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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Negotiating Globalization: The Challenges of International Intervention Through the Eyes of Albanian Muslims, 1850-2003.


Since the attacks on New York and Washington DC in 2001, the US public has become actively engaged in what the White House has coined a 'war on terrorism.' While the adversaries are becoming increasingly clear to the larger public, regional experts have known for years that significant threats have been cultivated from countries like Saudi Arabia which has used religious intolerance and endless supplies of petrol dollars to indoctrinate impoverished and vulnerable populations throughout the world. Indeed, the identification of the Taliban in late 2001 as a central threat to US security has been looked upon by specialists with a sense of irony. After all, it was Saudi Arabia that was the primary source of both financial and ideological support for the Taliban movement. This paper studies another case of aggressive Saudi indoctrination. The war-torn region of Kosova has, since the end of war in mid-1999, been flooded by organizations linked to the same educational and humanitarian agencies that helped turn a portion of the Afghan refugee community in the 1980s into a factionalized and highly antagonistic population. There is a tragic irony in Western governments neglecting the rural poor in Kosova, ostensibly leaving this population at the mercy of Islamic organizations bent on homogenizing a traditionally tolerant and diverse community. In the past, other attempts to impose theological rigidities on society failed, cases that this paper highlights to emphasize that it is not inevitable that a segment of the Kosovar Albanian population become linked to Saudi Wahhabi doctrine. That said, as Western aid agencies and governments have neglected the communities most destroyed by war and thus most in need of assistance, the monopolization of that aid by Saudi organizations may result in exactly what post September 11th policy-makers want to avoid.

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