The Islamic world, since the incident of Sidi Bouzid, a Tunisian city where a teenager set himself on fire, is going through a series of major political changes that are of historical proportions. However, the tendencies to embrace a renaissance of “Arab Republic” as a modern institution of democratic governance, after the evergrowing presence of Political Islam, appears to have failed and is fading away.
In the United Nations Report on the situation of Arab world, drafted by Arab Human Development Report in 2009, in the context of “Arab Spring” was emphasized the exploding state of political affairs, eclectic backwardness and violence. Meanwhile the deterioration of educational policies from authoritarian governments, made it easier for political Islam to penetrate and become an offensive doctrinal force among the young European generation.
If the major world threats of XX Century were coming mainly from Europe, today the Near East and the Far East (those countries with authoritarian government systems and with muslim ethnic majority in their respective populations), and very often the Balkan Peninsula is included in this equation, as a major regions where Global Peace is in constant danger.
Turkey has drafted the “depth of strategy” as its doctrine in service to a rebirth of the Ottoman Empire, in her view of geopolitics towards the Near East and Far East, but also towards Southeastern Europe, as a counter response to the Russian Expansionism and Western European influences, as a result Political Islam is considered by Ankara as a naturally convenient ally.
The political destiny of Illyrian Peninsula and of all Europe, very similar to the era of George Kastriot Skanderbeg, where the resistance led by Arberia Principality was determinant to safeguard Europe, there are real threats that could revive the same scenario over the next decade, through the creation of an Albanian Federation as a neo-albanian product of political doctrine, consecuently reviving the autochthonous European identity. The return of Skanderbeg in today’s political memory has occurred for the same reasons that he was previously raised in the zenith of history as a European heroe – with the defense of European values during his lifetime. Our time is harboring an ideal opportunity for the Albanian nation to set the record straight and advocate for a new European period, always based on its untarnished past.
1. Modern State
In the historical perspective of state formation, from the ancient times all the way to the present, the concept of statehood has often been used to encompass all shapes of political power, without any necessary differentiation according to historical periods and development of states in this process. In this context we have the power of pharaons, in the ancient city—states, the power of Rome, for various states in Medieval Times (Bruner: 1962:252), for the state-principality, the state of nobility, early modern state (Wimmer 1995) and lastly for modern state (for example Poggi 1978).
As it is rightfully emphasized by all of these contemporary scholars, such an attitude takes us to a number of blatant misunderstandings. The notion of a state through the meaning that we currently know is a product of a multifaceted development that has taken place over a long period of time. According to Benz, in the XVII century takes place the modern notion on state formation, that is relevant to political sciences and practice in general (Kosellock 2006: 288-291; Meyer 1950; Quaritsch 1970: 27-36; Weinacht 1968).
Even today the State as a modern concept continues to be the subject of theoretical analysis and infinite political discourse. For the definition of a modern state there are many views that encourage Berki to reiterate once again that “there is a general agreement that modern state is an enigmatic occurrence.” (Berki 1989:12).
Different to theoreticians of judical sciences, experts in the realm of politics, with a highly empirical thought, as we are mostly “focused on the ‘governments’ and ‘political systems’ while renouncing to a skeptical metaphisics field of ‘state’ for institutions and practices, that can be measured ‘with an optimal operational exactitude’” (Almond et. al. 1988: 872; Easton 1981). 988:872; Easton 1981).
A State in the modern sense compared to other alternatives of political organization, including empires, city states and association of states into fragile federations etc.; has proved to be more effective. A modern state has immediately reflected a greater potential of delivering services and obligations that benefit their respective citizens, therefore creating better living standards and ensure a universal wellbeing.
Of course, such an organizational form of government has always been improved, while focused in the four strategic thrusts that are well known from state formation theories:
- Defense of public order and international security, including the viable conditions for a comfortable life;
- Strengthening and building to a desirable and emotional level the state system that enables the creation of a collective identity (the purpose of an identity);
- Creating a level of public relations that furnish the execution of political decisions (Purpose of Legitimacy);
- Shaping early economical conditions that facilitate an acceptable welfare system as well as a steady economic growth, as an assurance for the citizens’ wellbeing overall.
These objectives, acquired a greater priority among Western European governments, especially after World War II, and emerged as political values. The ever growing policies that strengthen accountability on top of government administration, for the defense of each arm of statecraft and then on a cumulative setting, created a political stability on most of the countries of Western Hemisphere, after the Second World War.
The most important duty of a modern state is to take care of all its people and citizens, while ensuring a dignifying life style, freedom, employment, economic growth and proactive social policies, all of these must not be articulated only on empty rhetoric, instead, they should be the framework of every government and statesman.
Switzerland through a total reform of its federal constitution (April 19, 1999), which is considered among the most modern constitutions of our time, but organically has secured a full respect and natural changes, respectively becoming a product of the first constitution (1848 and the following reforms of 1874 and 1999), obviously it is reformed and equipped with a language and modern requirements of societal developments in Switzerland, it has sanctioned obligations and duties of the modern state. With this political act, the duties of the modern state shaped within the language of most important and legal document of the state, not only embody a modern content, but also have come to be very effective. The Helvetian Federation is considered as one of the best models of modern statehood.
Here are some of the essential duties of the modern state according to the Swiss Constitution:
- The state defends freedom and the rights of its people, it preserves independence and national security.
- The state encourages and promotes wellbeing, sustainable development, cohesion and cultural diversity.
- The state ensures an equal treatment among all citizens.
- The state is committed to defend the natural resources and human life for a peaceful societal order and independent international posture.
In the history of the state’s vertical rise, from the charismatic all the way to a traditional or rational state, respectively to the modern state, the human society as an organized political community; appears to find its utmost fulfillment in the modern state. This is why the XXI century is characterized as the century of modern state.
2. The State of Justice and Political Islam
Historical progress in the realm of political and judicial development and in the relations of the state with the individual is a product of political history, respectively the political developments in Europe. The XVIII century and XIX Century are characterized with political developments of historical proportions that would pave the way of convincing citizens that the Law will be the set of rules that legitimizes the exercise of power among government leadership instead of God.
