More than 1000 Balkan militants are fighting in Takfiri terrorist groups; they depart without saying goodbye to their families, many of them will never come back home. In the early 1990s, during the great conflicts following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Saudi Arabia started to enter the Balkans from the front door. The whole operation was conducted under the auspices of high committee of Saudi Arabia. Many humanitarian organizations were opened to finance radical groups, many Islamic communities became dependent on Saudi Arabia's money, and many so-called Mujahideen arrived in the Balkans especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina helped by the humanitarian organizations financed by Saudi Arabia. Today some of these Saudi humanitarian organizations are closed, yet the fact still remains that they played a big role in the radicalization of the whole region, and that most of today's Takfiri terrorist militants had trainings at centers financed by Saudi Arabia. They leave beaming with hope for a better life, yet thanks to that hope a big business is thriving, a business that deals with human souls. In Press TV's exclusive documentary "In the Name of Faith," a group of political, military, and religious analysts along with experts in security and terrorism put under scrutiny the underlying reasons for the advent of terrorist extremist groups in the Balkans, who are then sent to fight in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, and analyze a wide range of the processes at play in forming the whole fabric of Takfiri terrorist groups' recruitment.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:03
Narration:More than one thousand Balkan militants are currently fighting in Takfiri terrorist groups. They depart without saying goodbye to their families. Many of them will never come back home. In the early 1990s, during the great conflicts following the dissolution of SFRY, Saudi Arabia started to enter the Balkans from the front door. The whole operation was conducted under the auspices of the High Committee of Saudi Arabia. Many humanitarian organizations were opened to finance radical groups. Many Islamic communities became dependant on Saudi Arabia’s money. Many so-called Mujahideen arrived in the Balkans, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, helped by the humanitarian organizations financed by Saudi Arabia. Today, some of these Saudi humanitarian organizations are closed, yet the fact still remains that they played a big role in the radicalization of the whole region, and that most of today's Takfiri terrorists had training at centers financed by Saudi Arabia.
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Muhamed Jusufspahić, Belgrade Mufti, Serbia: “They are doing those sins and evils in the name of God, but Bismillah means ”By the name of God”, by the name of God I am eating, by the name of God I am living, not in the name of God. Who am I to make something, to do something in the name of God? But by the name of God, it is remembering me, remembering me that I have to serve God, and serving God is not killing his creations.”
Narration:They leave, brimming with hope for a better life. Yet, ،Thanks to that hope, a big business is thriving; a business that deals with human souls.
SOUNDBITE [Albanian], Ahmet Sadriu, Islamic Community Spokesman, Kosovo: “The financial motive for joining the terrorists does exist, because as for some former members who have returned and claim that they had gone for the good payment, interestingly, they have returned disappointed because they didn’t find such a thing.”
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Aida Ćorović, Fmr. Director, Urban IN NGO: “I even believe that whoever sends these young people to the battlefield doesn’t even intend to bring them back here. I think that if they are not killed on the battlefields by the “enemies”, they’ll be killed by the bullet of whoever sent them there. I think that those who send them there, who prepare them for these conflicts, in this case in Syria, but certainly for many future conflicts, do not intend to pay these young people.”
Narration:Kacanik is a small town near the Kosovo-Macedonia border. Today, the town has become the hotbed of Takfiri terrorists in the Balkans. Out of the total population of 30 thousand, 24 are fighting shoulder to shoulder with other terrorists in Syria.
SOUNDBITE [Albanian], Ahmet Sadriu, Islamic Community Spokesman, Kosovo: “Somewhere between 200 up to 230-240 young man from Kosovo are estimated to have participated in that conflict.”
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Aida Ćorović, Fmr. Director, Urban IN NGO: “They are just cannon fodder. And this is a case of mimetic and perfidious trafficking of humans and human lives. Those who return are supposed to continue the mission, disseminate the idea, become some sort of trainers, and train ne young people for military activities on the battlefields. That’s why I don’t believe that anybody returns accidentally. Every one of them has an important task. Both the woman and the man, unfortunately.”
Narration: In early August 2015, Macedonian police arrested ten Macedonian citizens, on suspicion of transporting 130 Macedonians to fight in Syria as takfiri terrorists.
