June 26, 2008

How Kosovo Created its Own Liberal Islam

On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Some are concerned about what NATO, the United Nations, and the European Union have nurtured there since the military and humanitarian intervention in 1999. James Jatras, a U.S.-based advocate for the Serbian Orthodox Community, put it bluntly last year when he said Kosovo was a

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 26, 2008 3:24 PM
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The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/27/2008 A short recon of what
Posted by: David M at June 27, 2008 9:49 am
Michael-Did you get any sense of hostility towards some of the evangelical Christian groups that are in Kosovo and the more that are arriving? It appears that they are taking as gospel (yes, I'm aware of the pun) the claim that the country has become a jumping off point for jihadists into Europe.
My neighbor, a member of one of the mega-churches in south Orange County, has told me in all honesty that the Muslims have overrun the country and his church is on the side of the persecuted Serbians. I'm not addressing his belief but rather the consequence of that belief if all of the Christian missionaries treat the Albanians and Kosovars as an Islamic fifth column.
Posted by: Pat Patterson at June 27, 2008 5:03 pm
Pat: I'm not addressing his belief but rather the consequence of that belief if all of the Christian missionaries treat the Albanians and Kosovars as an Islamic fifth column.
If they think that about Albanians, then, frankly, they're idiots.
For one thing, a number of Albanians are converting to Protestant Christianity, in part because of the euphoric pro-American culture among the people.
The effect of your neighbor's opinion will most likely be negligible. Ugly Americanism, so to speak, among American civilians is nothing new, and to my knowledge it has never turned an ally against us. The only thing that will turn Albanians against Americans at this point is throwing them back into rule from Belgrade.
That is not going to happen because it will instantly ignite another terrible war, and doing so would be entirely gratuitous. There is no American consituency aside from the barking seals on the bigoted paleoconservative right that is pushing for any such thing. The Bush Administration rightly ignores these people, will continue to ignore these people, and so will a McCain or Obama Administration. Nothing they say or do has or will have any effect on any outcome.
I don't know about you, but I trust the American military in Kosovo infinitely more than I will ever trust the paleo-right, its fellow travelers among the religious right, or -- especially -- the Serbian Nationalists whom Serb writer Filip David rightly denounces as totalitarian. And I don't care who denounces me as a "liberal" or a "neocon" because of it.
I mean, for God's sake, if the American military in a post-911 world says there is no viable threat in Kosovo from jihadists or Islamists, that says it all. It's their job to monitor threats of this sort, and they have their intelligence agents' ears are very close to the ground, inside the mosques, and everywhere else their ears need to be.
If Iraq ever resembles Kosovo in a meaningful way (it won't), every right-of-center person in the country will cheerlead it as the greatest foreign policy victory since World War II. If the Middle East in general ever resembles Kosovo (it won't), the Arabs will be the staunchest and most reliable American allies on the planet. It baffles me that some people have such a hard time understanding this. Maybe it's because hardly anyone has been to both Kosovo and Iraq and cannot compare the two places as I can.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 27, 2008 5:27 pm
the Serbian Orthodox Church is Not really a Christian Church, they are a SERBIAN church and that's why they supported Mladic and Karadzic, even Milosvic was too moderate for them. No one is touching Catholic of Protestant Churches in Kosovo, or throwing out Christians, it's Serbian propaganda. The Albanian national hero is a Catholic and so is Mother Teresa. The Serbs have pretty much ensured that virtually all converted Albanians will be Catholics as suppose to Orthodox.
After destroying every Croatian Catholic Church in Krajina and Bosnia, committing unspeakable acts of genocide and mass rapes, the Serbs have found Christianity. Kinda funny, but that's not what Christ preached. The Serbian Church spread hate and as soon as the Albanians got autonomy in 1974 they started with the "rape" stories and damages to the churches. When academics looked, ALL crimes were lower in Kosovo than Serbia. Google "Serbian Church Karadzic" and "Michael Sells Serbian Church" and you will see that they have nothing to do with Christianity, they merely want more land for Serbia.
