Kosovo citizens condemn ISIL execution by their own citizen


Such images go against the human feelings of everyone, except for the extremists, a Kosovo analyst said.

By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 11/08/14


Lavdrim Muhaxheri (right) is fighting for ISIL in Iraq and Syria. His beheading of a young Shia boy evoked outrage in the Muslim community. [info.ks.net]

Muslims throughout the region are condemning the actions of a Kosovo extremist who joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and posted photographs of himself on Facebook beheading a young Shia boy.

Photos taken from the Facebook account of Lavdrim Muhaxheri from Kacanik, a small town at the Kosovo border with Macedonia, made headlines in the local media and caused harsh reactions from citizens, politicians and imams.

Shefqet Krasniqi, imam of the great mosque in Pristina, told Kosovo-based Politiko.net that he was horrified to see the photos. "God protect us from such people," he said.

Another imam, Zuhdi Hajzeri, said that Muhaxheri's horrific actions are not an act of Islam, and criticised teachers and imams that are implanting a spirit of hate "Addressing the teachers of the Arkan of Kosovo, Lavdrim. You, teachers of Lavdrim and other Lavdrims, you are not Muslim, you are not human beings, you are devils," he wrote on Facebook.

The only head-scarfed MP in the Kosovo parliament, Labinote Demi-Murtezi, said that the "un-human gesture" deeply hurt the souls and pride of the people. "The Albanian people of Islam religion as well as the Albanians of other religions have been known for the religious tolerance, unprecedented humanity and clear consciousness. We remain as such to the last breath," she wrote on Facebook.

Gezim Kelmendi, an MP from the Kosovo Party of Justice, also took to Facebook after learning of the execution: "He (Lavdrim Muhaxheri) with this crime has testified that except for his ignorance, he is (also) a murderer and a big enemy of Islam, of Kosovo, and the Albanians in general."

ISIL militants crossed the border from Syria to Iraq, moving fast in a brutal military campaign in northern Iraq, capturing Mosul, Tikrit and further to Sinjar, where tens of thousands of people were forced to be displaced. Thousands, mostly women and children, fled in the Kurdistan region. The extremists have taken over huge parts of Syria and Iraq and are threatening Lebanon and Turkey.

Isa Mustafa, the head of the Democratic League of Kosovo expressed his concern saying that the religion is being manifested by "individuals that instead of the mission of trust in God and love for humanity, plant religious and gender hate, kill people and cut heads, calling upon Allah."

"The picture presents a ghoulish act. It is certainly a product of an extremism and radicalism of a part of young Kosovo Albanians who are included in the branches of terrorist organisations fighting under sign of ISIL in Syria and Iraq," Serbeze Isufi of Kosovo told SETimes.

"Regardless, the ideology and the way that ISIL propagates isn’t shared by the majority of others in Kacanik and in Kosovo in general. Again, it shows an increasing threat, which is very serious," Isufi added.

Burim Ramadani, former MP in the Kosovo parliament and a security expert, said that the terrorist acts show the danger of extremist ideology.

"The murder of women and children and cutting their throats are terrorist acts. Nothing less," he said.

Valon Murtezaj, a Kosovo professor teaching in Paris, also voiced concern. Murtezaj told SETimes that those crimes have nothing to do with religion.

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"Those are horrible crimes that should be punished from everyone. Kosovo should as soon as possible submit the adequate legislation that prevents and fights terrorism," Murtezaj said

Muhaxheri's horrible act made the citizens react collectively by asking Facebook to remove his account, which was eventually done and hailed by them. They also created a new Facebook account called "One million against Lavdrim Muhaxheri."

Such images go against the human feelings of everyone, except for the extremists, Seb Bytyci, executive director of the Balkan Policy Institute in Pristina, said. "The terrorists use such images for two reasons, to show to their supporters/financers that they are doing a good job and to attract followers. These are shocking to us, but they are not shocking to the extremists because they operate with another moral compass," Bytyci told SETimes.

What was your reaction to the photos and Muhaxheri’s actions? Add your thoughts in the comment space below.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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