EUROPEAN REGIONAL MASTER’S PROGRAMME IN DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE ________________________________________________________________ University of Sarajevo – University of Bologna THE ROAD TO ISLAMIC RADICALISATION AMONG KOSOVO’S YOUTH Hidden Pathways and Infrastructure MASTER THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL MASTER’S PROGRAMME IN DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE BY NIKOL KADIM SUPERVISOR: DR.
VICTOR BOJKOV SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA OCTOBER 2018 NR PAGESAcknowledgments !2Abstract Start the abstract here and keep a space between the end and the key words. Key words: radicalisation, identity crisis, Kosovo, humanitarian aid,?!3Table of Contents Don’t forget to fix it!! Abstract List of Abbreviations Introduction 1.Theoretical Framework 1.1 From Radicalisation, to Extremism, Foreign Fighters and Back 1.1.
1 Differentiating Muslims WAHABISM 1.2 Root Causes for Kosovar Radicalisation and Enabling Factors 1.3 Other Relevant theories (tbc) 2. The Peculiar Situation of Kosovo 2.
1 Islam in a box Historical Context 2.2Islam out of the box 2.3 Imported Goods 3. An Overdue Reality Check 3.1 Current CVE Efforts 3.2 Mapping Out the Cracks Conclusion Bibliography Appendix !4List of Abbreviations BIK – Islamic Community of Kosovo CFT – Counterterrorism Finance CoE – Council of Europe CVE – Counter Violent Extremism EU – European Union EULEX – European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo FF- Foreign Fighters IEF – Islamic Endowment Foundation ISIS – Islamic State of Iraq and Levant KCC – Kosovo Criminal Code KCPC – Kosovo Criminal Procedure KFOR – Kosovo Force KIPRED – Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development KLA – Kosovo Liberation Army NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation PVE – Prevention of Violent Extremism SJCRKC – Saudi Joint Committee for the Relief of Kosovo and Chechnya SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats TIKE – Turkish Development Agency UN – United Nations UNMIK – United Nations Mission in Kosovo !5Introduction Islamic radicalisation has been a ‘hot’ topic for the better part of the past 20 years now, ever since 9/11 and the ‘War on Terror’ began, and not just in the Middle East and the USA, but even more so increasingly in Europe, especially in the context of the large number of terror attacks in Western Europe for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, as well as the ongoing migration crisis.
While big part of the population has a genuine concern that among the flow of migrants who really are seeking asylum some terrorists might ‘sneak in’, the reality is that more often persons who commit violent extremists acts, be it in their home countries or elsewhere, or the ones who decide to flee their home countries and join foreign wars are ‘home grown’ radicalised persons. Indeed, it is estimated that up until 2016 nearly 4300 people from EU member states have 1joined the armed conflicts in Iraq and Syria and 30% of those have returned. The numbers are even 2more substantial for a few countries from the Western Balkans region – recent reports indicate that a total of nearly 900 persons have traveled to ISIS occupied territories, some 250 have returned and more than one third of those come from Kosovo: 360 Kosovo nationals have joined the conflict and some 117 have returned. Considering the overall population of Kosovo, which is little below two 3million, the country has one of the highest numbers of foreign fighters (FF) per capita in the region, amounting to 129. Taking that into account, it is fair to say that there are a number of internal and 4external (push and pull) factors which contribute to the higher susceptibility of Kosovans to radical ideology and willingness to join groups such as al-Qaeda associated Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL/ ISIS), even more than persons from other Western European countries. Some even call Kosovo the “fertile ground for ISIS”.
The underlying causes for this 5phenomenon are numerous. Some explain it by the fact that many of the mosques which were built Boutin, Bérénice, Grégory Chauzal, Jessica Dorsey, Marjolein Jegerings, Christophe Paulussen, Johanna Pohl, Alastair 1Reed, and Sofia Zavagli. 2016.
“The Foreign Fighters Phenomenon In The European Union”. Profiles, Threats & Policies. The Hague: ICCT. https://icct.
nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ICCT-Report_Foreign-Fighters-Phenomenon-in-the-EU_1-April-2016_including-AnnexesLinks.pdf. Boutin, Bérénice, Grégory Chauzal, Jessica Dorsey, Marjolein Jegerings, Christophe Paulussen, Johanna Pohl, Alastair 2Reed, and Sofia Zavagli. 2016. “The Foreign Fighters Phenomenon In The European Union”.
The Soufan Center, Beyond the Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees, 2016. http://3thesoufancenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Beyond-the-Caliphate-Foreign-Fighters-and-the-Threat-of-Returnees-TSC-Report-October-2017-v3.pdf Florida, Richard.
2016. “The Geography Of Foreign ISIS Fighters: A Look At The Factors That May Be Serving To 4Radicalize Attackers.”. City Lab, 2016. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/08/foreign-fighters-isis/493622/. Gall, Carlotta.
2018. “How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground For ISIS”. The New York Times, 2018. https://5www.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/world/europe/how-the-saudis-turned-kosovo-into-fertile-ground-for-isis.html.
!6after Kosovo’s liberation were funded by Middle Eastern organisations affiliated with extremists groups or persons who support them and had an agenda of spreading their propaganda. 6Furthermore, many of Kosovo’s youth are known to have received scholarships to complete educational programmes in the Middle East, where they also became affiliated with extremist groups, and help in spreading their propaganda in Kosovo upon their return, especially among the youth – either through peer to peer communications or by establishing educational programmes themselves. Bearing in mind Kosovo’s political climate and the strikingly hight youth 7unemployment rates, such organisations might come across as a good alternative – offering an 8escape route to a better life. Therefore, in order to illustrate the road to Islamic radicalisation among Kosovo’s youth, this research will seek to answer the following research questions: a) what are the societal and structural, meaning state level factors that are likely to make an individual more prone to radicalisation and consequently join a radical, militant Islamist organisation and b) how is legislation addressing the root-causes of radicalisation, and what are the implications if it is not? While an in-depth research on the particular reasons behind an individual’s personal choice to join such organisations would contribute to the study, the time and space limitations of this work do not allow for such explorations into the micro and meso psychological settings.
