Balkan Islam: barrier or a bridge radicalization?

Balkan Islam:
BARRIER OR MOST radicalization?

"Friedrich Ebert"
Bulgarian Diplomatic Society

Balkan Islam:
BARRIER OR MOST radicalization?

Prof.. Dr. Iskra BAEVA
Dr. BISSER Banchev
Dr. BOBBY Bobev
PETER Vodenska
Dr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov
LYUBCHO Trohorov

Edited by Dr. LYUBOMIR Kyuchukova

Sofia, 2018

ISBN 978-954-2979-37-1



Foreword - Dr Helene Kortlender, Lubomir Kjuchukov, Filip Bokov
Balkan Islam and radicalization: barrier bridge - Lubomir Kjuchukov
Albania: and a possible bridge, and a barrier with respect to the Islamic radicalism - Dr. Bobby Bobev
Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Ljubco Trohorov
Islam in Bulgaria: most Bulgarian Muslims profess traditional Islam - Prof.. Dr. Iskra Baeva
Kosovo: collision between the traditional tolerance and radicalization - Dr. Bobby Bobev
In Macedonia there is no internal Islamist threat, external forces bring radical Islam - Ljubco Neshkov
Muslim communities in Serbia between integration and radicalization - Dr. Biser Banchev
Islam in Turkey - Peter Vodenska


Significant Muslim communities exist in many Balkan countries. As a general characteristic of the region are the moderate nature of Balkan Islam and tolerant relations between religions. In recent years, however, wars and political confrontation led to new dividing lines in local communities on ethnic and religious grounds. The actions of the "Islamic State" and terrorist acts in Europe put under further strain local Islamic communities. Available data confirm, that significant number of Islamic militants in the Middle East come from Southeast Europe.
The aim of this study is to make a political assessment of the role of local Islamic communities in the Balkans in these processes, to analyze trends among them in individual countries, risks of radicalization and external interference. The delineation of a region-wide dimension of the problem would help boost interfaith dialogue and regional cooperation in the prevention against possible radicalization of Islamic communities in the region.
The study covers seven Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey strives to follow a uniform approach, reflecting the importance of these issues for each country:
• A common characteristic picture of religious beliefs in the country and the role and place of Islam;
• Islamic communities - legal status, relations with state institutions, presence of different Islamic currents, religious organizations, Islamic schools;
• Political parties on religious or ethnic grounds and their relations with Islam (if available), their influence in the country;
• Processes and trends among Islamic community in the country - risks of radicalization, possible influence of the ideology of "Islamic State";
• A foreign influence on the local Islamic communities (if any) - source, goals, methods, financing;
• recruitment of jihadist fighters from the country concerned, including returnees from the Middle East - dynamics, problems, events;
• Assessing risk, linked to radical Islamist groups;
• Measures against Islamic radicalization after 2000 g. (if available);
• Local Islamic communities - a barrier or a bridge to radicalization.
Reports are prepared by Bulgarian experts with in-depth professional knowledge of relevant countries - Ambassadors, researchers, press. The text is an author analyzes the complex and contradictory processes and trends in the region and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the "Friedrich Ebert", Institute of Economics and International Relations and Bulgarian Diplomatic Society.

Dr Helene Kortlender, Director for Bulgaria, "Friedrich Ebert"
Dr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov, Director of the Institute for Economics and International Relations
Filip Bokov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Diplomatic Society


Balkan Islam and radicalization:
Dr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov

Religious beliefs in the region, role and place of Islam

Overall in the region, there is considerable diversity of religious beliefs, but with one dominant religion in most countries. prevailing party, whose population is mainly Christian, as Eastern Orthodoxy is significantly more prevalent. Catholicism is present primarily in the western part of the peninsula. Islam is the dominant religion in Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina, a growing influence among the Albanian population (in Albania itself, Kosovo, and among the Albanian minority in Macedonia, Serbia and other post-Yugoslav states).
Islam is introduced among the Balkan nations at a relatively late stage and comes on the peninsula with the conquest by the Ottoman Empire after XIV- XV century. This creates a specific historical religious state commitment to Islam and the Turkish state, which exists so far as public perception. For this reason, today the traditional Balkan Islam retains its relationship with Turkey.
Under the Ottoman Empire, Islam was the state, the dominant religion, including determining the status of subjects - "orthodox" and "Paradise". His distribution was carried out as voluntarily, under economic and political factors (predominantly ethnic Albanian area), and violent, by Islamization of the local population. Subsequently, this process stimulates internal division and differentiation within different ethnic groups based on religion, creating conditions for the formation of new ethno-religious groups - Bosniaks, pomaks etc.
At the same time, although with different, nepalnopraven status within the Ottoman Empire, Christianity kept its strong presence and influence among the Balkan nations through all these centuries. This creates certain traditions shared and parallel existence of two religions, reflected in a high enough degree of religious tolerance in the Balkan societies after the collapse of the empire in XIX-XX centuries.
Balkan Muslims are mainly Sunnis (Turkey - 80%), as the rest are Shiites (mostly Alevis) and representatives of various sects.

Islamic communities - legal status, relations with state institutions, religious organizations, Islamic schools

In all Balkan countries, religion is separate from the state by constitutional means. Executive by law has no right to interfere in the organization and operation of existing religious structures, as in many countries, by definition, it is neutral towards them (in some cases - Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and others., available leading or traditional national religion).
A specific example for unequivocal public commitment in religious matters is the activity of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Dianet) Turkey as a government tool to influence the organization (and beliefs) of Muslims - not only in running the country's process of Islamization, but in the entire Balkan region.
Islamic communities in virtually all countries of the region are distinct (in most cases - and ethnic and territorial) and well organized, have their own religious structures, Election religious guides, and the necessary infrastructure and certain financial capacity to carry out its activities. With some exceptions (Bulgaria, Serbia) they have sufficient internal consolidated.
Over the past two decades have seen massive construction of new mosques in several countries in the region - both in the Muslim population, where the role of Islam in politics is growing (Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Albanian area (Albania, Kosovo, Northern and Western Macedonia, Presevo, and Sandzak in Serbia). There is another trend - the absence of sufficient Islamic educational institutions and vacuum in the training of local imams and preachers create conditions for the entry of foreign organizations of Balkan Islam and ideas.

Processes and trends among Islamic communities in the Balkans

The region is generally observed sufficiently clearly marked process of expanding the territory of religion, including Islam. The basic dynamics here in Turkey and in the former communist countries: Albania, Bulgaria and especially in the countries of the post-Yugoslav space. On the one hand this is a result of the effect of the removal of restrictions on religion, which in turn leads to a strong increase in the number of officially state their religious affiliation citizens. In many cases, however, it is rather declarative position, defining primarily social belonging and identity, rather than genuine religiosity - especially among the Orthodox population in these countries. Different things in cases, when it comes to the separation of certain minority ethnic or religious community, where religion (practically everywhere it turns Islam) It became a major differentiate and identify factors.
Especially pronounced is the process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it is state-creating, as far as the formation of an independent state is the result of an effort to promote the Bosniak identity, based on historical practice religious divisions. There is a clear enough specificity in confrontation: while between Serbs and Croats dividing line is an ethnic, it between Bosniaks and the other to the fore religion. The transformation of Islam into a key political factor in the country creates conditions for internal fundamentalism in the country itself, as well as the entry of external factors, at this very important characteristic specificity - except radical religious, they bring with them and paramilitary presence through volunteer jihadists.
In Turkey over the past two decades have seen a process of dragging the country towards Islamization - as part of strengthening the power of Erdogan, reducing the influence of the army as the guarantor of secularism and the erosion of the legacy of Ataturk, rehabilitation of Islamic traditions and symbols in public, Distancing and confrontation with the West. State-controlled Islamization carried out and a certain security function to the entry of foreign religious influences in the country and not a lesser extent restrict the import of Islamic radicalism in the Middle East, but on the other hand, she significantly expanded the foundation and meaning of Islam in society.
Overall, it is clear, that local Islam is gaining strength and expanding its influence in a number of countries in the Balkans. In terms of scope, Islam gradually cover wider and wider sections of the population, narrowing the field of atheistic or religious indifferent part of the population in the countries, where it dominates (Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo) and covering more tightly ethnic minorities, professing that religion, in other countries (Bulgarian Turks, Albanians in Macedonia and Serbia, etc.). Typically the entry of Islam into new territories - mainly among the Roma population, by virtue of their social marginalization in most countries are more susceptible to a possible radicalization.

Political parties on religious (or ethnic) basis, associated with Islam

In most countries in the region (Turkey, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia) There ethnic parties, Some of them are mainly the interests of the Islamic Communities.
Among the countries with predominantly Muslim populations Islam in one way or another it is incorporated in the ideological basis of the ruling parties in Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Turkey Islam, along with nationalism, They are used as key factors consolidating power. They are also this base, on the ruling Justice and Development Party build the concept of political Islam. In Bosnia and Herzegovina practically all political parties are ethnically based, but only Bosniak parties and is a strong religious element, as the leading party of Democratic Action is ideological ideas of the conservative Islamic democracy and Bosnian nationalism, reflected in the views of the "Islamic Declaration" by Alija Izetbegovic, formulating the incompatibility of Islam with non-Islamic systems and the impossibility of peace and coexistence between it and non-Islamic social and political institutions. For this reason and ideological basis of political Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Building on these ideas, reinforced by bloody ethnic and religious clash, It is much more radical than in Turkey. In Albania and Kosovo, Islam is not reflected in the platforms of political parties, and attempts to create an Islamist party in Albania were intersected by the government.
In countries, where Islamic communities are in the minority (they overlap greatly with the respective ethnic minorities), existing ethnic parties also advocate Islamist ideas in their political platforms. Islam has some influence only on the political representation of the Bosniak (but not in Albanian) Muslim minority in Serbia.
Overall, it is clear, with the exception of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey, Islam and politics are separated in Balkan countries.

Foreign influence on the local Islamic communities

Given the historical roots of Islam in the Balkans logical main external religious influence in the Balkan countries comes from domestic to very source region. It is connected with Turkey and its traditions and ambitions to pose as a defender of Muslims in the Balkans and conducted two parallel, often overlapping lines - ethnic and religious, as now leading a line of "Pan-Turkism", and that of Islamism plays a supporting role. This approach is up to the rank of state policy, Find the thorough understanding of the ideas of neo-Ottomanism, where already seen a more expanded role and Pan-Islamism. This policy has the administrative and financial instruments in the face of the Diyanet, has many significant financial (over 2 billion dollars 2016 Mr.) and staff resource, Development Agency (TIKA) etc. Turkey's attention is directed primarily at ethnic Turkish population in Bulgaria, as well as Muslim communities in Albania, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Greece. Special attention is paid to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey is seen as a brotherly country, a kind of outpost for the restoration of its historical influence in the Balkans. In terms of contents, the Turkish state is trying to influence the leadership of Islamic communities in their respective countries, including sending and Turkish Muslim priests and assistance (financially, organizationally, through textbooks and teachers) training of local imams. Moreover, Turkey is trying to influence political processes in certain countries in the region (firstly Bulgaria), and in other European countries by encouraging the establishment and support of the parties of Turkish ethnic. It should be emphasized, however, that priority in Turkish policy towards the region remained servicing government ambitions and interests of Turkey to make it a regional leader and a global player, the use of religious communities fall so far in the arsenal of tools to achieve those objectives. In this sense, there are no grounds at this stage to talk about the direct impact of this Turkish policy towards a possible radicalization of Islamic communities in the region. At the same time the intervention of Turkey in the internal affairs of countries creates prerequisites for further division in the Balkan societies, stimulating emergence as a counterpoint of sufficiently strong nationalist tendencies in many countries and generating internal confrontational processes, which increases the risk of isolating the Islamic communities there.
Along with traditional Turkish influence on Muslim communities on the peninsula, undertaken in the field of local moderate Islam, in recent decades strengthen the presence of unusual and outside the region religious factors. Their origin is mostly from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, etc.. Basically what happens in the line of dozens of non-governmental organizations - such as humanitarian aid (in the form of food and medicine) and financial support, initially bound by mild conditions: men regularly attend services at mosques, and women to move veiled and dressed accordingly, and subsequently covering the construction of mosques and schools to study the Koran, providing scholarships for higher spiritual education abroad, etc.. These include Saudi International Islamic Relief Organization and the Saudi High Commission (expelled for spreading radical Islam of Macedonia), Islamic foundation "Al Haramain", etc.. Contrary to the traditions of Balkan Islam, historically linked with Turkey, dozens of youths received religious education in the Arab world in the spirit of a more conservative canon. It should be noted, that some countries external influence of radical Islam enters through internal channels for the region - in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Serbia), in Kosovo and Albania (Serbia and P. Macedonia).
Several circumstances contribute to their penetration in the region. Firstly this is a direct result of wars and ethnic opposition in the former Yugoslavia - mainly Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, where religion has become an element of national differentiation and formation of new state identity and where the greatest risk of increased foreign religious influence and unregulated offensive ideas, incompatible with traditional Muslim. In Bosnia and Herzegovina this process was accompanied as a certain radicalization within the Bosniak population, and with the advent of radical religious elements and military (dzhihadistki) structure, presumed, that they have retained their presence after the end of hostilities. other factors, promoting the entry of foreign religious influence in the region are: released by atheistic government control and ideological taboos spiritual space (in Albania, countries of former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey); disengagement of countries preparing Islamic clerics (Bulgaria), led to their mass training in the aforementioned Arab countries through scholarships from local organizations, but alien to Balkan Islam traditions; social marginalization of certain ethnic groups (Roma); political confrontation and the use of Islam as a political tool (Turkey) or ethno-national identification (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and others.).
Overall, it is clear, the impact of external factors in the region is more sensitive in Member, wherein generating stronger confrontational processes (Ethnic and political) and where there is a serious internal dynamics of the formation and development of Muslim communities.

Risks of radicalization, influence of ideology of "Islamic State", recruitment of jihadist fighters

The first evidence of increasing inbound outside propaganda of fundamentalist ideas and radical Islam (Wahhabism and Salafism) in the region can be attributed to the early 90s of the twentieth century. In territorial terms this trend is focused on post-Yugoslav space, and in a meaningful profit from this focus on the objective processes of expanding the influence of religion, respectively Islam, among the Muslim population there.
It should be noted, that only in Bosnia and Herzegovina domestic conditions for the entry of a radical Islamist ideas are created as early as 60-70 years. In all other countries it is a function of the processes after the collapse of the bipolar world. The influence of radical Islamist ideas (including Wahhabism - preaching supremacy of Sharia law and the concept of "holy jihad") in the Western Balkans reached its peak after the start of the armed conflict in Syria. It is much more limited among traditional, established and integrated into the respective societies Islamic communities, which are much more stable and resistant to it.
The main channels of penetration of radical Islamic ideas in the region are related to the training of local Islamic clerics abroad (With. corker, Egypt, Kuwait), and sending foreign ministers of the Balkans. Territorial this activity is focused primarily on Western Balkan, but in a more limited range affects Bulgaria. Available information suggests, initially sought entry in smaller settlements, with isolated and poor population, by imams at local mosques, around which gradually form Islamic cores. Target are primarily veterans of military conflicts in their respective countries or unemployed young people. For more significant groups of supporters of radical Islam can speak only in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, but in those countries, they remain few in number and isolated.
data vary, but it can be assumed, that participation in military operations in Syria and Iraq from the Balkans have recruited about a thousand fighters - in ethno-religious line. estimates suggest, half of them are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the rest - from Kosovo and Albania, as well as a certain amount and Macedonia (the Albanian population) and Serbia (Bosniaks from Sandzak, but not Albanians from Presevo). According to information in the public domain is allowed, that camps for recruitment and training of Islamist fighters may exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, the official Albanian authorities do not preclude such have been and Albanian territory. In timetable this process is most pronounced in the period 2012-2015 Mr., and then no evidence of significant movement of volunteers from the Balkans to the Middle East. Originally they flow into the Al-Nusrat, like at a later stage, most enter the ranks of the "Islamic State". Available information suggests, these are people aged 35 years, often family connected (due to the strong clan links in some of these societies). There is reason to conclude, that there is a specific motivation of Islamist fighters from the Balkans. For indoctrinated Jihadis can talk to citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while those of Albanian area it is mainly for mercenaries, The reason for them is financial and economic.
Balkans as a whole provided relatively significant contingent jihadist fighters originating party, related conflicts and hostilities over the past two decades. At the same time there is no reason to believe, at this stage radical Islamic ideas have penetrated widely among local Islamic communities.

Risk of terrorist acts, linked to radical Islamist groups

According to most estimates, the level of risk of terrorist acts in their own territory for most Balkan countries is relatively low compared to many Western countries. Except to some extent do countries with serious internal ethnic tensions. But they (first in Turkey) Terrorist acts are not motivated by radical Islamist ideas, but they are the result of ethno-national conflicts. The main risks on the part of radical Islam are associated with returning soldiers to "Islamic state" in some countries of the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania), the possible establishment of networks and their attempts to destabilize the neighboring countries (Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia), as well as their transit. It is essential to reduce the risk of radical action will be the answer to the question of how local authorities will deal with the reintegration of returning fighters from the Middle East, including disclosure of fugitive by authorities such, posing a potential threat of further terrorist activity. But so far, no evidence of a critical mass deployment of jihadist infrastructure in the region.

Measures against Islamic radicalization

In most countries in the region in recent years, especially after 2014-2015 g. It has adopted legislation expressly against the risks of transnational terrorism. There are several factors, led to this: terrorist activities in several European countries, spread of radical Islamic ideas in the Middle East, participation of Islamist fighters from the Balkans in the fighting there, and their eventual return after territorial defeat of the "Islamic state" and last but not least - in response to concerns of the public opinion from the entry of Islamist fighters in refugee and migration channels.
In a number of countries in the region (Albania, R. Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria) adopted legislative measures, incriminating preaching of radical ideas. In meaningful terms, this law covers two areas - the fight against terrorism and prevention of radicalization and extremism. The measures include prosecution for acts such as recruiting volunteers, financing propaganda of radical Islam (Kosovo), ban on participation in armed conflicts abroad, etc.. On this basis, in several countries there are already cases of convictions against persons, whose activity is inconsistent with these laws, and ban the activities of religious structures, preaching radical Islam.
Serious attention in most countries are paid to prevention activities with a view to attacking the causes of this phenomenon. It is essential here is the internal consolidation of societies, prevention through education, improving socio-economic conditions and especially - social security and prospects for young people. Regardless of the future precisely the social sphere will remain the most vulnerable, generating alienation, aggression and radicalism.
In countries with a strong presence of political Islam (Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina) authorities also take serious measures against the spread of radical ideas - both in order to avoid destabilization of the country, and to prevent the shift of political attitudes beyond government control. The peculiarity here is related to the fact, that state authorities are willing to tolerate the expansion of religious influence as a means of consolidation of society, ie. when they feel internal or external threat, but take serious measures to counter possible external influence, because then comes to the fore risk, Radicalization which represents about themselves - and as a conduit of foreign interests, as the internal counterpoint.
In practically all countries of the peninsula governments try to maintain good institutional cooperation with the Islamic communities, Proceeding from the assumption, that the fight against radical Islam can be successful only in alliance with the broader Islamic community. It relies primarily on the fact, that public attitudes in the vast majority are bound by the traditional local moderate Islam, but also seek the active involvement of religious leaders and preachers to counter radical Islamist ideas. It is essential here is political, organizational and financial support to countries for religious communities and supporting their activities. On the other hand the internal divisions in the leadership of the Muslim religious guides (Serbia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia) identifiable risk of disorientation of the communities themselves. In some countries (Kosovo, R. Macedonia) monitor and confrontation between the older and traditional set clergy and the young radical generation.
Although not always effective enough, can be concluded, Governments in the region are aware of the risks of entry outside of radical Islamist ideas and gradually generate political commitment and public support for stronger measures against them.

Barrier bridge?