Those who have the power become ‘the servants’ of the people and are legitimate only if they exercise the will of the people. This way it comes at the fundamental changes of the State, from the structure of a monarchy to an abstract institution, constructed over special laws. The State has been transformed and became the State of Law, built over the principles of constitutionalism.
According to Hagen Schulze, the revolution of 1789 did not overthrow the old state nor it created the new one, but it established the old order, the good one.
As a result the foundation of the state did not experience any changes, because the French revolution failed, meanwhile the dictatorship of Napoleon paved the road of establishing absolutism, regardless of the fact that absolutism in France never reached a level of perfectionism on any given period. After the revolution, France finally encompassed and finalized the process of centralization and unification all the way down to the smallest provinces.
In this period, through the hegemonic power that was exerting, France was commended and had a significant influence, as it became the model state for all Europe. The French Revolution for the first time even legitimized violence. The citizens, based on the inspirations of this revolution, were ready to jump into barricades in order to defend their rights, political ideals and freedoms.
In a number of states were created the conditions of solving contradictions among different societal stratas and classes even through violence, allowing the government to exert violence in the name of defending the highest national and state interests, respectively, while giving sway to legitimize the exploitation of one class by another, of one ethnicity by another etc.
The consequence of this atmosphere was the Revolutions of 1830 and 1848. It was evident that the Government needed a new structure, but also finding new ways of operations, while calling upon the legitimacy that a ruling class had acquired by law with the intention to bring the people closer to the government.
This right was founded on the idea of the establishment of a nation. Meanwhile the swift development of a nation – state facilitated the right conditions for a modern state only by connecting it strongly with the state of law. As such, the modern state, as we saw above, has obligations and tasks to serve all citizens, without any exception, while creating the conditions for its further improvement, without hindering the traditional political spaces of a nation-state, which is the foundation of a modern state and the state of law, to avoid merging it into an empty space.
On the contrary, as it is articulated by Wilfried Dettling, we will have a deficit in democracy. As a result, aside of the state, will appear relevant actors in the stage of international affairs, as we know the case of Islamic State (ISIS) in the Near East, or even global enterprises, particular groups of interest and non governmental or non-profit organizations.
2.1 Democracy and Political Islam
Freedom and equality are two basic principles of political utopia that are intertwined in the political philosophy of social state, and that in a latter stage, were embodied in the modern constitutions of states such as United States, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden and marking a judicial revolution that open the road to political ideals, meanwhile neoliberal politics, everywhere, is transforming this utopia into an irrelevant set of values and is sliding it into point zero.
The neoliberal experiment in Europe during the last decades, has demonstrated that it remains one of the serious factors that is threatening the perspective of historical projects, just like European Union. Even those who aspire to bring forward the project of European Union together with the prosperity of Democracy cannot tolerate furthermore the experiments in the economic and social systems, let alone the strengthening of right extremist popular parties that have been spread across many countries (Hungary, Netherlands, France).
In this context of interests we should study the phenomena of Political Islam and its penetration in Kosovo and throughout the Albanian territories. It appears to be a political project shaped by the agendas of anti – Albanian centers that is seriously threatening our nation. Let’s remind ourselves that Political Islam should be a priority in the agenda of national security, treating it as it is: a serious threat and for enticing violence and division within the Albanian nation for its long run geopolitical positioning in the western hemisphere and ensuring its insertion into the European family.
The handling of these phenomenas with perilious measures for the society does not tolerate the luxury to ‘feel comfortable’. Neoliberalism and right wing populist movements in Europe, the same as Political Islam in the Arab world and beyond, meanwhile we are witnessing that such trends are not positive or ambivalent in relation to democracy, freedom and the state of law. On the contrary, such attitudes and trends are harmful and highly destructive.
2.2 The incompatibility of Political Islam with Democracy
Over the possibility of bringing closer, respectively the coexistence between the values of democratic order – freedom, on one side and Political Islam on the other, and the dilemmas where further augmented especially after the inauguration of the so-called new democracy of Egypt. At that time, Muslim Brotherhood had come to power in Egypt thanks to free elections.
Meanwhile, one year later, when demonstrations erupted against the regime of Mohamed Morsi, and generally the Arab Spring as a torch of freedom, was spread from Tunisia towards Syria, and later on, in summer 2013, would shake President Erdogan’s Turkey, immediately thereafter we experience a tremendous expansion of dilemmas in the possible coexistence of Political Islam and Democracy. In her book Christine Schirrmacher “Islam and Democracy: a contrast” (2013), has intensively addressed these matters.
At the end of her work, Schirrmacher excludes the unavoided question pertaining to the reports between Islam and Democracy. She testifies on her exhausted analysis that, despite the free elections in Egypt and Tunisia, the political parties with an Islamic background had a social priority and their victory was not disputed at all.
This happens regardless of the fact that they have never detached themselves from their political aspirations that are associated to applications of the Shariah Law. Meanwhile, taking this into account, it further deepens its study in order to further reflect, deduce those parts in the Shariah Law and in the Koran that are against the fundamental democratic values. In her interview for bucer.de newspaper, she expressed her opinion: “The majority of opinion makers and Muslim theologians are totally against democracy, as a way of government.”
A well known politologist of Heidelberger University Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkel advocates the thesis that Islam and Democracy are not compatible, due to the fact that Islamic world does not acknowledge the separation of state, law and religion. Moreover, American politologist John Waterbury classifies the Near East region as ‘singularly inhospitable to legal pluralism and democracy.”
Results from empirical studies also demonstrate the incompatibility of Islam with Democracy, especially Political Islam. The fall of rightwing dictatorships in Greece, Portugal and Spain in the middle of 1970s, was the widest spread of real democratic governments across the history of humanity. Until 2000, in this democratic wave there were included over 87 former dictatorial countries, former autocracies, where the basic values of democracy were applied for the first time, including the freedom of expression and free elections.
From a total of 192 states (admitted members of the United Nations) in 2000, 121 of them were qualified by the Freedom House as electoral democracies. In this group there were only 11 countries where the majority of their population was of Islamic faith. Meanwhile from 47 countries with a majority of Muslim population, in 2000, only eleven of them had resulted to be practicing, embracing minimal elements of electoral democracy; therefore 77 percent of these countries were ruled by dictatorial regimes.