Instead, where possible, such gaps will be filled by the existing relevant literature and research from the field of safety and security studies/ sector and counter violent extremism (CVE). This study, therefore, seeks to analyse why such a large number of Kosovar citizens underwent a successful process of radicalisation and recruitment in a foreign war and what are the essential pillars that built a functional infrastructure for radicalisation in the country. The working hypothesis throughout this work could be divided into several parts.
The first one is that ten years since Kosovo’s liberation, the country is still struggling with fully forming its own identity and this struggle is utilised by foul ‘aid’ agencies from Saudi Arabia by offering a ‘packaged identity’. Second, the policies and laws which Kosovo’s government has adopted so far in dealing with radicalisation and violent extremism are ineffective in the long run, as on the one hand the country insists on sustaining a pro-Western image, while on the other hand the policies in place are clearly stigmatising the more conservative Islamic citizens. Finally, the root causes of Gall, Carlotta. 2018. “How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground For ISIS”6 Ibid.7 Balkan Insight. 2018. “Graduates In Kosovo Face Years Waiting For Work”, 2018.
http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/8article/graduates-in-kosovo-face-years-waiting-for-work-02-02-2018.!7radicalism and violent extremism as such are not addressed, which leaves the country in a limbo, where radicalism is merely contained within the borders of Kosovo itself, virtually turning it into a ticking time bomb . The methodology for this research consists of desk research, including a look at the suitable definitions related to the topic and theories concerned with root-causes of extremism and social epidemics, meaning how ideologies spread. Several interviews were conducted in Prishtina, in the period between June and July 2018 with experts working in the field, including with the former Ambassador to the Embassy of Kosovo in Sweden and founder of Kosovar Institute for Policy and Research Development, Lulzim Peci; Professor Xhabir Hamiti from the faculty of Islamic Studies at Prishtina University; Kujtim Bytyqi who is currently a Senior Security Policy Analyst at the National Security Council; Vesë Kelmendi and Radinë Jakupi – researchers on CVE from the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (please refer to Appendix I for detailed profiles).
The Master Thesis is divided into three structural parts. Chapter I aims to provide a conceptual overview of the relevant terminology in an attempt to clarify the difference and relation between the various stages of radicalisation, while also introducing the factors which play a particularly important role in the process of radicalisation, such as push and pull factors. Chapter II on the other hand dives into the historical context and peculiarities of Kosovo, with the aim to explain how and why certain events and circumstances have contributed to the process of radicalisation and driven 360 Kosovar citizens to ISIS. Finally, Chapter III of this research discusses the current situation of Kosovo in terms of the country specific push and pull factors at interplay, how the country’s CVE efforts have evolved over time, and essentially, if they are effective in not only limiting radicalisation, but getting to the root causes of the issue and eradicating it in the long turn. RELEVANCE: OR IS THIS SUFFICIENT ^^^ ? METHODOLOGY: SHOULD I MENTION NAMES OF BOOKS I USED? !81. Theoretical Framework This chapter will focus on discussing both the roots of radicalisation as well as the enabling factors within the context of this phenomena and the shift to violent extremism, with the aim to portray the foundations of the radicalisation infrastructure in general. Having a clear understanding of this is crucial, because as Steinberg notes, “in the long run, terrorist networks will reconstitute themselves unless we make it harder for them to recruit new members and sustain their activities; this means helping to build stable, prosperous, democratic societies in countries that have seen too little of all three.” Hence, as will be discussed in the following pages and throughout this work, 9simply containing radicalisation and violent extremism within the borders of a country is not enough – the root causes need to be addressed, with pragmatism and equally high priority.
1.1 From Radicalisation, to Extremism, Foreign Fighters and Back The following section will give an overview of already existing research on the factors and causes of islamic radicalisation and violent extremism in the European and more particularly, Western Balkan context. The literature review consists predominantly of reports from relevant organisations operating in the field of CVE, including United Nations (UN) reports, research and policy institutes and NGOs. The main focus is on the most commonly referenced definitions and explanations of radicalisation and violent extremism, including push and pull factors, grievance, socio-economic conditions, foreign humanitarian aid and Islam as a religion, before defining the central theoretical element – ideology and how it is spread across society, and in particular how it is influenced by structural state and historical (identity) factors. While there are no clear and universal definitions of the above mentioned concepts, there are some scholars which have conceptualised them in an an effort for uniformity. Veldhuis and Staun from the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael, note that while there’s a lack of a universally accepted terminology, most policy makers and academics center definitions of radicalisation around two points: a) violent radicalisation where the use of force becomes acceptable in order to reach a specific goal and b) general and broader radicalisation, which is concerned with aiming to have far-fetched and overarching changes in society which may or may not endanger democracy and don’t exclude the possibility of use of violence in order to reach those Newman, Edward. 2006. “Exploring The “Root Causes” Of Terrorism”.
