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What U.S. policy in Bosnia meant for one of the Muslim families the U.S. was supposedly helping...

Everything is Lost: a Mother's Story
Interview in Dani, a Bosnian Newsweekly
Interview by
Senad Pecanin
Translated by Snezana Lazovic
Comments by Jared Israel
, Emperor's Clothes

[Posted 26 October 2003]

The original Serbo-Croatian text can be read at
It is backed up at 


The following interview with a Muslim mother appeared in December 1999 in Dani, a Muslim newsweekly magazine published out of Sarajevo in Bosnia. The interview is heart-rending but it is also politically important: food for thought, and not just for Bosnia.  It illustrates the disastrous effect of the NATO countries' two-faced policy: pretending, for domestic consumption, to oppose Muslim extremism while actually sponsoring - indeed, fomenting it - around the world. [1]

To better understand this woman's tragedy, I recommend "U.S. & Iran: Enemies in Public, but Secret Allies in Terror," at

That article documents that the U.S. didn't only arm Alija Izetbegovic's Islamic fundamentalists in Bosnia.  In addition, Pentagon intelligence coordinated the involvement of Iran, Saudi Arabia and other extremist Muslim states. Under US direction, these states shipped in money, guns and mujahideen terrorists. The terrorists were used against the Serbs and they also played a key role in polarizing Muslim politics in favor of Alija Izetbegovic's extremism. This despite the fact that most Bosnian Muslims were not fanatics.

A word on Dani, which published the interview. Dani was/is the more-or-less loyal opposition to the forces of Alija Izetbegovic, the late Bosnian Islamist leader. [1A]

It is kind of opposition-in-spite-of-itself. As a friend from Bosnia put it, "Dani is an 'opposition' that has embraced the key precepts of Izetbegovic's Islamist outlook while criticizing his implementation and some never-quite-delineated 'hypocrisy'. Dani publishes some of the truth while undercutting the clarity needed for the development of real opposition to the Islamists among Muslims."

Thus, on the one hand, Dani did publish the mother's scathing exposÚ  of high-level support for the foreign mujahideen. But alongside that interview, Dani published their own comments, contradicting the Bosnian mother's testimony!

Here's the interview, followed by my comments and Dani's.

-- Jared Israel
Emperor's Clothes


Dani, Sarajevo, issue 131, 3 December 1999

The middle-aged woman from Sarajevo began her story in our editorial office. She gave us her name and surname but requested that we do not reveal her identity.


"Not because I am ashamed of the chance that the world will find out about my trouble, but only because I think that I can still help my child and myself better if I remain anonymous."


 After the initial reluctance, Sabina (we shall refer to her by this made up name) began the story about her family as an introduction to the drama which she has been living for more than two years.


[From here on, Sabina speaks - EC.]


Happiness shattered


I lived in a happy marriage, with two sons and a daughter. We were a harmonious family, reasonably wealthy and with a lot of friends. Both my husband and I had good jobs; we own a large house and really were not lacking anything for a happy family life. We spent the whole war in Sarajevo, sharing the destiny of all our fellow citizens. Of course we mostly tried to protect our children: the elder son who at the start of the war was in the sixth grade of primary school, the younger son who was in the third grade and our daughter who was in the first grade. We tried to shield them from the war as much as possible. We were fortunate that all of us survived...

The elder son was a wonderful kid. He was smart, hard working, an excellent student, well mannered, full of respect towards his parents and elders, humble... He played the guitar. Around the end of 1997, he was a high school senior at the time, he started going to a mosque. We neither urged him to go nor did we stop him from going: both my husband and I were happy about his decision, since we reckoned that nothing bad could be learnt in a mosque. Our family, as far as religion is concerned, was an average Sarajevan family. We always observed Ramadan fast, held iftars for friends, celebrated Bairam and all other customs but we also celebrated secular holidays such as the New Year. [2]

Several months after our son started to go to the mosque we noticed that he made new friends, some of whom were considerably older than he. We were not concerned about that, since we thought that he had met those people in the mosque. However, with time we started noticing significant changes in his behavior and habits. He became withdrawn, stopped playing his guitar, something he really liked, started avoiding his old friends while he was spending a lot of time with his new friends. His relations with my husband and me became less cordial.


