Table of Contents
1. Fighting into the Holy Land for the Holy War: Kosovar Foreign Fighters
1.1 Defining Foreign Fighters and Kosovar Foreign Fighters
1.2 Albanian Identity and Ideology
1.3 From an Autonomous Province to a New State
1.4 The Republic of Kosovo
2. Framework Legislation
2.1 International Framework
2.2 Internal Framework
2.3 Same Old Story?
3. Kosovar Foreign Fighters and Human Rights Violations
3.1 A Ghost Terrorist Organization
3.2 The "ISIS-at" Case
3.3 Ardian Mehmeti Case
The Independence was followed by a new shift in the Albanian Kosovar's ideology. Once when the national agenda was achieved, the created socio-political gap was rapidly filled with new religious ideology. Kosovar foreign fighters became a hot topic in fighting back the radicalization in Kosovo. Many citizens were arrested and brought before the Courts on suspicion related to terrorism. These prosecutions in fighting back foreign fighters` issue brought distortions and violations of the foreign fighters` human rights. The cases analyzed in this study do speak about the violation of the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair and other procedural rights violation. The overall situation on the issue of fighting back the Kosovar foreign fighters and extremist radicalization within Kosovo speaks of a lack of competencies by the Kosovar authorities. No matter of what an individual is accused of, the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial should always prevail. It belongs to the Kosovar authorities in the first place to show the good practice that such fundamental principles and rights are not only envisaged but embedded in daily proceedings.
Key Words: Kosovar foreign fighters, human rights, violations, terrorism, ideology
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The Republic of Kosovo is listed as one of the newest countries in the world and its recognition among other states is an ongoing process.1 Its independence was succeeded through difficult moments which lead even to war event from 1998 until 1999. With the creation of the new state, the Kosovar officials took upon their shoulders the responsibility to act and protect the best the interest of its citizens. The Kosovo war took place in a particular historic moment. Two years after the Kosovo war ended, a tragic event occurred on 11 September 2001 which will be remembered as a turning point in the modern history where "The War on Terror" had its beginning. All people around the world saw those dramatic footages of the terrorist attacks on the USA soil when the planes hit the World Trade Center. This act resulted in the USA declaring and waging a war on “terror”. At that time, the leader of the terrorist attack, Osama Bin Laden was eventually tracked down and killed some 10 years later, yet unfortunately, the story does not end with his death. The "war on terror" has led to many voicing concerns about the impact on civil liberties, the cost of the additional security focused changes, the implications of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent events starting with the Arab Spring at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, as well as the ongoing Civil war in Syria from 2012.
The approximate number of foreign fighters that thought to have reached Syria and Iraq is up to 20,000 individuals.2 A fifth of those fighters is believed to be from Western Europe, residents or nationals.3 The data collected from 2013 until the second half of 2014 and refers to the total number of travelers over the course of the entire conflict.4 In the late autumn of 2015 The Soufan Group published the latest number of foreign fighters that have joined the conflict. The Soufan Group estimates that between 27,000 and 31,000 individuals have joined the extremist groups, where Kosovo has given official data about 232 people that have joined the war in Syria but the source itself also states a bigger number of 300 people who have joined the war.5 The numbers show that foreign fighter phenomena it has effected in a large scale different countries and regions around the world. What is interesting for Kosovo`s reality, prior to the conflict in the Middle East, Kosovar citizens did not show interest engaging into wars even in those cases where the ongoing wars affected countries with Muslim majority.6 Naman Demolli was the first Kosovo foreign fighter who joined the ranks against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and shortly died in that conflict.7 One year later, in October 2013, Lavderim Muhaxheri made his first call upon all Albanian Muslims to join the war in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and other "infidels".8 A new reappearance shows Muhaxheri in January 2014 calling once again on all Albanians to join him and other combatants into the fighting.9 Rexhep Morina is another citizen who appeared on a video calling on others to join him in the "holy land" to fight the "holy war".10 The Anti-Terrorist Department within the Kosovo Policy (hereinafter KP), stated that 2013 was the year were mostly Kosovar citizens joined the civil war in Syria, according to the study conducted by Kosovo Center for Security Studies.11 This situation involved even Bashkesine Islame ne Kosove (Islamic Community of Kosovo hereinafter BIK, the abbreviation is in the Albanian language), where it came out with an official statement trying to prevent young people not to leave Kosovo and join the war in Syria.12
The research questions this study will answer are: (1) why there was a shift from Albanian national secularism to religious radical identity in the Republic of Kosovo after the independence? The religion was always part of Albanians and Albanian Kosovars but it helped to develop the national agenda of an independent Albania. In the Republic of Kosovo, the shift from secular nationalist agenda came with the independence itself. The Kosovar political elite fought ever since for independence and when it happened an ideological gap was generated. The Kosovar new state was built, first of all with the international help, mostly US and EU but not only, and after that smoothly passing the power to the Kosovar political elites.
A new country which came out of war failed to fulfill the expectations of the society itself. Mostly the rural areas were heavily destroyed and where both the international presence and national authorities lacked to better understand the fragile situation of such groups, which graduate was shifting in a new direction. The research question is closely related to Kosovar foreign fighters as the situation after the Kosovo Independence 2008 went out of control. To better understand the development of the ideology of such shift from the view of the Kosovar foreign fighters, the first question will meet the answer through scrutinizing the history of Kosovar Albanians through different and crucial moments of their past. Also within the same question, the terminology of foreign fighters used internationally will be explained to the extent that encompasses its strength and weak momentous.