On the other hand, there are 145 independent countries that belong to non Islamic societies as a religion, 110 of them were qualified as electoral democracy. This quota is 76 percent of the entire concert of nations; 24 percent of these countries have autocratic regimes. Such a number appears to be even smaller when aiming to certify the list of countries that are qualified as electoral democracies.
Freedom House has made eligible the following nations as democratic countries: Albania, Bangladesh, Djibouti, the Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Turkey. Meanwhile from the 16 countries that are in the center of Islamic world (expanding in the Middle East and Northern Africa), there was not a single one of them that fulfilled the minimum of democratic values, to be considered as electoral democracies.
Politologist Volfgang Merkel, in the context of Universal Forum of Sudwestrundfungs, 2003, with the topic “the Clash of Civilizations – the West and Islamic World”, at the end of the forum he stated, if these ‘democracies’ would undergo through a more rigorous evaluation, not a single one of them would pass the rubicon and be considered as states of law where democracy prevails.
At the end, democratic order is based over the principle of being represented and with this is conditioned the length of government mandates that is running through a strict control. Democracy is the foundation of political values; democracy is above all a political culture of pluralism and disagreement, based on core values combined with the acceptance of diversity.”
Does this mean that had these people been living on a real democracy, are naturally relieved from Political Islam, would they embrace these democratic values?
2.3 Turkish Experiment and Real Democracy
European Democracy and Western Democracy has generally passed through the struggles of social revolutions that have been led by intellectual confrontations between the illuminists and the overall scientific world on one side and the Church as an institution on the other side, in order to accomplish the democratic revolution (1789) that separated the State from Church and the explicit cultivation of secular thought as well as the appropriate rapport of state and religion.
Since Sharia and Koran have gone through a critical thought, the chances for democracy to have the possibility of development and real cultivation would be open, as Christine Schirrmacher articulated, but in fact this would happen only when in the Islamic World would begin the era of changes that is led by theological interpretations, she concludes.
In fact everywhere just like in the West and the East, the threat of regressive regimes, the overthrow of social order from democracy into dictatorship, is not something new. Just like Hitler in Germany, the same as Slobodan Milošević in Serbia, both of them have come into power from free elections. A similar trend is taking place in most parts of Eastern Europe.
Such a transformation becomes even faster, when governments threaten the freedom of media, the basic freedoms and above all these leaders are incapable to guarantee the equality of citizens before the law. These values are not simply a genuine component of a democratic order. They are extremely important for the survival and development of democracy as a social order and as a progressive framework of political values.
Something similar is taking place in the Turkish system and implemented by the Justice Party. The branding of neoliberalism with an oriental figure, that was promoted by this political force during this period of economic boom for Turkey, the extremist right populism and Political Islam, a mix in its own right, had no choice but to produce a political crisis that has engulfed Turkey’s present political reality.
The experiment of Erdogan and his team in their aspirations to resuscitate Turkey’s expansionist ideology based on the neo-Ottoman philosophy that has been openly proclaimed by him and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu, are not ambivalent nor positive in relation to democracy, freedom but also for the perspective of the Turkish Republic.
At Erdogan’s figure attentive scholars would observe his propensity to call himself as a modern Sultan, identifying himself with Sultan Mehmet II, who had expended the empire in the territories of what is today Iraq, Syria, Egypt (1517), and establishing his courts in Constantinople. Obviously, he aspires to experience the limelight of ottoman empire in the XVI century when it was expanded from the Arabian Peninsula all the way to Algeria in Northern Africa and from Anatolia to the outskirts of the Balkans – in Southeastern Europe, and made the empire into a superpower of the time with an expansion in three continents, and today Erdogan’s Turkey, through the political platform of Ahmet Davutoğlu (The Depth of Strategy), as he aspires to re-establish this empire.
The Muslim community in Kosovo, the Justice Party, the “Fjala” Movember and “Besa” Movement in Macedonia, inspired by the incursions from Mr. Erdogan’s team, are becoming the voice and promoters of expansion of Turkish hegemony, respectively the penetration of neo-Ottomanism in the Albanian regions.
Such an expansion, not only cultural, that is dedicated to the development of new mosques and reconstruction of the old ottoman mosques, the opening of a network of schools, with direct investments and stimulated from the Government Policy of Turkey, has as its fundamental objective to implement the aggressive posture of President Erdogan that was articulated in the spiritual capital of Albania, Prizren: “Kosovo is Turkey and Turkey is Kosovo.” The accomplishment of such a strategic objective, Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers Political Islam as an optimal ideological instrument, as an added tool with tremendous value.
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After the changes of the coup d’etat in July 2016 and the declaration of the state of emergency that continues to take place until today, accompanied with the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of political opposition leaders, and their liquidation, the state of law is paralyzed completely, today Turkey is living one of the rarest political crisis, that could easily end up being a civil war.
Political Islam, that is cultivated by Erdogan and not only by him, has already taken into control the power that comes from the state and power, while completely ignoring the democratic norms. The polarization of the society is an unavoidable process. The highest levels of Turkish justice system, the Attorney General’s office, the top layers of independent justice, are going through a permanent political pressure that has been coming from Erdogan’s administration for a number of years. The clash of these two systems could not be avoided.
When the Supreme Court of Administration decided to declare as illegitimate the order of Erdogan to the National Police, only a few months before the coup d’etat, an order that obliged national police to present first of all the requests for investigation to the Ministry of Interior before sending to the Attorney General’s office, the attitude of Erdogan was the same as was from his despotic predecessors centuries earlier. I am the state, as a result I am also the law, Erdogan was trumpeting, as he was ordering the judicial branch to behave in accordance with his interests and suitable to his party’s interests.
As Seneca used to say: “Religion is trusted by kids; the intelligent underestimate; and statesmen use it.”