Studies In Conflict And Terrorism. doi:910.1080/10576100600704069.!9goals. A number of state security and intelligence agencies from North-Western Europe have 10defined radicalisation in therms of “growing readiness to pursue and/ or support – if necessary by undemocratic means – far-reaching changes in society in conflict with, or pose a threat to, democratic order” or “a process by which a person to an increasing extent accepts the use of 11undemocratic or violent means, including terrorism, in an attempt to reach a specific political/ ideological objective”. On a more personal level, Dalgaard-Nielsen defines ‘radical’ as a “person 12harbouring a deep-felt desire for fundamental sociopolitical changes”, who might experience “a growing readiness to pursue and support far-reaching changes in society that conflict with, or pose a direct threat to, the existing order”.
13 However, an important distinction needs to be made here: radicalisation differs from violent radicalisation: while a person might support or accept the use of undemocratic or violent means, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is directly taking action, hence an advanced definition of this would be “a process in which radical ideas are accompanied by the development of a willingness to directly support or engage in violent acts”. Indeed, most commonly, ‘radicalisation’ 14is used to refer to the process of adopting and accepting extremist ideologies and beliefs , but not necessarily engaging in terrorism or violent extremist actions. As Borum explains, “some people with radical ideas and violent justifications – perhaps even most of them – do not engage in terrorism” and conversely, “some terrorist – perhaps even many of them – are not ideologues or deep believers in a nuanced, extremist doctrine; some have only a cursory knowledge of, or commitment to, the radical ideology”. This brings the attention to the idea that radical or extreme ideology may 15not always manifest itself into violent and terrorist actions, as also confirmed by a global polling from Pew and Gallup, which suggests that in the context of militant Islamism, there are millions of Borum, Randy.
2011. “Radicalization Into Violent Extremism I: A Review Of Social Science Theories”. Journal Of 10Strategic Security 4 (4): 7-36. doi:10.5038/1944-0472.
4.4.1. Dutch Security Service (AIVD), 2005.
taken from Borum, Randy. 2011. “Radicalization Into Violent Extremism I: A 11Review Of Social Science Theories”. Journal Of Strategic Security 4 (4): 7-36.
doi:10.5038/1944-0422.214.171.124. Danish Intelligence Service, (PET), taken from Borum, Randy.
2011. “Radicalization Into Violent Extremism I: A 12Review Of Social Science Theories”. Journal Of Strategic Security 4 (4): 7-36.
doi:10.5038/1944-04126.96.36.199. Dalgaard-Nielsen, Anja.
2010. “Violent Radicalization In Europe: What We Know And What We Do Not Know”. 13Studies In Conflict ; Terrorism 33 (9): 797-814. doi:10.1080/1057610x.2010.501423.
Dalgaard-Nielsen, Anja. 2010. “Violent Radicalization In Europe: What We Know And What We Do Not Know”. 14 Borum, Randy. 2011.
“Radicalization Into Violent Extremism I: A Review Of Social Science Theories”. Journal Of 15Strategic Security 4 (4): 7-36. doi:10.5038/1944-0472.4.
4.1.!10Muslims around the world who are sympathetic to “jihadi aspirations”, but do not engage in violence. 16 That being said, a concept synonymous to radicalism is extremism, which is in effect expressed in the “desire for fundamental socio-political changes”. When discussing the extremist 17ideologies of militant Islamism, there are several defining elements that need to be taken into account, especially the ones which are segregationist or anti-democracy, blaming the West for all of Islam’s problems and support or deliberately ignore acts of terrorism.
In the Palgrave Macmillan 18Dictionary of Political Thought, Neuman offers an interesting perspective on extremism: “Extremism can be used to refer to political ideologies that oppose a society’s core values and principles. In the context of liberal democracies this could be applied to any ideology that advocates racial or religious supremacy and/or opposes the core principles of democracy ad universal human rights. The term can also be used to describe the methods through which political actors attempt to realise their aims, that is, by using means that ‘show disregard for the life, liberty, and human rights of others.
‘” 19 With this in mind, it is crucial to make a distinction between Islam and Islamism. While Islam is a religion that typically does not instigate or encourage hatred of non-Muslims or non-believers, nor mandates or supports the killing of civilians and/or non-combatants, Islamism refers to a form of totalitarian political ideology driven by a strong anti-Western and anti-democratic sentiment. Hence, many militant leaders since the second half of the 1980s have successfully used 20the religion, to spread their totalitarian political views, turning Islam into a transfer tool for radical ideology, which goes back to prove the point of Pew and Gallup’s poll findings that Islam as a 21religion isn’t violent in itself, as most followers to the religion do not subscribe to violent ideology or actions and that majority of those who act violently and engage in terrorist actions are not particularly religious, but rather driven by political reasoning. 22 Borum, Randy.
2011. “Radicalization Into Violent Extremism I: A Review Of Social Science Theories”.16 Jordan, Javier, and Luisa Boix. 2004. “AL-QAEDA AND WESTERN ISLAM1”. Terrorism And Political Violence 16 17(1): 1-17. doi:10.
1080/09546550490445983. Jordan, Javier, and Luisa Boix. 2004. “AL-QAEDA AND WESTERN ISLAM1”.18 R. Neumann, Peter. 2010. “Radicalisation And De-Radicalisation In 15 Countries”.
Prisons And Terrorism. London: 19International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR). https://www.clingendael.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Prisons-and-terrorism-15-countries.pdf.
Mozaffari, Mehdi. 2007. “What Is Islamism? History And Definition Of A Concept”. Totalitarian Movements And 20Political Religions 8 (1): 17-33. doi:10.1080/14690760601121622. Borum, Randy.
2011. “Radicalization Into Violent Extremism I: A Review Of Social Science Theories”. 21 Ibid. 2pg.
