In the wake of the atrocities of September 11, many American and other Western commentators have asked a perplexing question. They point out that the aim of the last three wars fought by the United States and its allies was to rescue Muslim or Muslim-majority peoples from aggression. Thus, the Kuwait war of 1991 saved Kuwait from Iraqi invasion. The 1995 intervention in Bosnia-Hercegovina halted Serbian attacks in which some 200,000 people, the majority of them Muslims, were killed, and thousands of more people were raped, tortured, and driven from their homes. And the 1999 bombing of Serbia prevented the expulsion from Kosovo of two million ethnic Albanians, of whom at least 80 percent were Muslims.
Why then, the commentators ask, should so many Arab Muslims hate America? Have they forgotten these acts? A disregard among certain Arabs for U.S. protection of the Kuwaiti rulers, and by extension the Saudi monarchy, is perhaps understandable. Even pious Muslims among the Arabs have been known to admire Saddam Husayn, or to think that his invasion of Kuwait paled in comparison with Saudi corruption. But don't Arab Muslims care that the United States saved the Balkan Muslims and Albanians from extermination or exile? Weren't the Balkans a clear-cut case of massive U.S. military and humanitarian intervention on behalf of Muslims in distress?
Yet it is a fact that no credit was given where credit was due. Fouad Ajami confirmed the point in an interview with the Washington Post:
Ajami asked why … no Arab or Muslim leader has given the United States thanks or credit for taking military risks on behalf of two Muslim populations in Europe: the Bosnians and Kosovars. "I have heard no one acknowledge any gratitude for that … It's a mystery."1
The mystery seems to deepen when one hears or reads what many Arabs do say about the U.S. intervention. These Arab assessments tend to be overwhelmingly negative—so much so that Usama bin Ladin himself denigrated of the U.S. intervention in the Balkans part of his standard repertoire. In a 1996 interview, the terrorist chief denounced America for "withholding of arms from the Muslims of Bosnia-Hercegovina" during the 1992-95 war there.2
Many of his Arab listeners would have known the truth: that it was Europe and the United Nations, not the United States, which erected and maintained the embargo on arms to the Bosnian Muslims. The U.S. intelligence community cooperated with other countries, including Iran, to arm the Bosnian Muslims in secret.
Bin Ladin, under U.S. attack in Afghanistan in November 2001, thought it useful to return to this theme, in a manifesto broadcast on Al-Jazira television. There he referred to
a war of genocide in Bosnia in sight and hearing of the entire world in the heart of Europe. For several years our brothers have been killed, our women have been raped, and our children have been massacred in the safe havens of the United Nations.3
It was a claim whose efficacy relied on Arab ignorance. For it was a plain fact that there had been no mass rapes or massacres in the country since U.S. intervention in 1995 and the imposition of the Dayton agreement; that the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia in The Hague had indicted the Yugoslav leadership for genocide; and that even as bin Ladin spoke, Milosevic himself sat in prison in The Hague awaiting trial.
