A ‘Normal’ Life That Vanished in a Terrorist Attack (NY Times, March 8th)

FRANKFURT — To hear family, friends and neighbors tell it, Arid Uka was a model youth: never involved in violence, or in trouble with the police, unlike many other young men in his predominantly immigrant neighborhood in Frankfurt.

Mr. Uka, 21, they said, was calm and quiet. In 2005, he and some classmates won a government prize for a school project on how to prevent violence in society and posed proudly with Gerhard Schröder, then chancellor of Germany.

So this young man did not succumb to the pull of criminality that swallows up so many Albanian males; instead he opted for jihad. Fitting rather neatly into one of the two categories that Srdja Trifkovic outlined for us: 1) secular, pro-Western, Washington-approved gangsters and Serb-killers. 2) Islamic terrorists (and Serb-killers). So Uka is actually better than the Ft. Dix guys, who had run-ins with the law their whole lives until they finally succumbed to the most popular racket, jihad.

The young man from Kosovo helped his mother at home, cleaned floors, took out the trash and even gave her half his salary for the pilgrimage to Mecca.

He was a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day, but also liked to play video games on a PlayStation and watch “The Simpsons” with his brothers, 27 and 12.

Pause. Considering that the usual explanation given about jihadist-minded Albanians is that they’ve been radicalized like any number of “other Western” Muslims and it has nothing to do with their Kosovo identity; considering that an Albanian’s increased religiosity that leads him to violence usually takes place outside of parental guidance (see the Ft. Dix boys); and considering we were told that the “Kosovars” aren’t religious, what was this boy’s mother doing taking half her son’s earnings to fund her trip to Mecca? It was THAT important to a non-Muslimy Albanian? Then again, the grandfather is an imam in Kosovo.

“He was always thinking about others first and then about himself,” said his mother, Fevzije, 53. According to her, he wanted to become an engineer, have a family and live a normal life.

But last Wednesday, that vision of normal life vanished. German security officials say Mr. Uka perpetrated the first terrorist attack on German soil since Sept. 11, 2001, killing two American airmen and wounding two other men in anger at the U.S. deployment in Afghanistan…

Hey Germany, let’s just make a mental note here: The first post-9/11 terrorist attack on German soil was committed by an Albanian from Kosovo. So maybe 9/11 was a cause to reevaluate your war on their behalf two years earlier and your ongoing policies in the Balkans? As opposed to being anti-terror only outside the Balkans?

Mr. Uka’s 27-year-old brother, Hastrid, said his brother had never shown hatred toward anyone. The two brothers arrived with their mother in Germany when Arid was four years old; their grandfather was an imam in their native Kosovo, but they had been raised to respect other religions; Hastrid’s girlfriend is Jewish, and all three would go to the movies.

Indeed, as noted on this site repeatedly, Albanian Muslims don’t have it in for Jews. In many senses, Albanian defenders are right when they say, “They’re not like that.” The problem is that they create their own, mutated version of “like that.” I suppose I can admit that Albanian jihadism is a bit more charming than that of the soulless, glassy-eyed mujahideen, so I can see why Westerners get confused and even find them endearing. There is a bit of the wacky Balkan charm in them. But once Albanian stop confusing themselves and us, they’re going to get more dangerous.

The family exuded pride that Arid went to high school. “Our dream was to buy a house and live all together with our families one day,” said Hastrid Uka, who like his father is a roofer.

Whether Arid actually finished high school is unclear. He told his family that he had been unable to get an engineering job at a big chemical company last year, so he did social service at the Green Crescent, a Frankfurt group that cares for elderly Muslim immigrants with no family.

Moustafa Shahin, head of the Green Crescent, said he had a school report for Arid Uka only for the 2007-2008 year.

“He was a hardworking person. He did not talk much,” Mr. Shahin said. “He was very loved by the patients and was always on time for the job.”

Last December, Mr. Uka told Mr. Shahin he was quitting because he needed another job to support his family. He then went to work at the post office.

“It’s incomprehensible what happened here,” Mr. Shahin said. “It is totally opposite to how we have known him.”

At the Uka home, the phone rang continuously. Family members and friends seek answers. The family says it has none.

“I am trying to find an answer but I can’t,” said Arid’s father, Murat Uka, asking a reporter whether the dead men had families, of what age. “We are so sorry,” he and Hastrid repeated.

Mr. Uka was born in Kosovska Mitrovica, but his brother said they had known the former Yugoslav province only from vacations. A family video showed Arid there last year with his mother and 12-year-old brother, Kosovar. Arid, a tall, thin young man with shoulder-length hair, smiled shyly into the camera. “He didn’t like to be filmed much,” his mother said. “So sometimes I had to take surprising pictures.”

Is the boy really named…Kosovar?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

And he’s 12 years old, which means he was born in 1999 — that is, the same year the nationality was spontaneously born. At least they didn’t name him “Albanian,” though that would have been more authentic and accurate.

By all accounts, Mr. Uka had modest habits. “Unlike me, Arid did not spen[d] much money on clothes,” his older brother said. The apartment has one desk with a computer, where Arid and his younger brother did homework.

In their district, second-generation immigrants often face problems in school or finding a job. But Hastrid Uka insisted: “We had a good childhood and our friends came from all nationalities and religions.”

His father added: “Our children were brought up as Muslims, but also as people who respect others no matter what religion they have.”

According to German security officials and prosecutors, the Internet may have played a major role in Mr. Uka’s radicalization. His Facebook page hints at a side of him his family apparently did not know. He posted a link to a jihadist battle hymn: “I can no longer stand this life of humiliation among you. My weapon is ready at all times.”

A German security official who is involved in the investigation but not authorized to speak about it said that Arid Uka had been friends with men known for their radical interpretation of Islam.

But Boris Rhein, the interior minister for the state of Hesse where the airport is situated, said there was no evidence the suspect was part of a larger group, though he added that there was evidence he had targeted U.S. military personnel for ideological reasons.

According to the prosecutor in the case, Mr. Uka told investigators that he had acted alone and that he had decided to carry out the attack after seeing a video on YouTube that apparently showed American soldiers raping a girl in Afghanistan. There is indeed a video that was posted recently on several jihadist forums and is still available that shows men in U.S. uniforms appearing to rape a young woman.

His family said they heard about the video for the first time from the media. “We had no idea about this — but maybe my brother thought it is true and he lost it,” his older brother said.

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said the YouTube video was the work of extremists. “It’s clearly part of a propaganda video and contains no reference to when or where the video was shot,” said Col. David Lapan, the spokesman. “How does one determine if it’s authentic and/or investigate?”

The Uka family has not yet seen Arid. “I want to ask Arid, if he has really done it,” said his father with tears in his eyes. “I will ask him: my son, why did you kill?”

Because. Because if you’re from a culture that’s used to killing, it’s hard to get out of the habit. And if you’re in a country where Serbs aren’t as plentiful, you’re going to kill whatever is nearest. But that’s less legal than killing Serbs, so for the first time Albanians are dealing with consequences of killing.

Meanwhile, don’t journalists ever get tired of writing the same article every time a Muslim kills?

Note also this twice-stated point: ‘We’re Muslims, but we respect others regardless of their religion.’ This is Muslims openly admitting that Muslims do not have regard for non-Muslims.