Kosovo, and the Balkan Peninsula in general, has always been a territory where the civilizations and influences of Great Powers clashed and encountered divisions. Here we have the impact of a Roman Catholic Church divided from the Byzantine Orthodox Church, the influence of Christianity on the Islamic religion, and the influence of myriad geostrategic interests from the Eastern world on the Western world. These cultural and religious intersections and impacts of various geopolitical interests have influenced the development of various rival cultures, rival churches, and religious beliefs that have sometimes been clashing in Kosovo over the past few centuries.
Despite the religious and cultural diversity, the people of Kosovo have never treated such ideological divisions as the limits of their own national divisions on religious grounds, but have always cultivated feelings of harmony, tolerance, and understanding toward members of communities of other religions.
However, unfortunately, the traditional model of religious harmony and tolerance cultivated for centuries in Kosovo has only recently been attacked. The origin of these attacks extends from the beginning of 1992, when the civil war began in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and when Albania joined the Organization of the Islamic Conference. This year marks the inception of the uncontrolled arrival of “humanitarian” organizations in the region and the departure of dozens of Kosovo’s youth for religious education in Islamic Middle East centers. People and associations from the Near East came as “missionaries” and began their subversive activity in promoting Islamist extremism and spreading a radical ideology in all inhabited areas with a Muslim population in the Balkans.
In the meantime, many people and charities from the Middle East, who were later also identified as sponsors of terrorism, had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in building a strong propaganda infrastructure, aiming to provoke hatred and conflicts among the different religious communities of Kosovo. These “humanitarian” organizations created an environment that was suitable for founding an extremist Islamist movement in Kosovo, through the furnishing of materials, financial incentives, and training for an entire generation of Kosovar imams in different fundamentalist madrassas in the Middle East.
This extremist movement, through the intense propaganda of a radical Islam and the incitement of hatred and various interreligious divisions, is aimed at indoctrinating the moderate and tolerant Kosovar youth with a very radical ideology that according to them “should influence the creation of a new type of Muslim believer,” who does not know his historical past, or his national identity, or the values of democracy, but is familiar only with “Islamic” values, propagated according to certain extremist doctrines.
Therefore, by the common influence of economic, political, and social factors, and by interwoven religious and property motives, based on the adventurous feelings and on their great hope of coming to power, Islamist extremism was born and developed in Kosovo.