Destruction of Islamic Heritage in the Kosovo War, 1998-1999

More than two-thirds of the 560 active mosques in Kosovo on the eve of the 1998-1999 war were buildings dating from the Ottoman era. Many of these were monuments of historical and architectural significance. However, this part of Kosovo’s cultural and religious heritage received relatively little attention from the state authorities charged with the protection of monuments. Between 1947 and 1990, a total of 425 monuments and sites in Kosovo were officially designated for state protection. These included 96 archaeological sites, 16 cemeteries, 116 secular buildings and monuments, and 174 religious sites. Of the last category, 139 were Orthodox churches or monasteries, while only 32 Islamic religious monuments had been listed for protection. Since listed sites received priority in attention and in conservation funding from state agencies, this meant that by the 1990s much of Kosovo’s Islamic built heritage was in a dilapidated state, after decades of neglect. In practice, the authorities not only failed to provide the funds and expertise needed for the preservation of these historic houses of worship, they allowed even listed Islamic monuments to be altered or demolished without intervening. The years of peacetime neglect were followed by the massive wartime destruction of Kosovo’s Islamic religious heritage in 1998-1999. As has been documented in this book, roughly 40 percent of Kosovo’s 560 mosques were damaged or destroyed during the war.

The damage in most cases was clearly the result of deliberate attacks directed against the mosques. There is evidence of explosives planted in the mosque or inside the minaret, of artillery projectiles aimed at the minaret, and of mosques set ablaze. In some places, the mosque was the only building in the vicinity that had been singled out for attack. More often, the destruction of a mosque was accompanied by the burning of the surrounding homes of the local Albanian residents. The devastation of Islamic sacral sites was widespread and systematic, with few areas of Kosovo left untouched. Among the worst hit was the northwestern region of Peja/Peć, where every one of 49 Islamic sites was attacked in 1998 and 1999. Among the sites targeted were the region’s 36 mosques (half of them dating from the 15th-18th centuries), the offices, archives and library of the Islamic Community Council of Peja, a historic medresa, a 15th-century hamam (Turkish baths), 9 schools for Qur’an readers (mekteb), a dervish lodge (tekke), and several mosque libraries

In some places, those responsible for these attacks had left behind their “signatures”— in the form of anti-Albanian and anti-Islamic graffiti in Serbian scrawled on mosque walls, or in the deliberate desecration of Islamic sacred scriptures, torn apart by hand, defiled and burned. Examples of this sort could be seen in the Gjylfatyn Mosque in Peja, the Mosque of Carraleva/Crnoljevo, the Mosque of Livoç i Poshtëm/Donji Livoč, and the Mosque of Stanofc i Poshtëm, and in a number of other mosques. Of the 218 mosques and 11 tekkes in Kosovo that were destroyed or damaged during the war, 22 mosques and 8 tekkes were in the most severe damage categories. Among these, 13 mosques and 5 tekkes were completely razed, the ruins levelled by bulldozer; 9 mosques and 3 tekkes were reduced to rubble, but the ruins were not bulldozed. Among examples of completely levelled Islamic houses of worship are the Bazaar Mosque (built 1761-62; renewed 1878) in Vushtrria/Vučitrn, the Ibër Mosque (built 1878) in Mitrovica, the Mosque of Halil Efendi in Dobërçan/Dobrčane (1526), the Mosque of Loxha (1900), and the historic Bektashi tekke in Gjakova/Đakovica (1790).

An additional 95 mosques suffered lesser degrees of damage, ranging from shell holes in the walls, through the roof or in the shaft of the minaret, to vandalism, including fires set inside the mosque, smashed-up interior furnishings, and the desecration of sacred scriptures. A total of 31 mosques and 2 tekkes (dervish lodges) were attacked by Serb forces during the first year of the war, in the spring and summer of 1998. Two-thirds of these religious buildings were burned down, blown up or otherwise destroyed or seriously damaged. Ten of the mosques that were damaged during 1998 were subjected to repeat attacks and further damage during the spring of 1999. During the second year of the war in 1999, a total of 197 mosques and 9 tekkes in Kosovo were damaged or destroyed by Serb forces. One mosque, in the village of Jabllanica (Prizren region), had its roof partly destroyed by a NATO air strike in the spring of 1999. Otherwise, the destruction of mosques and of other Islamic heritage in Kosovo during the war was entirely attributable to attacks from the ground, carried out by Serbian troops, police and paramilitaries, and in some cases by Serb civilians.

