How realistic threat of Islamic Terrorism in Lithuania? The biggest threat are the Lithuanians themselves…

July 24, 2007 at 11:35 pm 3 comments

Islamic FundamentalistBy joining the transatlantic community the Baltic States are reaping the benefits but also could face a threat, which was unimaginable before joining the club.  One of those is the threat of the Islamic Terrorism.  How realistic arrival of the Islamic Terrorism threat in everyday lives of the Lithuanians? There are few possible sources of threat. 

Saudi Arabia just announced that the Kingdom is planning to start broadcasting Mekka TV channel in Russian for the CIS and the Baltic states.  The channel’s aim is to spread the positive message of Islam.  I would not overestimate the channel’s future influence on the audience but it is a fact that the news from ‘Mekka’ will reach quite a substantial amount of audience, since it will be in Russian.  One could say that the channel might even play positive role in enlightening the Lithuanians.

Furthermore, there is only a tiny minority practicing Islam in the Baltic States.  However, the situation might change.  There are two aspects.  Fast growing economies of the Baltic States began to lack labour.  The industrialist lobbies started a campaign advocating for liberalization of labour migration laws.  Lithuanian migration department is calling to learn from the Western European mistakes and not let the Gin out of the bottle.  The number workers migration from the non-EU countries is on increase.  Inflow of the foreign workers grows 50% each year. The Migration Department issued 697 wrok permits in 2005, and already 2085 in 2006.  The majority of the workers are from the Slavic republics but the constriction companies began to announce their plans to bring labour from Turkey and China.

The migration department is warning that the Lithuanian homogeneous society is not ready to accept in its midst people from different ethnic background.  This might cause some tensions and could be a cause of friction and could encourage some of the migrants take some radical steps in order to punish the ‘infidels’.  But that could take place in the long-term perspective, from five to ten years from now on.

The biggest threat of the Islamic terrorism in the short term might start deriving from the Lithuanians themselves.  Since 1990 about 400.000 Lithuanians emigrated to the West, mainly to the UK and Ireland.  It is more than 10% of entire population.  Many Lithuanians integrated successfully into the communities of the host countries.  However, this year the balance between immigration and migration has broken even.  The rasing living standards in Lithuania encouraging more and more Lithuanians to return home.  Returning Lithuanians are bringing needed skills, experiences and capital.  On the other hand some of the Lithuanians have integrated into the Western societies so well that some of them converted to Islam.  Even though the exact number is not known but some of the conversions to Islam are inevitable, especially knowing that the Lithuanians are very open minded, and many Lithuanian woman have married Muslim men.

This fact is not bad in itself, but in my opinion such returnees has the biggest potential at being recruited to the ‘warriors of Islam’.  An operational terrorist cell does not require a big number of terrorist, only a very few.


Entry filed under: Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Politics, Terrorism.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • […] to the news portal the refugees are keener to chose Lithuania rather than Latvia or Estonia.  Lithuania received 312, Latvia – […]

  • […] authorities have established that one of the organizations spreading Islam in Lithuania could be disguising terrorists searching for executors of terrorist acts. The TV said that analogous suspects had been identified […]

  • 3. Philip_Daniel  |  December 13, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Didn’t the Ottoman Empire consider the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth a “himaye”, or Vassal, between the years 1576-86, during the reign of Stephen Bathory? I wonder if this would, in the eyes of Islamists, make Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Belarus “occupied land”, as Spain, Portugal, the Balkans, and Hungary are considered to be…


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