By Lee Jay Walker | The role of Islamic charities is a serious issue because many are based on spreading radical Islam via indoctrination or by supporting terrorism or political goals which should be way outside their remit. Indeed, the war in Bosnia resembled the same patterns which flowed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and other nations, whereby Islamic terrorism or radical ideology or a fusion of both were transported via Islamic charities.
It is vital that these channels are fully closed in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo (Serbia), Macedonia, and other areas in the Balkans. If not, then this region will further fragment and religious polarization and communal tensions will increase and radical Islam will continue to enhance its foothold in this part of Europe.
Added to this, it is clear that international Islamists will also try to use the Balkans in order to plan covert terrorist attacks and to enforce Sharia Islamic law on people who reside in majority held Muslim areas. After all, for international Islamists it appears that time is on their side because the Muslim birthrate is much higher than the Christian birthrate in this part of Europe.
Therefore, some Islamic charities are intent on installing mass propaganda, indoctrination, a sense of victimization, and the need to transform more moderate Muslims into “true Muslims” via the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam.
In truth, this is not only happening in the Balkans because the same struggles and methods are happening in the United Kingdom and a host of other nations. For example in my article called the ‘USA and the Internal Islamic Threat’ I quote B. Raman (Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi) who states that “For the last fifteen years, there has been a conflict between the Deobandis and the Barelvis for the control of the mosques and their funds not only in Pakistan, but also in the UK. Previously, the Barelvis used to control the mosques in the UK frequented by immigrants from the sub-continent, but they have since been driven out by the Deobandis and Wahhabis. This was the starting point for the radicalization of the Pakistani-origin Muslims in the UK and in the other countries of West Europe. The ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence) has been supporting the Sipah-e-Sahaba and the LEJ in Pakistan as well as in West Europe.”
I also point out that “….the Muslim community in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s is very different to elements within the Muslim community today.” However, more alarming for the Balkans is that the Muslim minority in Bosnia (largest single group now but not a majority) and Macedonia will in time become a majority. Therefore, what happens over the following decades will pave the way ahead for either a confrontational region or where accommodation can be met.
If we look at past events in Kosovo and Turkey then it is clear that these mainly Christian areas of the Balkans became Islamized because of war, ethnic cleansing, persecution, dhimmitude, slavery, forced conversions, jizya, indoctrination, discrimination in law, and so forth.
Added to this, is the reality that Islam is an ideology and religion which is fused together and non-Muslims who have lived under Islamic Sharia law have all faced only one outcome. This outcome is the dwindling of their religious flock or like in Turkey it culminated in the Armenian/Assyrian/Greek genocide of 1915 which witnessed the deaths of millions of Christians.
The Orthodox Christians of the Balkans and Hindus of the Indian subcontinent only survived because of their huge numbers but major Islamic inroads were achieved. For example in Albania, Bangladesh, Kosovo, and Pakistan, you have Muslim majorities after past Islamic invasions and you have significant minorities in Bulgaria, Bosnia, Cyprus, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
It is also clear that Islam did not modernize society; on the contrary, it merely created stagnation and religious bigotry on a grand scale. Therefore, today you have major religious persecution of Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs, in Pakistan and in Bangladesh you have to add on the persecution of Buddhists and other minorities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
India may not be perfect and religious and ethnic tensions also erupt from time to time, however, India is a flourishing democracy and all religions have freedom and equality. Also, the government of India supports and protects the citizens of this nation by a legal system which is equal to all religious members.
However, Islamic Sharia law is based on the supremacy of Islam over all other faith groups and past history and modern history tells us about mass persecution. After all, in modern day Saudi Arabia they will not allow one single Christian church or Buddhist place of worship and conversion from Islam is deemed punishable by death.
Indeed, it is Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations which are causing mayhem today in the Balkans because they desire to spread radical Islam. Therefore, turning back to the role of charities we should take heed of what was stated by Vojin Joksimovich in his book called ‘The Revenge of The Prophet.’
Vojin Joksimovich highlights this in chapter five because he focuses on the role of Islamic charities. This applies to terrorism, indoctrination and the goal of creating an Islamic state in Bosnia and for others, then much further. On page 161 of ‘The Revenge of The Prophet’ the author Vojin Joksimovich informs us that the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA) stated that “Bosnia must become a Muslim state eventually, for if that did not happen, then the whole war would be senseless and would have been fought for nothing – concluded in 1994 Elfatih Ali Hasanejin (Elfatih Hassanein), the head of the organization the TWRA” (Miroslav Toholj, p.81)
It is clear, therefore, that many Islamic charities are not like Christian Aid, for example, instead they are directly involved in either terrorist networks or Islamization or a mixture of both, depending on the given charity.
Vojin Joksimovich also highlights this by stating that “There was a close partnership between the Islamist network in the U.S. and the one in Bosnia. Emerson, in his testimony to the U.S. Congress, pointed out the entire spectrum of radical groups from the Middle East has been replicated in the U.S. (Steven Emerson, 1998) Page 151
“Emerson cited Oliver Revell, former Associate FBI Deputy Director: The U.S. is the most preferred and easiest place in the world for radical Islamic groups to set up their headquarters to wage war in their homelands, destabilize and attack American allies and ultimately move against the U.S. itself” (ibid.) Page 151
Vojin Joksimovich adds that “Much of this has changed since 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act. However, with the new American administration of President Obama reaching out to the so-called Islamic world then maybe America “is closing its eyes again” because even the usage of ‘Islamic terrorism’ is now on the back burner and instead it is appeasement time once more.
