Speaking at a seminar organized by the Rand Corp., he said Saudi Arabia has
helped form a Wahabi-style Islamic community in Bosnia. The Saudi effort has
combined massive funding with the infiltration of thousands of
operatives, most of whom have married Bosnian women.
"After the civil war, mujahideen fighters stayed and married Bosnian
women," Senad Pecanin, a Bosnian journalist told the Rand seminar held in
the Qatari capital in Doha on March 15. "They started Wahabism. They have
physically attacked people in mosques. They are trying to impose a ban on
alcohol. All this is sponsored by Saudi Arabia."
Pecanin, director of the independent Bosnian magazine Dani, said Saudis
have distributed money and deployed operatives throughout Bosnia, Middle East Newsline reported. He said
most of the Saudi operatives married Bosnian women and merged into society.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia has coopted the Islamic clergy in the central
Wahabism, which began in the 18th Century in Saudi Arabia, has been
termed the ideological basis for Al Qaida's offensive against the West. The
Wahabi strain of Sunni Islam preaches intolerance and rejects the rights of
"Never before in Bosnia have we seen women moving about in the hijab
The assertion by the Bosnian journalist is not new. Starting in 2000,
Islamic sources in Europe reported on Iranian and Saudi operatives spreading
influence in Bosnia and marrying local women, often by force.
Pecanin said the Saudis pressured Bosnian widows of those killed in the
civil war in the 1990s to convert to Wahabi Islam. He said anybody who
converted received $50 per month.
Al Qaida agents have been operating in Bosnia. Pecanin said the Bosnia
embassy in Vienna has been selling passports to Al Qaida operatives while
senior officials were pocketing money from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim
"A lot of money provided by the Muslim countries ended up in the pockets
of people like politicians," Pecanin said.