(2) How Kosovar Judicial system is dealing with cases related to terrorism and are the Court`s proceedings against the foreign fighters lead lawfully? To answer such question the second and third chapters will help. Starting from the second chapter, in which the legal background is scrutinized not only internally but also internationally related to the issue of the foreign fighters. This chapter elaborates the Kosovo Penal Code and Procedural Penal Code together with international law. As a recent state, the Republic Kosovo has the duty to create and develop its international acceptance in order to fully become the party of international forums. This will give to the Republic of Kosovo the possibility to take internal actions within its legislation not only unilaterally as is the actual case, but been able to directly implement the international law as other party states do.
An important part of this study has its focus on the possible violations of human rights committed by Kosovar state's institutions against the Kosovar foreign fighters. A whole chapter elaborates the current situation of the trials that happened in Kosovo from the period of 2013- ongoing. Specific cases are a substantial part of this chapter and to the work as a whole, where is clearly visible that violations have happened. This thesis emphasizes that what constitutes a terrorist crime under international and national legal framework should be accepted but without mining a fair trial process and where the human rights of Kosovar foreign fighters should not be neglected only to give examples for others not to follow such path. Where evidence collected in full accordance with the Kosovar laws by the KP, such work acknowledges and warmly accepts the immense importance to fight against foreign fighters` issue.
The relevance of this study in the human rights and democracy field it can be read in different contexts. The issue of foreign fighter gave light to national discussions on different levels throughout Kosovo. Many public debates took place in Kosovo and further, including regions where the Albanian-speaking population lives, in attempts to find what is causing Kosovo citizens and Albanian13 nationals to join the conflict in the Middle East. On the other hand, the reaction of the KP and the Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo (hereinafter SPO, the Albanian terminology is Prokuroria Speciale e Republikes se Kosoves) started its "witch hunting" in bringing before the justice such citizens. On 11 August in 2014 KP underwent a large action within Kosovo territory where 40 individuals were arrested under the suspicions that they have committed terrorist crimes.14 The SPO has asked for the most extensive pre-detention measures that the Kosovo Criminal Code (hereinafter KCC) in conjunction with Kosovo Criminal Procedural Code (hereinafter KCPC) foresees. Such measures were successfully accepted by the Basic Courts (the Albanian terminology is Gjykatat Themelore) around Kosovo.15
As a new country, Kosovo felt the need to act immediately to such acts also minding its reputation in the international arena. Currently, been involved in terrorism and terrorist acts is forbidden in almost all countries around the world and Kosovo wants to show its devotion to such general acceptance, mostly in the context of the biggest international bodies such as United Nation (UN), European Union (EU), Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) where Kosovo wants to be part in the near future. On the ongoing process of such detentions and criminal prosecutions, it was noticed that several human rights violations took place by the Kosovo state actors towards its foreign fighters citizens.
The methodologically of the study is achieved through primary sources where the philosophic part is elaborated, followed by secondary sources while analyzing the momentous of the whole work. Interviews are part of such study, on which they were conducted towards detainees, their attorneys, researchers, legal experts, and journalists. The limitation is also part of such work, as interviews do not cover a larger picture, including as such Kosovar officials, BIK representatives and international actors positioned in the field, where the author did not receive a reply nor got a chance to conduct interviews. In several moments the information recorded was and still is confidential as the topic itself is still open for potential developments into Kosovo`s context as the trials are ongoing. Some in their first instance and others have started their percussion into the Appeal Court. Facing such limitations this study can be better develop in the future, where a more recent work can unfold new situations, leaving space for deeper studies.
The paper is structured as following: (1) the first chapter develops the concept of foreign fighters as is seen in international arena, scrutinizing the "Why" Kosovo citizens embraced so quickly and passionately the civil war in Syria going through historical developments and explaining the shift in ideology from Albanianism towards religious identity ; (2) the second chapter, elaborates the Kosovo Criminal Code, Procedural Criminal Code together with international law and a part of this chapter goes to a comparison moment between the Republic of Kosovo with two EU member states, respectively Belgium and France; (3) and finally, the third chapter elaborates cases where human rights violations happened, how they happened and under what circumstances.
1. Fighting into the Holy Land for the Holy War: Kosovar Foreign Fighters
The recent wars in the Middle East revitalized the mobilization of foreign nationals to join rebel groups where the conflict is taking place. This recruitment of foreign nationals developed rapidly especially with Afghani war and the ongoing civil war in Syria, where a large number of citizens around the world joined the call and went to support insurgencies groups operating in the field. This work gives attention on Muslim foreign fighters that came from Kosovo and joined the war in Syria. The first part is dedicated to the phenomenon of foreign fighters, who falls into this category and what are the specifics that differs this group from other combatants. Moreover, to better understand the endeavors within this chapter and understand "Why" Kosovar citizens joined this outside war a historical overview is elaborated in detail, with a special focus on the shifting ideology that Albanian Kosovars did experience with the independence moment.
1.1 Defining Foreign Fighters and Kosovar Foreign Fighters
In his book, David Malet defines “Foreign Fighter” as "non-citizen of a conflict states who join rebellion during the civil conflict."16 Thomas Hegghammer, another author writing on the topic of foreign fighters, theorizes the foreign fighter as an agent with four crucial characteristics that differs him from other groups of violent actors who cross borders to fight. In Hegghammer's view, foreign fighter is person who has joined and operates within the confines of the rebellion if; lacks citizenship of the country where the conflict is going on or other kinship to the state with links to the combat zone; lacks affiliation to an official military organization; and is unpaid.17 In the current wars taking place in the Middle East and the Muslim world, foreign fighters` phenomenon is taken as a substantial part of the conflict as such.18 Hegghammer goes further claiming that the existing literature on the foreign fighters` phenomenon and its rise is limited due to few studies done in the field.
