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News 30 Aug 17

Bosnian Late President Accused of Fostering Terrorism

The Croatian MP and son of the late President Franjo Tudjman has accused Bosnia's former President, Alija Izetbegovic, of helping to lay the foundations for Islamic terrorism.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Isis militia.

In an interview for the Croatian weekly Globus on Wednesday, an MP from the governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, Miroslav Tudjman, blamed Bosnia's former President, Alija Izetbegovic, for encouraging the birth of Islamic terrorism in the 1990s.

“What is happening now in Europe is what happened in BiH in the 1990s. It was the beginning of today’s Islamic terrorism. Fifty ritual decapitations took place [during the Bosnian war of the 1990s]. The brigades of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were labelled 'Muslim' and had Arabic insignia and went into battle with the chant ‘Allahu Akbar,’” Tudjman told Globus, presenting his book "The other side of the Rubikon – the political strategy of Alija Izetbegovic".

Tudjman’s father, independent Croatia's first president, Franjo Tudjman, was well known for perceiving the war in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 as a “clash of civilisations”.

His views were shaped clearly by the influential book of that name written by American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington.

Croatia's current President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, also recently accused Bosnia - where about half the population is Muslim - of fostering Islamist radicals.

She told a scientific conference in Neum, Bosnia, in March claimed there was a “growing problem” of Islamic radicalisation in Bosnia.

This and previous statements by her on this issue drew a rebuttal from, among others, Bosnia’s Security Minister, Dragan Mektic.

Adding to the furor, last week, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz claimed that women in Bosnia [and in mainly Muslim Kosovo] were now being paid to wear full veils. The claim drew an indignant response from political and religious leaders in Bosnia.

However, the Czech President, Milos Zeman, weighed in on the same issue on Monday, saying he feared that ISIS fighters could retreat from Syria and Iraq to Bosnia and create a terrorist base there.

He said this could be “firstly because of its national structure [because of its religious demography], and also judging by the black Daesh [ISIS] flags raised in a number of Bosnian cities and villages”.

Izetbegovic's son, the Bosniak member of the Bosnian Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday condemned both Kurz and Zeman’s recent statements, as well as Grabar Kitarovic’s earlier statements.

He accused them of joining a “xenophobic and Islamophobic campaign” against Bosnian “citizens of the Muslim faith”.

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