3. Political Islam
With the terminology “Political Islam” is understood as the way of Islam becoming a theory of thinking and actions within the state. This way of reading has provided a genuine political character to Islam, which testifies that such a religion, from the beginning was essentially a political act. These views that are spread in the West and Arab World, has a real foundation. In fact, political history of Islam ensures us that a discourse constituted over political Islam is a product of historical circumstances and of its early beginning.
In his book entitled “Handbook of Political Islam” authored by Thomas Schmidinger, has brought in a summarized fashion the history of definitions, giving us a concise version of Political Islam. He considers Political Islam as “a gathering concept for all movements and groups, who don’t understand Islam as a simple religion. These groups consider Political Islam always conceived as the road map of political action that always inspires and motivates the Islamization of society and politics.”
As a roadmap to political action, the religion of Islam has embodied these features since its founding. Political and social ideas during its historical development and even through the research in the literature of Islamic thought; starting with Islamic theology, to Islamic philosophy all the way to Islamic law. In one of its studies Tamara Sonn, defines Political Islam as a specific ideology that appeared in the 1920s. As a motive she sees the catastrophic socioeconomic state among the Arab people and the failure of secular governments. In essence Political Islam contains three primary elements: politics, justice and theology.
3.1. Political Islam and PanArab nationalism
In order to better understand the Political Islam, there is a need to take a peak, even briefly, the secular reforms that are intertwined with nationalism and socialism, as two separate paradigms, immediately after the postcolonial period, that are present everywhere in the Islamic world. The aim to present the superiority of Islam against Christianity as a concurrent religion, has been venerated as a favorable starting point on the anti imperialism and colonialism in Europe. But the critical study of the Koran brings us to the clear political conclusions that have to do with the Islamisation of all people, as a result even its Arabization.
”It goes without saying that Arab unity requires the creation of a political union of the different Arab countries the inhabitants of which speak Arabic. As for Muslim unity, that naturally requires the creation of a political union of the different Muslim countries, the
Inhabitants of which profess the Muslim religion, regardless of the variety of their languages and races.”
“It is clear that the Arab Union aspires to develop the political union of various arab countries, the inhabitants of which speak Arabic…” without excepting even the possibility of including inside this political culture other non-Arab nations, but belong to Islamic faith.
A well known Islamologist, Muhamad Anvar Shaikh, is shedding light on this platform of pan-Arab nationalism. “Even though Islam has caused so much damage to the national Muslim identities that are non-Arabs, much more damage than any other blunder, that could have happened to them, regardless of this situation they believe that this religion is the Ambassador of Equality and love among people.
1a. Equality – This is a fantasy, displayed with great professionalism. Indeed, Prophet Mohammad separated the humanity into two parts: in Arabs and non Arabs. According to this categorization, while using the card of Arabian cultural imperialism, the Arabs are the rulers and the non Arabs are those who are suppressed. Islam is the way of accomplishing this dream, because its basis takes up to the sky the Arabian superiority, causing this way to its non Arab successors a sort of inferiority in their national identity.
From the Arab point of view, this manner appears to be extraordinary, marvelous and mysterious, but it is destructive, for non-Arab Muslims. However, under its psychological effects, they are happy all the way to self destruction, while hoping that the prophet would reward them with the luxury of paradise.
2b. Islamic love for humanity is a myth, of large proportions. The hate towards non-Muslims is the foundation of Islamic resistance. He is not only declaring non Muslims as inhabitants of evil, but attempts to light infinite flames and tensions between Muslims and non–Muslims, this is even more threatening than the idea of Karl Marx over social conflict, which he indoctrinated to keep alive his theory. While keeping in mind the deep tendency for the glorification of Arabs, Islam is not characterized as a faith, but as a National Arab movement.
Its success is embedded in the total transformation of its non-Arab worshipers, who have rejected their national roots, to adore and pray the sanctity, superiority and Arab egoism. Its spring is the mythical negotiating ability of Prophet Mohammed. Such a psychological paralysis is causing the fall of large Asiatic nations, such as India, Egypt and Iran, which had emerged once ‘as the greatest introducers’ of civilization, but are currently ranked as members of the ‘Third World’ due to the loss of their national identity and (agility) under Islamic indoctrination. (…)“
Anti-historical attitude, in concert with the philosophy of a Haxhi Qamilist style of some sectors of our Islamic clergy, are the real testimony that, in Albanian regions, the combination of Arabian cultural imperialism with the neo-Ottoman political agenda, has radiated its first results that are evident and represent the real threat for our nation. The first step towards loosing national identity in the interest of religious identity has already been established. First I am an Islamic citizen, then Albanian, are the words of all Salafism and Wahabism worshipers throughout the Albanian speaking regions.
Islamic scholars, from Afghan all the way to Qutb, have tried to secure for the political Islam a solid cultural foundation. Such a discourse was based mainly on the works of Afghan. However the architects of Political Islam have taken advantage of the social and economic backwardness; nonetheless the theoretical base of political Islam remains the anti-colonial warfare.
Political Islam in the Arab world for a certain time had lost terrain, until Hamas would take power in the first legislative elections of the Palestinian Authority in the western shores, in 2006. The refusal on the side of Hamas to recognize Israel and withdrawal from possible negotiations table that would lead towards the recognition of the Hebrew State, had convinced the latter to take the Gaza Strip as a preventive security measure, with which there have been extinguished the hopes for the solution of the conflict in the Middle East, while leaving a vacant ground for Political Islam as a dominating Ideology in the Arab World.
3.2. The Definition of Political Islam
For the scholars of Arab World, according to contemporary politologists Holger Albrecht and Kevin Köhler, it is very clear that Palestinian Hamas due to the resistance against Israel, is rightfully characterized as a militant group, since it has not rejected violence, but in the ideological realm, there are apparent differences with political Islam and its true supporters – Saudi Arabia, which is characterized as the state that is led from the ideology of Wahabism. Ryadh has brought to the world attention a whole list of groups that support Political Islam, despite the fact that they may not be characterized as militant groups that are present and operate in Arab countries.
