The Islamic Militarization of Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims

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Islam in the Balkans

It is the truth that the Balkan Peninsula is a mosaic of different and in some cases antagonistic religious communities with the Christian Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Islam as the principal religious denominations followed by different types of Protestants, followers of Judaism, Armenian Christian Orthodox, etc. The small Muslim communities existed at the Balkans even before the Ottoman conquest of the Peninsula which started in the mid-14th century but it was not until the mid-17th century that substantial Muslim population emerged firstly in Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Bulgaria.

In a course of time, the Balkan Muslims became in several countries or regions a substantial part of the population either living among or in very proximity to their Christian neighbors. Since 1463, when the Ottomans occupied the Kingdom of Bosnia, the population of this Balkan country had consisted of an aristocratic class of landowners of the Slavs who became gradually and in the majority of cases on the volunteer basis converted to Islam, who have been collaborators of the occupying Ottoman power, and a Serbian Christian Orthodox peasantry as second-class citizens and main taxpayers including the “devshirme” or the taxation in the blood (taking Christian boys from the families).

The process of Islamization needed some time to take a root, but since the mid-17th century around half of the population in Bosnia-Herzegovina already became Muslims called by the local Christians as the “Turks”. Albania became predominantly Muslim country (70% out of total population) during the Ottoman time (1479‒1912) followed by 20% of the Christian Orthodox and 10% of the Roman Catholic believers. In Kosovo-Metochia – a historical heart of Serbian statehood, culture, and national identity, some 90% of the population were Muslims according to the official state’s figures just before the outbreak of the 1998‒1999 Kosovo War. It is counted that some 1/3 of Kosovo’s Muslim Albanians have been, in fact, converted and Albanized Christian Orthodox Serbs.[1] In North Macedonia (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) the Albanians of Muslim faith are composing at least ¼ out of total Macedonia’s population followed by much smaller groups of the Slavic, Turkish, and Gypsy Islamic communities.

It is quite politically correct to claim that religion was one of the fundamental factors in the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo-Metochia in the 1990s after the collapse (and destruction) of ex-Yugoslavia followed by communal competition for resources and power.[2] During the Yugoslav conflict, Osama Bin Laden’s Afghan Taliban fighters offered their Jihad services on several occasions in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo-Metochia. Differently to the Bosnian case, the Albanian separatists from the KLA (the Kosovo Liberation Army) declined the offer while the Muslim Government of Alija Izetbegović in Bosnia-Herzegovina accepted it. The Islamic radicals from Egypt came to Albania in order to put their „mujahidin“ services at the disposal of the Islamic cause. However, there were and are many other Islamic radicals who have individually become involved across ex-Yugoslavia and Albania as Jihad fighters or as operatives for the Muslim NGOs with the focal purpose to further Islamize local Muslim communities. For the matter of fact, they are among other NGO’s activities financing the buildings of new mosques (especially the Saudi Wahhabis)[3] and as a consequence, for instance, during the last 25 years, there are three times more erected new mosques in Kosovo-Metochia and Bosnia-Herzegovina compared to the time of the Ottoman occupation (400 years).

In general, the Islamic radicals and militant fundamentalists from the Middle East (but the Wahhabis in the first place) are treating Balkan Muslims as not true believers falling away from the proper faith and, therefore, they made efforts to re-Islamize the local Muslim population. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina  

Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H) is an ethno-confessionally heterogeneous country composed of Bosnia in the north and Herzegovina in the south. The B-H population is divided into Muslim Bosniaks, Christian Orthodox Serbs, and Roman Catholic Croats but having other ethnic minorities like Montenegrins, Albanians, Slovenes, Gypsies, Jews or Czechs. B-H was an independent state (the Kingdom of Bosnia) till the Ottoman occupation in 1463. In the Ottoman time, Bosnia-Herzegovina was transformed into the province of the Pashalik of Bosnia till 1878 when it came under the administration of Austria-Hungary according to the decisions of the 1878 Berlin Congress. B-H was annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 but the annexation by the Roman Catholic Austria-Hungary was largely opposed by the B-H Muslims and Orthodox Serbs.

The Ottoman Empire ruled B-H for more than 400 years until 1878. However, after the 1878 Berlin Congress, B-H was administered by five different governments and states: I) in 1878−1918 by the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary; II) in 1918−1941 by the first (royal) Yugoslavia; III) during WWII in 1941−1945 by the Independent State of Croatia; IV) in 1945−1991 by second (socialist) Yugoslavia, and finally, V) after 1992 by the Republic of B-H[4] which is after November 1995 divided into two political entities the Federation of B-H and the Republic of Srpska. Nevertheless, the most enduring consequences for the contemporary situation in B-H had the period of Ottoman rule when almost half of the population became converted to Islam accepting the Oriental culture and lifestyle. The B-H Muslims from 1918 to 1992 passed the road from religious community via socialist nationhood to post-communist statehood.[5]  

The focal organization to oppose the Austrian-Hungarian rule was the Young Bosnia which crucially took participation in the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28th, 1918. After WWII, B-H became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which in January 1929 became renamed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During WWII, B-H was home to the pro-Yugoslav Chetnik anti-fascist resistance movement. After WWII, B-H became once again part of Yugoslavia till 1992.              

The origins of Islamic fundamentalism in Bosnia-Herzegovina

It is a generally wrong assumption by the Western experts in Islamic and Balkan studies that militant Islamic fundamentalism[6] reached the ex-Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina only during the Yugoslav Wars of Succession (in fact, civil wars) in the 1990s. However, as a matter of historical fact, militant Islamic fundamentalism made its first appearance in B-H (or better to say in ex-Yugoslavia in general) during the interwar time – at the time of existence of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918‒1929) renamed as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929‒1941).

Immediately after the formal proclamation of a new South Slavic state firstly in Zagreb on November 23rd, 1918 and later in Belgrade on December 1st, 1918 (to confirm the Zagreb Proclamation), two focal political problems emerged regarding the Muslim population:

  1. The question of political representation of the B-H Muslims in central Yugoslav governmental institutions as usually they have been seen either politically not important or members of other (Serb and Croats) ethnic groups, i.e., not as separate one.
  2. The challenge to their ethnic identity as a community whose territory has been divided into several administrative regions described as (Orthodox) Serbian or (Roman Catholic) Croatian according to the ethnic identity of the majority of their Christian (Serbo-Croat) populations.