A boy turns rude


One afternoon he was about to leave with rolled up legs of his trousers. My husband pointed that out to him, thinking that this was not deliberate. Our son did not reply. He only stared his father down and left without saying a word. We were totally confused but did not think too much about that event. After a few days, the same scene was repeated. My husband asked him why he was rolling up legs of his trousers to which the son responded curtly, as never before: ‘Because you don’t!’ We were shocked by his reaction. We analyzed the changes in his behavior and his attitude towards us. Finally we connected those rolled up trouser legs and his increasingly frequent accusations of my husband and myself that we were not Muslims and do not behave according to Islam, that we would be punished.

Starting with that day, my son became increasingly rude in his attitude towards his father, my husband. We could not recognize our child. He started accusing us very arrogantly of all sorts of things, everything that, according to him, was not according to Islam, although that’s how we had lived all of our lives. My husband was becoming increasingly incensed with our son’s behavior while I was trying to cool down passions and explain away son’s insults and outbursts. However, one day my husband had enough and he told the son to move out when he graduated from high school.

I was desperate but I understood my husband. I tried to somehow sort out everything, but our son really left the household at the end of the school year. He went to the village of Bocinja to live with Mujahideen. I inquired daily about him through a man from Zenica and was sending him, without my husband’s knowledge, money, food and clothing. After a few months the son returned home. I somehow managed to convince my husband to allow him to come back promising that the kid would change. I begged my husband to give him a chance, using the fact the he had enrolled at the University, in one of the most prestigious departments. He was accepted because of his good grades. We did not make a single phone call nor tried to bribe anyone to get him a place. [3]

The kid avoided his father, but he was behaving as before. At this time he was exclusively hanging out with men with long beards and short trousers, whom I did not know. I tried to get closer to him and at moments I was successful in that. In those moments he would admit how much he missed his guitar, but he said that his faith did not allow him to play it anymore. I thought that the University would get him back to normal but he soon lost enthusiasm for that as well. He said that he was not learning anything interesting at the University. I was afraid that he would again do something like going back to Bocinja.


To die like a shahid


One day in August 1998 he disappeared. He left a letter for me in his room, in which he explained that he left to join a Jihad in Kosovo, to fight for Allah. He said that he wanted to die like a shahid [martyr for Islam] and that by doing that he would make sure that seventy of his relatives, including everyone in our family, would be ensured a place in jennet [Islamic paradise]. I was shocked, embittered, and horrified. For a first few days I hid the letter and the fact that our son had left to Kosovo from my husband but I had to tell him eventually.

I had known a few of my son’s friends from before. I phoned some of them. Some of them had left with my son, some refused to tell me anything, while one told me that my son had gone on his own accord to the Jihad in Kosovo. I was desperate, but I could not give in. I reported the case to the Police, but they told me that there was nothing they could do. I went to the Islamic Community; they told me that they were against the departure of our young men to Kosovo; that the way my son left was against Islam, but that they were impotent and that many our youths were seduced by the interpretation of Islam offered by foreigners from Islamic countries, who do not recognize the authority of the Islamic Community.

After about twenty days of my despair my son came back. I found out that the Albanians would not accept them. They told them that they were making an Albanian, not an Islamic state. I was happy that he came back in one piece, but his departure to Kosovo was the last straw for my husband: he left the household, children and me, accusing me of protecting the son who had destroyed our life with his insolence. The worst thing is that I know that he is right, but could not give up the struggle for my child.

When the war in Kosovo started, I was afraid that my son could go back there. This time I was determined to prevent that. I hid his passport, hoping to foil his plans. After a few days he asked me about his passport, and I said that I did not know where it was. I soon realized that he was trying to get a new one. I decided to do everything in my power to stop that.


