The invasion of Kosovo by Islamist radicals, including assaults on moderate Muslims (see here, here, and here) now includes threats of a “religious war” against Albanian Christians, some of whom have left Islam for the Catholic faith of their ancestors.
Aw, really?! Gee, we couldn’t see that result coming from our 90s intervention while Stephen “Suleyman Ahmad al-Kosovi” Schwartz spent the decade shilling for Balkan Muslims’ “rescue” and independence. Or while Kosovo accepted the strings-attached largesse of places like Saudi Arabia and EU.
On August 20, a man named Gjon (John) Mehaj declared to Albanian-language media, from Norway, that his home in the Kosovo village of Prigode-Istog had been burned to the ground. Mehaj supported the Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1998-99 war in the Balkan republic [no kidding!], and the house had been razed at that time by Serbian forces. [So he says.] But Mehaj, who formerly bore the Muslim first name Enver, said the new attack was not unexpected. He had received “numerous, anonymous threats” from radical Muslim groups before and after he was baptized in a Catholic church on August 3. He was joined in his act of faith by 20 other family members.
Mehaj had earlier been denounced in an email from something called the “Islamic Defense Organization of Kosovo.” With cynical politeness that swiftly turned to a blunt idiom of intimidation, that entity declared that “as faithful Muslims we have managed to agree on some projects in order to defend our religion. This is aimed at stopping…the conversion of families like that of Mehaj and others. Our project will be implemented very soon by activating our forces in the whole of Kosovo. Our jihad will be ready if anyone attacks Islam. If the Catholic Church thinks it can convert the Albanian Muslims to Christianity, then a religious war is to be expected between Catholics and Muslims, a war that would make [the Serbian massacre [sic] of Bosnian Muslims at] Srebrenica worth forgetting.” Kosovo is 85-90 percent Muslim, with the remainder Catholic, although matters of religion, aside from holidays, are seldom publicized by its people.
The jihadist threat to outdo the Serbs in committing mass murder — 8,000 men and boys were slaughtered at Srebrenica [how weird — a Balkans “expert” has the same take and phraseology on this incident as the homeless guy down the street — not indicative of propaganda at all!] — confirms the opinion of many prominent Kosovar Albanian Muslims, who now decline to speak for attribution.
Liberated Kosovo indeed! Funny how they were able to say whatever they wanted about Serbs and Yugoslav politicians without fearing for their lives.
Mehmet: Hey, Ilir, maybe we shouldn’t have lied about the Serbs repressing, oppressing and cleansing us.
Ilir: Shut up, Mehmet — do you want to get us killed?!
Mehmet: By the KLA?
Ilir: Or the bearded ones — whoever hears us first!
But Suleyman Schwartz keeps Weakly Standard readers on program, lest they put two and two together about what’s happening now and the Western intervention based on staged atrocities:
But they have said for some time that radical Islam would be a worse threat to the Albanians than their Slavic adversaries [ahem, victims]. The same “Islamic Defense” gang identified a previously-unknown network, titled “Jihad Calling,” as proud perpetrators of violence, and endorsed it in attempting to “cleanse Kosovo of Christian unbelievers,” by bloodshed. A third crew, the “Forum of Young Muslims in Kosovo,” assailed Father Pren Kola, the Catholic priest who baptized the Mehaj family. It also invoked the Serbs, but in mirror-fashion, claiming that Catholics represent a bigger threat to the Kosovars.
Sudden forgetfulness about the Serbian campaign, backed by Putin’s Russia, against independent Kosovo, and increasing religious polarization among Albanians, is deeply alarming. [Or at least deeply predictable.] Some Albanians claim Islamist aggression is backed by Serbs avid to divide the Albanians. [Just like the Mossad is accused of being behind all the Muslim attacks on Jews and Westerners since the 60s.] But Gjon Mehaj, whose house was destroyed, points in another direction. He argues that “Jihad Calling,” the alleged miscreants in the arson attack, who typically keep their identities hidden by ski-masks, are Arab interlopers protected by high officials in the Kosovo Islamic leadership. Along with menacing emails and public denunciation, Mehaj received abusive telephone calls, which he archived. But he stated that having rebuilt his house once, he will do so again, since the terrorists “can burn down buildings but will never defeat our hearts and our faith.”
The record of Ottoman governance and the tradition of Albanian religious coexistence, however, mean nothing to fundamentalist extremists. Kosovo, like other Muslim lands, is now under assault by incendiaries who wish to make personal changes in religion a pretext for terror. This malign development [development! Not cause-and-effect, but a ‘development!’] comes even as American and other Christian missionaries enjoy wide freedom to proselytize in the territory.
Three issues are illuminated by the flames of Gjon Mehaj’s house in Kosovo.
First, the Balkans are no less targeted by jihadists than other crisis areas, as al Qaeda continues probing for opportunities to attack the friends of an America suddenly weakened by confusion and naivete in the White House.
Second, both foreign and local authorities in Kosovo may bear significant responsibility, by failing to respond vigorously to such incidents [based on an agreement to look the other way], for the obvious impunity with which the men in masks, whether Arab, Albanian, or otherwise, have committed crimes against people and property. [Impunity for crime in Kosovo? Unthinkable!]
Third, death penalties against those who leave Islam do more harm to the faith of Muhammad than those who abandon or change their religion. Protests against penalties for apostasy are widely publicized by Western governments and international institutions. But Kosovar Albanians, like many others at immediate risk, may be left to defend themselves for their choice of conscience.
As I wrote to one Albanian reader who couldn’t understand why an American would write so negatively about Albanians: When you look around at the predictable Islamic infiltration of Kosovo — which was slated to become a haven for terrorists whether it was Islamisized or not, as well as a bridge into Europe for the East — my country owes Albanians an apology for taking their side. Because as any KLA-fearing Albanian will tell you, not only did we enable a thugocracy in Kosovo, but even the Muslim Albanians first and foremost have themselves been targeted by the Islamists that have been pouring into the region since we opened the floodgates.
Not exactly a “free” democracy we’re building in Kosovo, even for its privileged Albanian race.
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