NATO and the Western mass media told the public that the Bosnian Serbs had a racist and genocidal ideology, and committed atrocities.
But it was Alija Izetbegovic, the leader of a minority Bosnian Muslim faction, the one that NATO supported, who wrote a book calling for the slaughter of infidels so that a Muslim takeover could install an Islamist theocracy in Bosnia (documented in Part 1, below).
This Alija Izetbegovic may have participated in the extermination of Serbs and Jews during WWII. After all, he founded at this time the Young Muslims in Bosnia, in imitation of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that was closely allied with the German Nazis. HIR does not have materials to positively document Izetbegovic’s participation in the WWII Nazi massacres in Bosnia. What is well documented, however, is that in the 1990s Alija Izetbegovic proudly recreated the SS Handzar Division that the Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al Husseini had earlier created, for the German Nazis, out of tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslim volunteers (documented in Part 2). This SS Handzar Division eagerly participated in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Serbian, Jewish, and Roma (Gypsy) civilians. It is not unreasonable to propose that if Alija Izetbegovic was proud enough of the WWII SS Handzar Division to recreate it in the 1990s, then perhaps he was a Handzar soldier during the World War.
Once you get to know Izetbegovic, you are forced to ask this question: Isn’t it more likely that the one killing innocent people in the 1990s was Izetbegovic, and not the Serbs? Yes. Consistent with this expectation, every allegation against the Serbs evaporates into nothing the minute one investigates. The overwhelming, crushing bulk of the evidence supports the view that in the Yugoslavian civil wars of the 1990s the Serbs behaved much like did in WWII, when they were the staunchest defenders of the persecuted Jews in all of Europe. The portrait that was painted of the Serbs in the 1990s as “the new Nazis” is not only false, it is absurd. For this reason, the lies we were told about the Bosnian Serbs (repeated to this day) have required spectacular hoaxes, knowingly perpetrated by the Western mass media. These are easily shown to be false with a minimum of research, as for example the accusation that the Bosnian Serbs were running death camps (refuted in Part 3).
The documentation you will encounter here raises the sharpest possible questions about the integrity of the mass media, and concerning the intentions of the Western powers that destroyed Yugoslavia.
by Jared Israel, Emperor’s Clothes (21 October 2003)
A few days ago, the Bosnian Muslim Fundamentalist (or, for short, Islamist) leader, Alija Izetbegovic, died of heart failure. The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement praising:
“…the late president’s serious attempts to defend the identity and territorial integrity of his homeland as well as the unity among the residents and various ethnic races of the country.”
The US State Department praised him as well:
“President Izetbegovic’s personal courage helped the Bosnian people endure one of Europe’s greatest tragedies since World War II. His determined leadership was instrumental in Bosnia and Herzegovina remaining a unified multiethnic country.”
Note the similarity between the two statements. They might have issued from the same foreign office.
This may be surprising if you don’t know that the Pentagon coordinated Iranian and Saudi military intervention in Bosnia, on the side of Izetbegovic, against the Bosnian Serbs and moderate Muslims. This included the importation of the worst Mujahideen cutthroats – they boasted that “we do everything with the knife” – to indoctrinate and train Izetbegovic’s army, and lead it in a campaign of terror.
The State Department’s reference to “Bosnia and Herzegovina remaining a unified multiethnic country” has one problem: Bosnia was never a country. It was an administrative unit within the internationally recognized state of Yugoslavia. Rather than protecting the multiethnic state of Yugoslavia, Izetbegovic’s fundamentalists fought to secede with the aim of creating an Islamist republic on this piece of Yugoslav territory. This was opposed by virtually all the Serbs and probably most Muslims. But it was backed by the US, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamist states.
Despite the hype in the Western media, Izetbegovic was not fighting to affirm (let alone reaffirm!) some supposed Bosnian nationhood. Rather, he called for:
“…the implementation of Islam in all fields of individuals’ personal lives, in family and in society, by renewal of the Islamic religious thought and creating a uniform Muslim community from Morocco to Indonesia. …”
In other words, the Islamist takeover of Bosnia was intended as a step towards the creation of a unified Muslim world-state. Quite the opposite of preserving the nonexistent ‘Bosnian nation’! And yet the fiction of a Bosnian nation, threatened by supposed Serb secessionists (the Serbs were in fact the people who didn’t want to secede from Yugoslavia) was sold to ordinary people in the West.