The willful self-deception about U.S. actions in the Balkans expressed by bin Ladin had a surprisingly wide echo among Arab Muslims, and especially among certain of bin Ladin's fellow Saudis. An "Open Letter to President Bush" penned by the Saudi Islamic cleric Safar ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Hawali, a leader of the country's extremist opposition, taunted the Americans: "One of your smart missiles infuriated the Yellow Giant [China] by destroying its embassy in Belgrade." Incredibly, al-Hawali failed to mention the obvious: that the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy to Yugoslavia had taken place during the Kosovo intervention, and that China had sided with Milosevic in the U.N. in order to block action to save the Albanians.4
This myopia has been peculiar to the Arabs. Turks, for example, know better. The Turkish journalist (and former diplomat) Gündüz Aktan provided a typical Turkish assessment of the U.S. role in the Balkan wars, in the midst of the Afghan bombing:
The United States, [after] it could not convince our European friends, stopped the Serbian aggressions with a military intervention in Bosnia-Hercegovina … the forces of the United States constituted 90 percent of the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces which brought Yugoslavia to heel, after it (repressed) the Kosovar Albanians and (sought to expel them); and it is observed that the United States also played an important role in the recognition of extensive rights for the Albanians in Macedonia.5
Even more telling was the pro-American position taken by many Balkan Muslims as the "war on terror" unfolded. The Albanian government, which had been extremely active in helping the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency break up a pro–bin Ladin cell composed of Egyptians, put bin Ladin in the same category as Milosevic:
Enemies of civilization like Milosevic or bin Ladin should end up in the defendant's dock … bin Ladin will soon be held accountable alongside the "Butcher of the Balkans."6
The Islamic leaders in Albanian-speaking territories, including Kosovo and western Macedonia, were even more outspoken in support of the United States. The day after the September 11 attacks, Haxhi Dede Reshat Bardhim, world leader of the Bektashi sect, which is headquartered in Tirana and has at least two million Albanian adherents, sent a message to President George W. Bush referring to America as "the pride of this world" and declaring, "May Allah be, as always, on the side of the American people and the American state!"7
On October 12, in the Kosovo capital of Prishtina, the grand mufti of Kosovo, Rexhep Boja, prayed for the American dead at a commemorative meeting organized by the U.S. diplomatic office. (Washington has no official ambassadorial or consular representation in Kosovo.) The prayer service was led jointly with the Albanian Catholic bishop of Kosovo, Monsignor Mark Sopi. Chief imam of the Kosovo Islamic community Burhan Hashani commented: "The people of Kosovo will never forget America and its assistance."8
The day after the start of the Afghan bombardment, a Tirana daily offered a stirring headline for the military offensive, showing that some Muslims eagerly wished for the punishment of Islamic extremists: "Nobody Veils the Statue of Liberty's Face."9 The Kosovapress news agency, established by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), printed statements from the two political formations that emerged from the KLA, the Kosovo Democratic Party (PDK) headed by Hashim Thaci, and the Alliance for Kosovo's Future (AAK) led by Ramush Haradinaj. Thaci and Haradinaj are the two public figures most identified with the armed Albanian struggle against Serbia. They criticized the refusal of the Taliban regime to hand over the leaders of al-Qa‘ida, as demanded by the U.S., and affirmed that "the people of Kosovo bear a natural and special responsibility to the United States and its allies," promising to render "conscious and unlimited support" to the global fight on Islamic terror.10
There was nothing surprising about the enthusiasm for U.S. global leadership expressed by Albanian Muslims. They know the lengths to which the United States has gone to protect them and other Balkan Muslims. The resentments they harbor over betrayal by false friends are directed not against America but against the Arabs, who either sided with Milosevic or treated Balkan Muslims with supreme condescension.
Milosevic's Arab Friends
As someone who has lived in Sarajevo, I have been struck by the hostile attitudes of Muslim politicians and intellectuals toward Arab states. They are bitter that these states watched passively as thousands of indigenous European Muslims were slain in the Balkans, offering no assistance aside from press releases, aid donations, and religious propaganda. In addition, conspiracy theories about Arab behavior abound among Balkan Muslims. Some believe that there existed a clandestine alliance between Milosevic's Yugoslavia and the Arab states—an alliance resting on the role of the Arab Orthodox Christian churches in Palestinian nationalism, historic links between Arabs and the former Soviet Union and other Communist states (including former Yugoslavia), and a common anti-Americanism. Others point to an alleged Arab resentment of the cultural association between Balkan and Ottoman Islamic traditions, both of which are despised by the followers of the Saudi Wahhabi sect.
There can be no doubt that Milosevic found many bedfellows among radical Arab states and movement, which rallied to his defense during the NATO operations against him. Iraq and Libya both described the NATO action in Kosovo as an anti-Yugoslav aggression, while Syria and Lebanon registered no reaction to events there. Earlier, Libyan foreign minister ‘Umar al-Muntasir had announced, after a meeting with the Yugoslav ambassador to Libya, that Libyan leader Mu‘ammar al-Qadhdhafi supported "dialogue" between Belgrade and the Kosovars without foreign intervention.11 This amiable exchange came one month after the first pitched battle between Serb forces and the KLA, in the Kosovo town of Rahovec, on July 19, 1998. At Rahovec, up to 150 Albanians died; the Serbs buried their victims in two mass graves in the area of Prizren.