The destruction also encompassed the written record of Islamic religious and cultural life in Kosovo. The Central Historical Archives of the Islamic Community of Kosovo were burned by Serbian police in June 1999, hours before the arrival of the first NATO troops in Prishtina. Six of the regional archives of the Islamic Community were also attacked and wholly or partially destroyed, among them the archives of the Islamic Community Councils in Peja/Peć, Gjakova/Đakovica, Gllogoc/Glogovac, Lipjan, Peja/Peć, Skenderaj/Srbica, and Suhareka. Kosovo’s Islamic religious libraries were also singled out for destruction. Notable losses include the manuscripts and old books of the library of Hadum Syleiman Efendi in Gjakova/Đakovica, founded in 1595 and burned in 1999, as well as the libraries of dervish lodges in Gjakova/Đakovica, Mitrovica and Peja/Peć, also destroyed in 1999. However, the losses go far beyond this. Many old mosques in Kosovo had been endowed with collections of Qur’an manuscripts and Islamic religious books that were destroyed or damaged in 1998-1999Remarkably, not a single Serb Orthodox church or monastery in Kosovo was damaged or destroyed by Albanians during the 1998-1999 conflict. Unfortunately that changed after the end of the war, as thousands of Albanian refugees who had been forced out of Kosovo during the war returned to their burned-out home towns and villages. Following the end of hostilities in June 1999, dozens of Serb Orthodox churches and monasteries were damaged in revenge attacks. Some 40 Serb Orthodox sites were vandalized, while another 40 suffered serious structural damage or were destroyed completely. Many of these buildings were village churches, some of them built during the previous decade. But about 15 to 20 of the destroyed churches dated from the medieval period.By the end of the summer of 1999, as a result of the efforts of KFOR and the UN administration to restore order, and in response to public appeals by Kosovo Albanian political and religious leaders, attacks on Serb Orthodox religious sites largely ceased.

“This book is an attempt to document, to the extent possible, the Islamic sacral heritage of Kosovo that was lost during the 1998-1999 war. As Kosovo and its people come to terms with the painful memories of the recent past and work towards a common future it is well to recall that, for most of Kosovo’s long history, houses of worship were protected by all communities and had traditionally been held immune from personal and communal vendettas. The rich cultural heritage that remains in Kosovo, despite the ravages of time and the destruction of war, is the common patrimony of all of Kosovo’s people. It is up to them, as it was up to their forefathers, to jointly value and preserve it for future generations.“  - Destruction of Islamic Heritage in the Kosovo War, 1998-1999, by Sabri Bajgora

1. Mitrovica. Tekke (dervish lodge) of Sheh Fejzullah. Destroyed in spring 1999.
2. Vushtrria. Gazi Ali Beg Mosque, its minaret blown away by tank cannon
3. Peja/Peć. The Market Mosque (1471), torched by Serbian policemen, June 1999.
4. Mushtisht/Mušutište. Mosque of Hasan Pasha (1702). Blown up in April 1999.
5. Deçan. Mosque, built like a kulla; the mosque was burned in the 1999 war.
6. Carraleva/Crnoljevo. Torn-up and desecrated Qur’ans in the village mosque.


I’m so upset, angry and just completely disgusted about this story!

Matthew Durham, 19, allegedly confessed to sexually assaulting several children at an orphanage in Kenya, police said. (Credit: KFOR)

An Edmond teenager faces a possible life in prison sentence after authorities say they learned about shocking crimes he allegedly committed on an African mission trip.

The suspect was volunteering at a Kenyan children’s home when he allegedly raped and molested a number of young children.

According to court records, 19-year-old Matthew Durham confessed to raping several young girls, forcing some boys to perform oral sex on him and even making other kids watch.

“This is a young man in our community that made choices to exploit children in an orphanage,” said United States Attorney Sanford Coats. “It’s a true tragedy all the way around.”

The 19-year-old suspect traveled overseas with a group called Upendo.

Upendo is an organization that assists neglected Kenyan kids by providing food, housing, clothes and religion.

While Durham volunteered to travel overseas several times over the last two years, on his last visit, the criminal complaint alleges, “Durham requested to stay at the children’s home in an ‘overflow bunk’ rather than at an offsite facility.”

During that visit, several alleged victims claimed Durham “often touched them in a sexual manner or told them to touch themselves while he watched.”

Once confronted, Durham allegedly came clean.

“A caretaker at the orphanage noticed something wasn’t right and confronted Mr. Durham. He admitted to some of the acts,” said Coats.

The affidavit continues, “The victims are believed to be both boys and girls between the ages of four and nine, at least one of whom is HIV positive.”

Prosecutors say while the alleged sex crimes were committed overseas, Durham can be held accountable for the crimes in Oklahoma.