The Iranian statement refers to Izetbegovic as a unifier among “the various ethnic races”. I wonder, what on earth is an “ethnic race”? Sounds like something from a Nazi’s dream.
That aside, was Izetbegovic aiming for unity? And if so, what kind of unity?
Prof. Gil-White deals with those questions below.
1. Who was Alija Izetbegovic: Moderate Democrat or Radical Islamist?
Alija Izetbegovic is the Muslim leader whom the U.S. and NATO supported during the Bosnian civil war in the 1990s. The Western media and governments recognized him as President of Bosnia.
Knight-Ridder News Service stated that: “The Bosnian [Muslims] are struggling for democracy, human rights, and a multiethnic country.”
And Warren Zimmerman, former US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, wrote in Foreign Affairs: “Izetbegovic was…A devout Muslim but no extremist, he consistently advocated the preservation of a multinational Bosnia.”
But others disagree.
For example, various writers published on Emperor’s Clothes have argued that Izetbegovic was an Islamic fundamentalist whose goal was to create, by all available means, a totalitarian clerical state, modeled on Iran.
Emperor’s Clothes and HIR have argued that the NATO and Western media blamed the fighting in Bosnia on its main victims, the Bosnian Serbs. Our research contradicts the official — and mainstream media — story, which has Serbs as opponents of all Muslims, as if the latter were monolithic. On the contrary, Fikret Abdic, arguably the most popular Muslim leader, was militarily allied with the Serbs. There is plenty of evidence that Alija Izetbegovic, who victimized the Serbs, was supported only by a minority in the Muslim population, and that his fanatical followers victimized thousands of moderate Muslims.
So who is telling the truth? Newsweek, Knight-Ridder, Warren Zimmermann, the rest of the Western media, and a slew of academics, all of whom claim that Izetbegovic was a moderate democrat fighting for human rights and multicultural tolerance?
Or are Emperor’s Clothes and HIR telling the truth when we argue that Izetbegovic was always an Islamic Fundamentalist, or Islamist?
Why is this an important question?
There are three reasons why it matters whether or not Izetbegovic is a fundamentalist.
First, because NATO intervened politically and militarily for Izetbegovic. For example, former US Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, admitted in congressional testimony that the U.S. gave Croatia the green light to violate international agreements by letting Iranian weapons reach Izetbegovic’s army.
Second, because if we are right to say that Izetbegovic was an Islamist fanatic, and that this was no secret in Yugoslavia, then the media lied systematically. It is difficult to explain such uniform media disinformation absent coordination by the covert services of Western powers. If we are right about Izetbegovic, then this constitutes evidence that the West has a controlled media.
Third, because if Izetbegovic’s views were entirely misrepresented by politicians and the media, this is evidence that the U.S.-led Empire has a dual policy regarding Islamic fundamentalism, as we claim. The US invokes the threat of fundamentalist terror in order to excuse its military adventures, but – covertly – it also allies with and sponsors Islamic fundamentalists around the world.
Before answering whether Alija Izetbegovic is a fundamentalist, let us provide the necessary background: a clear definition of what Islamic fundamentalism stands for.
What is an Islamic fundamentalist?
An Islamic fundamentalist (or Islamist) is a Muslim who advocates theocratic rule. This means subordinating the legal system and all aspects of life to Islamic religious law, or Sharia, which covers personal behavior.
It is fashionable in the West to romanticize this, a process made easier by disregarding the conditions of life under Islamist rule, which can be harsh.
In the Islamist State of Saudi Arabia, for example, there is a special police, ‘The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,’ which answers directly to Prince Naif, the Minister of the Interior. These policemen have extensive powers. They patrol the streets, armed with long clubs, enforcing Islamic rules of dress and behavior, beating and arresting those who violate such rules.
This may strike you as thuggery but, to a fundamentalist, Islam is all; the rest is nothing. Thus, one prominent Islamic fundamentalist philosopher explains:
“…the most important thing that the Qur’an recommends is: all of Islam; everything else is nothing more than a detail and explanation of this central idea. This aspect of Islam contains the principle of the Islamic Order, which is to say the union of religion and politics, but it also has other consequences of a primordial practical importance, of which the first is the impossibility of confusing the Islamic Order with the non-Islamic systems.