The reason for such political practice toward the B-H Muslims was quite simple, reasonable, and understandable as at that time no one in Europe considered them to be a separate ethnic group outside of Serbian or/and Croatian ethnic framework as they without any doubts ethnically originate from Serbs (mainly) and Croats (partially).[7] They as a separate ethnic group has been recognized (in fact, administratively created) only in the 1960s by the communist authority. Up to the early 1960s, the ethnic Serbs were still the arithmetic majority in B-H even after the WWII holocaust committed on them by the Muslims and the Croats within the Nazi-fascist Independent State of Croatia which part was Bosnia-Herzegovina as well.[8]

Nevertheless, the B-H Muslim (Slavic) population, faced with those political frustrations, started to seek assistance whatever they could find but those who could help them could be only Muslims and even radical Muslims. For instance, the B-H Muslims participated with their official delegation in the pan-Islamic conference in Jerusalem (under the British Mandate for Palestine)[9] in 1931 or a similar conference in Geneva (Switzerland) in 1935. On both of those conference occasions, the B-H Muslim delegation made contact with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East[10] but also with some other militant Islamic organizations. Just at the eve of WWII in Yugoslavia, in early 1941, the indigenous organization under the official name Young Muslims was founded in B-H.

After the 1941 April War and partition of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by the Axis Powers and their Balkan satellites, and especially after the proclamation of the Nazi-fascist Independent State of Croatia (the ISC) by the Croatian Ustashi on April 10th, 1941, led the B-H Muslims to hope that the road to the foundation of either an independent Muslim state of B-H or autonomous province of Muslim B-H within the ISC is directed though an active collaboration of the B-H Muslims with both the notorious Serbophobic Ustashi regime in Zagreb and the Third Reich in Berlin. It is counted that some 1/3 of the Ustashi soldiers have been, in fact, the Muslims from Bosnia-Herzegovina who actively together with the Croats participated in mass and brutal killings of the Orthodox Serbs. The Ustashi ideology officially proclaimed the B-H Muslims as genuine ethnic Croats or as “flowers of Croatdom”.

The SS Hanar Division

The turning point of the Islamic militarization of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims occurred in 1943 when, at the initiative of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Husseini,[11] the Bosnian-Herzegovinian SS Handžar Division was formed.[12] That was a mountain infantry unit of the Waffen SS and it was composed mainly by the Muslims from B-H followed by some 10% of the Roman Catholic Croats. The interesting fact was that it was the first non-German Waffen SS Division ever formed in WWII. After the German invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in April 1941, the country was occupied and partitioned. The Germans and Italians in West Yugoslavia established a Nazi-fascist Ustashi Independent State of Croatia under the Vatican’s blessing including B-H, whose population was composed of the Orthodox Serbs, the Muslim Bosniaks, and the Roman Catholic Croats.

Heinrich Himmler (1900−1945), SS-Reichfuhrer believed that the Muslims are going to be great soldiers and, therefore, supported an idea to create one SS Waffen Division in B-H composed by 90% of the Bosniak Muslims and 10% of the Roman Catholic Croats. H. Himmler, as well as, accepted the Ustashi ideology that the B-H Muslims were of the Croat ethnic origin and that the Croats, in general, have been the Aryans but not the Slavs. Subsequently, such ideological construction allowed him to consider the Croats racially acceptable for the SS Waffen Division. From the very practical point of view, the German Nazis had a plan to use the formation of a Muslim SS Waffen Division in B-H as the first step in gaining the important support of some world’s 350 million Muslims against the Western Allies but especially in the Middle East against the Brits. 

In order to form this Division of special kind, H. Himmler needed to get A. Hitler’s permission which he obtained on February 13th, 1943. However, H. Himmler needed another permission – by the Ustashi Government in Zagreb led by the Herzegovinian Croat and notorious terrorist from interwar time, Ante Pavelić (1889−1959).[13] However, the Ustashi Government of Croatia originally was not willing to accept the proposal but finally agreed on it on March 5th, 1943. Very soon, the Division numbered some 26.000 soldiers including around 2.800 the Roman Catholic Croats. One of the members of this infamous unit was Alija Izetbegović – the President of B-H in the 1990s and the leader of the Islamic fundamentalist political party SDA – Party of Democratic Action.

The full name received in May 1944 of the Division was – 13 Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Handschar” (kroatische Nr. 1). It had been composed of two infantry regiments, one artillery regiment, one reconnaissance company, one panzerjager company, one antiaircraft company, one pioneer battalion, and other smaller supporting units. Three commanders have been leading the Division during WWII: Standartenfuhrer Herbert von Obwurzer (March−July, 1943), Oberfuhrer Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig (August 1943−May 1944), and Oberfuhrer Desiderius Hampel (June 1944−May 1945).

Even according to the Division’s official name,[14] it was clear for which purpose it was formed. The Division was blessed personally by Heinrich Himmler and became soon implicated in crimes of the worst kind, committed on a large scale, primarily against the Orthodox Serb civilians but as well as against the Jews. The training of the Division was done from September 1943 in France and Silesia till February 1944 when it returned to B-H to operate in North-East Bosnia, West Serbia, and South Srem – all of those territories had been populated by the Serbs. The Division was sent to South Hungary in late 1944 to fight the approaching Red Army but now many Muslim members deserted and returned back to B-H in order to protect their homes. The rest of the Division became driven from Hungary to Austria where the soldiers finally surrendered to the Brits on May 8th, 1945.[15]

The Handžar Division was re-established during the civil war in B-H in 1992‒1995 as a paramilitary unit. 

Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Yugoslav federation

In 1945, B-H found itself as one of the six socialist republics of new communist-run Yugoslav federation according to the pre-WWII political projects by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (the CPY). The new federal project of re-composition of the Yugoslav state had to solve all nationality questions and problems as it was publicly hoped by the ruling dictatorial regime of Josip Broz Tito (1892‒1980).[16] However, the identity problems and intra-ethnic conflicts remained alive across the country as, for example, in B-H the Muslim political leadership fought for the status of the national group for the B-H Muslim believers and for B-H to be officially recognized as their national republic within Yugoslavia. The practical problem was that the Muslims did not have an absolute majority of the population in socialist B-H, but being only the largest minority followed by the Serbs and the Croats. Therefore, B-H was according to its Constitution, the national republic of all three major groups in it. The same ethnic breakdown in B-H has persisted up to the end of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the SFRY). For instance, according to the last Yugoslav census in 1991, the B-H population was composed of 43.7% of Muslims, 31.3% of Serbs, and 17.3% of Croats followed by 7.0% of Yugoslavs and others.[17]   

The problem with the Muslim identity as an ethno-nation was, in fact, of ideological nature as the Titoist Government opposed any form of confessionally based ethnic, national or political identity or representation and, therefore, till 1968 the Yugoslav Muslims (including those of Slavic origin as well) has been recognized as the official body known as the “Islamic Community”. The Muslim courts have been banned since 1947, the waqfs (Muslim charitable endowments) were nationalized (like many similar Christian endowments and other property), and religious schools were closed (like Christian ones as well). Being the most ethnically and confessionally heterogeneous republic in Titoist Yugoslavia, B-H had much less political influence in comparison to neighboring Serbia and Croatia.      

