Imam Halilovic Calls For Jihad Against The Serbs

Sep 8, 2015

SARAJEVO – Nezim Halilovic, the imam of the mosque of King Fahd in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in his last sermon, a religious lecture, called Allah to destroy the Republika Srpska, or as he called it, “an entity built on crime and genocide”, writes Serbian daily “Novosti”.

In the above-mentioned mosque, access is restricted to the media and police, and information from sermons leak to the public when they who attend it begin bragging about what imam Halilovic said. Although so far he had tens of mesages which spread religious and national hatred, call for war and the destruction of the Republika Srpska, he has never been sanctioned.

Since the mosque is located in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is in jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry of BiH (MIA), but this institution says that they haven’t received complaints against Halilovic and have not conducted an investigation against him. In addition to MIA of BiH, security agency SIPA is also silent to the radical statements made by imam Halilovic.

Gojko Vasic, director of the police of the Republika Srpska, said for “Novosti” that ignoring Halilovic’s radical statements clearly shows how the security institutions of the Federation of BiH and SIPA are ready to fight terrorism.

“MIA of the Federation of BiH allows hate speeches, calls for war and terrorist actions on its territory, and we are talking about the fight against terrorism in BiH. Halilovic is the best example. He is a problem to the security in the Federation of BiH, and it is up to them to solve it,” said Vasic.

He added that the RS police will do everything it can to protect the citizens of the Republika Srpska, but that the problem of Halilovic and his public statements must be solved by MIA of BiH, Novosti reports.

Nazim Halilovic’s actions are not accidental, said for “Novosti” Dzevad Galijasevic, an expert in the fight against terrorism.

According to him, Halilovic publicly calls for opening Wahhabi fronts in the Republika Srpska and military action, and for now security agencies are silent.

“Do we need to have a terrorist attack happening in the Republika Srpska, to have someone react to his radical calls? Halilovic is the extended arm of Saudi Arabia in BiH, but also in the region. Wahhabi centers in the world want to have major incidents in the Republika Srpska and BiH and a “Bosnian spring”, or better said the Islamic or Wahhabi. Halilovic’s actions and his calls for war, revenge and extermination of Serbs are a part of a planned chaos in the region by radical Islamic ideology led by the Islamic state,” said Galijasevic.

According to him, Halilovic’s messages are part of Saudi Wahhabism which is the most dangerous in the world, but regardless of the fact that he has been acting in BiH almost a decade, he has still not been sanctioned for his radical views.

“How is it possible that none of the security agencies on the state level in BiH are brave enough to enter the mosque of King Fahd in Sarajevo? Everyone in the country know that the Wahhabis meet there and spread radical views, but there is no reaction. Sad to say so, but how many terrorist attacks will be required to happen in BiH to actually do something and prohibit the operation of such radical people and close objects where terrorism is supported?,” said Galijasevic.

Halilovic called the “consecrated individuals led with Allah’s hand to execute his wishes and commands”.

Before the commemoration on July 11 in Potocari, when the Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic was attacked, he held a sermon in which he called Allah’s curse on “the criminals and their accomplices, the lobbysts against the resolution on Srebrenica”.

ISIS stronghold discovered in picturesque European village where everyone is 'ready to respond to the summons to jihad'

•    ISIS has established a stronghold in an isolated village in mainland Europe
•    Land in Osve, Bosnia-Hercegovina, is being bought by fighters, it's claimed
•    Discovery made after Gornja Maoca, where ISIS flags are flown, was raided

PUBLISHED: 08:44 EST, 19 July 2015

Islamic State militants have established a stronghold in a picturesque village in mainland Europe where everyone is 'ready to respond to the summons to jihad (holy war)', it has been revealed.

Land in Osve, Bosnia-Hercegovina, is being bought by ISIS fighters and security services believe the area is used to train terrorists.

The discovery comes after the mountain village of Gornja Maoca in the country, where residents fly the notorious ISIS flag, was raided by police.

According to Patrick Hill and Ed Wight at the Sunday Mirror, at least 12 jihadis trained in Osve and travelled to Syria in recent months. Five have reportedly been killed.

