The Anglo-American “card” played here can also be seen as an attempt at ingratiation against the uncertain future. Nationalistic fissures were already happening in Yugoslavia after the death of Tito (1980). As a minority within the Yugoslav Federation Bosnian Muslims did not particularly cultivate any foreign power. A Democratic Yugoslavia as a satellite of the Anglo-Saxon power seemed to offer the best possible local solution. It is interesting to note that the text of Izetbegovic is replete with criticism of socialism and materialism while it is circumspect toward capitalism, the Anglo-Saxon economic system. In contrast to the earlier and more provocative Islamic Declaration, the volume on Islam between East and West recognizes a priori that the Bosnian Muslims cannot orbit out of the Balkans in which they will always be a demographic minority. For this inalterable reason, the “unveiling” of a “third way” at the volume devoted to the elevation of Islam above all other “ways” needs to be perceived as an appeal for a post-communist transformation of all the then-Yugoslav ethno-religious societies. The “model” here cannot come from Islam as a local minority religion. It can and should be derived from the Anglo-Saxon antecedents. This is entirely in accordance with the central “balancing principle” which seeks to prevent a confrontation of rigid Christianity and zealotic Islam, the worst possible scenario.
A resurrection of Islamic humanism, beyond the purely theoretic framework, coupled with the advent of Democracy in all the parts of ex-Yugoslavia, would go a long way to heal the wounds of a most violent and very recent fratricidal past in which no one can claim any saints amid the sea of sinners on all sides. In both Islam and Christianity politics intersect with religion. It could hardly be otherwise. But their useful social and economic interaction becomes terribly skewed when religion is made the captive of politics and when politics -as “art of the possible”- is abandoned through sublimation with religious zeal. The torment in Ireland, so close to the Anglo-Saxon world, especially through its Anglo-Irish, is a most telling case in point. To the extent that Islam between East and West means what it is signalling for the future of all South Slavs there is a glimmer of hope. There remains, however, a monumental and not easily disposable danger. It does not come strictly from inside although there is a strong connection. The danger comes from outside interference from other Muslim countries. The strong support for the deconstruction of the Yugoslav idea, coming from Germany and the Vatican (in what some have called the “eternal return”) produced the will in Slovenia and Croatia to exit unilaterally from the Federation. The same support solidified both internationally as independent states. But, without this heavily assisted break-up there would not have been a civil war within the ex-Yugoslavia, suddenly transformed into international ‘conflicts by strokes of pen. In seeking to “unify” Bosnia under their control will the Bosnian Muslims succumb entirely to materialism by collecting endless funds from Islamic states while responding at home to the real mission of Shi’ite agents more than welcome by the local “revanchists”? Time will tell.
( 1 )While Izetbegovic is the announced author of the present text there is sufficient internal evidence to suggest a collective work which represents the view of the elite Bosnian Muslims in the years immediately after the death of Tito in 1980. This makes the text even more valuable.
(2)R.K.Kent, “The Soviet Muslims, the Arab World and the Myth of Synthesis,” Journal of International Affairs (Columbia University), 1959.
(3)Cf. Bernard Lewis, The Muslim Discovery of Europe. (London and New York, 1982).
(4)The definitive work on this subject is David Owen’s Balkan Odyssey (New York 1995).
(5)No one has surpassed Majid Khadduri’s volume on peace and war in Islamic jurisprudence and philosophy. He clearly debunks the myth that exertion (juhd) in God*s path is to be solely translated into armed conflicts.
(6)See the Concise Encyclopaedia of Arabic Civilization- The Arab East, (New York, 1960). It is worth noting here that the work of conternporary Sh’ia missionaries in Bosnia is an exact replay of an old tradition. See especially pp. 486~487. For an excellent and comprehensive report on the Sunni and the Shi’a see the Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam (The Netherlands, 1953) especially pp. 534-541 (extensive bibliography, p. 541 in small print), and pp.552-553. See also the entry on Islam, pp. 176-178.
(7)For an accessible French-language ”Declaration Islamique” see Dossier Yugoslave - Les Texts Cles Dialogue 2/3, September 1992, (Supplement).
(8)The United States is undergoing a transformation which is much debated already but one in which the Anglo-Saxon heritage is being deconstructed although it is still strong in law and in the written Constitution. See Michael Lind‘ s, The Next American Nation-The New Nationalism & the Fourth American Revolution, (Free Press Ppbcks., New York, 1995 and 1996).