Durham is being held without bond.

anonymous asked:

If the Marvel writers are in maximum torture mode, Hela will presumably be using Yondu as a battle slave. Because gods know he'd spend his entire life shaking that off only to find himself straight back in the same position after death. - HSA

f u c k

For real though, I can honestly imagine something like this - although personally I reckon it will be Thanos reanimating Yondu and using him against the Guardians in Infinity War, rather than Hela. And that will hurt on so many levels and I will love it, and if Yondu is aware THE WHOLE TIME while Thanos is puppeteering I will flood the entire fucking cinema with my tears.

Protesters calling for the release of alleged Kosovar-Albanian prisoners of war. Their demands are made to KFOR, the NATO led international peace keeping force, in hope that they will influence the Yugoslavian government to release the prisoners. Urosevac, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, July 1999 © Stephen Blake Farrington

Operation Dynamic Manor

A soldier assigned to 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division prepares to engage protesters during a training mission at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany, Nov. 4. The Soldiers have spent the last few weeks honing their skills in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Kosovo Force (KFOR). (U.S. Army Photos by Spc. Adeline Witherspoon)          


Albanian Army soldiers with the 2nd Infantry Company, 2nd Infantry Battalion and U.S. Army Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division conducting crowd riot control training during a Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission rehearsal exercise (MRE) at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Feb. 27, 2016. 

The Sun Will Rise

By @nerdswillruletheworld

Ransom’s first crush is on his neighbor, Everett. They’re 7 years old, and the purest form of happiness Justin knows is when they’re riding their bikes down the hill by his house and Everett looks over at him before they really start gaining speed. The feeling in his stomach is not from going downhill but from the grin his best friend sends him as the sun sets behind his head.

The deepest sadness Justin knows at 8 years old is when Everett tells him that they can’t eat lunch together anymore because now he’s Jenna’s boyfriend, and he has to sit with her. Justin doesn’t like Jenna, and he thinks girls are kind of stupid anyway.

10 years later, Justin wishes for the simplicity of his first crush.

Meeting Adam Birkholtz doesn’t feel like riding his bike downhill as the sun sets… Holster feels like when you open the oven and see a fresh baked loaf of bread. You feel the heat and smell the comfort. Like home and the softest blanket. If you asked Ransom when he fell in love, he might say at first sight–or fistbump–or check. Or maybe he was in the middle before he realized he had begun to love his best friend in that way.

But you wouldn’t ask, because he would never tell. If there was one thing Ransom learned from liking Everett, it was that he should never love a straight boy. Or maybe he should just never love his best friend. He hadn’t decided which was worse: to love someone who would never love you back or to love someone who loved you back, but not in the same way. Either way, he wasn’t quite sure where he stood with Holster. After their first hockey season together, Ransom was gone on him.

“Bro, I found you The Perfect chick for you to take to Winter Screw!” Holster throws his arm around Ransom’s shoulder. “Listen, I’m taking this girl named April. She’s on the volleyball team–super fit, and super into me. Lucky kfor you, her best friend March is single and ready for someone exactly like you to keep her busy–” Holster adds a wink for emphasis. “–during the dance. You down?”

“Haha yeah!” Ransom says, exactly like you would read a text that says “haha” with its hollow meaning and unenthusiasm, but Holster can’t tell. He’s already moved onto explaining the idea he has to get Bitty to speed date half the soccer team before choosing a Screw date.

March is nice. And she is exactly Ransom’s type, which Ransom didn’t know Holster knew. She’s great–witty, energetic, and eager to please. She just–isn’t his best friend. She could talk to him about her psychology degree, or her favorite TV show, but she doesn’t know not to touch him during a panic attack and her favorite show is Scandal, not 30 Rock, and he doesn’t know how to explain why she doesn’t Fit, so he just keeps dating her into his senior year. Even though April and Holster had long since ended, Ransom hung onto March because she is safe and easy and still liked him, and for some reason, Holster kept encouraging the relationship.

“Jack calls Bitty more than you call March!” Holster says one day at breakfast. “I haven’t heard you guys talk in ages. Is everything still good with you two?”

“Yeah! Totally,” Ransom answers quickly, even though Holster is right.

“Good! You guys are, like, relationship goals,” Holster says.

He calls March that night and decides to end it. She’s even understanding about it, and blames it on the fact that she’s too far away at grad school, and he let her think that, and they parted cordially.

“How’s March?” Holster asks two weeks later.

“Uh… We broke up a couple weeks ago, Ransom answers.