Nevertheless, in 1968 (in the year of massive Albanian protests in Kosovo and student demonstrations in Belgrade) a “Muslim nationality” was proclaimed in Titoist Yugoslavia but only as a designation for the B-H Muslim community who did not identify themselves as either Serbs, Croats or Yugoslavs (there were Muslims who did it). But in essence, the project of “Muslim nationality” was based on artificial ethnic foundations and a citizen who opted for it did imply active adhesion to the Islamic faith. It was probably the single global case that one confessional denomination was recognized as an ethnic identity. During the last decade of J. B. Tito’s dictatorship, an Islamic resurgence took hold, within which the idea of pan-Islamism became revived.

Only several years after the death of J. B. Tito, several Islamic leaders in Yugoslavia issued warnings about the alleged threat of rising Serbian nationalism. The peak of such warnings came in August 1991 when Jakub Selimovski, a leader of the ulema, formulated the fears of the Yugoslav Muslim society in a Memorandum which was addressed to all Islamic organizations and institutions in the world with asking for their help as all Muslims are obliged to protect their fellows at any corner of the world.

The first political parties in B-H have been formed in 1990 to participate in the „first post-WWII democratic“ parliamentary elections on November 18th and 25th, 1990 but, in fact, the three strongest of them were founded and functioned on exclusively ethnic bases: the Muslim SDA (Stranka demokratske akcije or the Party of Democratic Action),[18] the Serbian SDS (Srpska demokratska stranka or the Serbian Democratic Party), and Croatian HDZ (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica or the Croatian Democratic Union). The results of the elections were that in December 1990, the leader of the SDA, Alija Izetbegović, became a President of B-H.[19] In the Parliament of B-H, the coalition majority was formed between the SDS and the HDZ.

The 1992−1995 Civil War in B-H       

On October 15th, 1991, the Muslim-Croat majority under the presidency of Islamic fundamentalist Alija Izetbegović, proclaimed the sovereignty of a new state of unitary B-H and declared its formal independence on March 3rd, 1992 (with Serbian boycott)[20] which became recognized by the EU on April 6th, 1992 (a day when in 1941 started German invasion of Yugoslavia followed by a massive bombardment of Belgrade).[21] At the same time, Bosnian-Herzegovinian Serbs proclaimed the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina followed by the Croatian proclamation of independent Herzeg-Bosnia.[22] Both the B-H Croats and Serbs adopted a policy of strengthening their ethnic positions in those regions and counties with their absolute majority, while the leading Muslim nationalistic and fundamentalist SDA party became the only authority in the Muslim populated remains of (Central) B-H. Even the Muslims of West Bosnia (the Cazin Krayina) proclaimed their own autonomous region and showed full disobedience to the central (Muslim) Government in Sarajevo.[23]

The civil war in Bosnia attracted foreign fighters both volunteers and mercenaries on all three sides but especially the Muslim Brotherhood’s members saw this war as an extension of the Islamic war against the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1979−1989.[24] It is a curious fact that the beginning of the B-H civil war in spring 1992 coincided with the fall of the communist regime in Kabul. From the very start of the Bosnian conflict, the SDA as the fundamental Muslim party in B-H, accepted a new political role to mobilize the Muslim community as a whole but the struggle for the independence of (Islamic) Bosnia-Herzegovina was presented as holy war or jihad[25] in which all Muslims are obliged to participate against (the Christian) infidels.

The ruling SDA party in B-H organized several international conferences during the war in order to attract Muslim support around the world. One of such charity conferences was organized in September 1992 by Mustafa Cerić, the imam of the mosque in Zagreb (capital of Croatia) and alongside with Alija Izetbegović co-founder of the Islamic SDA. The conference formally had to deal with the protection of (Muslim) human rights in B-H but, in fact, it was a call for all kinds of support by the Muslim brothers around the world. The conference was attended by representatives from 30 Muslim countries like, for instance, by Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Egypt), a theoretician of Islamic economics and open supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khurshid Ahmed (the UK), the head of the Islamic Foundation in London or Yusuf Islam, as the former popular singer, who followed the line of the Pakistani Islamic fundamentalists, etc. The conference resolution concluded that the final aim of the war in B-H was the extermination of the local Muslim community.[26]

Such conferences, meetings, and appeals for the global Muslim mobilization to assist the B-H Muslims were fruitful as, for example, international Islamic Relief (the UK) founded a charitable organization Merhamet under the umbrella of A. Izetbegović’s SDA but in many cases, the Islamic Relief was working as the SDA’s propaganda agency abroad.[27] For example, it produced a propaganda material under the title “Yugoslavia: The Crimes of Our Age” in which the B-H Serbs were portrayed as mass killers and the Muslims as only victims of the war. Pan-Islamic mobilization had a positive impact on several economically developed Islamic countries as Turkey, Iran or Saudi Arabia to collect financial, military and other support or on Egypt and Sudan to recruit jihad fighters for B-H. The Egyptian Islamic fundamentalists succeeded to make use of the Bosnian case in their domestic political fight by questioning the legitimacy of Egypt’s Government. However, the most committed have been different Islamic organizations in West Europe who misused the Bosnian war for two crucial purposes: 1) to improve their position among the European Muslims but particularly in the UK; and 2) to improve their profile with the authorities in West Europe.

Nevertheless, the focal aspect of the pan-Islamic mobilization advocated by the SDA and their supporters took a form of military assistance, as several thousands of foreign Muslim fighters came to Central Bosnia followed by war material (for instance, via Croatian seaport of Split in Dalmatia) to participate in the war of jihad. In principle, those Arab and other Islamic jihad fighters in B-H could be classified into three categories according to their origin and ideological background: 1) the Arab “Afghans” who have been returned jihadists from the Afghan War; 2) militant Sunni groups and volunteers from the Middle East and elsewhere; and 3) the Pro-Iranian Shia fighters regardless to the fact that all Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina as elsewhere in ex-Yugoslavia are Sunni.

