Analysis 18 Jul 16

ISIS Recruiters Prey on Bosnia’s Forgotten Youth

With no systems in place to shield the young from Islamist radicalization, it is up to parents and NGOs to win them back.

Dzana Brkanic and Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

“I knew little about faith,” starts a 31-year-old Sarajevo, recalling his introduction to the twilight world of radical Islam. “In high school, we did everything but study – concerts, pot and alcohol,” he recalled.

“After high school I took a break from college and got a job as a waiter because I could no longer live on one or two dollars from my parents. There I met a girl who took me into the world of Islam.”

He told BIRN how, following the lead of the girl, he got married “before the brothers in a mosque”, joined the Salafi movement and soon became, in his own words, “very radical.

“I started fasting every other day, because I thought I needed to catch up,” he said.

“I wanted to worship for the years when I hadn’t ... all sorts of things happened...I grew a beard, went to the Fahd Mosque. A lot of brothers were there. I met them and then you joined some of their activities. I went to Brijesce, to the dzemat [para-mosque] of theirs for lectures. Most of them from there went to the Islamic State,” he recollected.

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Background

Western Balkans on Alert Over ISIS Threat

Countries in the region have raised security levels and introduced new precautions to counter the threat of terrorist attacks by Islamic State.

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