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The “Talibanization” in the Balkans

During the 1992-1995 war, which pitted Bosnian Muslims against Bosnian Serbs and Croats, large numbers of foreign Islamists (Mujahidin) came to the Balkans to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against Serbs and Croats in the war.

Following the signing of the Dayton Accords in 1995, most foreign fighters have left the Balkan country under US pressure, but several hundreds remained in Bosnia. The Mujahidin fighters were either recognized as legal citizens following marriage to local women or were granted citizenship for their contribution to the Bosnian Muslim nation during the war. The granting of citizenship to the Mujahidin fighters was personally approved by the Bosnian leader Izetbegovi?.[1]

The Mujahidin fighters formed their own communities. and they were joined by local followers ,most of them young Bosnian Muslims who have adhered to the Sunni Wahhabi branch under the influence of the foreign Muslims.[2]

In January 2010, about 600 hundred of Bosnian police, security forces and intelligence agents were involved in the raid on Gornja Maoca, a rural Muslim village in the country’s north. The operation codenamed “the Light”, on Gornja Maoca, was the largest of its kind since the country’s 1992-1995 war.[3]

The village of Gornja Maoca in Bosnia was once a Serbian village but was taken over by Muslims during the war.[4] Gornja Maoca is one of the leading bases for Wahhabis in the Balkans. The state law is not enforced and instead, the village has imposed the Islamic Sharia law. Public schools teach Arabic and road signs are written in Arabic script. Most of the residents are farmers who refuse to watch television or use telephones. They say they do not like to mix with anyone outside of their community. State authorities have shunned away from the village.[5]

Security service in Bosnia has been placed on alert recently (2009), after reports surfaced that Bosnian Muslims and foreigners in Gornja Maoca have organized military trainings.[6]

Boris Grubesic ,spokesman of the Office of the State Prosecutor said , that in the raid, police detained seven people – six Bosnians and one foreigner whose nationality he did not reveal. Grubesic also said that the police seized a large cache of weapons, ammunition, CDs and DVDs .[7]
Boris Grubesic,also declared that the operation in Gornja Maoca targeted people connected to those accused of threatening the country’s stability.
“The goal of this operation … is to identify people accused of endangering the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Hercegovia, threatening the constitutional order and promoting national, racial and religious hatred,” he said.[8]

The leader of Gornja Maoca Wahhabis, Nusret Imamovic, was arrested in the raid. Nusret has condemned a recent decision by Bosnia’s authorities to send arms to the Afghan government. In a statement on their web site,, Gornja Maoca Wahhabis have said that arming the Afghani government is a clear help given to the “occupiers” that are waging war against Islam and Allah. “We pray to the almighty Allah so those [weapons] become a loot for the mijahadeen with which they can kill Allah’s enemies from the American, NATO and Afghani marionette forces,” says the statement.[9]

Spokesman for the Prosecutors office in Bosnia, Boris Grubesic, said that his office monitors “events on certain internet sites”.

Ten years ago, in 2000, the Washington Post correspondent Jeffrey Smith wrote of the village Bocina Donja:[10]

“At the entrance to the village there is a large sign that warns visitors “Fear Allah.” Smith recommended to take this warning seriously due to the fact that there were examples of strangers who dared to enter the village and were attacked, including 2 Nato generals who entered the site by mistake and an employee of a humanitarian relief organization who was attacked with an ax.

Some 100 Mujahidin families live in the village and maintain a strict Islamic lifestyle. This is reflected in the women and men’s clothing and appearance (the women wear black and the men have beards), strict abstention from alcohol, the establishment of many religious schools and regular prayers at the mosque.”

Based on gathered testimony, Smith claimed that the area is not controlled by the Bosnian government and Nato forces also refrain from entering whenever possible.

Ten years of isolation, autonomy and radical Islamic indoctrination turned Gornja Maoca into a Wahabi stronghold.

