Skip to comments.Nedžad Balkan: The Face of Southeastern Europe’s Newest Radical Threat
Posted on 02/02/2011 1:04:43 AM PST by bruinbirdman
A Vienna-born Serbian Muslim named Nedad Balkan (a.k.a. Ebu Muhammed) is believed to have been behind the most recent terror attack in the central Bosnian town of Bugojno, and his connection to Bosnia and Herzegovina signals the rise of a new and avowedly violent sect of Wahhabis that has regional intelligence agencies on alert.
Nedad Balkan, born in Vienna, Austria, is the son of Bosniaks from Serbias predominately Muslim Sandak region straddling the border of the Republic of Montenegro. A former boxer and night club bouncer in his younger days, Balkan, now in his mid-30s, is the leader of the Sahaba Mosque in Viennas Seventh bezirk (district) and the alleged financier of the Serbia-based Sandak Wahhabis.
Similar to many regional Wahhabi clerical leaders, Balkan studied at the Islamic University in Medina, Saudi Arabia in the early 1990s. Reportedly disappointed with the insufficiently Islamist politics of the Saudi regime, Balkan departed before graduating. Upon his return to the West, Balkan preached at Viennas al-Tawhid mosque, but left due to a disagreement with another radical cleric and purported leader of the Bosnian Wahhabis, Muhamed Porca,  and other members of the mosque. 
Importantly, intelligence sources believe that Balkan is the leader of the Bosnian and Serbian Takfiri followers. Takfiri ideology is classified as a violent offshoot of the Salafi movement, sanctioning acts of violence, particularly against fellow Muslims, as legitimate methods of achieving religious or political goals. Takfiris believe that one who deliberately kills himself whilst attempting to kill his enemies is a martyr and ascends directly to heaven. The followers of Takfiri ideology believe in violence against everyone who is not as devout a Muslim as they, and they refuse to recognize the secular authority of the Bosnian legal system.
Unlike other radical Islamist groups in Bosnia, most of them founded as the remnants of various organizations operating during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war and which profess more of a missionary objective, the members of the Takfiri ideology advocate violent clashes with peer competitors who profess differing objectives.
Aside from the recent terrorist attack on a police station in the Bosnian city of Bugojno, in which one police officer was killed and which intelligence officials believe was orchestrated by Balkan, the former boxer has a rather full police record. In 2005, Balkan was placed under observation by the Austrian police for publicly condoning the July 7, 2005, London bombings and for making extremist statements to the Austrian press.
In 2006, Balkan, along with six other Wahhabis (three of them Austrian citizens), was involved in the beating of Bosnian Serb Mihajlo Kisic in the Bosnian city of Brcko. After a short trial, the seven attackers were given symbolic sentences and released on parole. Some of them returned to Vienna. In 2007, the Sahaba Mosque also came under scrutiny during the terror investigation of Bosnian Muslims who tried to attack the American Embassy in Vienna in 2007. In 2008, the Sahaba Mosque was placed under surveillance when it became known that the suspected producer of a video threatening violence against the Austrian Government frequented the prayer room.
Balkan is also believed to be a religious authority for several radical groups from Bosnia and Serbia. Balkan leads the Vienna-based Kelimetul Haqq organization of Bosnian and Serbian Muslims, which belongs to the Al-Takfir wal-Hijra movement (BH Dani [Sarajevo], August 12, 2008).
The group, which has a branch office in the Montenegrin half of the Sandak region, has been publishing sermons online advocating an aggressive posture. Kelimetul Haqq is actively promoting the concept of armed jihad and disseminating Islamist videos and diatribes.  It has also become very vocal about Bosnia and Herzegovina, decrying the Islamic community there as comprised of people who are not true believers.
On June 27, 2010, a terrorist set off a bomb at the Bugojno police station, some 70 kilometers southwest of Sarajevo. One police officer was killed in the attack and six others were wounded (AFP, June 28, 2010). Five people were indicted on terrorism charges in connection with the attack. Today, prosecutors are focusing more on the international aspect of the case. Leads in the investigation show that the attack may have been organized by Balkan from abroad, as he is believed to be leading a new generation of jihadists that may be overstepping their local Wahhabi brethren who have, so far, focused mostly on attempting to interfere with the moderate Islamic Community of Bosnia.
One suspect in the June 2010 bombing, Haris Oks Causevic, from Bugojno, confessed to having placed a bag with 15 kilograms of explosive material against the back wall of the police station, setting it off and attempting to flee before being seized by police. While attempting to escape, he also threw a grenade at police officers.