A number of high-profile terrorists are said to have bought land and properties in the area.

Terrorism expert Dzevad Galijasevic told the Sunday Mirror that a large number of people are going to Syria from the village, which he describes as the source of a major terror threat.

'There is no one there who isn’t ready to respond to the summons to jihad,' he added.

However, radical Muslims are a minority in Bosnia, which has a mostly moderate and secular Muslim population.

However some youngsters have embraced the ideas of the puritanical Sunni Wahhabi sect.

In April, Bosnia introduced jail terms of up to 10 years for citizens who fight or recruit fighters for conflicts abroad.

In September, Bosnian police detained 16 people on charges of financing terrorist activities, recruiting and fighting for radical groups in Syria and Iraq, authorities said.

The arrests were made in 17 raids across the Balkan country. Television footage showed police making arrests in Gornja Maoca.

Militant Islam was all but unknown to Bosnia's mostly secular Muslim population until the 1990s Balkans wars when Arab mercenaries turned up to help the outgunned Bosnian Muslims fend off Serb attacks.

These fighters, many of whom settled in Bosnia, embraced a radical version of Islam that Bosnia's official Islamic community opposes.

Once magnet for foreign mujahedeen', Bosnia now exports them

By Rusmir Smajilhodzic
Apr 29, 2015

A magnet for foreign jihadists during its 1990s war, Bosnia is now grappling with the threat from home-grown extremists wooed by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

While most Bosnian Muslims are moderates, a few thousand have adopted the ultraconservative Salafist brand of Sunni Islam introduced by the fighters who flocked to Bosnia from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia during the 1992-1995 conflict between Serbs, Muslims and Croats.

Most of those foreign fighters, or "mujahedeen", left Bosnia when the war ended.

But the seed had already been sown. Twenty years on, the radical preachers giving fiery sermons in "mesdzids", or improvised prayer halls, are no longer foreigners.

Those taking up arms are also local men.

On Monday, a gunman shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic) opened fire on a police station in the eastern town of Zvornik, killing one officer and wounding two others before being killed in a shootout.

The assailant, identified as 24-year-old Nerdin Ibric from a village near the northeastern town of Zvornik, was suspected of links to radical Islamist groups.

Another man, said to have travelled to Syria, was arrested Tuesday over the attack.

Suspected Islamist extremists had made their presence felt before in the Balkan country.

In October 2011, a gunman opened fire on the US embassy in Sarajevo, wounding a policeman before being injured himself and arrested.

In June of the previous year, a man set off an explosive device at a police station in the central town of Bugojno, killing one officer and wounding six others in what the government called a "terrorist act".

- Prayer room recruitment -

Would-be jihadists are suspected of being recruited by radical preachers, operating through a network of informal prayer rooms.

"There is no doubt that the recruitment process is possible due to the existence of a network of such places of worship," Esad Hecimovic, a local journalist who has reported extensively on the subject told AFP.

Hardliners, whose numbers are estimated by the authorities at around 3,000 followers, represent just a fraction of Bosnian Muslims, who make up around 40 per cent of the population of 3.8 million.

But their ranks are suspecting of supplying scores of fighters to the wars in the Middle East.

- 'Terrorism spreading' -

Reacting to the attack on the police station in Zvornik Security Minister Dragan Mektic warned terrorism had become "a serious problem".

"We need to use all our capacity to stop this terrorism that has been spreading in Bosnia," he said.

"Either we defeat terrorism or it will defeat us."
Some 150 Bosnians are believed to have joined jihadists groups in Iraq and Syria, while some 50 others have already been and returned from the battlefield, according to the intelligence services.

Two men arrested at Sarajevo airport in February were charged with attempting to join the Islamic State group, which has sown terror throughout the Middle East and North Africa and executed several Western hostages.

"Those who return to the country are very dangerous. They are of course under surveillance but the danger is that they start to recruit others," said Jasmin Ahic, a professor at the Sarajevo University Faculty of Criminology.

- Stiff sentences -

To prevent their departure, parliament last year introduced sentences of up to 20 years in prison for jihadists and their recruiters.