TIME CODE: 05:03_10.05
SOUNDBITE [English], Jabir Deralla, Director of CIVIL, Macedonia:“It’s relatively cheap to buy a soul today on the black market in Macedonia, and to send this soul to extremely horrible places such as the warzones that are in Syria and Iraq and the atrocities that have been committed by ISIS.”
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Muhamed Jusufspahić, Belgrade Mufti, Serbia: “They went for money. It is business. Some agencies you have who are trying to get unemployers in that business. This is the story of business, story of oil business particularly. So, we have to recognize what is the target, what they… they aim to do something for their money, and we are here in Balkans, we are mostly unemployed and they are using that situation by using the mostly essential thing in our hearts: the religion.”
Narration: Money is just one of the reasons. The second one is intense indoctrination; many young people are being brainwashed into fighting in Syria as a religious obligation.
SOUNDBITE [English], Fatos Lubonja, Author & Political Analyst, Albania: “People are much more easily to be manipulated, to be brainwashed. I read just yesterday, I read in the press letter of an Albanian guy who has sent it from some SMS, I don’t remember exactly, to his girlfriend showing that I love you but I love more Dzenett (Jannah), so he went to Syria to fight and it was just love for Dzenet (Jannah) which is… even from the text you find these people are brainwashed somehow, that they will fight there, they go to Dzenet (Jannah) and they will find better life.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Ilir Kulla, Exec. Director, Albanian Diplomatic Academy: “: I don’t think it’s a question of paying of fighters who go in by money, I think it’s more ideological and I’ll give you one of those guys who lost his life and his children and his mother is in that country. He sold his apartment in Tirana and he went by his money, so don’t think is matter of paying.”
Narration: During the rule of the communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, Albania was the only atheist country in the world; a country where religion was forbidden. Now after twenty five years, things have changed. Today, many young Albanians are fighting as Takfiri terrorists. The Albanian public was shocked when the media revealed Albanian citizens had been killed in the Syrian conflict.
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia:“There is many explanations why Albanians become so radical. One of the explanation… Most of the Albanians, they were hard liner communists, so they were poisoned by, let’s say, by left wing ideology of communism and Bolshevik basically. Albania was under the influence of Soviet Union and also our Albanians in Kosovo… You see all the leaders of the Albanians in Kosovo and you ill find out that all of them were members of communist party. So it is, let’s say, from the left, if you are in one angle, if you are left winger and overnight easily you can become right winger, so it’s ideology, both on left and right side, it’s a question, an issue of ideology, it is simple. Their unique goal and target is Greater Albania idea.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Fatos Lubonja, Author & Political Analyst, Albania: “The Albanian nationalism and the Albanian identity has been constructed during the end of 19th century, not on the base of religion because Albanians have been of 3 religions: Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics. But that’s why at that time, those who we call our renaissance men, men of renaissance used this slogan, the religion of the Albanians is Albanity.”
TIME CODE: 10.05_15:25
Narration: The Albanian government passed a law that treats departing and fighting as a Takfiri terrorist as an act of terrorism. The first results were promising. The number of Albanians fighting in Takfiri terrorist groups started to decline.
SOUNDBITE [English], Saimir Tahiri, Albanian Minister of Interior Affairs:“We have changed the criminal code, so now it’s a terrorist act to go fight a war when Albania has not started a war.”
Narration: At this moment, more than 250 Kosovo Albanians are fighting in Takfiri groups. This is a great number compared to Kosovo's current population number. Some of the former UÇK commanders who failed to adapt after the end of NATO's intervention in Kosovo in 1999 are fighting in Syria today.
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “So training camps are everywhere. Wherever they can go, they open, for example in Kosovo, in Bosnia, hunter society and in Bosnia now there is like 20-30 000 hunters, Muslim hunters. What they are hunting? What they are doing in the forest with weapons? Nobody can control.”
Narration: Lavdrim Muhaxheri is the most notorious Kosovo extremist. Before joining Takfiri terrorists, he worked in Bondsteel - the American base in Kosovo, while in 2010 he worked in NATO camps in Afghanistan. The worm of suspicion remains. How was it possible that NATO structures in Kosovo failed to classify him as a grave security threat for such a long time?