In other words, the connection between ideology, radicalism and militantism of Political Islam in connection to acquiring a set of tooks for political purposes, is not even sighted, respectively determinant. This is also the fundamental reason why it becomes so difficult to reach an overall accepted consensus on the definition of Political Islam. However, one of the most accepted definitions over Political Islam is particularly the study of Albrecht and Köhler. They characterize Political Islam as any shape of action, that is encompassed by the accepted values of Islam and simultaneously, while forming part of this setting, are able to gain support for the very same political group and mobilize other groups.
Just like in the German speaking countries and in the roman speaking countries, even in the Albanian Language there are differences of view points and misunderstanding even in the terminology framework, when we are dealing with political Islam. Very often there are drawn parallels, by mistake, between the notion of “Fundamentalism”, “Fundamental Islam” and of “Political Islam”. Such confusion occurs due to the fact that we consider these concepts as a product of western political thought, whose source is the philosophical source of Christian Civilization Albanians, are also part of this civilization.
The notion of “Fundamentalism” that is explained in the professional literature in English Language, French, German, but also in Albanian Language, as a determining field of political Islam, its main source is the Western Christian Tradition and as a result it is not in a full concordance with the real notion of political Islam. “Fundamentalism” in the western way of understanding is a terminology that describes a rigid theological tendency of worshipers with the Bible, and has to do with Protestantism.
But in the modern era, Political Islam appears to be a renaissance of pan-Arab nationalism. In fact such a national renaissance of Political Islam appears overwhelmingly under the shadow of international terrorism such as Al-Qaeda, meanwhile it is perceived in its full understanding as a challenging force to western civilization, within the concept of Islamic fascism.
The Introduction of superiority of Islamic Empire is cherished, over all, as a strong basis to counter the European colonialism and imperialism. Such a theoretical thesis is not only valid to all political actions, but also in the approach towards the government. The ideological rise of Political Islam becomes even more complex after September 2001, when the Western World woke up under the anxiety of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC.
In some countries that are characterized as the world of Islam, already Political Islam is considered as an established Ideology. The common factor of all these countries is deeply ingrained to the failure of secular state. Today political Islam has become a daily topic, not only in the Arab and Islamic World, besides misconceptions is infusing fear and panic everywhere, but also expectations and hopes for a category of citizens. There have been conducted a series of researches focused on political Islam.
Nonetheless, many of these studies have not taken into account the social circumstances, cultural and historical contexts upon which took place and begun to raise political Islam. Sometimes the responsibility is falling upon the anarchist religion, which “since its inception and notion…is a condition that in modern times, secular, which has separated from religion the concepts of human rights, democracy and pluralism, once again would succumb the absolute will into a divine state that is assumed or invented.”
3.3 Islam of public life – the primary objective
A matter that unites the ideologists of Political Islam, respectively their objective, everywhere and in every region, remains the goal of giving an Islamic orientation to public life. The motion of Political Islam intertwines in essence the ideals and accomplishments, respectively to instill the cultural values of Islam and ensure that Islamic cultural values are deeply ingrained in the public life. Generally speaking, we can already state that Islamic leaders have accomplished their objectives, including the Albanian speaking regions.
This trend is spread everywhere in the Albanian regions, with a heavy presence in Macedonia and Kosovo. It is evident everywhere. The construction of mosques in the oriental or Arab style is becoming predominant (with a larger prayer square), during the Friday prayers and during all celebrations, in squares and streets, with the organization of iftars and also the use of covered faces of women in public and the marching of youngsters with short pants and long beards.
Such demonstrations in roads and circles similar to demonstrations of fascist style (organized completely by Albanian speaking forces), during WWII it was know as the Skanderbeg Batallion, the mission of today’s Islamic worshipers, is the same, and totally clear.
Islamization of public life is clearly seen in the town centers (especially in Prishtina and Skopie), where the Arabic life style is obvious (Hallal food services, hospitals, kindergarden for kids, schools …that have adjusted all meal times based on the schedule of prayers. The persistence of Islamic organization to take under control all funeral processes, including the public cemeteries, while imposing their own rules to non-Muslims, and through such measures other religious communities have requested for the first time the establishment of cemeteries that would be used by other religious groups in Prishtina, Kosovo.
The State Concessions towards such a tendency and becoming a prey of Islamic public life has just begun. This process, if it does not go through an eruptive national awakening of the style of Albanian Renaissance movement, soon will be very hard to deter and contain!
But the resistance against these trends has just started. It is much more present among the people, middle class, it is even more present than what politicians have ever thought. The resistence is even more centered among those economic stratas that had exerted a political resistance against the Serbian power, and is identified as an accomplishment of former political dissidencia who was jailed. This type of resistence will take an even clearer shape with national orientations during the coming years, becoming a true political movement, its inspirations will derive from Albanian Renaissance leaders, including national hero George Kastriot. As a a result the conclusion of Political Islam in essence is totally against the western civilization principles such as: illuminism, liberalism, universal human rights, democracy, the separation of State and Religion (Secularism), the separation of powers and respect of ideas over human dignity, on the right of free personality development and equality before the law, is gaining ever more traction and is expected to secure a greater people’s support.
4. Political Islam among Albanians – a product of foreign political agendas
The expansion and influence of Islam in the middle of Albanians has been connected with the invasion of Ottoman Empire. Since the second half of XIV Century when Ottoman invasion towards the Balkans and Albania were becoming ever more intensive, Albanian princes were obliged (…) to accept the capricious attitude of the Sultan, and as his vassals, would send their kidnapped sons to the courtyard of the Ottoman Empire. In Costantinople, after they were converted into Muslims and acquired the appropriate training, they were in charge of specific military and appointed to important government offices, while reaching top positions in many occasions. The islamization of parts of feudal elite in Albania since the first decades of its invasion marked the inception of the first Islamic Community of Albanians.
During the XV-XVI centuries the dynamics of Islamisation of average population was implemented in larger proportions, especially in the cities of Kosovo. The reason is fully objective. The Albanian population of Kosovo was at this time under the political occupation of Serbian State; meanwhile the religious power was exerted by the Patriarch of Peja.