Under the first criteria, foreign fighter differ from international terrorist, as the second operates in wide territories around the world and it might use violence against noncombatants, while the foreign fighter generally, never engage outside and is strictly linked to the combat zone at a particular moment of time.19 Hegghammer points out that this first criterion is important, as many works do not distinguish between the two categories and where for militant Islamism the generic terms used are often “jihadists” or “Salafi jihadists” to describe any transnational violent Islamist, whether he or she undertakes suicide bombings in a Western capital or mortar attacks in a war zone.20 Foreign fighting is just one form of militant Islamist action, which can take many forms and shapes. However, Muslim foreign fighting is described by researchers, academics and experts as directly related to (jihadist-inspired) terrorism.21
The second criterion excludes members from the diaspora or exiled persons who have had a personal connection or other links with the ongoing conflict. The third and fourth criteria are related to the motives for joining that specific conflict as beforehand, they have never taken part in a military action or worked in such organizations or institutions. Also, this affiliation comes from a concrete and personal belief and does not have to do with the economic criteria, as we can find in mercenaries where they join for the high payment. Foreign fighters also have different characteristics when it comes to the degree of state sponsorship and the ability of their international recruitment.22 It was noticed during history that volunteer forces were created by states in order to access irregular armies to which they can benefit from operational flexibility and to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any culpable actions committed by others.23 When a single state institution is directly involve in supplying foreign fighters with material resources this type of mobilization is a state one and should be distinguish from the private one. On terms of international recruitment some foreign fighters can be more foreign than others.24 Foreign fighter's origin varies a lot. In different conflicts is noticed that volunteers have crossed the world to join the conflict as in contrary to the first statement in other conflicts they came from neighboring countries.25
The foreign fighters` phenomenon should be seen not only as his/her actions into that conflict specifically, but more broadly, as part of a life cycle: the starting moment when the individual considers joining the fight outside his/her country, the involvement in the conflict and the actions after leaving the conflict zone.26 The recruitment of new potential individuals as foreign fighters must be distinguished from the process of radicalization, even though the two complement each other. The recruitment is the concrete steps towards the final goal, in casu the participation in violence abroad, while radicalization, is the process leading to that goal.27 Is to be noted that no specific rules apply on radicalization process but at the same time, no particular factor can be "casual" in this process.28
For recruitment to be possible, two conditions should be met at once.29 At first moment, there should be persons willing to "inspire" new potential recruits through sharing information and be ideologically persuasive. Secondly, the new recruit should be willing to listen, learn and finally - put into practice what he/she has learned (supply-demand).30 Recruiters "facilitate individual's path into the extremism flow".31 The starting moment of such process, is the indoctrination by sharing the recruiters' extreme views on religious debates and politics,32 followed by the step of "infection" towards the new recruit stuffing with anger against the Western societies. This is followed by establishing a social network and ultimately, convincing the person that the use of violence is right and justified.33 Besides living and joining criminal groups, the worries related to becoming a foreign fighter are the possibilities that those persons will obtain knowledge on fighting, training, recruitment, and potentially skills to persuade others in their home country or elsewhere to participate in the terrorist groups. Broadly, foreign fighters are found to be young, 16-29 is their estimate age.34 The radicalization process happens very fast and within a short period of time.35 This fact gives birth to a group of foreign fighters that are thought to be "ideologically unformed", which puts them on a vulnerable ideological influence by the recruiters.36 The Islamist movement in Europe and the rest of the world varies depending on its "modus operandi". The two main categories are violent and non-violent.37 The first category uses the violence to achieve its goals (examples like Al-Qaeda or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), while the second category does not accept the legitimacy of any system or government not based on Islamic law but still, refuses to use the violence for achieving its goals. "Recruitment seems to be carried out in specific social and political contexts."38 The final goal to recruit someone is that the new volunteer becomes familiar with violence and to easily justify it when used. The perspective of the recruiters is based that the new volunteers can show their potential terms of availability, continuity, and expectation.39
A new aspect of radicalization today is the "self-radicalization" process.40 This tendency that is growing and becoming popular among youth population is related to the development of new communications technologies, the Internet, and social networks.41 The self-radicalized individuals have become a strong headache for the law enforcement authorities. Currently speaking, the Internet is far more accessible, it has extensive coverage, is low-cost and anonymous. The internet and social networks have a twofold usage: first, it increases the number of extremists and second, it can facilitate extremist acts at home excluding the necessity for the perpetrators to leave their homeland at all (the London's bombs were constructed by using the same method that was available on the Internet).42 The new technologies have substantially changed the ways how we communicate at present-day. Still, the recruiters have always found the manners to reach mass communications tools that were available to them. Prior to the Internet, tracks, newspapers were used by the recruiters to convey their message and attract new recruits. For them it is very crucial to penetrate places where the mass has a daily contact and try to identify the individual that can be a new recruit.43 As an important tool, the Internet was used and still is, by terrorists to convey an extremist message, predominantly addressed to youngsters so they can reach the information secretly from their parents, friends and law enforcement authorities.44
The internet is a marketing tool which can promote the core value of Islam ideology through two main possibilities.45 First, by using web forums that allow individuals to share their experiences. The online spaces that the Internet generates do not have border limits. It creates a global and powerful community to promote the strict rules of Islam militant ideology.46 Direct communications are secondly listed, they enable the virtual start of the process and are easily accessible for users globally. Hence, it must be concluded that the Internet alone cannot do the whole job, the human contact is crucial in radicalization process.47 The community role and the kinships between the recruiters and the radicalized individual in many cases are relevant. Some communities allow violent extremism to take place and prosper.48
When referring to the terminology "foreign fighter" the perspective should be carefully chosen. It should be clear to everyone that the perspectives of scholars, law enforcement authorities, academics and states that do not accept extremists acts does change substantially with the perspective of foreign fighter himself. Foreign means a person coming from different countries without any links with the culture, language or background to that country. In the context of Muslim foreign fighter is someone that is directly related to (jihadist-inspired) terrorism.49 From the perspective of the volunteer his actions are taken as he/she feels part of that society and has a duty to fight against the bad guys. Mendelsohn records that the level of foreignness does have importance, where someone traveling from one city to another means that s/he can be a foreigner too.50 He list that the province of origin, ethnic group or any other can determine the level of foreignness and those can help to understand why some combat zones attract more external volunteers than others like volunteers coming from Somalia and Pakistan.51 Further, Mendelsohn in his study notes that the locals in those territories see the Western armies more foreign than the Jihadi volunteers that cross borders and join the fight.52 The lack of a clear definition makes impossible to find proper solutions or to adopt specific measures to end wars from international actors. The Western allies, if they really want to bring peace or help in the process of reconciliation between groups involved in the fights should mind those differences.53 On the contrary, they will become a new actor of such fights. Culture, traditions are good tools to better help in understanding the ongoing situation on the battlefield.