…There is no secular principle, and the State must be for Muslims the scrupulous expression of the moral and conceptual pillar of the religion.”
The ‘Islamic Order’ excludes any secular principle. That means no non-Islamic public schools, no non-Islamic trade unions, no non-Islamic political organizations, no non-Islamic mass media…
And how is the ‘Islamic Order’ to be created and enforced? By taking over the modern state with its vast powers of organization and coercion. As our philosopher says, the state is to be the “scrupulous expression of the moral and conceptual pillar of the religion.” My thesaurus offers these synonyms for ‘scrupulous’: regulated, accurate, fastidious, careful, and… severe.
Our Islamist philosopher continues:
“The exhaustive definition of the Islamic Order is: the unity of religion and law, education and force, ideals and interests, spiritual society and State…the Muslim does not exist at all as an independent individual…”
(You may be wondering which fundamentalist wrote these lines. I shall leave you guessing a bit longer.)
Consider the philosopher’s use of phrases such as “the unity of education and force” and “the Muslim does not exist at all as an independent individual…” Perhaps these ideas are consistent with the traditional teachings of Islam; but the wording has a 20th century ring, as does this philosopher’s reference to “Islam as a total way of life.”Super-strict Islamic rules combined with an all-powerful Islamic state to enforce them suggests a modern phenomenon: ‘totalitarianism.’
Having penned the chilling phrase, “the unity of education and force,” our Islamist philosopher informs us that:
“The education of the population, and especially those media which have an effect on the public such as newspapers, radio, and television, must be entrusted to people whose good Islamic reputation, moral attitude, and intellectual ability are unimpeachable.”
And who are these “people whose good Islamic reputation [and] moral attitude…are unimpeachable”? Answer: Islamic fundamentalists. So, all the means of communication and education must be in the hands of Islamists.
The last quoted paragraph – believe it or not – appears under the heading “Freedom of Thought.” This is reminiscent of the society that George Orwell described in his famous novel, “1984.” The difference is that in the Islamic Order, Big Brother is divinely sanctioned by Allah.
Thus, according to our philosopher, the very existence of non-Islamic systems is a violent affront.
“It is not in fact possible for there to be any peace or coexistence between ‘the Islamic Religion’ and non-Islamic social and political institutions…”
If there can be no peace or coexistence, then Islam is at war with all non-Islamic cultural and political institutions. And since ‘institutions’ do not exist apart from the people involved with them, this translates into a war against ‘infidels’, i.e. against non-Muslims – a jihad, or holy war.
In a section of his book entitled, “The Relations Of The Islamic Society With Other Societies,” our philosopher quotes the Qur’an. These quotes are presented as fully self-explanatory, and are neither preceded nor followed by qualification or comment:
“Oh Prophet, incite the believers to combat. If there can be found among you twenty who will endure, they will vanquish two hundred, if one hundred can be found, they will vanquish a thousand infidels, because they are people such as cannot understand.”
Why must infidels be slaughtered? Because “they are people such as cannot understand.” That is, they must be killed for their beliefs.
The philosopher quotes the Qur’an again (and again without preface or comment):
“And combat on Allah’s path those who combat you, and don’t disobey. True, Allah does not love the disobedient! And kill them where you will find them; chase them from where they chased you: association is a graver sin than murder. But don’t fight them near the sacred Mosque unless they fight you there first. And if they fight you there, kill them then. Such is the retribution against infidels. Should they cease, Allah is, surely, forgiving and merciful.”
Consider the statement, “Association is a graver sin than murder.”
What constitutes ‘murder’? If a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, is that murder? Not according to our Islamist philosopher. He has quoted a Quranic text that says the killing of an infidel pleases Allah. Indeed, in the text, Muslims are enjoined not to disobey Allah but to kill infidels “where you will find them.” Since killing infidels is a sacred duty, it can’t be murder.
A Muslim can only commit murder when he kills another Muslim.
Thus, “Association is a graver sin than murder” means that for a Muslim to have cordial relations with a non-Muslim is worse than killing a Muslim!
What is our philosopher telling Muslims? That as long as they live in a non-Islamic society, they must segregate themselves, avoid cordial relations with non-Muslims, and prepare for the day when they can seize state power and enforce the Islamic Order.