The incident was among the most traumatic of the Kosovo conflict, but came during a season of horrors. In August and September 1998—while the Libyans and Serbs were chatting familiarly—Serb mass executions were recorded in Ranca (eleven people killed, eight of them children), Galica near Vushtrri (fourteen dead, mainly young men), and Golluboc (eight child victims), while in Abria e Epërme, a whole family of twenty-two persons was wiped out. By the end of 1998, half a million Albanians had fled their homes. Yet on May 3, 1999, with the NATO bombing of Serbia underway for weeks, Qadhdhafi called for a halt to all military operations in Kosovo, the withdrawal of Serbian and NATO troops, a peace agreement drawn up with Yugoslav participation, and continued Yugoslav sovereignty over Kosovo.12
Libyan involvement with the Milosevic regime and its defense was not merely rhetorical. Throughout the period of NATO bombing in Serbia, and as far as may be determined, up to the present, Libya has maintained firm trade and economic relations with Serbia. Serbian management cadres have participated in running Libyan industry, and Serb officers assisted in training Qadhdhafi's personal guards.
Many Palestinians also nurtured a similar sympathy for Milosevic. What may be considered the most surrealistic gesture during the entire decade of recent Balkan wars occurred six months after NATO's bombing of Serbia: on December 1, 1999, the Palestinian Authority (PA) invited Milosevic to Bethlehem to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas. News of this invitation, although more or less ignored in the West, was reported with banner headlines in the Balkans. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that if Milosevic accepted the invitation he would be arrested on arrival, since Israel, as a U.N. member, is obliged to fulfill arrest orders issued by The Hague tribunal, which had indicted him. The PA, not being a U.N. member, was under no such obligation.13 And the PA was not the only Palestinian element to vacillate over Kosovo. Earlier in 1999, the Palestinian Islamic extremist Hamas movement issued a statement, denouncing U.S. intervention to settle the Kosovo crisis as "hiding under the slogans of human rights to impose its power in the Balkans."14 Hamas thus echoed the allegations of Milosevic's own media, as well as the Russians and various leftists worldwide.
Islamists in Arab lands likewise did immense damage by making the false claim that the KLA was fighting for an Islamic state. In fact, the Kosovo Albanian struggle was ethnic, not religious, and the KLA included Catholic commanders as well as Muslims and persons with no strong religious affinities. But foreign Islamists announced that the struggle was some sort of jihad, a claim previously advanced by Milosevic, his government, and his apologists to label the Albanians as religious extremists. The KLA had to work overtime to refute the misinformation regularly disseminated about its objectives.
And of course the supporters of bin Ladin did all they could to provoke hostility toward the U.S. role in Kosovo, even after U.S. power ended the mass slaying of Muslims. In January 2000, a bin Ladinite website in the United States posted articles falsely claiming that NATO troops had introduced prostitution into Kosovo,15 and attempting to exploit a fatal sexual assault on an 11-year old Albanian girl by a deranged U.S. soldier.16 Other extremist websites purveyed the anti-NATO arguments that use of depleted uranium had polluted the soil in Kosovo, and that the real aim of the NATO intervention was to secure control of the Trepca mining complex (a facility that is a decade behind the rest of the world in extractive technology, while the commodities it once produced are all subject to a world glut).
In sum, while the rest of the world regarded the sufferings of Bosnian Muslims and Albanians as heart-rending and the basis of a great moral challenge to global policy makers, Arab states and Islamic extremists took a different view. They seemed to regard ethnic cleansing in the Balkans as secondary to their own complaints against the West and Israel, and as some sort of conspiracy of the West to infiltrate the Balkans. But their posture cannot be explained only by their obsession with Israel and their anti-Americanism. It owed much to the views of Wahhabi clerics who dominate religious life in Saudi Arabia and strongly influence it throughout the Arab states. Arab indifference to the fate of Balkan Muslims cannot be understood without an appreciation of Wahhabi ambivalence toward Balkan Islam—a very acute clash within Islamic civilization.
