BiH Institutions Must Work Together in the Fight against Terrorism

[:bs]Vijest na portalu (januar 2016.) [:en] “Emergency situation in Jakarta, bodies strewn on the street” – News on the portal (January 2016)

It is becoming increasingly common to see in the media that ISIL members have killed people in bombings. Terrorism is often associated with BiH, in which there have been several terrorist acts. It is very difficult to say whether those who take lives are somewhere around us or far away. In order to avoid doubt about that, experts consider that we need coordinated action and more government engagement.

In the law books, terrorism is defined as the premeditated use of unlawful violence or the threat of unlawful violence in order to instill fear, with the intent to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in order to achieve political, religious, or ideological goals. Today, terrorism is associated with politicized religion, which leaves no room for any questions.

Friar Drago Bojić, a Franciscan from the Franciscan Province of Bosna Srebrena (Bosna Argentina), told the portal that religious ideologies are the most dangerous because they hide behind divine authority.

“History is full of religious fanaticism and all sorts of pathology and illness clad in divine authority. Religious fanatics do not “fall from the sky”, they are born, raised, and created at the heart of a particular religion, and they feed off its reservoir of hatred, contempt, and intolerance towards others,” said Friar Bojić.

Following several wars, there is no doubt that world peace is yet again disrupted by increasingly frequent terrorist attacks. Innocent people are being killed. One can say that we are in a passive war with no warning, and it is tied to ISIL.

During his appearance on the TV show “The Difficult Word” Mufti Muamer Zukorlić emphasized that the Muslims of today are put in a position where they need to justify themselves as a result Western media’s direct linkages between Islam and terrorism.

“Nowadays, it is enough to point your finger at a Muslim, to put a label on someone. A man is labeled as a terrorist and disappears – that is a very serious situation,” Zukorlić said.

The Mufti stressed that the media is trying to demonize Muslims and to make them legitimate targets. He adds that there is no justification for the crimes committed from any point of view, least of all a religious one – however, it is first necessary to discover and tackle the cause of the problem.

“The Council welcomes the New Year under the shadow of terrorism” - News on the portal (December 2015)
“The Council welcomes the New Year under the shadow of terrorism” – News on the portal (December 2015)

In the media, we often see articles and terrifying scenes of terrorist acts. When asked whether terrorism is indeed a threat, the Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Banja Luka Vitomir Popović stated that it was one of the greatest evils that humanity has ever faced.

“We all must condemn terrorism and do our best to fight it so that the world can live in peaceful and dignified existence and so that we can plan our destiny instead of having it cut short in a cinema, during a meeting, in an airplane, or anywhere else,” added Popović.

It is a known fact that some of the weapons used in terrorist attacks are coming from BiH. It is also known that there are young men from our country that have been recruited and are fighting on foreign battlefields, and are then returning to BiH.

According to Dean Popović, the most important thing in the fight against terrorism is the coordination and synchronization of authorities and services operating in this area. “These services need to be able to deal with the initial initiatives of terrorism, such as the mounting of the Islamic flag in Maoča (a village in the Brčko Municipality of BiH), and the recruitment of young Bosnian Muslim men,” said Popović.

Supporter of the fight against terrorism in BiH Dževad Galijašević describes terrorism as the greatest source of threats with a potential for escalation.

“Terrorism is something that has evolved from the so-called Islamic militias of the El Mujahadeen unit that existed during the war, and a failure to punish their crimes has signaled to them that they are free to organize a network in BiH. BiH is a base and, in a base, terrorist actions are performed sporadically as a warning,” Galijašević explained.

According to Galijašević, it is necessary to shift from a general to a concrete approach to this problem, which entails naming terrorist groups and the locations where they meet and develop their ideas.

Organizing debates and conferences on this topic can give us a better understanding of the problem and ways to fight it. At the end of last year, a debate entitled “Terrorism, the World, and Us” was organized at the Law Faculty of the University of Banja Luka. The lecturers explained to the students and the audience why and how the fear of terrorism in the world came to pass.

Javna debata ’’Terorizam, svijet i mi’’, Banja Luka
“Terrorism, the World, and Us” public debate in Banja Luka

One example that demonstrates the situation in BiH is the portal “Ummah News”, which celebrates terrorist acts and the deaths of many people. The portal spreads hatred and awakens terrorist thoughts in Bosnian young people. The portal was shut down several times, but it still continues its work. No one has managed to find out who its administrators are, nor have they managed to shut it down permanently.

BiH citizens have different opinions on terrorism. Some say that they are frightened by the constant attacks and that they do not plan to travel, not even around BiH, as they feel that the threats are everywhere and that no one can be trusted. Elders express that they are afraid for their children. However, there are also those that believe that terrorism is far away from us and that we are of no interest to the terrorists.

As to the accuracy of these reflections, only time will tell. This is also true regarding the willingness of the people, the government, and the institutions of BiH to work together in the fight against terrorism.

Danka Cvijić is a Balkan Diskurs trained correspondent from Gradiška. She is a student at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Department of Journalism and Communication, in Banja Luka. Danka’s interests include research, creative writing and marketing.

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