Jihadists in Kosovo signal radicalization of Islam in Balkans

The growing number of Kosovo Albanians turning to jihad is an alarming symptom of the radicalization of Islam in the Balkans, especially in the territory of former Yugoslavia, leading Serbian Islamologist and Orientalist Darko Tanaskovic says.

(kosovocompromisestuff) Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The decisive role was played by the constant deterioration of social, political, economic, spiritual and moral conditions caused by the turmoil and conflicts brought on by the disintegration of Yugoslavia, he added."Throughout history, the Albanian-Serb conflict has always had a distinct dimension of religious hatred, particularly on the Albanian side, but only the recent separatist war and its consequences, in the context of developments in the immediate surroundings and the wider area, have led to the spreading of the extremist and, of late, the jihadist form of Islam and its rise in Kosovo as part of the Pan-Islamic International,” Tanaskovic said in an interview to Belgrade-based daily Danas.Majority of Kosovo Albanians heading to war zones in the Middle East are most certainly jihadists, but their knowledge of Islamic religion and culture is highly questionable, he noted.The difference between jihadists and Islamists could be compared to the relation between the Bolsheviks or the Maoists and the Marxists, explains Tanaskovic, a former Serbian ambassador to Ankara, who will soon continue his diplomatic career with UNESCO.The events in the Middle East add strongly to the frustration and radicalization of Muslims all over the world, including the territory of ex Yugoslavia, said Tanaskovic, pointing out that a significant part of the Muslim/Bosniak population in BiH and neighboring areas of Serbia and partly of Montenegro are not content with their position in the territorial and political configuration of the region after the breakup of former Yugoslavia, to which their leaders at the time strongly contributed, hoping for a different outcome.According to Tanaskovic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's victory in the recent presidential election in Turkey will have a strong influence on Muslims living in the Balkans.In any case, having in mind all the internal and external circumstances, it is very difficult to say when the ethnic-confessional distance and tension between the Muslims and the non-Muslims in the territory of former Yugoslavia would be reduced, said Tanaskovic.