From April of 1992 until December of 1995 the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was wracked by a vicious war and brutality not witnessed on the European continent since the atrocities of Nazi Germany during World War II.
The Bosnian War was primarily a war over territory between Serbian forces on one side and the ethnic Muslim Bosniaks on the other side. The Croats were also interested in gaining parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of a Greater Croatia.
The battles between the Serbs, Croats and the Bosniaks resulted in brutality that reached a new level with bitter fighting including the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas and cities and ethnic cleansing and mass rape conducted primarily by the Serbs, but also committed by the Croats. There were also retaliatory depredations committed by the Bosniak forces.
The Siege of Sarajevo and the massacre in Srebrenica became highly publicized events in the war which garnered a great deal of media attention and ultimately contributed to the rest of the world taking notice of what was happening in the former Yugoslavia.
During 2013 I worked closely with Bosnian authorities in Sarajevo and there was a great deal of concern about the Wahhabi Muslims, an extremist sect of Islam who came to Bosnia to fight with the Bosniaks during the war. Many of those same Wahhabi’s chose to remain in Bosnia after the war.
Since the end of the war and the on-going long drawn out attempt at reconstruction, these Wahhabi’s have begun to assert influence on many of the Bosnian Muslims who have experienced high unemployment and have been saddled with inept and corrupt government officials. (Hmmmmm, sounds vaguely familiar.)
In recent years isolated bombings have occurred which Bosnian authorities are concerned might continue to escalate. The fear of more and more serious acts of terrorism echo throughout the Bosnian government and Bosnian law enforcement and security officials.
Just a few years ago a member of the Bosnian Wahhabi community stopped his vehicle in front of the U.S. Embassy and stepped out and began to spray our embassy with automatic weapons fire from an AK-47. A couple of dozen Bosnian law enforcement officers from a variety of agencies were watching as this attack went on for twenty or so minutes. Finally the Bosnian government decided who had jurisdiction and a police sniper was eventually able to shoot and wound the individual, bringing the attack to an end.
There have also been a number of bombings at Bosnian police stations around the country. And as with our own critical infrastructure here in America the Bosnian infrastructure and public services are extremely vulnerable to attack.
As we have always done in this country, America opened our doors and our hearts to the Bosniaks, welcoming thousands of Bosnian Muslims to our communities and rescuing them from the barbarity that had occurred in their native land during the war.
St. Louis currently maintains the largest Bosnian immigrant community in the entire United States, with some 70,000 residing in the Greater St. Louis area. Most are Bosnian Muslims, but there are a few Croat Catholics and Serb Orthodox as well.
While many of the Bosnians have gone on to assimilate into our communities and become valued members of the ‘melting pot’ that makes up our great nation, the recent news of the arrests in St. Louis and Illinois of Bosnian immigrants on terrorism charges for providing material support to the Islamic terrorist group ISIS reminds us once again that not all people coming to this country should be welcomed with open arms.
With our porous borders allowing anyone with a jug of water and some determination or enough money to pay someone to facilitate their entry into this country, the United States continues to be vulnerable to the potential of terrorists entering America illegally with the intent to commit attacks, including mass casualty attacks against our countrymen.
What is far more troubling to me is that some of the people we have openly welcomed into our communities, be they Bosnian, Mexican, Somali, or from elsewhere in the Middle East, have taken up arms against America, the nation that took them in.
The time is long past due for this country to secure our borders to reduce the flood of illegal immigration. And we need to demand the assimilation and loyalty of any immigrants who come to this country legally to live. Americans from many countries and cultures came here years ago and became Americans, and have helped to make us great. We should expect no less of our newest immigrants.
There is no place for “no go zones” nor the practice of any other law than what is laid out in the Constitution of the United States of America. America doesn’t need a “fundamental transformation”. Why would anyone want to do that to the “Greatest nation on the face of the earth” ?