Islamic revival in the Balkans
Baylouny, Anne Marie
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The stance of the Balkans towards global Islamic extremism has been much discussed, but little subject to substantive comparative inquiry. In this thesis I utilize social movement theory to analyze the relation between Islamic revivalism and the global Salafi jihad in the Balkans. Comparing Bosnia and Bulgaria, I not only demonstrate the various manifestations of these phenomena but also argue for a differentiated case-by-case approach when implementing the suggested analytical framework. I effectively show that the process of Islamic revivalism is mainly an imported phenomena maintained through the financial and ideological support from the Middle East. I also prove that there is no causal relationship between the Islamic revivalism and global Salafi jihad. Yet, the findings of the case studies caution against the possibility of structural and ideological convergence of the two phenomena that could effectively lead to the emergence of permissive environment for the spread of global Salafi jihad. I also argue that the current Islamic revival poses security threat to the region due to its potential of developing into viable Islamic movements on the ground. I conclude that to counter such security implications, the Balkan governments need to revisit their policies and adopt a proactive approach qualitatively different from the US Global War on Terror strategic framework.
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