As a result, the liquidation of Serbian invasion and weakening of the Serbian church’s leverage with the predominant imposition of Ottoman invasion and its Muslim religion, the local inhabitants took advantage and escaped from the influence of the Serbian Orthodox church, while embracing the Islamic Faith as a tool of their ethnic expression from Serbians. While beginning from the XVII Century, the historical sources elaborate on the massive desertion of Christian faith and increase of popularity of Islamic faith.
The observation of dynamics in the Islamic process shows that in the middle of XVIII Century the new religious structure of Albanian people, meaning the number of Christian worshipers and those who had become Muslims had reached stabilized levels, which would slightly change over time until the modern days. Such a massive religious conversion, received many public reactions, one of the local measures was the application of secret christianization (chripto-christianism). The secret Christianism represents a temporary state of a double faith, based on which Christian individuals were accepting Islam only formally, only to avoid the payment of additional taxes and to enjoy equal rights with the Muslim population in the social life. Meanwhile in public these individuals appeared as Muslims with Muslim names, went in mosques, at their homes, secretely maintained Christian rites and mores.
A special case of a large group of villages that were pursuing a double religious life, were a series of villages in the mountainous region of Karadak of Skopie and Gjilan. This is the region where Idriz Seferi, was born and grew up, one of the epic fighters of Albanian Independence, who had also adopted the life of a crypto-catholic. After the liberation of Kosovo (1999), sections of this population returned publicly into Christian religion. As we know an important place was also given by the council of Arberia (Lezha, 1703) under the direct auspices of Pope Clement XI. This way of coexistence in a bi-religious setting came to an end in 1744 with a special papal decree.
With all of the massive conversion, Islam as a religion was not able to ignore some of the ethnopsychological characteristics including the attitude of Albanians. To the contrary, parts of the Albanian regions that went through the conversion process, since they embraced the alternative options of Islam – Sufism as a multisect trend, including tarikat and bektashi, simultaneously were shaped with the idea of autonomy in political administration. According to Prof. Dr. Kristo Frashëri: “The factors that made this sect even more attractive to Albanians in the XVIII Century, was the appreciation of Albanian identity in the cultural movement and principles of local autonomy in the field of state administration.”
However the conversion of a large portion of Albanian population converted into Islam has a number of consequences in the field of spiritual culture. But religious diversity had played a positive role in the process of national identity formation therefore these consequences were transferred all the way to our time in regards to the formation of political ideas and the lineage of geopolitical character. Religious diversity would be used, later on, by nationalist ideologies and chauvinist movements of neighbouring countries.
4.1 The Madrasa of Skopie “Alexander Gjorgevic” and Political Islam
The beginning of political Islam in the Albanian regions is shaped in the Serbian political project for the invasion of Albanian lands and their peoples’ displacement from Toplica and Pusta Reka. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be projected as the main purpose of expanding the influence and hegemony of Serbia during the process of fulfilling the national Serbian code, that are projected into two representational texts of classic Serbian Nationalism – of Ilija Garashanin (Nacertania – 1836) and that of Vuk Stephanovic Karajic (“Srbi sfi i svuda – Serbians all over the world – 1849), and that of Vuk Stephanovic Karaxhic, at the brink of the Berlin Congress (June 1878), the Serbian expansionism, based on nacertania, would be headed towards the south – expanded in the Albanian regions (already when the Sanxhak of Nis, Piroti, Leskoci and Prokuplja would be secured with a respective agreement ahead of the Berlin Congress), where Novi Pazar, Kosovo, Macedonia were included.
The conclusions of Berlin Congress had an epochal character for the Serbian expansionist politics. It was not only focused on the recognition of state sovereignty of Serbia, but also to fulfill the national code of Serbia, especially in relation to Albanians and the threatening of their vital interests. With the invasion of the Nis region and ethnic cleansing of Albanians, was promoted the example on how to further act in the accomplishment of a “New Serbia.”
The Serbian State would be fully established under the guidance of a homogenous national state that would be expanded towards annexing Kosovo and Macedonia (1912). Such a permanent expansion of Serbia against the interest of Albanians, as it is testified in history, was also a product of the Serbian myth over Kosovo in a way and shape that were fully updated, which also happen to be the center of geopolitical discourse at that time. After the re-invasion of Kosovo and Macedonia from the Serbian Army in 1918, were closed almost every Albanian public schools that were especially opened in the territories of Augsburg Empire, there were tolerated only the Arabic and Turkish schools installed in major mosques.
According to Serbian ideologists, these actions would contribute towards a faster assimilation of Albanians. Such a project was state sponsored, and brought Islamic clergy from Bosnia and Herzegovina and also through the opening of a large Madrasa in Skopie, in 1924, in the function not only to the dissimilation, but also to the assimilation of Albanians, while creating this way an ideal scenario for the creation of conditions to stimulate and establish political Islam. A number of scholars and clergy who had come from those madrasas, as part of the political scenario and promotion of political Islam, had served under Serbian rule to exterminate and ethnic cleansing of Albanians towards Turkey and Syria, while vacating large cities and towns (Skopie, Prishtina, Gjilani, Kumanova and others). That wave of ethnic cleansing would only be stoped by the Second World War.
In the new geopolitical conditions created in the beginning of the Cold War, the population of Albania and Kosovo, Macedonia, such as the one in Sanjak, would be faced with the last era of these massive ethnic cleansing during the period of Yugoslav Communism (1949-1963). Only during the years of 1948-1962 approximately 300 thousand Albanians were violently displaced and were sent to Turkey.
4.2 ALAUDIN Madrasa the continuation of the “Alexander Gjorgevic” Madrasa
In the last decade of the XX century, in Kosovo again would be repared the whole arsenal of violence with the proportions of a genocide of Serbian power towards ethnic cleansing, very similar to what had been done in Toplace and Pusta Reka (1878).
Surprisingly or not, with the Alaudin Madrasa in Prishtina, Belgrade would act the very same way as it did with the madrasa of Skopie (Alexander Gjorgevic), while maintaining the control over it, as it has been embraced earlier in the community of Sufism, and while intensifying the penetration of political Islam among the cadre of myfties and imams in Kosovo.