The approximate number of foreign fighters that thought to have reached Syria and Iraq is up to 20,000 individuals.54 A fifth of those fighters is believed to be from Western Europe, residents or nationals.55 The data collected from 2013 until the second half of 2014 and refers to the total number of travelers over the course of the entire conflict.56 In the late autumn of 2015 The Soufan Group published the latest number of foreign fighters that have joined the conflict. The same source estimates that between 27,000 and 31,000 individuals have joined the extremist groups, where Kosovo has given official data about 232 people that have joined the war in Syria but the source itself also states a bigger number of 300 people who have joint the war.57 The numbers show that foreign fighter phenomena it has effected in large scale different countries and regions worldwide.
Comparing those numbers per capita basis, Kosovo has 125 foreign fighters per capita for every 1 million citizens, listing it on top amongst the countries facing the foreign fighters` problem.58 Second is listed Bosnia and Herzegovina with 85 citizens, on third position is to be found Belgium with 42 citizens, fourth position belongs to Albania with 30 citizens and the fifth position goes to Denmark with 27 cases of foreign fighters.59 When the same numbers are to be compared in terms of foreign fighters per capita of their Muslim population the rank changes drastically. On top five listed countries with the highest foreign fighters per capita of its Muslim population is Finland, having 1667 cases, followed by Ireland with 698 foreign fighters. Third position once again goes to Belgium with 690 cases, fourth and five places are divided between Denmark and Norway, respectively with 664 cases and 417 Norway.60 On this ground Kosovo is listed in 14th position after Germany with 130 cases of foreign fighters’ citizens.61
Mostly Kosovar citizens that travelled to Syria and became foreign fighters belongs to the period between 2012 (31%) and 2013 (54%), before the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria62 (hereinafter ISIS) consolidated its position into the fight and after when it became a key factor in the war and intensified the manners.63 The same source refers that out of 210 foreign fighters for which data is available, a large number still are found in Syria or Iraq as combatants of such rebel groups, 58 individuals (28%).64 Others are found to be captured and they undergone arrest's procedures, 32 individuals currently, are under arrest or(15%), where 12 individuals are under home arrest, or (6%).65 Foreign fighters that have found death by been killed on this endeavor are 34 or (16%), where there is no information for the rest of individuals, in total 74 or (35%), if they are alive and what's their situation. Kosovar foreign fighters are also divided into gender categories, related to women category there is a low level of involvement in foreign fighter activity but still there are some, between 13-14 women, where in general women follow their husbands into the conflict zone.66 There are also cases where families left Kosovo all together. This fact speaks that in different cases children are involved too. Around 20 children are taken by their respective parents into the conflict zone, but this category is not included in the number of foreign fighters originated from Republic of Kosovo.67 As written, foreign fighters are not an isolated problem related to specific territories (EU and its Member states, Balkan, USA, Canada, Russia and moreover) but they have been transformed into a modern trend, especially for the youth generation.68
1.2 Albanian Identity and Ideology
The collapse of Ottoman Empire gave birth to the national awakening for the Balkan countries. In comparison with their neighbors, Albanians found themselves underdeveloped on their national agenda and the threat coming from Serbs and Greeks for territorial claims was large.69 Under such pressure, Albanians did work hard on national sentiments as a way of self- defense, as the best solution to maintain their territories.70 The process of "nationalization" of the Albanians was not easy, they were divided as citizens of different states and subject to different nationalizing programs, speaking different dialects, using different alphabets and believing in different religions.71 Building up a national agenda and overcoming such differences in several moments hindered the development of a common Albanian national consciousness.72 Still, the process of "Albanian national awakening" (Rilindja Kombetare the terminology in the Albanian language) started and was drawn up by the Albanian elite as a top-down cultural movement.73
Making reference to Scanderbeg identity as a Christian prince, who until his last breath fought against the Ottomans was the starting point.74 Albanian nationalism compared with the other Balkan countries had a specific feature which is still present today, its secular nature and character. The factors which lead to secularism are various. Starting with religion, when compared with other countries in the region, Albanians were mix in beliefs which can be transform in a more divisive factor rather than a unifying one. Overcoming the differences in beliefs a non-existence main religion was the perfect choice which had an impact on lateness and secularity of Albanian nationalism.75
Opting the religious divisions the Albanian elite based their agenda of unification on cultural and linguistic grounds rather in a diverse religiosity, where the most known statement is " The Albanian's faith is Albanianism".76 Another feature to back up the secular agenda was the that the Albanian elite worked as a unified body despite their personal beliefs, where most of them were of Muslim origins and who held a high-ranking administrative position in the Ottoman Empire, but who fiercely fight for an independent Albania.77 Moreover, in the end of 19th century the beginning of the 20th, the Albanian territories were linguistical, culturally, socially and economically divided.78 Linguistically the division was between north (Gheg dialect) and south (Tosk dialect) with little communications. Albanian language was and still is a unique language not only among other Balkan languages but within the big family of the Indo- European languages.79 Another fact that helped the Albanians to have the latest and secular national consciousness (unlike the other Balkan countries) is that Albanians did not have state before the year 1912.80 Building a new path and identity back to a powerful medieval empire for Albanians was not possible as in the case of Bulgarian tsars or in Serbia with at Stefan Dusan time.81 Said all, calling for a greater past together with a common religion was not a choice for Albanian's identity and in front of such development Albanians based their identity on a secular basis.82