The analysis shows, Islam in the Balkans itself is rather an obstacle to the entry of radical Islamist ideas from the Middle East to Europe. He is moderate in nature, and in the region there is a long tradition of coexistence and tolerance among different religions. In most countries in the region are absent necessary public deposits, to create conditions for the radicalization of broader Muslim communities.
At the same time as the internal dynamics (national and regional), and the influence of external forces in the region testify to the presence of certain factors, whose development has the potential to increase the risk of a similar trend.
In terms of intra-regional processes should take into account the specifics of individual countries, as in terms of the place of Islam in them to countries with predominantly Muslim populations (Turkey, Albania) and those, where they are in the minority (Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece) can be added and a specific category of countries, acquired its first modern state after the collapse of Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia).
In all Member, where Islam is the leading religion, governments take serious measures to prevent radical external influences - in order to preserve the stability of the country and their own management positions. This applies to both sides, where religion remains practically out of politics (Albania), and those, where Islam is an important political (Turkey) or even political-ideological factor (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Process in Turkey, as a kind of "buffer" country between the Middle East and Europe, They are key to preventing radicalization of Islam to Europe. This is primarily a function of the ability of Erdogan, relying on "controlled Islamization" as a political resource, to withhold process in these frames (in case of internal destabilization or international crisis) and not allow it to acquire its own dynamics and get out of control. It should be taken of the fact, that neo-Ottomanism of Erdogan and radical Islam are not strategic allies, but rather rivals: neo-Ottomanism is a state doctrine regional application, and radical Islam is a political ideology with global target; neo-Ottomanism seeks to impose a Turkish influence among neighbors and domination in the region, while radical Islam is sufficiently complete anti-Western ideology, designed to oppose and destroy societies inside. From this perspective, the country Turkey is a barrier to the smooth spread of radical Islam to Europe. However in some cases there is a coincidence of interests between neo-Ottomanism and radical Islam - not so much the goals, as in terms of opponents - first-Assad and Kurds.
countries, acquired its first modern statehood (Should, Kosovo, Macedonia), faced with the difficult task to combine in a harmonious whole two opposite processes: edna from country - To separated a long time no general economic, political and cultural space, To set themselves apart, build sovereignty and institutions and to consolidate society - all this inevitably accompanied by a strong dose of nationalism (particularly after the military conflict, accompanying independence); the other - to preserve normal interethnic and religious relations in the new Member. Internal ethnic conflicts in each of them hiding a dangerous destabilizing potential not only of a sharp aggravation of inter-religious confrontation, but create conditions for domestic radicalization and penetration of fundamentalist ideas outside among the Muslim population. Fragile state makes Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, and a possible destabilization - and Macedonia potentially the most threatened in the region of infiltration of radical Islam.
Geographical concentration and compactness of Islamic communities in the Member, where Islam is not the leading religion (Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia), create conditions for their further self-closing and isolating. A major risk factor here is to increase the intensity of nationalist trends: both majorities to minorities, and among minority - in response to internal cohesion, but also as a function of external support for ethnic (mainly ethnic Albanians and Turks), not a religious line.
As elsewhere in Europe, the refugee crisis caused a sharp strengthening of nationalist sentiment. Optics in the region, however, is different: while in Western Europe the debate is linked to residence (accommodation and integration), then the Balkans, he is focused on non- (border protection) and transit. This defines another type of attitude towards refugees and migrants: there are fears about security, but they do not grow into hatred towards foreigners and xenophobia. Crucial circumstance, that the mass public consciousness a sufficiently clear distinction between "their" Muslim (not be regarded as a security threat) and "foreign" (among which there are concerns about the presence of jihadists).
analyzes show, that social insecurity is another, at this very important risk factor for virtually all countries in the region. The social consequences of transition to a market economy, high unemployment, deindustrialisation, lack of a stable professional perspective and vast migration, especially among younger generation, lead to practical disintegration of the social fabric in most former socialist countries, which could open the door for the introduction of radical currents, including Islamist ones. Particularly vulnerable here find themselves marginalized Roma communities.
It is important to note, that none of these internal problems of the region itself does not lead to radicalization of the local Muslim population. Collectively, they make it more vulnerable to intentional influence in a possible destabilization of countries.
The main risks for the region are related to the possible importation of radicalism under the influence of external factors.
Muslim communities in the Balkans, and everywhere, They are a logical goal of radical Islamists. The objects of targeting and export of fundamentalism, radicalism and extremism in the region can be traced in several directions. First, to Islamic majorities: both countries, received its first independence due to ethnic conflicts (Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo), and released from atheism to public space in Albania. Second, Muslim minorities in Christian countries. Third, to ethnic minorities (Roma) and socially marginalized (mainly youths).
At this stage can identify two levels, which are performed intrusion attempts among Muslim communities in the Balkans. The first is the interference with traditional beliefs - Transform characteristic of the region moderate version of Islam in a more conservative, scholastic variant thereof, on the one hand would lead to the closure of Islamic communities within ourselves, the other would enhance public perceptions of diversity. The addressee here are the local Islamic communities, and their goal is the formation and consolidation. The second is related to attempts to create a nutritious environment, within such a contrived a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, Transformation of social frustration and alienation, especially young people, in aggression, on this basis subsequently go towards the radicalization of wider groups. In this case the address is already narrowed to potential radical elements, but the goal was expanded to destabilization and confrontation of the whole society. Currently there are no grounds to assert, that there is sufficient accumulation among Islamic communities in Balkan countries, to boost the cultivation of local radicalism in the region.
All this allows to conclude, so far moderate Balkan Islam in its entirety play a more important deterrent against the transfer of radicalism in the Middle East to Europe. But the trend is not necessarily irreversible. The internal destabilization of the country, thrive on nationalism in the region and turning the Balkans into an arena of geopolitical confrontation are the key factors, that may create risks for lifting the barrier of moderate Islam Balkan front radicalization to Europe.

ALBANIA: AND POSSIBLE BRIDGE, And barriers to Islamic radicalism
Dr. Bobby Bobev

Confessional structure of society - Background and current status. Legal status of Islamic Community.

The current confessional structure of Albanian society has a long history and is built under the influence of various factors. In the Middle Ages in these territories crosses the border between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and the lack of an integral own country in this period also means a lack of focused and centralized policy in the spiritual realm, which helps to increase the permanence of this division between the northern and southern Catholic Orthodox. And with regard to social development, it should be emphasized, that generic-clan form is rooted in Albanian tradition and dominates all other impacts, including religious.
In the second half of the fourteenth century. and during the fifteenth century on. situation in the Balkans is long and radically changed. Invasion of the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans straits, and later to the heart of Europe, harming the status quo and within a few decades removed from the political map of the continent Byzantine Empire, Bulgarian kingdom, Serbian Kingdom and other smaller entities in the region, including several Albanian principalities. Here, however, it's not only territorial changes or new and dominant government of the state entity, and a general change of civilizational character. Permanently settled in the Balkans Ottoman Empire has won a new confession, and respectively of another type of culture, with all the ensuing consequences. In view of the Middle Ages this inevitably means confrontation or opposition, at least - one of the main identification dividers then professed religion. The new religion is the best soil for acceptance and recognition in the territories of Albania and Bosnia. In this religious change is completely voluntary, forcible imposition of Islam is not uncommon especially in the Albanian lands. Can be considered, that in the eighteenth century. already over 50% of Albanians converted to Islam, and during the second half of the nineteenth century. The appearance of the Albanian society from a religious point of view is valuable features, which remain unchanged to this day - approximately 2/3 Muslims, about 20% Orthodox and around 10 % Catholics. These are data from censuses in the twentieth century. We should not overlook one other feature, typical for the imposition of Islam in the Balkans - the strong influence not so official sunizam, as the various branches and sects. They start with more liberal postulates, more open and understandable for subordinates Christians. Albanians among the most influential and impactful is Bektashism. The organization of the Albanian Muslims belong to the system of Caliphate, imposed in the Ottoman Empire.
In the nineteenth century, albeit with some delay compared to other Balkan nations, Albanian society are starting to soil the ideas of the Renaissance, as religious differences do not hinder this process. Nay, namely at the end of this century as a significant figure Pashko Vasa expresses the thought, that the religion of the Albanian is Albanianism. This formula seems to be valid to the present day, it explains the relationship between beliefs in society. At the end of the nineteenth and twentieth-century, whenever a significant event of national importance - for example, in announcing the independent nation of 28 November 1912 Mr., must be attended by representatives not only of Albanian-populated territories, but of all faiths.
Twenties of the twentieth century. have time, when the foundations of the independent contemporary Albanian religious structures. In view of the indisputable priority of the Islamic faith it was important developments in this community. In March 1923 Mr., a special congress in Tirana, deciding the release of the Turkish caliphate and established existing and functioning today Albanian Muslim Community. It includes central management structures, headed by Chief Mufti, and regional muftis, covering the entire territory of the country. It should be emphasized, Albanian Islam and then, and in the coming decades, It remains traditionally associated with Turkey.
established after 1944 g. totalitarian communist regime applied severe blow to all religious structures and faiths. By Decree-Law of 1949 g. of all religions require loyalty to the regime and carried out the nationalization of their property, except the temple buildings. Thus inflicted irreparable damage on the impact of various confessions, as the head of their structures are placed close to the government figures. It is scary, of course, It is the physical destruction of a significant part of the clergy. Confessional structures are invalidated. Through 1967 g. adopted so-called. "Act atheist state", which Albania was the only country, where religion has been formally banned. More than 2 100 temple buildings cease to function, Most of them were destroyed, others have been turned into warehouses, sports halls, clubs.
Categorically it can be concluded, that time the communist dictatorship Islam, traditional religion of the majority of Albanians, not only has no real presence in socio-political life, but also brutally persecuted and repressed, equally with other faiths.
"The wind of change" will inevitably reach the Albanian mountains and the beginning of serious disturbances, gradually complete the transition from a totalitarian regime to a parliamentary democracy. Regardless of parvenstvashtoto at the time position of the Albanian Party of Labor (such is the official name of the communist party), a decision of the parliament in May 1990 g. canceled misanthropic law atheistic country. Gradually begin operations in several directions - and to restore the old confessional structures and temples, and to return to religious services in everyday life. So Albania enters a new stage of spiritual development, But that can not be influenced both by decades of prohibition of religion, and the overall spirit of the times and the turmoil of transition.
Firstly, it is appropriate to clarify the issue of the number of different confessional communities in modern Albania - including the fact, that the duration of the totalitarian regime, and time to 2011 Mr., such studies have not been performed. When specified population of 2 800 138 people, belonging to the traditional Muslim declared 1 587 608 people, or 56.70% by nationals, at 2.09% Bektâshîs, which means the number of 58 628 Albanians. The numbers suggest more 280 921 Catholics - 10.03%, when expressed as Orthodox 188 992 people or 6.75%. This in a sense diverge traditionally adopted and based on data from censuses in the interwar period ratio of 2/3 Muslims in 1/3 Christians nearly double over the dominance of orthodox Catholics. Through 2011 g. However, we find other interesting and incite reflection data. 153 630 nationals, or 5.49%, They identify themselves as "believers", free indication of the denomination. Available have 69 995, or 2.5% atheists, and 386 024 Albanians, or 13.79%, who have not responded to this question. Assuming, we have a corresponding number of convinced atheists, There is a reserve of nearly 20% or 600 000 people, which do not specify a religious affiliation. It undoubtedly changed many things and leads to some sort of distortion. Knowing the mood of Albanians consider, Catholics voted "most disciplined" and data are roughly accurate, while the presence of more Muslims and Orthodox both unspecified beliefs of society is more widely. In this sense, the ratio 2:1 in Islamic faith and Christians are not far from the truth in our time. However, we should recognize, that it is primarily for traditional affiliation to the respective confessional group, not actively practicing a particular religion.
Albania's transition actually has its origins 1990 g. and the country eight years developed under the old Constitution of 1976 g. The country's majority decided to create a kind of set of laws, called "constitutional", to govern key materials, relating to the proper functioning of the state and society in the new conditions. This is particularly true for the prohibition of religious denominations, destruction of their structures, persecution of the clergy. The aforementioned Parliamentary repeal the law on atheistic country allows the beginning of a process of restoring the structures of the main faiths.
And separate laws, and in the newly adopted 1998 g. Constitution, provide guarantees for full religious freedom, and for their equality. This whole matter is resolved completely in the tradition of the relationship between a secular state in nature and available faiths. Especially important argument for this assertion is categorically changed course in the Albanian foreign policy after 1990 Mr., focused primarily on the strategic relations with the EU, NATO and US.

First attempts to spread radical Islam in Albania

There is one case, that in the 90 years of the twentieth century international partners Tirana creeping doubts. In December 1992 g. Albania became a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, later called the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The then president and prime minister Sali Berisha, bear the reproach of a different nature: and domestic (due to uncoordinated actions with parliament), and internationally (because of the risk of widening the sphere of action of some unregulated Islamic structures). Membership was motivated primarily by financial and economic arguments in this respect floated disappointment -investitsiite the Arab world have proved relatively limited. In political terms Albania lowered the level of participation in the periodic meetings of the organization to the ambassador or in the nearest country, which means practical freeze on membership. Add to that the active integration policy, full membership in NATO and close relations with the European Union, argument against such doubts it really convincing.
There were other allegations - that almost in the 90s of XX century. Albania have organized training camps fundamentalists, that the country realized investment projects of Al Qaeda. Is not at all excluded residence of individual terrorists, maybe even their illegal evasion. The reason for such a possibility, however, should be sought not in the policy of the Albanian government, but in a more simple fact. It was during the last decade of the last century, in the early years of the Albanian transition, country looked bad from the laws and practical actions border guard, the security of the state and its citizens. Cooperation with foreign national and transnational authorities were not sufficiently regulated and active. Things gradually changed - these were the requirements of the international community. Can be given and examples in a practical sense - to arrests of suspects and their respective extradition or trial, Seizure of buildings, built with capital of dubious origin. This process seems irreversible. As many unfinished mosques, there are two explanations - and that, Cha though Muslims are the largest community konfesionna, and the fact, that the Islamic world is wider financial capacity. Nobody prevents the construction of new churches, clubs and this is an indisputable reality.
actually, There is a potential risk factor in the 90 years of the twentieth century. At the beginning of the transition dozen youths received religious education in the Arab world. This was contrary to tradition - Albanian Islam has always been associated mainly with Turkey. LOT is a small stratum Muslim believers, calling themselves the "new sons of Allah", holding more conservative canon and more radical. They pray in one of the mosques in Tirana and clearly communicate mostly with each other. I do not think, that this group of people has a future in Albanian society - even external signs like men with beards characteristic or veiled women are extremely rare. And found, appropriate retaliatory move with the creation of the Islamic University in Bedar 2010 g. in good faith with the active cooperation of state institutions - he will prepare the majority of future spiritual footage. In any case, now, in the future, It must take account of the existence of such a class Islamic clerics - and their behavior in recent years proved this.
It should be pointed, that in the last years of the twentieth century authorities in Tirana begin successful action to counter attempts at promoting Islamic fundamentalism and extremism in the country. Through 1998 g. found guilty of illegal acts four religious structures, spreading radical Islam, and they are prohibited by relevant judgments. Among them is a branch of the famous organization "Egyptian Islamic Jihad", against which the investigation is carried out in preparation for carrying out attack against the US Embassy in Tirana.
After the attacks in the US 11 September 2001 Mr., Washington had effectively declared war on Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism worldwide. There, of course, and a reverse process - of activating the forces of terrorism, which undoubtedly expanded the territory of activity and led the hard battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims worldwide, in the name of "holy jihad". This brought new risks to those Balkan states, where Islam is dominant, including Albania. Tirana government categorically stated their participation in the global anti-terrorist coalition, but it was hardly enough in the new conditions. Because dominant in European societies idea, that the continent is far from outbreaks of conflict and the risks of terrorist acts, It proved to be an illusion and in a way ahead for the EU to pay dearly for your naive myopia.
Categorically it can be argued, the government and the political class in general in Albania underestimate the danger of imminent resurgence of fundamentalism and radicalism. Undoubtedly traditionally imposed in society religious tolerance and lack of serious problems acting sedative, but the sharp rise in the degree of tension in the world should be a warning signal. The role of the EU and other political factors is not active enough - the Agreement on Stabilization and Association, concluded in 2006 g. there are provisions for joint fight against terrorism, but apparently efforts are directed abroad, while preventive action should be purposefully oriented to available internal threats. Fundamentalism and extremism have not yet begun to pick up speed and look for a suitable form of realization, but serious clues already exist. Only unsuccessful attempt in 2007 g. to create an Islamist party was serious enough signal - refused registration because of obvious non-compliance with the Constitution, but the experience does not cause serious public interest, but the fact itself is worrisome. Not paying proper attention to another fact - that the formal structure of Albanian Muslims, Muslim Community in Albania, It has under its jurisdiction between 450 and 500 cult object (according to some reports - over 700), but between 7 and 10 mosques (some sources, the number of fixed 9), built by Arab foundations and started to operate in 90s, They are outside the scope of its administration. It is they in coming years will be particularly active and will create serious problems as the Community, and state institutions.

Recruitment of jihadist mercenaries from Albania, public attitudes and actions of the authorities

Around the same time can be fixed and the first evidence of a growing propaganda of radical Islam (Wahhabism and Salafism) in some areas of the country - Pogradec, Librazhd, Elbasan, Bulçiza, as later say there will be recruited main number of volunteers for the Middle East. Anyway, to the dramatic development of civil wars in Syria and Iraq no serious evidence of involvement of Albanian citizens in these events and even their presence in this region - if any cases, they are single and are the exception rather. The first statement of special services for departures to the Middle East are 2012 g.
In the interest of objectivity should highlight, at that time the Albanian authorities set an example to adequately address the huge debts, events. At the end of 2011 g. available legal amendments, allowing the investigation and prosecution of citizens for participation in armed conflicts abroad. But soon it becomes clear, that such actions are not able to prevent as intensifying propaganda, and the departure of volunteers for the Middle East. And here again we have a case of look out, to combat the effects, and not the causes.
Assuming, that highlight the problem relates to 2013-2014 Mr., it is appropriate to outline the situation in the country and factors, which act in the direction of risk and destabilization. We first need to specify the overall socio-economic environment with weak growth rates and high levels of unemployment. Significantly, that in later study 41.3% of the respondents as the main reason for succumbing to religious propaganda that the country of poverty, and others 21.1% considered, The departure of volunteers for the wars in Syria and Iraq was motivated by "financial reasons". 12.6% participating in the survey see as an important cause ideological impact, but 10% the favorable opportunity to receive education in the spiritual realm. All this clearly shows, that the socio-economic factor is decisive for the spread of radical ideas and recruiting volunteers for the wars in the Middle East. Indicative is another key feature - departing to Syria and Iraq are mostly from rural areas or poorer suburbs of major cities. Indicative of public sentiment in Albania on the likelihood of religious opposition is categorical opinion 84.3% Albanian citizens, that in the country there is harmony between religions, while the contrary opinion are one 7.8% population. And even indicative figures - in 2015 g. 53.6% approved the participation of Albania as a country in the fight against religious extremism, 20.3% express partial agreement, while against are 18%.
It is obvious, that society is generally opposed to radicalism and violence and measures against their spread. This is undoubtedly encourages public institutions to act in the same direction - more, that to 2013-2014 Mr., ie. at the peak of Accession of volunteers from the Balkans to jihadists, the presence of Albanian civilians in the combat action is beyond doubt. And if in time to 2013 g. They are aimed primarily at al-Nusrat, it subsequently their huge majority in the ranks of the "Islamic State". It was at this time is clear, that propagation of fundamentalism and radicalism winning positions and has led foreign minister Ditmir Bushati to the recognition of 2014 Mr., that Albanian territory there may be training camps jihadists. This is reaffirmed by police data, that in at least two mosques religious activity combined with military training. Especially famous is that of Mezez, near Tirana, which I have Budzhar Hysa actively whoop "Islamic State". He is considered, personally secured the recruitment of over 70 volunteers for the war in Syria.
The fact, namely that period 2013-2014 g. a peak in the accession of mercenaries from the Balkans to the ranks of the "Islamic State", It is beyond doubt. The data on their exact numbers vary according to various information and studies, but it can say, that at the end of 2014 g. "Balkan volunteers" are among 700 and 1000 people, Albanian citizens among them are between 140 and 150. Albanian official sources specify the number of 114 in June 2015 g. These are people, predominantly in the age group 31-35 years, often with a criminal past and present in kinship. Categorically it can be argued, that their main motive for joining terrorist essentially structures of Al-Nusrat and "Islamic State" are financial and economic, i.e., they are the mercenaries, not people, possessed by religious zeal.
At that time, already taking place and the process of return of the volunteers and the end of the year their number reached 40 people, as 15 they are fleeing from the authorities and represent a potential threat of further terrorist activity. Sociological study of this period examines attitudes among the public on the status of returning jihadists. Significantly, that over half of Albanians, 51.9%, They believe, that returnees should be reintegrated into society, while 24.3% considered, that must serve a time penalty. According to available data, namely by 2015 g. Further flow volunteers from Albania to Middle East practically loose everyone - this is due to the developments there, and the measures taken by the authorities. So considered, that in the same 2015 g. Syria and Iraq is just one jihadist traveled from Albania, while in 2016 and 2017 g. absent evidence of such movement. His role play and the fact, that the judiciary already respond adequately and prosecute, in the spirit of existing legislation
Undoubtedly, the country faces new circumstances - the return of volunteers from the Middle East, this phenomenon carries very serious risks to society and the state. For those on its territory jihadists can be particularly dangerous in some areas - the spread of radical Islam, terrorist activity, maintaining contacts with the returnees from the Middle East Neighborhood, firstly Kosovo and Macedonia. In this regard, the authorities act appropriately and take a number of measures.
In July 2018 g. Tirana held a regional conference on countering radical Islam and terrorism. Albanian Deputy Interior Minister outlined the overall behavior of the authorities and their upcoming activities in this direction. Already in 2014 g. adopted highly repressive law, directed against radical Islamism and terrorist activity. It provides for measures such as prosecution, withdrawal of travel, criminalization of travel in areas of hostilities, prosecution after returning from there. This law essentially deepens and details the ban on participation in military actions on foreign territory, passed in 2011 g. A modification was made in Article 230 of the Criminal Code, to provide for penalties to 15 years in prison for prichastnost to terrorist activity, including by creating panic among the population, and the same criminal term financing of terrorist groups. In pursuance of resolutions 1267 and 1373 UNSC Albania accepted and implemented a number of measures internationally, associated with actively countering terrorist activities and attempts to propagate radical Islam.
Through 2015 g. accepted national intersectoral strategy and plan to influence, representing a series of measures, dissuasive violent extremism by identifying communities, which may fall under the radical influence and using education and employment as ways to influence, including the recruitment of terrorist groups. Furthermore, Strategy identifies cooperation and coordination with local partners, national and international level through state agencies, involved in this area, NGOs, private sector, religious communities and media as a milestone in the fight against violent extremism , both inside, and out of the country.
This strategy takes into account the general change in the conditions in order to begin the process of returning from the Middle East and participated in the conflict there volunteer, some pridrazhavani and their families. Earlier, a key element was the creation of obstacles to the radicalization and recruitment by terrorist organizations to individuals, but today central issue is the reintegration of these people. It is currently approved plan for inter-institutional actions to meet and treatment of Albanian citizens, who return from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq, and simultaneously developed a draft government reintegration. Moreover structures of the "Anti-terror" national police fulfill their obligations under the Plan of measures on monitoring of returnees in the areas of knoflikt in the Middle East or other citizens, proof and control the actions of individuals or groups, which exhibit terrorist and extreme inclinations, that can lead to terrorist acts of Albanian or foreign citizens. Priority in the fight against terrorism after 2017 g. remains prevention, detection and hitting on any kind of criminal activity originating in the Republic of Albania, by strengthening cooperation and coordination of national police structures, prosecution for serious crimes, and regional prosecutors, intelligence service, Guard of the Republic, Directorate of Prisons and all institutions, which relate to activities to combat terrorism.
One of the key elements in the activity of state structures and special services is strengthening its cooperation with strategic partners from the US (FBR and CRU), with corresponding bodies from countries in the region, Police Mission, Police accredited to the country, as well as offices of the embassy security, accredited in Albania, to ensure the necessary monitoring of terrorism on the territory of Albania Albanian and foreign nationals, suspects, that are involved in armed conflict abroad, and for individuals with a dangerous potential to pose a threat to the country. The cooperation of the national police with the National Center for Combating violent extremism is through the structures of the Department of Public Security and his work is quite dynamic. Knowing the important role of the prevention of terrorism among different communities, The Department of Public Safety is stipulated duties and responsibilities of workers there, where the tasks of utmost importance is the detection of individuals with extremist, radical or terrorist trends in behavior and exchange of information on this category of persons with the "Anti-terror". In cooperation with the heads of the Academy of Security, Department of Public Safety, Sector communication with public media are prepared and conducted special trainings and events are organized to stop the phenomenon of radicalism and violent extremism. Organizing prevention aims to enhance the capacity of all police officers, as the first increase their ability to detect signs of emerging violent extremism, can recognize them, to identify them through legal texts and be able to cooperate with all actors from other institutions, to overcome these challenges.
It's obvious, Albania is fully aware, that risks to the country and society far beyond one success of the international community against the "Islamic State". And if in the initial phase of the external pressure on the Balkans, Albanian authorities are adequate and operate with considerable delay in attempts to propagate radical Islam and recruiting for al-Nusrat and "Islamic State", it to today's moment Albania act decisively and firmly and can be an example of conduct in this direction. Not allowed reassurance from the fact, that, according to some studies, Albania is not directly threatened by the terrorist activities on its territory and is in a risk group with Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, unlike Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the level of risk is higher.
It should be emphasized, that the authorities in the country have the advantage of working in this direction in very favorable conditions in terms of public perception and the ability to obtain factual support. polls, that 83.7% Albanians do not agree with the ideology of the "Islamic State", approximately the same percentage of citizens, assertive, Albanians that under no circumstances should join its structures, They are crucial for a Balkan country, where almost 2/3 of the population professes Islam.
Sure, there are other areas, in which the state has to invest the necessary effort. Firstly to improve coordination with the activities of the Muslim community and to support its efforts to obtain control over the rest beyond the reach of administering its mosques and teach theological disciplines in the country. Justice requires the state to do what is necessary to restore all properties, to which the Muslim community has claims - Albania this question is finally settled. Their preventive role to play and the media, and the scientific community in the country. In dignity must be considered and emphasizes the fact, namely that the Muslim community, especially during peak events 2013-2015 Mr., He acted decisively enough against the propagation of radical Islam and making explicit appeals, that the situation in the Middle East and the behavior of the Islamic state there has nothing to do with true faith and its foundations. Should not be underestimated and the active presence of the Muslim community etc.. interreligious Council, where discussions on extremism and behavior of the "Islamic State", the negative findings are made available to the whole society and have government support. Such behavior appears to dovetail with the Albanian religious traditions.


