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Balkans Muslims dismiss ISIL caliphate

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Joining a chorus of Muslim condemnations, Balkans Muslims have dismissed the declaration of the establishment of a so-called Islamic “caliphate” by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“It has no relation to religion affairs, they are lying to people,” Osman Mucollari, an Albanian taxi driver in Tirana, told SETimes on Wednesday, July 9.

Last June 30, ISIL made a surprise announcement of the establishment of a new Islamic “caliphate” and changed its name into the Islamic State.

The declaration was made in an audio recording distributed online in which ISIL declared its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere”.

Following the announcement, the al-Qaeda offshoot group told other Sunni rebel groups which joined the uprising in Iraq to swear an oath of allegiance and give up arms.

Balkans Muslims fears of the ISIL plans were based on the Caliphate future map that includes parts of North Africa, Middle East, Persian Gulf and regions in Eastern Europe, including the Balkans.

“This is insane. What business do they have with us? We are in Europe,” Enkelejda Callo, a housewife in Tirana, said.

“Kosovo can never be part of the oriental projects, whose aim is directed against the Albanian nation and its existence,” Lume Berisha of Kosovo said.

“I do not like any kind of aggression in religion and hope that it will overpass Bosnia; the country has a lot of its own problems,” Ifeta Handan, a hijab-wearing woman walking recently on a Sarajevo street, stated.

Earlier this week, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has dismissed ISIL announcement of forming a “caliphate” in areas they control in Iraq and Syria, saying it lacked any Islamic or realistic aspects.

The Union has also warned that such declarations open the door for chaos and allows other organization to instill itself on an important issue such as the Islamic Caliphate.

Threats

Muslims of the Balkans believe that the ISIL Caliphate poses a threat to peace and religious harmony in Europe.

“I really do not want and do not support any violence. We live in a multi-ethnic environment and we want to be and remain at peace with our neighbors,” Sead Slezovic of Novi Pazar, Serbia, said.

“We respect Islam and live by its rules, and we respect our Orthodox neighbors. I really cannot support anyone who fights for their goals with violence and terrorism,” Slezovic added.

Slamming ISIL un-Islamic ideologies, Demir Dalipi, of Ohrid in Macedonia said: “The answer lies on that either we will go towards a peaceful and prosperous future, or we will risk again divisions.”

Albanian Muslims have also warned of the consequences of ISIL plans, stressing that it contacts with Islam.

“It has even less support in this time, when all Albanians have returned towards the West and the Euro-Atlantic integrations,” Selmani said.

“Despite the attempts to install some extremist religious movements, to our good luck, their ideas have not found the support of the citizens.”

Muslims, mainly Albanians and Turks, represent 33 percent of Macedonia’s some two million population, according to the CIA World Factbook. ONISLAM


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