The Bosnia and then the Kosovo
Wars, which were conceived in much of the world
only in terms of Serbian nationalism under Milosevic, have yet another dark side
them that is not widely discussed, and that is the rise of Islam in the Balkans.
During the Ottoman domination of the Balkans, many of the region's inhabitants:
Bulgars, Serbs, Albanians, Montenegrins and Croats embraced Islam as a way to
elevate their status in the eyes of the occupying Muslim Power. But when those
peoples attained independence through bitter wars of liberation, Muslim
remained in their localities, for the most part as minorities in the countries
Yugoslavia, which consisted of a federation of six states and two autonomous
territories (both belonging to Serbia), elevated Bosnia-Herzegovina to the
an "ethnic" state, like all others, by making Islam as an identity, parallel to
identities of the Serbs, Croatians, etc. So, when Yugoslavia disintegrated,
had to assert its Muslim identity because it had none other, in spite of the
fact that the
majority of its population was either Serb or Croat.
In Bosnia it was the revivalist Islamic ideology of Ilia Izetbegovic which was
engine of this new Bosnian Nationalism, which was aided by Iran and other Muslim
countries, happy to see Islamic politics back in Central Europe. Then came the
Albanian uprising in Kosovo, which duplicated the same situation, and drove the
re-Islamization of that land under the support of the West.
The result is that while the Muslims have established a continuity which drives
wedge within Christian Central Europe, the West is looking with indifference to
evolving situation which they hope will create a docile Turkish-like Islam. But
of the trouble Turkey itself is suffering from Muslim fundamentalists, it is
whether these hopes will be fulfilled.
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