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2005.12.01. – Commentary by Jeffrey Kuhner

Islamist state in Europe? – Commentary by Jeffrey Kuhner –
The Bush administration has decided to get involved in another
dangerous nation-building project?this time in the volatile
Balkans. More ominously, the effects of this intervention will
be to lay the groundwork for an Islamist state in the heart
of Europe….

An Islamist state in Europe?
Commentary by Jeffrey Kuhner
Bush administration has decided to get involved in another
dangerous nation-building project?this time in the volatile Balkans.
More ominously, the effects of this intervention will be to lay
groundwork for an Islamist state in the heart of Europe.

Last week, Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice and the leaders of
Bosnia?s three main groups?Muslims, Serbs and Croats?met in
Washington to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Dayton Accords,
which ended Europe?s worst bloodletting since 1945. But instead
limiting itself to a symbolic remembrance ceremony, the
administration pressured Bosnia?s political representatives to sign
an agreement demanding constitutional reforms by early next year.

The plan seeks
to establish a centralized, unitary state dominated by
a strong government in Sarajevo. The ultimate goal is to do away
most of the post-Dayton institutions, and forge a more cohesive
that will finally eradicate the country?s ethnic divisions.

Bosnia?s current
political system, with its rotating tripartite
presidency, parallel administrations and vast bureaucracy, is neither
rational nor efficient. Reform is needed. The American-backed plan,
however, is a recipe for disaster. It is a form of radical social
engineering that will have to be imposed against the wishes of the
country?s Serb and Croat populations. More importantly, it will
the way for potentially turning Bosnia into Europe?s first Islamic
republic. This will destabilize not only the Balkans,
but the entire European continent.

What is remarkable
about this plan is that it has been spearheaded by
the very same Balkanists in the State Department, who are most
responsible for the disaster that has befallen the peoples of Bosnia.
During the Bosnian war of 1992-1995, State Department officials
refused to lift the arms embargo against the Muslims and Croats.
effectively favored the murderous Serb forces, since they had access
to the vast depots of weapons left over from the fall of
Yugoslavia. The result was that hundreds of thousands were
slaughtered and several million were expelled from their homes.

Due to the West?s
passivity in the face of Serb genocide, many of
Bosnia?s Muslims became radicalized. Thousands of foreign Arab
fighters, known as the mujahedeen, infiltrated into the country
order to wage jihad against Christian Serb and Catholic Croat forces.
Iran and Saudi Arabia?s influence over the Bosnian Muslim authorities
grew as the war ground on. Radical Islam took root in the Balkans.

Most of Bosnia?s
Muslims remain secular or moderate. But in his
recent book, ?Faith at War,? Yaroslav Trofimov, the Wall Street
Journal?s foreign correspondent, documents the chilling rise of
militant Islam since the end of the fighting.

Mr. Trofimov
shows that the Saudis have been funding numerous
mosques in Sarajevo, where long-bearded men promote Wahhabism, a
particularly intolerant version of Islam. The Saudis have also
supported charities that serve as fronts for al Qaeda. Islamist
stations, such as Radio Naba, and radical organizations, such as
Young Muslims, have proliferated. Parts of Bosnia, like the village
of Bocinja, serve as enclaves for the country?s remaining mujahedeen.

What is most
disturbing, however, is the influx of young Bosnian
Muslim fighters into Iraq, where they are joining the Islamofascist
insurgents in their barbaric campaign against U.S. forces. At one
Sarajevo?s main mosques, the second highest-ranking cleric in the
country, Ismet Spahic, has publicly denounced the U.S.-led war in
Iraq as ?genocide.?

This small minority
of Islamic militants is growing, acting like a
cancer on Bosnia?s body politic. Instead of taking forceful action
stop this threat, the United States, the European Union and the
authorities in Sarajevo have ignored it.

They have also
turned a blind eye to the growing persecution of
Bosnia?s Christians, especially Croatian Catholics. Locked into
federation with the country?s majority Muslims, the Croatians have
seen their numbers dwindle as they slowly leave their ancestral
lands. Their basic rights are repeatedly violated.

?Before the
war there were 820,000 Catholics in Bosnia-Herzegovina
and now there are 466,000,? said Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the leading
figure of the Catholic Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina. ?We never
received any form of help or
support for our people to return.?

The Croatians
are dying. If this package of constitutional reforms is
passed, it will be the Serbs? turn to be submerged by the growing
Muslim majority.

The only way
to bring about lasting stability in Bosnia is not by
centralizing power and trying to forge an artificial ?Bosnian?
identity?as the U.S. plan foolishly seeks to do. Rather, it is to
adopt the Switzerland model: make Bosnia into an efficient
decentralized state, where power is devolved to ethnically-based
cantons that will have considerable political, religious and cultural

By making all
three ethnic groups masters in their own house, it will
give each of them, especially the minority Serbs and Croats, an
incentive to view Bosnia as their shared, common homeland. It will
also help to contain radical Islam by providing an internal system
checks and balances, which will prevent any kind of potential Islamic
movement from seizing national power.

To the Balkanists
in the State Department, however, Bosnia is a giant
laboratory for their experiment in multiethnic nation-building.
other such experiments?Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union,
Czechoslovakia?it will fail. This time the cost to the West will
even more severe: an Islamic inroad into the center of Europe.
Washington will rue the day.

/- Jeffrey T.
Kuhner is editor of Insight on the News
and a contributor to the Commentary Pages
at The Washington Times./

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