The following events and developments led to the decision to raid the village of Gornja Maoca:

* In December 2009 a Bosnian court indicted a group of radical Muslims on charges of “terrorism” and arms trafficking. It said they purchased and possessed weapons, explosives and various products suitable for making improvised explosive devices. Police also found video recordings of people being trained in the use of arms and combat activities to carry out an attack. The court did not name the possible targets.[11]

A foreign diplomat in Bosnia said the raid in Gornja Maoca was a follow-up to the Bosnian court indictment in December of a group of Muslims on charges of “terrorism” and arms trafficking.[12]

“The primary concern was the connection to these alleged terrorists who were arrested a couple of months ago ( 2009),” the diplomat told the Reuters news agency.[13]

* At the end of 2009 ,Bosnia-Herzegovina Ministry of Security received reports that a large number of Wahhabis moved to the region of Gornja Maoca under the pretext of helping to build a mosque. [14]

Tuzla County MUP (ministry of Internal Affairs) spokesman Miralem Malkic said that: “…It is true that the village is home to an isolated community whose members consider themselves to be Wahhabis and that they have so far shown no interest in communicating with the police,” Malkic said, and went on to confirm that an unusually large number of Wahhabi adherents were in Gornja Maoca to help build a mosque.[15]

* A report in the Italian Corriere della Sera daily claimed that Islamic extremists are operating in the Balkans. The paper disclosed a recent intelligence operation conducted in the Balkans by Italian secret services in collaboration with Bosnian and Croatian police that uncovered a Wahabi Islamist terror cell based in the eastern Bosnian village of Gornja Maoca, which was apparently plotting terror attacks in Italy. On July 3,2009, police arrested a convicted criminal with joint Bosnian and Croatian citizenship, in an apartment in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, where 11 missile launchers were found, as well as quantities of the explosive C4 and several detonators which it is alleged were to be used by the Gornja Maoca terror cell. Police believe the weapons were destined for a Balkans people trafficker, discovered to have links to the terror cell – which planned to transfer the weapons and explosives to Europe via a human smuggling route through Slovenia and the northeastern Italian port city of Trieste.[16]

* Several al-Qaeda messages posted to Islamist websites in the past year have called for the recruitment of ‘white’ mujahidin who will be more easily able to wage Jihad in Europe and to thwart western counterterrorism security measures.[17]


These examples indicate the difficult and intricate reality of a widespread terrorist infrastructure which established itself in the Balkans during the war years in Bosnia and serves as a source of Islamization of the Muslim populations in the Balkans and as a subversive entity that encourages continued confrontations (Jihad) between the Muslims and their adversaries in this arena.

The supportive approach taken by the Muslim government in Bosnia under Izetbegovich’s regime and the cooperation between terror organizations and the Muslim militias in the Balkans (in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania) laid the foundations for the terror infrastructure with which the Balkan countries and the West are forced to contend.

The government in Bosnia is currently situated between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the US and Western European countries demand the cooperation in the global war on terror, while on the other hand, the authorities and the public have a problem to operate against the Mujahidin that stood by them in their past struggles.

This “dichotomy” is reflected in the relatively low scale government activity against the terror infrastructure, which is conducted mainly to satisfy the West and to avoid a crisis over the sensitive issue of the global war on terror. This activity, which is local and limited, does not deal with the problem in any depth nor does it uproot the terror infrastructures that have gained a foothold in the Balkans.


[1] Islamic fundamentalists’ global network, modus operandi –model Bosnia, Documentation Center of Republic SRPSKA, Banja Luka, September 2002.

[2] Almir Arnaut, conservative Muslim village raided by Bosnian cops ,A.P February 2, 2010.

[3] Bosnian police raid Muslim houses, Al Jazeera, February 2, 2010.

[4] Bosnian Wahhabis aim for additional base, Serbiana, February 19, 2010.

[5] Bosnian police raid Muslim houses, Al Jazeera, February 2, 2010.

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Bosnian Wahhabis aim for additional base, Serbiana, February 19, 2010.

[10] Jefferey Smith, A Bosnian village’s terrorist ties linked to U.S bomb plot arouse concern about enclave of Islamic guerillas, Washington Post ,March 11, 2000.

[11] Bosnian police raid Muslim houses, Al Jazeera, February 2, 2010.

[12] Ibid

[13] Ibid

[14] Large number of Muslim terrorists streaming into Bosnia – Herzegovina, ,January 17,2010.

[15] Ibid

[16] Interview with Darko Trifanovic, Homeland Security U.S net, August 26, 2009.

[17] Ibid

[18] These were my conclusions in my book, The Islamic terror and the Balkans (2006),and they are still relevant in 2010.