Izetbegovic's party:
doing what the Saudis
tell them


I went to the Police, to the department responsible for passports and told everything to an acquaintance, who works there. I asked him to reject my son’s application for a passport if he does submit a request for a new one. He sent chills down my spine when he told me that they already had a list with names of young men who were supposed to be urgently issued a passport, because at the time there was a big backup in handling of applications for new passports. He told me:

"Two high officials from the Party [Alija Izetbegovic’s Party for Democratic Action (SDA)] phoned and ordered that new passports be immediately issued to the youngsters on the list. I can stall the application for about a week and you try to do something in the meantime. If you can’t stop him, I have to issue a passport".

I remembered then that the Secretariat for Defense has to clear all male passport applicants. I went to the City Hall. I explained everything to someone in the Secretariat for Defense. He sympathized with me but it was too late: my son had already been cleared. He showed me the request of the High Saudi Committee asking for clearance for several young men on the list, one of whom was my son. The reason for the request of the Saudi Committee was their purported departure on Hajj [Muslim pilgrimage] to Mecca. Of course, that was a lie.


An official weeps


Totally desperate, not knowing what else I could do, I inquired who in the Ministry of Defense was in charge of conscription. I wanted to beg the official to summon my son to immediately do his mandatory military service. He received me and I carefully told him everything. Then, he started to cry! I was surprised, but he explained that he had an identical problem with his son. He was unable to help me.

From there I went to the secret police, AID. They listened to me, asked me about the second son. They said there was nothing they could do and that I should try to take care of the younger son.

My fears soon became true. With the beginning of the war in Kosovo, in April 1999 my son again went to Kosovo. Several days before the departure I saw that he had some fake press passes and a receipt for $1,600 received from some Islamic organization. The receipt said that this money was to be used for his trip to Kosovo and that he was supposed to return it if he did not leave.

I was crushed. I contacted parents of some of my son’s friends. Their children went with my son. They were in the same position. We did not know what else to do. In the meantime, I remembered that lately my son had been in contact with a certain physician, Numan Balic [the President of the SDA in Kosovo and a minister in the Kosovo regime of KLA leader Hashim Thaqi - EC. ] who had apparently worked for the Sarajevo Urgent Care Center. I somehow found him and we set up a meeting over the phone. He admitted that he had organized the trip of the volunteers to Albania and that they were supposed to cross over to Kosovo from there.

I asked him: "What if my child returns disabled? Will those Albanian or Kosovo or Bosnian states help him? " He curtly answered that they would not because the youngsters left as volunteers and that no one forced them to go. I told him that I would go to Dani and tell everything, and then he responded that he would help me as long as I did not go to Dani. He offered to organize a trip for me to Albania to see my son.

Later, we parents heard that Balic received $1,600 for every our child he had sent from Bosnia.


Whispering into the phone


At the same time, through Sarajevo relatives of our ambassador in Albania, Fejzulahu, I got some contact phone numbers in Tirana [Albania]. I called, cried on the phone and begged for information about our children. After tens of calls to one of the numbers, a woman, whispering into the phone, told me that the Bosniak group was not in Albania any more. She said that the Albanians had rejected them and that all of them had gone to Turkey.

I had no contacts in Turkey. I shared despair with the parents of other youngsters who had left with my son. We got to know each other well during all those sleepless nights and grew really close. We exchanged stories about our children, about how they suddenly became religious fanatics.

We established that our children, without an exception, belonged to two groups: they were either exemplary sons, humble, excellent students, or were street kids, bad students with a lot of problems: fights, theft, jail, and drugs. That is unbelievable: there was no middle. They were either the best or the worst. We, who had golden kids, are having a harder time. I am not saying that other parents have it easy, but at least they can console themselves that their children left drugs for some sort of Islam. We made a conclusion that only such children are recruited. The recruiters are very convincing and suggestive. They establish first contacts in front of schools. They invite children to mosques and then indoctrination starts through programs taking place in the mosque or after prayers.

My son returned after 113 nights. I got very little out of him: apparently the Albanians again rejected them and they had to go to Turkey. What they did and where, I do not know.