And if in the end we seek to answer the main question - whether the Balkans are a bridge or a barrier to radical Islam, then we must consider everything said here. More resources namely the Muslim communities in the Balkans are growing medium for preaching fundamentalism and extremism, especially among youth. In this sense the risk the region to be a bridge for the penetration of radical ideology exists . Meanwhile particularly in Albania, power and religious structures and public sentiments are sufficiently clearly oriented in the opposite direction - towards raising the real barrier to such phenomena - foreign religious traditions and the main political goals of the country, and corresponding to the international factor. Just Both, and others should continue to have the same behavior.


Ljubco Trohorov

story, common feature, place and role of Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina

To determine the place and role of Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina today, We need an impartial look at the history of the state and specifically at the relationship between faith communities, formed on its territory. Numerous historical documents suggest strongly, that the territory of BiH live medieval Slavs - Christians under the influence of three churches: Catholic, Orthodox and t. Ye. Bosnian church. It is said , Bosnian church was formed due to the specific conditions, where the population lives in central Bosnia, and its remoteness from major Catholic and Orthodox centers respectively, which implies a slight influence of Catholicism and Orthodoxy in this territory. There are studies of serious scientists from the Balkans (Croats, Bulgarians, boşnyatsi) and beyond, who believe, that this territory has proposed the necessary favorable conditions coming from Bulgaria Bogomil heresy, of which today there are traces, mainly in the mountainous part of central Bosnia and Herzegovina South. It's about the big stone tombstones Bogomil (known in the West as Patarenes), called by locals "stecci". Most still preserved there in the mountains Belashnnitsa and near the town. Stolac. The presence of the three religions remains, whoever bans or kings ruled the territory of the present BiH, despite the constant aspirations of Catholicism and Orthodoxy to expand its influence.
With the final conquest by the Ottomans BiH (1463 Mr.) and the conversion and front-border area, its territory aggressively are accommodated Islamic religion with its Sharia canons, strong administration, large army garrisons. Widespread among historians view, that in the first decade of the Ottoman occupation of Bosnia was committed mass crossing of the Christian population to Islamic religion. It is considered, that first konvertiti have become leaders of poor mountain people, remained under the influence of Bogomil heresy. Mass conversion to Islam is seen and peasants - farmers and breeders, who were forced to work for incoming east chassis. Islam has found fertile ground among the urban population, It was looking for a more favorable status with the adoption of the new religion, providing access to service in the army or the administration of the empire.
Through 1537 g. Sarajevo was discovered first in BiH Madrasa of Gazi Husrev beg, bearing his name, which for nearly five centuries was preparing imams of local residents Bosniaks. With accommodation in BiH , Islam acquires a privileged status in terms of Christian churches, but they retain their existence and influence among the local Serb and Croat population. Permitted by the Ottoman authorities coexistence of the three religions allows for several centuries to form feelings of tolerance between representatives of various religious communities, free movement and communication household level and choice of residence in neighborhoods, villages and towns. For a long time on the territory of BiH dominant importance to the status and relations among the population has faith, rather than ethnic distinctness. According to some scholars, these factors are accounted for by a large contingent of Jews expelled from Spain - sefardi, in their settlement in BiH, which are well received.
The defeat of the Ottoman Empire and the withdrawal of its army and administration, and the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Austria-Hungary in 1878 g. They are of crucial importance for the Bosniaks and Islam as a religion. The most important is, they lost their privileged status in relation to the Christian churches of Croats and Serbs. The new authorities, taking into account the complicated political situation of the occupied territory and the danger of conflict on ethnic and religious basis, Desiring to terminate any impact on the Islamic community outside, take steps to reform its management and operation.
Activation of nationalist forces in the Balkan countries, primarily in the Kingdom of Serbia in the late XIX and early XX century reflects the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbian national doctrine, including BiH territory within the Serbian state, It is gaining ground among the intelligentsia, Orthodox church, organizations and associations of ethnic Serbs. Croatian nationalist parties and associations, still acting within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, also have strategies for the accession of BiH to the future Croatian state. The basis of the claims of Serbs and Croats from the territory of BiH standing view, that Bosniak Muslims are ethnic Serbs and ethnic Croats respectively, which in the past have adopted Islam.
After World War in terms of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croat and Slovenian and especially 1929 g. in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, BiH became a field of ideological and political confrontation between Serbs and Croats for the royal regime and the Serbian Academy of Sciences Bosniaks are ethnic Serbs, who are alienated ethnic and religious, Islamization have and they should be deported from BiH. Evidence of this program of the Serbian Cultural Club (1937 Mr.), made of elite professors and academics, as well as contracts, Kingdom which concluded with Turkey for deportation of Bosniaks. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Bosniaks from BiH and Sandzak left for Turkey. In pursuance of the same program was implemented colonization by ethnic Serb population in Bosnia, as well as in Kosovo and Vardar Macedonia.
BiH accession to the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during the Second World War created the conditions for mutual destruction between Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs, creation of concentration camps and genocidal actions. In support of the Croatian Ustasha forces were mobilized Bosniaks - formed the famous "handzhar division". In interethnic clash of BiH territory intervened royal forces with t. Ye. Chetnik movement of Draza Mihailovich and led guerrilla resistance KPYU.
After World War II, in a totalitarian regime and the new ideology, Tito seeks to reconcile Serb and Croat nationalist forces and to establish ethnic balance in the governing bodies of the Union of Yugoslav Communists, State administration and federal units.At the two decades not allow any nationalistic manifestation. In the early 60s becomes visible Serbian domination in the state apparatus, army, police and security authorities, causing unrest in the republics - Croatia, Slovenia and BiH and the autonomous regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina. The growing political tension in the country Tito blames Al. Rankovych - leader of the Serbian communists, Interior Minister and head of the security forces after the war, which defends the pan idea, BiH, Montenegro, Vardar Macedonia, Kosovo and Vojvodina are part of the exclusive Serb ethnic territory and as such should be managed by the Serbian administration. Under the influence of his Croatian and Slovenian environment Tito take radical move - Rankovic removed from all his posts due to "excess of power" and ordered the drafting of a new Constitution of the Federation. Such is accepted in 1974 g. with the hope, it will cement "brotherhood and unity" of Yugoslav nations and nationalities. Unfortunately it is this constitution paved the way for the development of such processes in the state and various federal units, that led to the breakup of the federation in the early 90s of the twentieth century.
When established in Yugoslavia after World War II political system, dominant ideology, strengthening society atheism Islamic religion is a serious blow. Whatever, that in the first Constitution of the State (1946 Mr.) It is enshrined in Article, with which the state is obliged to respect religious freedom, accepted one after the other laws to ban Sharia courts, wearing veils, the main Islamic schools (School). Discontinued the activities of cultural associations ("Gayret" and "People's Hope"), Muslim printing and issuance of Muslim textbooks. Many of the destroyed during the war 199 mosques were turned into museums, warehouses and even in stalls. Most of waqf properties were nationalized and passed under state control. A number of Muslim cemeteries have been destroyed or turned into farms or construction sites.
By Bosniak Muslims are attempts to counter this policy SYUK. By the 50s acted organization "Young Muslims", but members and were persecuted and imprisoned (among them is the future leader of Muslims Alija Izetbegovic). They are distributed secretly Islamic texts and children are taught in mosques textbooks, imported from outside. They are acted dervish groups in private homes.
While in the anti-fascist resistance Bosniaks were taken to be treated by Serbs and Croats only as "Muslims", then after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a federal unit, they, fall foul of Serbian and Croatian ideology and propaganda, They are forced to declare as 'inconclusive', "Serbs", "Croats", "Muslim", "Yugoslavs" depending on the political, socio-economic or purely domestic interests.
In the late 50s and early 60s, in connection with Tito's ambitions to play a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement, adopted a law, which the state guarantees religious freedom to all citizens. It is considered, it is particularly propaganda gesture to the Islamic community in BiH, to the Islamic world and especially to Egypt. Not accidentally taken a decision to divert students' education in theology from "NATO" Turkey "single" Egypt.
Through 1968 g. of the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia was decided to grant the Muslims of ethno-national identity. This decision is legitimized by the constitution of 1974 g. Muslims are state-creating nation par with the Serbs and Croats. Although, they receive constitutional definition of ethnic identity "Muslims", practically Serbs and Croats do not recognize that their self-identification, such as ethnicity, history and culture. They are not given the right to form their national institutions, to announce its history and literature.
among Bosniaks, their political peak, intellectuals and academics appears split in views on the conceptual question who their true ethnic identity. For some it's Slavonic, for the others - this is the Islamic religion (on this occasion in Sarajevo spread anecdote: "He was born a Muslim - a conviction atheist").
Tito's death (1980 Mr.) and the emergence of the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences on the Serbian national issue and Serbian statehood (1987 Mr.), exacerbate to the extreme political ideology and inter-contradictions level Federation and in individual federal entities. It is crucial for the formation of the new environment proves the policy of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, based on the said Memorandum, at the base of which lies the pan claim, that Yugoslavia's Serbian state and the Serbian there, where Serbs live. The ensuing war showed, the Serb claim includes half of Croatia, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Vojvodina (Milosevic avoided publicly include Vardar Macedonia). In response to this Serbian policy is activated etnonatsionalnite programs Slovenes, Croats, Macedonists, Albanians, Hungarians. In Croatia etnonatsionalen plan shall claim, that 80% by Bosniaks are Croats (F. Tudjman, 1996 Mr.). Political peak of Bosniaks assessed, that the clash between Belgrade and Zagreb threatens the very existence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosniak and Islam as a religion. This is the reason, why Alija Izetbegovic announced officially known "Islamic Declaration" in 1990 g. (there is evidence, Declaration has been prepared in the late 60s). Worthy of note are the following important positions in the Declaration: Islam is not compatible with non-Islamic systems, can not have peace, nor coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions; citing their right to organize their own world, Islam precludes any foreign ideology on its territory have the right or ability to act; the state should be an expression of support for the moral principles of religion.
In the concrete situation in BiH during this period, Declaration receives strong support from various strata of the population in Republic, by administration officials, senior officials in the army and police, and senior leadership of the Islamic community. At the same time against her declare eminent intellectuals, Science and Culture, because it takes away the legitimate rights of Bosniaks to fight to preserve the integrity of BiH and ensuring equal and undeniable rights of all ethnicities and religions.
Turn, authorities in Belgrade and Zagreb intentions sharing BiH, and then the specific arrangements, use the Declaration as a key proof of the Muslim threat in the Balkans and Europe , for civilizational incompatibility between Islam and Christianity. Adopted was a propaganda tactic - to convince Bosniaks, BiH no right to exist and that they have to solve their national question through national state. A tripartite meeting between Tudjman, Milosevic and Izetbegovic (25 March 1991 g. Split) Izetbegovic stated, BiH in existing borders can not survive, that it should disappear as a colonial creation, and that a small Islamic state can be a buffer zone between Serbs and Croats. According to available information, Izetbegovic gave agreement in principle to form a "Little Bosnia" around Sarajevo. At that time, some representatives of the great powers in an effort to find a peaceful and rapid solution to the question and at the lowest cost, consent to the formation of "Islamic Republic".

Islamic Community - leadership, legal status, working

After World War II with the first Constitution of the Socialist Yugoslavia 1946 Mr., Islamic Community (IO) obtains rights, identical to those of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Such rights it receives and with the accepted then constitutions in the 60s and 70s, and the last - adopted in 1974 g. Its work extends 94% the territory of the Republic on Bosniak Muslims, constituting official data in 1991 g. 44%, and in 2013 g. - 50.11% the population of the Republic.
The hierarchical structure and operation of IS are based on established from the Austro-Hungarian authorities rules. Was introduced electoral principle for the leader - chief mufti, or reis (Reis-Mufti), for the collective management body - Riaset (Riaset), and have more regions. The aim of the government was to make the status of the Islamic religion identical to that of the other two churches, to break the influence and interference of foreign Islamic centers on the Information Society, particularly from Turkey and eventually - to promote traditional Islam, capable of coexistence with the Christian population in the Empire.
Should, as an independent state after 1992 Mr., has signed an agreement with the Holy See on the Functioning of the Catholic Church and P. Serbia - Activity Orthodox, but still no contract with IE due to procedural complications. According to available information, such has been prepared and submitted for approval by the state parliament.
The management of ICU normally communicate with managers at various levels in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and rarely to those in Republika Srpska, mainly on issues, related to the construction and repair of mosques and maintaining vakıf estate. Relations with the IS state depend mostly on the personality and qualities of the Chief Mufti, from positions, he publicly stand in protecting the interests of Muslims and relations with other religious communities.
After the war, formed the so-called. Inter-religien Council, involving leaders of all faiths. These are collected periodically and discuss issues of mutual interest - mostly from property and financial
The war in BiH (1992-1995 Mr.) It has become an important factor in the mobilization and politicization of IS. Its collective leadership, Grand Mufti and the majority of regional imams stood in support of the ideas of A. Izetbegovic, set in the "Islamic Declaration". The Islamic community has played an important role in creating a Muslim army. She helped with recruitment through sermons (xutʙi) in mosques in places and providing funds and weapons from outside, using its international contacts. Undoubtedly, it has facilitated the arrival and participation of mujaheddin war. Seeing, however,, the danger of military defeat of Bosniaks and tragic consequences, and hesitant intervention of external factors to stop the war, management of IS accepts the idea of ​​separation of BiH to form a small independent Muslim state - called "Muslim faction". A small number of imams, with intellectuals, cultural figures and politicians outside environment Izetbegovic declaring preservation of BiH, believing, that their destiny is inseparable from the fate of this country, that its division along ethnic areas would ghettoisation of Muslim Bosniaks and that neighboring countries will continue with new claims for territory (known for its activity was created by leading intellectuals in 1993 g. NGO International Forum "Bosnia").
In contacts with Islamic countries during the war (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Iran, Jordan), management of IS seek political and financial support for Bosniaks and specific assistance for construction and renovation of Islamic and historical monuments in the country. Most support it received from Turkey. Same provide funds for the construction of the madrasa and the library to it in Sarajevo, for renovation of turbeta, bridges and hammams, built since the time of the Ottoman Empire. This IS has gained more confidence, its leadership began to openly defend the Bosniak political leadership and the Islamic religion and condemn the aggressive policy of neighboring countries. At the same time it opened more boldly out, seeking contacts with the government and the public, Islamic communities in Sandzak and P. Macedonia, with international organizations. Open and inward - to solve their own problems, initiating conversations and discussions about religious and secular principle in education, the need to prepare its own staff, new curricula of madrasa, issue of foreign Islamic influence and the preservation of traditional Islam Bosniak. In the direction of IE dominates the view, it should not be allowed outside influence, which could threaten "the existence of temel foundations of both traditional spirituality or institutional Islamic doctrine" in Bosniaks (25 August 1997., Reis Mustafa Ceric).
Obviously far the greater cooperation with political top of Bosniaks and IO sought from Turkey. This course of its strategic agenda for relations with the Muslim communities in the Balkan countries and its position as one of the guarantors of the implementation of the Dayton Agreement and maintenance of peace in BiH, as well as the provided during and after the war every assistance to the authorities in Sarajevo. Turkey actively supports BiH's membership in NATO and the EU, advocates and sponsors the participation of the Islamic Community in international Islamic forums. She declared strategic partner of BiH, But that is not approved by the authorities in Republika Srpska.

Political parties on ethnic basis

Almost all parties in BiH are formed on ethnic basis. These Serbs and Croats appear nursing the eponymous parties in Serbia and Croatia respectively, but with more nationalist leanings. In rhetoric and behavior still exists dislike of Representatives - parties and political forces, from the opposing side during the war. There are party leaders who fought on the fronts and are now in government at various levels.
First Bosniak party - the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) It was founded by Alija Izetbegovic, immediately before the war. She played the lead role in shaping the "Islamic Army" in the negotiation process to stop the war and the conclusion of the Dayton Agreement 1995 g. This party and its leader are most, almost messianic influence among Bosniak Muslims during the war and in the formation of the political status quo in the country after her. It has dominant positions both in government, and the cantonal and municipal leadership in the Bosniak-Croat Federation. Current party leader is the son of A. Bakir Izetbegovic, now - member Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Second in importance Bosniak Party is the Party for a Better Future (PBB) media mogul Fahrudin Radoncic. Third purely Bosniak, but relatively weaker than both, is the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
only party, appeared with claims of multi-ethnic membership, is the Social Democratic Party led by Zlatko Lagumndzhiya. In her than Bosniaks manifests a small number of Serbs and Croats, mostly former members of SYUK and the administration's prewar. It has little influence among Bosniaks and hardly present in the management.
All Bosniak parties declare as objectives the preservation of a unified and indivisible state, new constitution, equal political, socio-economic and cultural rights of all ethnicities, Membership of the country into NATO and the EU.

security, processes and threats

What happened in BiH during the war, and the construction and functioning of the state of federal-confederal principle, according to Dayton, extremely complicated internal political situation. This must thus formulated in Dayton and given to Belgrade and Zagreb "special relationship" respectively Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which hinder the contractual process between the ethnic groups to build a stable government bodies, including army and police, for demarcation and border security and ensure the security of citizens. Therefore, BiH remains the country with the most serious political, socio-economic and security problems in the Balkans. Its borders and territory as a whole remains vulnerable to penetration of refugees from conflict areas, as well as individuals and groups, that they might commit terrorist acts. The risk of domestic terrorism but, linked to radical Islamic groups, It can be considered minimal. This conclusion is justified mostly good relations and cooperation of BiH , particular political top of the Bosniaks and the Islamic community with almost all Islamic countries. Little is likely to have groups or organizations inside the country, who could recruit jihadist fighters, returning from the Middle East or those of the local Muslim population.
Regardless of ethnic cleansing during the war in both the entities and voluntary deportations and migrations, population remains ethnically mixed throughout the country and the emergence of such groups could not go unnoticed (according to official data 1991 g. Bosnians have lived 94% the territory of the State, Serbs - 95%, Croats - 70%). Moreover, BiH is a country with a strong international presence, including military and police under NATO and EU, which provides additional guarantees for the identification and disposal of such groups.
then 2000 g. at the request of the US and EU, the authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with the EU Police Mission (EURM) inspected for the presence of persons, remained in the country by Mujahideen battalions, He participated in the war on the side of the Bosnians against Serb forces. Found in several mountain villages small number of individuals, who have entered into marriages with local women are engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. After that discovery monitor their behavior. Presidency, government, and all the political parties and the management of IE were made declarations, that its territory will not be allowed any presence of extremist and radical forces. Pursuant to the Contract for a Stabilization and Association under the leadership of the EU is carried out reforms in the army and the police in BiH for their stabilization and increase their potential by themselves to protect the security in the country.


