i>Darko Trifunovic just a couple of days ago, December 30, 2007, published another article for an American blog asserting the threat of the â€œwhite Al-Qaedaâ€ in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The article is a rambling run-on sentence of accusations. Nonetheless, in this environment that even US presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama has labeled as the sowing of fear for various political and hate motives, any charge that has a Muslim name next to it is presumed to be valid, at least until proven false. Mr. Trifunovic has been granted ample room to maneuver, and he seeks to identify BiH, Bosniaks and its leadership with almost any accusation.
The article is reprinted in full so that you can judge for yourself the accuracy of Mr. Trifunovicâ€™s allegations and his intent. We spoke to Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey, a person of particular focus in Trifunovicâ€™s writing, here and before. /i>
Bosnjaci.net: Do you take Trifunovicâ€™s accusations seriously?
Ambassador Sacirbey: It does not matter that he is neither a qualified person on the subject nor a person with integrity. He is selling what so many in the west are prepared to buy, fear and prejudice. This makes him dangerous to peace and safety for all living in the region. Here is a bit of his rhetoric just in this one article:
â€œInformation available to experts on international terrorism indicate that BiH is at this time one of the most dangerous countries in Europe, as it represents a nursery for potential Islamic terrorists â€“ the so called â€œwhiteâ€ or â€œEuropeanâ€ Al-Qaeda.
In the same rambling article he dumped the following on BiH and its people:
â€œInvestigation of the recent suicide attacks on British and Jewish targets in Istanbul has shown that some of the terrorists involved had been trained in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
This Trifunovic rhetoric defines our and all children as the weapons of war:
â€œOne tactic that the Islamic fanatics implemented in the Western Balkans was population warfare. When Muslims are a minority, they seek to increase their numbers through high birthrates â€“ sometimes 10 times those of the non-Muslim populace.
Trifunovic identifies our homelands, our entire region as a battleground to be cleansed of Muslims or otherwise become as a knife into the heart of Christianity:
â€œThe Western Balkans has been a region of interest to Islamic extremists for decades. Numerous Muslims living in the so-called â€˜Green Traverseâ€™ represent both a recruitment pool and springboard for attacks in Western Europe. Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Raska region, (a.k.a. Sandjak) are frequently used as Jihadâ€™s gateway into the European heartland. The notion is not new, only more visible today than ever before.
Bosnjaci.net: What is Trifunovicâ€™s agenda?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Of course, we have already focused on some of his agenda: to deny the genocide and crimes in Srebrenica throughout BiH.
â€œAfter several decades of activity worldwide, it is becoming increasingly clear who finances the terrorists, what sort of global propaganda they employ and with whose assistance, and how entire nations are being demonized at Al-Qaedaâ€™s behest. Wartime Bosnian Muslim officials Haris Silajdzic and Muhamed Sacirbey used to pay large sums of money to public relations firms, such as Ruder Finn LLC, to demonize Serbs. It is entirely clear where this money came from.
Trifunovic is trying to sell Haris and myself and, by extension, the then Government of the Republic of BiH as part of an Al-Qaedaâ€™s terrorist financial network. Our defense against aggression and genocide is now re-characterized as propaganda â€œat Al-Qaedaâ€™s behest.â€ Ironically, Haris and I were always cognizant not to accuse the Serbs as a people, but a Belgrade and Pale leadership. More to the point, we worked with very limited resources, including our UN Mission in NY. I used my own personal funds and local support to keep the Mission going for several years, and I relied upon my personal contacts and interaction with the media to make certain that the suffering and murder in BiH would not be lost to an American and global audience.
More dangerously, Trifunovic though seems to signal a new assault, a new genocide. At least he seems to be trying to provide justification before the fact, should it be necessary:
â€œThe same exact pattern occurred in the Balkans. Young men from Kosovo went to Al-Qaeda training camps in northern Albania, which were visited by Bin-Laden himself (according to reliable information). They returned to Kosovo and organized guerrilla bands in their villages. The same happened in Raska (Sandjak), where Muslim youths went to war in BiH, then returned home, and now present a threat to regional security. Given their international connections, that regional threat can easily become global.
The alarming fact is that a complete terrorist network exists in the territory of Serbia and Montenegro, ready to execute any order by the centers of Islamic extremism, while the disinterested Serbia-Montenegro authorities have behaved as if the problem does not exist.
An Islamic University was recently established. Some Serbian politicians who applauded that development obviously do not know what lies at the root of the Wahhabi teachings: extremism, spreading of Islam by force. Will Serbia allow its children, Orthodox or Muslim, be taught the language of hate, no matter how attractively packaged.â€
Bosnjaci.net: So this personâ€™s agenda is not just historical revisionism?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Absolutely not. That is one of the reasons the Jewish community and all of us must react when someone denies the Holocaust. In denying the past, there may be preparation to repeat it. Darko seems to have big ambitions as the ideologue of a new genocide. And he does not mean to end just within the borders of Serbia, Montenegro or even the region.
