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From Kosovo to Gaza

Islamist radicals continue their efforts to penetrate every country where Muslims live.

9:00 AM, Jun 9, 2010 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Kosovo media have reported that an Islamist ideologue from that country, Fuad Ramiqi, was among the participants in the ill-fated attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade at Gaza. Ramiqi was joined by three Albanian Muslims from Macedonia--Sami Emini, Jasmin Rexhepi, and Sead Asipi.

From Kosovo to Gaza

Fuad Ramiqi is the representative in Kosovo of the European Muslim Network, a fundamentalist organization headed by the Egyptian-born, Qatar-based cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the academic Tariq Ramadan. Al-Qaradawi and Ramadan are leading figures in the radical Muslim Brotherhood, which as Thomas Joscelyn has noted, had enough links with the Gaza incident for it to be considered a Brotherhood operation. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, and Ramadan is the grandson of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna.

Ramiqi, a soldier in the Yugoslav army who joined the Bosnian army during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, runs his own Brotherhood franchise, the Muslim Forum of Kosovo (MFK), created in 2006. In the days following the Gaza blockade clash, Ramiqi’s group apparently preferred to keep silent on his involvement. But a 2007 document in English on its website attests to its ideology. The group denounced a Kosovo public school principal who had criticized two 12th-grade girls for wearing the Islamic headscarf in class. Kosovo’s ban on the headscarf in public schools is paralleled by police orders to track and arrest Islamist radicals.

Late in May, local police rounded up five Wahhabis--acolytes of Saudi-exported radical Islam--in the environs of the Kosovo city of Prizren. The Islamist suspects included three Bosnian Muslims--Idriz Biljbani, a supposed professor of Islamic law trained at an Egyptian university, Mustafa Imeri, and Ismajl Skenderi--and two Kosovars, Hadit Miftari and Armend Kalendari. Weapons were captured at eight different locations in the course of the arrests: five Kalashnikov assault rifles, three more rifles, two pistols, and ammunition, along with body armor, uniforms, and diverse other materiel including handcuffs and laptops.

According to a Bosnian Islamist web report, the police action was officially described as a response to an assault by the five Wahhabis on a Kosovo government employee who distributed the Bible to his neighbors during his off hours. The Bosnian radicals tried to blame the arrests on Serbian influence over the Kosovo police, and complained that the Kosovar officers were imitating the Bosnian police who shut down an infamous Wahhabi cell in the village of Gornja Maoca in February. But Wahhabi attacks on individuals, including another Christian, have made headlines across Kosovo throughout the past two years.

Confrontations between Wahhabi intruders and local Muslims have been visible in all the Western Balkan countries, including Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania. The presence of three Macedonian Albanians at the scene of the Gaza bloodshed is unsurprising to observers of Islam in the Balkans, since Macedonian Muslims have succumbed almost totally to the influence of Arab money. The pattern of unwanted radical immigration into the Balkans continues. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty last month reported, unfortunately without providing an English translation, that Wahhabis have disrupted Islamic religious life in the resort town of Ulcinj, on the Montenegrin coast near the northern border of Albania.

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