Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Balkan Insight: Kosovo Hails Sharp Drop in Middle Eastern Fighters

Balkan Insight: Kosovo Hails Sharp Drop in Middle Eastern Fighters

Speaking at the 93rd NATO Parliamentary Assembly Rose Roth seminar, which was held in Pristina for the first time, Kosovo Interior Minister Skender Hyseni said his country had sharply cut the number of people going to fight in Syria and Iraq from 300 to just two in the last year.

“This year, we had only two cases of our citizens trying to go to fight to Syria. This is clear sign that we have managed to downscale and successfully combat any attempt at violent extremism,” Hyseni said.

He added that the Kosovo parliament will soon adopt regulations to improve cooperation on this and other matters with the Islamic Community - and also deal with illegal mosques that in some cases became recruitment centres for jihadists.

Kosovo has prosecuted several imams, accusing them of recruiting Kosovars to fight in the wars in the Middle East.

Abit Hoxha, a researcher affiliated with the Kosovo Centre for Security Policy, a think tank, said the government still needs to take a more holistic approach to the issue.

“Radicalization needs to be tackled with a more holistic approach. This issue needs to be talked about in schools, universities and local communities with the people who are affected by it,” Hoxha said.

Some people persist in promoting the myth that Kosovo is an hotbed of radical Islam. It's nothing of the sort; Kosovo is a thoroughly secular state.

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