It would be difficult to imagine Muslims less attuned to the nuances of the Balkans than Wahhabis of the Saudi school. They abhor the very concept of mixed Islamic and non-Islamic societies such as exist throughout the Balkans. The expulsion of Muslims from mixed territories by the Serbs and Croats caused them little concern. Some Bosnians have told me they believed that the Arabs favored reduction of Muslim Bosnia to its most narrow ethnic territory (a strip from Mostar to Tuzla, including Sarajevo) if this would advance a separatist, supremacist, and Wahhabi agenda. For these Wahhabi foreigners, the idea of a "green," i.e. Muslim island in Europe meant nothing unless it became an Islamist enclave along Wahhabi lines. Needless to say, this condescending view of Balkan Islam as an object of colonization disregarded the vast contribution of Bosnians and Albanians to the development of Islamic civilization in general, and the Ottoman Empire in particular.
In the case of the Bosnian Muslims, it also contradicted a truly ancient tradition of interfaith coexistence and intra-religious pluralism. The Bosnians supported an independent Christian church before the Ottoman conquest of the country. During Ottoman times, Bosnian Catholics enjoyed religious autonomy, while the Serb Orthodox Church functioned as the main representative of the Christian millet, or religious community. Jews, too, were welcomed in Bosnia after their expulsion from Spain and Portugal. There were never any ghettoes or other residential restrictions on Jews in Bosnia; four synagogues remain fully intact in Sarajevo alone, a city that in 1941 was almost 20 percent Sephardic. Notwithstanding the horrors Muslims suffered in the 1992-95 war and the predictable resurgence of Islamic aspects in Bosnian Muslim ethnic identity, almost no native Bosnians could conceive of their country undergoing a Taliban-style experiment in Islamic revolution.
Many Bosnian Muslims were grateful for the participation of a thousand or so "Afghan Arabs" in their defense. But the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina (the so-called Muslim forces) included hundreds of thousands of fighters, and the mujahideen did not influence the course of a single battle in the Bosnian conflict. Furthermore, the mujahideen were largely Saudi adventurers who loved war; the Bosnians were typical Europeans who had come to hate war after their experience of Fascist occupation and partisan struggle in World War Two. When Bosnians fought, it was for their country, not for God or the opportunity for martyrdom. When the Bosnian war ended in 1995, no Bosnians followed the mujahideen to battle in Chechnya or Central Asia.
For the mujahideen in Bosnia, "the jihad ended" in 1995 with the U.S. imposition of the Dayton agreement. 17 Most of them departed the Balkans, although a few who had acquired Bosnian citizenship by their war service or by marrying Bosnian women settled in central Bosnia, occasioning much rumor but little real trouble.
The Saudi and other Gulf states then flooded Sarajevo with money and Wahhabi propaganda, under the ostensible cover of relief operations. Still, Wahhabism attracted few local recruits. The main conflict between Wahhabi acolytes and Bosnian politicians was a "mosque war" over architectural styles to be adopted in the Saudi- and Gulf-financed reconstruction of religious monuments destroyed by the Serbs and Croats. (Forty percent of Bosnian mosques, including the oldest and most important, were leveled during the war. Most of them were in territory that remains under Serbian control.) Bosnians wanted their mosques rebuilt in their original and ornate Ottoman style; the Saudis would only pay for the erection of bare, stark Wahhabi-style mosques.18
Although ordinary Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian ulema, and most Bosnian Muslim politicians resented the interference and arrogance of the Wahhabis, there was a visible reluctance in Sarajevo to repudiate them openly. The causes of this were simple: Bosnia is impoverished, and there is no prosperous Bosnian diaspora capable of investing in reconstruction. In addition, Bosnian participation in Sufi orders, the traditional barrier to Wahhabism, had declined drastically under Communism. The Saudis offered Bosnian Muslim authorities needed money, and all they had to do was accept free copies of the Qur'an. Yet even so, the Bosnian Muslim community remained essentially impervious to puritan Wahhabism, a situation that prevails today.
