža Mihailović was praised by the Western Allies during the war – yet support for both was limited mostly to words and empty propaganda gestures, and only so ...
READ MORE
Israeli Military General Compares Israel to Nazi Germany at Holocaust Remembrance Day Event
Israel is in a class all by itself when it comes to perpetuating some of the worst human rights violations of any country on earth today. For decades, Israel has had a policy of ethnically cleansing and robbing the indigenous Palestinian population of its lands and resources and killing them when they resist the atrocities committed against them under the guise of self-defense. Now, an Israeli military general, someone who is one of the leaders of Israel’s killing machine, has come out and admitted that Israel today shares many of the same elements as Nazi Germany.Addressing an audience at Tel ...
READ MORE
US Foreign Policy: Hegemony or Stability, not Both
US foreign policy has for decades been predicated on achieving and maintaining global peace, security and stability. In reality, it has for over a century constituted an overreaching desire to achieve and maintain global hegemony. And where US efforts focus on achieving hegemony, division and destruction follow. From the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and from Southeast Asia to the Korean Peninsula, US intervention politically or militarily all but guarantee escalating tensions, uncertain futures, socioeconomic instability and even armed conflict. The Middle East and North Africa   US efforts in the Middle East since the conclusion of the first World War have focused ...
READ MORE
The USA – The Real Reason Why They Are Never Winning Their Wars
Did U.S. and Allies Commit War Crime by Bombing Syria on April 14th?
Israeli-Zionist Genocide and Racism Unmasked
Islam: Beheadings, Decapitation and Butchering
Kosovo: When the Spoils of War are Human Organs
The Post-WWII Albania and Kosovo
Kosovostan – Islamization of EuroChristian Kosovo: Photo Evidence
The Future of Syria is in Your Hands
The Idea of Pan-Slavic Ethnolinguistic Kinship and Reciprocity in Dalmatia and Croatia, 1477–1706
Israeli Historians’ New Study Claims 30-year Genocide against Anatolian Christians
Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor
Baltics cannot Rely on Germany any more
Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate
Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo and the Rights of Serbian Minority: Ten Years after the “March Pogrom 2004”
Srebrenica: Bosnian Muslim Jihad Killings of 3,500 Christian Serbs
Rape and War: Bosnian Muslim Rapes at the Celebici Camp
Persecuted Serbian Orthodox Church: The Islamization of Kosovo
“Regime Change” in Serbia, 1945 and 2000
Israeli Military General Compares Israel to Nazi Germany at Holocaust Remembrance Day Event
US Foreign Policy: Hegemony or Stability, not Both
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu