The International Herald Tribune is reporting, today, that three of the Albanians involved in the plot to assault Ft. Dix in New Jersey are not from Kosovo, but from Macedonia. The story says they are from the city of Debar, in western Macedonia.
Experts on Albania and the Albanian-American community said they were surprised at the ethnicity of the suspects.
Fred Abrahams of Human Rights Watch said, "Albanians on the whole are so very over-the-top pro-American that this news came as a shock."
The 1999 American-led bombing of Serbia resulted in de facto independence for Kosovo, a majority Albanian province in Serbia that had been the scene of brutal repression by the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. One of the main thoroughfares in Pristina, Kosovo's capital, was renamed "Bill Clinton Boulevard."
In Macedonia, Argitim Fida, mayor of the Dukas' home village, said that on Sept. 11, 2001, students had a candlelight vigil in the town's main square. The town council in Debar, which has a population of about 15,000, set a special meeting for Thursday to discuss how to respond to the arrests.
"If Albanians are traditionally pro-American, we in Debar have to be more pro-American than anyone," Mayor Fida said. "Almost every family here has relatives living in the United States."
I'm not trying to be an apologist for these men, but the Western media has a tendency to damn all Muslims, regardless of any other factors. Many in the American "Christian" media are perpetuating the myth that an independent Kosovo would become a fundamentalist Islamist state. They are using this event to give credence to that agenda.
I'm looking forward to continuing to learning more about this situation, and trying to explain it here.