In January, a radical imam in the northwestern town of Buzim was the first person to go on trial accused of recruiting people for jihad.

Husein Bosnic, a former member of a mujahedeen unit in Bosnia's war, replaced Nusret Imamovic as leader of the country's Salafists after Imamovic left for Syria in late 2013, according to intelligence sources and the US State Department.

Imamovic, who is named on a US State Department terrorist list, is believed to be the third-in-command of Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

Testifying at Bosnic's trial in Sarajevo, the relatives of several youths who travelled to Syria or Iraq, some of whom have died in fighting, said their kin attended his sermons.

The prosecution accused the cleric of receiving "significant" funding from unnamed backers in Arab states.

Bosnia's Balkans neighbours Albania, Serbia and Kosovo have also swooped on jihadist networks in recent weeks.

Fifteen men went on trial in Serbia and Albania in March accused of recruiting and financing volunteers for the war in Syria.

"For the first time in the region, people who call on others, in a very sophisticated way, to go to foreign battlefields and commit crimes, are being tried," Ahic said.

"What will come out of these trials has yet to be seen."

Fears of New Ethnic Conflict in Bosnia


The New York Times

Published: December 13, 2008

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Thirteen years after the United States brokered the Dayton peace agreement to end the ferocious ethnic war in the former Yugoslavia, fears are mounting that Bosnia, poor and divided, is again teetering toward crisis.Skip to next paragraph

On the surface, this haunted capital, its ancient mosques and Orthodox churches still pocked by mortar fire, appears to be enjoying a renaissance. Young professionals throng to stylish cafes and gleaming new shopping malls while the muezzin heralds the morning prayer. The ghosts of Srebrenica linger — recalling the worst massacre in Europe since World War II — but Sarajevans prefer to talk about President-elect Barack Obama or the global financial crisis.

Yet for the first time in years, talk of the prospect of another war is creeping into conversations across the ethnic divide in Bosnia, a former Yugoslav republic that the Dayton agreement divided into two entities, a Muslim-Croat Federation and a Serbian Republic.

The power-sharing agreement between former foes has always been tense. Now, however, the uneasy peace has been complicated by Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February, which many here worry could prompt the Serbian Republic to follow suit, tipping the region into a conflict that could fast turn deadly.

“It’s time to pay attention to Bosnia again, if we don’t want things to get nasty very quickly,” Richard C. Holbrooke, the Clinton administration official who brokered the Dayton accord, and Paddy Ashdown, formerly the West’s top diplomat in Bosnia, warned recently in an open letter published in several newspapers. “By now, the entire world knows the price of that.”

The peace agreement, negotiated at a United States Air Force base near Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995, accomplished its goal of ending a savage three-and-a-half-year war in which about 100,000 people were killed, a majority of them Muslims. A million more Muslims, Serbs and Croats were driven from their homes, while much of this rugged country’s infrastructure was destroyed.

But the decentralized political system that Dayton engineered has entrenched rather than healed ethnic divisions. Even in communities where Serbs, Muslims and Croats live side by side, some opt to send their children to the same schools, but in different shifts.

And the country’s leaders are so busy fighting one another that they are impeding Bosnia from progressing. Locked in an impasse of mutual recrimination are Haris Silajdzic — the Muslim in the country’s three-member presidency, who has called for the Serbian Republic to be abolished — and the Bosnian Serb prime minister, Milorad Dodik, who is supported by Russia and Serbia and who has dangled the threat that his republic could secede.

Bosnia, which has received more than $18 billion in foreign aid since 1995, remains a ward of the West, its security guaranteed by 2,000 European Union peacekeepers.

Sketching a worst-case example, Srecko Latal, a Bosnia specialist at the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Sarajevo, warned that if the Serbian Republic declared independence, Croatia would respond by sending in troops, while the Bosnian Muslims would take up arms. If Banja Luka, the capital of the Serbian Republic, were to fall, he continued, Serbia would be provoked into entering the fray, leading to the prospect of a regional war.