822!11Based on what was discussed so far, several crucial distinctions need to be made too. First, when speaking of radicalisation, we are speaking of a process which is experienced by a person who adopts radical views over a period of time; the next possible (but not necessarily imperative) stage of that radicalisation is the adoption of violent views and acceptance of violence as a means to an end; finally, extremism is the the direct involvement and action based on those violent radical views, which brings us to the final remaining definition – the one of foreign fighters as one of the most common expression of violent extremism. David Malet’s definition, also one of the most widely used, describes foreign fighters (FF) as “non citizens of conflict states who join insurgencies and rebellions during civil conflicts”. A more advanced definition is offered by Thomas 23Hegghammer, who suggests that there are four criteria which apply to foreign fighters, that distinguish them from other violent actors in international armed conflicts.
First, FF is a person who has joined and acts within the borders of a rebellion or conflict zone. Their actions are confined 24only within the conflict zone at a particular point in time and generally the use of violence towards non-combatants is avoided. Second, he or she does not possess a citizenship of that country, or any other form of kinship to the state, while members of diaspora or exiled individuals are also excluded.
Third, a FF has no affiliation whatsoever to any official military organisation and 25finally, that person must be unpaid. These last two characteristics are rather related to the 26motivations for joining foreign conflicts, and most often the affiliation comes from a deep personal belief, or willingness to help the fight for jihad alongside other Muslim brothers. Figure I, the process from being radicalised to radicalising and recruitment Malet, David. 2013. Foreign Fighters. Oxford: Oxford University Press.23 Hegghammer, Th. “The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalisation of Jihad”, International 24Security, Vol.
35, Pg. 53-94, 2010 Hegghammer, Th. “The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalisation of Jihad”25 Ibid.
pg. 7726!12Radicali-sation Extremism Violent radicalisation Becoming FF Recruiting othersIndeed, becoming and living as a FF could be considered as a process, part of a bigger cycle, which in most cases begins with active recruitment. The recruitment process consists of concrete 27and carefully designed steps and tactics that aim to reach the final goal, that is the participation in a foreign, violent war abroad.
It should be distinguished from radicalisation, which is a part of the process, not an end in its self. That being said, the two essential and complementary conditions or 28roles that apply when looking at cases of recruitment are those of the one being recruited and the recruiter. The recruiter is the person willing to spread the ideology in question and “inspire” new 29potential recruits, while the recruited needs to be willing to learn, listen and put into practice the newly acquired skills.
and eventually, this cycle continues. 301.1.1 Differentiating Arabs, Muslims and Extremists in a Post 9/11 World In order to have a better contextual understanding of the issue of radicalisation and its relation to Islam, it is crucial to give a brief overview of the religion itself.
To begin with, Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion, praising only one God, Allah, and believing that Muhammad is his messenger. It is the world’s second largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers 31worldwide, accounting for majority of the population in over fifty countries. The teachings of 3233Islam are recorded in its primary scriptures, the most important one being the Quran, seen as the verbatim words of God, and the Sunnah, composed of ‘hadiths’ which provide normative 34examples of how the Quran should be interpreted in different aspects of life.
It is a faith system that Comments by Stephanie Kaplan during “Recent Trends in Foreign Fighter Source Countries and Transit Networks” 27panel from “The Foreign Fighter Problem” conference held in Washington D.C., 27 Sept 2010 Precht, Tomas. 2007.
“Home Grown Terrorism And Islamist Radicalisation In Europe”. From Conversion To 28Terrorism. Copenhagen: Danish Ministry of Justice. http://www.justitsministeriet.dk/sites/default/files/media/Arbejdsomraader/Forskning/Forskningspuljen/2011/2007/Home_grown_terrorism_and_Islamist_radicalisation_in_Europe_-_an_assessment_of_influencing_factors__2_.pdf.
Bigo, D. Bonelli, L. Guittet, E. P. Ragazzi, F.
Study for European Parliament; Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affair 29″Preventing and countering youth radicalisation in the EU” study, pg. 13 Brussels, April 2014. Bigo, D. Bonelli, L.
Guittet, E. P. Ragazzi, F. “Preventing and countering youth radicalisation in the EU”30 John L. Esposito (2009). “Islam. Overview”.
In John L. Esposito. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World.
31Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195305135.001.0001/acref-9780195305135-e-0383 Lipka, Michael, and Conrad Hackett. 2018. “Why Muslims Are The World’S Fastest-Growing Religious Group”. Pew 32Research Center.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/06/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/. “The Global Religious Landscape”. Pew Forum. 18 December 2012.
33 ‘?#???”in Arabic (al hadith) literally means ‘the story’ or ‘the talk’, can be interpreted as a story being passed on 34verbally throughout time!13can be observed in many regions in the world, and as Beverly Milton Edwards notes in his book “Islam and Violence in the Modern Era”, being understood as Muslim is part of the identity of many multi-ethnic communities too, for instance Europe, the United States of America, Australia, the former Soviet Union, and the former Yugoslavia. That being said, Muslims come from various ethnic backgrounds, have different cultures, speak different languages, live in diverse social, political and economic units and nation states, and cover a wide range of the ideological spectrum. And yet, as some argue, despite all the above 35mentioned differences and natural barriers, Islam has a unifying force on all Muslims around the world, which in essence establishes a powerful monolith and common identity. Jonathan Raban, 36for example, uses an apt metaphor to explain the uniqueness and unifying capacity of being Muslim – acting as such or being understood as such in comparison to other religions and identities by depicting how Muslims around the world pray in unity, as the Umma “goes down on its knees in a never ending wave of synchronised prayer, and the believers can be seen as the moving parts of a universal Islamic chronometer”. 37 ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islam’, therefore, are labels that can be attached to good, bad, fanatical, religious, secular, nationalist, socialist, reformers, moderates, fundamentalist, immigrant, asylum seeker and other types of Muslims around the globe and are, essentially, labels that denote a conscious action and attachment to a particular interpretation and practice of the faith.
