Date: Thursday 10 April 2008
Subj: Bosnia: Catholic Church targeted for terror.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal
BOSNIA: CATHOLIC CHURCH TARGETED FOR TERROR
-- with implications for Western Europe
ISN Security Watch reports: "Bosnia and Herzegovina's Federation Anti-Terror Unit on 20 March arrested five men: Rijad Rustempasic, Muhamed Meco, Abdulah Handzic and Edis Velic, all in their early thirties and from Sarajevo, along with Muhamed Ficer, from the central Bosnian city of Bugojno, who was released from custody after questioning.
"The four arrested in Sarajevo were members of the local Wahhabi movement -- the Saudi-based and financed order following a strict interpretation of Islam. Some of the suspects were already well known to the police for their radical activities. The group had been under surveillance for several months by the Federation Anti-Terror Unit and the State Prosecutor's Office.
"Federation Anti-Terror Unit and the State Prosecutor's Office have strong evidence that Rustempasic's group was planning attacks on Catholic Churches and international forces within the country during the Easter holidays." (LINK 1)
The ISN report includes several details that are hugely important:
1) the suspects were very well armed, having "anti-tank mines, laser sights, electronic equipment, topographic maps and bomb-making manuals".
2) they were very well connected, "receiving financial and logistical support from Wahhabi figures in Western Europe". ISN reports: "The dots begin to connect in a radical network that reaches from Bosnia across Western Europe".
3) they were targeting hugely significant Catholic sites: Sarajevo's central Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the 700-year-old Franciscan Monastery in Central Bosnian city of Fojnica. (For more details on the size and strategic value of these targets, see LINK 2)
4) while the key militant leader, Rustempasic, is reportedly one of the most notorious and violent Bosnian radical Muslims the police have ever investigated, he has managed to evade prison for years because he is tolerated by local authorities.
These details together indicate a serious and rising threat to Christian, particularly Catholic, institutions not only in Bosnia, but across Europe.
THE CHURCH IN THEIR SIGHTS
Pope Benedict has become a thorn in the flesh of the dictators of Islam on account of his reasoned, definitive and very public stand for religious liberty and peace -- from his September 2006 speech in Regensburg which highlighted the unreasonableness of violence in religion, to his very public baptism of high-profile Muslim convert Magdi Allam in St Peter's on Easter Saturday 29 March 2008. (LINK 3)
On Wednesday 19 March (10 days before the baptism of Allam), Osama bin Laden released a new audio message that named Pope Benedict as a leader in the "new crusade" against Islam and threatened retribution in Europe. (LINK 4)
It is to be anticipated that Islamic jihadist forces and the apostaphobic dictators of Islam will undertake a strategic shift -- a widening of their sights -- to take in that which is to them the greatest existential threat of all: the church that is prepared to stand for religious liberty regardless of the cost.
1) Terror plot thwarted in Bosnia. 28 March 2008
By Anes Alic and Damir Kaletovic in Sarajevo for ISN Security Watch
2) Sarajevo's Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, also known as the "Sarajevo Cathedral", is the largest cathedral in all Bosnia. It was built in 1889 and is regarded as the centre of Catholic worship in Sarajevo (the capital of Bosnia). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Jesus'_Heart (includes photo).
For a photo of the 700-year-old Franciscan Monastery in Fojnica, see: http://www.fojnica.ba/foto/displayimage.php?pos=-1874
official website: Franciscan monastery of the Holy Spirit in Fojnica
(Franjevackog samostana Duha Svetoga u Fojinci) http://www.samostan.ba/
NOTE concerning Fojnica: During the 1992-95 Bosnian war, Bosnia's Muslim Army (BiH Army) fought to secede from Yugoslavia in order to make Bosnia an independent, Muslim dominated and ruled state. In July 1993, an 8,500-strong Muslim force overwhelmed Croat defences in Fojnica (then population 16,227 -- 41% Croat (around 6,500 Croats), 50% Muslim, 1% Serb). The BiH Army ethnically cleansed the town, driving out the Serbs and some 6,000 Croat civilians. On 13 November 1993 four Muslim soldiers of the "Crni labudovi" unit ("Black Swans", a BiH Army unit), invaded the Monastery, which is high on the hill overlooking the town, and executed Rev. Nikica Milicevic, the monastery's 37-year-old abbot, and the Rev. Leon Migic, its 57-year-old vicar. According to the OHR some 3,500 displaced Croats have since return to Fojnica, thanks to the security provided by the NATO-led SFOR (Stabilisation Force).
ALSO in Bosnian Monastery Widen Croat-Muslim Divide
By Chuck Sudetic, 31 December 1993
ALSO Albanians and Afghans fight for the heirs to Bosnia's SS past
By Robert Fox in Fojnica (Bosnia)
Daily Telegraph, 29 December 1993
3) Religious Liberty: the pivotal issue in these pivotal days
-- Apostasy, and the baptism of Madgi Allam
WEA RLC News & Analysis by Elizabeth Kendal. 4 April 2008
4) Bin Laden: Pope Helps Anti-Islam Crusade
By Paul Schemm, 20 March 2008