• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

terrorists,freedom fighters(take your pick)to be deported.

don,t know about you lot but i,m glad these "freedom fighters!" are being deported.Accessibility Links

Bosnia fighters face uncertain fate
Hundreds of foreign "mujahideen" who settled in Bosnia after the war of the early 1990s are now facing deportation, the BBC's Nicholas Walton reports from Sarajevo.

Bosnian Muslims, mainly moderate, are still scarred by war
"Every day I wait for the police to come here, seize me and throw me out of Bosnia."

Raffaq Jalili switches between Bosnian, French and Arabic as he talks excitedly about his life now the Bosnian government has declared his citizenship illegal.

Raffaq is originally from Morocco. He decided to come to the Balkans to fight alongside the Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) after watching a videotape of the siege of Sarajevo.

Now, with a Bosnian wife and two impeccably behaved children, Raffaq lives in the city of Zenica, surviving on the meagre pension afforded to a war invalid.

He was badly injured during the war, and has ugly scars along his arm and across the side of his head. Skin grafts were taken from his thighs to patch up the injuries, but his left ear remains little more than a withered half-moon of useless flesh.

Raffaq was given Bosnian citizenship after the war, as one of hundreds of mujahideen who settled in the country.

They are being expelled because they're Arabs, because they're Muslims, and they came here to help us

Mustafa Ceric
Bosnian Muslim leader
But now a government commission looking into the matter says most of these citizenships were gained illegally.

"We look at a lot of the documentation from that time," explains Vjekoslav Vukovic, the head of the commission.

"We look at empty files, we find false documents, false records from the army."

Political issues

Vjekoslav Vukovic says the investigation into citizenships is purely a legal process.

He points out that those who lose citizenship have the right to reapply for residency, even if they are first deported back to Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria, or wherever.

But there is undoubtedly a political element.

Former fighter Raffaq Jalili now fears he could be deported
There are fears that Bosnia could become a European base for radical Islamic terrorism.

Thanks to the confusion over who was gaining citizenship at the end of the war in the mid-1990s, no-one is now sure just who has a Bosnian passport.

Bosnian embassies in Austria and Turkey handed out citizenships without fully checking the background of the applicants.

The government of the time, led by the staunchly Muslim Alija Izetbegovic, is also thought to have bent the law while granting citizenships to the mujahideen.

But the leader of Bosnia's Muslims, Mustafa Ceric, says the citizenship issue is just an excuse for throwing the mujahideen out of the country.

"They are being expelled because they're Arabs, because they're Muslims, and they came here to help us," he argues.

Bosnian newspapers have little sympathy for the men and their families. The mujahideen are widely blamed for importing strict interpretations of Islam into Bosnia.

According to normal people we didn't need them, even during wartime

Mirsad Fazlic
Communities of what are referred to as "Wahhabis" have clashed with Bosnian Muslims over drinking alcohol and control of mosques.

The distinctive long beards worn by the men make them stand out as very different in a country where Islam is traditionally very tolerant.

Many Bosnians also blame the presence of the mujahideen for the visa restrictions placed on them by the EU and US.

"According to normal people we didn't need them, even during wartime," says Mirsad Fazlic, a journalist who has written about the mujahideen for the magazine Slobodna Bosna.

"And we especially don't need them now."

Different Muslims

Abu Hamza lives in a war veteran's flat overlooking a newly built mosque in Ilidza, near Sarajevo's airport. He has two flats: one for the men of the family, and one for the women.

Abu Hamza (left) is bitter about Bosnia's treatment of mujahideen
"I am humiliated. I think they sold us out," he argues.

"I am living here for 15 years. I have a wife, I have children. Now they want to destroy my best life, my family, my future."

When I visit Abu Hamza, who is originally from Syria, I only get to meet the children of the family, and never his wife.

It was the same with Raffaq Jalili in Zenica. These men are clearly very different from other Bosnian Muslims that I know.

But whatever the arguments over security risks and radical Islam, it is clear that many mujahideen settled in Bosnia with no intention other than living what they saw as a normal life.

In most cases they believed they were becoming citizens of Bosnia legally.

This is now is a very different place to the Bosnia that back in the mid-1990s was just recovering from a horrific war.
I'm all for getting rid of terrorists and sympathisers from the UK, but this doesn't seem quite right to me.

First of all they are not terrorists but war veterans (wheather they commited atrocities or not is another discussion, many on both sides have blood on their hands).

And I can't really see what they are supposed to have done wrong, other than being more devout than the native Bosnian Muslims.

If they start blowing people up and calling for the beheading of people then fine lock 'em up or kick 'em out.
i don,t like the fact that theres islamic terrorists residing on mainland europe,especially when we are fighting against the same sort of people in afghanistan and iraq.
Or from reading the article just maybe the locals are getting hacked off about foreigners coming in and trying to run things their way .......sound familiar?
jibman said:
i don,t like the fact that theres islamic terrorists residing on mainland europe,especially when we are fighting against the same sort of people in afghanistan and iraq.
I don't follow how you came to define them as terrorists, to me a terrorist is someone who uses the threat of violence to futher a political or religious cause.

I have no love for islamic extremists , but then I don't subscribe to the view that every muslim fighter is a terrorist, sometimes they are and sometimes they are our enemy, but sometimes they are no different than any other group of soldiers fighting a war.

That was a war in which no-one came out of it looking good, everyone had blood on their hands, but it just sounds to me like the bosnian muslims were happy to use the foreign fighters during the war when it was convenient, and now they want rid.

If they are using the threat of violence to impose their version of islam on people then they want taking out and shooting, but from this article I see no evidence of that.

You couldn't have put it better. They are no more terrorists than the soldiers on the other side. Either might or might not be war criminals but that does not make them terrorists


Book Reviewer
mark1234 said:
it just sounds to me like the bosnian muslims were happy to use the foreign fighters during the war when it was convenient, and now they want rid.
I think it's more a case of so many passports were issued in the chaotic post-war period to any Tom, Dick & Harry applying at Bosnian Embassies without any real verification. Allegedly, recent records checks have found that many didn't actually qualify.

That being said, the fact theat the BiH Govt is actually chasing this up after all this time is probably indicative of a political incentive. Trade and/or travel restrictions with EU perhaps?


I actually spoke of a Bosnian cleric who had nothing but respect for the foreign mujahadeen back in '92; he had seen them in combat and reading between the lines I got the feeling he had seen them save people's lives. Deporting these people may turn them from orthodox Muslims, into bitter Muslims. It seems at least one of the Muslims in the article is married to a local, so on that ground alone should be extended citizenship. If they know who they are to deport them, then maybe they should just put them on a watch list?

Seems very unfair to deport them now they are of 'no use'...

Latest Threads