The London Peace Conference in 1913 divided the Albanian territories, leaving outside the Albanian state borders large territories including Kosovo lands. On 1st December in 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was created, including a vast Albanian population against their will.83 A long-lasting period of fighting between Albanian Kosovars resistance and Serbian authorities took way.84 In different moments it was tried to reclassify Albanians as Turks and force them to leave Kosovo.85 During such periods the Albanian secular schools were prohibited as to make impossible that the Albanian language will be learnt in such schools and religious schools gain more freedom in the teaching process of Albanian children. The Serbian authorities were concerned that linguistic ties would stronger the Albanian nationalism.86 As such, religious schools played an important role to generate and disseminate Albanian nationalist ideas.87 On such circumstances, the religious ones (Muslim as the majority of Kosovo population was) took the advantage to introduce the Albanian language through their scholar programs.88 These acts were not accepted by Serbian authorities who by using force replaced all the Albanian imams with imams coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina who did not speak Albanian at all. This measure was not accepted by Albanian Kosovar population which fought against it. Kosovo Albanian nationalist achieved to secretly open new schools where in their nature they were entirely secular.89
After the World War II finished, still Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia against Kosovars will, which they wanted the unification with Albania.90 By September 1945 Kosovo was formally annexed by Serbia as an autonomous region. Even under the communist time, Albanian Kosovars did not quit from their aspiration of self-determination but where they could not do much and were enforced to give up. Still, at that time Albanian Kosovars were identified as Turks and in 1953 a bilateral agreement was signed between former Yugoslavia and Turkey where people were allowed to immigrate to Turkey. A massive exodus took place with many Albanian Kosovars and other Muslim population within the Yugoslav territory leaving the country. Albanian Kosovars were forced to do so and represent themselves as Turks in order to be able to pass the borders.91 These discriminatory policies against Albanian Kosovar population helped to raise awareness of an Albanian identity and promote an intra-Albanian ethnic solidarity in former Yugoslavia.92 As it seen, Albanian Kosovar identity was a secular nationalist ideology based upon ethnic symbols rather than religious belonging.93 Only with the 1974 Constitution, Albanians Kosovars increased their autonomy rights, especially in fields of ethnic, linguistic and education rights and not on religious rights. The year 1981 once again brought the situation to level zero, where the harsh repression following the Albanian Kosovar demonstration further worsen the relations between Serbs and Albanians. The nationalist policies of Slobodan
Milosevic against Albanian Kosovars did increased Albanian nationalism once again.94
1.3 From an Autonomous Province to a New State
Slobodan Milosevic in 1986 became the new Chairman of the Serbian League of Communists. Already at that time, Serbian nationalism had started to be actively promoted by Serbian intellectuals and politicians around in Serbia.95 His first move was to secure the votes in order to become the President of the rotating Yugoslav Presidency which was introduced after Tito's death. He heavily supported mass protests in Vojdovina and Montenegro which lead to the resignation of previous governments, which were substituted with new regimes loyal to Milosevic.96 The second move was to modify the Serbian Constitution that would substantially reduce the autonomous power of the two provinces, namely Vojvodina and Kosovo. Such amendment was presented in both provinces and Serbian government for approval, in which Kosovo Assembly did vote in favor after the building itself was heavily surrounded by military forces and extend police troops.97 At the end of the day, with these two moves Milosevic could control 4 seats out of 8 in the run to maintain the control over Yugoslavia.98
Albanian Kosovars were not happy with the evolution of their situation under Milosevic regime and mass demonstrations started all around Kosovo territory. These protests lead to a full dissolved of Kosovo Assembly together with the Kosovo provincial executive council, acts that were unconstitutional and where the Serbian Assembly took control of the province as such.99
The end of 80's and beginning of the 90's brought political changes all over Central and Eastern bloc, which also happened in Kosovo too. December 1989 the first Kosovo political party, League of Kosovo (hereinafter LDK the Albanian terminology) was founded and its first leader was elected Ibrahim Rugova. The party was transformed into the main opposition tool against Serbian rule until 1998 when the war erupted. Under his chairman Mr. Rugova, the LDK opted for a non-violence resistance again the Serbian regime.100 The party represented the majority of Albanian Kosovars and did develop a new "modern" Albanian identity within Kosovo territory. It had a large extend of supporters by both rural and urban zones.101