Regardless 38of this, in the modern era and especially in a post 9/11 world, more and more nouns are being attached to ‘muslim-ness’ and Islam by outsiders of the faith (non-practitioners), which has resulted in a distinctly negative connotation and association with the religion. Popular Western associations with Islam include violence against and oppression of women, sacrifice, suicide, a violent fight for jihad and blood-feuds, among others, which have been further propagated and imposed in Western mass media throughout the past 40 years. One example would be the case of the American CBS programme “60 Minutes”, where fundamentalist Christian Minister Gery Falwell labeled the Prophet Mohammed “a terrorist”, “a violent man”, “a man of war”, who is setting the opposite example of Jesus, who “set the example for love, as did Moses”. Such comments were in fact not 39 Milton-Edwards, Beverley.
2006. Islam And Violence In The Modern Era. Basingstoke England: Palgrave 35Macmillan. Milton-Edwards, Beverley. 2006.
Islam And Violence In The Modern Era.36 Ibid. pg. 2037 Ibid. pg. 2038 Ibid.
pg. 2339!14the first of this kind, as another fundamentalist Christian Minister, Franklin Graham, just in the year before and shortly after 9/11 had branded Islam in its entirety as a “wicked, violent and not of the same God” faith system, which instructs the killing of infidels and non-Muslims. According to 40Rasha A. Abdulla from the American University in Cairo, it is also crucial to make another distinction, one which Western media often falls short of – the distinction between the term “Arab” and “Muslim”, which are often used interchangeably. She asserts rightfully that while Arabs are 41members of an ethnic group, mainly residing in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Muslims are all the people who practice Islam as their faith and while most Arabs are indeed Muslims, the majority of Muslims in the world come from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan – all non-Arab countries. 42 With that in mind, there are some branches of Islam which could be seen as extreme, due to their ultraconservative, even purist nature, such as Wahhabism, for example. This branch of the Islamic faith was founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab back in the 18th century in Central Arabia, and adopted by the Sa`udi family in 1744. The sect began as a response to the seemingly 43declining morale and political weakness of the Muslim communities in Arabia, and it is essentially striving for socio-moral reconstruction and revival of society.
According to the sects’ founder, ibn 44Abd al-Wahhab, there was a widespread decay in Islamic practices at the time, as both, the Sunni and the Shia followers had began venerating saints and visiting their tombs and shrines – a practice he perceived as pagan and an unacceptable innovation in Islam. His proposition, therefore, was a return to an idealised version of past Islamic practice, through the reassertion of monotheism and reliance on the Quran and the hadiths, rejecting all medieval interpretations of islamic jurisprudence. The essence of his teachings and ideology behind Wahhabism is that anyone 45participating in alleged religious innovations was in fact misguided and committing a sin, and anyone who disagreed with this definition was also committing a sin and “outside the pale if Islam altogether.” However, such ‘infidels’ were to be given a second chance, an opportunity to go back 46 Ibid.
pg. 2340 https://web.archive.
org/web/20050507090328/http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/gulf/wahhabi.htm 41 Islam, Jihad, and Terrorism in Post-9/11. Arabic Discussion Boards. / http://jcmc.
indiana.edu/vol12/issue3/42abdulla.html https://www.britannica.com/topic/Wahhabi43 http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e246744 http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.
com/article/opr/t125/e246745 Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris 46!15to what was seen as the “pure” form of Islam, before being killed.
Indeed, the majority of the 47Sunni and Shia Muslims around the world do not support the interpretations of Wahhabism and dismiss its followers as a “vile sect”. Some call it a “corpus of doctrines”, practically a “set of 48attitudes and behaviours, derived from the teachings of a particularly severe religious reformist”. 49Others, like King Salman bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, argue that Wahhabism is “pure Islam” and should not be called ‘Wahhabism’, but Islam per se. It should be made clear, that Wahhabi is 50not the same as Salafi. While Wahhabism is a movement which started from Saudi Arabia, the Salafiyya practices developed throughout different time periods and geographies in the Islamic world. 51 Wahhabism is therefore unlike the mainstream Sunni Islam, which urges Muslims to pray, observe the teachings of the Koran and to be generally dutiful. Wahhabi doctrine strictly orders its followers to do so, offering harsh punishments if they do not, for example flogging if a Muslim fails to pray five times a day. In this way for instance, in Saudi Arabia there is a special religious police force, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and The Prevention of Vice, whose role is to force the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Sharia, arresting and issuing corporal punishments to those who they catch braking the rules.
Activities that are banned in Saudi Arabia based on its Wahhabi doctrine include the socialising of men and women together, listening to music, women not completely covering themselves, except for hands and face, with an Abaya, drinking alcohol, homosexuality, failing to observe a halal diet, and the preaching of any other religion. Further, Wahhabi doctrine strongly forbids practices that are mainstream for many other Muslims, for example ornately decorating mosques, or using any type of music in prayer. In particular, Wahhabis strongly oppose Sufism, labelling Sufis as apostates, who under Wahhabi doctrine should be punished by death. This would include other forms of Islam too, for example that of the Sufi Bektashi Order in Europe, and in particular the Balkans, who sing and dance in their prayers, and who are historically said to have drank wine.
Another key element of Wahhabis, 52when looking at its incompatible relation other more moderate forms of Islam, is its emphasis Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. p. 2447 https://books.google.
it/books?id=B6mKCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA16&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false48 Kepel, Gilles (2004). The War for Muslim Minds. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 157.