“For the first time in years, people are talking about war,” Mr. Latal said. “They are tired of it, and they don’t want it. But it is not beyond the realm of possibility.”

Leaders across Bosnia expressed hope that Mr. Obama would be more engaged in Bosnia than President Bush has been, while emphasizing that the president-elect’s multicultural background made him ideally suited to mediate here.

And although Bosnia was featured in a painful campaign gaffe for the probable new secretary of state, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — who stepped back from a claim that she had ducked sniper fire during a visit here as first lady — many here are optimistic that she will have a vested interest in salvaging Dayton as part of President Bill Clinton’s legacy.

Bosnia’s prospects for stability, analysts say, would also be helped if it joined the European Union, the world’s biggest trading bloc. But progress has not been encouraging. In a damning report assessing Bosnia’s readiness to join the bloc, the European Commission, the group’s executive body, warned in November that “inflammatory rhetoric has adversely affected the functioning of institutions and slowed down reform” while corruption and organized crime were significant.

The world is so concerned about Bosnia’s stability that the United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of its senior envoy to Bosnia, who was supposed to leave this year, until June. Still, Miroslav Lajcak, the envoy, said in an interview that while the situation is critical, it was a sign of Bosnia’s progress that politics now trumped security as the biggest challenge.

“The political situation is difficult, volatile and unstable, but it is not undermining security,” he said. “Violence can’t be ruled out, but I don’t see the prospect of another war.”

For the country to progress, leaders on all sides say, the structure established by the Dayton accord must be overhauled. The country’s two entities have their own Parliaments, and there are 10 regional authorities, each with its own police force and education, health and judicial authorities.

The result is a byzantine system of government directed by 160 ministers, a structure that absorbs 50 percent of Bosnia’s gross domestic product of $15 billion, according to the World Bank.

While untangling that bureaucracy would be difficult, persuading the country’s leaders to put aside their fundamental differences might be harder.

In October 2007, the country experienced one of its worst political crises when Bosnian Serbs protested a new voting system aimed at preventing politicians from blocking major reform efforts by simply not showing up at meetings.

Fearing that it could be outvoted by other ethnic groups under the new rules, the Serbian Republic condemned the measures and Mr. Dodik threatened to withdraw his party’s representatives from all Bosnian institutions. The crisis finally ended after some concessions were made to the Bosnian Serbs, and the European Union rewarded the country by initialing an agreement cementing Bosnia’s ties with the bloc. Skip to next paragraph

Mr. Silajdzic, who as Bosnia’s wartime foreign minister was at Dayton, argued in an interview that the institutional structure created there had served to legitimize the genocidal policy of the Serbs during the war. He urged the world to help write a new Constitution that would create a unified state based on economic regions, effectively consigning the Serbian Republic to the dustbin.

“The problem with Dayton is that it created an ethnocracy rather than a democracy and has become an umbrella under which Slobodan Milosevic’s project of ethnic cleansing is hidden,” he said, referring to the former Serbian president. “If the situation is allowed to continue, the message this sends the world is, ‘Kill thy neighbor and get away with it.’ ”

For Mr. Dodik, the prime minister, such talk just proves that Bosnia’s Muslim leadership is intent on domination.

“If Silajdzic doesn’t like Dayton, then why did he sign it?” he asked.

Mr. Dodik, a charismatic former basketball player with a large power base in the Serbian Republic, was once a Western darling for his wartime and postwar opposition to Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb nationalist leader now on trial in The Hague on war crime charges. But many Western diplomats say he has since adopted Mr. Karadzic’s nationalist language and they blame him for impeding Bosnia’s progress.

Mr. Dodik recently further inflamed tensions by filing criminal charges against a senior United States envoy and foreign prosecutors in Bosnia, accusing them of plotting against his government after they opened a corruption investigation into the Serbian Republic’s infrastructure deals, including one for $146 million government building in Banja Luka.

“We are tired of being treated like a banana republic,” Mr. Dodik said.

Guessing whether he will tear the country apart has become a favorite parlor game in Bosnia in recent months. In the past, he has said that a referendum for independence could be a fair way to settle the Serbian Republic’s status.

