ICC NOTE: The small Balkan state of Kosovo has seen its share of violence and war through its history stemming from the various ethnic wars which raged in the region during the 1990’s. Kosovo was the point of interest in 1999 when NATO began bombing raids of Serbian forces in the region and the then notorious war criminal Slobodan Milosevic. Now as the world continues to turn its eyes toward the Middle East and the devastation of ISIS, the majority Muslim nation of Kosovo has been plagued by Islamic extremism as they have seen the highest percentage of people leave to fight for ISIS than any other European nation. According to their foreign minister, Islamic extremism is a foreign import that was not grown within their borders. Kosovo’s Muslim population has historically been secular in nature until the recent rise of ISIS leaving its population in fear of the ideology spreading among those who remain.
9/27/2016 Kosovo (Fox News) – Kosovo’s foreign minister said Monday that other nations have exported violent extremism to his country, which has seen a greater percentage of its citizens fight for the Islamic State group than any other nation in Europe.
Authorities say that about 70 citizens of Muslim-majority Kosovo are believed to be active fighters in Syria and Iraq.
Enver Hoxhaj told The Associated Press in an interview on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly that “radicalization of young people in the Balkans has been exported from different NGOs and clerics” from the Mideast.
He added “we can’t blame foreign governments” for the spread of radicalization in the Balkans because “we don’t have evidence for that.”
Last year the government passed a law that could see Kosovo citizens who participate in armed conflicts outside Kosovo being sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The Kosovo government also said earlier this year that draft measures against terror funding and money laundering have been given the go-ahead to be put to Parliament for approval.
“We are very proud that since last September nobody from Kosovo left the country and joined Daesh,” Hoxhaj said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
A NATO bombing campaign in 1999 stopped Serbia’s crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists, ending Belgrade’s rule over Kosovo.