SOUNDBITE [English], Jabir Deralla, Director of CIVIL, Macedonia:“And of course, a specific target, very important target for the militants is the security sector and that’s where they try to either seduce, indoctrinate or even threaten individuals who work in that kind of sensitive facilities such as Bondsteel military base in Kosovo and other places in the world. Not every one of them is actually indoctrinated; some of them may have been threatened, blackmailed or just corrupted. They would do anything for any other force.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Aleksandra Bogdani, Journalist, Albania:“Albanian jihadi with Kosovo, Albanians from Kosovo jihadi, and Albanians from Macedonia jihadi, they have been in squads, in Syria for small period of time. All Albanians worked together, they were fighting together, and at least the character I have interviewed said to me this squad was first leaded by Nimet Demoli which was from Macedonia actually, and then the leader was Nadrim Odzeri, known jihadist now because a lot of news has come in Kosovo for him. Sometimes he was killed, he tried to kill some teenager there, just to make a big show.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “Can you imagine that Christians did this to Muslims; there would be World War 3. But now we have situation that Al-Qaeda, ISIL and others, they are doing what they want, and we don’t stop them. I ask openly: until when? When someone will say to them in the face: now is enough?”
Narration: Metodi Hadji Janev was the first commander of the Macedonian military in Iraq. Under his command, no Macedonian commandos were killed on the Iraqi battlefields. Today, Metodi Hadji Janev is a professor at the Faculty of Law in Skopje. However, he still has information on the military organisation and strength of Takfiri terrorist groups.
SOUNDBITE [English], Metodi Hadji-Janev, Macedonian Defense Attache to the US: “Not all of them are trained at the same level. There are people that go over there and they die recklessly, but there are people that are at middle level, they have gained some experience during conflict over there and there are very experienced people inside these groups but still there is no relevant research that will show and I doubt that those people are just religiously motivated over there.”
Narration: The Balkan route used by Balkan extremists on their way to the Middle East goes through Macedonia, a small country crisscrossed by the most important Balkan roads.
SOUNDBITE [English], Jabir Deralla, Director of CIVIL, Macedonia:“Macedonia has always looked like sort of Casablanca and it’s a crossroad for quite a few services, secret or political or security services and so on, and that’s not surprising. What surprises me and shocks me a lot is that the government actually that never had a real strategy or policy.”
TIME CODE: 15:25_20:37
Narration: The Macedonian public is shocked by the fact that so far, 15 Macedonian Albanians have been killed on Takfiri’s mission.
SOUNDBITE [English], Jabir Deralla, Director of CIVIL, Macedonia:“One is too many. Fifteen is already 15 times too many. It is shocking to see how the Macedonian society has grown into such division and such instability so it can give young people a way for real bloody war which is going on right now in the world and especially in the Middle East. Again, one is too many, not to speak about 15.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “Balkan route which start from Croatia all way south to Macedonia is used by jihadists as safe house. Most of the jihadists travelling from the West, they came in our region, they, if necessary, they change their identities because it’s very easy in Bosnia and Macedonia to marry local women and during the marriage procedure you take the surname of the woman, so you change entirely identity and also the safe houses use also for fundraising and helping all others passing through our region, coming to Turkey and from Turkey they go on foot to Syria and other places.”
Narration: In 2012, on Maundy Thursday, three days before the greatest Christian holiday, Easter, five young men were killed near Skopje. The Macedonian police accused the local Wahhabi groups as the perpetrators of the massacre. Six radical terrorists were arrested, charged and sentenced for this act of terror. The arrest, and the outcome of the court procedure triggered big protests in Skopje. They resulted in unrests and clashes between the demonstrators and the Macedonian police. At these violent and radical protests, flags of Saudi Arabia and of Takfiri terrorists were waving.
SOUNDBITE [English], Metodi Hadji-Janev, Macedonian Defense Attache to the US: “Those people understand pretty much these challenges, they offer them help, they connect with them, they talk to them, first they start and they approach them usually by online, or then they go one-on-one, like a mentorship, so they guide them, they lead them, indoctrinate them and they radicalize them. After doing that, they are ready and they are planted bomb inside the society.”
Narration:Fahrudin Radončić served as Minister of Security in the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During his tenure as minister, Bosnia and Herzegovina became the first Balkan country to criminalize fighting for Takfiri terrorist military formations.