"Bro! Why didn’t you tell me? No wonder you’ve been down lately! I should have known. Man, I’m sorry, bro.” He puts his hand on Ransom’s shoulder. “Wanna have a movie night and get wasted on light beer?”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Ransom grins, and for the thousandth time, blinds Holster with his incandescence.

The early morning hours of graduation day, Ransom stares at the ceiling of the attic for the last time. The clock flips to 2:17 a.m. And he feels the same chill that had greeted him at the same time every night for the past three years. He was used to the ghosts–Not ghosts…–by now, but for nostalgia’s sake, and, well, for his own selfish purposes, he whispers into the dark, “Holster..?”

“Yeah?” Holster’s answer comes immediately. He has been awake too.

“Uh. Something touched my butt again. I know it’s like one more night and all and I should just, like, chill about it, but… Do you think I could maybe come down there?”

He hates himself for allowing this indulgence. He hadn’t slept in Holster’s bunk since sophomore year, but he just needed this one last time. He grabs the corner of his comforter and drags it down the ladder after him. He squeezes into the twin size bed next to his best friend and drapes the blanket over his shoulders as he lies down next to his best friend.

They’re facing each other like they have hundreds of times before. “Rans?” Holster’s voice is as quiet as a breath.

“Yeah?” Ransom’s pulse thuds in this throat, and he’s not sure why. He swallows.

“Can I just say something without any judgement right now? It’s our last night at Samwell, and we’re going different places tomorrow. I’m not sure what’s gonna happen.”

“I’m the one who ran to his best friend’s bed when the threat of ghosts came groping, so there’s really no way for me to judge you at this point.” Ransom can see Holster’s eyes, now that his own have adjusted to the darkness. They’re close enough that he knows Adam can see him clearly, too.

Holster closes his eyes. “I love you,” he says. Ransom looks at Holster’s eyelashes and tries to count them. “I’m also, um. I’m also /in/ love with you.” He says it so quiet, like they’re in the middle of a sleepover, and Justin is 8 again, and thinking about grabbing Everett’s hand as they lie in their sleeping bags on his living room floor.

But this time he does it. He takes Adam’s hands in his own as Adam’s eyes flutter open. Justin looks at the lightness of the blue in his eyes and brings Adam’s knuckles to his lips.

He kisses each one, first on the left hand, then the right. Holster’s eyebrows raise, and he smiles when Ransom lets one hand find his cheek. “I love you, too. And I’m also /in/ love with you.”

The room is quiet around them as they feel the echoes of their words. Holster wraps his arm around Ransom’s waist and pulls their bodies closer until their foreheads are touching.

Ransom is going cross-eyed, trying to keep eye contact because if he looks away or closes his eyes, this might not be real. And then his lips touch Holster’s, and he forgets the smile of the boy who looked at him at sunset, and he forgets the silky laugh of the girl who tried to love him, and all he knows after 4 years of studying human anatomy and the way the body functions, is that when he kisses Holster, everything inside him turns into lava, and he knows the souls exists because there is nothing biological or chemical about his love for Adam.

His eyes have closed, and when he opens them, Holster is still there, looking at him like the sun just rose, and Justin can’t wait to start this new day.


To not have people confused anymore, here’s a walkthrough of the Swedish made Versions of the FN FNC.

From the top:

AK5(A). Called AK5A when AK5B was introduced.

The first versions of the Ak 5 family were made by the Swedish company FFV Ordnance AB (now part of Saab Bofors Dynamics) under license from FN, with deliveries starting in 1986. The Ak5 is still in the inventory of the Swedish Armed Forces, but is no longer issued to soldiers, having been replaced by the Ak 5C and Ak 5D. This version uses fixed iron sights, and the Swedish Armed Forces have estimated that the maximum practical distance is 400 meters, but it can be used at longer ranges. This brings it in line with the M16, using the Swedish Armed Forces definition of maximum practical distance.

As issued, the Ak 5 did not have a bayonet lug. A bayonet lug adaptor (using the Ak 4 bayonet) is fitted to some rifles for ceremonial duties, such as the Royal Guards at the Stockholm Palace.


The Ak 5B is the designated marksman version of the Ak 5. Modifications include fittings for a 4×25.5 SUSAT L9A1 tritium sight, a cheek pad on the buttstock, and removal of the iron sights. This weapon is typically carried by squad leaders. This version weighs 4.8 kg (without magazine) and 5.4 kg (with full magazine). Approximately 5200 of this version were made.


At the beginning of the 21st century the Swedish military wanted a more modern assault rifle for integration in a future Swedish soldier program. The rifle had to have a Rail Integration System, better ergonomics and improved reliability. Instead of purchasing a new assault rifle, Sweden opted to modify the existing Ak 5(B) rifle family already in use reducing program risks and costs.

