September 18, 2003

Izetbegovic ill

And, from what I hear from my Bosnian sources, probably terminally so. Here's an account from Reuters.

There's also the sad news of the work at a mass grave in eastern Bosnia:

Forensic scientists say they have discovered the remains of almost 500 people in a mass grave in eastern Bosnia, confirming their belief that it is the largest site so far unearthed.

More than 350 complete bodies have been exhumed from the Crni Vrh (Black Peak) grave and experts believe about 100 more skeletons will be dug up.

Most of the victims are thought to have been Muslims from the nearby town of Zvornik killed when Bosnian Serbs overran the area during the 1992-95 war.

As I read the article, I was reminded of something I read the other day on FrontPage Magazine, a review of a book by Robert Spencer entitled Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Continues to Threaten America and the West

. The reviewer lists some of the highlights of the work, including this one:

Exposing the corrosive hagiography of both (Medieval) Muslim Spain and the 500 years of Islamic rule in the Balkans. Spencer’s succinct review of the actual plight of those indigenous Christians and Jews conquered by jihad campaigns in each region shatters the utopian myth of “enlightened” Muslim rule under Shari’a-imposed dhimmitude. This contextualizes the recent explosion of sectarian violence in the former Yugoslavia, incited in no small measure, by the writings of Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, who (in his “The Islamic Declaration”) openly declared his desire to reimpose the Shari’a. This was a simply horrifying prospect for Serbs based on their painful 500-year legacy of dhimmitude, including nearly 300 years of being subjected to the cruel devshirme system- a recurrent levy of adolescent Christian males, removed from their homes, forcibly converted to Islam, and raised as Turkish military slaves.

I'm no big fan of the 1970 Islamic Declaration for a number of reasons, but I've read the thing (including the version reissued in 1990) and can say that nowhere does Izetbegovic express a desire to reimpose the Shari'a on the Balkans. An exact quote:

Muslim minorities within a non-Islamic community, provided they are guaranteed freedom to practise their religion, to live and develop normally, are loyal and must fulfil all their commitments to that community, except those which harm Islam and Muslims.

The except bothers me. Still, it's a far cry from a call to impose the Shari'a in the Balkans, where Muslims did not constitute a majority (and, if I'm not mistaken, were not even a plurality).

The story about the mass grave concludes this way:

The remains of 17,000 people have so far been found in mass graves in Bosnia. The fate of more than 16,000 is still unknown.

The experts have not yet reached the bottom of the grave, which measures 40 metres by five metres.

Among their discoveries were the remains of about 10 children aged between one and 12, buried in a corner of the grave with women believed to have been their mothers.

They included a child shot in the head and another with a bullet lodged in its spine.

Yes, they had to shoot children because of something written in 1970.

Posted by Ideofact at September 18, 2003 10:37 PM