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian],Fahrudin Radončić, Fmr. Minister of Security, Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Bosnia and Herzegovina as a responsible partner regarding our security, was the first in the region to pass a law sanctioning fighting in paramilitary and parapolice organisations, which coincided with the departure of some of the people to fight in Syria.”
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Dzevad Galijasević, Expert in Security & Terrorism, Bosnia & Herzegovina: “The security agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina operate on largely imprecise data. Based on the records, around 160 people are fighting in Syria at this moment and 31 have been killed there. However, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the security agencies of Austria, Germany and France have records that 537 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina are involved in the war on Syria, and that around 70 have been killed there.”
Narration: From Bosnia and Herzegovina only 80 Takfiri terrorists are fighting for Daesh. The rest are members of the al-Nusra Front terrorist group. This issue has created deep divisions among Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian],Fahrudin Radončić, Fmr. Minister of Security, Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Bosna and Herzegovina is a characteristic example, and luckily the only example in Europe where the state government helped the arrival of the so-called Mujahedeen. The state government provided them with false papers, passports and identity cards. These so-called Mujahedeen used Bosnia and Herzegovina as a military educational centre and used the military knowledge which they acquired here – and many of them were from Egypt and other counties – to go to al-Qaeda and pass their education to others.”
TIME CODE: 20:37_25:36
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Dzevad Galijasević, Expert in Security & Terrorism, Bosnia & Herzegovina: “The Bosnia and Herzegovina Wahhabi leader, Nusret Imamovic, is in al-Nusra Front. Interestingly, although the Americans have declared that he poses a security threat to the national interests of the USA, no other security measure has been taken against him by any of the Western Security services or by Bosna and Herzegovina.”
Narration: The former Minister of Security, Fahrudin Radonic, blames all the Bosnian administrations for helping several thousand alleged Mujahedins become Bosnian citizens. Some of them are fighting in Syria now.
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian],Fahrudin Radončić, Fmr. Minister of Security, Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Several thousands of individual buildings, houses, and holiday cottages were sold to people with Afro-Asian origin by the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Fatos Lubonja, Author & Political Analyst, Albania: “It’s very necessary to make a distinction between Muslims and Muslim identity, feeling the Muslim identity as part of your identity and living in a secular state and those who are more religious are maybe more Wahhabist or more fundamentalist who, if you don’t make the differention, but you put them together you would propaganda that the Muslim world is a threat, then it becomes a problem in my opinion.”
Narration: Little by little, these processes escalated and started to spiral out of control. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy now to see that it was a well-organized scenario from the very beginning.
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “First Balkan jihadist, his name is Samir Al-Bosnavi, you can imagine Samir Al-Bosnavi, who actually commits suicide attacks in Chechenia 1994. So, that is nonsense. 1994, it was a bloody civil war in Bosnia so instead to fight for their own people, he went for jihad in Chechenia and he died there so for all of us this is something out of mind. Many a lot of youngster, kids, from age of 6 to age of 12, they were present and trained in mujahedeen camps. So, what’s happened to these kids? Where these kids are today? They, they are not kids. They are youngsters; they are 21,22,23 years old. So, where these kids are? In Western Europe, in Syria, in Macedonia, where they are?”
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Dzevad Galijasević, Expert in Security & Terrorism, Bosnia & Herzegovina: “Strange things happen on the field. At one time there was a fierce conflict between Daesh on the one side, and al-Nusra Frond and al-Qaeda on the other side. When one of the detachments whose commander is the influential Wahhabi Bajro Ikanovic from Hadjica was surrounded, it joined on of the units of Daesh. This is a cause of the deep divisions in the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s community. Divisions between al-Qaeda and Daesh. At the same time this generates notable anti-Western sentiment.
Narration: In March 2013, a large scale operation was conducted by the Albanian Ministry of Internal Affairs. It resulted in the arrest of seven high-ranking people, responsible for sending Albanian militants to fight for Takfiri terrorists. In this operation, the most famous Wahhabi leaders in Albania were arrested.
