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Jihad from North Carolina to Kosovo

1:30 PM, Aug 19, 2009 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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For example, "Tahir" (a Muslim name), addressed Sherifi as follows: "Shame on you and cursed be the milk that your Albanian mother fed you with You have no right to call yourself an Albanian . May you never see the light of the day again!" "Refik" (also Muslim) expressed himself in a similarly traditional idiom: "The Albanian people will forever be grateful to the saintly, generous and great nation of America because America has always helped our people This bad seed that planned these horrible attacks is cursed forever by the people of Kosovo... We ask forgiveness from the American people for this ungrateful person who became part of a plot against America and Israel, another country that has helped the Albanians. May he never have enough bread, water and light." The denunciatory flood rose higher.

Then, on August 11, Sherifi's sympathizers, if not accomplices, struck back in Kosovo. The Express website was vandalized, with the screen showing the word HACKED in English, plus threats in English and Albanian, and an Al Qaeda flag:

"hakerat-490x320.jpg"

This act elicited even sharper online remarks. Besi from the city of Peja wrote, "Oh believe me, these wretches with beards are forcing me to leave Islam and convert to Christianity." The leading Bosnian and Kosovar Muslim clerics were accused of protecting the radicals, and one commenter called for Saudi-financed Wahhabism to be banned altogether.

As it happens, just before the hack attack on Express, the officially-Wahhabi kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which had held off recognizing Kosovo's independence for a year and a half, announced on August 8 that it would do so. Kosovar Muslims had complained that the Saudis viewed them pejoratively as "America's Islamic favorites," but with the "new and friendlier" message from the White House, the Arabs seem to have decided to renew their past Balkan ambitions. The increasingly serious Wahhabi campaign on Islam's European borderland may be a leading indicator of more al Qaeda flags showing up around the globe.

Thus, the most trenchant question was asked by a resident of Gjilan, Sherifi's home town, who called himself "Mr. X": "Didn't someone say a few days ago that there are no extremist Islamic groups in Kosovo? So what do you call these?" And one must add, do we not hear the same ameliorative claims about the Muslim leadership in America? So what do we call those like Khalilah Sabra and MAS Freedom, who twist the history of Afghanistan to whitewash the biographies of those charged with terrorism?

Stephen Schwartz is a frequent contributor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.