49 Mahdi, Wael (March 18, 2010). “There is no such thing as Wahabism, Saudi prince says”. The National. Abu Dhabi 50Media. Retrieved 12 June 2014. Blanchard, Christopher M. “The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya” (PDF).
Updated January 24, 2008. 51Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 12 March 2014. The Bektashi Order is present in Kosovo and is said that that’s the original form of Islam in Kosovo52!16rejecting Western practices and non-making friends with non-Muslims, with Abd Wahhab teaching that it was imperative for Muslims not to befriend, ally themselves with, or imitate non-Muslims or nonconformist Muslims – hence imposing a total and full separation at all times. Within the Wahhabi doctrine, a particular importance takes the concept of military jihad, which is permitted in order to spread the(ir) ‘true’, ‘pure’ form of Islam. This has been an important element since the beginning of the movement when Abd Wahab declared jihad on neighboring Muslim tribes, which he considered to be apostates, as well as subsequent jihads waged by Wahhabis in Iraq in the early 1800’s, and again in Iraq, Trans Jordan and Kuwait in the early 1900’s. More recently, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority – the Grand Mufti Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, supported a fatwa declaring a jihad in Afghanistan, persuading thousands of Saudi Wahhabis to go and fight the Soviets.
A final important element to focus on in Wahhabi doctrine is the concept of Da’wa, meaning missionary work to 53invite people to Islam. While this concept is generally found in most forms of Islam, the concept of Da’wa Wahabyyiya, meaning the calling of people to the Wahhabi doctrine of Islam, has involved a particularly aggressive approach throughout Wahhabi history, at time involving those who do not except the invitation instead receiving punishment or death. 1.2 The Root Causes and Tipping Point Theory One of the most promising concepts that aims to explain the emergence of violent extremism is the ‘Root Causes Theory’. Essentially, the ‘root causes’ concept seeks to clarify how certain conditions provide a favourable social environment and widespread grievances, and when combined with percipient factors they foster the emergence of terrorist organisations and violent acts. The conditions may be permissive or direct, according to Newman, and range from poverty, 54demographic factors, social inequality and exclusion, dispossession and political instability among others.
He suggests that human insecurity, for example, ‘broadly understood’, is one of the “enabling conditions for terrorism to flourish”. The factors on the other hand, according to 55Newman, can be categorised as the following: permissive and precipitant factors. The former can 56be understood as a prerequisite, or long term preconditions that pave the way for radicalisation and Da’wa literally means the call to Islam, from Arabic53 Newman, Edward. 2006. “Exploring The “Root Causes” Of Terrorism”.54 Ibid. 55 Ibid. 56!17violent extremism, while the latter may be a particular event, development or situation that enables and sets off behavioural changes in individuals or groups in a violent direction.
That being said, the concept of ‘root causes’ for terrorism and formation of extremist organisations is an appealing one, as it offers a logical and intuitive support for explaining these phenomena and offering a logical framework for dealing with terrorism. Indeed, many researchers agree that mere containment is not sufficient and that focusing on the underlying causes of terrorism is absolutely crucial. 57 Another theory that seeks to explain the phenomena of a sudden social behaviour change, and unquestionably adds on to the understanding of how radicalisation and violent extremism occur and how it spread, is Gladwell’s ‘Tipping Point Theory’, where he examines the ‘biography of an idea’. In his perspective, any trend – whatever it may be – smoking, fashion related, crime related 58or drug related, can be analysed as an epidemic – “ideas and messages and behaviours spread just like viruses do” he notes, while comparing the patterns of social events to those of biological 59disease epidemics, where he claims, one can find little difference in the ways in which both spread. There are three essential rules to epidemics, namely: the law of the few, the stickiness 60factor and the power of context. The law of the few is concerned with the idea that some people matter more in (social) epidemics, as the 80/20 principle illustrates. While this concept originates from the field of economics, it essentially portrays how for most events and situations, roughly 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes (people). These few people, moreover, can be 61further broken down into three sub-categories – connectors, mavens and salesman.
‘Connectors’ are the ones that have the power to bring people from different social strata together; the ‘Mavens’ are the ones who have accumulated information and knowledge, making them experts in a field, and share that information openly with the ones who are seeking it; ‘Salesmen’, finally, are the ones who have mastered the power of persuasion and essentially back up and substantiate the work of the connectors and the mavens, essentially unleashing an epidemic. 62 ‘The Stickiness’ factor refers to the quality of the messages that ‘The Few’ will pass on, asserting how memorable a message is, its ability to ‘stick’ in the minds of people and guide and Ibid. 57 Gladwell, Malcolm. 2015. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference. London: Abacus.58 Gladwell, Malcolm.
2015. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference.59 Ibid. pg. 760 Bunkley, Nick (March 3, 2008). “Joseph Juran, 103, Pioneer in Quality Control, Dies”. The New York Times.
html Gladwell, Malcolm. 2015. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference.62!18inspire a certain type of behaviour and/or action in a situation. In the context of social epidemics, 63this means consciously designing and structuring messages and outreach efforts in a way that triggers a desired action.
According to Gladwell, this can e achieved with minor and subtle 64changes in the structuring of an idea and its presentation – as long as it is unexpected, simple, concrete, credible, emotional and story-like, it becomes a ‘sticky’ one. In Gladwell’s perspective, 65it is all about packaging information and/or ideas in a simple way in the right circumstances, 66which is also the final point of his social epidemics theory – ‘The Power of Context’. This factor speaks of the circumstances and surrounding environment in which epidemics occur, and how we, as humans, are much more sensitive and responsive than we would like to think, to our environment.
