Dr. Darryl Li, a professor at the University of Chicago, defended his doctoral dissertation at Harvard University on the topic of foreign warriors in BiH, their motives, roles and their connection with terrorist organizations, and he is preparing a book on the same topic that will be based on the abovementioned doctoral dissertation.
While working on his research, Dr. Li learned both Bosnian and Arabic language, which enabled him to directly talk to many foreign warriors who participated in the war in BiH.
“For majority of foreign volunteers, the war in BiH was their very first and last jihad. Large number of them had no past in the field of Islamic politics. The others came from Arabian Gulf states. In the period before 11 September 2001, the idea to travel abroad in order to help fellow Muslims in the fight against non-Muslims, for example in BiH and Afghanistan, was not considered as criminal or against their own regime or the West. Also, there were individuals who fought in the war in BiH and who had experience with armed Islamist groups or who later joined them somewhere else,” said Dr. Li.
When asked about the information from Serbian and Croatian media that the former President of the Presidency of the RBiH, Alija Izetbegovic, brought foreign warriors, worked on their training, and all of that with the purpose of the so-called islamization of this area.
“My research shows that foreign volunteers came on their own initiative and they spoke to President Izetbegovic, and not the other way around. The priority of the Government in Sarajevo during the war was the abolition of embargo on imports of arms and obtaining diplomatic and financial assistance. The Army of RBiH had plenty of men. There were tensions at the very beginning between foreign warriors on one side and the Army of RBiH on the other.
“Yes, I am completely rejecting the attempts of Serbian and Croatian media to make it look like Bosniak politicians are responsible for everything foreign mujahideen did, including the war crimes committed by mujahideen. And yes, I understand that the West is putting a large pressure on Bosniaks to prove themselves as “good” Muslims, i.e. white and harmless. But, it is important that we stick to the facts, even when they are confusing,” concluded Dr. Li.