A special Belgrade prosecutor for terrorism and organised crime on Tuesday ordered an investigation of five members of the fundamentalist Islamic Wahabi movement suspected of planning terrorist acts.
Only ten days ago the prosecutors indicted another 15 members of the Wahabi movement who they said were also suspected of planning terrorist acts “with the same goal and in the same part of Serbian territory.”
These events are the unintended consequences of inviting foreign Muslims in during the civil war:
Wahabis first appeared in the Balkans during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 civil war when thousands of mujahideen fighters from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims.
Visibly identifiable by their beards and ankle-length trousers many have remained in the country since the war, and according to foreign intelligence sources have been indoctrinating local youths and even operating terrorist training camps.
Earlier this year, police arrested seven suspected militants in southern Serbia and uncovered a radical Islamist training camp and weapons cache.
So now they’re stuck with these yahoos who have long worn out their welcome, even as they recruit the younger generation. But evidently the authorities are serious and native Muslims are apprehensive about having terrorists mucking about with serious weapons in hand:
As part of a crackdown on radical Islamists, Serbian police in March raided a Wahabi training camp in a mountain near Novi Pazar, in Serbia’s southern Sandjak region, populated predominantly by Muslims. Militants at the camp were planning an attack on local Muslims, according to Serbian security officials.
Police arrested four suspected Islamist militants during the raid, carried out on 17 March, and a further two on 19 March. They also discovered an underground arsenal of weapons at the secluded camp, including rocket-propelled grenades, 10 kilogrammes of plastic explosives and automatic assault rifles.
An earlier report on these events says the problem has been brewing for some time:
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[This is a] simmering conflict between the majority of local Sunni Muslims represented by the Islamic Community and the new followers of the Wahhabi movement. The Islamic Community’s clergy and faithful have repeatedly complained of harassment by the increasing number of the Wahhabi followers, whom they say want to impose their belief as the only true one.
Shortly after the arrests, Serbia’s interior minister, Dragan Jocic, described the men as enemies of the official Islamic Community and said the police action demonstrated the government’s determination to crush all forms of violence and terrorism.
In February 2006, Sandzak Wahhabis also staged a protest over publication by Western press of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.
The Saudi-based movement claims to restore a pure and original form of Islam. This puts it at odds with the traditional Sunni version of the faith practiced in Sandzak, and with Sandzak’s Mufti. The Wahhabi movement is active in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo.
This may be a case of the moderate Muslim - at least moderate by Islamic standards - standing up to the butchers. It’s for sure they don’t want these Mujahideen hanging around, and they are willing to haul them into court and prosecute them. Perhaps when the prosecution ends and sentencing begins, deportation will soon follow - at least for the outsiders.
The question remains, however, if the Serbs will be able to get their boys and men back to some semblance of normalcy. That’s a world-wide problem for Islam. That, and their tendency to destroy the dhimmis among them.
I’m still not convinced there is truly a moderate form of Islam. The concept of dhimmis and the jizya tax they must fork over to their Muslim betters puts paid to the idea of liberty and tolerance, at least in Western terms.
Nor do I know what the tipping point in any society is when it comes to the number of Muslims in their midst. So far, we haven’t had examples of live-and-let-live in Muslim countries. How can they be tolerant when religious practice and political behavior are so intertwined? The rest of the world solved that one some centuries ago, but Islam can't seem to reformulate the issue in a way that leads to anything approaching tolerance. In individuals, such behavior has its roots in a deep sense of inferiority. Perhaps this is the case for cultures, too.
Nonetheless it is encouraging to see the Serbs standing up to the Mujahideen. Perhaps the experience will lead to a new perspective.