Foreign Islam in Kosovo
In Kosovo, Wahhabism encountered far greater difficulties. The main reason is that Shi‘ite-oriented Sufism—a double abomination in Wahhabi eyes—is the dominant form of religious expression among Albanian Muslims in Dukagjini (Metohija), the territory most distinguished by its history of anti-Serb resistance. It has been estimated that there are more Sufis or dervishes in the cities of Dukagjini, such as Gjakova and Prizren, than there are Sunni Muslims. Indeed, among Albanians, patriotism and Sufism are closely identified. The most influential among the Albanian Sufi orders is the Bektashiya, an extremely nonconformist sect with a long history in Anatolia, Central Asia and elsewhere. The heterodox practices of the Bektashiya, which include consumption of alcohol, are so outrageous to the Wahhabis that the Bektashis living in Hijaz were collectively expelled during the Saudi takeover of that part of Arabia.19 Wahhabis and those whom they influence typically describe the Bektashis as outside Islam.
In addition, mujahideen were not welcome in Kosovo although there is evidence that some Arabs went there to fight. Ramush Haradinaj, a leading figure in the KLA, stated in a book of interviews that "about twenty" non-Albanians fought in the organization's ranks in Dukagjini. Haradinaj identified their places of origin as "Sweden, Netherlands, France, Germany, Algeria, Italy, and some other countries. There were martyrs from [among] these volunteers," he added.20
Kosovo, like Bosnia-Hercegovina, was deluged with Saudi-funded Wahhabi propaganda and preachers as soon as the 1999 intervention ended. Kosovo grand mufti Rexhep Boja commented on the postwar influx of Islamic fundamentalists:
There are people who come here and want to tell us how we ought to do things. We have been Muslims for more than 600 years and we do not need to be told what Islam is. We have our own history and tradition here, our own Islamic culture and architecture. We would like to rebuild our community and to rebuild our mosques, but we want to do it our way.21
It is difficult to say how much money the Saudis put into Kosovo, largely through the Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo (SJRCK). But it was characteristic that the greater part of Saudi aid was spent on Wahhabi propagators and mosque-building, as opposed to broader humanitarian needs.22
Another Islamic aid group, based in the United Arab Emirates, promised residents of the Kosovo town of Vushtrri that they would build them new mosques that would be bigger, better, and "more Islamic"—provided they first demolished the Ottoman-era gravestones of their Muslim Albanian ancestors. (The Wahhabis, who regard tombstones as a form of idol-worship, were unwilling to rebuild mosques that had tombstones in their yards, a common feature of the traditional Balkan mosque.) The Saudis seemed intent on completing the cultural vandalism the Serbs had initiated, this time in the name of Islam.
Andras Riedlmayer, fine arts librarian at Harvard University, recalled that in the Dukagjini city of Peja,
I was told about an incident in 1998, when, as the villages in the surrounding Kosovo countryside were in flames, a group of Wahhabi missionaries—both Arabs and their Kosovar acolytes—came to town and tried to impose their own way of praying (the locals said it involved some "odd" body movements) ...
When the Wahhabis took out sledgehammers and set about smashing the seventeenth century gravestones in the garden of Peja's ancient Defterdar mosque, angry local residents beat them up and chased them out of town. I was shown the damaged gravestones, beautifully carved with floral motifs and verses from Qur'an. That was in the late summer of 1998. Six months later, in the spring of 1999, Serb paramilitaries came and burned down the mosque. Unlike the fundamentalist missionaries, they were not interested in the gravestones.23
Observers of the Kosovo situation were therefore not surprised when, at the end of 1999, the Kosovapress news agency, the media arm of the former KLA, issued an extremely strong comment against the infiltration of Wahhabi missionaries into Kosovo:
For more than a century civilized countries have separated religion from the state … we now see attempts not only in Kosovo but everywhere Albanians live to introduce religion into public schools … Supplemental courses for children have been set up by foreign Islamic organizations who hide behind assistance programs. Some radio programs, such as Radio Iliria in Vitia, now offer nightly broadcasts in Arabic, which nobody understands and which lead many to ask, are we in an Arab country?