They are plenty of Christian missionaries there and in Kosovo they have more rights than in Serbia, where the Serbian Orthodox Church is favored.
Posted by: nameless-fool at June 27, 2008 7:11 pm
Pat,
It's also obvious -- and rather startling -- that your missionary neighbor hasn't spoken to Catholics in Kosovo. He would get a very different impression of Albanian Muslims if he spent time with them instead of so much with the Orthodox.
There is no religious war in Kosovo. It is ethnic, and the relations between (Albanian) Catholics and (Albanian) Muslims prove it.
No one who describes the Kosovo War as a religious war ever addresses the fact that Catholics were ethnically cleansed by Christian Serbs, and that Albanian Muslims have never touched a Catholic church.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 27, 2008 7:25 pm
I should have said faith not belief but no one really answered my question. Is there hostility among the Kosovars and the Albanians toward some of the evangelical Protestant missionaries who seem convinced that the good guys are the Orthodox Serbs and the bad guys are the Muslims? Or is it not an issue at all?
Plus my neighbor is not a missionary but rather a congregant recounting some of the points raised in his church when the missionary groups are trying to raise donations for evangelizing work in Kosovo and Albania. And because he trusted my judgement, at least concerning politics and history, he came to me with these stories to see if I knew anything about them. I don't think he has forgiven me yet for recommending that Big Brown would sweep all three races.
I guess I should say that I do not think these stories of infiltration and subversion are the case at all but I wonder why I feel I even have to include in a fairly banal question my bona fides?
Posted by: Pat Patterson at June 27, 2008 8:35 pm
This "Jihad" theme has been pushed by Serbia's church who's paying James Jatras a small fortune to go into Christian stations and talk about it. They even went to Pat Robertson hoping he's buy it, but they lost all credibility. As soon as Christian Missionaries in Kosovo heard about it, the wrote him an open letter refuting the lies.
I apologize for the long post, but it covers all angles and it's not written by an Albanian, nor Michael, these are Americans on the ground:
-----------
Kosovo ministers address Pat Robertson about Kosovo's independence
(from Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship at pcpf*org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=379&Itemid=45 )
30 October 2006
Dear Mr. Robertson:
Grace and peace to you in Jesus
Posted by: nameless-fool at June 27, 2008 8:40 pm
Thank you!
Posted by: Pat Patterson at June 27, 2008 8:43 pm
Pat Patterson: Is there hostility among the Kosovars and the Albanians toward some of the evangelical Protestant missionaries who seem convinced that the good guys are the Orthodox Serbs and the bad guys are the Muslims? Or is it not an issue at all?
There is no problem that I'm aware of, but that doesn't mean there isn't a problem.
What I do know -- at least this is what I heard from a trusted source -- is that many Kosovars (I have no idea how many) are converting to Christianity, and that most prefer converting to Protestant Christianity (as opposed to other Christian sects) due to the American influence.
I don't know any more than that, but I never heard of any tension between Muslims and Protestants there.
What I know for certain is that the Muslims and Catholics get along excellently, and that the Orthodox have ethnic problems with both.
I recommend that your neighbor, if he returns to Kosovo, seek out the Catholic priest Dom Lush Gjergji and sit down with him and have a long talk about all this stuff. Gjergji is a great guy who has much to recommend him. He personally and patiently defused hundreds of Albanian blood feuds.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 27, 2008 9:07 pm
Michael-Again my neighbor is NOT a missionary but was merely repeating stories he had heard from fund raisers. His idea of returning anywhere is either Disneyland or Branson. I don't think Kosovo is on his itinerary this summer or any summer for that matter.
Posted by: Pat Patterson at June 27, 2008 9:40 pm
Michael,
Why are letting this nameless-fool character libel Serbs at will yet banning his Serbian equivalent?
If he is allowed to basically repost Illyrians.org, will you permit the Serbian equivalent from Serbianna.com or Juliagorin.com?
I doubt it.
So maybe you would be kind enough to ask our resident Albanian racist to please desist from posting his rubbish here?
Posted by: Limbic at June 28, 2008 7:10 am
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