La geopolitica delle popolazioni musulmane balcaniche tra minaccia del fondamentalismo islamico e prospettiva di integrazione europea


  • Federico Maria Bega


Area balcanica, Popolazioni musulmane, Fondamentalismo islamico, Islam, Terrorismo internazionale


ABSTRACT - For many years, the Western world has completely forgotten the historical and secular presence of the Muslim population in the Balkan region, today consisting of almost eight millions inhabitants with an heterogeneous and widespread distribution. First the breakup of the inter-ethnic conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1992, later on the war in the province of Kosovo, in 1999, brought them up to the top of the international agenda. The recent years situation has opened the way for a new reflection and deeper analysis on the Muslim heritage of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan re- gion. Nevertheless, this new chance has been strongly influenced by the anti-Islamic propaganda of the Global war on terrorism (Gwot), i.e. the US reaction towards the September 11, 2001 coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda to the World trade center in New York City and to the Pentagon in Arlington. The escalation of the Balkan region’s negative image began when several Western media founded, in the spectrum of the Islamic threat as well as in the presence of the Al- Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, the occasion to identify the Balkan region as the eternal source of the Western troubles. The suspicions arose in the years between 1993 and 1999 by the several thousands of mujaheddı¯n coming from the Middle East and the North Africa, devoted to the jiha¯d and active in that period in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo. The Western intelligence sources identified a strong connection between the Balkan nexus, on one side, and the 9/11 attacks in New York City, the terrorist bombings against the Cercanías system of Madrid, on 11 March 2004, and to the London’s public transport system, on 7 July 2005, on the other side. As a result, the Balkan region is now often considered as the springboard and the freeway for the terrorism, the organized crime and the trafficking activities as well as the Al-Qa¯’ida training center and the launching pad for the suicide bombing attacks in Europe. Consequently, the Balkan Muslim population is depicted as an Islamic fundamentalist homogeneous and stable whole, surrounding the Christian Catholic and Orthodox population with a the territorial continuity across the region, called the green corridor. From an historical point of view, Isla¯m in the Balkans is not the result of recent emigration, but of demographic and religious changes which took place during the Ottoman period, since the XIVth to the early XXth centuries. Belonging to four main and distinct ethnic and linguistic groups, the Balkan Muslims do not form a homogeneous and unified community. They are very diverse and heterogeneous on ethnic-national, socio-political and even religious levels. That’s why there’s not a unique and undifferentiated Muslim community. In many cases, Isla¯m in the Balkans is only a culture, more collective rather than individual; in other cases is a religious creed and confession; in other cases is also a politic ideology. But the emergence of the Balkan Muslim populations as autonomous political actors has not itself represented a treath for the West and a precondition for the terroristic movements.Considering the secular tradition of its moderate Muslims, the Balkan peninsula is a geostrategical bridge connecting the Europe and the Isla¯m, the West and the Isla¯m, a laboratory for the process of Euro-Mediterranean integration. The region is giving to the West the opportunity to better discover and understand this culture and civilization. RÉSUMÉ - La population musulmane dans la région des Balkans – à peu près huit millions d’habitants distribués un peu partout et d’une manière inégale – est devenue l’objet d’une nouvelle attention à la suite des événements de Septembre 11, 2001 qui ont déclenché la Global war on terrorism (Gwot) et excite une véhémente propagande anti-islamique. Compte tenu du rôle joué en Bosnie-Herzégovine entre 1993 et 1999 par des milliers de mujaheddı¯n venus du Moyen Oriente et de l’Afrique du Nord et des informations récoltés par les services occidentaux sur une forte connexion existante entre le Balkan nexus et le terrorisme international, les media ont diffu sé une image négative de la population musulmane des Balkans et ont conçu la thèse d’un green corridor de fondamentalisme islamique qui traverserait la région, cernant de toutes parts la population chrétienne, catholique et orthodoxe. L’Auteur trace brièvement l’histoire de cette population pendant la période ottoman pour montrer que les musulmans des Balkans appartiennent à des groupes ethniques et linguistiques differents et qu’ils ne peuvent pas être considérés comme une communauté unique, sous le profil religieux non plus. Ayant une tradition de modératisme, qui remonte dans les siècles, au lieu de représenter une menace pour l’Occident ils pourraient plutôt apparaître, si mieux connus, comme des partenaires valables dans le processus d’intégration Euro-Méditerranéenne.



How to Cite

Bega, F. M. (2008). La geopolitica delle popolazioni musulmane balcaniche tra minaccia del fondamentalismo islamico e prospettiva di integrazione europea. Rivista Di Studi Politici Internazionali, 74(4), 526–538. Retrieved from