The Bosnian-Iranian connections during the war years have been a clear indication of Teheran’s Islamic commitment but also an account for the personal pre-war links between Alija Izetbegović and the religious authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to several Western media reports from 1994, there were clear proves of Iranian arms sales followed by the Iranian volunteers in B-H.[28] It was quite known that Tehran and Sarajevo cooperated during the war by airlift from Iran to Croatia, via Turkey,[29] delivered to the (Muslim) Army of B-H, giving some 30% to Croatia as a tax for cooperation. It is not far from truth to remark that the US’ administration blessed the Islamic movements in their diplomatic and political propaganda to promote the new (Islamic) state of Bosnia-Herzegovina but as well as to keep closed eyes regarding the terrorist activities of several Islamic fundamentalist groups usually in the central part of Bosnia.[30]   

The course of Islamic ideology ultimately led the SDA party to use all possible channels of assistance to realize its political and nationalistic aims. The most important of those channels have been different Muslim NGOs and specially established in 1994 the Organization for Aid to the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The financial resources at the disposal of the SDA have been used for several purposes as to control the Army of B-H, to minimize the political and propaganda influence of Islamic Community – organization headed by Jakub Selimoski as it was less committed in comparison to the SDA to the politicization of Islam and pan-Islamism or to beat the influence of several secular political parties, movements, and organizations in B-H.

The SDA as a fundamentalist Islamic party ideologically founded on Alija Izetbegović’s the 1970 Islamic Declaration, brought Muslim religious instruction into the schools, opened up prayer rooms, and pressurized the citizens to adopt Muslim names, women to wear the veil and men to grow beards.[31] The party and its Government as well as strictly prohibited drinking of any kind of alcoholic beverages and eating pork meat in any form. Politically speaking, the fundamental SDA’s task was to establish the Islamic Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as the first Muslim state in Europe by bringing together the B-H Muslims with those (Slavic) Muslims of the Sanjak of Novi Pazar (50% out of total population) – a historic Ottoman region divided between Serbia and Montenegro as a consequence of the 1912−1913 Balkan Wars.[32] As a matter of fact, during the civil war in B-H, there were many Muslim volunteers from the Sanjak region who took active participation on the side of the B-H Government.

Nevertheless, the civil war in B-H became created proper conditions for the activities of different Islamic NGOs for both military and terrorist purposes. Many of the Islamist volunteers, including jihad fighters as well, who arrived at B-H to fight mostly the Serbs passed through Croatia (through Zagreb and Split) mostly thanks to the professional ID cards issued by some NGO.[33] The logistic center for such transit was the mosque in Zagreb run by Imam Hassan Čengić who later became a member of A. Izetbegović’s SDA and a General in the Army of B-H, where he founded the Mujahidin Battalion. This special battalion of the Army of B-H was formed on August 13th, 1993 and personally commissioned by Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović who did several times military review of the battalion in person. Its military leader was an Algerian, Abou al-Maali, ex-member of the Algerian GIA. The battalion was best equipped and most aggressive Izetbegović’s military formation being responsible directly to him as a President of B-H.    

Bosnia-Herzegovina after the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords

Politically speaking, the Dayton Peace Accords signed on December 14th, 1995, stopped the civil war in B-H and brought temporary peace between the Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks following the destruction of the ex-Yugoslavia. The Bosnian War, which started on March 1st, 1992 with the deadly attack on Serbian civilians in the downtown of Sarajevo by the Muslim fundamentalists, was a product of the nationalistic policies of three ethnic political parties which emerged in B-H from the first post-WWII democratic elections in 1990. In November 1995, after more than three years war in B-H with some 100.000 killed people, the political representatives of three ethnic groups involved in the civil war met with the US’ President Bill Clinton in Dayton (Ohio) for the sake to reach and sign peace agreement what was done on November 21st, 1995 and ratified in Paris on December 14th, 1995.

Theoretically, the Dayton Peace Accords provided the foundations for the functioning of B-H as an undivided political entity that was recognized by the international community. However, in practice, the post-Dayton B-H was composed by two separate political entities: the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (made up of the Roman Catholic Croats and the Muslim Bosniaks and occupying 51% of the B-H territory) and the Republic of Srpska (composed by the Orthodox Serbs and occupying 49% of the B-H territory). Nevertheless, within the Federation, in reality, exists unofficially recognized Croat Herzeg-Bosnia as an autonomous region. While the Federation is cantonized on an ethnic basis (10 cantons), the Republic of Srpska is a politically unitarian entity. A joint three-man Presidency with Serb, Croat, and Bosniak representatives with the veto right followed by a joint people’s Assembly is set up. The Republic of Srpska has its own Assembly, the Government, and the President as well as.[34] The city of Sarajevo became divided into two parts, democratic elections on all levels were required as the return of the refugees, the war criminals had to be excluded from political life, and an international peacekeeping force was mandated. The process of the post-war reconstruction of B-H under the umbrella of both the OUN and NATO started. Finally, following the peace agreement, the OUN established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (the ICTY) for the reason to examine charges of ethnic cleansing and other war crimes.[35]                   

Nonetheless, the Dayton Peace Accords as well had and its international dimension. Following this agreement, B-H was put under international monitoring or better to say Western colonial supervision first under the umbrella of the OUN but later of NATO when the international UNPROFOR peacekeepers already in B-H since 1992 have been replaced by IFOR in 1995 under the US’ command and strong American influence. In the next year, the IFOR was replaced by NATO-led SFOR and in December 2004 the SFOR was replaced by the EU’s EUFOR with the prime task to maintain peace, security, and stability. The Western colonial presence in B-H, however, has and its nonmilitary feature as an appointed High Representative has to exercise in practice the powers of the joint Presidency over the two areas despite the possible reluctance either by Croats or the Serbs.

The presence of foreign military forces in B-H had several direct effects on the political arena in the country among which the most three significant have been:

  1. Putting an end to the war even though it was unable to facilitate the return of many refugees to their pre-war homes for different reasons.
  2. Undermining seriously the political power and Islamic features of the leading Muslim party – the SDA. The party after Dayton was not any more seriously taken into consideration by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The SDA was no longer able to impose control either over the jihad military volunteers who still left in (Central) Bosnia (especially in the Zenica district) or the Islamic NGOs.
  3. The other Muslim political parties, movements, and organizations increased their power and influence at the expense of the Islamists.

It is true that after the war, many Muslim volunteers remained in B-H where their regional center became the central Bosnian industrial center of Zenica, where they became employed by the Army of B-H or for some private companies or organizations. They received the B-H identity documents and many of them even citizenship and passport based on their military service during the war. The Islamic political platform in B-H started to split apart and its disintegration forced the leadership of the SDA to rely on the prestige and cult of President Alija Izetbegović who since 1997 had clear difficulties with the health. It became obvious that only he alone was able to maintain the cohesion of the SDA and to use his great personal popularity among the Muslim Bosniaks to restore the party’s position. But he died soon, in 2000.