But in a recent interview, he said that secession was not on his agenda.

“I have said many times that my aim is not secession and we have not taken a single step toward that,” Mr. Dodik said. “What has been said is a fabrication.”

Most Serbian analysts agree that secession would be tantamount to political suicide for the prime minister. Beyond the obvious threat of provoking a war, aligning the Serbian Republic with Serbia would diminish Mr. Dodik’s power and lead to further isolation internationally.

In the former Yugoslavia, the lives of Serbs, Croats and Muslims were closely entwined for 45 years, with intermarriage not uncommon in larger cities like Sarajevo. But Mr. Dodik said the dissolution of the old state and the war that followed had destroyed whatever optimism he once had about different ethnic groups collectively deciding one another’s fates.

“Bosnia is a divided country,” he said. “There is not a single event or holiday, except for New Year’s or the First of May, that we celebrate together. I have lost all of my illusions.”


Clashes mar Bosnia's first gay festival


SARAJEVO (AFP) — Dozens of homophobic hooligans attacked participants of Bosnia's first-ever gay rights festival in Sarajevo on Wednesday, leaving at least eight people injured, said police.

The scuffle broke out at the end of the opening ceremony of the four-day festival in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in downtown Sarajevo.

"When I was getting out of the academy, I was suddenly struck in the back," Pedja Kojovic, a local journalist, told AFP. "Three other people then came running and beat me up."

Emir Imamovic, a journalist who tried to help Kojovic, was severely beaten, police said. Another journalist was also injured.

A heavy police deployment prevented more violence from spoiling the event, with a security cordon keeping protestors shouting "kill the gays" and "Allahu Akbar" (a Muslim expression meaning God is Great) at bay.

A police officer on the scene said groups of anti-gay protestors had spread to nearby streets and were attacking people. A police officer was struck in the head during the clashes.

About 50 people participated in the opening day of the festival, which had already prompted fears of violence, with homophobia overriding usual divisions among the country's wartime foes -- Muslims, Serbs and Croats.

The country's Muslim majority is particularly upset about the festival because it opened during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Many, including members of various ethnic political parties, have declared homosexuality an illness and labelled the behaviour deviant.


Jihadists Find Convenient Base in Bosnia

Terrorists who previously targeted the U.S. are now in Bosnia, where they have access to a "one-stop shop" of jihad training camps, weapons and illegal Islamic 'charities' -- all at the doorstep of Europe, terrorism experts said.

"[Convicted terrorist] Karim Said Atmani recently returned to Bosnia after being released early from French prison for 'good behavior,'" terrorism expert and author Evan Kohlmann said.

Atmani, a Moroccan, was linked to the "millennium bomb plot" and convicted by a French court of colluding with Osama bin Laden. He has been linked to the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an organization responsible for airplane hijackings and subway bombings in France.

"This is very disturbing," said Kohlmann. "Atmani promised he would wage jihad until the end. That doesn't mean until a plea deal, or early release; it means until death or victory."

Also finding haven in Bosnia is Abu el Maali, who like Atmani, was a foreign national who fought in the Bosnia war. El Maali was later accused by French authorities of attempting to smuggle explosives in 1998 to an Egyptian terrorist group plotting to destroy U.S. military installations in Germany. He was also accused of leading terrorist cells in Bosnia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"This activity is very significant," said Kohlmann. "Senior members of the former Muslim Brigade and their top commanders are still there, and they're still active."

The Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHF), a charity that was later found by the U.S. Treasury to be underwriting terrorist operations including al Qaeda, shut its offices in Bosnia after the U.S. announcement but reopened under the name "Vazir." The new organization was registered as an "association for sport, culture and education."

In 2002, the U.S. Treasury Department reported that the Bosnia office of Al-Haramain was linked to Al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, an Egyptian terrorist group that was a signatory to bin Laden's Feb. 23, 1998, fatwa -- or religious edict -- against the United States.

Cybercast News Service viewed videotape shot by Kohlmann of activity at the former Sarajevo offices of Al-Haramain. "All they did was white-out the old sign," said Kohlmann.