Once again it was clear to many that LDK brought together the Albanian Kosovars no matter of her/his religion, wealth, class and profession. Also in Kosovo, the politicization of Islam, where the vast majority of the population believe was strongly opposed by them. The Albanian Kosovars promoted their European and Western values to which they strongly believe even nowadays. Even the majority of Albanian Kosovars do belong to the Muslim religion, also in Kosovo Christianity (Catholic and Orthodox) is present as the second biggest religion in the country. Both Muslims and Catholics cooperated with them and with political elites to up-bring and elevate the position of the country from 1989-1999.102
A new era started in Kosovo by the late 90s regarding the non-violence approach with Serbian authorities. The Kosovo Liberation Army (hereinafter KLA) was created, a secret guerrilla force which plotted several deadly acts against Serbian regime and its collaborators.103 This situation lasted for several couples of years where it reached its peak in 1998, the year that within March-October around 2,000 Albanian Kosovars were killed, 400,000 Albanian Kosovar civilians were forced to leave their homes and where many other Albanian Kosovars facilities were destroyed.104 A failed Rambouillet agreement and a continuous violence by Serb authorities towards Albanian Kosovar civilians, made that on March 24th, 1999, NATO started its air attacks against Serbs positions into Kosovo and after that, in Serbia. The 10th of June 1999, after 78 days of NATO's bombing, the Yugoslav Army representatives and NATO signed the Military-Technical Agreement of the withdrawal of the Yugoslav troops from Kosovo, which ended also the war.
Even in this armed conflict, the Albanian Kosovars did not change the secular nature of their nationalism. No Albanian Kosovar political affiliation or any other kind of representatives identified itself with the religious association.105 The ideology behind KLA was entirely based on Albanian nationalism, with emphasis on Albanian culture and aspirations. Said that, the KLA leaders were aware that an eventual embrace of Islam would seriously undermine Western international support for their cause.106 Ramush Haradinaj a leading figure in the KLA in his memories recall "about twenty" non-Albanians that join the ranks and identified as " Swedish, French, Germans, Italians and other countries.”107 The strong ethnic homogenization and mobilization of Albanian Kosovars to achieve their separation from Serbia since 1989, no one could better understand than Albanians themselves. As such KLA was able to easily isolate itself from the foreign ideas of Islamic fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia who came to Kosovo in small numbers to infiltrate within KLA ranks.108
1.4 The Republic of Kosovo
The UN Resolution 1244 gave life to the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which would administer Kosovo from June 1999 ongoing.109 For the first time the UN was given the power to act as a state should do. Through resolution 1244, UNMIK could perform administrative functions towards the establishment of a substantial autonomy and self-government, to coordinate humanitarian support of all international agencies working in the field, to support the reconstruction of key infrastructure, to support and promote human rights, to secure the process of returning back of all refugees and displaces persons and to facilitate a political process to determine the future status of Kosovo.110
Even that the war did not last for a long period the challenges in Kosovo after war were immense. More than one million people refugees or displaced persons, with villages turned to ashes, where 40% of houses heavily damaged or completely destroyed with winter next door, the need for humanitarian aid was significant. Over 900,000 people needed regular food and protection against any possible outbreaks of diseases.111 On this race to destroy as much as possible the Serbian paramilitary forces did turned to ashes also, 218 mosques as part of their war agenda against Albanian Kosovars.112
Another factor except what war brought for the Albanian Kosovars, which will be elaborated more in depth in the following paragraph is also, the post-communist momentous after the fall of Yugoslavia and collapse of communism. It is stated that under communist regimes the religion identity has less or none space to develop itself. The period of immense struggle to come out as an independent country from Serbia after the dissolution of Yugoslavia saw in Kosovo reality the revival of religious identity.113 For Kosovo this meant the Islam one, as it happened in all post-communist countries based on which religion was before the communism took place.114 As communist regime is based on the division of classes, the religion identity does lose its importance and atheism prevail. The collapse of communism instantly triggers the process of transformation and redefinition of the place of religion as a fundamental right in all countries that suffered such regime, where Balkans should not be left apart.115 Once hidden, suppressed under the communism and soon after within the new regime more visible and loudly pronounced in all public spheres, as part of personal identity but also as a group identity, including politics. The collapse of communism brings for religious communities new opportunities in terms of economic, cultural and political revitalization and mobilization.116
2 The Soufan Group " Foreign Fighters: An Update Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq"; December 2015; New York.
3 http://icsr.info/2015/01/foreign-fighter-total-syriairaq-now-exceeds-20000-surpasses-afghanistan-conflict- 1980s/(Accessed on 1 September 2016 at ECT 16:00 pm)The tables taken from the same page of ICRS.
4 Ibid. Another source : International Center for the study of Radicalisation(ICSR) published between 140-600 European citizens joining the Syrian rebels in April 2013. According to the same source in December 2013 the number increase from 396-1,937.
5 The Soufan Group " Foreign Fighters: An Update Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq"; December 2015; New York.
6 Kursani, Sh. (2015). "Report on causes and consequences of Kosovo citizens' involvement as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq" Kosovar Center for Security Studies, April 2015.