In the last few years, Causevic, a computer expert, had become more active in online forums, using the nickname Oks 315. He is believed to have sabotaged several secular websites, including government ones (Start magazine, December 28, 2010).
Another suspect, Bosnian Naser Palislamovic, is believed to have organized the attack on the Bosnian side. Investigators believe that he hired Causevic, his brother-in-law, to carry out the attack. Three others were indicted for supplying the explosives.
Bosnian police and intelligence officials claim that both Palislamovic and Causevic received instructions to bomb the Bugojno police station from Vienna, where the leader of Bosnian and Serbian Takfiri followers resides. In the ongoing investigation, police established that Causevic and Palislamovic traveled several times to Vienna during the past two years and visited the mosque run by Balkan.
While the motive behind the June terrorist attack was most likely revenge for the arrest of the Rustempasic brothers and others currently being tried for terrorism and illegal trafficking of weapons and military equipment (Dnevni Avaz [Sarajevo], July 4, 2010), it reveals a dangerous new trend: the rise of a new sect within the Balkan regions Wahhabi movement, which through its intolerant and violent activism is threatening to further endanger the countrys security and also to provoke incidents between Bosnias moderate Muslims and followers of an illiberal, Saudi-inspired Wahhabi ideology.
Currently, there are two ongoing terrorism trials in Bosnia both of them linked to Balkan and his congregation. All the key defendants Causevic and Palislamovic, charged in the Bugojno attack, and Rijad and Muhamed Rustempasic, charged with illegal possession of dangerous materials - were frequent visitors to Balkans mosque, while Muhamed Rustempasic lived in Vienna.
In October 2009, Bosnian border officers arrested Muhamed Rustempasic on suspicion of trafficking weapons from Austria and Germany to radical groups in Bosnia. Shortly before that, his brother, Rijad Rustempasic, and the three members of his group - Muhamed Meco, Abdulah Handzic and Edis Velic - were arrested and indicted for terrorism. All three were members of the El-Mujahid unit, headquartered in central Bosnia, and following the 1992-1995 Bosnian war they are said to have spent time in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and possibly Chechnya.
A Jamestown source from the Bosnian prosecution said last year that investigators suspected that Muhamed Rustempasic supplied his brother Rijad with most of the military equipment confiscated in the Sarajevo and Bugojno raids. Given the fact that Muhamed is unemployed and lives in Vienna with his wife and two children, the prosecution plans to open an additional investigation in coordination with Austrian authorities, which should lend more insight to the groups financial situation as well as into Balkans true capabilities.
The police have concluded that the group was specifically planning to target the Sarajevo central cathedral and the Franciscan monastery in the central Bosnian city of Fojnica. Aside from Catholic institutions, police also have reason to believe that the group was planning to sabotage electricity supply stations and launch attacks against European Forces (EUFOR) in Bosnia.
It is clear that Bosnian security agencies will face an uphill battle in preventing any further attacks similar to Bugojno, despite the fact that many of the countrys most radical Muslim activists are under surveillance. The Bugojno attack showed that the new generation of radicals is keen to make its presence felt and has no qualms about violent attacks on institutions they despise, including the Bosnian state, the countrys traditionally moderate Muslims and the Bosnian Islamic community, as well as all others who do not share their religious views. The additional problem for Bosnian security forces and its citizens is that such attacks could happen anywhere and would require only basic organization and modest resources. The bomb used for the police station attack was made out of explosives collected by Causevic and Rijad Rustempasic, who visited former 1990s-era front lines looking for unexploded ordinance (Oslobodjenje [Sarajevo], July 1, 2010).
Until recently, all attention had been on Porca, considered the paramount Bosnian Islamist. Porcas activities, however, seem rather amateur in comparison to those of Nedad Balkan. Today, Balkan appears to have sidelined Porca a process that began when he parted with the cleric in 2005. Today, Nedad Balkan is the new face of an openly violent jihadi group that creates bad news for his geographical namesake in southeastern Europe.
Interesting article from an interesting site. Thanks for posting.
As much as I loath the existence of Saudis, they know how to deal with terrorists.
You cut the head off the snake.
This is a very large snake that requires immediate attention.
What are you talking about?
Turks and Saudis fund these slimes.
Well, Willis...I was referring to the saudi king’s solution to the iranian problem, where he suggested/recommended that the US cut off the head of the snake.
Relax, I’m keenly aware of their involvement with the koranimals running amok right now.
Well... that snake head is his own in fact. Shia madness is far easier to manage than Sunni madness.
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