"Croatian President is right, we cut parts of the interview, she was speaking about fear in Bosnia"

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13.09.2018.

(180910) -- ZAGREB, Sept. 10, 2018 () -- Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (R) and visiting Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen inspect the guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia, on Sept. 10, 2018. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen started his two-day official visit to Croatia on Monday., Image: 386189835, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: WORLD RIGHTS excluding China - Fee Payable Upon Reproduction - For queries contact Avalon.red - sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251 Madrid: +34 91 533 4289, Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, UPPA News
Profimedia, UPPA News

President Grabar-Kitarović and Austrian President Van der Bellen

Controversial interview with the Austrian paper KLEINE ZEITUNG confirmed that they cut parts of the interview on Muslims in Velika Kladuša, as journalists thought that was part of Croatia.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's interview with Austrian daily KLEINE ZEITUNG spurred many reactions, with mufti of Zagreb Aziz Hasanović reacting to the part of the interview about Muslims in Croatia.

According to the Austrian paper, the President said that 'Muslims in Croatia live in fear. They fear for their position. They fear social exclusion over individuals who come here under false pretenses, agitate and spread radical ideas.'

- I was surprised with media reports on alleged Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's statement on Muslims in Croatia and the situation in the society. Considering excellent cooperation thus far as well as negative experiences with veracity of some reports, I would like to point to several issues - noted mufti Hasanović in an open letter.

- Unfortunately, journalists cut her answer, leaving out the key part of the sentence where she pointed to warnings from Velika Kladuša about jeopardized stability of the community - which was immediately followed by reaction of the President's Office, which was confirmed by the Austrian daily which released the interview.

Apology

- President Grabar-Kitarović is right, she is not to blame - noted the KLEINE ZEITUNG and pointed out that Grabar-Kitarović was talking about the Muslim community in Velika Kladuša.

Journalists cut several parts of the interview due to time restraints, which was why the error was made. The paper stressed that the error was caused by linguistic and geographic misunderstanding, noting that journalists thought Velika Kladuša was in Croatia.

The paper apologized to the Croatian President and noted that many reacted positively to the interview. The President's Office pointed out that the Muslim community in Croatia is fully integrated into the society, adding that President Grabar-Kitarović maintains contact with the mufti and stressing that her statement is in line with the mufti's position.

The President noted that Croatia is a place of actual coexistence of all religions and an example for establishing interreligious dialogue. She stressed that the role of the Muslim community is important and reiterated that the community is fully integrated into the society.

Sharp reaction

The mufti reacted quite sharply, but recognized the possibility that the President's views were misrepresented.

- The Islamic community in Croatia is a religious community based on the principles of doing good, serving the community and turning people away from evil. In attempt to do as much good as possible, we cooperate with everyone in good faith. Our cooperation with the President's Office has been exemplary thus far, as is our cooperation with Speaker of Sabor, Prime Minister and ministers, other religious communities, and more. Such statements, if they are true, do not contribute to strengthening of confidence and close doors to development of cooperation in the future - said the mufti.

The mufti wrote that the 'question of all questions' is why should Muslims in Croatia, who defended and helped to create it, be afraid or should be afraid? 'If any Muslims in Croatia are afraid, then I have to be afraid as well, but I have no reason to be and am not afraid. People are divided only into good and evil, rather than Muslims and non-Muslims, and I believe that the President shares these values."

- We did not have any problems thus far. Considering excellent cooperation between us, I hope that the President was misquoted and will refute the report - concluded the mufti.

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Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version