It is time for Albanian mosques to be separated from Arab connections and for Islam to be developed on the basis of Albanian culture and customs.24
In 2000, the "mosque war" that had upset Bosnian Muslims expanded to Kosovo, where the Serbs had destroyed almost half the mosques, including several Ottoman architectural treasures. At the end of July 2000, Saudis who had taken over the refurbishment of the Hadum mosque complex in Gjakova, dating from 1595 and devastated by the Serbs during the 1999 war, suddenly turned up in the old Ottoman cemetery inside the walls and began removing its centuries-old gravestones. They also demolished the remains of the library, which could have been restored. The Albanians reacted with predictable rage. Gazmend Naka, an expert with the Institution for Protection of Kosova Monuments, denounced the Saudis:
The Saudis say NATO and the U.N. will let them do whatever they want, and that we Albanians have nothing to say about it. The Serbs killed us physically, but these fanatics want to kill our cultural heritage.25
Naka urged NATO's Kosovo Forces command, which mounted guards at Serbian churches threatened by Albanians, to place similar protective units at Islamic structures. But NATO was trying to get out of the monument protection business: sitting in armored cars and tanks watching Serbian Orthodox churches was not an efficient use of military resources, and there was no interest in extending the program to mosques. Fortunately, on August 5, 2000, the U.N.-backed authorities barred the Saudis from the Hadum mosque rehabilitation project.26
In the media coverage, Kosovar Albanian resentment of Arab meddling was even more sharply expressed when an United Arab Emirates diplomat promised that fifty beautiful, new mosques would be built around Kosovo, to be paid out of the diplomat's own pocket. Naim Maloku, a former KLA commander, brusquely rejected the proposal, stating that Kosovo needed employment opportunities more than mosques.27
Kosovar resistance to Wahhabi mosque demolitions and cemetery vandalism was not an insignificant matter. In a sense, Wahhabi missionaries in Kosovo had sought to do what the "Arab Afghans" and the Taliban did in Afghanistan, when they demolished the great Buddhas at Bamiyan. Such physical eradication of a rich and eclectic cultural heritage is itself an act of barbarism, whether done by Serb militias or Wahhabi zealots. In Afghanistan, no one was able to stay the hands of the iconoclasts. In Kosovo, the story has been different, as the Kosovars have made it clear they will not suffer the imposition of a foreign and extreme form of Islam, now tainted by its association with terrorism. This is a victory for moderation, and a great asset for the United States in its future approaches to the Muslim world.
War against Islam?
During the Afghan war, various Arab and other Muslims declared that the United States was really waging war against Islam, and that it even had a master plan to undermine Islam. Some Americans agonized that they had not done enough to placate Muslim opinion, and that U.S. policy was to blame for September 11.
The argument was nonsensical. The United States had used its power repeatedly in the 1990s on behalf of besieged Muslims, who are grateful for its intervention to this day. Those who charged the United States with being intrinsically hostile to Islam displayed a willful ignorance of recent history—so willful that it is doubtful the United States could ever do anything to persuade them otherwise. The United States has every reason to be proud of its record of solicitude for Muslims who have been persecuted for their ethnic and religious identity. It has no reason to apologize for its refusal to kowtow to Arab radicals like Saddam Husayn, or to indulge a Palestinian leadership that abandoned diplomacy in order to foment Balkan-style chaos in the Middle East.
Yet the United States has not acknowledged the goodwill it did create in the Balkans. As it looks forward to the next stages in the "war on terror," it would do well to make the most of the solidarity shown by Balkan Muslims generally, and Albanians in particular. The answer to Usama bin Ladin is not the kind of Islam practiced in the Arab world, with its strong streak of intolerance for difference. It is certainly not a version of Wahhabism as exported by Saudi Arabia—a doctrine that is infected with the germ of terrorist extremism. It is the sort of tolerant Islam that is practiced in the Balkans, and whose practitioners today feel themselves closer to the United States than to their benighted Arab "brethren." This is an asset the United States would do well to nurture and employ. In the post–September 11 world, you never know when you might need a few good Muslims.