SOUNDBITE [English], Aleksandra Bogdani, Journalist, Albania:“The police made this big operation, Aburrahman Balla and Bujar Hysi, were imams; but they were like the Muslim community; official Muslim community don’t knew them, they were like making preaches in illegalized mosques, because the community didn't had influence in those mosques and we start understanding that there were like two mosques in Tirana and some others, we are talking about five mosques in the whole country, was make this kind of propaganda. So they made open calls for their, let’s say their believers to go there and to fight because they were saying that this is good for Muslim, this is a beauty for Muslim and you should go there and if you are killed for good cause, like jihad is, according to them, then you’ll go to the paradise, things like this.”
TIME CODE: 25:36_31.00
SOUNDBITE [English], Saimir Tahiri, Albanian Minister of Interior Affairs:“After we change the legislation, after we change the criminal code, after we started investigation on the networks which organized and recruit these citizens, and after we organized the larger counter-terrorist unit on the Balkans, within police, now we have zero departures, so zero citizens, Albanian citizens go in Syria.”
Narration: 17 citizens of the Republic of Albania have been killed in Syria so far.
SOUNDBITE [English], Saimir Tahiri, Albanian Minister of Interior Affairs: “The last one was killed because he wanted to leave the war. So he wanted to come back home and he was killed by ISIS. So this is a positive sign that if the first ones were killed in the war, this one was killed by ISIS because he wanted to come back and leave the war.”
Narration: All the Balkan States underwent a painful process of transition after the collapse of Communism. The countries dissolved, the families faced financial problems, and the faith in the religious communities was lost. This created a room for many “messiahs” to brainwash the people.
SOUNDBITE [English], Fatos Lubonja, Author & Political Analyst, Albania: “So I think even the education it’s a big problem and this education of course is linked with the fact that these elites have polarized society. They are sending their kids abroad, in the West to study, they don’t care for the entire population, to have better schools, good schools, even as far ISIS is concerned, I think that… even their religion life needs to be evaluated, to be more for love and more for loving each other and not for fighting each other.”
Narration: At least 26 children from Albania, whose parents fought or died as Takfiri militants, are currently in Syria. There’s a slim chance that these children return to Albania safe and sound. Their fate today is highly uncertain.
SOUNDBITE [English], Aleksandra Bogdani, Journalist, Albania:“The main problem for me is that a lot of children are there. And we don’t know what is happening to them. I said, it is like 26 minors, went there with their families, but their fathers, or some of their fathers are now killed. So just the mother and the children are now in Syria, left totally alone.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Saimir Tahiri, Albanian Minister of Interior Affairs:“We are working with the families, we know the phenomenon of family departure, to go in Syria, so we are working with the family members which are here to make it possible for them to come back, as well as we are working with the partners to identify them and make them come back here.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Aleksandra Bogdani, Journalist, Albania:“It’s difficult to have connection with them because they don’t use phones. They use twitter but they don’t want to talk, they are afraid and as much as I know the children was like putting in some school during the day and go to the mother in the night, but their future is totally unsecured and that’s the problem and nobody can help them.”
Narration: Before the crisis in Syria began, the Balkan media published that some of the Takfiri militants fighting against the legitimate rule of Bashar al-Assad had been trained in Kosovo.The same training camps in Kosovo where in 1998 and 1999 the UÇK militants had trained, have been used for that purpose.
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “Recently we got information from Iraq that several Albanians from Kosovo, that they commit suicide action in Bagdad. So what it means? It is game of figures, it doesn’t matter, 15 from Macedonia, 20 or 100 from Serbia, 20 from Montenegro, it’s a game of figures. Essentially, we are talking about consequence but nobody doesn’t talk about essence. Essence means that there is big engine in Kosovo and in Albania and in Montenegro and in Macedonia and in Serbia as well, which produces today 1,2,3,4 and 20, couple hundred but tomorrow couple thousands and couple hundred thousands of jihadists ready to go and fight and die. But don’t forget our civilization, we do have the most sophisticated weapons, aircraft carriers, rockets, whatever, drone, satellites, but most sophisticated weapons in earth is a human with explosives on himself.”
TIME CODE: 31.00_35.07
Narration: In September 2014, Kosovo police arrested the chief imam of the Great Mosque in Pristina, Shefqet Krasniqi. There was a held suspicion that he was involved in sending Kosovo militants to become Takfiri terrorists.
