EDITORIAL NOTE: "Pogorelica" was a Bosnian mujahedeen camp run by the Iranian intelligence agency (VEVAK). The camp was raided by IFOR troops in February 1996. During the raid NATO troops found Iranian propaganda, terrorist training manuals, bomb making materials, and bombs disguised to look like children's toys.

Bakir Alispahic was the director of the Bosnian intelligence agency (AID), which owned the land and the facilities housing the camp. Bosnia's courts acquitted Alispahic of terrorism charges after several key witnesses, including the deputy minister of the Federation Police Jozo Leutar and AID deputy director Nedzad Ugljen, were mysteriously killed.

Dnevni avaz, the Sarajevo newspaper that published the following story, was established with funds donated by Alija Izetbegovic's Party of Democratic Action (SDA).

Ex-terror suspect denies Bosnia safe haven for terrorism
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - July 18, 2007, Wednesday

Text of report by Bosnian newspaper Dnevni avaz on 14 July

[Report in Sedmica supplement by S. Skuletic: "There Is No Religious - and, Accordingly, No - Islamic Terrorism"]

Over the past few years terrorism has become one of the most used terms in the media, during meetings between world leaders, on lists of various government priorities, and as justification for wars.

This has made the term too broad and it is difficult for people, particularly in the West, to understand its true meaning despite the fact that officially there are 106 definitions of this phenomenon.

Two Motives

Several months ago an official definition of terrorism in Bosnia-Hercegovina [B-H] was officially recognized. The curious thing is that the author of this definition is Bakir Alispahic, who was prosecuted and processed in 2002 by the federal prosecutor for alleged terrorism in the case known as "Pogorelica." At the time, by the way, neither he nor the majority of B-H legal experts understood what he was being prosecuted for.

Alispahic presented his definition of terrorism in his M.A. entitled "Scientific Controversies of Defining Terrorism" at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo.

"Candidates present important reasons for their choices of topics for M.A.s, such as originality, scientific and social importance of their research, and so on. Sadly, I cannot use any of these noble reasons. I was simply caught up by the topics. It imposed itself on me," Alispahic said at the beginning of his presentation before the science commission, which included professors Izet Beridan, Smail Cekic, and Nijaz Durakovic, who was also his mentor.

Speaking for Dnevni avaz, Alispahic stresses that "Bosnia can be anything but most certainly not a safe haven for terrorism and terrorists, nor a country that would aide any kind of violence." He particularly points out that there were two major reasons why he joined the debate on the scientific definition of terrorism.

"They are a result of my conviction that I was completely groundlessly accused of terrorism by certain circles. Had these forces managed to win and prove their accusations, my struggle and my contribution to the war effort, and ultimately the defence of our country would have been marred by terrorism, which never existed in Bosnia. That is why my need to prove this was the strongest motive. On the other hand I felt it my duty to my profession to find out what terrorism was and how it could be fought," Alispahic says.

After the charges of training terrorists in the "Pogorelica" camp were dropped, Alispahic started researching the term terrorism in detail.

Criminal Act

True, at the time he was the most competent person to choose this topic for his M.A., both because of his personal experience and because of the knowledge he gained through years of working for secret and security agencies. After years of research, in which he was aided by the writings by Durakovic, academician Muhamed Filipovic, and professor Fikret Karcic, he achieved his aim: he defined terrorism.

Alispahic came up and proved an interesting thesis in his work: that so-called religious terrorism does not exist, and that therefore there can be no talk of Islamic terrorism.

"During my research I did not come across information that any religion or spiritual structure supports or defends terrorism. I read a large number of definitions of terrorism, particularly those that emerged in the Islamic world: at the El-Azhar University in Egypt, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)... who sanction terrorism very sharply, much more so than is the case in the West. They go as far as to declare terrorism a criminal act, and a crime is more than terrorism, and is a clearer term in communication," Alispahic explains.

However, he adds that there are organizations that use religion to justify their terrorist actions, but that there is no real grounds for this in religion -it is exclusively a tool to justify their actions in public.

Cekic: Major Success

During the presentation of th e paper professor Cekic said that this definition was a major success in terms of science theory, and that Alispahic came to it "boldly and responsibly."

"I have yet to come across work on a topic that is a widely recognized social reality, but is without a scientifically accepted definition. Alispahic offered in his work a truly valid scientific definition. Having in mind the complexity of the issue, I have to say that he responded very conscientiously and well to the scientific need for a definition of terrorism," Cekic said.

Durakovic: Topical and Important

Durakovic stressed during the presentation of the paper that terrorism was probably the most topical issue for B-H at the moment, adding that Alispahic's work was the first of its kind at the Faculty of Political Sciences.

"We should speak out about the topicality and importance of terrorism, particularly as there is a tendency to declare B-H almost collectively terrorist, and the Bosniaks collectively Al-Qa'idah. That is why I believe that this issue is very topical and important, as it took courage to tackle it and particularly by an author who had been accused of terrorism."

Source: Dnevni avaz, Sarajevo, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 14 Jul 07

Copyright 2007 British Broadcasting Corporation
Posted for Fair Use only.