The Muslim-majority Macedonian village of Labunista, long known for its small but prominent Wahhabi fundamentalist community, has become the scene of controversy once again. According to a February 10th investigation from Skopje newspaper Vreme, well-intentioned but apparently unqualified Muslim clerics murdered a local man while trying to wrest him from the demonic grips of his illness.
While all the details of the story are not yet known, it appears that 27-year-old Abedin Alijoski died in his home after three members of the Wahhabi sect were called in to treat him.
According to the newspaper investigation, the young man died at around 11 PM on January 25th after the Wahhabis, brought in specially from Ohrid for the job, treated him “with the help of readings from the Koran and by beating him with sticks.” While the Alijoski family did not allow an autopsy, nor for anyone to see the body, the newspaper learned that there may be an exhumation, as Struga municipal prosecutors are considering this a possible criminal case.
The young Muslim had been sick for some five years with an unspecified neurosis, for which he had been taking an increasing number of medications in recent times, locals told Vreme. He had been living with his mother, cousin and two sisters, one of whom was deaf and mute. His father died a year ago. In the Balkans and elsewhere, the Saudi-backed Wahhabi order has sought to prey upon weak and stigmatized members of local communities, such as the poor, drug addicts and ill. With its specific troubles and general religious orientation, the Labunista family would seem to have been a perfect target for the radical Islamists.
According again to the newspaper account, drawing on local sources, the continuing malaise of the young man led his sister to take drastic action: fearing that Abedin’s body had been infested with evil spirits, she called in three prominent Wahhabis from Ohrid: ”one Bashkim, his brother, and one other member of the community.” While the Wahhabi witch doctors conducted their ritual, Alijoski’s brother-in-law, nephew and cousin were also reportedly present in the room.