by James M. Dorsey
A recent online music video featuring Macedonians praising Osama bin Laden has fuelled fears that South-eastern Europe could be emerging as the latest breeding ground for home-grown Islamist militants.
The ominous music video propagating support for Osama bin Laden has focused attention on Muslim charities active in Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and European Union member Bulgaria since the wars in former Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s. Many of those charities are funded by oil-rich Saudi Arabia and propagate Wahhabism – the kingdom's austere and puritan interpretation of Islam.
A majority of Wahhabis favour peaceful proselytizing of Islam while Saudi King Abdullah has been seeking to soften Wahhabi practices as part of his reforms in the kingdom. Militant groups such as Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, the Taliban and jihadists in Somalia have however embraced significant elements of Wahhabism as part of their ideology.