SOUNDBITE [Albanian], Ahmet Sadriu, Islamic Community Spokesman, Kosovo: “Shefqet Krasniqi is an employee of the Islamic Union; he is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Islamic Studies. He used to be a preacher at the Grand Mosque. But after this case, after his arrest, the Islamic Union has suspended this engagement, but he continues to be a lecturer at the Faculty of Islamic Studies.”
Narration: Unfortunately, many mosques in Sanjak, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, became venues for criminal activities and safe havens for many outlaws.
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Aida Ćorovic, Fmr. Director, Urban IN NGO: “According to my experience and the situation I see in Serbia, crime and the whole business of departures to the conflicts from our territory definitely go hand in hand.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “We need to create a lists of radical men, we need to create list of radical islamist, that they are actually danger for our society, that they are bringing in our society, they bringing war, they are bringing all poisoned idea, they are wide spreading ideology of hate and as I said, it’s really time to say: stop.”
Narration: Tutunsez Mosque is located in the very centre of Old Skopje. In early August 2015, the Imam of this mosque was arrested in Operation Cell on suspicion of being involvement in recruiting, organizing and sending Takfiri terrorists from Macedonia to Syria. The fact that for several years Tutunsez Mosque was out of control of the Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia is very interesting. These were the same problems the Islamic communities in Sanjak, Bosnia and Albania had faced.
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Muamer Zukorlić, Chief Mufti, Islamic Community, Serbia: “We must focus on the question of how we ended up in such a situation. I think the problems started as a result of international, economic and social injustices against Islam and Muslims.”
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Dzevad Galijasević, Expert in Security & Terrorism, Bosna & Herzegovina: “Today there are Wahhabi mosques which are controlled by Saudi Arabia. I’m referring to King Fahad Mosque. These mosques are a source of unparalleled radicalism, and they provide support to the departures to Syria.”
Narration: On 10th of May 2015, a large terrorist and criminal group consisting of Macedonian, Kosovan and Albanian citizens was scattered in Kumanovo - the second largest city in Macedonia. They threatened to start an armed conflict in Macedonia. Ten of the terrorists were killed by Macedonian police, the investigation revealed that several of them had already fight in Syria. The investigation revealed that several of them had already fought in Syria. A few years earlier, Serbian police had conducted a similar operation in Sanjak.
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Shkelzen Maliqi, Counsellor to the Prime Minister, Albania: “This is typical for the post-war situations not only here, but everywhere else. Veterans who fail to adapt in peace, often dream of continuing the war in one way or another.”
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Muamer Zukorlić, Chief Mufti, Islamic Community, Serbia: “It implicates the dissolution of the Islamic Community to smaller segments, allowing small and uncontrolled groups that can recruit as many supporters of their cause as they want. Today, several non-governmental organizations dealing exclusively with religious issues are registered in Sandzak, although this is against the law.”
TIME CODE: 35.07_40.16
SOUNDBITE [English], Jabir Deralla, Director of CIVIL, Macedonia:“First of all, the Balkan countries, the Balkan states, didn’t really work in the area of prevention. Balkan governments are known for trying to face consequences rather than to prevent unwanted or horrific events and they can easily do that, but they simply don’t. The political culture is such that the corruptive practices in politics are such that brought these societies to the brinks of such crisis as we witness nowadays. I believe it will even get worse. There 5-10 years imprisonment for those who return from the war fields and is not proper measure. We have seen that in the Balkan, after the Balkan Wars, the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration process didn’t really go so well. The DDR, the process, would usually do until the second D but never got to the R, to the reintegration.”
Narration: The regular Islamic communities face serious challenges. In May 2015, the disgruntled Imams took over the control of the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia using the threat of arms. The same unrest had happened in Serbia. It is not easy to tell what is behind that: crime, secrete services, brainwashing or misuse of faith.
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Aida Ćorović, Fmr. Director, Urban IN NGO: “Muslims are not the only target group. In the case of Serbia, there is a number of young Serbs, who are allegedly converts but just take a Muslim name, go to mosques, … However, this is just a front for some grave criminal activities, and if you take a closer look at their biographies and contact the security structures, you’ll find out that every single one of them has a serious criminal record. By following the movement of these people you can practically follow the movement of major drugs and weapons as well as human trafficking.”