The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indigenous its Bosniak population and its Islamic religion are European reality, that can not be ignored and deleted.
Bosniaks and Islam in the centuries of coexistence with Serbs, Croats and other ethnic groups, the Orthodox and Catholic churches were accepted after any extremist, nor xenophobic ideology, threatens others, different from them ethnicities and religions. Exactly the opposite, themselves in lengthy historical periods and in different social political systems, They have been exposed to discrimination, violence, hatred and displacement, and in the last war in BiH (1992-1995 Mr.) and genocidal actions.
In coexistence with Christianity a common territory under the same political regimes, economic and living conditions and under the influence of European civilization and culture, Bosniak Islam acquires specific features - peacefulness, openness and tolerance toward others, different ethnic and religious communities, which defines it as a traditional. Not accidentally welcome in this country are found in different historical periods Jews, Bulgarians - mainly in the western suburbs and Vardar Macedonia, and other ethnic groups.
The emergence of "Islamic Declaration" (1990 Mr.) It can be considered as a precedent in the history of Islam in BiH, unfortunate and short-sighted move a limited number of Bosniaks ideology of Islam in response to resurgent nationalism in Serbia aggressive and imminent danger to the security of their country. In a complex environment created just before the war it was backed by a significant proportion of the Muslim community, and during and after the war - rejected. It turns out, that the concerns were real, since war, which leads Serbs and Croats in BiH liquidation of this country, division of its territory and the formation of a mini-statelet Bosniak Muslims, serving as a buffer zone between the two ethnic groups and between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
The place and role of Islam in BiH in the future will depend primarily on the way, It will build state, preserving its integrity and indivisibility, the possibility Bosniaks have equal political, socio-economic and cultural status of Serbs and Croats, by ensuring equal participation of Bosniaks in the construction and operation of the authorities at all levels, by ensuring equal rights of faith communities throughout the state.
Today Bosniaks and their parties understand, that their rights can be provided with changes in Dayton, particularly with a new constitution for the country, with authorities on three levels throughout, eliminating manifestations of separatism and setsesionizam, a guarantee of Bosniak Muslims get their rights entitlements, which can give a country's membership in the EU.
Ensuring the equal status of the three faiths in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most important prerequisite for preserving the traditional character of Islam, to protect it from negative development in the direction of Islamic radicalism and terrorism.
In a possible destabilizing BiH or destroying the integrity of its (attempted removal of the P. Serbian), which will affect the existential interests of Bosniak Muslims, undoubtedly Islamic countries will respond in their support of forces and means, both during war 1992-1995 g. and the risk of penetration in the country of radical Islamic elements, including Bosniaks, participated in extremist groups in the Middle East and nezavarnali in homeland, becomes real. In an isolated two million Muslim community, in uncontrolled borders and severe socio-economic crisis, could easily be radicalized individuals and groups, capable of participating in terrorist acts in the Balkans and Europe.
Preserving the integrity and stability of BiH in its internationally recognized borders, successful functioning of its public institutions will be crucial adoption NATO, because the membership itself can limit the negative impact of a given Dayton Agreement of Serbia and Croatia opportunity for special (parallel) relations, respectively Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that nurture separatism and setsesionizma in all three ethnic communities, hinder dialogue between the political elites and the functioning of state institutions.


MOST OF BULGARIAN MUSLIMS profess traditional Islam
Prof.. Dr. Iskra Baeva

Islam in Bulgaria as heritage

Located in the middle of Balkan Bulgarian lands remain long under Ottoman rule - almost five centuries. This explains the presence in Orthodox Bulgaria one of the largest Muslim communities in the Balkans. According to data from censuses, through 1887 g. they are 500-600 thousand. or 19% population, and in 1926 g. – 10.57%. The decreasing share of Muslims is due to the rapid demographic growth of the Christian population and the periodic exodus of Muslims (130 thousand. in the interwar period). In Bulgaria leaving only the poorest and most uneducated Muslims (illiteracy is 80%), living in outlying rural areas.
In the Bulgarian state Muslims retain their religious autonomy and sharia, are private schools with tuition in Turkish with Arabic alphabet, and members of different parties. Attempt to interfere in the faith was made in the Balkan wars 1912-1913, when forcibly renamed Bulgarian Muslims (Pomaks), but it is fleeting. After the wars rights of Bulgarian Muslims are protected by the Treaty on the rights of minorities, signed in Paris on 28 July 1919 g. Another attempt at integration was made in the late 30s and early 40s by the organization Druzhba "Rodina".
In the era of socialism attitude to Bulgarian Muslims passes through various stages. The communist regime was an opponent of religion and restricts both the Orthodox Church, and Islam. Nevertheless, the Orthodox Church and Islam continue their activity, which is funded by the state in exchange for strict control.
Early in the management of PA is leading a class approach, according to which the poor and underdeveloped Bulgarian Muslims must take special care to education, culturally and socially. This continues to de-Stalinization, conducted by Todor Zhivkov. Since the late 50s he replaced cultural autonomy of Bulgarian Muslims inclusion policy through assimilation. This line is realized in the change of names of Muslim Gypsies (about 255 thousand.) and Bulgarian Muslims (about 200 thousand.) in the 60s and 70s, dostigve to its peak with the forcible renaming of Bulgarian Turks (about 850 thousand.) at the end of 1984 g. and early 1985 Mr., called "revival process". This drastic violation of human rights is not accompanied by a change of faith, but only with limiting some rituals - circumcision be done only under medical supervision, funeral rites in civil manner etc.. This policy was discontinued after the Cold War. "Revival Process" was canceled on 29 December he 1989 Mr., restored are Arab-Turkish names of Bulgarian Turks, even without endings ov, -this, -ev, -Women.

The role and place of Islam in Bulgaria after 1989 g.

Islam in Bulgaria is the traditional religion of Bulgarian Turks, Bulgarian Muslims, part of Gypsies / Roma and smaller ethnic groups (Karakachans, Tatars). It is the second religious belief in the country, as its ratio with Orthodox is 1:7.5 (577 139 or 7.83% Muslims to 4 374 135 or 59.39% Orthodox in 2011 Mr.).
Muslims are free profession of their faith. The adopted of 12 July 1991 g. the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria Constitution guaranteed freedom of religion. In Art. 13, but. 2 It announced: "Religious institutions are separate from the state", but al. 4 It was made the warning religion should not be used for political purposes. It is caused by disputes over the place and role of Islam in the early years of transition, when overcoming the consequences of the "revival process".
The rights and obligations of Muslims are regulated by the Law on Religious Denominations 29 December 2002 g. It expressed "respect" for Islam and declared the right to choose religious beliefs and practices. The state is committed to "provide conditions for free and unhindered exercise of religion" (Article. 4, but. 3) and to prevent "discrimination on religious grounds" (but. 4). Is a right "to give and receive religious education in the language of your choice" (Article. 6, but. 6), and restrictions are activities, against national security and public order, and for political purposes (Article. 7, but. 1 and 2).
From 1990 g. Bulgarian Muslims are full participants in the development of the Republic of Bulgaria, but a significant part of Bulgarian society treats them with suspicion and fear. The reasons are different: their active role in political life (the first UDF Government 1991-1992,); Their dominance in several regions of the country; relationship with neighboring Turkey. Thus, in the new conditions was revived confrontation between Christians and Muslims, even in democratic political system and guarantee the rights of Islam in Bulgaria.
The largest group of Muslims Bulgarian Turks (612 541 d.), Bulgarian Muslims (131 531 d.), some Roma (42 201 d.), Karakachans (2 556 d.), Tatars, Albanians. Particular group are Arab, immigrants from different periods (11 000-17 000 d.). These have different attitudes to Islam, therefore should not be considered as a single table, and to assess what are the obstacle, and which wire penetration of radical Islam in the country.

Islamic communities in Bulgaria

Islamic communities in Bulgaria have equal rights with other religious communities. The Bulgarian state has material and financial assistance to Muslim organizations. This does not mean, that there are no problems in relations between the Bulgarian state and the Chief Mufti's Office.
Through 2011 g. Muslims in Bulgaria 577 139 or 10% believers. The trend of the past two decades, the number of Muslims to decline, as this process continues today. They reduce absolutely the whole population, but relatively - from 12.2% on 10%. The vast majority of Bulgarian Muslims are Sunnis (546 004 d.), while Shiites (27 407 d.) are barely 5%. The downward trend among Muslims due to their economic emigration, mainly in the European Union and Turkey. Muslims immigrate more quickly and successfully than other Bulgarians, because they own communities abroad and appropriate professional profile (in construction). Fastest, with 36.5%, reduce Shiites, while Sunnis only with 11%.
Bulgarian Turks and Bulgarian Muslims live predominantly in several areas, while Gypsies / Roma Muslims are evenly distributed throughout the country. Turks are concentrated in Kardzhali (69.6%), Razgrad (53.7%), smacking, Burgas, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Targovishte, Smolyan, Silistra, Dobrich, ruse. There are over two-thirds of Muslims. They predominate in 43 of total 262 Municipalities in Bulgaria. Especially in the seven municipalities of Kardzhali Region, six of the seven municipalities of Razgrad (without Razgrad), half the municipalities of Shumen. The largest share Municipality Chernoochene (region. Kardzhali) – 96.8%, Municipality Wreath (region. smacking) - with 95.9%, Satovcha Municipality - 91.3%, Ruen 90.9% and with Kaolinovo 90%. Bulgarian Muslims traditionally live in the Rhodope mountains in southern Bulgaria, mostly in the districts of Smolyan, Kardzhali, Haskovo, Pazardzhik.
Representatives of Muslim Shiites live mainly in Northeastern Bulgaria: municipalities Kaynardja (51.5%), boiler (16.2%), Dulovo (11.6%) and Kubrat (11.3%).
The spiritual leadership of Muslims is performed by the Chief Mufti's Office, who cares about religion and connecting with executive, judiciary, state institutions and public organizations. Chief Mufti's Office takes care of the preparation of imams, free profession of faith, spiritual education of children and Islamic charity. It has Administration, which assists the Chief Mufti and the Supreme Muslim Council. In 18 cities in the country has regional muftis: Ajtos, Veliko Tarnovo, Gotse Delchev, Dobrich, Krumovgrad, Kardzhali, Pazardzhik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, ruse, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofia, Targovishte, Haskovo and Shumen. there 1450 mosque trustees. At the beginning of the transition Chief Mufti's Office was issued in. "Muslims", transformed today into a monthly magazine, which has application for children "grin" (moon).
Chief mufti Mustafa Haji Alif (by Bulgarian Muslims), studied Islam in Jordan and Turkey occupying high positions of 1997 g. today. The chief mufti is elected National Muslim Conference. Through 2010 g. choice of Mustapha Hadji is challenged by former Chief Mufti Nedim Gendzhev, after the Supreme Court of Cassation declared illegitimate three extraordinary national Muslim conferences. The dispute was resolved by a decision of the Sofia Appeal Court, which recognizes the decisions of the extraordinary National Muslim Conference (12 February 2011 Mr.), and Mustapha Hadji is re-elected and the next conference in January 2016 g. Disputes demonstrate problems in Islam, inherited from the time of the "revival process". On one side are cooperating with the then authorities as Nedim Gendzhev, accusing the current leadership, it supports radicals. On the other side are the participants in the resistance against the "revival process", entered the new leadership of Muslims.
In the Bulgarian school there is an optional subject "Religion-Islam", who taught, If enough students enroll. To facilitate enrollment Chief Mufti's Office organizes propaganda campaigns among Muslims during Ramadan under the slogan "Support Islamic education. Be empathetic!”
One of the most important activities of the Chief Mufti's Office is preparing spiritual footage of mosques and prayer houses, which in Bulgaria are about 1500. This happens in three general secondary religious schools in Ruse, Momchilgrad and Shumen, students from 9 to 12 class. There is also the High Islamic Institute in Sofia, created after the transformation of 9 March 1998 g. Institute of colleges by Decision № P-15 Council of Ministers. The site of the Institute defines it as "the university of the Muslim religion (Chief Mufti) in Bulgaria with legal personality ", a training period of four years. It gives a degree of "Bachelor" and training Islamic theologian, and alumni can serve as imams, vaizi and muftis or work as teachers. The problem of the Islamic Institute is the lack of building and accreditation by the Higher Education Act, which hinders the realization of its graduates.
The continuing shortage of imams forced the Chief Mufti's Office to organize the nine-month courses in Sarnitsa, as the selection of guys for them is carried out by regional muftis. Imams may qualify and retraining courses, conducted in the villages Lyulyakovo, Herb, delchevo.
Muslim communities in Bulgaria freely profess their religious beliefs, but their implementation sometimes causes organizational problems and public resistance.

Political parties on religious or ethnic grounds

The creation of political parties on religious or ethnic grounds is not allowed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. her Art. 11, but. 4 states: "They can not form political parties on ethnic, racial or religious grounds, and parties, who seek the violent usurpation of state power ". The Constitution was adopted in summer 1991 Mr., when the Grand National Assembly meets Turkish-Muslim party's Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), which clarifies the context of ban. It aims to end the existence of DPS, the first in the history of Bulgaria Party of Bulgarian Turks and Muslims. Political practice hitherto has been the interests of ethnic groups to be implemented through the existing political parties. And the creation and establishment of MRF can be explained by the situation of 1990 Mr., when it rebuilds a political system, and comes to the fore the need to overcome the painful consequences of the "revival process". The creators of DPS justify the creation of the party distrust of Muslims to other parties, after the Bulgarian state so drastic violated their rights. Therefore they want to have their party, to defend their specific rights.
Early in the MRF managed to overcome two-time attempts to challenge the existence of the party before the Constitutional Court (Constitutional case № 1 from 1991 Mr., culminating with Decision № 4 from 1992 Mr.). In the coming years under the leadership of Ahmed Dogan, irremovable president of 1990 to 2013 Mr., DPS has established itself as the sole political representative of Muslims in Bulgaria and becomes a permanent factor in the political life, despite serious negative attitudes among the broad public.
In documents DPS is "Liberal Democratic Party", whose goal is "to contribute to the unity of all Bulgarian citizens, while respecting the rights and freedoms of minorities in Bulgaria - in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the country, International Bill of Human Rights, European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Charter of Fundamental Rights and other international agreements ". Regardless of the declared obshtoliberalen nature of DPS, his political practice shows, it is a political representative of Bulgarian Turks and Muslims in Bulgaria. this show: The membership, Voters DPS, which are almost entirely from mixed areas, the activities of DSS in parliament, Local authorities and their participation in the government of Simeon Sakskoburggotski (2001-2005), Sergey Stanishev (2005-2009) and Plamen Oresharski (2013-2014 g).
Ahmed Dogan manages to draw in DPS small group of Orthodox Bulgarians, coming into leadership and parliament. Thus legitimizing the party as un-Islamic and non-ethnic party, despite the presence of Bulgarians remains purely formal and does not affect the local structures. Electoral presence DPS seems threatened, after Bulgarian Turks begin to leave Bulgaria in search of food. Then Dogan directs movement towards Gypsies / Roma (not only Muslims, and all), which helps to maintain the role of the party. DPS ranks third in politics and 2009 g. plays rocker, on which depends the compilation of government. This position is lost with the Governments of GERD, led by Boyko Borisov (2009-2013 Mr., 2014-2017 Mr., from 2017 g. so far), but DPS continues to play an important role in politics as the party with the most stable parliamentary presence, for secure electoral support from the Bulgarian Turks and Muslims.
The party is associated with the bodies of the Muslim religion, as evidenced by the constant presence of representatives of religious holidays, commemorative meetings and other events DPS, as well as representatives of the party of important Muslim forums. An example is the National Muslim Conference in January 2016 Mr., recognized Mustapha Hadji as chief mufti - then present a number of members of the management of MRF - Mustafa Karadaya, Rushen shirt and Unal Lutfi.
From 90s attempt to break the monopoly of DPS over the Muslim population, but all so far have failed. In 1997-1998 g. Guner Tahir created National DPS, but it quickly fades. In January 2011 g. former deputy chairman of MRF Kasim Dal left the party and 1 December 2012 g. creates People's Party "Freedom and Dignity" (VVD) along with former youth leader of the MRF, Korman Ismailov, but failed to enter parliament. So far the most successful attempt to split in DPS makes successor Ahmed Dogan leadership Lutfi Mestan (Chairman of 2013 g. to 2015 Mr.). At the end of 2015 g. after sharp criticism from honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan he was removed from management and 10 April 2016 g. established their own party rather (Democrats liability, freedom and tolerance). Mestan backing of Turkey and the then Turkish ambassador in Sofia Suleiman Gokcen, causing a negative reaction in Bulgaria and even made an unsuccessful attempt to stop the registration of pretty. Party creates structures and participate in parliamentary elections 2017 Mr., but received just over 100 thousands of voice and 2.86% He failed to enter parliament.

Risks of radicalization among Islamic community

The danger of radicalization of Muslims in Europe and the Balkans emerged after the so-called. War against global terrorism through 2001 g. The process is global, but regional. Penetration of radical Islam in the Balkans assist and consequences of wars for the disintegration of Yugoslavia, who have a religious tinge. They create a favorable environment for Islamization of Muslim-populated areas of the Balkans. The biggest concern is the widespread activity in Saudi Wahhabi sect of.
Bulgaria's neighbor Yugoslavia, hostilities are conducted and our border, but fail to leapfrog, so the social environment in the country remained unaffected by religious conflicts. Role plays and called. Bulgarian ethnic model, which, according to me, not a merit of Ahmed Dogan and MRF, allegedly, and historically well-established ethnic and religious relations. But the country can not stay away from the radicalization of Islam.
The social consequences of transition to a market economy, expressed in deindustrialisation, high unemployment, permanent or temporary labor emigration of a considerable number of Bulgarian citizens, a considerable portion of which are Muslim, open niche for penetration of non-traditional Bulgarian lands for Islam. In the worst situation since the mid-90s Muslims in Bulgaria began receiving financial aid from Muslim organizations abroad, which are built over 150 new mosques. More worryingly, in the absence of strict state control over Islamic educational institutions such donations are created and called. educational centers, by which Wahhabism penetrates. Through 2003 g. authorities closed down several Islamic center suspicion, that they operate Islamic groups, funded by the Saudis with suspected links to radical Islamic organizations (Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt).
As seen, main danger for entry into Bulgaria of radical Islam are educational institutions. Analysts like Dimitar Avramov, along with the official Muslim schools in the country were created seven other, who are not registered and have been through some 3000 young Muslims.
Evidence for the introduction of radical Islam is breaking through 2010 g. the organization "Al Waqf Al Islami", acted in the municipalities of Blagoevgrad, rudozem, Smolyan, Plovdiv, Velingrad and Pazardzhik and received a year and a half 400 000 euro from Saudi Arabia. As a result of action by the security forces lead to the first trial in Bulgaria 13 I have also, studied Islam in Saudi Arabia. They are accused of spreading "anti-democratic ideology - opposition to the principles of democracy, separation of powers, liberalism, state and rule of law, fundamental human rights, as gender equality and religious freedom, by preaching the ideology of the Salafi trend of Islam and imposition of Sharia state ". The process begins in 2012 g. and ends before 2014 Mr., but only with an effective sentence for Ahmed Musa Ahmed, I have the mosque, "Abu Bekir" in the Roma neighborhood of Pazardzhik. They were issued two suspended sentences, and the other 10 defendants were fined.
The process in Pazardzhik remains isolated case, showing, that there is no imminent danger of penetration of radical Islam among the majority of Bulgarian Muslims. The failure of attempts to show their radicalization, that they counteract traditional Muslims, and they are found in soil novopriobshtenite to Islam in Roma communities and among Bulgarian Muslims.

Foreign influence on the local Islamic communities

Since the majority of Bulgarian Muslims are of Turkish origin, they feel connected with neighboring Turkey. Talking about it and many Gypsies to our southern neighbor, and the words of the leader of DPS since the end of 1991 Mr.: "Bulgaria's way to Europe passes through the Bosphorus". The historical connection of the Bulgarian Muslim Turkey is becoming a problem for the Bulgarian state in recent years, when secular Kemalist Turkey has called into question the new leader of the country Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The influence of Turkey on Bulgarian Muslims aims to maintain channels of influence on Bulgarian politics. Particularly visible is this after the launch of the strategy of neo-Ottomanism, a reminder of the common past of the peninsula in the Ottoman Empire. Turkish state relies first on DPS: It maintains contacts with the leadership of DPS and assist in the voting of thousands living in Turkey Bulgarian citizens, which invariably support DPS. Gradually, however, DPS emancipated from Turkey and established itself as a Bulgarian party, therefore our southern neighbor is oriented towards the creation of alternative political parties. Thus was born the VVD of Kasim Dal, who in 2013 g. attended the rally victory of Erdogan, and subsequently quite a Lyutvi Mestan, that after removal from DPS seeking protection at the Turkish Embassy in Sofia. Both political projects do not enjoy great success, although Turkish support for them continues.
The second channel of influence in Turkey is through Islam. In difficult financial position of Chief Mufti's Office, lack of imams and state control Turkey began providing financial and personnel support by the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Dianet). With the mediation of the Chief Mufti's Office early 90s so financed three secondary Muslim schools, construction and maintenance of their buildings, and professors from Turkey, as Deputy Directors shall be sent by the Ministry of Education of Turkey. Turkish presence there and the Islamic Institute. According to Ahmed Ahmedov, Secretary of the Chief Mufti's Office, 40% or 3 million. lev. annual funding of educational institutions comes from Turkey. Through 2016 g. published list 95 Turkish Islamic activists, working in Mufti and large mosques in Bulgaria. Because of interference in the lives of Bulgarian Muslims in January 2009 g. Bulgaria was expelled from the chief coordinator of the Diyanet Adem Yerinde, who is also vice-rector of the Islamic Institute in Sofia and is responsible for the recruitment and funding of Muslim schools.
Turkish influence on the spiritual life of Bulgarian Muslims realized due to uncertainties in the Law on Religious Denominations 2003 g. This causes public discussion, especially after the nationalists under the name "United patriots" in the third government of Boyko Borisov in 2017 g. Then made suggestions for changes in the law, to limit the possibility of external influence and barriers to entry of foreign Islamic practices for Bulgaria.

Recruitment of jihadist fighters

Unlike other countries in the Balkans, Data Bulgarian-jihadis fighters in conflicts in the Middle East will. This does not mean, that there is no such danger. Of 18 July 2012 g. It was conducted bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists at the airport "Burgas", wherein the die 7 people and 35 injured. He remains the only terrorist attack on Bulgarian territory, whose perpetrator is a stranger, He arrived in Bulgaria for this purpose.
Although the Bulgarian security services have no information about Bulgarians jihadists, through 2014 g. in connection with the process in Pazardzhik emerge such suspicions. They cause the reaction of the main Mufti, which in mid-September CI. condemns "Islamic state" and calls on Bulgarian Muslims "not to succumb to provocations of these people and to distinguish themselves from their actions".
So far, the only danger in Bulgaria by militants, jihadists comes from their transit.