Now I live in fear that my son will go to Chechnya. He carefully follows and comments on events in Chechnya. I am afraid. There are two reasons for my coming here to tell you my story. The first one is my plea for help to anyone who can help me to save my child. I absolutely do not know what else to do. I am at the end of my tether.


So no one else
should go through this horror...


The second reason is that I want the public to know about this. I wish that no one should have to go through the horror my family went through. My family fell apart, I lost my husband, I lost my son, I have no job, no money... I have a large apartment, I could rent a room or two to students, which would mean a lot financially. However, believe me, I do not want to do that because I am afraid that my son could influence somebody else’s child with Islam. I do not want to be the cause of some other mother’s grief.

I do not know what else to say... My life has been destroyed. Islam destroyed everything I have. I know that these are harsh words and that my son was seduced and manipulated, but that is how I feel. I do not wish what I went through on anyone. I warn other parents to pay attention to their children’s friends. Before it’s too late..."


Jared Israel Comments


Below I've posted Dani's comments on Sabina's interview.  It's remarkable. 

According to Dani, neither the Izetbegovic government, nor the local mosques, nor even the Wahhabis (the "men in short trousers") wanted Sabina's son and the other boys to become fanatics. Quite the contrary,

"The only people likely to benefit from such an act are ill-intentioned interpreters and enemies of Islam and Muslims."  

So what happened to these young men?

Dani blames their fanaticism on "inflamed faith," a condition "typical of  young persons…"

But Sabina reported that:

a) The young men were indeed indoctrinated by the men in short trousers;

b) The indoctrination did indeed take place in Mosques, and...

c) The process of their recruitment as mujahideen was directed by Saudi Arabia and Izetbegovic's Islamist party, the SDA. 

Even officials in charge of passports couldn't prevent one from being issued to Sabina's son. The normal procedures were mysteriously overruled:

"…they already had a list with names of young men who were supposed to be urgently issued a passport…He told me: 'Two high officials from [Izetbegovic's] Party phoned and ordered that new passports be immediately issued to the youngsters on the list.'"

Sabina said she was shown "the request of the High Saudi Committee asking for clearance for several young men on the list, one of whom was my son."

According to Sabina, one Ministry of Defense official wept because his son had been recruited too!


Confusing the issue?


Dani argues that the transformation of Sabina's son into a mujahid ran counter to Islam. Well, it certainly ran counter to Sabina's Islam but did it contradict the Islam that ran Muslim Bosnia? According to Alija Izetbegovic, the philosopher-leader of that Islam, 

"The exhaustive definition of the Islamic Order is: the unity of religion and law, education and force, ideals and interests, spiritual society and State…the Muslim does not exist at all as an independent individual…" [4]

In the early part of their comments on Sabina's interview, Dani argues that holy war is not the greatest achievement under Islam. 

That would seem to make them moderates. But at the end of the same commentary, Dani writes,

"Struggle on the way of Allah is the greatest possible act for Muslims. To die for our Lord is the peak of that struggle and Kur’an promises Heaven for that."

So perhaps this is an argument between the extreme and the more extreme.

-- Jared Israel


Dani Comments on Sabina's Interview:

'On the Way of Allah'


The Islamic law defines three kinds of Jihad: armed struggle against infidels and aggressor; struggle against sinners with hand and oath; struggle against devil and resistance of a man to devil’s temptations; and Jihad against oneself in order to persevere in doing good deeds. Armed struggle is defined as an obligation if done by a group, while others are not required to follow it, except in the situation when Muslims are under direct attack. In the latter case, the struggle on the way of Allah becomes a strict obligation. The Islamic law lists the following conditions for an Islamic Jihad: it should be led by an Imam or ruler and his flag; it should be prepared in advance and parents should approve the departure of their children to Jihad. The last condition is not required only in the case when the state, Muslim honor, or Islamic domain are endangered or when Muslims are humiliated.