9/11 and radical Islamism in Bosnia-Herzegovina  

The al-Qaeda-organized terrorist act on New York and Washington on September 11th, 2001 (9/11) changed the Western (particularly the US’s) attitude toward the process of Islamization in B-H.[36] As the first Western response to the case occurred soon on September 26th, 2001 when four people became interrogated by the SFOR for their connections with the Saudi High Commission for Relief on the ground on suspicion of implication in support for terrorism.[37] Even though all four persons were found not guilty and, therefore, have been released, the very fact that they were under investigation showed that the Islamic NGOs have been understood by the Western intelligence services as potential objects of suspicion. Subsequently, in May 2002, five new suspects have been arrested and delivered to the US for the investigation procedure. But the real effects of such and similar actions were not so impressive as the Islamic NGOs continued their Islamic politics[38] to re-Islamize or better to say to proper-Islamize the Muslims in B-H, using the leverage of their resources for the final purpose to impose right Islamic conduct and proper Islamic behavior on the Muslim society. It is true especially for the Saudi Wahhabis who became the most radical Islamic group in both B-H and Kosovo-Metochia. They are systematically dismantling secular artistic and cultural heritage but as well as and the Ottoman one and replacing it with the construction of mosques and other Islamic objects according to their “proper” vision of the Muslim religion and the Islamic culture.

The Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as in both the Balkans and the ex-Ottoman Empire, in general, is adhered to the Hanafi “madhhab” (school of jurisprudence), which was the most liberal among all the four schools in the Sunni Islam. However, the Islamic NGOs in B-H (like in Kosovo-Metochia) are all under the influence of the Saudi Wahhabi Islamic doctrine, itself aligned with the Hanbali “madhhab” that is prevalent in Saudi Arabia and at the same time the most conservative of all the interpretative traditions of Islam.

After the 9/11, the following four questions became crucial concerning the political future and Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina:

  1. The question implicit in the imposition of order by the Western military forces including the problems of how long it was meant to continue and how effective it would be in repairing the war damages?
  2. The question of SDA’s utilization of Islamic politics?
  3. The question of whether Islam can continue to serve as a gathering point for all B-H Muslims?
  4. The question if Islam in the future may become a source of political conflict between secular Bosniaks and Islamists?

A role of Alija Izetbegović (1925−2003)

A focal nationalistic leader of the B-H Muslims in the 1990s was Alija Izetbegović who established on May 26th, 1990 the SDA (the Party of Democratic Action/Stranka demokratske akcije) that was officially self-represented as the national-political representative of all Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslim community and the crucial protector of their national and confessional interests.[39] The party was established as a typical Muslim one which the party’s program and manifesto have been based on the traditional Islamic values and measures like the observance of the Muslim festivals or the reconstruction of the Islamic praying houses. After the first post-WWII democratic elections, A. Izetbegović became a President of the B-H Presidency due to the fact that his main opponent Fikret Abdić (a businessman from West Bosnian region of Cazin), who won most votes did not want to take a post of the President. Nevertheless, A. Izetbegović was regarded as a hero in many Muslim countries and, for example, in 1993, he received an Islamic award by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia for his efforts on behalf of the jihad.

Alija Izetbegović with Croat-Muslim coalition declared in 1991 a sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in March 1992 its formal independence regardless of the fact that it was strongly opposed by 1/3 of the B-H citizens (the Serbs). Immediately when he took political power, he adopted a policy of establishing as closer as relations with both strongest Islamic countries (with Iran and Saudi Arabia at the first) and Islamic organizations worldwide. Just after the 1990 December elections in B-H as a matter of the preparation for the proclamation of the independence, he visited in February 1991 Libya and in April 1991 Iran and succeeded to establish very close relations between the SDA and the Islamic Republic of Iran which would finally lead to significant Iranian aid and the presence of many of the Iranian jihad fighters during the coming civil war in 1992−1995.[40]

However, thanks to his cultivation of a favorable anti-communist and among all anti-Serbian image in West Europe and the USA his Government succeeded to establish beneficiary relations with the West especially with the administration of the US’ President Bill Clinton who totally closed his eyes on all A. Izetbegović’s Islamic activities to transform B-H into Islamic state according to the pattern of his sponsors from the Islamic Republic of Iran.[41] The civil war in B-H undoubtedly allowed him to impose almost uncontested dictatorship among the Muslims except in the Cazin region in West Bosnia led by Fikret Abdić who rebelled against his authority, Government, and the policy of the Islamization of the country.

Due to A. Izetbegović, B-H became gradually more and more Islamized, and the Shari’a law became progressively introduced into the courts. Ethnically and, therefore, confessionally mixed marriages have been not welcomed and A. Izetbegović himself was expressing preferences for the suppression of both Christmas and New Year celebrations. After the very end of the civil war in B-H, followed by the departure of the Serbs and to the certain extent of the Croats from Sarajevo, the city, which has been for centuries of a multicultural nature, became almost exclusively Muslim one, where evidence of the Muslim culture, history, and Islamic influences have been more visible and preserved.[42] It is a matter of very fact that A. Izetbegović welcomed any kind of extreme Islamic organizations to come and exist in B-H and sought assistance from the most important sponsors of the Islamic politics in order to realize one of his focal geopolitical aims to unite the Muslims of B-H with those of the Sandžak region of Novi Pazar into the Ottoman time province of the Pashalik of Bosnia (1463−1878).

However, after the elections in 1997, disillusionment became common within the large sector of the B-H public after the forced Islamization of the country by the SDA but which became possible mainly due to the assistance provided by the Saudi NGOs, among other Islamic similar groups. In general, it was welcomed by the West especially after 9/11 which was not at all happy to tolerate Iranian influence in B-H or to accept the existence of Islamic radical organizations. Nevertheless, A. Izetbegović’s SDA emerged after 9/11 weakened from the parallel competition it underwent from both secular and Islamic groups especially after October 19th, 2003 when the party’s founder died.[43]       

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2020

Endnotes:

[1] Душан Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Друго допуњено издање, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, 31−52.

[2] About the destruction of the ex-Yugoslavia and civil wars, see in [Jelena Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize 1990−2000, I−II, Beograd: IGAM, 2003].

[3] The Saudi Wahhabism took the name from its ideological establisher – Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703‒1792), who was inspired by Ibn Taymiyya (1263‒1328), whose interpretations of Islam and Islamic doctrine were based on the Hanbali school of “fiqh” that is one of the four schools of interpretation of the Islamic law. In general, Wahhabism is a conservative school of interpretation of the Islamic philosophy that is characterized by its literal reading of Islam and its rigorous and puritanical aspect. About Wahhabism, see more in [David Commins, The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia, London−New York: I.B.Tauris, 2009; Therence Ward, The Wahhabi Code: How the Saudis Spread Extremism Globally, New York; Arcade Publishing, 2017; Mohammed Ayoob, Hasan Kosebalaban (eds.), Religion and Politics in Saudi Arabia: Wahhabism and the State, Lynne Rienner Pub., 2008].

[4] Robert J. Donia, John V.A. Fine Jr., Bosnia and Hercegovina: A Tradition Betrayed, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, 93.