Contextual changes, therefore, are likely to tip an epidemic in certain direction, 67however small and unnoticeable they might be. In the context of radicalisation, this theory serves 68as a good basis when it comes to understanding how people might become radicalised and how the circumstantial factors actually influence their behaviours. 1.3 Enabling Factors for Radicalisation In the recent discussion of radicalisation, and considering the scope of the matter, a controversial issue has been whether there is one particular profile that can be applied to violent extremists and whether there is a single pathway or a set of root causes that lead to radicalisation and violent extremism, a question which is exceptionally relevant and determining when it comes to designing CVE policies and introducing measures. On the one hand, some of the recent research suggests it is possible to find some personality traits which are common, such as “sensation seeking” and “social dominance orientation” and some of the rather common root causes, as pointed by James A. Piazza, could be found in a minority group’s experience with economic discrimination for instance.
69 Ibid. pg. 12063 Ibid. pg. 12064 Ibid.
pg. 12065 Ibid. pg. 12066 Ibid.
pg. 12067 Ibid. pg. 12068 Ranstorp, Magnus. 2016. “The Root Causes Of Violent Extremism”. RAN ISSUE PAPER.
RAN Center for 69E x c e l l e n c e . h t t p s : / / e c . e u r o p a . e u / h o m e – a f f a i r s / s i t e s / h o m e a f f a i r s / f i l e s / w h a t – w e – d o / n e t w o r k s /radicalisation_awareness_network/ran-papers/docs/issue_paper_root-causes_jan2016_en.pdf.!19Another researcher, Oliver Roy, has additionally developed 10 points through which he tries to explain radicalisation and extremisms and how those come about, which point to the idea that “most extremists are people who suddenly returned to Islam, or converts with no Islamic background” whatsoever. In essence, Roy claims that radicalisation and extremism can be seen as 70a youth movement and peer phenomena, where previously people have rarely exhibited any specific psychiatric traits and rarely have a militant (religious or political) past.
In his opinion the most common motivation of young men to join organisations and groups in the fight for jihad is a fascination with a heroic narrative around the idea that there is a “small brotherhood of super-heroes who avenge the Muslim Umma” and the fact that the Salafi version of Islam goes hand in hand with the very basic understanding of the Islamic religion as such by many people, as it is presented in terms of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, in a rigid manner that provides “personal psychological structuring effect”, which in turn has a strong influential power on people who have loose connection or lack 71of such with Muslim communities. 72 Another perspective is that “violent extremism can be best conceptualised as a kaleidoscope of factors”. According to Magnus Ranstorp, there are several distinct pieces of the puzzle which 73create complex combinations that set the stage for radicalisation, namely: individual socio-psychological factors; social factors; political factors; ideological and religious dimensions; the role of culture and identity issues; trauma and other trigger mechanisms; and also there are the trigger factors, such as group dynamics; recruiters or groomers and the role of social media as a medium for reaching out to more people and passing on information. This is not to say that all of the above 74mentioned factors must apply in order for radicalisation and violent extremism to occur, but it is the “combined interplay” of some factors that enables radicalisation and violent extremisms. This 75being said, there’s no single or universal definition or conceptualisation of the process of radicalisation, there is “no single profile that determines who might be vulnerable to Butler, Declan. 2015.
“Terrorism Science: 5 Insights Into Jihad In Europe”. Nature 528 (7580): 20-21. doi:7010.
1038/528020a. The following factors have been derived from speech by Oliver Roy, “What is the driving force behind jihadist 71terrorism? – A scientific perspective on the causes/circumstances of joining the scene”, International Terrorism: How can prevention and repression keep pace? BKA Autumn Conference, 18-19 November 2015. Ibid.72 Ranstorp, Magnus. 2016. “The Root Causes Of Violent Extremism”. 73 Ranstorp, Magnus.
2016. “The Root Causes Of Violent Extremism”. 74 Hafez, Mohammed, and Creighton Mullins. 2015. “The Radicalization Puzzle: A Theoretical Synthesis Of Empirical 75Approaches To Homegrown Extremism”. Studies In Conflict & Terrorism 38 (11): 958-975. doi:10.1080/1057610x.
2015.1051375.!20radicalisation” which also means that there cannot be a single strategy in dealing with this issue, 76policies and regulations need to be adjusted to the specific demographic and their particular traits and circumstances. In a further attempt to simplify and grasp the essence of the above discussed, these factors and preconditions can be divided into two categories, which are most commonly referred to throughout the literature as push and pull and factors.
Push factors are the ones which impel individuals to join violent extremist organisations, for instance social inequality, marginalisation, alienation, discrimination, fascination with violence, searching for answers to the meaning of life, an identity crisis, limited or no access to education, lack of civil liberties and rights and other historical or socio-economic grievances. Pull factors are the ones that nurture the appeal and allure 77to violence and extremism, for instance the specific targeting and recruitment of youth through propaganda or other effective programmes which offer a sense of belonging to a cause, ideology or social network, control and power, sense of excitement and adventure, a romanticised view of ideology and cause – the possibility of heroism and personal redemption, alongside financial assistance, education and/ or others in exchange for membership. Moreover, and of equal 78importance is that some extremist organisations or even recruiters might be able to lure through the promise of a better future, balanced life, a new community of persons who share the same values and “a place to belong to”, making an appeal to the ideal of long-term happiness, success and stability among like-minded people. 79RESTATE ONLY THESE PARTS WHICH WILL BE RELEVANT FOR THE NEXT PART OF THE ANALYSIS? Dews, David. 2016. “Identity And Islamist Radicalisation:The Foreign Fighters Of Europe David Dews Master’s 76Thesis Spring 2016 Department Of Peace And Conflict Research, Supervisor: Kristine Eck”.
