Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageKosovo's radicals form first Balkan Islamist political party

By Katerina Nikolas     Mar 6, 2013 in World
Pristina - Opinion is divided in Pristina over the legitimacy of a newly formed Islamic political party registering as a political entity. Bashkohu will be the first fundamentalist Islamist political party in the Balkans.
The Islamist group Bashkohu (Join!) has registered itself as a new political party Levizja Islamike Bashkohu, causing unease in the Balkan state which remains unrecognized by many countries following its U.S. backed bid for independence from Serbia.
The majority of Kosovo's secular Muslims are uneasy about Bashkohu gaining political influence, wary of the Salafist influence devout Islamists may try to impose.
The Weekly Standard reported "exponents of Saudi-financed Wahhabism and of the Muslim Brotherhood have penetrated the highest levels of the official Kosovo Islamic apparatus," though they are not readily welcomed by the secular population.
Prior to registering as a political party the group has vocally called for a mega mosque to be built in Pristina and protested the ban on hijabs in public schools. Fuad Ramiqi, believed to be the controlling figure behind the party, has links with al-Qaeda. The party's official leader is Arsim Krasniqi.
Kosovo based Islamic charites, financed by Gulf Arab countries, have "attempted to propagate more rigid interpretations of Islam, including the puritanical Salafist" strain, the Irish Times reported. The report states that Kosovans struggling in poverty have been paid to the wear the hijab or grow beards.
Islamic encroachment does not sit well with the local populace. A Pristina resident said: " We are nominal Muslims. We don’t go to the mosque much; we drink alcohol and eat pork. That’s just the Kosovar way.”
Debate over Bashkohu's legitimacy continues. According to the Set Times, Seb Bytyci, executive director of Balkan Policy Institute, said "a party cannot be banned because of its ideology." His words are countered by those of Kosovo's Ombudsperson Sami Kurteshi who said "If this movement is registered as a political party it would be unconstitutional and illegal."
More about Levizja Islamike Bashkohu, Kosovo's Islamists, Fuad Ramiqi, Arsim Krasniqi, Bashkohu
More news from
Latest News
Top News