Bosnian Serb paper analyses activities of 'radical Islamists'
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - December 19, 2006, Tuesday

Text of report D. Majstorovic: "Purity through the sword" published by Bosnian Serb newspaper Glas Srpske on 15 December

It is a public secret that for years now Sarajevo and other big cities in Bosnia-Hercegovina have seen the existence of a so-called "Shari'ah Police," which openly attack courting couples on the streets and in the parks because they consider any public display of emotion as simply not being in keeping with Islam. Lying behind the term "Shari'ah Police" are, of course, young Wahhabis, who are determined to "educate" the youth of Bosnia in the right manner.

If these were just isolated incidents bearing the hallmark of young Wahhabis, then perhaps one could turn a blind eye to them. But the fact is that the matter is much, much more serious. The most recent example was the shooting in a mosque in Novi Pazar, which drew a reaction from the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina, whose message was that those who want to threaten the traditional interpretation of Islam are not welcome in this region. Before the shooting, Wahhabis in Novi Pazar had used violence to halt a concert by the Belgrade Balkanika band; and in the summer they beat up a Serb called Mihailo Kisic near Brcko. A few years earlier one of the followers of the Wahhabi teaching of Islam in Bosnia-Hercegovina appalled the domestic and international public through the monstrous killing of the Andjelic family, Croat returnees in the village of Kostajnica near Konjic.

We recall that Muamer Topalovic, who was 25 at the time, broke into the house of the Andjelic family on the Catholic Christmas Eve and killed three members of the family. During the subsequent investigation and trial it was established that Topalovic was a member of the alleged humanitarian organization Jamiyat al-Furkan, which for years has been on the UN black list as a sponsor and abettor of international terrorism. Without batting an eyelid, Topalovic admitted to the court that he had killed the Andjelic's "for religious reasons."

Serbs returning to the village of Bocinja, under Mt Ozren near Maglaj, which had been settled by foreign Mujahidin and domestic Wahhabis, were more fortunate than the Andjelic family. Luckily, they escaped just with beatings and threats, as well as open calls to convert to Islam, because if they wanted to live in the village only Islam would guarantee them peace and security.

Unfortunately, Bocinja is not the only refuge for radical Islamists. There is also the village of Gornja Maoca, near Brcko, where about 30 home-grown Wahhabis live with their families. Last year this village found its way on to the pages of all domestic and foreign papers, chiefly because of the assertions by Western intelligence services that a group of Wahhabis from Gornja Maoca had left for Italy in order to prepare for a big terrorist attack that they were apparently going to carry out at the funeral of the late head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II.

Quoting intelligence reports, the US publication Defence and Foreign Affairs stated that three groups of former Mujahidin, who had links with Al-Qa'idah and had been trained in the triangle between Tuzla, Zenica and Brcko, had left Gornja Maoca for the Vatican. It was clear that something sinister had been going on after a joint operation by the Croatian and Italian police, each acting on their own territory, which broke up groups tasked with organizing and carrying out terrorist attacks.

This US publication also reported that one of the groups had been trained under the watchful eye of Kenan Bajric, a policeman from Brcko District. According to the paper, training was also carried out at the house of the father of Hajrudin Ribic, who is known to have been a member of the Wahhabi community. It is alleged that over a period of months a succession of groups of Mujahidin stayed there for between eight and 10 months at a time, not venturing out of the house.

It is not known whether "brain-washing" really did take place there, as the US paper claims. But the connection between Gornja Maoca and Al-Qa'idah was far from hidden even at a later date. We recall that four years ago members of SFOR [Stabilization Force] arrested one Sabahudin Fiuljanin, who was accused of being a member of Al-Qa'idah and of photographing the McGovern SFOR base near Brcko as part of preparations for a terrorist attack. SFOR spokesman Yves Vanier said at the time that the international stabilization forces had established that the arrested man was a member of Al-Qa'idah. It had done so on the basis of material, arms and weapons that had been seized from his house in Gornja Maoca.

Western intelligence services say that Wahhabis are also present in Cazin, Velika Kladusa, Kozarac, Jablanica and places all over Bosnia-Hercegovina. They are also in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as Macedonia and Albania. This was also indicated recently by the Al-Qa'idah number two, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, who did not hide the fact that the Balkans plays an important role in the international plans of this terrorist network until 2010.

Regardless of all of this, the Bosniak political leadership continues to reject all warnings and says that every attempt to link Bosnia-Hercegovina with international terrorism is just a malicious frame-up by its opponents. Whether the alarming warning from the very top of the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Hercegovina will make a fundamental change in Sarajevo's official stance is a question that is yet to be answered.

[Box] Warnings

At the beginning of this year graduate Islamic theologist Jasmin Merdan and Adnan Mesanovic translated the book "Wahhabism and Salafism" by the distinguished author Hasan Alliance Saqaf. Merdan believes that Wahhabism presents a hidden danger to Bosnia-Hercegovina and is one of the few people to give warnings about the alarming situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The best testament to just how serious his warnings are is the research by the Prism Research agency, which has the information that 3.3 per cent of respondents to a poll in Bosnia-Hercegovina regard themselves as supporters of the Wahhabi movement and practice such an approach to Islam. One in nine of Muslim citizens of Bosnia-Hercegovina supports this movement.

[Box] Leaders

The book "Salafism" also names unofficial leaders of the Wahhabi movement in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Heading the list is Jusuf Barcic, who the authors of the book say is famous mainly for his statement that "traffic lights are not allowed in Islamic countries." Shoulder to shoulder with him is Nasuf Abdelsalamud Busatlic, a member of the Active Islamic Youth, which many people believe to be a purely Wahhabi movement. Also on this list is the former leader of the Active Islamic Youth, Adnan Pezo, who is said to be a persona non grata in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Glas Srpske, Banja Luka, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 15 Dec 06

Copyright 2006 British Broadcasting Corporation
Posted for Fair Use only.