By Ioannis Michaletos
Vienna has long been the center of Wahhabism in the Balkans.
Austria, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, got into the spotlight due to the activities of radical Islamists. Vienna has also long been the Wahhabi center in the former Yugoslavia, with an epicenter the mosque “Sahab” in the seventh district of the city.
In this mosque was once preached Nedzad Balkan, who calls himself Abu Mohammed. Austrian authorities have characterized him as an extreme Imam, along with all of his followers.The former head of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Mustafa Ceric has repeatedly pointed out that the problem with the Wahhabis is not in the country itself, but in Vienna, where, as he spoke, the Wahhabis recruit and fund extremist cells. Himself Ceric of course is a leading figure of the Muslim Brotherhood and quite interestingly an advisor of the former British Premier Tony Blair.
As one of the main protagonists of Wahhabism in Bosnia is Hafiz Muhammad Fadil Porca, who coordinates an independent congregation in Vienna. In the mosque where he preached was a certain Asim C., who in October 1, 2007, tried with two hand grenades to enter the US embassy in the Austrian capital.
The report of the Service for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism (BVT) in Austria in 2007 specifically mentions the Bosnian diaspora in the country, and indicates that there are groups that belong to the “neofundamentalist interpretation of Wahhabism”. Therefter each year similar findings have been pilling up regarding this specific issue in that country.
Moreover there is the case of Senad Podojka . This religious teacher from Bosnia, who was also the head of the Islamic teaching personnel in the province of Upper Austria, during the war in BiH released songs that are inciting hatred against other religions and who allegedly taught his students in Austria.
Austrian authorities have, in fact, found that the vast majority of the extremists operating are of Bosnian and Sandzak descent.According to statistics, in Austria there are about 600,000 Muslims, most of whom prove themselves difficult to integrate into society. Thus, in Vienna there is a parallel Islamic society, in which even a significant number of immigrants do not understand th enative language, neither do they have any interaction with locals. Radicalization process is greatly facilitated by these circumstances.
In late 2014, the anti-terrorist action agency of the Austria Police, arrested Bosniak Tutinca Mirsad Omerovic, accusing him that he had a direct relationship with the “Caliph” of the “Islamic State” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in Syria. Mirsad, who acted under the Islamic “nome de guerre”, “Abu Tejma” is suspected of collecting funds for the Islamic state, and that he had recruited young Jihadists across Europe to go and fight in Syria.
In Austria, he repeatedly appeared as a guest lecturer in sermons in the mosque Altun Alem in the 2nd district of the city, which was under surveillance by the Austrian BVT internal security agency and whose Imam “Adam. D.” was known for this extremist rhetoric and actions. Mirsad and Adem, according to all European security agencies and experts on Islam, are regarded as a close persons to the Bosnian radiclal figure Nusret Imamovic. Imamovic, was in fact, the head of the village of Gornja Maoca in Bosnia, where he hosted Mirsad and Adem repeatedly. The major role of Vienna in the Bosnian-Balkan context is the one of a “hub” for strategic, logistical and financial support.
Cases of major attacks by Jihadists in Bosnia directly related to AL Qaeda
– In Banovici late 1995, UNPROFOR officer William Jefferson disappeared. His body was discovered after a series of interrogations by officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with Ali Hamad in Zenica Prison.
– 1997 in Mostar, Ali Hamad from Bahrain detonated a car bomb in the western part of Mostar, wounding thirty people. Also April 1997, Nerdin Ibrić killed one and wounded two policemen in Zvornik.
– Mid-September 1997 in Mostar, a car bomb explosion seriously injured 28 people. At the scene of the explosion left a crater nearly a meter deep and wide and two meters high. They destroyed about 120 houses and almost as many cars. The attack was carried out by Ali Hamad, Ahmed Zuhair Saleh Nedal and Vlado Popovski,who had direct links to al-Qaeda. Zuhair was arrested in Yemen, and then transferred to the US base of Guantanamo in Cuba.
– Murder of Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Jozo Leutar in 1999. Leutar died after his official car was bombed killing his driver as well. Perpetrators were never arrested, but all information since then points out to work committed by Jihadists in the region.
Leutar’s murder preceded the attacks on the Croatian policemen in Travnik, which killed two people. However, the investigation, as well as in the Leutar case, failed to come to a conclusion; radical Islamists, later actually boasted that they committed the attacks.
Mirsad Bektašević attempted to blow up himself in 2005, in one of the Western embassies in Sarajevo. During the investigation, weapons were seized, along with 20 kilograms of explosives, and suicide belts. The case has caused a lot of attention because of the attack, which was prevented at “the last minute”, and was organized entirely via the Internet. The investigation involved police officers from a dozen countries, including the United States.
Bektašević, as it turned out, was directly related to Musafah Abu al-Zarqawi, the then leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, but also lots of people who are, through the Internet, recruited by radical Islamists throughout Western Europe and North America.
In the village of Kostajnica near Konjic, in 2002, Muamer Topalovic killed three members of the Andjelic family and another was seriously wounded. The tragedy could have been greater because at that moment in the house were seven members of that family. Topalovic was sentenced to 35 years in prison after admitting that the Andjelic family was attacked on “religious motives”.
In late 2008, an explosion in a shopping center in Vitez killed one and wounded three people. The explosive was placed Amir Ibrahimi.
In one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in BiH in Bugojno in June 2010, killing one, while six people were wounded. Three radical Islamists who were later sentenced to severe prison terms, they set explosives on the wall of the police station and activate it when the policemen left the room.
Mevlid Jasarevic, in October 2011, fired on the US embassy, wounding one officer. The Center of the city was paralyzed for hours, and Jasarevic was overwhelmed when he was wounded in the leg by Police.
Over the years, intelligence officers from BiH and the American FBI claimed to have prevented a series of terrorist attacks in BiH, such as a planned terrorist attack on the military base near Tuzla, plans of attacks on the base near Srebrenik, and an alleged plan to attack the then US President Bill Clinton.
In the last planning stage, as they claimed Western intelligence prevented the attempt on Pope John Paul II during his visit to Sarajevo. Radical Islamists then planned to set thirty anti-tank mines in an underpass where the official convoy was set to transit and appeared to have inside information on the itenary.
The terrorist attack in Zvornik when Jihadists broke into the police station, killing a member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbian Dragan Djuric and wounded his colleague Zeljko Milovanovic and Stevo Gajic. The attacker was Nerdin Ibrić year-old from the village Kučić Kula near Zvornik, who was subsequently killed in a shootout.