In the fourth book of Buhari’s Hadis, which the Islamic Ulama considers to be the most correct description of the life and sayings of Muhammad s.a.v.s., the chapter dealing with Jihad states one of Hadis: "(...)I asked Allah’s Prophet s.a.v.s. which deed is the most valuable of all. He responded: ‘Namaz [Islamic prayer], when done at an appropriate time’. Which one is the next valuable?, I asked. ‘Good deeds towards one’s parents,’ he said. Which one next?, I continued. ‘Then, struggle on the way of Allah,’ said the Prophet."

All of our interlocutors, including the young men with characteristic beards and short trouser legs usually (incorrectly) referred to in the public as Wahhabis, and respected Islamic scholars from friendly Islamic countries, agreed that the departure of this young man to Kosovo is not Jihad. His act is against Kur’an and does great damage both to Islam and "Wahhabis" (which are in that manner again placed in the center of all negative events), as well as to his family. The only people likely to benefit from such an act are ill-intentioned interpreters and enemies of Islam and Muslims. Acts of Bosnian young men who went to Kosovo or are thinking about going to fight in Chechnya are labeled by our interlocutors as "inflamed faith". This state is typical of young persons, with insufficient knowledge of Islam, who compensate that with absolute devotion to Allah dz.s. and attempt to use "shortcuts" to reach blessings offered by the Creator to his sincere slaves.

During the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina members of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina had a chance to meet the members of the already notorious unit El Mojahedeen. Many relate that they had a hard time understanding why these foreigners, who had left their families and estates behind, cried when they returned alive from an action. It is true that Allah dz.s. has promised a shade to those who die following his path on the day when there will be no shade on Earth. However, this, to us strange act, should be viewed with knowledge that these people have been in Islam longer than most of Bosnian young men have lived and that they have built up their faith to the point when they can leave on Jihad, which is one of the conditions to participate in this type of struggle. It is well known that Bosnian young men who joined the El Mojahedeen unit first had to go through religious training and were only then allowed to fight. Even then, many admit that they flinched when grenades started falling around them.

Struggle on the way of Allah is the greatest possible act for Muslims. To die for our Lord is the peak of that struggle and Kur’an promises Heaven for that. Because of that, all those recruited to join an "organized" tour to these blessings should ask whether, and if not why, those who "organized" everything will join them on that journey.


 Footnotes Follow The Appeal


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Footnotes and Further Reading


[1] I understand that the argument that the U.S. and its allies foment Islamic fundamentalism contradicts widely held beliefs. I believe the public has been misinformed. Two articles which may clarify this issue are:

a) "Top Legal Advisory Group Pushes for Muslim Religious Law..." at
This article talks about a top-level conference whose existence was not reported in the media. Convened by the US, Italy, Germany, England, Iran (!), the Saudis and others, it furthered the effort to impose Muslim religious law on "developing" countries.

b) "Bush & the Media Cover-Up the Jihad Schoolbook Scandal," at
For 20 years the U.S. provided fanatical Islamist textbooks to Afghanistan. USAID is still doing it today! Bush has publicly praised this policy. Why?

[1A] The Western media mocked Serbs' fear that Izetbegovic wanted Bosnia to be an Islamic fundamentalist state.  nce in a great while the media published some of the abundant pictorial evidence that the Serbs were worried about something very real...

[2] Iftar is "A meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan, to break the day's fast.  Literally, 'breakfast.'"  Pronunciation: if-tar • (noun);  Examples: 'During Ramadan, we sometimes go to the mosque to have iftar, breaking the day's fast with a community meal.'

Bai`ram┤ n. Either of two Mohammedan festivals, of which one (the Lesser Bairam) is held at the close of the fast called Ramadan, and the other (the Greater Bairam) seventy days after the fast.

[3]  Zenica is a town in Bosnia, see map   

Bocnija, a Mujahideen-occupied town in Bosnia. See

Regarding the importation of Mujahideen to fight for Islamism in Bosnia, see "U.S. & Iran: Enemies in Public, but Secret Allies in Terror," by Jared Israel

[4] See, "Who was Alija Izetbegovic?
Moderate 'George Washington' of Bosnia or Islamist Murderer?" by Jared Israel, at

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