Before the Ak 5C went into mass production, it was thoroughly evaluated. This was done by having certain units use an experimental model designated Ak 5CF where “F” stands for the Swedish word försök (in this context, experiment or trial). During the trial over 1 million rounds were fired and the rifles exhibited a Mean Rounds Between Stoppage value of 3,500. The test users found the test weapon too heavy and long so the barrel length was reduced to 350 mm to reduce overall weight and move the center of gravity closer to the user. These tests were completed in June 2005 and four months later, the FMV signed a contract with Saab Bofors Dynamics covering the modification of nearly 40,000 AK 5 assault rifles, which took the company approximately 4 years to implement. Serial deliveries were scheduled to begin in June 2006 and the Ak 5C was first issued to priority units serving in Afghanistan (ISAF), Chad (EUFOR Chad/CAR), and Kosovo (KFOR).

The Ak 5C is the modernized version of the original Ak 5, following the trend of modular weapons. One of the most significant improvements is the MIL-STD-1913 rail system to which a variety of different optics, lights and sights can be mounted, such as telescopic sights and image intensifiers. The double gas position, iron sights and bolt catch of the original Ak 5(B) rifle family were discarded and the surface finish is black instead of green.


The Ak 5D has a shortened barrel and handguard. It also features the MIL-STD-1913 rail system for easy mounting of a variety of sights.

Due to the smaller dimensions of the carbine, the Ak 5D is especially suited for ranger/urban warfare units and vehicle crews who often benefit from a more lightweight and compact weapon when taking into account the nature of their assignments and the environments in which they often operate. The Swedish police are also equipped with a version of the Ak 5D; see below.

The newest Ak 5D Mk2 version has the same upgrades as the “C” model but retains the shorter barrel.


Some units of the Swedish police are equipped with a special version of the Ak 5D called CGA5P or sometimes (incorrectly) Ak 5DP. Essentially it is a black (instead of the regular military green) Ak 5D with automatic fire capability disabled by a hex screw. Unlike the Ak 5D, the police version has fixed sights but is still equipped with the MIL-STD-1913 rail system to allow the use of telescopic sights or red dot sights. Unlike its military counterparts (except for the AK5C version), the police version has safety catches on both sides of the weapon.

This is accurate to my experience, if any of it seems odd please send me a message, we never stop learning. 

There are more versions of the AK5 but theese are the ones that were actually implemented in the Swedish Armed Forces. THe AK5’s with a underbarrel grenade launger are the same, only the handguard is exchanged for a handguard with a grenadelauncher permanently attached. It is however technically called “AK5C with underbarrel grenadelauncher”

anonymous asked:

Black veteran was killed in jail by police. Said he couldnt breathe multiple times and they ignored it. His name was james brown and he fought in iraq.

Sgt. James Brown was an active-duty soldier who had served two tours of duty in Iraq.

But he didn’t survive a two-day DWI sentence in 2012.

Brown, 26, an Army combat veteran stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, surrendered for a two-day sentence at the county jail in July 2012, KFOR reports. After one night behind bars, Brown reportedly called his mother to pay his fine so he wouldn’t have to serve any more time in jail. His mother paid the fine before morning. But by then, Brown was dead.

**Trigger Warning: Graphic video**

Brown, who reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, can be seen thrashing in his cell as officers in riot gear subdue him. About 35 minutes later, he repeatedly tells officers he can’t breathe and loses consciousness.

Brown had no criminal record, and toxicology tests showed no illegal drugs in his body.

The autopsy results cited natural causes by sickle cell crisis.

The El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles issues a statement, released to KFOX14, agreeing with the autopsy.

“Mr. Brown’s death was an unfortunate tragedy. The sheriff’s office has conducted a thorough review of the facts surrounding Mr. Brown’s death and, based upon all the evidence obtained, determined that his death was caused by a pre-existing medical condition. The specific evidence cannot be discussed because of pending litigation.”

Medical studies show sickle crisis lies dormant until it is triggered by dehydration and stress.

Brown’s attorney said apparently more stress than can be triggered by coming under fire in combat twice, which Brown did.

His family said Brown showed no history of ever having a sickle cell crisis incident in his life and is convinced the medical episode was triggered by his treatment at the jail.

“He was bleeding out the ears, the nose, the mouth, his kidney’s shut down, his blood pressure dropped to a very dangerous level, and his liver shut down,” said Crow.

Brown’s story is a federal civil trial that is expected to go to court in October.

His family is suing for damages, claiming violation of the American with Civil Liberties Act because of Brown’s PTSD, excessive force, and lack of proper medical attention.