[5] Mark Pinson (ed.), The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina: Their Historic Development from the Middle Ages to the Dissolution of Yugoslavia, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1996, 129−154.

[6] The term is used in the Western world to describe movements and organizations which are the strict followers of both the Quran and the Islamic law (the Shariah). The Islamic fundamentalism emerged in reaction to the Islamic reform movements in the first half of the 20th century as those movements have been considered to be infused with Western culture and values followed by the strong political influence of the Western states in the Middle East, especially in the interwar period. Nevertheless, the Islamic fundamentalists had considerable political and ideological success, as an increasing number of Muslim states adopted Islamic law. About a modern history of Islam and Islamic peoples, see in [Reinhard Schulze, A Modern History of the Islamic World, London‒New York: I.B.Tauris Publishers, 2000].

[7] Миленко М. Вукићевић, Знаменити Срби муслимани, Друго издање, Београд: ННК, 1998; Лазо М. Костић, Чија је Босна?, Нови Сад: Добрица књига, 1999; Лазо М. Костић, Наука утврђује народност Б-Х муслимана, Етнографска студија, Србиње−Нови Сад: Добрица књига, 2000; Чедомир Антић, Српска историја, Четврто издање, Београд: Vukotić Media, 2019, 67−75.

[8] See more in [Dr. Milan Bulajić, The Role of the Vatican in the Break-Up of the Yugoslav State: The Mission of the Vatican in the Independent State of Croatia. Ustashi Crimes of Genocide, Belgrade: The Ministry of Information of the Republic of Serbia, 1993].

[9] About the British Mandate for Palestine, see in [Ahron Bregman, A History of Israel, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, 18‒38].

[10] The Muslim Brotherhood as an organization is formed in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna who was at that time an elementary schoolteacher from Ismailiya that is a town situated on the Suez Canal. It is the most long-standing Sunni Islamic movement, and the movement most strongly identified with the Sunni Islam [Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, The Muslim Brotherhood: Evolution of an Islamist Movement, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013; Khalil Al-Anani, Inside the Muslim Brotherhood: Religion, Identity, and Politics, New York: Oxford University Press, 2016; Cathy Hinners, Muslim Brotherhood: The Threat in Our Backyard, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016].

[11] He was regarded as an „honorary Aryan“ by Adolf Hitler.

[12] Handžar means the Scimitar – the curved Ottoman knife or sword which was a historic symbol of Ottoman Bosnia-Herzegovina (attached only to the B-H Muslims).

[13] About his biography, see in [Džon K. Koks, „Ante Pavelić i ustaška država u Hrvatskoj“, Bernd J. Fišer (urednik), Balkanski diktatori: Diktatori i autoritarni vladari jugoistočne Evrope, Beograd: IPS, IP Prosveta, 2009, 229−272].

[14] In German, Handschar.

[15] See more in [Chris Bishop, Waffen-SS Divisions, 1939−1945, London: Amber Books, 2007; Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009; Zvonimir Bernwald, Muslime in der Waffen-SS:  Erinnerungen an die Bosnische Division Handžar (1943−1945), Graz: Ares Verlag GmbH, 2012].

[16] He was half Slovene and half Croat, born in Roman Catholic family in the village of Kumrovec in North-West Croatia just on the border with Slovenia [Перо Симић, Звонимир Деспот (уредници), Тито: Строго поверљиво. Архивски документи, Београд: Службени гласник, 2010, 39; Перо Симић, Тито феномен 20. века, Београд: Службени гласник, 2011; Jože Pirjevec, Tito i drugovi, I deo, Beograd: Laguna, 2013, 26−35].

[17] Tim Judah, The Serbs: History, Myth & the Destruction of Yugoslavia, New Haven−London: Yale University Press, 1997, 317.

[18] In the manifesto of the SDA it is included typical Islamic values and Muslim measures such as the observance of the Muslim festivals and the reconstruction of mosques [Antoine Sfeir (ed.), The Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007, 179].

[19] Alija Izetbegović was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina on August 8th, 1925 in Bosanski Šamac. As a young person, he took part in the political life of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia is an early member of the militant Islamic movement in Yugoslavia. He was never a member of the CPY but was sentenced to prison by the Yugoslav communist regime for his activities based on nationalistic Islamic fundamentalism. When he was 20, he joined the Islamic nationalistic group under the name Young Muslims and soon was arrested for his militant Islamic activities. During WWII, he joined the SS Handžar Division of Bosnian Islamic militants. He was released from prison in 1949 and succeeded to graduate from university in 1956 as a lawyer, which became his official profession. However, new political problems arrived at his life when he wrote in 1970 an Islamic chauvinistic book under the title “The Islamic Declaration…”, in which Alija argued for the formation of a fundamentalist Islamic State and rejected any coexistence with other faiths based on equal rights. In 1980 Alija Izetbegović published his focal book, „Islam Between East and West“, in which he continued to claim the same arguments from the first one. Nevertheless, both books were cited in evidence when he was tried for seditious activity in 1983 when he became sentenced to 14 years in jail but he was pardoned and released in 1988 just before the beginning of multiparty parliamentary democracy in Yugoslavia to establish in March 1990 the SDA which represented itself as the political representative of the Muslims in B-H.          

[20] R. Craig Nation, War in the Balkans, 1991−2002, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2003, 151.

[21] Branko Petranović, Srbija u Drugom svetskom ratu 1939−1945, Beograd: Vojnoizdavački i novinski centar, 1992, 100−101. The German barbaric bombardment of Belgrade on April 6th, 1941 was an „air-terrorism“ [Vasa Kazimirović, Nemački general u Zagrebu, Kragujevac−Beograd: Prizma−Centar film, 1996, 218].

[22] Jelena Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize 1990−2000, I, Beograd: IGAM, 2003, 368−383.

[23] The B-H President Alija Izetbegović once remarked that for the Muslims (Bosniaks) “… choosing between Tudjman and Milosevic was like between having to choose between leukemia and brain tumor …” [Dr. Bisera Turkovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Changing World Order, Sarajevo: Saraj Invest, 1996, 41].

[24] About this war, see in [Rodric Braithwaite, Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979−89, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2011].

[25] Linguistically, jihad as a term means “struggle”, “to endeavour” or “to strive”. Nevertheless, the derivative word jihad has different meanings, including the term “holy war”. From a pure religious viewpoint, the term jihad is interpreted in different ways, and many Islamic scholars argue that there is “greater jihad” and “lesser jihad”. Those scholars who follow Prophet Mohammed claim that jihad refers to an internal struggle of the believers. However, another group of scholars argues that jihad refers to the notion of holy war and an associated duty to establish an Islamic society. The third group of interpreters who embraced a militant type of Islam understood jihad as a tool to overthrow existing order but rather than attempts to revise it or establish a kind of parallel societal alternatives. The ideologies of all militant Islamists propagate direct connections between jihad and violence [Robert Spencer, The History of Jihad from Muhammad to ISIS, New York−Nashville: Post Hill Press, 2018].  