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Muamer Zukorlić, Chief Mufti, Islamic Community, Serbia: “The fact that people are forming illegal religious communities in basements shows that things have spun out of control. Nobody controls whether these illegal religious communities are training people to become dervishes or recruiting them to fight in Syria and Afganistan. These are the consequences of breaking up the Islamic Community in Sandzak in 2007.“
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Muhamed Jusufspahić, Belgrade Mufti, Serbia: “They are disconnecting, they don’t have a book, they don’t have any religion, they have just to make people disconnected from God and to make some money doing that mainly job; mainly job is to disconnect us from God and to have some money. They are doing that. This is the mission of them.”
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Aida Ćorović, Fmr. Director, Urban IN NGO: “This is really a serious crime which I assume brings in huge profits. And I think that behind the crises in Syria and Iraq there is nothing but serious international criminal groups.”
SOUNDBITE [Serbian], Muamer Zukorlić, Chief Mufti, Islamic Community, Serbia: “I tried to warn about this, As far as I know, this is Pakistani-Afghan syndrome. In Pakistan and Afghanistan there is no unified Islamic Community, but there is a complete freedom in organizing small Islamic Communities. This is why we have different groups, schools, and sects popping up in different basements, and doing whatever they want. Once they finish training a group of people, they become walking bombs.”
Narration: At 2015, UN General Assembly, the president of the USA, Barak Obama, referred to the Balkans region as a possible hotbed for the formation of the so-called Islamic Caliphate in Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most important segment of that project.
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian],Fahrudin Radonćić , Fmr. Minister of Security, Bosnia and Herzegovina: “This so-called caliphate is not a minor security issue. The fact that it was discussed by both the US President and Secretary of State, is the best example that it’s a question of global ambitions whether Daesh become a global great power or not. In line with this diagnosis, I think that the responsibility if solving Daesh problem lies in the hands of the greatest military forces in the world. They have provided it with time for territorial positioning, so they have greatest responsibility for its territorial annihilation, thus allowing the planet Earth to live in peace.”
TIME CODE: 40.16_45.01
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Dzevad Galijasević, Expert in Security & Terrorism, Bosna & Herzegovina: “Ammunition experts said that the weapons used in Charlie Hebdo attack established that it had designation IK-85. There were coded IK-85 or IK-75. This means that they were produced by Igman Konjic in 1985 or 1975.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Metodi Hadji-Janev, Macedonian Defense Attache to the US: “The Un repost, the official report stated Bosnia as the second country in the world that has connections with Al-Qaeda. Five groups, humanitarian organizations from Bosnia were recognized in the UN, official report.”
Narration: Many experts agree that for a long time Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a safe haven for many of the world terrorists where they have had their own training camps. Moreover El Mudžahid, has been used as a base for the recruitment of many of today's leaders among the Takfiri terrorists and the al-Nusra Front.
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Dzevad Galijasević, Expert in Security & Terrorism, Bosnia & Herzegovina: “if you consider the period from 1990 to 2001 and the attack in the USA, you’ll see that the strongest terrorist infrastructure, its command and its logistical and political support were in fact in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The detachment that we call El Mudzahid (the Bosnian Mujahideen) was used as breeding ground in the formation of al-Nustra Front, which today is commanded by Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani on behalf of al-Qaeda, Daesh, and other extremist terrorist groups mainly led by Abu Bekr al-Baghdadi. Each of them originates from that detachment.”
Narration: Wahhabism spreads across the Balkans like a spider web. It is slowly starting to infuse anti-western sentiments among Muslim believers. The petrodollars coming from Saudi Arabia play a key factor in this regard.
SOUNDBITE [English], Aleksandra Bogdani, Journalist, Albania:“These charity foundations came into the country, a lot of them as resulted later had links with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations but they start paying money for poors and they start giving scholarship for their children to go to the Arabian countries and to study there. They were like, they had more influence in the poor areas like Bulqize, is in the north of the city, Dragosunja is small town in Liebrecht, Liebrecht is between Elbasan and Podgradec. We have some other groups here in the suburb of Tirana, so these cells, these cells remain like this, like sleeping cells for a lot of years and it resulted to me that from these cells are most of the part of persons went ot Syria.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia:“The Wahabi radical Islam become fashion and passion among the youth and among our youth. The centers of radicalizations are not in South East Europe. I will mention just one. One of the biggest centre of Wahabi, of Balkan Wahabi is in Vienna, in Austria, so Austrian officers and governments tolerate them.”