Assessing the risk of Islamic terrorism

At least for now - in August 2018 Mr., the risk of Bulgarian territory to be executed terrorist acts by radical Islamist groups is minimal. Bulgaria lacks a critical mass of people, able to create logistic possibility of similar action.

Measures against Islamic radicalization after 2000 g.

What is happening in recent years in neighboring countries, and a series of Islamist terrorism in Europe has forced Bulgarian authorities to address the problem. Through 2017 g. began preparing amendments to the Law on Religions, and in prolettta of 2018 g. main political parties submitted to the National Assembly draft proposals (a joint project of the ruling GERB, Opposition BSP and MRF, as an alternative to participating in the management "United Patriots"). Their aim is to place legal barriers to the entry of radical Islam. The amendments provide for granting state subsidies for major faiths, to suspend funding from abroad; non-political parties in the governing bodies of religious communities; ban on foreign nationals to engage Holy service in Bulgarian religious institutions; Control programs and content of religious education activities. Chief Mufti's Office, however, disagrees with restrictions on funding and attracting foreign ministry in, trying to present Muslims as a "threat to national security", and all attempts to give a definition of "radical Islam" (this topic is the letter of the Supreme Muslim Council to state institutions, accompanied by the signatures of 46 thousands of Muslims).


The general conclusion, that I want to finish, it is, that numerous Muslim community in Bulgaria can not be seen as a direct threat to national security because of the radicalization of some Muslims in the Balkans, in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The bulk of Bulgarian Muslims act as a barrier to radicalization of Islam in Bulgaria.
The reason for this my conclusion is, that most Bulgarian Muslims profess traditional Islam, which can be called moderate. Coexistence between Orthodox and Muslims in the Bulgarian lands has a long tradition, where there was everything - destruction, opposition, conflicts, but good neighborliness and cooperation. The trend of cooperation should be continued efforts of both sides.
There are worrying trends among Bulgarian Muslims, which should not close our eyes. It is talking about the penetration of the ideas of radical Islam primarily among Roma, particularly those, recently converted to Islam. The second group, susceptible to radicalization, It is one of the Bulgarian Muslims. In both cases it comes to young people (among Turks birth rate is lower, than Roma and Bulgarian Muslims), isolated from society, with serious economic and social problems.
It should not be forgotten, that the dangers of radicalization of Bulgarian Muslims can come from negative changes in international relations and in the external environment for Bulgaria.


KOSOVO: CLASH BETWEEN TRADITIONAL tolerance and radicalism
Dr. Bobby Bobev

One of the central boulevard in Pristina, directly opposite the campus of the University, rises the majestic building of the newly built Catholic Cathedral "Mother Teresa". If you visit the city Peja (oven) and head to the buildings of the local Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate, You can not help but notice just before you reach them renovated Catholic church. From the hill to the castle in Prizren you can easily list the more than 50 mosques, and close to that in the center of town is the Serbian church "Saint George" with the medieval church "St. Nicholas" against her. A similar picture can be seen almost everywhere in Kosovo, and it seemed to prove seamless coexistence between different faiths - more, that the overwhelming majority of the population are Albanians, traditionally known for their tolerance in this sphere of public life. To this are added and peaceful relations between religions and royal, and in socialist Yugoslavia, in view of the sizeable Muslim population in the country.
This inherited tolerance, however, is put to a serious test of our time, and especially in the last two decades. The very bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia, especially the war in Bosnia woke old controversy and highlighted both ethnic and religious opposition. The consequences were disastrous with the given perhaps over 200 000 victims and inherited risks of such an outcome. And there were the Kosovo conflict. It is the threat of a new bloodbath in the Balkans prompted the international community to firmer rates and efforts to prevent it. NATO conducted "Operation Allied Force" against the regime of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic and the consequences are well known - Kumanovo agreement, resolution 1244 UN Security Council and the establishment of de facto protectorate of the world organization's recent Serb entity, unilateral declaration of independence 17 February 2008 g. and the birth of a new government of the state entity in the Balkans.
Naturally, the question arises what was basically a clash in 1998-1999 g. and how religion had respect for him, in obvious fact, the Albanian majority Muslim, and Serbian minority - Orthodox. Let's give the floor to two people, that are not only direct witness of events, but also spiritual guides of the population there. In May 2013 Mr., under the patronage of Kosovo President Atifete Yahiyaga, in the town of Peja held the conference "Dialogue between religions", which has become traditional and is organized with the support of Ministerstvoto of Foreign Affairs in Pristina. Among the main speakers at the first event of this nature are Naim Trnava, Head of the Muslim community in Kosovo, and Archbishop Theodosius, spiritual leader of Raska-Prizren Eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Their assessments largely coincide and are very indicative. Trnava points, that dialogue on all issues, including religious, It is the only way. Even at the peak of events 1998-1999 Mr., in wartime conditions, religious communities have sought contact with each other in the name of peace. And Theodosius seems even more explicit. it highlights, that this conflict was not religious, and ethnic - clash of two opposing national programs. Kosovo is a patchwork of ethnic and religious terms and therefore the dialogue has no alternative, leading home must be the maxim, that religion should bind, and not to divide.
Quite obviously the two estimates from authoritative and extremely high level match and logical question arises why less than two decades after the military operation different expertise defines Kosovo as a place of serious religious opposition and incubator of jihadi wars in the Middle East. Undoubtedly great importance is the fact, namely that religion is the clearest delimiter between the Albanian majority in Kosovo and unwanted Serbian government. Yet we must seek the intervention of another, mandatory external force, which turns confessional diversity in ethnic intolerance. Because only such an impact once tolerant society in a relatively short time can become a source of extremism and channel export of jihadists - the judgment of the prestigious New York Times.

Current confessional picture, role and place of Islam in it

The examination of this question requires a look at developments in the past, even without going into extensive flashback. Kosovo territory in the Middle Ages Entry consistently within and Byzantium, and Bulgaria, and Serbia - all in the absence of an integrated Albanian state in this era. Later these lands were part of the Ottoman Empire, where Albanians have privilegirovan status and their elite of the elite of the vast country. In terms of ethnic painting for centuries the population is mixed, Albanian element gradually became dominant, especially after the Great Migrations of the Serbs in 1767 g. Sure, no detailed information about these centuries and this fact often speculate with a view to promoting national programs. Through 1913 g. Kosovo became part of Serbia, later Yugoslavia, and the first census in modern times, through 1921 Mr., assuming its data for objective and manipulated, shows more than 60% Albanian element. In the following decades the overwhelming presence of Albanians constantly growing - both because of high levels of natural growth among them, and because of the slow, but a continual process of mechanical reduction of those in the art mainly Serb and less Montenegrins.
At a brief overview of confessional painting shows, the Albanian population in Kosovo in the Middle Ages belonged to the Catholic religion, but between XVI-XVIII centuries mass Islamize voluntary, primarily in financial and economic considerations. The picture does not change when royal, and in socialist Yugoslavia. It can be concluded, the Albanian population almost entirely belongs to the Sunni Muslim confession, Serb wholly orthodox, while among the available Montenegrins there and Catholics.
The last two decades of the twentieth century in a way change the ethnic, and respectively and religious picture of society in Kosovo. Milosevic regime virtually eliminate the autonomous status of the province and gradually takes the rights and freedoms of Albanians, fixed in the so-called. Titov constitution of 1974 g. This is not without pressure and resistance to authorities, by serious ethnic Albanian supremacy element over Serbia and Montenegro leads to a gradual exodus of the past. The situation in Kosovo is becoming more complicated with the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 90s. At the end it completely straight on the table is the issue of his status and belonging to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as it was then called residual format in the former federation.
At present, only conditionally can delineate ethnic and confessional picture in Kosovo, as their local Serbs boycotted the census 2011 g. But clearly, that the territory of approximately 10 800 square kilometers Albanians overwhelming majority of about 1 800 000 people or over 92%. Those living in the northern parts of the country and in some southern enclaves Serbs are probably numbering between 50 000 and 100 000 people, or about 5%. There are, of course, and some other, smaller minorities. Such ethnic picture corresponds to the scale of available faiths. So the Albanians are almost 100% Muslims, and they should be added as Turkish minorities, Roma, goransko etc.. Serbs are all Orthodox Christians, while Catholicism is represented by a small number of Montenegrin and Croatian population, as well as single cases among Albanians. It could be argued, ratio Muslim Orthodox Catholic moves in approximate values 91%-5%-3%. The overwhelming advantage of Islam as a major confession is more than obvious.

Islamic community - legal status, activity, relationships with government institutions, presence on the flow

Constitution of Kosovo was made in 2008 g. under strict international control, with the help of qualified lawyers and final approval by the Venice Commission. Its main objective is the formation of a multiethnic, multi-religious and multicultural society - the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Muslim religion does not lead to a privileged position in the Constitution and general law and confessional groups are formally equal. Categorically guaranteed freedom of religion. The definition of the state is secular.
Kosovo's constitution is a modern basic law, which clearly outlines the division of the country and available confessions. The central authorities in any form does not interfere with the existence of religious structures, their organization and activity, the state is neutral definition to them.
The main and officially adopted structural unit of the country's Muslims is the so-called. Islamic Community of Kosovo. It has plant, which is identical to the one Chief Mufti, and regional divisions, corresponding almost entirely administrative division. President of the Islamic Community is the Chief Mufti years and this function is performed by Naim Trnava. Supreme body of the community is an election for a 5-year period Meeting, led by chairman and vice-chairmen. Assembly members can be revoked at dissatisfaction with their work.
The leadership of the Islamic community in Kosovo responsible for obtaining spiritual education in the country. Under its control are medresas, most famous and important of which are those in Pristina and Prizren. Of 15.08.1992 Mr., a decision of the Assembly of the Islamic Community, creates Faculty of Islamic Studies, as an educational and research center. In conditions then its activity is semi-legal and hampered, but later, especially after independence he grows and gets accreditation as a university of 06.07.2012 g. The control by the Islamic community on obtaining secondary and higher spiritual education is important, especially in view of the external pressure on the Muslims in Kosovo, realized in the last two decades.
This basic structural unit of the Islamic confession in the country maintains good relations with the central government institutions and local authorities. Connections are active, goodwill and unity is commonplace, especially in the challenging conditions of recent years, when the danger of radicalization and destabilization respectively became apparent and became a real risk for the state and society.
Officially among Kosovar Muslims no currents and the Islamic community with its structures is only their legal representative. Clearly, however,, that there were "undercurrents", based on external influence, coming from the Arab world.
Political Islam objectively no soil in the country. An attempt was made to create a party on such a basis, but he was frankly failed and led to a presence in the realities of the country and society. For parties on ethnic grounds it is also difficult to talk, as political entities are originally purely ethnic - Albanian, Serbian and other minority. Perhaps it should be mentioned, however, the presence of an openly nationalist formation - Vetvendosie (self-determination), that there is a stronger presence in Kosovo realities and won a strong position on the ongoing elections.

Processes and trends among Islamic community. Foreign influences on her.

If we talk about something characteristic of confessional status of Kosovo after the actual separation from Serbia in 1999 Mr., then this is undoubtedly enhanced foreign religious influence and unregulated offensive ideas, incompatible with traditional Muslim. This is a serious risk, because the population is not only about more than 90% Muslim, but it is also positioned as a religious to a much greater extent than Albanians in Albania, for example. Study of "Gallup" by 2015 g. Sochi, Kosovo is among the most religious countries in the world: 83% defined as believers, 7% as unbelievers, 1% atheists, rest 9% can not answer. On similar results, as likely to be distorted, Two factors influence: deep-rooted religious dividing line with Serbs, but available now influence of more radical sentiment. Another example: through 2016 g. 32% of the population in Kosovo is defined first as Muslim, then as Albanian. I am sure, that the same research 15 years earlier would give different results. This shows not only, Foreign radical influences that impacted in one way or another public, but that the Islamic Community in Kosovo, and state institutions, and international factors have underestimated the threat of fundamentalism and extremism and not taken timely countermeasures.
The onslaught of various religious structures and foundations, mainly from Saudi Arabia, began immediately after the war 1999 Mr., in a real humanitarian crisis. For this reason, initially starting with humanitarian aid in the form of food and medicine, and later passes to financial support - a condition men to regularly attend services at mosques, and women to move veiled and dressed accordingly. The activity of literally dozens of such structures is becoming increasingly large and difficult to fully cover, They unauthorized building mosques and schools to study the Koran, provide scholarships for higher spiritual education abroad. The influence of Wahhabism in Kosovo - by preaching the rule of sharia and the idea of ​​"holy jihad", It reached its peak after the start of the armed conflict in Syria. Will be just a few examples of permanent and long unremitting offensive. Currently in Kosovo operate over 800 mosques, approximately 240 they were built after the war by 1999 g. According to available data, over 100 these Islamic temple erected illegal - ie. beyond the control of the official structure of the Islamic community. All this activity requires serious funding and obviously available. Only in the current territory of Kosovo "Al Waqf Al Islami 'in the period 2000-2012 g. They passed around 10 million euros. Other assets structure is the "Saudi Joint Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya" - as probably incomplete information he has built several mosques, and 98 schools for the study of the Koran, most arisen students have provided scholarships for obtaining higher religious education in the Arab world, mainly in Saudi Arabia. total over 200 Kosovo citizens receive such education in the post-war years, the main part of them return to their country.
All this creates a really risky conditions for preaching Wahhabism and radical Islam at all. The consequences are starting to feel in itself the Islamic community, where the pressure of the generous Arab funds begin to allow representatives of this class clergy. This inevitably affects the foundations of traditional Islam - after 2004 g. already completed their studies abroad clerics, officially preach in Bessie (Poduevo) and Djilali (Gjilan), and later in the capital Pristina. And something else risk the ranks of the Muslim clergy - there are already quite clear confrontation between the older and traditional set clergy and the young radical generation. There are many examples of threats and even physical violence. Clash of the religious front becomes more than obvious and in this sense it could be argued, that after 2010 g. among Muslims in Kosovo, and among the clergy, There is still relatively small, but already shaped wing supporters of radical Islam. According to some expert estimates, they are to 50 000 people - in 3% the Albanian population, but with sufficient numbers to create serious problems. The events of that time confirmed such opinion.

Kosovo involved in the fighting in the Middle East

when after 2001 g. began the battle against terrorism and ideological justification for it Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism, Kosovo has been a UN protectorate, does not separate politics and stays away from these actions. However, when in the second decade of the XXI century Middle East is reeling from the events of the chaos emerged the silhouette of the "Islamic State", country declared its independence and has outlined foreign policy priorities. And that is when it becomes clear, Kosovo is not only threatened by the propaganda of radical Islam, but intertwines herself with recruiting volunteers for the war in Syria and Iraq.
According to official government institutions first volunteers from Kosovo to the Middle East have gone through 2012 Mr., but do not exclude the possibility before that have been similar cases, although single. Initially, they have become mercenaries of Al-Nusrat, but then the majority joined the ranks of the "Islamic State". The largest number of Kosovar volunteers involved in the fighting in the Middle East in the period 2012-2014 Mr., then probably there are isolated cases, and formally considered, that of 2016 g. the influx of Kosovo citizens to "Islamic State" is completely terminated.
Data on the number of Kosovo mercenaries in the army of radical Islam are not from the same source and are often contradictory. Thus, according to the Ministry of Interior in Pristina, in August 2014 g. Middle East fight about 70 Kosovo citizens, while at the State Department report two months ago that talk about between 150 and 200 Kosovars. To-hold and coming from different data sources should be approached very carefully - without specifying, in information sometimes talk about aktulen number of mercenaries, in other cases - a total number since the conflict. In this sense, more important are the final data, link common units.
I think so, it can be trusted to one report, prepared by the Department for Anti-terror police in Kosovo, with technical assistance from the Development Program of the United Nations and partner services. It in May 2017 g. indicating the number of 316 Kosovo citizens, participated in the war in Syria and Iraq. Among them there were 2 suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children. Again, according to data from the Kosovo Police, in November 2917 g. reports of returnees in the country 133 Kosovo citizens, but 74 They have died in the fighting.
Many news agencies and expert studies accepted figure 316 for reliable and quote. If so, this country is the first in Europe by number of jihadists in the Middle East per capita - 16 mercenaries 100 000 people, which is 8 times more than France and even 60% over Libya.
If we need to report the reasons for this serious for the country scale flow of jihadists, it should cite two main. The first is the overall socio-economic condition of society - the low GDP and economic growth, which combined with extremely high levels of unemployment, especially among the younger age groups. In other words - those of Kosovo jihadists appear mercenaries, seeking higher pay. Should not be underestimated and the second leading cause - the propaganda of radical Islam in Kosovo gaining ground and managed to win over the number of youth. And the many volunteers from Kosovo are in the age group 21-25 years.
And something very important in relation to the degree of risk of imposing radical ideas and carrying out terrorist activities. At the end of 2015 g. expert study in England put Kosovo in the second group at risk of bombings States - along with Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc.. The return of many jihadists will increase the level of risk and this will require additional efforts by state institutions, and Islamic Community. The fact, so far in Kosovo, no serious incidents, should not comforting.
Actions, directed against radicalization in all its forms
Active activity against infiltration of radical Islamic ideas and their consequences essentially start 2012 g. - it is stated officially by the Kosovo authorities. Explicit should be emphasized, that this speak of long delays and a lack of prevention before. In the interest of objectivity should say, that the ideas in this direction had before it. So the Prime Minister in 2004 g. Bajram Rexhepi expressing a, then it was preparing a law banning operating in the country sects, but it was abandoned suggestion "from Europe", that such an act will be interpreted as restricting religious freedom. This is further evidence of myopia and underestimation of risks by the advance of radical Islam globally, and particularly in the Balkans, and in Kosovo.
The state and its institutions develop their activities in several directions, it must be emphasized, that unity, albeit very late, it is undeniable. So in the legislative sphere Government offers, and in 2015 g. Parliament passed a law, banning of Kosovo citizens participation in armed conflicts abroad. Were made amendments to the Penal Code, allowing prosecution for acts such as recruiting volunteers, financing propaganda of radical Islam, creating confusion and panic in society, etc.. Actively operate law enforcement and judicial authorities. Is considered, that of 2013 g. to early 2017 g. They were arrested and investigated over 200 people on charges of involvement in Middle East conflict, for terrorism, including recruiting volunteers, financing of such activities, threat to public order. among those detained, investigated and convicted there and clergymen. Tens receive sentences of prison terms. Special services work closely with partner agencies of Western countries, Turkey and Albania - according to government sources thus prevented over 50 attempted departure to the Middle East. A very important point is the fact, that at least 19 Muslim foundations and organizations are forbidden to operate in Kosovo. All this represented elements of the implementation of two national stragegii: counter-terrorism and combating extremism and radicalism.
Of great importance is the behavior of the Islamic Community, officially the current structure of Kosovar Muslims. In time to 2013-2014 g. leadership committed several errors, allow radical imams to incorporate into its ranks and actually formalizes its activities. Behavior changes dramatically from 2014 g. on - actively preach the postulates of traditional Islam, sharpens tone against radicalism in general and specifically against Islamic State, made frequent appeals to warring in the Middle East, Kosovo citizens to return. In many respects the Islamic community works alongside public structures and even with them. For example, under contract with the Ministry of Justice is preparing a group of lecturers, to operate in prisons, preaching there canonical norms of traditional Islam. It could be argued, that all this activity makes sense and is useful, but the fact remains, that is overdue in time and underestimated hanging over faith and country threat.
We should highlight, that the NGO sector and the media also delay for years its reaction, but subsequently act sufficiently unified and focused against the threat of radicalization.
Overall we can conclude, that public sentiment in favor of traditional Islam and against radicalization are obvious. This does not change the fact, Kosovo appears to be a major target of the Balkans for external pressure in a negative direction and risky zone to spread fundamentalism, extremism and radicalism.


This summary makes it possible to draw some conclusions.
If we go from the main theme - that the country and society are a bridge to spread radicalism or barrier, You will have to outline two stages. The first is 1989 to 2012 Mr., when radical ideas freely enter Kosovo, and gradually gaining ground for development and even penetrate into the system of the Islamic Community. Sure, its meaning have political turmoil, and the lack of real operation power structures to 1999 g. Oddly enough, that then UN administration, and representatives of the international factor, and existing Kosovo institutions, in a sense inactive and thus facilitate the process of radicalization.
Things change after 2012 Mr., to the already very real threats. Then the state institutions of Kosovo declared independence, and the structures of the Islamic community, and a number of social factors, They are activated and gradually catching up, in support of already realized international risk factor.
It is imperative that henceforth continue and deepen in conduct. country, its law enforcement and judicial authorities, should lead the way both their strategies and emphasize prevention - and through the educational system, and by necessary support for traditional Islam and its organizational structures. Of particular importance will be the improvement of the socio-economic situation and creating good prospects for young people, are overwhelming majority in the country. Again, state institutions need to coordinate cooperation in this sphere with the international factor.
Islamic community must be a real supporter of traditional Muslim, To get full control over spiritual education and temple buildings. It is necessary to cut off all contact with dubious religious organizations and foundations, especially from the Arab world, however generous they are. Of particular importance will be the active and contact with the general public, among which to develop complete propaganda - in the best sense of the word.
With such long-term behavior can be expected in the future Kosovo cease to be a preferred field of radicalization regionally and gradually from the bridge to become a barrier to negative external influences.


Ljubco Neshkov

The wars in Syria and Iraq revealed the existence of well-established Islamic terrorist network in the Balkans. Hundreds of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia fought / fight on the side of "Islamic state" in various paramilitaries in Syria and Iraq. Nobody knows the exact number of participants boevete controlled by the "Islamic state" from the Balkan countries, but certainly some, the death toll is several hundred. Only the Republic of Macedonia, officially, the number was 33 killed.