7 Studio Islame Prishtina (2012). “Kosovari Naman Demolli eshte vrare ne Siri [TV Klan Kosova] [5min]“.(English title: Kosovo citizen Naman Demolli killed in Syria) Youtube. Online available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaD-hopf1_s (Accessed on 6 September 2016 ECT at 9:30 am.)
8 Gazeta Shqip (2013). “Shqiptari ben thirrje per xhihad ne Siri” October 13, 2013. Gazeta Shqip. (English title: Albanian calls for Jihad in Syria) Online available at: http://gazeta-shqip.com/lajme/2013/10/13/shqiptari-ben-thirrje-per-xhihad-ne-siri/ (Accessed on 6 September 2016 ECT at 9:33 am.)
9 IndeksOnline.net (2014) “Lufta ne Siri - Indeksonline“ (English title: The War in Syria) Youtube. Online available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhbWhgS6svc (Accessed on 6 September 2016 12:00 pm.)
10 RTV Klan (2014) “Video ku behet thirrje per Siri”(English title: Video where called upon Syria) Youtube. Online available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NGM8ds0Hj4 (Accessed on 6 September 2016 at ECT 12:15 pm.)
11 Kursani, Sh. (2015). "Report on causes and consequences of Kosovo citizens' involvement as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq" Kosovar Center for Security Studies, April 2015.
12 BIK (2013). “Deklarate per opinion” November 13, 2013. (English title: Press release) Online available at: http://bislame.net/lajme/476-dklsiri (Accessed on 6 September 2016 at ECT 10:00 am.)
13 This paper refers to Albanian nationals individuals that do not share same citizenship and do not live in the same country but live in territories that once belonged to Albania prior to 1913(London Peace Conference) where the new borders where drawn leaving out parts that now belong to Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece.
14 http://kallxo.com/pese-te-dyshuarve-per-terrorizem-u-ndryshohet-masa-e-sigurise-dokument/ (The page were this link and other links will be added during the writing of this thesis is one of the official webs related to BIRN organization in Prishtina where the author did her internship period and where many information was collected. The information is in Albanian language as this web is exclusively for Kosovo citizens and only Albanian speaking individuals. It deals to large extend with many issues that Kosovo citizens and Albanians in general throughout the region face every day, including even cases of terrorism. Accessed on 6 September 2016 at ECT 9:00 am).
16 Malet, D. (2013) Foreign fighters. Transnational identity in civil conflicts. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
17 Hegghammer, Th. "The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad", International Security, Vol.35, No. , pg 53-94, 2010-2011/.
21 De Roy van Zuijdewijn, J. (2014) " The Foreign Fighters' Threat: What History Can (not) Tell Us" Perspectives on Terrorism; Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies; Vol 8, No.5.
22 Levenberg, The Military Preparations of the Arab Community in Palestine, pg. 190; and Landis, “Syria and the Palestine War,” pg. 191. Levenberg (pg. 193) For example, the 5,000-strong Army of Salvation in the 1948 ArabIsraeli War was created and funded by the Arab League (an intergovernmental organization), trained and led by Iraqi and Syrian military officers, and maintained in part through salaries.
23 Ibid. Also see R. Dan Richardson, Comintern Army: The International Brigades and the Spanish Civil War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1982).
24 Hegghammer, Th. "The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad", International Security, Vol.35, No. , pg 53-94, 2010-2011/.
26 Comments by Stephanie Kaplan during "Recent Trends in Foreign Fighter Source Countries and Transit Networks" panel from "The Foreign Fighter Problem" conference held on Washington D.C , 27 Sept 2010.
27 Precht, T. "Home grown terrorism and Islamist radicalization in Europe: From conversation to terrorism"; An assessment of the factors influencing violent Islamist extremism and suggestions for counter radicalization measures; Research report funded by the Danish Ministry of Justice; December 2007. Also, King's College London; study case for the European Commission(Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security): "Recruitment and Mobilisation for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe" R. Neumann, B. Rogers contributions R. Alonso and L. Martinez, December 2007.
28 Precht, T. "Home grown terrorism and Islamist radicalization in Europe: From conversation to terrorism"; An assessment of the factors influencing violent Islamist extremism and suggestions for counter radicalization measures; Research report funded by the Danish Ministry of Justice; December 2007.
29 Bigo,D. Bonelli, L. Guittet, E. P. Ragazzi, F. Study for European Parliament; Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affair "Preventing and countering youth radicalization in the EU" study, pg.13 Brussels, April 2014.
31 King's College London; study case for the European Commission(Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security): "Recruitment and Mobilisation for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe" R. Neumann, B. Rogers contributions R. Alonso and L. Martinez, December 2007.
33 Bigo,D. Bonelli, L. Guittet, E. P. Ragazzi, F. Study for European Parliament; Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affair "Preventing and countering youth radicalization in the EU" study, pg.13 Brussels, April 2014.
34 Barret, R. "Foreign Fighters in Syria"; The Soufan Group , June 2014; pg. 16; http://soufangroup.com/wpcontent/uploads/2014/06/TSG-Foreign-Fighters-in-Syria.pdf.
35 Entenmann, E. Van Der Heide, L. Weggemans, D. and Dorsey, J. "Rehabilitation for Foreign Fighters? Relevance, Challenges and Opportunities for the Criminal Justice Sector"; International Center for Counter-Terrorism; Policy Brief; The Hague; December 2015; DOI: 10.19165/2015.2.05; ISSN: 2468-0486.
