University of Sarajévo and Belgrade,
Professor of science politics and specialist of islamic revivalism in Balkans and ex-USSR
Special to Jihad Watch: Professor Miroljub Jevtiæ assesses the situation in Kosovo and beyond. Professor Jevtiæ is a professor at the College of Political Science at the Belgrade University. He is visiting the United States this month with Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren (which includes Kosovo and Metohija) in a mission to awaken the West -– and especially the United States -– against the ill-advised direction of current policy and the disastrous impact it would have on Kosovo’s beleaguered Christian Serbs.
Professor Jevtiæ is the author of numerous articles on the theme of Islam, and has appeared as an expert on Islam on TV and in print media across the Balkans. He is an author of nine books dealing with the influence of Islam on the world politics, including Religion and Politics: Introduction to politics of religion (2002); Islam in the works of Ivo Andric (2000); All of Our Misconceptions (1999); The Crime Awaits punishment (1998); Muslims Between the Faith and a Nation (1996); Islam and Geopolitical Logic (1995); Albanians and Islam (1995); From the Islamic Declaration to the Religious War in Bosnia (1993); and Modern Jihad as War (1989). Other writings include “Bosnia In Paris” (December 3, 2005); “The West Must Learn Islam” (September 1, 2005); and “The Funadamentals of al-Qaeda in Kosovo: Islamization as factor of Albanization in the region of former Yugoslavia” (June 12, 2005).
Negotiations regarding the future status of Kosovo are about to begin. It is increasingly clear that the overwhelming majority of the world media, not to mention the government of the United States and its allies, favor giving independence to the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, which since the 1999 war has been administered by the United Nations under NATO military control. Or, to put it more accurately, the western world is in favor of detaching Kosovo from (Christian) Serbia by fiat and making it into an independent (Muslim) state.
The main argument of those supporting this scenario, — notably in the United States, where advocates of the Muslim Albanian cause have — is that by doing so they would repair their image in the Islamic world and show that they do not have anti-Islamic inclinations. This, they think, would co-opt the influence of Islamic “extremists.” For example, as recommended in the official report of the 9-11 Commission: “Just as we did in the Cold War, we need to defend our ideals abroad vigorously. America does stand up for its values. The United States defended, and still defends, Muslims against tyrants and criminals in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. If the United States does not act aggressively to define itself in the Islamic world, the extremists will gladly do the job for us.” In addition, they think that the moderate Muslims in Kosovo (as the West incorrectly considers Kosovo’s Albanians to be) will create a prosperous, multiethnic democracy, which will, while still remaining sufficiently Muslim, serve as an example of how one can remain a Muslim and be secular at the same time.
This policy is founded on grave misconceptions. The first misconception is that by offering aid to the Kosovo Muslims, the hatred of the Islam world for the United States of America would be mitigated. The result would, in fact, be the opposite. In fact, the independence of Kosovo will increase the hatred for the US. One reason for displeasure of the Islamic world will be found, first of all, in the fact that the Muslims would still not be in control of what they claim as their third most holy place, the al-Aqsa mosque which is built on the site of the Temple of Solomon. And the entire Islamic world believes that Israel can control the whole of Jerusalem, including al-Aqsa, only because it has the support of the United States. Without the American help, they believe that Israel would be destroyed — its own courage, wisdom and devotion to its cause notwithstanding.
However, there is no religious Muslim, whether “moderate” or “extreme,” who does not consider that Jerusalem must be part of a Palestinian state. And the existence of Israel denies the possibility of this. Therefore, from their point of view, the infidels can give the Muslims Kosovo; we can give them Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, New York itself, as well as Paris, they will not be reconciled as long as they do not have sovereignty over Jerusalem. Should they relinquish this idea, be it in their dreams only, they would burn in hell. But Jerusalem cannot belong to the Muslims because the West, and particularly the United States, will not permit it. So if America can give Kosovo to the Albanian Muslims, they can certainly give Jerusalem to the Palestinian Muslims. But they stubbornly refuse to do so! And “Muslim rage” — before which the entire world quakes over a few cartoons – will burn even hotter.