Religious beliefs and the place of Islam in Macedonia

Islam in the Balkans was brought by the Ottomans, which govern the region for five centuries. Subordinates or 'protected subjects "of non-Muslim origin were obliged to pay taxes to the Ottoman rule. Many of them, to avoid taxes, Islam and were assimilated by the Ottoman system.
In the Republic of Macedonia, which has a population of 2.1 million people, There are two main religious groups: Orthodox Christians and Muslims. Most Macedonians are Orthodox believers, and the majority Muslim Albanians. About 65% of the population are Orthodox Macedonians, 32% Muslim, 1% with Roman Catholics and 2% profess other religious beliefs - various Protestant denominations. There is a small Jewish community, who lives in the capital Skopje.
Islamic religious community is mentioned in the Constitution of the country, together with the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric, Catholic church, Evangelical Methodist Church and the Jewish community as separate from the state and equal before the law. To 1997 g. acting Law on Religious Communities. Thereto was introduced amendments to the law of 2007 g. for "the legal status of church, Religious Communities and Religious Groups".
Islamic Religious Community is the only institution, recognized by the Macedonian government, representing Muslims in the country legally. After the establishment of independent national Republic of Macedonia 1991 g, Islamic religious community was recognized by the State in 1994 g.

Islamic communities - legal status, relations with state institutions, presence of different Islamic currents, religious organizations, Islamic schools and trends among Islamic community in the country

In Macedonia, belief and religion, along with their followers, They are typically represented by specific government agencies. So, Islam has always been represented by a public authority since the establishment of Ottoman rule in the region by the collapse of the Yugoslav totalitarian communist dictatorship of Josip Broz Tito in the 90s of the last century.
Islamic religious community is focusing on education and education of Islamic values, construction and maintenance of mosques, Islamic centers, tekkes (Muslim ritual complex of buildings) School (elementary school for Islamic studies), establishment and operation of educational institutions, socio-cultural institutions, creating and maintaining libraries, archives, museums, construction and maintenance of cemeteries, and the establishment and operation of charitable institutions - creation of Waqf (donations to charity) and protection of their rights. In official documents of the Islamic religious community says, it "promote peace and declared war against evil and terrorism" and cooperate with "all institutions, associations and organizations, promoting Islamic values".
Organization of Muslims during the Ottoman Empire. Lands during Ottoman rule Balkan are divided into administrative territorial units - the largest of which is Eyalet. Eyalaetite are divided into sandzhaks. Governor of the Sanjak is Sanjak bey, which has military and administrative authority, and governor of Kazan is Cadi, who has the legal authority. Both are appointed by the central government, t.n. port. Although, that Sanjak Bey stood in ranks higher than Cadi, the latter is the most important figure in the region and enjoys the greatest influence. Cadi had full power, as religious, and secular in their area.
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. From 1918 g. to 1992 Mr., functions and activities of the Islamic religious communities in the Balkans are divided into two periods:
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which in 1929 g. It was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In the period between 1918 g. and 1941 g. in Royal Yugoslavia entering today's territories of Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo.
The second period includes the years between 1945 and 1992 g - during the Yugoslav communist totalitarian system created by dictator Josip Broz Tito.
During the Royal Yugoslavia relationship between the state and different religious communities is based on the principle of recognition and acceptance of religion in. Through 1930 g. in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia adopted a new law, which gives the official name of the Islamic religious community. Following the adoption of the new law Muslim religious officials are under the jurisdiction of the state, and the headquarters of the Reis-ul-Ulema moved from Sarajevo to Belgrade. Meanwhile, members of both the Council of Ulema (Mejlisi) go to two places - Sarajevo and Skopje. Mufti be reduced to nine and appointed by Royal Decree. In practice, the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia appoint people to senior positions within the Islamic Religious Community.
During the communist dictatorship between 1945 g. and 1992 g. Islamic religious community in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established in 1947 g. During major fair of vakifs in Sarajevo. It consists of four council: 1) The Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia with headquarters in Sarajevo; 2) Islamic Community of Serbia in Pristina; 3) The Islamic Community of Macedonia in Skopje; 4) Islamic Community of Montenegro in its capital-then Titovgrad (Podgorica today).
A number of delegates from each board were elected to the Supreme Council of the Islamic Religious Community of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Sarajevo, which in turn chose Reis-ul-Ulema. curiously, that all holders of Reis-ul-Ulema from Bosnia, excluding selected in 1989 g. makedonec Jakub Selimoski.
Macedonia is the only former Yugoslav republic, where Islamic extremism no local roots and its own radical leaders. If Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia (Sandzak, the valley) There are many examples of the existence of local Muslim extremist organizations in the early twentieth century and especially during World War II, then in Macedonia, even among the Albanian population, radical elements come mainly from neighboring Kosovo and Albania. neither transnational, nor radical Islamic terrorist organizations exist in Macedonia. Together, however, must not be exceeded overlooked causes and effects between Islamic extremist ideology and Islamic terrorism.
Albanians are the main Muslim minority in Macedonia. According to the latest census 2002 year ethnic Albanians around 23% of the total population. It should be emphasized, the last two decades there is a permanently leaving the country, not only by the Macedonian, and the Albanian population. More Macedonian citizens (of all ethnicities) permanently leave their homelands, sell real estate and do not intend to return back. This is especially true for rural areas.
Unlike Albanians from Albania and Kosovo, where some of them are Christians - Orthodox and Catholics, Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia are almost all Muslims. The Albanians in Macedonia are crooks, which include the larger of the two subgroups (the other is made from Tuscany). Crooks are more conservative compared with Albanians from Albania and Kosovo. Albanians in Macedonia live mainly in the northwestern part of the Republic, bordering Albania, Kosovo and Serbia.
Turks in Macedonia are the third largest ethnic group in the country. According to the latest census 2002 years Turks around 4% of the total population, and about 12% of Muslims, living in Macedonia. For Turks in Macedonia relationship between Islam and national identity is historically conditioned by the development of political and religious activities in Turkey. Most Macedonian Turks are members of the Democratic Party of Turks, that protects values ​​of secularism. In recent years, actively called. "Gyulensko movement". In the mid-90s Turkish newspaper "Zaman" began publishing, and later he started going out in Albanian. Moreover Gülenists support private schools "Yahia Kemal" Skopje, Gostivar and Struga. These schools are open to children of Muslim elites of other nationalities. The majority of Turks inhabit the western part of Macedonia.
"Torbeshi" Macedonian minority are Muslim, living mainly in the western part of the country. Their exact number is difficult to determine, because in the past many have identified as Turks, and some are assimilated by Albanians. Thus "Torbeshi" always tried to avoid problems with their neighbors. In recent decades a large number of Macedonian Muslims - "torbeşi" emigrate to Western Europe and North America. "Torbeshi" live conservatively. They are now against alcohol consumption, nightlife and photos. In recent years, however, an increase in the "bearded Wahhabis" in their villages, receiving financial support mainly from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
According to census 2002 g. Roma around 2,6% of the total population of the Republic of Macedonia. Most of them are Muslims, and a small number of Christians. The relationship between these two religious groups are often hostile and distrustful. Most of the Roma in Macedonia speak their native language, in the western part of the country they communicate in Albanian and Turkish language. In the eastern part of the country Roma identify themselves as Turks.

Foreign influence on the local Islamic communities, jihadist fighters and measures against Islamic radicalization after 2000 g.

According to the Macedonian special services, especially Agency, that fights against terrorist activities and participation in paramilitary formations so far known, that total 150 Macedonian citizens have participated in the wars in Syria and Iraq. They fought on the side of paramilitaries, in territories, controlled by the so-called. "Islamic state". They have already returned and now (August 2018 Mr.) located in the Republic of Macedonia 80 from them.
The participation of Macedonian nationals of mujaheddin first publicly spoke through 2010 g. Then the local newspaper, in November 2010 g. reported, that about 50 volunteers, who are preparing to participate in the war in Afghanistan, They have been monitored by security agencies in Macedonia.
According to the Macedonian secret services to mid 2018 Year of the battlefields in the territories controlled by the "Islamic State" died 33 Macedonian citizens. The documents do not specify their ethnicity, but reports of their identity and names, undoubtedly it comes to ethnic Albanians. From the interrogation of returning from battlefields or arrested Islamic militants, all fighters from Macedonia arrived to Syria and Iraq through Turkish territory. In most cases, they traveled by land, but there are those, they were using airplanes.
From the interrogation of terrorists is clear, that before leaving the battlefields persons attended religious programs of radical imams. Some of them "have been radicalized" through social networks, others through personal contacts, which also received logistical support for their travel and inclusion in the ranks of paramilitary.
In the Republic of Macedonia have already been sentenced for terrorism 17 by returning Macedonian citizens, who fought in the group of "Islamic State". From their statements it becomes clear, that organization and their training involved and nonresidents - some of them were in the region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo or Albania, but there were also nationals from Arab countries.
In the Republic of Macedonia has recently established a National Committee to tackle extremism and combating terrorism. Currently we produce strategies for resocialization of these individuals.
The use of charities to finance and create terrorist groups. Islamic charities sharply increased their activities in the Balkans during the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. They were adopted relatively well by the local population because of their "official charities". Very quickly it became clear, these charities fund and distribute Wahhabi theology and terrorism. These same charities use the Balkans as a logistics base and territory for recruitment. For this activity, they came under the supervision of special services, which revealed, that they have links with Islamic extremism and money laundering. Huge cash flows are intercepted by Saudi Arabia to Macedonia for the construction of innumerable number of mosques. These mosques are recruiting volunteers for jihad and spreading Wahhabi ideology, hatred towards the West, European values ​​and hatred of Christianity.
Authorities in Macedonia began investigating Islamic charities early 1990 g. at the beginning of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Special services in Skopje revealed, many Islamic charities from the Albanian capital Tirana seeking permission to open stores in Macedonia 1996 g. Charities International Islamic Relief Organization and the Saudi High Commission but were barred by security officials and intelligence. These charities have not received registration. After this refusal they started from Tirana to finance the leaders of the Islamic religious community in Tetovo and madrassa in the village of Kondovo. Wahhabi organization International Islamic Relief Organization of Saudi Arabia, which was established in 1978 g. as a department to help Muslim World League, early 1979 g. starts to open its offices abroad and in particular in the Balkans. In the period 1992-1995 g. International Islamic Relief Organization and other Islamic NGOs provide 350 million. dollars for weapons and mercenaries. At the beginning of 1995 g. the authorities in the Republic of Macedonia closed the office and banned the activities of the International Islamic Relief Organization in Skopje. All members of the international Islamic organization were expelled from the country. Through 2003 g. it became clear, that the International Islamic Relief Organization actively supports activities worldwide "Al Qaeda" , but that did not stop it to open its office in Tetovo, in the western part of Macedonia. Islamic foundation "Al Haramain", which the US Treasury in 2008 year revealed, that together with its international branches, supports terrorist network of Osama bin Laden "Al Qaeda" and various extremist organizations, in Macedonia raises funds through drug trafficking and prostitution. Another charity - "Bamiresia", which was led by Imam Bekir Halimi, ethnic Albanian, acting in Skopje 1997 g. Later "Bamiresia" opened offices in all major cities of the country, populated by Muslims. many times "Bamiresiya" It was investigated for links with terrorist organizations and money laundering. In one of his interviews Halimi official says, that his organization is entitled to receive funds from Saudi Arabia. The main source of funding "Bamiresia" is an NGO from Saudi Arabia and the Society for Revival of Islamic Heritage based in Kuwait.
Local experts warn, that "the number of new NGOs, who engage in religious activities, hidden behind humanitarian aid, It has increased in recent years".
Active Islamic Youth, which was established after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from local Muslims, who fought with foreign Islamist fighters from the Mujahideen parts and which promotes fundamentalist Islamic teachings, It has branches in Skopje, Tetovo, Gostivar, Struga, Kumanovo. The security services have intercepted, that members of the Active Islamic Youth in Macedonia coordinate the transfer of a significant amount of money for Kosovo and maintain close ties with members of the Union of Islamic Jihad. Other Islamic radical movements, groups and non-governmental organizations include "Student Club ", whose president Fatmir Kurtishi from the village of Aracinovo and "Ел-Mujahedeen", founded in 2006 g. by Samilzh Demirovic village Batintze.
From the findings of a participant in "Islamic events" in the city of Debar and the surrounding area in 2017 year becomes clear, that "person, a native of the city and living in the US funded religious schools, who preach radical Islam". These individuals finance various associations, which support the education of children, a library of religious literature, bookstores, shops selling perfumes and food, specifically designed for Muslims. The source reported "the entire network to supply these sites in the country". All are part of the group "Selefi", which participated in the shares of assistance to refugee (2001 g) and Kumanovo (2015 year) crisis. Members of this group are divided into two groups - more radical and more moderate. Among them are members of the former National Liberation Army and various Islamic groups fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. They act in Gostivar, Tetovo, Debar, Ohrid, Kumanovo and Struga, but have only registrations in Skopje. Funding comes from various countries abroad - U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Austria or Italy, reveals the source. They use mosques for propaganda and recruiting for "Departure in Syria in the name of Allah, To die for Allah and go to heaven and angels", reported source. At meetings there are persons from abroad, including Saudi Arabia. The source reveals peculiarities of dressing extremists and their behavior in mosques - various arm movements and touch in a special way with legs and arms during prayer. He describes in detail the way of dressing, length trousers and shape of the beard members of the group.
Islamic extremists in Macedonia use the internet to spread jihad and radical Islamist ideology. even before 15 years in many mosques in the country were found DVD-th of Chechen jihadists, which was filmed how the mujahideen kill Americans. Through 2010 g. It was distributed and music video dedicated to the leader of the terrorist organization "Al Qaeda" Osama bin Laden in Albanian. In the Republic of Macedonia has a large number of supporters and gyulenistkoto movement. It is known, that gyulenistkite schools in Gostivar and Struga have lessons outside the curriculum to radical Islam, where praise fundamentalist.
Problems with radical Islam in Macedonia dates back to the mid 90s of last century, when Saudi Arabia and other countries using internal contradictions in the Islamic religious community. Radical elements take advantage of this situation, and the weakness of the young independent Macedonian state. Through 2002 Mr., a group of local and Arab Wahhabis arms seized "goat wagon" - the most famous religious site in the city of Tetovo, in the western part of the republic. After they took the house very quickly they turned it into a mosque. The Center for Islamic Pluralism in the Republic of Macedonia determined their actions as "aggression uahabiyskite Islamists and serious terrorist threat to the entire region and violent act of cultural and religious vandalism". The Center sent a letter to the US Embassy in Skopje, as well as the President of the Republic of Macedonia. "We strongly protest against the Wahhabi invasion "July wagon" in the city of Tetovo and urge diplomatic authorities and the US authorities in Skopje, that monitor terrorist threats in the Balkans, to put pressure on the Macedonian government for the immediate expulsion of the Wahhabi "goat wagon", by law, if necessary and protect Tekke from further encroachment ", He wrote in the letter to the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Macedonia.
During the conflict in 2001 Year Macedonian security services recorded several groups of Mujahideen in various regions of the country. According to the Ministry of Interior in the period 2001-2002 g. about five hundred Mujahideen, alone or within the terrorist group Albanian National Army, They participated in various battles. The area on the Kumanovo, members of the Mujahideen unit with about a hundred fighters to the territories of the villages Slupchane, Mateicho, Vaksince, Cast and Lipkovo. In the region of the capital Skopje mujahideen involved in armed conflict in the villages of Tanusevci, Brest, Malina Maala and Aracinovo. In August 2001 g. Mujahideen group had in the municipality of Gazi Baba in Skopje, where five members of the terrorist group were killed, together with their leader "Telly", who was not a Macedonian citizen. Another five were arrested by Macedonian police forces. In the region of Tetovo, groups of mujahideen were located in villages Bozhovtse, Weitz, Ghayr and sometimes.
From the reports of the special services, engaged in the fight against terrorist acts on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia becomes clear, in February 2001 g. two wings of the Mujahideen organization formed in the country. The military wing is under the command of Muhammad Hadafan Ranges, and the political wing is led by Sheikh Ahmed Ali Sedan.
Islamic militants continue to operate in the territory of the Republic of Macedonia and after the formal closure of crisis 13 August 2001 year, when it signed the Ohrid Peace Accord. so in 2004 year French terrorism expert revealed, that "hundred fundamentalists, associated with terrorist organizations operating in the territory of the Republic of Macedonia".
Through 2006 g. They were organized street protests and demonstrations in Tetovo and Skopje due to the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. It was the first public event of the Wahhabis and the Wahhabi movement. Protests in Skopje began after Friday prayers outside a mosque "Aya Pasha". In protest attended by about 1000 people. The crowd in the streets of the capital caused "Allah is great". Many of the participants wore black veils, both black and green flags with Arabic inscriptions. Meanwhile in the town of Tetovo gathered around 800 Colorful people in front of a mosque. Most of the protesters were young people and students. The two main Albanian political parties - Democratic Party of Albanians and the Democratic Union for Integration distanced themselves from protests, but his headed recriminations for involvement in protests. Representatives of the Islamic religious community also condemned the publication of cartoons, but urged Muslims not to submit to provocations.
Through 2007 year special police forces discovered near Brodec, in northwest, armed group of local Albanians. According to the police report, the group is preparing for a protracted armed struggle. In the police action were seized huge quantity of ammunition and weapons - mortars, guns, guns and snipers, but security forces opened and brochures, documents and other propaganda materials of the Mujahedeen. Less than a year later in January 2008 g. one policeman was killed, and two others were injured during an armed attack on car, Moving to police. The attack was carried out by three people, who were members of the National Liberation Army in 2001 g. A similar incident happened in November 2008 Mr., when another policeman was killed and two wounded.

Islam in Macedonia - a bridge or a barrier to radicalization

As in most Balkan countries, and the territory of today's Republic of Macedonia Islam was brought by the Ottomans, which govern the region for five centuries. Macedonia is the only country, that despite the huge threats during the Serbian aggression in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo managed to neutralize any more serious manifestations of religious and ethnic extremism in the country. The young country did not allow its territory to operate various Islamist organizations, that the roots in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania. If we need to compare Macedonia with other Balkan country in terms of peaceful coexistence and the high degree of religious tolerance, it legitimately can claim, it most closely resembles Bulgaria. These are two countries, bordering on belligerent (Serbia) in the 90s of the last century, but did not allow any extremist manifestations, including religious. The small Balkan country managed to overcome and control the brutal aggression of Slobodan Milosevic, which just a few weeks deport over 300 000 Kosovo Albanians in the spring of
1999 g. Besides ordinary citizens, including children and adults, among the deportees had many former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, and fighters of various armed groups. Among them were Kosovo Albanian activists of radical Islamic organizations, associated with Saudi Arabia, Turkey or coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Flooded with hundreds of thousands deported Albanians of Macedonia had to deal with the threat of infiltration of these radical elements of the territory of the republic, where lives Muslim.
The lack of "severe hatred" between Macedonian and Albanian population (Christian and Muslim) best was demonstrated during the three-violent political crisis, which fell Republic of Macedonia in the period 2015-1017 year. Then the ruling party of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, to retain power, using aggressive nationalist and anti-Albanian propaganda. Gruevski, who for ten years he managed thanks to the party, created by the former head of the National Liberation Army, Ali Ahmeti's Democratic Union for Integration (DSI), organize mass protests against the so-called. "Tirana platform" for several months in the central streets of the capital. Participants and foremost leaders of the protest used coarse and vulgar definitions against the Albanian minority. Much rhetoric reminded that the Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic by the end of his political career.
The political crisis 2015-2017 year, which ended with the defeat of the Macedonian parliament on April 27 2017 year proved two things.
In the Republic of Macedonia "Albanian threat" It is used by the government until then for maintaining the relationship with the authorities in Belgrade with the ultimate goal - Macedonia may not be fully independent and sovereign state. At the same time it became clear, that in Macedonia local Albanians, including political leaders lack the support and strength to cause ethnic clashes, if they do not receive support from neighboring Kosovo and Albania. Here we should note the fact, that during the great migration wave in 2015-2016 year in the Republic of Macedonia - mainly from Greece, passed over 650 000 migrants. Among them were fighters of the Islamic State. The country managed quite successfully cope with this challenge. The biggest risk to the stability of the Republic of Macedonia, including the emergence of radical Islamist organizations comes from outside. Skopje authorities face a single danger - not to allow entry into its territory of jihadist elements from neighboring Albania, Kosovo and somewhat distant Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this regard, the Republic of Macedonia should receive and international support to fight terrorism. Recent data suggest ofiitsalni, that the territory of present-day Albania have found shelter at least 4800 former jihadists. All are potential, not only for the Republic of Macedonia, but also for other countries in the region.


Muslim communities in Serbia between integration and radicalization
Dr. Biser Banchev

The role and place of Islam in Serbia

Serbia's predominantly Christian country, but inherited part of the religious diversity of the former Yugoslav federation. According to census 2011 g. nearly 85% of the population professes Orthodox, 5% It belongs to Catholicism, and Muslims are slightly above 3% (222 828 people). As the official statistical documents, and lead researcher of the Muslim communities in the territory of the former Yugoslavia Ahmet Alibasic indicate systemic boycott census, overwhelming Albanian-populated municipalities in southern Serbia, which gives rise to claims, that the actual number of Muslims in Serbia should increase by about 60 thousands, and their actual rate to be roughly estimated 4% of the total population.
An important feature of Islamic faith citizens of Serbia is their ethnic and religious territorial concentration. The historic Sandzak region with the main city of Novi Pazar is commonly defined as a multiethnic, but it is home to nearly two-thirds of all Muslims in the country. Traditionally, they feel bound by their co-religionists in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the collapse of the religious unity of Muslims in the former Yugoslav space in the 90 years of the twentieth century obey the supreme head (Reis-'Ulama) Yugoslav Muslims, resided in Sarajevo. The residents of Sandzak are not foreign to the process of transforming identities, taking place in Bosnia. Changing the name of national Muslims capitalized to Bosniaks after 1993 g. It has been taken in Sandzak (Bosnian / Bosniak be regarded as a national category, unlike Bosnian, expressing geographic and state affiliation). Last census in 2011 g. Serbia reported 145 278 Bosniaks, but 98% they are registered in the Sandzak. more 22 301 residents of six Sandzak municipalities in Serbia are defined as Muslim by religion. Muslims and Albanians from Presevo municipalities, Medvedja and Bujanovac. Outside those regions religion is represented in all major cities of Serbia, wherein at Bosniak Albanians was added and part of Roma and other smaller groups of.