In his latest interview on Focus, he has labeled the Congress of North American Bosniaks, (KBSA), as a â€œvery dangerousâ€ organization that should be â€œbannedâ€ by US authorities, a designation reserved for organizations that are terrorist or subversive to the US Government. He has certainly planted the seed and is hoping that it takes root in fear, prejudice and religious bigotry. Here is some more manure that he just shoveled on his seed:
â€œThe biggest terrorist attack in history, September 11, was undertaken with the assistance of Islamic extremists directly or indirectly linked to Bosnia & Herzegovina.
All is presented with the background of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
â€œOfficials of the Muslim-Croat Federation never released any information to the US investigators or lawyers representing the families of 9/11 victims, because such information would cast a new light on the entire BiH conflict. They would have made it obvious that the war was a jihad, a religious war waged against Bosniaâ€™s Christians by the Islamic extremists.
Bosnjaci.net: There are many strange passages in Trifunovicâ€™s article, but one was almost comical if not confusing:
â€œOfficials who had a key role in bringing in the mujahidâ€™din from North America to the Balkans are: Safet Catovic, Ivica Misic and Muhamed Sacirbey.
Could it be that Ivica Misic is not a Croat Catholic at all but an Islamic extremist?
Ambassador Sacirbey: and according to Darko, Tito was reborn as Khomeini! Unfortunately most Westerners do not know the difference between Mladen and Mehmed and Muhamed.
For the record, I did not assist and discouraged any foreign fighter from entering BiH. But, Iâ€™m not sure why I even bother to answer such.
I also think this phrase is hilarious if not sad, but I think it has another consequence. In this new world view, anyone alleged indirectly or directly to have somehow worked with â€œIslamic extremists,â€ is subject to being blackmailed and used to do the dirty work for others. Undoubtedly there is more than one within BiH official circles who was first intimidated then bought.
Bosnjaci.net: On numerous interviews Trifunovic seems to signal you out. Do you know him?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Yes.
Ambassador Sacirbey: Not as a close personal friend!
I ran into Darko or more accurately Darko ran into me during the Rome Conference in establishing the International Criminal Court in 1998. He had arrived a day before me and presented himself as representing BiH.
We had a small working group of international legal experts volunteering as part of our delegation, a very effective young group of committed professionals. Darko tried to present himself as their boss. He knows how to make an initial impression, but by his first few statements they knew that he had come from another planet. When I came to Rome, I was informed of the situation by our international team. I sent him off to that other planet.
Bosnjaci.net: He never worked for you in the UN Mission in NY?
Ambassador Sacirbey: No, he came there well after I left.
Bosnjaci.net: He seems to have become pre-occupied with your name and as he says, â€œstopping your financial manipulations and support for Al-Qaeda.â€
Ambassador Sacirbey: No doubt that his stories do impact people because they do coincide with other agendas directed at me or Bosniaâ€™s leadership during the war. He simply cannot accept that the Bosnians were able to hold their own, if not prevail in the media wars. As Muhamed and a man of the Western world and shared values, Trifunovic and his partners in hate find me an especially troubling inconsistency to the picture they want to project.
Bosnjaci.net: Trifunovic seems to be seeking the opportunity for some revenge at also your personal expense.
Ambassador Sacirbey: He is not to be taken as an expert, a capable professional or certainly a person of integrity. However, in todayâ€™s world mice have become rats, and rats are selling to the cats.
Bosnjaci.net: Will anyone take this type of, Trifunovicâ€™s rubbish seriously, especially coming from this person?
Ambassador Sacirbey: They should not, but there are too many agendas out there that will partner with and exploit to buy and resell Trifunovicâ€™s vilifications. And, of course he claimed to be an official representative of the Government of BiH, RS.
Bosnjaci.net: Who allows this?
Ambassador Sacirbey: I can guess, but I do not know. Nonetheless, it is no longer a question who allowed him to represent BiH, but why no one stops this.
Bosnjaci.net: Has there been damage to BiH, to Bosniaks to you?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Under normal circumstances, he would be still living on another planet. But, maybe this is now that other planet. But probably we have done more of the harm to ourselves with our own petty quarrels and harsh allegations that give Darko the room and opportunity for disinformation.
Trifunovic admits that the cause of Bosnia & Herzegovina and its leadership had wide international respect, maybe even sympathy:
â€œMore alarmingly, these extremists have found military and political support from the West.
We may not be members or supporters of the SDA nor agree with all that President Alija Izetbegovic, (AR), did or projected, but an accusation that President Izetbegovic was a war criminal gives Darko the chance to paint our whole struggle to defend country and people.
â€œâ€¦the Party of democratic Action, whose founder is the Islamic extremist and war criminal, Alija Izetbegovic.â€
Darko then takes this to the next level:
â€œThe main weapon, (of Islamic fundamentalists) is to claim that Muslims are always and everywhere the exclusive victims of violence. Of course, the truth is completely different because the Islamic fundamentalists initiate violence for the purpose of establishing the pan Islamic Ummah, a theocracy that excludes the existence of other religionsâ€¦.One of the main objectives of the Islamic fundamentalistsâ€™ global network is to create a perception in the world public opinion that Muslims are always victims, in order to justify conflict and conquest. Victim status is thus claimed for Kosovo Albanians, their co-religionists in Kashmir, Palestine, Russia (Chechnya), Sudan, Tanzania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Malaysia, East Timor etc.