Cybercast News Service has also obtained a video that terrorism analysts say depicts an active jihad training camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a region previously described by analysts as an ideal gateway for terror missions into Europe.

The video, which is over four minutes in length, shows outdoor maneuvers, explosives training and training inside what appears to be a school gym. Exercises in hostage-taking are also shown.

Cybercast News Service obtained the footage from Gregory R. Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association. The footage, said to have been shot before autumn 2004, was first aired in May 2005 before an audience of senior military officials during the Strategy 2005: The Global Strategic Forum held in Washington, D.C.

The presence of active jihadist camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina was also confirmed by attorney and counter-terrorism expert Darko Trifunovic, who previously served as a diplomat in the foreign service of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kohlmann said that the main camps used during the war have been closed, and a different tactic for jihad training has emerged: disguising them as youth camps. "These days, usually the kind of jihad camp you'll see in Bosnia and other countries are so-called 'youth camps.'" They are usually led by a former member of the mujahadeen, someone with military experience, and perhaps a fundamentalist cleric, said Kohlmann.

"They take young people into the hills or even a national park and conduct makeshift jihad training. As ridiculous as it sounds, they've found it's very difficult to track this sort of thing."

Christopher Brown, research associate with the Transitions to Democracy Project at the Hudson Institute, echoed the report. "A lot of these camps are very mobile," he said. "Bosnia has a lot of rugged territory where such camps can be set up temporarily."

The idea that there are no jihadist camps in Bosnia and radical Islam has not gained any foothold there, as some analysts suggest, is "ridiculous," according to Brown. He points to the raising of two Waffen-SS divisions under the encouragement of the mufti of Jerusalem during World War II, up to the spread of Wahhabism by the Saudis beginning in the 1960s and 1970s.

"Al Qaeda cells were set up in Bosnia in the early 1990s by Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, and bin Laden was said to visit the area twice in the mid-1990s," Brown added. "Iran was very involved in supporting the Islamist separatist movement in Bosnia, and Hezbollah was doing training there in the 1990s."

Training also takes place inside youth centers and school gyms, according to Trifunovic.

The goal is a network of like-minded cells as opposed to having the sort of permanent camp that would fuel an active frontline, said Kohlmann. "It's not that surprising. This sort of thing goes on in the U.S. as well," he said.

"Only a very small minority of Bosnians are attracted to this," said Kohlmann. "This is primarily a foreign phenomenon -- mostly consisting of Syrians, Egyptians and Algerians."

From the time of the Bosnian war, local Muslims experienced friction with the foreign jihadists and opposed the idea of an Islamic state, as well as condemned their atrocities, said Kohlmann. That friction continues.

Marko Attila Hoare, research fellow at the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, cautions against arriving at broad conclusions based on the reports of jihad camps. "The evidence suggests that talk of 'active jihadist camps' in Bosnia has been greatly exaggerated," he said.

"Over 10 years since several thousand Islamic radicals fought in the Bosnian war of the 1990s, Bosnia -- unlike New York, Madrid and London -- has yet to experience a single Islamist terrorist outrage. Nor have any Bosnian Muslims been implicated in Islamist terrorist acts elsewhere. Al Qaeda tried and failed to turn Bosnia into a jihadist base; the moderate version of Islam practiced there is not conducive to Islamism," said Hoare.

Statistics compiled before the war and in 2004 suggest that the majority of Bosnian Muslims do not attend mosque regularly and have a predominantly European secular outlook regarding politics.

Hoare has previously described the Palestinians, Chechens and "other enslaved Muslim peoples" as "caught between the Scylla of colonial oppression and the Charybdis of Islamofascism."

Hoare has contended that "there can be there can be no freedom for Muslim peoples without the defeat of the Islamofascists and everything they stand for; and there can be no defeat of the Islamofascists without liberty for all Muslim peoples."

Hoare told Cybercast News Service: "It is entirely likely that foreign Islamists are still trying to recruit disaffected Bosnian Muslims, but these latter are likely to make less willing recruits than are members of the Muslim communities of Western Europe."