Stephen Schwartz, a long-term resident of the Balkans, is the author of Kosovo: Background to a War (Anthem, 2001), and the forthcoming Two Faces of Islam.1
The Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2001.2
Interview with Usama bin Ladin, "The New Powder Keg in the Middle East," Nida'ul Islam, Oct.-Nov. 1996, at http://www.islam.org.au/articles/15/LADIN.HTM.3
BBC News, Nov. 3, 2001.4
Oct. 15, 2001, at http://www.as-sahwah.com/Articles/An%20Open%20Letter%20to%20President%20Bush.phtml.5
"U.S. Understanding of Islam Does Not Confirm Clash of Civilizations Claim," Radikal (Istanbul), Oct. 13, 2001.6
Reuters, Oct. 31, 2001.7
TVSH Television (Tirana), Sept. 12, 2001.8
KosovaLive News Agency (Prishtina), Oct. 12, 2001.9
Koha Jone (Tirana), Oct. 8, 2001.10
Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) Albanian Language Media Report, Oct. 8, 2001.11
Arabic News, Aug. 24, 1998, at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/980824/1998082403.html.12
Ibid., May 3, 1999, at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/990503/1999050314.html.13
The Washington Post, Dec. 2, 1999. Contrast with Israel's conduct: in the early phase of the Kosovo intervention, Israel sent a mobile hospital to the main Kosovar Albanian refugee camp in Macedonia, the Israeli labor federation Histadrut donated ten metric tons of food aid to the Kosovars, and Israel took in 112 Kosovar Albanian refugees, none of whom were Jewish. Israeli aid to the Kosovars was completely disinterested; there had been no significant Jewish presence in Kosovo since the Holocaust.14
Arabic News, Apr. 3, 1999, at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/990403/1999040314.html.15
Agence France-Presse, Jan. 5, 2000.16
Reuters, Jan. 15, 2000.17
Their story is told in two cassettes, In the Hearts of Green Birds and Under the Shades of Swords, available for purchase at http://22.214.171.124/~azzam/html/productsgreenbirds.htm; http://126.96.36.199/~azzam/html/productsswords.htm#top.18
Stephen Schwartz, "Islamic Fundamentalism in the Balkans," Partisan Review, Summer 2000, at http://www.bu.edu/partisanreview/archive/2000/3/schwartz.html.19
M. Darwish, "The Hidden Face of Extremism—the ‘New Wahhabi' Movement," EastWest Record, Oct. 8, 2001, at http://www.eastwestrecord.com/articles/theNewWahhabMovement.asp.20
Bardh Hamzaj, A Narrative about War and Freedom: Dialog with Commander Ramush Haradinaj (Prishtina: Zeri, 2000), p. 141.21
Personal communications with Andras Riedlmayer, 1999-2000.22
See the results for a search for "Kosovo" in the Saudi Arabian Information Resource, at http://www.saudinf.com/scripts/search3.pl?target=Kosovo&_submit=Search&baseurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.saudinf.com%2F.23
Personal communications with Andras Riedlmayer, 1999-2000.24
Kosovapress News Agency, Dec. 29, 1999.25
Interview with author, Prishtina, Kosovo, summer 2000; Stephen Schwartz, "A Certain Exhaustion," The New Criterion, Oct. 2000, at http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/19/oct00/schwartz.htm.26
Jolyon Naegele, "Yugoslavia: Saudi Wahhabi Aid Workers Bulldoze Balkan Monuments," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, at http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2000/08/F.RU.000804130919.html.27
Religion in Kosovo (Brussels: International Crisis Group, 2001), at http://www.crisisweb.org/projects/showreport.cfm?reportid=226.
Related Topics: Muslims in Europe | Stephen Schwartz | Spring 2002 MEQ
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