Belgrade, 6 Nov. (AKI) - Wahhabi Muslim fundamentalists over the weekend provoked a shooting in a mosque in the southern Serbian city of Novi Pazar in which three people were wounded and two arrested. The incident took place late on Friday, when a group of Wahabists disrupted religious services in Novi Pazar's Arab-mosque, attacking a local imam and trying to impose their 'pure' form of rites. The police said one of the faithful attending services, Habib Fijuljanin, 33, pulled out a gun and fired two warning shots in the ceiling. Another worshipper, Izet Fijuljanin, 37, then opened fire on three Wahabists in front of the mosque when they attacked him and started demolishing his car, police said.
While accounts of the course of events varied, police said both Fijuljanins were detained, and there were traces of blood inside and outside the mosque. The police didn’t release the names of the three wounded, believed to be Wahabists, but said charges were pressed against 16 individuals who took part in the incidents.
Novi Pazar is cultural and business centre of the predominantly Muslim-populated Sandzak region, and has only in the past few years felt the presence of Wahabists. Sandzak mufti Muamer Zukorlic has said the numbers of Wahabists are still negligible, though incidents such as that in the mosque this weekend have been on rise.
The wahhabist movement got a foothold in the Balkans during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 civil war when thousands mujahadeen or fighters from Muslim countries came to give military support to local Muslims. Hundreds have remained in the country, indoctrinating local youths with radical Islam.
Wahabists can easily be recognised by their breeches and long beards, and their insistence that women wear a face veil. The number of their followers has slowly but steadily been on the rise in Bosnia, in Muslim areas of Serbia such as Sandzak and Kosovo, as well as in some parts of Montenegro.