By Muqeet Tahir Malik
Dear Readers! Do any of you know about the extremist organizations operating in the Balkan states? Have you ever focused on the spread of terrorism especially in Europe? How fast is this trend in Middle East? What are the causes, and how to impede growth of extremism? Do you know the historical importance of the Balkan states?Do you know the ECJM faction? These are pertinent questions that we need to analyse, and ponder over. My article will revolve around these imperative questions.
The South Eastern Europe is referred to as “The Balkan States” constituting of Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Bosnia, Turkey, Slovenia, Messi Donia, Monti negro, Yogoslavia, and Romania.
Firstly, this area has varied demographic statistics. This region has diverse cultures, and has absorbed into its self many religions, primarily the majority is Christianity, and then Islam. This area spread on 666,770 square miles is significant as it is the first point where the Christians, and Muslims met for the first time in history of Islam. This was the place from where agriculture, and livestock farming fostered in Europe which started from Anatolia. The Christians living here are pre-dominantly catholic who are traditional conservative staunch people. All the states in this zone had monarchy system but after world war, and the disintegration of Ottoman Empire; All states have democratic Presidential form of system. While in countries like Romania, and Bosnia, semi-presidential governments are present. Bulk of the states of this region possess open market economy. Consequently, the countries are in dilemma of high unemployment as well as low Gross Domestic Product (4000 to 12000) dollars annually. Albeit, there are few countries like Turkey, and Bulgaria that are developed as well as evolving in global economy.There are plentiful of countries like Croatia, Greece, Romania, and Slovenia which are members of the European Union for the sake of preventing ecnomic recession. While Turkey, Albania,and Turkey rate NATO members. There is much variation in religious ideas, and ideology in these states. Balkan States are once again gaining attention due to the rise of militant jihadist groups as well as we should keep in mind that majority of the countries are communist like Russia so, there can be jihadist groups operating in these stats in the near future.The matter of fact is that plethora of variations in religious ideas has developed anti sentimental feelings in people against each other which has led to the spread of extremist literature brought from the Middle East being distributed to the Muslim communities living in these states, and are becoming members of the brutal faction Islamic state of Iraq ,and Syria termed as “ISIS”. This has become now more popular as “IS” or Islamic state as more groups are in its umbrella including, the most dangerous Ayman Al-Zawahiri group Al-Qaeda. The corroboration to this is the report by set times reporting that Bosnia supplied the majority influx of terrorists to Syrian opposition.
Secondly, I believe that as the Balkan States like Yugoslavia had long been inflicted by Civil strife taking lives of numerous innocent souls, and the due process of justice has been very slow though the ICC tribunal has given punishments to some war mongers. They were not oblivious of the primary repercussion. Consequently, as the tribunals slowed down their work, the suppressed Muslim communities are becoming suspicious of the “Delaying justice” idea that is being given. It has been observed that the Muslim youth living in these areas are becoming part of banned international Jihadist movements, and the ISIS is observing this trend. European Analysts are of the perception that the IS after its strong footing in Iraq,and Syria, is focusing on embedding its roots in the Balkans by planing major assaults. It has been observed on social networking sites like twitter that the IS is claiming its mission to free the Muslims of Balkan States attacking the Christians in these counties. The perspective that I,and many other analysts have is that these people are residing along the trukey-Syria border,and believe that Turkish did a grave mistake by opening its border with Syria, allowing unfettered access of people to turkey,and such people having similar ideology like IS to foster in the Balkans. Albeit, Turkey has the capability of eliminating the IS, and has offered support too but they also need to strengthen their border security mechanisms by introducing light search policies, electronic passports made compulsory,night cameras, develop walkthrough gates,and x-rays for scanning the vehicles. The impediment of ISIS is necessary in the South Eastern Europe because Muslims living there are considered as the most liberal Muslims of the world but 5 to 10 percent have turned to extremism. They need to strengthen inter intelligence sharing between the airports, and develop quick response teams (QRF). According to the set times report, 500 Jihadists have been recruited from Eastern Europe. Let’s analyze how this trend was setup,and is being fostered.
