by Michael J. Totten
I’ll have a proper-length dispatch published here shortly, and in the meantime here’s a short one for you to chew on over at Commentary.
“Lee Smith laments”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/05/more-from-the-l.php that American Muslims have to read almost exclusively about scary Muslims and slightly less scary Muslims in the mainstream American media. “One can only sympathize with American Muslims,” he writes,
those who may or may not be religious, but surely have no attachment to the obscurantist fanatics that drove them from the region, and must now be wondering what is wrong with the New York Times that the only Muslims that register with the paper of record are very scary ones, and less scary ones.
I have noticed and been annoyed by this tendency myself, and it goes double today: I’m writing this from the capital of Kosovo, the least “scary” Muslim country on Earth. I’ve grown accustomed to moderate Muslims after living in and traveling to places like Beirut and Istanbul, but Kosovo is surprising even to me. Islam in this country is so thoroughly liberal (“moderate” doesn’t quite cover it) that, if it weren’t for the mosques, there would be no visible evidence that Kosovo is a Muslim country at all. I’ve been in Prishtina, the capital, for four days, and I can count the number of women I’ve seen wearing a hijab on one hand. Aside from the conservative dating culture, women here are as liberated as Christian women in the rest of the Balkan region.
A large number of Kosovo’s Muslims are Sufis–the most peaceful and the least fundamentalist of all the world’s Muslims. Sufis can be found in many parts of the Islamic world, but here in Kosovo they proudly proclaim that they are the most “progressive” of all.
Soft-imperial Wahhabis are trying to export their brand of Islam from the deserts of Saudi Arabia to this fertile green land. They have their work cut out for them with this crowd. Bosnia notoriously welcomed thousands of Salafist mujahideen fighters from the Arab world during Yugoslavia’s violent demise. But the Kosovo Liberation Army brusquely told them to stay the hell out of their country–even while they faced an ethnic cleansing campaign directed from Belgrade.
“Read the rest in Commentary”:http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/this-is-a-kosovar-muslim-11372.