Bosnjaci.net: Have people like Trifunovic had an impact on Haris Silajdzicâ€™s image or on you, your reputation?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Obviously, but let me not give Trifunovic so much credit. He is only the tip of the iceberg, and the fact that he is so easy too recognize is a service to alert all of us to what kind of disinformation is being spread about us as a people, leadership and individuals. The charges directed at us vary from religious fanatics, to crooks to war criminals, or all. Some of it is so stupid as to be even funny to me. However, because on this planet being Muhamed is enough to be a suspect, anything can be written, without consequence. On the anti-Muslim and anti-Bosnian website, militantislammonitor.org Muhamed Sacirbey is portrayed as an imposter, who is actually an Islamic fundamentalist who with his blonde â€œgirlfriendâ€ infiltrated the Dutch Royal Family to send weapons to BiH and promote Islamic extremism.
You can see where General Delic is and where I am. That is visible. However, how many of Bosnia & Herzegovinaâ€™s leaders are intimidated by the threat of real and phony allegations in a state where the legal and political system serves other interests than that of its own people. How many have already been bought by outside money, blackmail or both.
There is probably an even more important impact on the development of BiHâ€™s constitution and institution as well as regional relations. There are indications that the security services in Belgrade and Banja Luka have sold themselves as partners in the war against â€œIslamic extremismâ€ to some foreign intelligence services. It is a bargain with apparent minimum cost to such western services, especially since BiH pays the price. The RS police and related institutions get to stay independent of BiH central control. Belgrade and Banja Luka get to feed real and false information to western intelligence services, particularly about their political enemies.
It will be too late by the time they separate the truth from lies, but if you shoot first, then the casualties will only be the â€œothers.â€
Bosnjaci.net: Some might see all this as a bit hopeless?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Letâ€™s thank Darko for making all of us more aware.
It will require all of us to be informed and not just react with disgust and frustration. When we are singled out as targets of abuse, half truths and lies, we must not shrink but be encouraged as people and institutions to react. When you are attacked understand it as a badge of honor.
Iâ€™m proud that KBSA has been targeted by Trifunovic.
Iâ€™m encouraged that Darko must defend himself by name with the information and challenges coming through Bosnjaci.net.
I congratulate the â€œMothers of the Enclaves Srebrenica and Zepaâ€ that they keep our international guests honest, and demand from them, of Mr. Rafi Gregorian through their open letter of January 4, 2008, for objective treatment beyond religious labels.
Esad, I think we all must be committed to having integrity, more so about our views. Trifunovic is a great example of how prejudice and lies can be sought for propaganda, and how it can come back to strike back those who launch such weapons.
My Serb friends do not have to agree with me all the time, but I will also not allow the Darkos of the world to lead a reformulation of the truth. We cannot allow the Darkos to affect our capacity to see Serbs objectively or to work toward a better shared future. Here, the Serb people must understand Darko to be as much an enemy to their image and long term credibility in molding a common future. Good Muslims are always asked to speak out against the â€œradical Muslims or would be terrorists.â€ That is fair indeed in defending the name Muslim. The Serbs must also defend their good name against people like Darko Trifunovic. It is my unfortunate opinion that Darko has been given too much standing by Banja Luka and Belgrade leadership, but also in Sarajevo and western capitals. They all should show good judgment as well as integrity in addressing Darko Trifunovicâ€™s access.
Well, that is up to others. What is in our power to do? We must hold ourselves to a higher ideal. We cannot resort to actions or rhetoric just because others do it against us. We must be objective about our faults and mistakes. We need not be perfect, but must be prepared to see our own faults. The truth is on our side, and the reflection should not scare us. However, this story evidences how important it is not to allow your enemies to project the image that they want for you.
The truth that exists in most peopleâ€™s mind is that which is projected to them. Truth does not flow into everyoneâ€™s head like the oxygen that we share. We must guard the legacy of Bosnia & Herzegovina, its people and its values and history, and I thank you Esad and Bosnjaci.net for your contributions.
Bosnjaci.net: Is there a criminal or judicial process to be undertaken with respect to Trifunovic? On only does he negate genocide, but he also grabbed citizenship and official function from BiH through fraud. (Identity theft)>
Ambassador Sacirbey: Correct! The latter is violation of criminal law that is very serious in western states and BiH because it can conceal terrorist activity and perpetrators. When dealing with the issue of negating genocide, western states, like Germany, have adopted laws prohibiting Holocaust rejectionism as well as hate crimes. We must work that such laws are interpreted as or amended to include the genocide of Srebrenica, since the two international courts in The Hague have already so judged.
On this basis, Darko could find himself behind bars or at least barred from entry into those states.
Again, Iâ€™m not at all confident that we can rely upon the BiH authorities for this. This will be left up to NGOs such as KBSA and the Mothers of the Enclave of Srebrenica and Zepa. This is in our hands, and Bosnjaci.net is already doing its part. Thank you!