36 King's College London; study case for the European Commission(Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security): "Recruitment and Mobilisation for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe" R. Neumann, B. Rogers contributions R. Alonso and L. Martinez, December 2007. See also Precht, T. "Home grown terrorism and Islamist radicalization in Europe: From conversation to terrorism"; An assessment of the factors influencing violent Islamist extremism and suggestions for counter radicalization measures; Research report funded by the Danish Ministry of Justice; December 2007.
40 King's College London; study case for the European Commission(Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security): "Recruitment and Mobilisation for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe" R. Neumann, B. Rogers contributions R. Alonso and L. Martinez, December 2007.
42 House of Commons: Report of the official account of the bombings in London on 7th July 2005, House of Commons, May 2066, HC 1087, The Stationary Office.
43 King's College London; study case for the European Commission(Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security): "Recruitment and Mobilisation for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe" R. Neumann, B. Rogers contributions R. Alonso and L. Martinez, December 2007.
46 Sageman, M. "Understanding Terror Networks"; Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
47 King's College London; study case for the European Commission(Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security): "Recruitment and Mobilisation for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe" R. Neumann, B. Rogers contributions R. Alonso and L. Martinez, December 2007.
48 Sageman, M. "Understanding Terror Networks"; Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
49 De Roy van Zuijdewijn, J. (2014) " The Foreign Fighters' Threat: What History Can (not) Tell Us" Perspectives on Terrorism; Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies; Vol 8, No.5.
50 Mendelsohn, B. "Foreign Fighters-Recent Trends" published by Elsevier Limited on behalf of Foreign Policy Research Institute, 2011.
52 Ibid, pg 13-14.
53 Mendelsohn, B. "Foreign Fighters-Recent Trends" published by Elsevier Limited on behalf of Foreign Policy Research Institute, 2011.
54 The Soufan Group " Foreign Fighters: An Update Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq"; December 2015; New York.
55 http://icsr.info/2015/01/foreign-fighter-total-syriairaq-now-exceeds-20000-surpasses-afghanistan-conflict- 1980s/(Accessed on 1 September 2016 at ECT 16:00 pm)The tables taken from the same page of ICRS.
56 Ibid. Another source : International Center for the study of Radicalisation(ICSR) published between 140-600 European citizens joining the Syrian rebels in April 2013. According to the same source in December 2013 the number increase from 396-1,937.
57 The Soufan Group " Foreign Fighters: An Update Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq"; December 2015; New York.
58 Kursani, Sh. (2015). "Report on causes and consequences of Kosovo citizens' involvement as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq" Kosovar Center for Security Studies, pg.25, April 2015.
62 Other names for ISIS are: the Islamic State (IS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). However, this work will always refers to the terminology of "ISIS".
63 Kursani, Sh. (2015). "Report on causes and consequences of Kosovo citizens' involvement as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq" Kosovar Center for Security Studies, April 2015.
66 Xharra, B. and Kadriu, A. (2014). “Grate kosovare ne ISIS (FOTO)” February 25, 2015. Gazeta Zëri. (English title: Kosovar Women in ISIS) Online available at: http://www.zeri.info/aktuale/21333/grate-kosovare-ne-isis-foto (Accessed on 7 September 2016 at ECT 12:00 pm).
67 Kursani, Sh. (2015). "Report on causes and consequences of Kosovo citizens' involvement as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq" Kosovar Center for Security Studies, April 2015.
68 International Center for the study of Radicalisation(ICSR) published between 140-600 European citizens joining the Syrian rebels in April 2013. According to the same source in December 2013 the number increase from 396- 1,937. Another source: The Soufan Group "Foreign Fighters: An Update Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq"; December 2015; New York.
69 Hupchick, Dennis P., The Balkans: from Constantinople to Communism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pg. 274,2002.
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75 Kipred, "What happened to Kosovo Albanians: The Impact of Religion on the Ethnic Identity in the State Building-Period", Policy Paper No. 1/16, June 2016, Prishtina, Kosovo.
76 Vasa, P. " Oh, Albania, Poor Albania," in Albanian Literature: A Short History ed. Robert Elsie, London: I.B. Tauris, 2005, pp. 84-88.
77 Kipred, "What happened to Kosovo Albanians: The Impact of Religion on the Ethnic Identity in the State Building-Period", Policy Paper No. 1/16, June 2016, Prishtina, Kosovo.
78 Fischer, J. B. “A Brief Historical Overview of the Development of Albanian Nationalism,” Presented at East European Studies center discussion on March 23, 2005, Washington D.C., p. 2; http://opus.ipfw.edu/history_facpres/1 (Accessed on 9 September 2016 at ECT 12:30pm).
79 Bouckaert, R. and others " Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family" Science 24 Aug 2012: Vol. 337, Issue 6097, pg. 957-960, DOI: 10.1126/science.1219669.
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85 Malcolm, N. Kosovo: A Short History, New York: New York University Press, pg. 322-323, 1998. (Under pressure from Yugoslav authorities from 1945 to 1966 for Muslims to identify themselves as “Turks,” some one hundred thousand Kosovar Albanians migrated to Turkey.)
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110 United Nations Security Council, Resolution 1244, 1999.
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113 Kipred, "What happened to Kosovo Albanians: The Impact of Religion on the Ethnic Identity in the State Building-Period", Policy Paper No. 1/16, June 2016, Prishtina, Kosovo.
115 Merdjanova, I. Rediscovering the Umma: Muslims in the Balkans between Nationalism and Transnationalism, Oxford University Press, pg.16, 2013.
- Quote paper
- Rozana Baci (Author), 2016, Kosovar Foreign Fighters: From Ideology to Radicalization and Back to Human Rights Violations, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/353839