Narration: With a new generation of Balkan Muslim clerics increasingly being educated in places such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and hundreds of millions of dollars being invested by Middle Eastern donors to build Islamic schools and madrassas in the Balkans, the distinction between the more moderate form of Islam traditionally practiced in southeastern Europe and the more extreme and violent forms practiced further to the east is becoming less apparent.
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Dzevad Galijasević, Expert in Security & Terrorism, Bosnia & Herzegovina: “They have a strong financial support of Qatar, which is considered as the sword of Wahhabism. They also have strong media, intelligence and propaganda support. Qatar and Turkey are in fact the strongest supporters of Daesh, while Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates support al-Qaeda.”
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SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “It’s a main issue, actually who is giving money for that and why Macedonia as a state or Serbia or Montenegro, whatever why we don’t take any measure to stop this, because with no money, no terrorism. We allowed Saudi government and Saudi NGO to build up mosque on our territory and Saudi Arabia does not allowed any Christians to build up any Christian monument, any Christian building on the soil of Saudi Arabia. So it our fault. Why we allowed them? It’s fault of our secret services and our state not recognize that these guys, these organizations are threat and from the moment they recognize this as the threat, they are obliged to undertake some kind of the measure and countermeasure.”
Narration: Even the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina which lasted from 1992 to 1995 didn’t receive great support from the Muslim population of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. Just as the war in Kosovo in 1999 did not have the support of Bosnian Muslims. The mass departure of Muslim population from these countries to fight in Syria demonstrates that this is a case of a well-organized network with a lot of money at its disposal. The Islamic communities in the region are afraid to express public condemnation of these pseudo-religious communities that send young Muslims from the Balkans to fight or get killed in the Middle East.
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “What can we do in that sense? How we can confront, how can we actually stop this? It is not easy and it’s not nice that you understand on morning when you wake up that son of your first neighbor went to Syria or Iraq and died there and most importantly, what will happen if all these guys, these terrorists with their actually brainwashed minds, what will happen if they come back? What we can do as society? They did not do any crimes. Now recently our government actually brought the law, which ban all those that are leaving to fight in Syria and elsewhere, but how can we know that someone was in Syria? Only if the guy put on their facebook some kind of photos that he was there. What about numbers and numbers of the people that we don’t know. They were there, they was highly trained, highly motivate and they come back to our society as instructors. So what we can expect in the future? What Western Europe can expect in the future? But the problem is, the Western Europe don’t have solution.”
Narration: The current situation in Syria has fueled the fear that most of the Tafriki terrorists shall return to their homecountries.
SOUNDBITE [Bosnian], Fahrudin Radonćić, Fmr. Minister of Security, Bosna and Herzegovina: When these people one day return from Syria, they will impose a grave threat to the security here. They can always use their knowledge and radical connections to inflict destruction both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Europe.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Jabir Deralla, Director of CIVIL, Macedonia:“Even if they come back willingly, boundarilly, serve a prison sentence of 5-10 years, what after that? What do we expect from those individuals? So called Rambo syndrome for the rest of their lives? A contamination of neighborhoods and micro environment where they live and work after that?”
SOUNDBITE [English], Saimir Tahiri, Albanian Minister of Interior Affairs:“Even if Albania or the other countries in the region have no domestic threats by terrorism, as we are able to export 40 fighters, that they, they will come back as a threat here, maybe it’s not too far.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Darko Trifunović, Expert in Security and Terrorism, Serbia: “Furthermore, we have now ISIL in Syria, in Iraq, everyday they are posting some messages, they are posting some maps and in centre of those maps are actually European caliphate is Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and many others, Bosnia and many other countries from this region. What this message means to us? Whether we need to accept this message very seriously? I say yes, because we have very wide terrorist structure in the Balkan, we have these maps that these guys are posting in ISIL websites etc., so they openly telling us , we going to come to you, we going to conquer you.”
Narration: Today, all Balkan countries fear what will happen in the region when Takfiri terrorists start to come back to their homes. Is the Balkans sitting on a powder keg which is only a spark away from explosion? Will reason overcome uncertainty? Will the weapon lose its battle against the religion?