Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bosnia Has Waited 16 Years to Start Expelling Mujahadeen

Sarajevo, 23 Jan. (AKI) – Bosnian authorities have decided to expel a former mujahadeen fighter and veterans’ leader Imad al-Husini, known as Abu Hamza, local media reported on Wednesday.

Abu Hamza, a Syrian, was one of several thousand mujahadeen fighters who came to Bosnia from Islamic countries to fight on the side of local Muslims during 1992-1995 civil war, but many have remained in the country afterwards and were allegedly indoctrinating local youths with radical Islam.

Under international pressure, the Bosnian government has formed a special commission to re-examine the citizenships granted to thousands of foreigners during and after the war and several hundred citizenships have so far been revoked.

Hamza, who became vice-president of the mujahadeen war veterans’ organization Ansar, has led a protest against the revocation of citizenships and the expulsion of those whose citizenships have been revoked.

According to Bosnian law, unwanted individuals should be deported to the country of their origin, but Hamza, who is believed to have links with Islamic terrorist networks, has said his life would be in danger if he were deported to Syria.

Bosnian television reports said Hamza has lost all appeals and would be deported to neighboring Croatia in two weeks, because he, like most mujahadeen, had come to Bosnia via Croatia.

Dzevad Glijasevic, a Bosnian expert on terrorism, told the daily Fokus that that there were still 1,200 former mujahadeen from Afro-Asian countries in Bosnia, some of whom had up to three different passports and identities.

Galijasevic, himself a Muslim, was the first post-war mayor of the central town of Maglaj, where he first came into conflict with the mujahadeen, and has been exposing their activities ever since.

He blamed Bosnian Muslim authorities of being lenient towards radical Islamists, saying many of the current Muslim leaders were involved in “importing” them to Bosnia.

“The issue of terrorism and the links of political circles in Bosnia with organized crime and terrorism is the number one question for the national security,” Galijasevic said.

“What is important in this case, isn’t whether you take away citizenship and deport such persons, but to cut off the possibilities for such ‘imports’ and ties with persons who provided them with false citizenships,” Galijasevic said.

Galijasevic said he believed there has been a silent agreement in Bosnia “on the highest level” with mujahadeen not to interfere with each other, because mujahadeen could be “unpleasant witnesses” on how they came to Bosnia in the first place and who brought them.

“It’s not advisable even to talk about it, let alone investigate their activities,” he said.

The mujahadeen could be a source of precious information “on who brought them to Bosnia and why, what they have been doing, where the logistic bases of al-Qaeda are located in Bosnia and what are their links to political circles,” Galijasevic said.

No comments: