Of course we knew there are 'white Muslims,' the majority being the result of Islamic invasion into Eastern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula and the capture and enslavement of thousands of coastal Europeans by Muslim raiding parties, a fact forgotten by most Europeans and, until recently, totally unknown to Americans.
Terrorists have been working to recruit non-Arab sympathizers — so-called "white Muslims" with Western features who theoretically could more easily blend into European cities and execute attacks — according to classified intelligence documents obtained by The Associated Press.
A 252-page confidential report jointly compiled by Croatian and U.S. intelligence on potentially dangerous Islamic groups in Bosnia suggests the recruitment drive may have begun as long as four years ago, when Arab militants ran up against tough post-9/11 security obstacles.
"They judge that it is high time that their job on this territory should be taken over by new local forces ... people who are born here and live here have an advantage which would make their job easier. By their appearance, they are less obvious," the report reads.
Arabs, it adds, "have become too obvious, which has made their job difficult."
Bosnia's minister of security, Barisa Colak, acknowledged the existence of the intelligence report but said authorities had no concrete evidence that recruitment efforts are widespread. There are no known cases of a Balkan "white Muslim" recruit being involved in an actual attack.
No attack? Not yet.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, evidence has emerged that extremists have been trying to carve out a beachhead in the Balkans. The region is home to 8 million Muslims, roughly a third of Europe's Islamic faithful, and arms and explosives are easily obtained in what Lukac calls "a kind of El Dorado" for criminals.
Several Islamic militants who fought in the former Yugoslavia went to Spain, bringing back new military skills and expertise as well as access to contacts throughout Europe, a Western diplomatic official with intimate knowledge of counterterrorism measures in Spain told the AP on condition of anonymity.
"Yugoslavia was a meeting point," he said.
Among the Islamic leaders Bosnian authorities are monitoring closely is Nezim Halilovic, chief mufti of the King Fahd Cultural Center. The mosque, one of dozens being built around Sarajevo with Saudi donations, can accommodate 5,000 people and is part of a $9 million complex that includes a library, a sports hall, restaurants and classrooms for studying Arabic and the Quran.
Its imam has repeatedly has been accused of using his sermons to preach violence in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Israel, Iraq and Kashmir. Nothing like that was heard at one of his recent noon prayer sermons; addressing throngs of heavily bearded men and burqa-clad women, he spoke proudly of "bringing Bosnian Muslims back to Islam."
Halilovic denies he is a radical and insisted Bektasevic and the others arrested last autumn were the victims of an elaborate setup.
"This is just a trick played on the Muslims," he said in an interview. "They were framed to bring the world's attention on Bosnia-Herzegovina as a 'terrorist country.' Europe and the whole world should not be afraid of Bosnian Muslims."
Not a threat? Through time, this has been the standard disclaimer.
Islam is an ideology, not a race nor ethnicity. Islam has become "universal," but is not for everyone. Some claim that GLOBAL ISLAM IS THE FUTURE whether we like it or not, and there is nothing we can do to stop the forward progress of the movement.
Islam has been, and always will be, the greatest threat to mankind. The "struggle" will continue until there is an "absence of enemies," which, in Islamic jargon means: everyone has capitulated or has been eliminated.