[26] However, according to the American scholar Susan L. Woodward, the focal war aim was to build states from nations [Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War, Washington, D. C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995, 223−272].

[27] One of the most propagandistic black and white pro-Muslim Bosnian literature on the B-H civil war is one written by the B-H ambassador to Hungary [Dr. Bisera Turkovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Changing World Order, Sarajevo: Saraj Invest, 1996]. 

[28] In 1996, about this case it was taken note in the US’ Congress but the reaction of the Clinton administration to the Iranian involvement in the Balkan affairs was neutrality.

[29] About the imperialistic ideas of the Ottoman Empire in modern Turkey, see in [Дарко Танасковић, Велики повратак Турске? Османлије у европском оделу, Београд: ЈП Службени гласник, 2015].

[30] About the activities of Islamic terrorists in B-H, see in [Манојло Миловановић, Исламски терористи у Босни и Херцеговини, Бања Лука, 2001]. About the Bosnian-Herzegovinian rebels against socialist Yugoslavia, see in [Радослав Гаћиновић, Насиље у Југославији, Београд: ЕВРО, 2002, 279−288].

[31] Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration: A Program for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim Peoples, 1990. See as well as his [“Alija” Ali Izetbegovic, Islam Between East and West, American Trust Publications, 1993].

[32] The Ottoman province of the Sanjak of Novi Pazar was composed of territory in present-day South-West Serbia, North Montenegro, and Serbia’s province of Kosovo-Metochia. The administrative center of the sanjak was a town of Novi Pazar (in Serbian Novi Trg). In the Middle Ages, the region of Novi Pazar was known as Raška with its center in Ras which was even the first capital of the Serbian state. Ras is located very close to the present-day Novi Pazar. During several centuries of the Ottoman occupation, the Sanjak of Novi Pazar became included in the Ottoman bigger province the Pashalik of Bosnia until the 1878 Berlin Congress. From that time until 1913, the Sanjak of Novi Pazar was included in the Ottoman province the Vilayet of Kosovo. The Berlin Congress authorized Austria-Hungary to occupy Bosnia-Herzegovina and to keep military garrisons in the district of Novi Pazar (for the purpose to separate Serbia from Montenegro) where they stayed until 1909. During the initial phase of the First Balkan War in 1912, Serbian and Montenegrin troops liberated the Sanjak of Novi Pazar which became divided between Serbia (northern portion) and Montenegro (southern part) according to the 1913 London Treaty. During the following decades, many Bosniak and Albanian Muslims emigrated from the region of Novi Pazar to Turkey as they did not want to live in a predominantly Christian state. In Asia Minor, they established their colonies. The region was occupied by Austria-Hungary in WWI, while after the war became part of the new Yugoslav state. During WWII, the region of Novi Pazar became divided between Italians who included its biggest portion into their marionette Montenegro and the Germans who included its smaller part with the town of Novi Pazar into occupied Serbia. After the Italian capitulation in September 1943, the Germans occupied the whole Sanjak of Novi Pazar. In the post-1945 socialist Yugoslavia, Montenegro and Serbia once again divided this region according to the 1913 division line. See more in [Fred Bernard Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985].   

[33] The most prominent such Islamic NGO was the Saudi Arabian Muwaffaq Foundations which had good relations with the Army of B-H.

[34] See more in [Derek Chollet, The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study of American Statecraft, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005].

[35] See more in [Elizabeth M. Cousens, Charles K. Cater, Toward Peace in Bosnia: Implementing the Dayton Accords, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001].

[36] The al-Qaeda (The Base) was led by Osama Bin Laden who was responsible for 9/11 and other terrorist attacks on the US’s targets in several countries. He was born in a wealthy Saudi family in 1957 in Riyadh and studied in Jedda where became influenced by a Palestinian radical, Dr Abdullah Azzam. During the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan (1979−1989), Osama backed the Mujahedin resistance to the Soviet army getting financial and military support by the Reagan administration for his anti-Soviet activities. The al-Qaeda organization was formed by Osama in 1989 which turned to be anti-American during the 1990−1991 (First) Gulf War. The deployment of the Western military in Saudi Arabia struck him as the very violation he was called upon to resist. During the Bosnian civil war his representatives had talks with the members of the SDA and according to some claims even with Alija Izetbegović. Osama bin-Laden was personally in Tirana (Albania) in the 1990s. In May 1996, he returned to Afghanistan where he became one of the crucial financiers of the Taliban takeover of Kabul in September of the same year. The first big terrorist action done by al-Qaeda was on August 7th, 1998 on the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya: vehicles with explosives destroyed both Embassies with killing hundreds of people. The American response was to bomb the training camps of al-Qaeda in East Afghanistan but Osama survived the attacks. Nevertheless, his focal attack was on September 11th, 2001 when some 2000 Americans died. The direct outcome of 9/11 was the US-led military campaign Operation Enduring Freedom for the purpose to destroy both the Taliban regime and the al-Qaeda organization in Afghanistan. Concerning the first task, the operation was successful as Kabul fell to anti-Taliban forces on November 13th, 2001 but failed with regard to the second one. Nevertheless, al-Qaeda and its networks associated groups are blamed for the terrorism in Bali, Madrid, London, and in several other cities. According to the official US’s claims, Osama Bin Laden was killed in 2011 by special anti-terroristic forces of the US Army. However, some of his followers soon joined the ISIS in the Middle East to fight for the universal Islamic caliphate – an idea which attracted many Balkan Islamists included those in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo-Metochia, regardless of the very fact that the tactic used by the ISIS is largely criticized by the al-Qaeda, who view the ISIS as illegitimate. See more in [Daniel Byman, Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2015].        

[37] About the terrorism as a global phenomenon, see in [Pierre H. Richard, Terrorisme: Quand tout peut devenir une cible, Montréal, Québec: Charron Éditeur inc., 2016].