This, of course, will guarantee growing tension, leading to civil war…
Our philosopher explains:
“… the Islamic movement may, or rather should, begin by seizing power as soon as it possesses a good measure of moral and numerical strength, allowing it not only to overthrow the non-Islamic power, but also to establish the new Islamic power.”
Doesn’t leave much to the imagination, does it?
Who is this Islamist philosopher?
Who did you think wrote the above quoted lines? Osama bin Laden?
Or maybe Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas?
Or perhaps you guessed it was some official in the Wahabbi fundamentalist state of Saudi Arabia?
These are all good guesses. But in fact the author of these lines is Alija Izetbegovic, leader of the Bosnian Muslim faction backed by the US and NATO during Bosnia’s civil war. And the book he wrote, and from which all the lines quoted above were taken, is entitled “Islamic Declaration”. (This is sometimes translated, “Islamic Manifesto”).
Izetbegovic had his book reissued before the crucial 1990 Bosnian elections. Thus, it was his political manifesto for the 1990s.
If you previously heard of this book, you probably didn’t think there was anything scary about it, because the Western press worked hard to make it seem inoffensive. For example, this is what the Financial Times said:
“In 1983, [Izetbegovic] was sentenced. . .for 14 years, commuted to five, for writing the ‘Islamic Declaration’, a political tract which sought to reconcile European democratic principles with (Sunni) Islamic teaching.”
Did you see anything in the quotes from Izetbegovic’s book that sounded even remotely like “European democratic principles”?
Izetbegovic was not jailed for trying to reconcile “European democratic principles” with Muslim beliefs. Who would have objected to that? His book was meant to incite hatred and war against non-Muslims, and such was the determination of the court that judged him, as the BBC reported in 1983, when the sentence was passed down:
“…The court found the accused guilty because it held that their activity had been directed against brotherhood and unity, and the equality of our nations and nationalities with a view to destroying Bosnia-Hercegovina as a Socialist Republic and thus of undermining the social order of the SFRY.
For the criminal act of association for the purpose of enemy activity and counter-revolutionary threatening of the social order Alija (Mustafa) Izetbegovic was sentenced to 14 years’…”
To get the story right, all that the Financial Times had to do was consult the news reports from 1983, and look at Izetbegovic’s book, as I have done. It is not believable that the Financial Times did not know about this. But they were interested in portraying him as a moderate, so they lied.
But the New York Times called him a moderate. . .
So they did.
Were Western diplomats really fooled into believing Izetbegovic was a moderate? Or did they just pretend to believe? Here is what former US ambassador to Yugoslavia Warren Zimmerman said in an interview:
“As for Mr. Izetbegovic, we heard that some call him a Muslim fundamentalist. We know what fundamentalism really does, as we were its victims in Iran. That is why we do not believe that Izetbegovic is some sort of fundamentalist. Actually, it seems like he is a moderate politician who is trying to do the best in a difficult situation.”
He “heard” that some call Mr. Izetbegovic a fundamentalist? Was it a vague rumor? Remember, Izetbegovic reissued his book in 1990. There is no question that the diplomatic corps was aware of the book’s contents. Moreover, as seen above, Izetbegovic had been famously imprisoned in Yugoslavia for several years precisely because of his writings and other activities meant to incite Islamist violence. None of this was a secret; everybody in Yugoslavia knew it, and it is stated in the preface to the French translation of his book (the one I have been using here).
And note Zimmermann’s argument:
1) Fundamentalism is bad;
2) If Izetbegovic were a fundamentalist, that would be bad;
3) Therefore, Izetbegovic is not a fundamentalist.
This Alice-in-Wonderland logic translates:
1) The American public would rebel if the US government told them it was backing a fundamentalist (whose great hero, by the way, is the Ayatollah Khomeini);
2) It would be bad if the American public rebelled;
3) Therefore we will simply say that Izetbegovic is a moderate, and the truth be damned.
This became the position of the Western mainstream media, as I show in part 2 of this series. Almost without exception, the media — and, I am afraid, many academics — lied about the Izetbegovic regime, precisely as intended by US officials such as Warren Zimmermann.
Up next I show how the media went out of its way to paint fascists as victims, and their victims as fascists: the mainstream media turned Bosnia upside down.
‘The last ambassador: a memoir of the collapse of Yugoslavia.’ By Warren Zimmerman; Foreign Affairs March-April 1995 v74 n2 p2(19)