PhD., Uppsala University. UNESCO. 2016.
“A Teacher’s Guide On The Prevention Of Violent Extremism”. Paris: United Nations Educational, 77Scientific and Cultural Organization. http://unesdoc.
unesco.org/images/0024/002446/244676e.pdf. UNESCO. 2016. “A Teacher’s Guide On The Prevention Of Violent Extremism”.78 Ibid. 79!212.
The Peculiar Situation of Kosovo Now that the relevant theory has been discussed, including the definitions and theories that seek to explain the circumstances under which radicalisation and violence might take place and what may trigger social behavioural changes on the meso and macro level, this section brings forth the peculiarities in Kosovo’s case. The first part provides a contextual analysis of religion, and in particular Islam in Kosovo, in relation to the nation’s struggle to find its own identity, while also trying to remain secular and keep Islam ‘in a box’ and far from being the core of Kosovar identity. This is arguably the main persistent “enabling condition” for Kosovar radicalisation and this 80sudden turn to Islam, which has made the country the “fertile ground for ISIS”. 81 In this sense, the long term social instabilities, inequalities and struggles of Kosovaars to maintain their identity and sustain their culture constitute permissive (prerequisite) factors for radicalisation, while the liberation of Kosovo, the timely entrance of a number of ‘humanitarian’ agencies, disguised as NGOs and the outbreak of the Syrian war are precipitant (trigger) factors for adopting radical ideologies, and respectively, taking the next step of becoming a FF for a small, but considerable number of people. Indeed, through this analysis it becomes clear how throughout history Kosovar-Albanians have always based their identity on nationalism, rather than religion, and how the emergence of certain foreign actors in Kosovo’s post-independence scene comes about just at the right moment in time, giving a new identity proposition related to Islam and the Umma, essentially taking Islam ‘out of the box’ for some and becoming a main identifier for may of Kosovo’s youth. Finally, the specific routes and appeals of these radical ‘aid’ agencies are discussed, in an effort to reveal what allowed them to operate in Kosovo. 2.1 History of Islam in Kosovo Today a distinct Kosovar Albanian national identity is finally beginning to emerge, forged in the post-war and post independence years, although the process is by no means complete and the young nation still struggles to discover who it is.
Competing values of Islam, secularism, a desire to join the EU, pan-Albanianism, as well as the desire to escape a difficult economic situation, all pull the young nation in different directions. Newman, Edward. 2006. “Exploring The “Root Causes” Of Terrorism”.80 Gall, Carlotta.
2018. “How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground For ISIS”. The New York Times, 2018. https://81www.nytimes.
com/2016/05/22/world/europe/how-the-saudis-turned-kosovo-into-fertile-ground-for-isis.html.!22However, in order to understand the modern struggle for Kosovar Albanian identity, a struggle which has ultimately led a small minority to a path of Islamic radicalism, one must first understand the emergence of Kosovar Albanian identity over the course of history, as well as its relation to the wider ‘Albanian identity’ and its historical context, meaning the history of ethic Albanian peoples who today inhabit Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and parts of Serbia and Montenegro.
A key part of this will be looking at the relationship, and at times, delicate balance between Albanian nationalism and Islam, and the particular Albanian ‘brand’ of Islam, which although forming part of the Albanian national identify, has traditionally been light, moderate and tolerant, more of a cultural phenomenon compatible with Albanian nationalism, rather then an ideological one demanding a higher loyalty. In this section, therefor, we will look at the various 82stages of Islam in Kosovar Albanian history, from its introduction, to the Albanian national Awakening, to the Yugoslav years, and finally the years leading up to Kosovo’s liberation. Albanian identity, furthermore, is complex, deeply rooted in the geo-political history of the region, and shaped by key events that have affected the Albanian nation. While in Kosovo today 8397% of Albanians are Muslim and 3% are Catholic, the wider population of ethnic Albanians is more religiously diverse with only 58% of Albanians in Albania being Muslim and the rest being divided mainly between Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Indeed, some of the most celebrated 84Albanian societal figures, which are still widely revered across Kosovo, Albania, and other ethic Albanian populations were not Muslim, for example Mother Theresa whose parents hailed from Kosovo or Skanderbeg, (Gjergj Kastrioti), Orthodox Christian Albanian, and the leaders of medieval Albania, who led a the nationalist Albanian revolution against the Ottoman Empire and was a member of the Albanian Orthodox Church. However, even these statistics don’t tell the full 85picture and rather than being seen as a reflection of religious affiliation, are better seen as a reflection of religious ‘heritage’, as it is widely accept that despite their religious backgrounds, the Bougarel, Xavier. 2005. “The Role Of Balkan Muslims In Building A European Islam”. EPC Issue Paper No. 43.
82European Policy Centre. http://www.epc.eu/documents/uploads/81451702_EPC%20Issue%20Paper%2043%20Islam%20in%20the%20Balkans.pdf. Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie. 2010. Albanian Identities. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.83 “Country Profile: Kosovo”. 2018. Cia.Gov. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/84print_kv.html. Endresen, Cecilie. 2014. “The Nation And The Nun: Mother Teresa, Albania’s Muslim Majority And The Secular 85State”. Islam And Christian–Muslim Relations 26 (1): 53-74. doi:10.1080/09596410.2014.961765.!23majority of Albanians are so light in their approach to religion that they can be considered ‘irreligious’. 86The Ottoman Period: Introducing Islam