In “As Bush stands firm in the Middle East, he capitulates Europe,” Julia Gorin points out some of the “shockingly predictable consequence of our 1990s misadventures in the Balkans” (news links in the original):
Writing for an outfit called FamilySecurityMatters.org last week, Weekly Standard contributor and longtime champion of Balkan Muslims Stephen Schwartz describes an overnight bus ride from Kosovo’s capital Pristina to a resort town in Montenegro:
“A man behind me began speaking almost immediately and without stopping, in Albanian “” which I understand”¦insistently focused on the nature of G-d (a favorite subject for Islamic fundamentalists), [and on] the nefarious influence of Sufis who thought they could reinterpret the faith, the evil intentions of Americans, Iraq, and bloodshed. I was startled because it is rare to hear Albanians, after the rescue of Kosovo, badmouth Americans”¦G-d is one, who are these people like this American who come and try to tell us how to be Muslims? What about Iraq? Why is this American here with his friend?”
Schwartz then describes a rest stop: “I did not find out where I was until I asked a waiter in the restaurant, because none of the Albanians crowded in the back with me and my Sufi companion and the whisperer in darkness would speak civilly to me. When I asked one man, in Albanian, the name of the town, he answered in Serbian: ‘ne znam,’ ‘I don’t know.’ Another said it was the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica (it wasn’t). And finally a thin punk who could not have been over 20, and who, I soon realized, had been encouraging the voice behind me, said in perfect English, ‘I don’t understand English.’ At the end of the rest period all three people filed back into the bus and avoided looking at me.
“Muhammad woke up and asked me what was going on. I told him, ‘Someone back here is making Wahhabi speeches.’ He grinned as if in disbelief, but said, ‘I’m not surprised.'”
Nor should anyone else be, given this shockingly predictable consequence of our 1990s misadventures in the Balkans. Only Mr. Schwartz is surprised “” understandably, given what he wrote just last year:
There are not now and never have been, in recent times, ‘Muslim militants’ in Kosovo, aside from a handful of individuals and some Saudi and other Gulf Arab-state cells operating through relief agencies…No ‘international Islamist factions’ are present in Kosovo or presently involved with Kosovo. No ‘international Islamist factions’ were involved in the Kosovo war”¦Kosovar Muslims are extremely anti-Islamist and pro-American.
Kosovo is the most heavily-policed, militarily-occupied region in Europe. It does not now and has never had a ‘fundamentalist minority’ in the sense the term is now understood, and no serious evidence to the contrary can be produced.
So what happened? Did the Albanians whom Mr. Schwartz encountered on his trip turn fundamentalist overnight? Or maybe, just maybe even for Muslims in the throes of gratitude to the West, the first allegiance is to Islam. Apparently, some people need to actually get on a bus with hostile Albanian Muslims to learn what the rest of us have been able to glean from dispatch after dispatch coming out of the region. For example, there is the fact that the Kosovo Liberation Army whom we fought for had trained with al-Qaeda, and there was the Albanian applicant to al-Qaeda who boasted of his experience fighting Serb and American troops in Kosovo. And still Mr. Schwartz would be surprised to pick up the Jerusalem Post this week and read this about the Balkan Muslims he’s spent years shilling for: “Jewish groups are troubled by a new property restitution law in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina that officially discriminates in favor of the country’s Muslims.”
Read it all.