Wahhabism Comes to Bosnia and Kosovo

(Wall Street Journal) Melik Kaylan - After the Dayton Accords in Bosnia and in postconflict Kosovo, reconstruction aid poured in from Saudi Arabia. Much of it went into Wahhabi proselytizing, bullying, converting, and bribing of destitute Muslims. An austere desert sect, Wahhabism cannot abide what it considers idolatry, frippery, or nostalgia for objects in religious places. When forced by locals to renovate rather than supplant, the Saudis obliterated all historical highlights, interior decoration, turquoise tiling and the like in local mosques, ripping out and whitewashing everywhere. They forcibly purged what they considered alien - only they did so within the precincts of their own religion. In Kosovo's cemeteries, weeping villagers often witnessed Saudi bulldozers destroying the marble headstones of their Albanian forefathers from the 14th and 15th centuries. UN observers considered it an intra-Muslim dispute beyond their ken.

2004-08-04 00:00:00

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