Saudi money fuels the threat of violent Wahhabi extremism growing in Kosovo


The threat of violent extremism has been growing in Kosovo as foreign organizations and nurture individuals and nurture Wahhabi ideology.

In its latest annual report on global terrorism, the US State Department said that foreign organizations have been preaching extremist ideologies and have been using social media to spread propaganda and recruit followers.

According to the document, "Approximately 315 foreign terrorist fighters from Kosovo have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for so-called ISIS (also known as Daesh), or al Nusra Front (al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria), of which approximately 58 have been killed.”

The report also stated that “the government of Kosovo is implementing "a comprehensive strategy and action plan for countering violent extremism.”

It further said Pristina's measures in combating terrorism include "passing and enforcing laws, introducing biometric passports, border controls, and equipping the border police."

It is also stated that Kosovo has "demonstrated political will to address threats related to terrorism," and that "the state possesses the legal framework to do so."

Extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudis and others have transformed what was known as a moderate Muslim society into a font of extremism.

According to reports, Saudi money and influence under the watch of American officials have transformed Kosovo which is at the hem of Europe into a font of Wahhabi extremism and a pipeline for extremist fighters.

Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2015 reveal a system of funding for mosques, Islamic centers and Saudi-trained clerics that spans Asia, Africa and Europe.

Kosovo now has over 800 mosques, 240 of them built since the war and blamed for helping indoctrinate a new generation in Wahhabism. They are part of what moderate imams and officials here describe as a deliberate, long-term strategy by Saudi Arabia to reshape Islam in its image, not only in Kosovo but around the world. This comes as the United States is Saudi Arabia’s number one ally in the region.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, estimates are that upwards of 38,000 foreign fighters have joined extremist militant groups, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, in Iraq and Syria.