Thirdly, we need to comprehend that how terrorism spread here; the concept of “Salafi” Islam common in Messi donja ,and Jihad was introduced by the former Yugoslavian President Alija izetbegovic who founded an activist organisation in 1930 with the name “Joint Muslims”. The structure of this in Eastern Europe was similar to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, and campaigned for greater Islamic state. He himself claimed that he would setup this area as an esteemed Muslim country “Islamistan”. This conspiracy plan also included Northern Africa,and Middle East. This was just a plan but again in 1990, the Jihadist groups coordinated again against the Yugoslavian sate,and got a on strong footing. They were given the opportunity to unite under the command of Al -Qaeda,and Alija Izetbegovic allowed the “Jirgas”(meetings) to be held here. Some militants like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Abdur Rehman nishri, and Ali Hamid openly state that they were also provided security protocol by Yogoslavian government. These fascists who came from Afghanistan, and Yemen had a more regressive, impracticaland ultra orthodox ideology of Islam. Ajila Izetbegovic again played a pivotal role,and constited “Katibah Mujahideen”; that Saudi Arabia, and Untied a States cast aspersions on him for making passports of wanted terrorists. The UN peacekeeping forces used coercion to eliminate them but again they are heading towards the same game plan. Now, coming to this generation, we need to ponder that ISIS has moved target to those States where Muslims are being persecuted, and bloodshed is on it’s apex. The blast that took place in Kenya killing 50 people was carried out by an Albanian national. This is the third time that they will be able to execute their nefarious designs, and for that the ISIS has potentially communicated through social media. During the recent years, the rigid Muslims have taken ascendancy of the mosques,and religious institutions in far flung areas, and the Jihadi factions distribute their literature through these people. They are working on the directives of Al-Qaeda, and their target audience are teenagers whose brains have yet not been developed to comprehend issues. They are inculcating in them anti-Christianity and Judaism feelings to liquidate their malicious conservative ideology, and they are raising funds from the well off Muslim class in these countries. CIA has reported that 1/3rd of the National governmental organizations or “NGOS” help spread such ideas in people by communicating the message of Al -Qaeda to the poverty stricken class. This is a surprising fact because if NGOs are involved in this form of extremism then we can expect these ideas to pour off ,and profuse much earlier than expected in the continent. This would be a challenge to the International community’s resolve to cleanse the menace, and mindset of terrorists. This is also proven by the fact that the Kosovo authorities claim to nab 43 suspicious terrorists. They were maintaining strong links with ISIS including Fazullulah of Al-Qaeda at their airports. Moreover, the organization ISIS is giving orders to the militants to follow western attire to get passports of the European counties. If the airport authorities do not act like a watchdog,and observe the migration carefully; the Balkans would soon become a vulnerable region. The Militants are running the two largest mosques of Kosovo, and using the gatherings to brainstorm people, and introduce their fundamentalism. The group “Boko Haram” allowing the enslaving of women, and kidnapping girls in Chad,Kenya,Nigeria is said to be a part of IS. They have also assassinated two American journalists, targeting minorities, and the mission of controlling oil reserves have also turned USA to review its strategic policy. They will cooperate with turkey to pound missiles on the safe heavens of IS in Yemen. The renowned journalist Carturodi Robin has also highlighted the zeal, and steadfastness of President Obama of eradicating ISIS. The group will be a potential threat to US National security. Thus, Obama has decided to take support of the Arab states in using their ground forces in Yemen. On the other hand, Al-Zawahiri has showed a keen interest in planing attacks in South Asia. It is wise to nip the evil in the bud,and their follow up to be made.
Fourthly, coming to my point of taking steps to promote inter religious harmony, and to end the discrimination on Muslims; I perceive that the for formation of ECJM(EuropeN counter Jihad movement) has also provoked extremism. As I aforementioned, the complication on this land is not only due to Muslims but many conservative Catholics too. The ECJM is founded by the King’s college England ,and has been given the objective to stop empowerment of Muslims in Europe. It has also played a major role in impeding of Muslims migration in Europe which is, seen by the stringent visa policy of the United Kingdom because the rate of conversions is burgeoning. People are turning to the radical ideas of the “Salafis” because they believe that Europe is trying to stop the freedom of the liberal Muslims as well. Islam is a religion of peace, and this is what the west should also realize especially after the sacrifices rendered by Pakistanis in opposition to the violent Tehrik-ae-Taliban. The Formation of such organizations will be fruitless leading us to greater catastrophic situation.European states need to raise public awareness about the true picture.
Lastly, I always stress more on the elucidations of the tribulations by means of negotiation, think tanks, and the power of print media. Europe has to initiate the comparative religious curriculum studies at primary level to make our children aware of the bigger picture. We need to show them the ground realities, that the terrorists exist in all religions in diverse forms but they are to be annihilated by all if they hold up weapons. My perception is that a unified anti-terrorist force should be constituted in these countries having equal representation of all minorities; This will make it plausible to tackle terrorism easily by being rock solid on one page.People are to be convinced against terrorism irrespective of race,Creed or color because those factors will aggravate the flares. The Pakistani public has understood this but has failed to promote the idea of tranquility in Islam to the western world but the west should envision a pragmatic approach on terrorism. They should understand that they need to help promote a positive image of Islam to their public to achieve the idea of “Harmony without discrimination”. The centers like ECJM should be discouraged rather centers helping to abridge disparity factors,and finding more commonalities between communities need to be evolved.
In an nutshell, the rise of the Jihadist elements is a eye opening moment for the western bloc. We all have to take a firm military action against these maligned state actors. Europe is considered as an epitome of social equality, justice,peace, and champion of human rights. The distressing fact is that only Muslims have to pay a huge price of the situation in the Balkans, and Middle East. I end on the note that ;
“LIVE FOR HUMANITY, NOT FOR RELIGION”