Albanians, after the redrafting of the Constitution on March 1989, would be expelled from the political institutions, academic and science entities, but they would be tolerated to develop ‘some activities’ in the fields of science and culture, and even faced by the challenge of constituting the so-called Parliament of the Fictitious Republic, at the very auditorium of this madrasa! The results of these political and military duty, have been reflected particularly after the separation of Serbia from Kosovo (June 1999) and during these years, when radical Islam has installed a rigorous control over this madrasa, as well as over the general Islamic community.
Again, in the alliance with Turkey, the breadth of neo-ottomanism paired with Serbia’s Special warfare, has created new connections that appear to be antihistorical, that are already representing a threat to security and perspective of the nation. In this overwhelming class of politics and political Islam, respectively the Islamic Community in Kosovo, already under the double layered control (on one side from Erdogan, and on the other side by the Government of Kosovo as a strong Ally of Erdogan), the threat is much more prevalent.
About this matter, Ismail Kadare (a world renowned Albanian poet, currently among the candidates who has been nominated multi times to receive the Nobel Prize, and awarded previously many prestigious awards, is warning all of us and chiming the alarming bells:
“It is certain that the factions are paid by Serbia and Turkey! Free Albanians are beginning to loose confidence with European Civilization. Does this seem as if Albanians don’t know how to live in freedom? Yes, it sounds accurate, and as a juxtaposition of this unfortunate trend it is required to consolidate the national union. Away from the radical clerics and those who have no religion! George Kastriot Skanderbeg would have many more statues to be raised new memorial plaques in honor of his legacy; and why not to match the number of mosques with the number of new statues of Skanderbeg. Who does not trust that Serbia pays Radical Islam on one side, and on the other side complains to the western powers by suing them: “This is why you bombed us in 1999 for the mosques of Albanians!”
The Serbian Fascist propaganda while playing with many cards, sometimes accuses Albanians as “foreign part” in Europe, classifying them as a nest of ISIS in the Balkans, and sometimes as an influential instrument of Western powers.” Even according to Ivica Dacic, Foreign Affairs Minister of Serbia, the purpose of Albanians was ‘the creation of larg Albania”. In the style of Goebbels he is insinuating that “this large Albania is threatening to be ‘the most vital state in the Balkans’ and an instrument of Western influence in the region.”
But this is not enough for Serbian representatives to convince Western Diplomatic Platforms, he is screaming in order to remind us again about the so called “green transversality”: Albanians are planning to unite the Northern Kosovo with Sanxhak in order to ‘renew the ottoman territory’. ‘A connection between “Islamic Kosovo” with Sanxhak, according to Minister Dacic it would be a greater fiasco for the Serbian People, and even greater than any other loss of Serbian people in the XX Century”, this was stated in his interview for FAZ, and brought to Albanian language by Deutche Welle.
4.3 Mosques as a base of Political Islam
Albanian conservatives and religious fanatics are generally marginalized as small groups of people, but they appear to be well organized and very active. They are already stretched in big cities and even in some rural areas, where poverty is at high levels. Security personnel have shared for BIRN that “the strictest shapes of Islamic faith had been engrained after the war, while following the trend of Islamic organizations of assistance and education of the local clerics and those from Arab countries.
While interviewed on the condition of anonymity, security officials have stated that up to fifty thousand people, have started to pursue more conservative reforms of islam. There is no way on how to independently confirm this number, that represents a small part of the population in Kosovo, calculated to be at approximately 1.8 million inhabitants.
But the ever growing presence of the two most popular sects dedicated to radicalization – the salafies and haunefies, meanwhile is very present and aggressive. Their connection with political Islam is not only something of ideological character. They ‘tend to describe themselves as defenders of Islam that are against the western seculiarism over Kosovo.
As stated by the Kosovar officials of Security, in the conditions of anonymity, shared with BIRN, “the suspected extremists there have been 30 out of 650 mosques under surveillance.” A good portion of the mosques already are transformed into hubs of political extremism and ‘centers of ideological indoctrination’ from fascist Islam preachers.
But the aggressiveness of these circles has increased especially with the start of the war in Syria and Iraq and with the emergence of Islamic State. The Police states that approximately 300 men and 42 women are believed to have left Kosovo, with a population of 1.8 million to unite with Islamic State – this is the highest recruitment level per capita in Europe, after Bosnia and Herzegovina. The participation of a relatively large number (over 300 people) in these wars with political anti-civilized agendas, have mobilized not only the citizen counteractions, but also the institutional structures. Already it is clear, the distinction between traditional Islam among Albanians and Political Islam in a long run, makes the difference between peaceful Albania of our dreams and today’s Syria.
5. Albanian Federation – a field of a new political doctrine
Just as it is potentiated the lack of a sole center, unifying, historical, regional for the Middle East, at the same time there can be stated that after the fall of Yugoslavia, and the Balkans is lacking such a center of gravity. The efforts to revitalize Yugoslavia through the creation of a New Yugoslav Federation (5+2: the former five Federal Units of Yugoslavia, without Slovenia and Croatia, plus Albania and Kosovo), now under the Berlin Process and with the crowning of this initiative in Trieste, while promoting the common market of this space, as a precondition and temporary replacement of the EU aspirations, demonstrate more than anything else the absence of a geopolitical agenda from Brussels and Berlin for the Balkans, more than a real tendency for the creation of a sole geopolitical center.
The declarations of the Serbian President that Belgrade can be considered as the political center of Balkans, after all that turmoil and violence at the proportions of a genocide that Serbia has committed in Kosovo, talks more about the absence of political will of Brussels, to consider Albanians above all, as a political factor and security factor in the Balkans, more than having real opportunities for Serbia and Belgrade to become a center of heavy political weight in the region. The tendencies to withhold the factorization of the Albanian Nation are already open. The latest tri-partite meting: Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria on 13 July 2017, in Salonica, of the Prime Ministers of Greece and Bulgaria Aleksis Cipras and Bojko Borisov and the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, had this objective.
This is why the creation of Albanian Federation is transforming into a political imminence. The new political doctrine should incorporate in itself this process of national factorization. Albanian Federation would balance powerfully the power among nations in the region, while creating real aspirations to reflect objectively towards foreign factors and its influence in the future positioning of a clear geostrategic character, certainly including the geopolitical center of gravity.