[38] Islamic politics is a political-philosophical viewpoint that there is no separation between politics, state, society, and religion in Islamic communities. The proponents of such an attitude launched the idea that Islam is religion and state together. Therefore, Shari’a law is the only law acceptable. As a matter of fact, the colonial penetration of the Western values of the Islamic countries in the Middle East from the 19th century onward resulted in a conflict between the Western secularism and the Islamic religious conceptions of politics for the very reason that both the legal system and education gradually became Westernized and, therefore, secularized. The Western colonialism of the Islamic peoples and lands led inevitably to an emerging new public sphere which was in opposition to the traditional Islamic practices and values. Nevertheless, modern Islamists set about to reconstruct old Islamic political and social order calling on the first place for the implementation of Shari’a law and full respect of the five pillars of Islam. With the Islamic (Shia) revolution in Iran (Persia) in 1978−1979, the feature of Islamic politics became radicalized. All Islamists, in general, agree upon the idea that the prime function of the state is to create and maintain all necessary conditions for the full implementation of Shari’a law. It is quite clear that in this case, the state has to be founded on certain principles from the Qur’an and Sunna of the Prophet (justice, equality, consultation). There is a general consensus among the Islamists that the Shari’a law, as the ideal of social justice, is based on God’s Word in the Qur’an and the Sunna. They also claim that sovereignty belongs to God, and the ruler must be obeyed to keep the order, peace, stability, and security. See more in [Khaled Hrob (ed.), Political Islam: Context versus Ideology, London: SOAS Middle East Institute, 2012].     

[39] The SDA was established, in fact, by the Islamic nationalistic organization the Young Muslims.

[40] See more about this issue in [Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s: A Short Documentary Movie by the SKY News at http://global-politics.eu/bosnia-herzegovina-isis-in-the-1990s-a-short-documentary-movie/].

[41] See more in [Bosnia, Intelligence, and the Clinton Presidency: The Role of Intelligence and Political Leadership in Ending the Bosnian War, Little Rock, Arkansas: William J. Clinton Presidential Library, 2013].

[42] Read more about Bosnia-Herzegovina as the cradle of modern jihadism at [http://global-politics.eu/bosnia-cradle-modern-jihadism/]. About the same topic, see the BBC News documentary movie from 2015 [https://youtu.be/M6QIopgwuIU].

[43] See more in [Laura Silber, Allan Little, Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation, New York: TV Books, 1996].

Saudi Arab Islamist beheading Serbs in Bosnia in 1992

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As 10,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday (7 June 2020) to protest as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, there was one landmark which drew their ire more than any other: the equestrian statue of King Leopold II outside Belgium’s royal palace.“Murderer!” the protesters cried as they climbed the statue and waved the flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Had the statue been flimsy enough to pull down they would have done it, just as fellow BLM protesters toppled Edward Colston’s statue across the channel in Bristol. Estimates vary, but the consensus figure is ...
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Terrorist al-Nusra Front is blamed for massacre and abduction of Syrian civilians.
President Obama’s final foreign policy speech at MacDill air force base in Tampa, betrayed its purpose through the venue.  The Tampa, Florida, base is home to Special Operations Command and Central Command — Special Operations playing an ever increasing role in counter terrorism. The gist of the speech seemed to assert that the US is and should stay true to its values when fighting terrorism.  An assertion when at the same time Congressman Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, has written a letter to Secretary John Kerry warning him the US could be charged with war crimes in aiding Saudi Arabia’s bombing ...
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Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a War Criminal
Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti, that recognition of Kosovo’s independence has opened a Pandora’s Box and called the Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal. Zeman, among other things, confirmed that he will travel to Moscow for the celebrations of the end of the Second World War because the Soviet army liberated most of the former Czechoslovakia. The Czech president has openly expressed himself on Kosovo in the past, for example he labeled the country a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence. This article originally appeared at Hospodářské Noviny. Translated for RI by Anthony Grulich The recognition of ...
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100th Anniversary of Australian Beersheba Charge, UK Balfour Declaration & Palestinian Genocide Commencement
There are 3 Apartheid Israel-related centenaries this week, namely (1) the victorious 31 October 1917 charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba that led to conquest of Palestine by Britain and massive famine, (2) the nefarious and racist UK Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917  that gave Palestine to Zionists as a Jewish Homeland as an inducement to help keep Russia in WW1, and (3) commencement of the Palestine Genocide (2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, or imposed deprivation, 1.9 million, since WW1). History ignored yields history repeated and genocide ignored yields genocide repeated [1]. Anniversaries are useful ...
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Lithuanians under Police State Attack and the World under Washington’s Attack
According to news reports and to this appeal by Kristoferis Voishka, the pro-American government installed in Lithuania is persecuting Lithuanians who dissent from the anti-Russian propaganda that is driving Washington’s NATO puppets to war with Russia. Unlike their puppet government, Lithuanians understand that war with Russia means that Lithuania on the front line will be utterly destroyed, a result that would not bother Washington in the least, just as Washington is undisturbed when its forces obliterate weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games. What is Lithuania? To Washington it is a nothing. Kristoferis Voiska runs an alternative Internet news site in LIthuania. Not ...
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Why the U.S. Must Be Prosecuted for Its War Crimes Against Iraq
The reason why the U.S. Government must be prosecuted for its war-crimes against Iraq is that they are so horrific and there are so many of them, and international law crumbles until they become prosecuted and severely punished for what they did. We therefore now have internationally a lawless world (or “World Order”) in which “Might makes right,” and in which there is really no effective international law, at all. This is merely gangster “law,” ruling on an international level. It is what Hitler and his Axis of fascist imperialists had imposed upon the world until the Allies — U.S. ...
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The First NATO: British and French Joint Aggressions in the Mid-19th Century
The two most militarily powerful nations in the West, both free to project naval power and maritime domination anywhere in the world, get together to punish and overthrow regimes they find guilty of human rights abuses and political repression in the name of human rights and promoting democracy: What could possibly go wrong?It is of course NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s new call for NATO, which has already over the past decade exercised its nation-building and promotion of enlightened regime policies with such brilliant success in Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan to spread its mantle of protection, enlightenment and peace over ...
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The Albanian Question in the Balkans
Israel’s Money Machine: Jewish Oligarchs Fund Crimes Against Humanity
Apartheid Israel
The Lies that are Used for Denying the Legitimacy of Crimea’s Breakaway
Crimes against Humanity: Britain’s Complicity in Saudi Arabia’s Terror Campaign against Yemen
The Nobel Peace Prize in Support of War
Suddenly Europe is an Open Question – ‘A Nazi EU?’
Disappeared People in Kosovostan
The Two Most Dangerous Warmongers in Political Office Today
Fake News: A U.S. Media Specialty
Libya: Is this Kosovo all over Аgain?
Germany and the Great Economic Depression
Manipulation: The US State Department’s New Program to Take On Hungarian Media
How Belgium is being Forced to Confront the Bloody Legacy of King Leopold II
Is the U.S Fighting Terrorism or Manufacturing It?
Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a War Criminal
100th Anniversary of Australian Beersheba Charge, UK Balfour Declaration & Palestinian Genocide Commencement
Lithuanians under Police State Attack and the World under Washington’s Attack
Why the U.S. Must Be Prosecuted for Its War Crimes Against Iraq
The First NATO: British and French Joint Aggressions in the Mid-19th Century