Legal status of the Islamic community, relations with state institutions, presence of different Islamic currents, religious organizations, Islamic schools

In the 90 years of the twentieth century for their spiritual salvation takes care of "Islamic Community in Serbia", which regards itself as part / division of a large Muslim family in the former Yugoslavia and obey religiously the Grand Mufti (Reis-'Ulama) on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Locally spiritual leader Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, Novi Pazar, which of 1993 g. control vakıf estate, publishers, media and educational institutions, and also aims to be the chief intermediary for donations, arriving from Turkey and the Middle East. The first democratic government in Belgrade after the fall of Milosevic tolerated and in mufti 2002 g. It allowed him to find the so-called. International University in Novi Pazar, e who registered as a religious foundation (vak'f) and conducts training in Islamic theology without having received the necessary accreditation. Zukorlic monopolize the issuance of "halal" -sertifikati, which are needed in food exports to Muslim countries.
Growing international contacts of the mufti and his commitment to influential factors in Bosnia and Herzegovina met with suspicion by the authorities. Through 2007 year established an alternative religious structure - "Islamic Community of Serbia". It is governed by the old frame from the time of Tito - Belgrade Mufti Hamdija Jusufspahic and his family. Formal leadership of the new structure is transmitted to the mufti of Sandzak Tutin municipality Adem Zilkic, and the post of deputy is occupied by Mohammed Jusufspahic, son of Hamdija. Respectively - local imams, depending on their beliefs, and often - and kinship links, divided loyalty between groups of Zukorlic and Jusufspahic. Adem Zilkic was proclaimed Reis-ul-Ulema, underlining the full independence of the Serbian Muslims. Hamdija Jusufspahic receives honorary grand mufti.
The presence of two Islamic communities does not allow believers to take advantage of laws on restitution. Accordingly, social functions of religious charity are hampered. Mufti Zukorlic solve the problem by force conquer the former vakıf estate and management without ownership documents.
Muamer Zukorlic storage 22 years at the helm of "Islamic Community in Serbia" by January 2014 g. , when stepping down and he was elected his closest associate and the rector of the International University in Novi Pazar - Professor. Mevlud Dudic. Sandzak Mufti Zukorlic remains. At the inauguration of Dudic was coming personally Reis-ul-ulema Hussein Kavazovich Sarajevo.
Through 2016 year replaced the leadership of "Islamic Community of Serbia". It is headed by Sead Nasufovich of Bijelo field in Sandzak, the outgoing president of the ecclesiastical court of the community.
Both competitive organizations have their supporters among the Albanians of the Presevo Valley, wherein the act over 60 mosques, but most of them are managed by a third institution - local structure of the Islamic Community of Kosovo.
"The Islamic Community in Serbia" is active in education. It controls several major Muslim schools in different cities, and in Novi Pazar - a high school and the Faculty of Islamic Studies. In the last train and teachers for Serbian public schools on the subject "Religions - Islam". There are also students from other countries, preferably from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The faculty is part of the International University in Novi Pazar.

political parties, associated with the Islamic community

In the political life of Serbian Muslims dominated by two parties. They grouped themselves around numerous smaller parties, most of which exist only on paper. The strongest political figure dentist Sulejman Ugljanin, who in 1991 g. organized unrecognized by the authorities referendum on autonomy for Sandzak. During this period he created the Party of Democratic Action. It originated as a branch of the largest Bosniak party of the same name, but back in the 90s ties between the two parties had broken under the pressure of Belgrade. The authorities create additional difficulties for local political leaders by allocating the six municipalities of the historical region of Sandzak in two different districts. Ugljanin's biography includes a brief political exile in Turkey, then he returned to Serbia, where repeatedly elected MP, and from 2004 to 2008 g. mayor of Novi Pazar. Ugljanin is sometimes called "Sandzak Milosevic", and the field is determined by foreign diplomats as his "fiefdom". After elections 2008 g. Ugljanin is included in the government, where he was responsible for underdeveloped areas.
The political role of Ugljanin is challenged only by his former deputy at Party Rasim Ljajic, that creates self-formation early 90s. He conducted a softer policy on official authorities in Belgrade and is therefore subscribed to a ministerial post in all governments in the period of democratic change 2000 Mr.. Ljajic is a doctor and was born in Novi Pazar. This allows him to balance the influence of Ugljanin, that there is no strong tribal support in the city and municipality. The two leaders zealously their disputed control of the area in some cases leads to physical clashes between their supporters.
Rivalries are exacerbated particularly in elections for the National Council of the Bosniak minority. The powers of the National Council are in education, culture, language and media. The special feature of Bosniak is, they are almost entirely concentrated in the municipalities of Sandzak, making practice their National Council in the regional parliament. On election 2010 g. Zukorlic is opposed to the traditional parties and registered list of supporters. It got to the prolonged stalemate. The government does not agree to tolerate the attempts of the mufti to unite religion and politics. Ministry of Human Rights and Minorities continues terms of office of the old National Council, led by MP from the Party of Ugljanin Esad Dzhudzhevich. In response Zukorlic initiated the creation of a new party - the Bosniak Democratic Community, chaired by his brother-Emir Elfich. The party is registered as a minority. So the mufti walks the full path to the involvement of religion in politics. In the 90 years he is close to Ugljanin, next decade enjoys support Ljajic, until finally reject all and became independent political factor.
The actual ratio of the forces is checked in 2012 Mr., when regular elections at all levels - presidential, parliamentary and local. Zukorlic ostentatiously distinguished from direct involvement in politics, stating that only supports the Bosniak Democratic Community, but ultimately did not resist the temptation to run for president. He penultimate rank of general 12 candidate in the first round of presidential elections. It should be noted the fact, that the mufti was able to win over the votes of Albanians from the Presevo Valley, normally boycott the determination of the president of Serbia.
Parliamentary race maintains a balance between regional parties. Ljajic was elected on until the ruling Democratic Party, and Ugljanin won two terms alone. The coalition of small minority parties, organized by Zukorlic, won a mandate, which naturally occupied by brother-Mufti.
Great political change after the elections does not affect Ugljanin and Ljajic, which are included in the new government. So practical messages of government continuity in the policy of ethnic peace outweigh mandatory in modern politics, and especially Balkan, populist statements. One of powers, Ugljanin receives government is co-chairman of the Serbian side of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission to Turkey for bilateral economic cooperation, and also those with Iraq, Algeria, Morocco, etc..
In March 2013 g. Zukorlic was able to comfort her brother-Emir Elfich. The mufti was forced to create a new party under the name Boshnachka Democratic Community of Sandžak. In the campaign for snap parliamentary elections 2014 g. Mufti's party is included in the coalition, led by the Liberal Democratic Party of Cedomir Jovanovic. Liberal Democrats take that step after failed negotiations for their coalition with Ugljanin. The total list fails to pass the election threshold and remained outside parliament. Ugljanin won two terms on duty, Ljajic but this time is part of the victorious electoral coalition Progressive Party, led by Aleksandar Vucic.
In autumn 2014 g. expires and the mandate of the national councils of minorities. This time the leaves of Ugljanin defeated and he was elected chairman of the board of Bosniak.
Frequent elections have some role in the upheavals among Serbian Muslims. At national level reduces the role of Ugljanin, then snap elections 2016 g. Zukorlic was elected MP. Presidential elections 2017 g. and Zukorlic and Ljajic support the winning candidate of outgoing Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.
Throughout the period after 2000 political formations of the Albanian minority manage to send one or two members in various configurations of the Serbian parliament and hold control over local government in the Presevo Valley.

Foreign influence on the local Islamic communities

Serbian Muslims often seek the support of their co-religionists abroad. Most often their eyes are directed towards Turkey and to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Internecine conflict among Muslims in Sandzak creates difficulties for the Turkish government, which in this period indicates a growing ambition to play a leading and unifying role in the Balkan Muslims. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made an official call for unification of the two Islamic communities during his visit to Serbia 25 October 2011 g. The visit was preceded by shuttles Turkish ambassador and send a senior Islamic clerics from Turkey in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in an attempt to prepare agreement. Mediation suffers setback. A major role in the failure played Mufti Jusufspahic, behind that continues to stand the Serbian government. For the Belgrade authorities is unacceptable provided a mechanism supreme mufti of Sarajevo to approve the head of Serbian Muslims. The problem has SS Zukorlic, who does not agree to withdraw from the stage and accept its proposed voluntary exile in Turkey.
The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Dianet) organize a new attempt to unite both Serb Islamic communities, which provides Zukorlic and Zilkic to retreat from its leading positions, while continuing to work as clerics in the new structure at a lower level. The intervention of the Diyanet is perceived as a threat by Zukorlic, who in August 2013 g. accuses Turkey, that finances his opponents. Such reactions restrict Turkish activity Serb Muslims.
"The Islamic Community in Serbia" seeks support in Bosnia and Herzegovina and initially found her in the member collective presidency Bekir Izetbegovic, but the latter withdrew under the influence of Ugljanin. Allies in Bosnia and Herzegovina are looking through inclusion in hot topics of public debate, such as the genocide in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995 g. Mufti Zukorlic gets registered address in the city, and then even vote in municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zukorlic continues to CITA the Reis-ul-Ulema in Sarajevo. Zukorlic and the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mustafa Ceric participate in Mecca meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (former Islamic Conference) in June 2012 g. In the official statement is included paragraph, urging Serbia to end the isolation of Bosniaks from Sandžak and Bosnia and Herzegovina, not to destroy the unity of the Islamic community, not to jeopardize the waqf properties and begin to support the educational-Islamic educational institutions. Ceric and Zukorlic included in the composition of the Supreme Council of the organization.
Mustafa Ceric at the end of his term poiznasya religious conviction "fatwa" against rival Serbian Mufti Adem Zilkic. The position was continued by the new supreme mufti of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina Hussein Kavazovich, who visited Novi Pazar and participate in various events, Organized by Zukorlic.

Processes and trends in the Islamic community in the country - risks of radicalization and influence of the ideology of "Islamic State"

The tendency to use the power of arguments in resolving political disputes among Serbian Muslims does not allow to be considered pure theme of the risks of radicalization among Islamic community. For example Mufti Zukorlic announced 4 September day of the martyrs for freedom of Sandzak. On this date in 1944 g. They were shot leaders of local Muslim Self-Defense Forces in World War II, who are accused of collaboration with the German occupiers. Subsequently the initiative was seized by Ugljanin. He led the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the shooting of Sandzak political and military leaders of the communist guerrillas. In the large commemorative procession young people wear uniforms of Muslim Self-Defense Forces of war. The case raises serious concern across the country. In subsequent years, young people participate in the parade without uniforms.
After Ugljanin is not included in the new government after elections 2014 g. he for the first time in many years reminds request for autonomy for Sandzak. Literally months earlier Ugljanin has criticized Zukorlic to such a request, arguing, the economy is more important than autonomy.
Sensitive is the issue of mother tongue. The division of the Yugoslav Federation followed by splitting one long Serbo-Croatian language. Bosniak nation and its minorities in the former Yugoslav republics assert their right to their own language. In February 2013 g. Sandzak is placed officially start teaching of Bosniak language and open classes in Bosnian history and culture. At various times before and after competing are Muslim leaders accuse the government, that obstruct the process.
During the campaign for the election of national councils in 2014 g. for power is made new claims, that Muslims' rights are not respected. The chairman of the official Bosniak National Council Esad Dzhudezhevich, who is a leading activist of the party Ugljanin, organized a campaign to eliminate Serbian endings "IR" and "Vitsi" names Bosniak himself changed his surname to dwarf.

Recruitment of jihadist fighters

Much more serious concerns causing ever increasing information about Muslims in the region of the former Yugoslav space, who die as a volunteer jihadists in Syria. Observers and officials expressed concern about the spread of Wahhabism in the region throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, and in 2011 g. extremist originating from Sandzak fired at the US embassy in Sarajevo. other sandzhaklii, investigated as accomplices were found in the coming years in Syria. At the beginning of 2014 g. spread names of the first died of Syenitsa and Novi Pazar. By the end of the year to the list added another resident of Novi Pazar. In the spring of next year the interior ministry in Belgrade announce details of more than 30 Serbian citizens, that war in Syria and Iraq. Through 2015 g. Chairman of the parliamentary committee for control of security Momir Stojanovic, a former director of military intelligence reports, that Syria went to war 37 people, and seven of them died.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina was arrested and handed over to Serbian authorities, 19-year-old woman, returned from the battlefields in the Middle East. She was born in the town of Smederevo on the Danube, but her father's family is Albanian, and her husband is a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Borders in the Western Balkans are dangerously permeable to agitators of radical Islam. Through 2015 g. Serbian security services established, that Islamic theologian from the Kosovo town of Prizren, which symbolically carries the nickname "Sheikh", using a Bosniak - Serbian citizen, using the mosque in Novi Pazar, to agitate worshipers to join "jihad" in Syria. The mosque is not a center for recruiting volunteers, but there may be a link with the people, fought on the side of the "Islamic State".
Through 2017 g. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic reports, that 49 people of Serbia have gone to fight on the side of "Islamic State", some died, others are still there. Before that Momir Stojanovic talk about 70 Serbian citizens "Islamic State". Explanation for the different numbers give Mufti Zukorlic in March 2018 Mr., when alert, that Kurdish camp close to the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey have detained 11 Serbian citizens - women and children, and calls for them to be released and returned home. No doubt, that part of the Serbian jihadists were accompanied by their families.

Risk of terrorist acts, linked to radical Islamist groups

According to the researcher of Islamic radicalism in the Balkans Christopher Delizo the early stages of its establishment as a leader Zukorlic has received financial and moral support of Wahhabi circles, either directly from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran, and through the structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Controlled by Zukorlic Muslim youth activists in Sandzak radicalize. They provoke in 2006-2007 g. several incidents, in that attack and threaten moderate local imams, modernly dressed women and participants in musical concerts. Through 2007 g. near Novi Pazar was discovered a cache of weapons, explosives, uniforms and propaganda literature. The equipment is available under the existing connections Wahhabi. Just from these circles out participants in the attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo 2011 g. and Serbian jihadists in the Middle East.
Over the next few years the most radical elements are outside Serbian territory, but change the course of hostilities in the Middle East again attention is drawn to their homeland. Of 10 July 2015 g. is published on YouTube video threatening to "Islamic State", in which the background of a religious song is made threat, Serbia will be the first target for jihadists, who then plan to "return Sharia 'and in other countries of the Western Balkans. The message was published the day before Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to visit Srebrenica to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre of Bosnian Muslims during the war for Yugoslav heritage. During the visit, Vucic was subjected to an organized attack with stones. The situation is further complicated by multiple increase in refugee flows from the Middle East to Western Europe. It turns out, that some of the participants in the Paris bombings in November 2015 g. They have gone through Serbian territory. experts warn, that terrorism might lead to armed clashes in the Balkans.
In March 2016 g. three returnees supporters of the "Islamic state" were arrested in Kosovo for planning attacks in Serbia. In the summer of that year in social networks posted record, which gunmen light Serbian flag, dressed in uniforms of the Bosnian Muslim army during the war in the 90s of XX century.
Through 2016 g. Mufti Zukorlic receives special attention from the "Islamic state" in the form of a video, calling for his murder, describing him as a traitor, He dishonored his position as priest and became a member of the Christian state.
At the same time, a special survey, showing, that almost a fifth of young Muslims between 16 and 27 years in Sandzak justify violence in the name of faith. Almost a quarter refuse to answer questions if they know what is "Islamic State". About 10% They responded positively to the question justifiable to go to another country, to fight, if thus defend the faith. According to sociologists young Muslims in Sandzak are socially isolated and "atomized". They do not trust the imams, Political parties, NGO, neighbors, but family members and partners. This is only, which combined with the threat collectively generate easy opening to radical political opinions.
Such people are susceptible to radical propaganda, disseminated through social networks. Another threatening message from "Islamic state" has been made in summer 2017 g. specialized online magazine "Rumiyah" (Rumelia). It made threats of terrorist attacks against the Serbs because "murder of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo".

Measures against the danger of radicalization

Serbian state pays serious attention and take a series of measures against the Islamic radicalization in the legislative sphere, prosecution and activities of the specialized agencies. Along with this, and planned policy on the integration of the Muslim community and its leaders.
An important example is, namely that Minister Rasim Ljajic alarmed, and members of his party offer legal change, against participants in foreign military conflicts. At the beginning of the autumn session in 2014 g. Parliament adopts new law, providing prison for Serbian citizens, involved, promote or recruit participants in armed conflicts abroad. Applying just these texts in April 2018 g. The Special Court in Belgrade sentenced to a total of 67 years in prison 7 accused of terrorism and cooperation with "Islamic state". Three of them were tried in absentia. The rating is, that the group has sent at least 24 people on the battlefield in Syria.
The case is an example for successful international cooperation. One of the accused was deported from Turkey in Serbia. Due to the connections of Serb Muslims with their fellow in Bosnia and Herzegovina (when it comes to Bosniaks) and Albania, Kosovo and Western Macedonia (when it comes to Albanians) specialized bodies of Serbia intentionally collect information on developments in their respective countries and the possible sources of threats.
No less important is the policy of integrating the Muslim community to the state. The formation of local authorities largest national parties always strive to conclude the necessary coalitions with local political leaders and leading members of the Muslim religion in the municipality. They in turn successfully incorporated into local and national power structures. The central government also seeks balance and seeks more than one ally in Sandzak. Rasim Ljajic passes cleanly from the Government in Government, where is complemented by Sulejman Ugljanin. then 2014 g. Ljajic remains the only minister, but recede Ugljanin from the capital increases the possibilities of cooperation Mufti Zukorlic with the ruling to the extent, that after elections 2016 g. he got the chairmanship of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, science, technological development and information society. Not forgotten and other prominent representatives of the Muslim community. The government of Mohammed Jusufspahic Vucic sent as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Emir Elfich - as ambassador to Lebanon.
Worth the effort. when 11 July 2015 g. Serbian Prime Minister Vucic was attacked with stones, in an organized attack, when he went on a pilgrimage to the victims of Srebrenica, which in itself is a serious security challenge st region, Mufti Zukorlic gives a statement to news agencies, It supports the policy of reconciliation, led by Vucic and wishes of the prime minister to remain firm on the chosen path. After him the leadership of the Bosniak National Council gives a statement in the same vein. Calls for calm come in at the right time.
Like coinciding position is monitored in terms of religious extremism. He ordered both Ljajic, which is importing bill condemning participation in foreign military structures, and the Bosniak National Council, led by Ugljanin.


Tracing processes in the Muslim community in Serbia having the impression of a seemingly paradoxical situation. On externally stand periodic sharp end statements from leaders of violated rights of Muslims, often taken too seriously by their supporters. In comparison with the leading figures of major national parties settled, in fact, it is an expression of a "macho" style in the rhetoric of politicians, which thus legitimize their leadership presence. Such behavior is part of the Serbian political tradition, but it is not always aware of the emotional feelings of voters, which are further exacerbated by unemployment, economic backwardness and the growing number of young people, seeking its realization in life. Spot patronage and political clientelism are inevitable part of local politics in an underdeveloped region as Sandzak. Water is a daily struggle for control and distribution of local resources, which are very important source of influence, of livelihood, and even in some cases - survival. Local leaders often tend to legitimize their social role of the danger of "external enemies" and their stated willingness to power response. This is not always understood by their supporters, sometimes enough to physical clashes. Party bosses difficulty controlling his supporters among the growing unemployment in the region and tend to resort to risky mixing religion with politics and social ethnic problems. Not all members of the community managed to find their place in this complex balance. Ruthlessly exploited their feelings are on the brink of emotional tension, seeking its outlet. Some find it in the temptation of Islamic radicalization.
Such assumptions may face trials relations between Orthodox Christians and Muslims in Serbia, and in all the former Yugoslav space. Additionally it should be reported and the Albanian problem, which undoubtedly is a national, but under certain circumstances and suitable conditions for radicalization can acquire a religious dimension.
Compared with its neighbors Serbia sends fewer jihadists in the Middle East. This may be due to the relatively small share of Bosniaks and Albanians to the general population of the country, and the Yugoslavian heritage, that tolerates secular Islam. In this sense, Serb Muslims may be converted into an effective barrier against radicalization. On the other hand, underestimating the problem can lead to a dangerous trend, to suggest some of the events in recent years.


Peter Vodenska

religious beliefs - role and place of Islam

The predominant religion in Turkey is Islam, about 99.8% of the population identify as Muslims. According to generally accepted studies, about 80% the population of modern Turkey are Sunni, but 20% - Shiites alevits. Islam is imposed by today's land of Turkey to the second half of the eleventh century, when the Seljuks out expansion in Eastern Anatolia. From 1517 g. Sultan became the sole caliph (Arabic "receiver", "Vicar" of the Prophet Mohammed, supreme head of the Islamic community, performs spiritual and secular leadership in the Islamic world).
After World War, Group patriotic-nationalist officers and intellectuals, led by Mustafa Kemal, refuse to accept the Sevres peace treaty and begin hostilities, grown into a national-liberation war. Through 1923 g. creating Republic of Turkey (Lozanski peace treaty). Republic is built by Mustafa Kemal, called Ataturk (Father of the Turks) on ideology, resting on six principles: nationality, republicanism, nationalism, secular state, statism (state control of the economy), all requiring reformism.
Ataturk's reforms covering virtually every aspect of Turkish society, including the role of religion. Of 1 November 1922 g. It is liquidated sultanate, and on 3 March 1924 g. - Caliphate (is canceled and the office of Sheikh-ul-Islam, all religious matters are handled by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Dianet) – (Religious Affairs). In subsequent years are given equal rights with men to women (1926-34 Mr.), It prohibited the wearing of fezzes and hijab (25 November 1925 Mr.), assumed Civil Code (in March 1925 g. liquidate the Sharia courts and introduced civil proceedings), on 30 November 1925 g. are closed religious sects and orders. These reforms - especially in religious sphere - They encountered sharp opposition from the clergy and challenged the organization of riots, Ataturk who suppress radical.
Ataturk and his followers regarded organized religion as an anachronism, opposed to the "civilization", which, they think, it is rational, world cultures. When in the 20s of the last century (and after this) It has proceeded with reforms to secular society, reformists seek to remove religion from the sphere of public policy and to limit it to personal morality, behavior and faith. The purpose of these changes was Islam be placed under state control.

