KOSOVO: Kosovo’s special prosecutor has charged the imam of the country’s leading mosque with inciting terrorism by encouraging worshippers to wage jihad in Syria and Iraq, a statement said Monday.
Through his preaching and social networks, Shefet Krasniqi “pushed others to take the road towards the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq and then commit terrorist acts,” the prosecutor’s office said in a press release.
The 51-year-old imam did this “continuously and purposely,” the statement added.
Krasniqi, who leads the biggest and oldest mosque in the capital Pristina, was also charged with “inciting hatred” and “national, racial and religious intolerance,” as well as for tax evasion.
Educated to PhD level in Saudi Arabia, Krasniqi allegedly committed the offences from 2013 to 2014.
Muslim-majority country is home to 1.8 million people, around 300 of whom have joined the jihadists’ front-lines in Iraq and Syria in recent years.
Kosovo’s authorities subsequently strengthened legislation and made a series of high-profile arrests in a bid to root out suspected Islamist networks.
They say around 50 citizens of Kosovo have been killed fighting in Syria and Iraq, while 70 of them are thought still to be on the frontline.