John Pomfret, Washington Post Foreign Service, wrote an article called ‘Bosnia’s Muslims Dodged Embargo’ (Sunday, September 22, 1996; Page A01). He stated that “Last September, European police backed by anti-terrorist squads raided the office here of a seemingly obscure organization, the Third World Relief Agency, headed by a one-time Sudanese diplomat named Elfatih Hassanein.”
“Since then, poring over several van loads of documents, they have pieced together one of the untold stories of the Bosnian war: how Bosnia’s Muslim-led government evaded a United Nations arms embargo and purchased hundreds of millions of dollars worth of black-market weapons.”
“In the documents and in the bank accounts of the Third World Relief Agency, Austrian investigators have tracked $350 million they say flowed from Muslim governments and radical Islamic movements to Bosnia. At least half was used to purchase weapons illegally and smuggle them to the Bosnian government army, according to Western intelligence estimates.”
This article highlights the linkage between so-called Islamic charities and the reality of what was really happening. This applies to linkages between the TWRA, elements within the Bosnian Muslim leadership including Alija Izetbegovic, Osama Bin Laden, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and a host of other major terrorists and nations which were either friends or foe of America.
The article also highlights the role of Bill Clinton and his role in allowing these terrorist networks to move freely despite many massacres against innocent Christians and in the knowledge of what Islamic terrorism meant.
John Pomfret continues by stating that“The agency took funds and support for Bosnia from wherever it could find it, and the bulk of the cash originated in the Middle East: Iran was a big contributor, as was Sudan, which like Iran is on the U.S. State Department’s watch-list of countries that support terrorism. Saudi Arabia was the largest contributor, according to banking officials and intelligence sources, and donations also came from pro-Western countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Brunei and Malaysia.”
“But militants in the terrorist underworld are also believed to have used the relief agency to get money to the Bosnian government, including the wealthy Saudi Arabian émigré Osama Bin Laden, a suspected sponsor of militant Islamic groups around the Middle East. Bin Laden, a resident of Sudan until last year, is reportedly now in Afghanistan, where he has issued statements calling for attacks on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.”
“Investigators say the agency also had ties to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a radical Egyptian cleric who was convicted of planning several terrorist bombings in New York and is linked to the group that carried out the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. Intelligence agencies say they have tapes of telephone calls by Rahman to the agency’s office, during which he discussed its commitment to sell the sheik’s videotapes and sermons in mosques around Europe.”
“Hassanein, identified by Western sources as a member of Sudan’s ruling National Islamic Front, built his arms smuggling operation with Islamic activists from Bosnia who, like him, had ties to Izetbegovic, the Bosnian president. Several of these men now hold senior positions in the Bosnian government and, according to U.S. officials, they form the core of a radical Islamic movement that has resisted U.S. attempts to exert influence over the army and security services.”
The CIA also states that prominent Islamic charities were involved in terrorism because the report which was given to the State Department (1/1996) states that “……of more than 50 Islamic nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in existence, “available information indicates that approximately one-third… support terrorist groups or employ individuals who are suspected of having terrorist connections.” The report notes that most of the offices of NGOs active in Bosnia are located in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Zenica, and Tuzla. There are coordination councils there organizing the work of the charity fronts.”
“The report notes that some charities may be “backed by powerful interest groups,” including governments. “We continue to have evidence that even high ranking members of the collecting or monitoring agencies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Pakistan – such as the Saudi High Commission – are involved in illicit activities, including support for terrorists.” The Wall Street Journal will later comment, “Disclosure of the report may raise new questions about whether enough was done to cut off support for terrorism before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001… and about possible involvement in terrorism by Saudi Arabian officials.” (Central Intelligence Agency, 1/1996; Wall Street Journal, 5/9/2003)
Moving back to recent times in the Balkans it is clear that many radical Islamic organizations are intent on spreading radical Islam and charity organizations must be investigated closely and the same applies to educational institutions. After all, radical Islamists are good at spreading their own version of Islam and if these money channels are not closed down and monitored correctly then another southern Thailand or Pakistan may develop within Europe?
Returning back to Vojin Joksimovich he states that “Bosnia established a successful model for embattled countries around the world: organizing, arming, and funding mujahideen units, skimming money from humanitarian charities, linking up with crime bosses including narco-terrorists, etc. Islamism both produces and profits from mayhem. Albeit to a much lesser magnitude, the Bosnian model was replicated later on in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Macedonia. Al Qaeda and the Taliban found a route for the heroin trafficking from Afghanistan into Europe via the Balkans.” Page 150
Overall, just like the rise of the Taliban and radical Islam in modern day southern Thailand and Pakistan, it is the role of the Islamic madrasas which must be eliminated and not merely contained. The role of Islamic charities must also be tackled because many are a gateway to spreading radical Islam and if this “gateway” is not stopped and challenged, then alongside religious Islamic educational institutions which are sponsored by Saudi nationals and others; then the spread of radical Islam will not be defeated.
The wars in the former Yugoslavia were very different to the mass media versions. After all, Alija Izetbegovic stated his dream of an Islamic state and fellow pan-Islamists did not care about Bosnia but they did care about the creation of an Islamic state and in time an Islamic Caliphate.
Turning back to a quote from the book by Vojin Joksimovich on Page 161“Bosnia must become a Muslim state eventually, for if that did not happen, then the whole war would be senseless and would have been fought for nothing – concluded in 1994 Elfatih Ali Hasanejin (Elfatih Hassanein).”
This statement is what Alija Izetbegovic believed in and fellow Islamists like Elfatih Hassanein and Osama Bin Laden shared the same agenda. The battlefield may be silent now however for Islamists it is only just starting and now it is the turn for other networks to Islamize Bosnia and the Balkans.
LEE JAY WALKER is a reporter for the THE MODERN TOKYO TIMES