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Kosovo's Farewell to West, Bid to Join Radical Islam League

© AFP 2021 / ARMEND NIMANIAn elderly Kosovo Muslim prays on the street in front of a mosque during Friday Prayer on July 1, 2011 in Pristina
An elderly Kosovo Muslim prays on the street in front of a mosque during Friday Prayer on July 1, 2011 in Pristina - Sputnik International
Daesh-linked inmates of Kosovo jails are busy recruiting their fellow prisoners to join the fight for radical Islamist ideals. Meanwhile, maverick Imams are making the rounds of the local jails indoctrinating inmates using books translated from Arabic, local media reports.

Sputnik Serbia commentator Brankica Ristic believes that prisons can be an ideal place for disseminating Islamic ideology.
David L. Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights, said that prisons, like Guantanamo, and those in Iraq and Afghanistan, are used by Islamist radicals to proselytize would-be militants.

Kosovar Albanians walk under the EU and Kosovo flags in the main square of Pristina on May 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
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“Last week the imam of the Sultan Mehmet Fatih mosque in Pristina, Sefcet Krasniqi, was charged with instigating his parishioners to stage terrorist attacks and stoking up ethnic hatred between 2013 and 2014,” Brankica Ristic said.

There are an estimated 800 mosques in Kosovo and around 2,000 people involved in religious organizations allegedly controlled by the Islamic Society of Kosovo. In reality, radical Islamist ideas are quickly seeping into the self-proclaimed republic.

Local authorities say that 316 Kosovans, including 44 women and 27 children, have fought in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan on the side of the terrorist groups. 117 have returned home and an estimated 140 still remain in the war zones.

Ristic said that 237 people are currently being investigated on charges of committing terrorist acts and recruiting and financing terrorists. 127 people have been arrested since 2013.

She explained the ongoing radicalization by the authorities’ failure to keep the situation under control amid growing poverty and unemployment.

“As many as 40 percent of the two million people living in Kosovo are unemployed. Frustrated they start embracing a version of Islam we have never had here before.”

“The more liberal version of Islam is losing its ground with an estimated 50,000 or so ethnic Albanians having switched to hardline Islam and women in traditional Muslim attire more and more visible in the streets of Pristina,” Brankica Ristic added.

Since the war in Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Muslim countries have been actively investing in the construction of mosques in Kosovo, sending in preachers and helping the poor.

Kosovo police (File) - Sputnik International
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In summer 2016, the Kosovo Institute of Political Research (KIPRED) published a report on the impact of religion on the Kosovans’ self-identification. 

According to the report’s author, Lulzim Peci, in 57 percent of cases Kosovan Muslims primarily identified themselves as Albanians, while 32 percent  put their faith ahead of their nationality. He said that if this process continues, “a secular and pro-Western Kosovo will be no more.”

Kosovo has long been notorious for being "a European citadel of Daesh," something that was earlier echoed by Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin, who described Kosovo as Daesh's training center.

He also recalled that compared to other countries, Kosovo had already contributed far more members to Islamist groups, in proportion to its relatively small population of less than 1.9 million.

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