The spread of Islamic extremism in the Republic of Macedonia
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This thesis identifies and discusses the spread of Islamic extremism as a potential threat to the Republic of Macedonia. It examines how Islamic extremism spread within the Republic of Macedonia and what policies could reverse this trend. The main research findings include the following. Major political, economic, and legal changes in Macedonia have provided fertile ground for nontraditional Islamic ideologies. Although adherents to radical Islamic ideologies in Macedonia have used NGOs and charities as mobilizing structures, they were not able to create their own organization. For most Muslims in Macedonia, critiques and visions of contemporary radical Islamic ideologues are problematic. Findings also suggest that Muslims in Macedonia are most vulnerable to individual recruitment; the attempts of local Islamic extremists to mobilize a greater number of followers for collective action were unsuccessful. In Macedonia, Islamic extremist ideologies are not a reaction to secularism and modernism, nor do they defend religion. Thus, their activities in Macedonia can be categorized as forms of potential or marginal fundamentalism. This thesis suggests that nurturing a culture of questioning and debating may counter radical Islamic ideologies. Other policy recommendations for counterterrorism measures include fighting organized crime and application of social network analysis concepts.
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