5.1 Albanian Federation – as a coronation action in the construction process of a nation state
In the contemporary literature is strengthened the concept of a wide understanding for the notion of a ‘nation’ based under the political context. It is unified, in the fundamental concept of a state. It is melted in the notion that marks the establishment of the state. But not always a state is united with a nation. There are many cases when a nation is divided in a few states (the case of Koreas, Azerbaijan, Kurdish population, etc.)
According to the republican expression in France, the nation “should be one and inseparated” (From this tenet comes the concept that a nation is predetermined to form a state and only serves wholeheartedly without being divided). According to this concept, “a nation” was a group of citizens; their collective sovereignly is constituted in a state, as an expression of their political will. In this definition, the ‘equality of nation – state – people, especially the sovereign people, certainly connects the nation with territory, as long as the structure and identification of a state are already central territories.
This concept according to Hobsbaun; means the majority of nation states that are constituted this way and that has been the fruit of the peoples’ decision and actions.
The nation is a testimony of the greatest cohesive power for the integration of the goup members. The history as a special value that marks a nation in its shared memory from the past; plays an important role. It is also reflected in the actions, attitude of a nation’s relation with its neighboring countries, just like in the daily lives, and also in its own perspective. This is evident in our age, the so-called integration of many nations, and is experienced specifically in Europe today.
The process of creation of nation states is already considered to be a closed process in Western Europe almost in all of its territory. There are open cases of growing nationalism in Scottland, Ireland and Spain. Such a process has a real potential to be implemented through the use of referendums and political will. There is no way in avoiding the right of people to express their preferences, especially as it happened in Kosovo, after its liberation, to the Albanian community!
The creation of Albanian Federation is connected and interdependent exponentially with the cohesion of political forces in the two existing Albanian Republics. This process means the process of strengthening and expanding the political landscape that have as an aspiration to unite the Albanian nation, but also to furnish a vivid political and financial support from the Albanian Diaspora with able legislators and equipped with the right political will in order to accomplish aspiracions, share sacrifices and support necessary compromises.
Meanwhile, these political forces should be further developed in order to implement a new model of thinking that would enable the recognition of gobal political tendencies, while employing them in the national interest. If the Anglo Saxons, after World War II were focused in the construction of this method of political thinking, while taking into account aspects and geostrategic interests, on the other hand the French, aside from their territorial aspirations, had also cultivated the philosophical and ideological concept through the strengthening of social and political sciences.
At the same time the philosophical and ideological component of Albanians for the creation of Albanian Federation and expansion of their influence in the region require a combination of the two schools that are emphasized above, while adding to them the military concept of thinking. Such a concept, would give to the Albanian Federation a greater weight in the eyes of our geopolitical allies, above all infront of United States.
5.2 George Kastriot Skanderbeg – a model of a hero and Albanian politician with European Identity
The fulfillment of obligations in the field of partnerships and geostrategic ties and that of security with USA, would be even more real in that positive energies of our young generation would be channeled clearly and straight forward. Only then the agenda of Russian influence in the Balkans would reach the end in the Southeastern Europe and the dreams of neo-ottomans would be vanished in the Balkans.
This is also the reason why Europe of many centuries ago had embraced George Kastriot as its most important hero while attempting to consolidate the nation-state in Europe, and refreshing Skanderbeg’s legacy in the memory of Albanians to ensure the preservation of their nationhood. The political fate of Ilirian Peninsuna and of that of Europe at the same time, in the late medieval centuries (XVII-XVIII), was clearly shaped thanks to the role and resistance played by George Kastriot Skanderbeg.
The return of Skanderbeg in the political memory of today has to deal with the very same motives that have made him a European hero, centuries ago. The defense of European Civilization, not only from political Islam but also from the clashes among various princes of modern Europe have become important objectives and political challenges that are making modern Europe to struggle until today. The transformation of Albanian space in the field of defending political Islam, not only returns the Albanian nation into its full European identity, but also gives to this nation the role of guardsmen for this identity. As a result, Albanian Federation has a vital role in Europe. George Kastriot Skanderbeg, above all, would have to re-emerge and be preserved as a model of Albanian politician with European identity. The time has reserved for Albanian nation an ideal opportunity to correct a whole era, filled with tides of century old wars and conflicts.
Islam as an ethical framework, but also as a private faith, should not have been positioned against democracy as a societal and judicial order. Sufism, as one of the waves of Islam, or the other Islam, as it is named by Robert Shvarc, that represents the spiritual and practical side of islam as a religion, why not even other waves, through the activities that are connected with prayers and fasting, should not have fallen in contrary positions against democracy. Nonetheless, this is valid only for Islam as a personal faith, not for Islam that is a legal system that defines values, norms, and is indeed the theoretical base of Political Islam.
Political Islam today is the existing ideology of Islamic Fascism that was unraveled in Syria, Iraq, and in other areas of the near east. As an ideology of Islamic Fascism, Political Islam appears through the macabre acts of terror throughout Europe; meanwhile the Albanian space is putting at serious risk the existence of Albanian nation.
The Defense of European civilization, an authentic part is also the Albanian civilization, from Political Islam, takes an immediate historical character. In this context, through the Albanian federation the Albanian territories are turned into a buffer zone of defending our identity and European civilization against Political Islam, while returning Albanian nation into its full identity.
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1. Bundesverfassung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft
3. Ismail Kadare: http://www.pamfleti.com/serbia-nga-njera-ane-paguan-radikalizimin-islam-nga-ana-tjeter-ankohet-fuqive-perendimore-duke-paditur-ata
4. Arbana Xharra: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/grat%C3%AB-e-reja-nga-kosova- prijn%C3%AB-kampet-n%C3%AB-isis-01-22-2016
5. Arbana Xharra: https://albemigrant2011.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/arbana-xharra-carjet-ne-fe-alarmojne- kosovaret-2/
6. DW: http://www.dw.com/sq/idet%C3%AB-e-da%C3%A7i%C3%A7it-shqip%C3%ABria-e-madhe-zon%C3%AB-influence-e-per%C3%ABndimit/a-40091858