Hoare's analysis is in line with that of French political scientist Giles Keppel, who in the book "Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam" described the Islamists' attempt to graft jihad onto Bosnian operations as a failure.

Defense analyst Frederick Peterson believes that to a certain degree, talk of majorities not favoring the Wahhabist strain of Islam is a "deceptive argument."

"There doesn't need to be a majority to be a threat. When push comes to shove, they will identify with the side most like them and either be silent, harbor or abet," Peterson said. "We know that the mujahadeen in Bosnia were al Qaeda and Iranian-sponsored, and they are still there today."

"We have terrorist operatives who have targeted the U.S. back in a relatively un-policed region that offers one-stop shopping in conventional arms and open spaces for training, ideological support, recruitment drives and funding," said Kohlmann. "It's a very disturbing phenomenon."

By Sherrie Gossett
Cybercast News Service

Assyrian International News Agency.



Sarajevo, 25 August (AKI) - Bosnian Serb leaders slapped back at their Muslim colleague, Sulejman Tihic today, for saying that if they didn’t like the country, they could pack up and leave. The row, seen as a part of political game before October's parliamentary elections, centres on Muslim demands for the abolition of the Bosnian Serb entity, Republika Srpska (RS) and Serb threats to hold a referendum on independence if Muslims persisted in their demands.

 Tihic, a Muslim member of Bosnia’s three-man rotating state presidency, said on Thursday that those who want to secede form Bosnia  can pack up and leave, "but can’t take away an inch of Bosnian territory". According to the Dayton peace accord that ended civil war in Bosnia, the country was divided into two entities, a Muslim-Croat federation and RS, but the international community, which safeguards peace in Bosnia,  has been gradually stripping entities of their state prerogatives, stepping up Muslim demands for abolition of RS.

Borisav Paravac, a Serb member of the state presidency, slammed back at Tihic, saying his statement was an "irresponsible and scandalous act". "Bosnia isn’t his private property," said Paravac, adding that RS covers 49 per cent of Bosnia’s territory and that Serbs are one of three constituent peoples, with equal rights.

RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik retorted that Tihic’s statement represented a drastic example of “hate and chauvinism” which will only further inflame ethnic passions in Bosnia.

"In Tihic’s statement one can easily recognize an Islamic concept which sees Bosnia as its exclusive right," said Dodik. "Serbs are constituent people in Bosnia claim the same right to the country and to live in it," said Dodik.

The high representative of the international community in Bosnia Christian Schwarz Schilling last week appealed to the leaders of all three nationalities to stop “inflammatory rhetoric”, but the quarrels continue relentlessly as the election date draws closer.


Serbian police break up hardline Muslim sect on finding terrorists' training camp


The Scotsman

March 19, 2007

FOUR members of an ultraconservative Muslim sect have been arrested following a raid on a mountain terrorist training camp in Serbia.

A large cache of weapons, ammunition, hand grenades, face-masks and plastic explosive with detonators was also discovered at a cave near Novi Pazar.

A judge ordered the four Serbian nationals to be detained for 30 days to allow police and intelligence officials to investigate their alleged activities at the training site.

Dragan Jocic, the Serbian police minister, said: "We are determined to prevent any form of violence and terrorism. We are continuing to comb the terrain and search for other members of the group."

Police said that up to 30 members of the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect had been gathering at the camp at Ninaja, a mountain in the southern Sandzak region.

The mountainous and heavily forested area sits near Serbia's border with Bosnia and Montenegro. Its population is about 50 per cent Muslim.

The Wahhabi movement - which preaches a brand of "pure Islam" backed by Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda - originated in Saudi Arabia in the early 18th century.

The sect first emerged in the Balkans during the 1992-95 civil war in Bosnia, when thousands of mujahideen fighters from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims.

Many of the fighters have remained in the country since the war, and foreign police and intelligence sources say that some of them have been responsible for indoctrinating local youths.

However, western security sources say that the main terrorist threat posed by neighbouring Bosnia is as a source of arms and explosives.

One official based in Sarajevo described the Bosnian capital as "a weapons shopping-centre surrounded by highly porous borders".