Terrorism expert identifies "extremist hot spots" in region

"The only reason" for someone to "convert to extremism" is poverty, terrorism expert Dzevad Galijasevic has told the daily Blic.

Source: Tanjug
(Getty Images, illustration purposes, file)
(Getty Images, illustration purposes, file)

The newspaper said that the news "reverberated" this week throughout the region of one Boban Simeunovic, a man of Serbian origin who converted to Islam, being linked with Anis Amri, a jihadi who drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin killing 12.

"The main reason why people change their religion is the pressure of poverty. Those who are in a bad situation economically, steeped in poverty, represent an ideal target for people looking for new recruits," said Galijasevic.

According to him, it is "very rare" for a Christian to convert to another religion for other reasons, citing only one example in this region.

"It's Goran Pavlovic, who converted to Islam and joined extremists in the notorious (Bosnian village) Gornja Maoca. Soon after he attacked the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo," Galijasevic has been quoted as saying.

He then identified "several areas" as vulnerable to Islamic State and other recruiters:

"In Bosnia-Herzegovina that is, above all, Sarajevo. During the 1990s, mujaheddins from the Arab world flooded Bosnia, and after the war settled there, married Bosnian woman, and continued to live there. These people are to this day have close ties with the centers of terrorist power who finance various extremists groups with the money from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and similar countries."

"As for Serbia, extremists hot spots are in Raska (Sandzak), the Presevo valley, and Kosovo," said Galijasevic.

Asked "who was behind the terrorist attack in Berlin," he said he had no dilemma that it was the Al-Nusra Front.


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