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For Some Bosnian Muslims in Serbia, Ethno-music is Simply Satanic

An indication of what lies ahead for the Balkans occurred recently in Novi Pazar, when Wahhabi fanatics successfully destroyed a concert held by a renowned Balkan ethno-music orchestra that appeals to people from many countries and ethnicities. The violence was brazen and highly alarming, according to Belgrade's B-92 which described the occurrence thus: ".ten young men donning long beards, short pants and white hats broke up a concert of the Balkanika orchestra. The hooligans were dressed like members of the vehabit [sic] movement. They climbed up onto the stage and threw around the instruments that were set up for the musicians to play. One of the young men took over the microphone and told those attending the concert: 'Brothers, go home, they are working against Islam here. This is Satan's work.'

According to the news agency, police officers had to use force to remove the thugs. However, the show wasn't over yet: ".about a half hour later, a group of about 50 Novi Pazar football supporters, upset over the team's loss to Mladosti from Apatin, started throwing stones at the stage where the concert was supposed to be held. Earlier, the game was stopped for an hour after the Novi Pazar fans hit referee Nikola Maljkovic in the head with a rock."

Average people were mystified by the Wahhabi rampage. "How someone like Balkanika could be offensive to anyone, let alone some Satanic thing, is unbelievable," said one saddened Serbian music lover. "They [the Wahhabis] showed that they have no European culture- and no respect for the feeling of other people."

A continuous stream of intelligence information that we have received over the past three years has indicated that regional and international security services have taken a keen interest in the progress of fundamentalist Islam in the Serbian region of Sandzak, where Novi Pazar is located, and that the threat level continues to rise.

In fact, Balkanalysis.com first reported on the heightened interest in the Sandzak way back on October 24, 2003. At approximately the same time, a detailed report from ISSA Director Gregory Copley noted that ".Islamist activity is centering on the southern Serbian (Raska) city of Novi Pazar (literally 'New Bazaar'). This city of some 30,000 people is approximately 80 percent Muslim. It has one of the most radical Islamist bookstores in the world, and the store is doing brisk business. Here, the principal business of the city is crime: illegal smuggling of consumer goods, heroin and weapons." A report from the infamous ICG two years later indicated that these warnings were justified- however, in the time-honored interests of international power politics, they have not been heeded. Warning of the dangers of Montenegrin independence in October 2003, Balkanalysis.com predicted that ".any weakening of security services from Belgrade can only expedite the potential for Islamic terrorism from Bosnia and Kosovo- through a severed Sandzak. That is something for the Western policymakers to think about."

However, they didn't. Now, with Montenegrin's independence on May 21, the damage has been done. Bosniak Muslims in the new country's northern Sandjak border area, as well as Albanian Muslims elsewhere, voted strongly for independence, and now it is time for their wishes to be addressed. As with every place in the Balkans where an ethnic group is divided by an international border, trouble is likely to be just around the corner. The West's foolish decision to grant Montenegro independence has just created a brand new strategic fault line which will prove a constant source of turbulence in coming years.

Indeed, since the Ottoman occupation it has been clear that Islam's road to Europe runs through the Sandjak. As the 2004 Copley report states: ".Novi Pazar is the focus of the Islamist attempt to build a landbridge from Albania and Kosovo to Bosnia. Further to the East, in southern Serbia's Raska Oblast, are three other concentrations of Muslims: Sjenica and Pester area (lightly populated but mostly Muslim), Prijepolje (some 50 percent Muslim) and - very close to the Bosnia border where Republica Srpska controls the slender Gorazde corridor - Priboj (also some 50 percent Muslim)."

The strategy of the Wahhabis can be summed up as follows: lay low until you have sufficient numbers to change the society. This is why fundamentalist in, say, Macedonia are still relatively quiet, whereas ones in Bosnia make regular television appearances and have ushered in the large-scale presence of foreign Islamic states that wish to remake the country in their image. The difference is not qualitative; it is just a matter of time. When they have achieved a sufficient presence, as we have seen in Novi Pazar, radical Islamists first seek to cow moderate Muslims into submission, make them follow austere customs, and generally refashion public life according to their own puerile vision. Then, once they have pacified their own, they turn to disrupting life for the larger community. Indeed, as the B-92 report sadly conceded, ".the police have yet to comment on the two incidents, though further public concerts in the region will probably all be cancelled." It is simple, yet true: if people give up on cultural life, the Wahhabis have won. Canceling a musical event just helps them make their ghetto bigger.

Nevertheless, cuckolding Western do-gooders such as the ICG, always there to lend a helping hand, believe that it is Belgrade that ".should act against discrimination [against Muslims] and otherwise show both Serbs and Bosniaks it is sensitive to their concerns in order to keep the region peaceful."

In general, terrorism can find incubation in any territory, or even just a city neighborhood, that has been made off-limits to open society by the entrenchment of fundamentalism. As it stands now, Novi Pazar is a hive of activity for fundamentalist Islamists from Muslim states, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere in the Balkans. It is the center of a clash within civilizations, in which Islamists loyal to Bosnia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Iran are battling it out to see who will control this strategic piece of terrain, the bridge between three failing Islamic states, Bosnia, Albania and, soon, Kosovo. Unfortunately, it seems that the collateral damage in this doctrinal war is going to be open society itself. Europe may yet suffer the violent consequences of helping to expedite this process.

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