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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Albanian Muslims burning churches in Kosovo

DEBKA: London approves 500-750 British troops for Kosovo where Albanian Muslims are burning churches in worst outbreak of ethnic violence with Serbs since 1999. Wednesday 22 killed. NATO troops diverted from Bosnia Thursday given permission to use force against Albanian rioters.
This Question and Answer on Latest Violence in Kosovo at today's Scotsman doesn't mention Muslims when explaining "ethnic tension" between Serbs and Albanians, but al Reuters does (paragraph #7):
The new [NATO] troops will reinforce 17,500 peacekeepers and 9,000 local and international police trying to keep a lid on the province of two million Muslim Albanians demanding independence and 100,000 Serbs, many in enclaves relying on NATO protection.

So, these Serbian enclaves are where the "clashes" are. I know hardly anything about this situation, but the map does remind me of the Palestinians wanting "enclaves" (or "settlements") of Jews to disappear from within their midst.

Is there anywhere that Muslims live with others . . . in peace?

Maybe Taiwan:
At the two-day "International Seminar on Islam" held at Taipei's Grand Hotel, speakers condemned terrorism and acts of violence, such as the recent bombings in Spain and 9-11, saying that "Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, justice, and love for humanity."

Speaking on the subject of terrorism, Dr. Abdul Wahab Noorwali, Deputy Secretary General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth told the audience that Islam is a religion that promotes peace, tolerance, humanitarian values and respect for fellow beings, and it rejects violence and terrorism wholly.

However, he noted that, "there has been a distortion campaign launched by the Western countries and institutions against the Muslim people.'

Dr. Noorwali said there must be a clear differentiation between acts of terrorism and legitimate resistance against tyranny and oppression, for example during the medieval Crusades, and the recent era of European colonialism.

He observed that, "Western mass media is using various kinds of fabrication, deception, and misinformation with no care for any religious or moral deterrence, academic, or professional objectivity. They exploit the mistakes committed by some Muslims due to their misunderstanding or reaction to injustice and persecution...."

"Terrorism belongs to no particular religion, country or nationality, and it has nothing to do with the hereditary characteristics of any particular nation... It is wrong to associate it with a particular religion, country, or nation as it is being done by the Western media and institutions," he noted. . .

[Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene] Chien said; "In Taiwan, we highly value our religious freedoms and ethnic harmony. We welcome the World Muslim League and our friends from throughout the Muslim world to continue assisting people in Taiwan and East Asia to learn more about Islamic culture and properly interpret Islamic teachings."

See also this 1998 Canadian Security Intelligence Service report: Islamic Unrest in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (of northwestern China), and this from 1999, which also describes the situation:
Positioned precariously on the border with Central Asia, in recent years the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region —a large province in northwestern China—has been witness to increasing tensions. Within its borders, the province's largest minority population, the Uighurs, have been involved in a fight for independence against the Chinese authorities. . .

Of all the national minorities in Xinjiang, the Uighurs, an ethnically Turkic people, are the most dissimilar to the Chinese with respect to religion, language, architecture, and cuisine. They embraced Islam in the 10th century under the rule of Satuk Bughra Khan. Unlike the Mongols or the Manchus, none of China's dynasties have sprung from their ranks. Drawing from the Turkic roots of the Uighur language and from Islam, Uighur national identity has always developed independently of the Chinese empire and has culminated in a strong tradition of revolt against foreign domination.
For those of you who made it this far, thanks for going off on this tangent with me. It's kind of interesting.