In the psychology of all religious Muslims, anyone who is against taking Jerusalem away from Israel is an enemy, whether they are willing to say it openly or not. Moreover, a religious Muslim believes that it is not normal for the Christians not to reason in the same way and not to try to show to the whole world that their faith is superior to that of other faiths. The fact that in traditionally Christian countries the number of Christian believers, as well as the number of Christian places of worship, is on the decline, whereas the number of Muslims and mosques is on the increase, is seen as the triumph of the true faith over the false faith—the triumph of Islam over Christianity. This is why the fact that since the arrival of NATO to Kosovo over 150 Christian churches have been destroyed and some 400 mosques have been built, or are under construction, is for the Muslims a proof that if there is a faith which is supported by true God — it is Islam! Because, why would the Christian God, why would Jesus, permit the destruction of churches, where He, Jesus, is glorified? Why would He, at the same time, permit the construction of mosques, where His existence as God is denied? Why would He permit it, moreover, in the presence of men who bear arms and who claim to be Christians?
So, instead of seeing the presence of the West in Kosovo and Metohija as a proof of religious tolerance, the Albanian Muslims, and Muslims in general, see it as a proof of the fact that Islam is the true faith, the faith which is the only way to the salvation after death. The granting of independence to Kosovo would simply validate the conviction of Muslim extremists that theirs is the only correct policy, and that they should continue on the path they have followed so far. The number of followers of this doctrine would only continue to grow as it has done so far. This would lead to the increase in the number of those who are against “moderate” Islamic regimes and who will begin, as recent Palestinian and Egyptian elections have shown, to undermine moderate and (even minimally) pro-western governments. Such countries will be headed by people who think like Osama Bin Laden, or others of similar ilk. They will build into their foreign policy platforms their aspirations to transform their confrontations with the West into a global victory.
Their first target will be Israel. Because now, after resolving their problems in Kosovo and Bosnia, they will be able to concentrate with all their might on the main objective—the sovereignty over Jerusalem. First, they will use all diplomatic channels to pressure the West to deny Israel’s right to exist. If they do not succeed in this, they will prepare for the destruction of Israel by military force. If the West tries to thwart them, their aspirations to achieve parity in military technology will grow until they have reached supremacy. Afterwards, in the name of jihad, Israel and the entire western civilization will be destroyed.
Moreover, no advocate of this ideology has an iota of doubt regarding the humaneness of this position. This is because they do not kill out of hatred; they kill out of love. The non-Muslims live in sin because they do things prohibited by God: they drink alcohol, they eat pork, they recognize the rights of homosexuals, they tolerate the scantiness of female attire. All these are sins punishable by death according to Shari’a law if the transgressors continue to sin in spite of God’s warning as expressed in the Koran. The killing of these sinners simply ensures for them a more clement treatment on Judgment Day, because, if they are not killed for these sins, who knows what other sins they might yet commit?
This was the reasoning of Muhammad Atta and his comrades in terror when they killed on September 11. This will be the reasoning of an ever increasing number of Muslims who are not yet ready to see the West as a serious force which should not be taken lightly. This is how the Muslims will reason when Kosovo becomes purely Muslim and when the last traces of Christianity are erased from it, erased moreover with the help of countries which claim to be Christian. Granting the independence to Kosovo will be taken as proof of Europe’s own wish to cease to exist, as it not only allows the expansion of Islam but is actively promoting it by aiding those who are destroying churches, raping nuns, spitting on crosses and daubing with excrement holy images of Christ. And Christians represented by KFOR personnel, far from trying to stop these acts of desecration, stand idly by averting their eyes. Such a Kosovo will be a base for jihad aggression against Europe keeping Christian forces tied in the Balkans while the center of the Islamic world will devote itself to the unimpeded destruction of Israel.
The only way to change the situation, to avert this next escalation in the clash of civilizations is to mobilize the entire Christian world against the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and to support its continuance within Christian Serbia. The Muslims would not like this, but they understand that this is what should be done. Because in their minds they know that it is logical for the Christians to act together. And so they will understand that the Christian world is strong and should not be provoked. Regimes now in power in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria would not lose the support of the West. It will be understood that the relations of these regimes with the West are the only possible path for the Muslims, because the Christian West is strong.
This is the way of averting the clash of civilizations, which will be inevitable if we continue on the path we are following now. This does not mean that there will be friendship between the West and Islam, but there will not be open war either. There will only be the necessary collaboration. Besides the Koran orders the believers to respect those who are strong, because according to Islam strength always comes from God. God knows who should be given strength and who should be tested. And Muslims can only be friends with Muslims. The Koran is clear on this: Sura IX verse 23 begins: “O, ye who believe, choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith…”