Kacanik. | Photo: BIRN.

Kosovo minister visits family of ISIS leader during wake

Minister of Infrastructure Lutfi Zharku reportedly visited Lavdrim Muhaxheri’s family during the wake of the Kosovo-born ISIS leader.

After the death of Kosovo-born ISIS leader Lavdrim Muhaxheri was reported in early June, local Islamic community members and a member of the Kosovo government were reported to have gone to the terrorist’s wake.

Muhaxheri, also known as Abu Abdullah al Kosova, was reportedly killed by a US drone attack in ISIS-controlled territories in Syria.

The news was announced by Muhaxheri’s brother, Bajram, on social media. Per local custom, the family announced that it would receive family and acquaintances for condolences during a wake held in a local cafe.

The following day, Muhaxheri’s wake was also announced by the local Islamic Community in Kacanik, which put the notice on the front door of the mosque.

After pressure from the general public, the head of the Islamic Community in Kacanik, Florim Neziraj, who allowed for the notice to be put up and visited the family to express his condolences, was fired.

BIRN sources report that the Minister of Infrastructure, Lutfi Zharku, also visited the Muhaxheri family to offer his condolences. Zharku, who, like Muhaxheri, is from Kacanik, has refused to comment. But when confronted by BIRN journalists, he did not deny to have visited the family.

Valdet Hoxha, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, was unable to confirm whether Zharku went to Muhaxheri’s wake, but said that if it were true, the action should be condemned.

“The Government of the Republic of Kosovo’s stance is clearly positioned with the anti-terror coalition. If the visit happened, it is a signal that goes against this official stance,” he said.

Burim Ramadani, the head of the Security Policy Research Center, SPRC, a Kosovo-based think tank, said that Zharku’s act is harmful for the Republic of Kosovo.

“Zharku’s visit is more than a mistake, it is an act that is detrimental to Kosovo,” Ramadani said. “Both the announcement t by Islamic Community and his visit can have a bad effect,” Ramadani said.

Meanwhile, Vedat Sahiti from the Islamic Community of Kosovo, BIK, said that although it would be unacceptable to perform religious rites for Muhaxheri, announcing his death was a form of expressing solidarity with the family.

“A person who threatens my state, my people, and the security of my country, is not one of ours. But even those relatives that went to express their condolences in the wake did not go there to support Lavdrim Muhaxheri, but to empathize with the family,” Sahiti told BIRN.

08/07/2017 - 18:50

08 July 2017 - 18:50

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