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Islam’s Presence in Balkans Grows

ICC Note

Radical form of Islam known as Wahhabism is rapidly expanding in Europe. Wahhabism encourages violence against Christians, Jews and others.

10/06/2010 Islam (The Trumpet.com)-Experts are worrying that a new strain of radical Islam is growing in the Balkans. With Bulgaria a member of the European Union—and other nations set to join—these radicals could obtain EU passports, and easy access to the West.

The rise of radical Wahhabi sects—the strain of Islam followed by al Qaeda and the Taliban—is even worrying “moderate” Muslims. On September 20, Suleyman Rexhepi, the leader of the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia, called for the government, the EU and America to take “radical measures” against these groups.

Jakub Selimovski, head of religious education in the same community, said, “Wahhabism in Macedonia, the Balkans and in Europe has become more aggressive in the last 10 years.”

“They are in Bosnia, here, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, and lately they have appeared in Bulgaria,” he said.

Associated Press reports that the Wahhabists are thought to control five mosques in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje.

Serbia arrested 12 Muslims last year for planning attacks, with targets including the American Embassy in Belgrade.
 

Organizations accused of having links to Wahhabism have been pouring money into Bulgaria since the mid 1990s. They have built over 150 mosques and teaching centers. They are spreading their brand of Islam in cities and villages in the south and northeast parts of the country, according to reports in local newspapers.

The Bulgarian government has shut down some of these teaching centers; however, new ones continue to be built.

The state recognizes three official Muslim schools, but another seven are not controlled or regulated by the government.

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