Political parties and their relations with Islam

In any case,, at the time of Ataturk, Islam has consistently played an indelible role in the private lives of citizens. This role is strengthened after the weakening of political control over 1946 g. Newly Democratic Party (DP) a leader Adnan Menderes includes in its program some policies, aimed at fulfilling the aspirations of religious circles, which won their votes in the elections.
After coming to power PD, gradually begins to satisfy the need for restoration of religious education in public schools. In the 50s of the last century religious training became mandatory in schools - unless parents specifically wish. Through 1949 g. creates Faculty of spiritual education at Ankara University, Training of teachers of Islam and Imams. Through 1951 g. Government of DP creates a special secondary school (I Hatip) training of imams and preachers. Through 1982 g. religious education became mandatory for students in primary and secondary school.
In 1960 the party successor DP AK Party (PS), led by Suleyman Demirel, which is gradually moving away from agricultural areas, and released her place is taken by emerging parties with a religious orientation. The profound changes in society call to the fore relevant politicians, who have the skills to exploit the religious sentiments of voters. Such politician Necmettin Erbakan. he, based on the ideology of "national view" (National opinion) creates one after another several pro-religious parties (the first Congress in 1970 g. the created by Erbakan Party national salvation - hugged Islamist political philosophy - for the first time at a party forum sounds cries of 'Allah-y-Akbar ").
Speaking of such politicians, We should emphasize the role of current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He was a member in the Welfare Party of Erbakan, elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994 Mr.; after the release of the party in power (under pressure from the military) and its prohibition is sentenced 4 month prison. Through 2001 g. establish Justice and Development Party (AKP), which won the parliamentary elections in November 2002 g. Burdened with imprisonment criminal record Erdogan initially did not allow him to become prime minister, but then the law is changed. Through 2014 g. elected president, but after winning the referendum (2017 Mr.) to change the Constitution and turning the republic into a parliamentary presidential, through 2018 g. elected president, as head executive. Along with that Erdogan maintains its position as a leader in the party.
One of the reasons in the 70s and 80s of the last century Islam to find a political revival is, that the leaders of the center right considered religion as a lever to combat leftist and leftist ideas, become popular in society. It appears very strong and influential group of intellectuals, organized in the so-called. "Intellectually outbreak" (Intellectuals January), which preaches, that true Turkish culture is a synthesis between Turkish traditions before the adoption of Islam and rules of Islam itself.

To State institutions to Islamic communities - legal status, presence of Islamic movements and religious organizations

Tolerant attitude of the state towards Islam leads to the development of private religious initiatives, including construction of new mosques and religious schools in the cities, establishment of Islamic centers for studies and conferences, devoted to Islam, Development of Islamic newspapers and magazines, Detection of Islamic health centers and orphanages, as well as financial institutions and cooperatives. Through 1994 g. began airing the first Islamic television channel (Channel 7), first in Istanbul, and then in Ankara.
Turkey was the first Muslim country, which in 1925 g. officially prohibits the wearing of the hijab by women. For the first time in 1984 g. then Prime Minister Turgut Ozal, following a policy of "fusion with Islam", repealed the ban, but under pressure from the secular section of society, it restores ban in 1987 g. Through 2008 g. Erdogan's government makes another attempt to remove that prohibition in universities, but the Constitutional Court leaves it in force. Through 2010 g. the ban was lifted, and in 2013 g. permitted the wearing of hijab in government offices. Through 2014 g. It was repealed a ban on wearing hijab in the upper grades of public schools. Through 2015 g. Supreme Military Court of Turkey cancels ban on headscarves by relatives of servicemen, visits to barracks.
Development receive and Islamic sects, movements and organizations, as Nakşibendi, Bektâshî, Nurdzhu etc.. They also have their own media. It is considered, that a significant part of Turkish political, economic and cultural elite belong to them (notorious was the fact, the former prime minister, and later president Turgut Ozal membership in Nakşibendi, and Erdogan also considered, It was "very close" to Nakşibendi). for example, the members of Syuleymandzhi (more than 100 000 people) not considered Islamic Order, but "followers" - they are influential organization, among their ranks there are ministers, MPs, founders of political parties (after the establishment of the AKP followers Syuleymandzhi split politically between the Motherland Party and SGP). Syuleymandzhi carry out humanitarian, Enlightenment and other activities in Germany, Белгия, Netherlands, Austria, France, Sweden and Switzerland - general 1 700 associations. electoral support (before the elections in June 2018 Mr.) Erdogan and the AKP and expressed 14 organization on the Salafis (it is said, that Turkish Salafists have participated in hostilities in Syria on the side of radical groups).
Religious Charitable Foundation Maarif (it is said, it is under the control of President Erdogan), not without the help of Diyanet and TIKA (Development Agency), Turkish and other humanitarian organizations, serving as a cover for intelligence MIT (National Intelligence Agency), currently implanted in place of foeto (Gülenists), and not only within Turkey, and in the Balkans and among the Turkish communities in Western Europe, in which fetal was penetrated by schools, libraries and foundations.
The impact of Ataturk created the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Dianet) It has grown in recent years. The budget of the Directorate (subordinated directly to the president now) reaches billions of dollars. Through 2002 g. its budget was 325 million. dollars, and in 2016 g. more than 2 billion dollars, which is 40% more than the budget of the Interior Ministry and as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Energy and Culture and Tourism, together.
The Directorate takes care of maintenance and construction of mosques (nearly 100 thousands in Turkey), for salaries of imams, etc.. It allocates funds for Muslim communities abroad - in the Balkans, in Western European countries with Turkish communities and others., which aims to send its imams and preachers and develop among their activities, including intelligence - After the attempted coup 2016 g. Diyanet ordered his officers abroad to monitor and report on activity Gülenists, in Ankara sent hundreds of intelligence reports from ten countries. Diyanet has 150 thousand employees, which de facto is a whole army of Islamism. Diyanet has a license to create custom media - TV, radio, newspaper and magazines.
then 2011 g. Diyanet began to issue fatwas, upon request, and their number is constantly increasing. At the end of 2015 Mr., for example, fatwas explain, that according to Islam, "Should not be viewed dogs home, should not celebrate the Christian New Year, should not play the lottery, nor tattoos'. In. "Yeni Safak" (semiofficial organ - promote policy of the AKP) periodically publish these fatwas. Still, although the Diyanet is a government department, issued his fatwas have (at least for now) mandatory nature of law in Turkey.
In the presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2018 Mr., as a kind of interference in the election campaign in Turkey, Opposition defines support for the AKP by Muslim clerics, in particular their active campaign for the candidacy of Erdogan, by simply using religious dinners (iftar) and Muslim shrines (during prayers urging a support AKP, and in any mosque or in front of its entrance was placed face of Erdogan).
It is striking, Diyanet that cares for Sunni, while Alevis are denied them. This creates a certain inequality, as taxes (which form the budget) pay equally all Turkish citizens, regardless of their religious background (Alevis attending prayers temples - cemevis, and their preachers are called "dede").
Should be considered, that the main pillar of secularism in Turkey were military, They are considered the most zealous supporters of Ataturk's legacy. After World War II made four Turkish military coup, an attempted coup and they had one count of attempted coup (which later dropped) - all this in order to avoid - in their assessments - withdrawal of certain politicians from the principles of Atatyurkizma, Islamization of society and threats to national security. Definitely should be emphasized, that the gradual weakening of the role of the military in Turkish politics and marginalized in their waters - except to other results - and to undermine the foundations of secularism, bequeathed by Atatürk. This ejection does not happen without the help of Europe.

Islam and Turkey's foreign policy

In different periods of its development, Turkey has used for the purpose of foreign policy Turkish / Turkic nationalism and Muslim religion among, which has ruled the Ottoman Empire. Depending on the circumstances and the historical period, This was based on the ideology of "Pan-Turkism", and subsequently of "Pan-Islamism", "Turk-Islamic synthesis", "Strategic depth", but the goal has always been one - strengthening the position of Turkey among those countries.
Currently Turkey is a regional player with ambition to become a global. In order to obtain the advantage of its policy, in its implementation, Turkey - among other things - a hybrid use all available means: political, military, "Soft power" in the face of the establishment of influence over Turkic and Muslim groups in neighboring countries. This is done through various tools: intelligence (MYTH), Directorate of Religious Affairs (Dianet), Agency for Cooperation and Development (TIKA), Institute "Yunus Emre", Agency for Foreign Turks, NGOs, political-party engineering in countries, where conditions allow, etc.. It works on the principle "as much as possible - so".
The first visits of Erdogan after his election as president in elections 2018 g. They were in Azerbaijan and called. "Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic". In both places, Erdogan used the expression "... we are one people, divided into two states ".
Relations with the countries of the Western Balkans have traditionally priority for Turkish foreign policy, Turkey often sees them through the prism of the Ottoman heritage, and that at times there are contradictory results and lead to a deepening of the existing historical history and Prejudice. Western Balkans to Turkey part of the territory, on which it is to exercise influence through Turkic-Muslim element, starting from Albania, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sandzak, Kosovo and Macedonia, in Thrace (Bulgaria and Greece). But the aspirations of Turkey did not stop there. It Black Sea (Crimea - the cause of the Crimean Tatars and Gagauz in Bessarabia, particularly in Moldova for less than 30 years the native Gagauz - Orthodox population, speak the Turkic language, They were subjected to persistent "soft" treatment, they are Turks) and further East - Caucasus (a Turkic-Muslim element in the population there), Central Asia and the Uighur region in China.
The main parameters of Turkish foreign policy towards the Republic of Macedonia to build the image of "patron" and most faithful ally Skopje, always stressing the role of Muslims in Macedonia. Turkey officially defines Bosnian Muslims as "brotherly nation", a Sarajevo, along with Skopje, It is one of the most frequently mentioned Balkan capitals in the speeches of President Erdogan in the context of the imposed vision of the existence of a group of countries, on which is projected Turkish power as influence, patronage and solidarity. SGP years supported Bosnian leader Bakir Izetbegovic, fueling the Muslim cult of his father - Alija Izetbegovic. According to the series "Aliya" the Turkish state TV (filmed in Sarajevo and Mostar), on his deathbed Alia he was "bequeathed Bosnia Erdogan and asked him to care for the country". The Turkish leadership prioritizes relations with Kosovo, which is justified by the fact, there live Turkish citizens of Albanian origin. Albania is perceived as "friendly and brotherly" (as opposed to other countries in the region, Serbia Turkish side to develop relations and strengthen its influence mainly on the basis of economic cooperation, using TIKA).
Also interesting is the question of so-called. fETO (movement "Gülenists" - some of them qualified as a Muslim sect), charged as an organizer of the failed coup 2016 g. Along with then subjected to persecution hundreds of thousands of supporters of preacher, Turkish side proceed to prosecute such persons abroad, by different tools. For example, in Kosovo, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, MIT conducted operations forced "removal" in Turkey called. "Gülenists" (however, Kosovo politicians have expressed public disagreement with surgery, conducted without their knowledge). Experience a similar operation MIT had in Mongolia.
The presence of Turkic and Muslim communities in Western Europe is used by Ankara in election campaigns - such cases as there were before the referendum on constitutional changes (April 2017 Mr.), and before the presidential election and Majlis in 2018 g. Obviously, this was described as a problem for some countries like Germany, Netherlands and Austria, not allowed such election propaganda in their territory (this caused an exacerbation of relations with Turkey).
The activity of sending the Diyanet in other countries preachers also causes problems in some countries of residence. Evidence of this is the case with Austria, where - in the period of the elections for president and Majlis in Turkey for Turkish citizens abroad - Government decided to close seven mosques (six related to the Arab community, and one - with Turkey) and extradite six imams (all related to the Turkish community). The decision is a consequence of violations of the Law of Islam and the Law for Non-profit, related to licensing, forms of financing, and proclamation of final Islam. A similar thing happened before the elections in Bulgaria for the National Assembly in April 2017 g. - caretaker government launched the so-called. "Coercive administrative measures" against six Turkish citizens (two of them - sent by Diyanet imams with diplomatic passports), who were forced to leave the country. However, such a measure was taken by the Bulgarian government and in 2016 g. to diplomat (attache) in the Consulate General of Turkey in Burgas (he was also sent by Diyanet).
Currently there are European countries 11 political parties, based on "Muslim or predominantly Muslim members". In France, there were three such parties, in Spain - two, in Bulgaria - three, in Austria, Netherlands and Greece - one. According to publications in Turkish media, these parties are financed by official Ankara, through various instruments. Interestingly, that - except Bulgaria - other countries that were marginal organizations "negligible impact" on the politics of the country. During the caretaker government of Bulgaria before the early parliamentary elections in spring 1917 Mr., Turkish Ambassador to Sofia was invited to a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was addressed on the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of the country in the form of party political engineering.
Turkish politics in Islamic countries is also interesting point of its foreign policy. Unlike the times of Ataturk, Turkey now their best points total Muslim base for relations with these countries. Ankara styles itself as the most outstanding defender of the Palestinian cause - which in turn cause problems with Israel.
Ankara maintained a discreet relationship with the military and political groups against Bashar Assad in Syria, traded energy with "Islamic State" (When journalists do report, that trucks, transporting this fuel, with registration numbers of Turkish intelligence, this journalist - along with the chief editor of the newspaper - was imprisoned "for disclosure of confidential information"). With their military operations in Afrin and manbij, and Iraq, Turkey showed, that is insurmountable factor in this region.
Despite the opposition along the line Sunni-Shia, There are many fine relations between Turkey and Iran under the sects, mainly Nakşibendi and Syuleymandzhi. There are "assumptions", that these connections are monitored and maintained by MIT. Intelligence uses Islamic banks in Iran, which has assets of senior contemporary Turkish leaders.

Processes and trends in the Islamic community - risks of radicalization, influence of ideology of "Islamic State", recruitment of jihadist fighters

As for the presence of jihadists in Turkey (including Turkish citizens) - fighters idyll, it is not excluded, but more importantly, Turkey seeks to monitor and neutralize those militants and trying to be recognized as "the most unswerving fighter against jihadism, barrier wants to go to Europe jihadists, guardian of European countries by terrorism ". Officially, Erdogan denies any involvement in the idyll.
Meanwhile dissenting against Erdogan's party, They found refuge in Western Europe, maintain relations with Erdogan members of al-Qaeda, especially during the "Arab Spring" and then, when he tried to participate in the installation of the proxy regimes of Tunisia and Libya to Egypt and Syria. According to these persons, Erdogan intervened in the work of the judiciary in the province of Van, thwarting the conviction of a local resident (Osman Nuri Gyulachar, I have a salary of Diyanet) for links with Al-Qaeda, and then, in his capacity as prime minister, He refused to respond to a question from opposition parliamentary question on this occasion. Nay, same Gyulachar was leader of the lists of the AKP's election in June 2018 g.
The question "Secular or Islamic seems today Turkey" is set often, not just philosophical plan. Under the Constitution the country is governed by secular laws, instead of Sharia. But if we compare today's Turkey with that, which country was, for example, before 40-something years and that was before 2002 g. (coming to power of Erdogan), inevitably we will see extraordinary changes in the religious sphere. During this time the country were built tens of thousands of new mosques (just about the time of 2002 to 2013 g. They are built 17 000 new mosques, a substantial portion of the remaining from Ottoman times have been renovated). The existing ban on wearing hijab from public sector workers - teachers, lawyers, parliamentarians, etc., He was lifted from AKP. In November 2015 Mr., woman became the first woman judge, resulting lawsuit, wearing hijab. And in August the same year, Ms Aysen Gursel became the first minister in the Turkish government, supporting hijab. I Hatip schools train students for occupying the post I. Through 2002 g. there was 65 000 Students in such schools, through 2013 g. The number of students is now 658 000, and in 2016 g. are 1 million. people. Introduced mandatory religious courses in schools. In the original organizing courses Quran children, who express a desire, They should be at least 12 years old. It was canceled by the AKP government, and in 2013 g. It was experimentally introduced such a course for preschool children. SGP introduced in 2013 g. law banning advertising and sale of alcoholic beverages within 100 meters from mosques and schools. TV stations were obliged to "cut" or obscure / hidden scenes, showing in their broadcasts spirits.
Polls show, that 56.3% of the Turkish population believes Turkey is not a secular, but Islamic country (through 2015 g. figure was 45.5%, through 2016 g. – 37.5%, and in 2017 g. – 39.9%). Nearly 50:50 answers the question of whether the country is a "Western" or "Eastern" orientation, and in determining whether Turkey has the characteristics of European or Middle East, prevailed with second 54.4%.
However, in Turkish society are heard voices, that recently among the younger part of the population remains withdrawal of Islam and peculiar turn to deism (faith in God, but without religion) and even atheism. This was found even in the report of the Ministry of Education, discussed in April 2018 g. Konya (conservative city in Anatolia). Right-wing commentators attribute this fact to the "introduction by West hedonist, materialistic and upadchno "influence, while others indulge in rampant corruption, arrogance, tesnogrdie and ill, observed among otherwise loyal to Islam elite. The reason the last show and excessive reference to Islam by leaders of the AKP (eg. Party functionary in an area of ​​Istanbul tells rally, "If we lose the elections here, lose Jerusalem and Mecca ", if Islam can not exist without the AKP in power). Turkish students, studying in universities in Western Europe, often considered, Erdogan is not a true Muslim, unreservedly believer in Islam, but simply using religion to achieve their political goals.


As is evident, Islam has very deep roots in Turkey. During the Ottoman Empire acted Sharia, and the Sultan was Caliph (Vicar of Mohammed on earth). Ataturk's reforms in this area since 1922 g. Islam shifted from the center of life in society, but he continues to be decisive in personal morals, behavior and faith of the people. After the death of Ataturk, especially during the onset of a real multi-party system (1946-50 Mr.), Islam gradually began to play an increasingly role, not just in personal faith, but in the polity, where "creeping" occupies a more serious place. This Turkey is obviously a constant process, although the country still formally a secular polity.
Erdogan is currently inclined policy to use Islam for their purposes, but the process of strengthening of Islamic religious factor in domestic and foreign policy is gaining natural force, It is not subordinate to deter willful and could not predict when it "crossed" the border, determined by the Erdogan.
In foreign policy Turkey at Ataturk actively used Turkic factor in the neighboring and more distant countries (pan-Turkism), while the Islamic factor is left in the background, the principle of a secular state ideology of the Reformation. After incipient return of Islam in domestic politics, to Pan-Turkism in foreign policy is added Pan-Islamism (influence by the Islamic factor in neighboring and more distant countries), evolve into "Turkish-Islamic synthesis" and "strategic depth" - "neo-Ottomanism". Turkey established relations with various Islamist groups, Balkan, Middle East, Chuck Uygur region to, shelters compromised / failed leaders of these groups. Tools of this policy are intelligence (MYTH), Development Agency (TIKA) and the Directorate of religion (Dianet). MYTH, for example, conducts covert / black operations abduction Gülenists from other countries, far from Kosovo, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Mongolia.
They are not groundless expectations, that this policy will continue after the actual transformation of Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential republic, with a very strong focus vlst in the hands of President Erdogan.


Prof.. Dr. Iskra Baeva teaches contemporary history at the Faculty of History of Sofia University "St.. Kliment Ohridski ", He specialized in Poland and the US, participated in national and international projects Cold War, the transitions in Eastern Europe in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Author of many books and studies on the history of the Cold War, central Europe, Soviet Union / Russia, Bulgaria's history in the twentieth and early twenty-first century., ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe, history of Jews in this region, etc..
Dr. Biser Banchev He graduated modern Balkan history and a doctorate at Sofia University "St.. Kliment Ohridski ". He works at the Institute for Balkan Studies with Center for Thracian Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in "Modern Balkans". His research interests are related to the modern history of Serbia and Montenegro; disintegration of Yugoslavia; nationalism, geopolitics and international relations in the Western Balkans. Member redkolehyyte at SU. "Geopolitics" (Sofia) and "International Politics" (Belgrade).
Dr. Bobby Beanin a longtime associate at the Institute for Balkan Studies with Center for Thracian Studies at BAS, leads lecture courses for bachelors and masters in "St.. Kliment Ohridski "and the NBU. He has authored dozens of papers and articles, of academic literature, of popular science publications. In the period 1997-1998 g. He is a member of the Public Council on Ethnic and Religious Affairs under the President of the Republic, and from 2017 g. - a similar structure to that institution on the problems of Bulgarians abroad. Bulgaria's ambassador to Albania (1998-2006 Mr.) and in Kosovo (2010-2014 Mr.).
Peter Vodenska former Ambassador of Bulgaria to Turkey (1991-92), Republic of Moldova (1995-2001) and the Republic of Cyprus (2005-2009), Consul General in Istanbul (1990). He worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in various departments and directorates, he was director of "European countries" and "Foreign Policy Analysis and Coordination" (policy planning), twice was Head of the Political Cabinet of the Minister. He is currently a consultant at the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Speaks english, Russian, French and Turkish.
Dr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov He is a career diplomat. Doctor of Political Science. Member of the Council on European Integration Council of Ministers and the Council for European and Euro-Atlantic integration with the President of Bulgaria (2001-2005 Mr.). From 2005 to 2009 g. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and from 2009 to 2012 g. - Bulgaria's ambassador to London. He is currently director of the Institute for Economics and International Relations.
Ljubco Neshkov, journalist and owner of the news agency BGNES. He worked in the newspaper "Standard" and Bulgarian National Television. He was a war correspondent in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. A historian by education.
Ljubco Trohorov He is a career diplomat. Head of "Balkan Countries" in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1991-1997 Mr.). There mandates in Belgrade as ambassador in Zagreb (1994-1997 Mr.) and Sarajevo (2002-2007 Mr.). Currently a member of the Board of Macedonian Scientific Institute, Sofia.

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