“In addition, Europe and the entire Western world have done nothing to stop the war in Syria and Iraq, where Islamist terrorists are killing Christians, which could lead to the disappearance of Christianity from the cradle of Christianity. Only a few journalists talk about it.”
Croatia is a country of four million people bordering Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. More than 86% of the population is Catholic.
Petir, an independent member of parliament, was instrumental in persuading the Croatian government to offer college scholarships to young people from countries where Christians face persecution.
The introduction of the scholarships marked the first time since the country gained independence in 1991 that it had earmarked money specifically to help individuals outside the European Union persecuted for their Christian faith.
Petir said it was unclear how giving scholarships to persecuted Christians could be characterized as Islamophobia.
“We do not give scholarships to Christians just because they are Christians, but because they are the most persecuted religious group in the world, and this is confirmed by reports of international organizations such as Aid to Church in Need and Open Doors,” she said.
Petir was not the only Catholic mentioned in the European Islamophobia Report 2020.
A section entitled “Islamophobia in Poland National Report 2020” criticized Catholic media in the Central European country, as well as the Polish-language section of Vatican Radio.
“Although the Catholic media — including leading media such as Gość Niedzielny or the Polish section of Vatican Radio — continue to lead the way in publishing Islamophobic content, when it comes to clergy and hierarchs, they are no longer as active in the field of fearmongering against Islam as they were in the previous years,” it asserted.
In a footnote, the report cited two Vatican News articles in Polish, one headlined “Sweden: social tensions rise, Christians are powerless” and the other “Christianophobia in Europe increased in 2019.”
Petir also took issue with other aspects of the “Islamophobia in Croatia National Report 2020.”
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“If you look at the rest of the report for Croatia, you can see that journalists who wrote articles about the migrant crisis, reported on the Turkish government’s decision on Hagia Sophia or conducted interviews with European politicians who spoke about radical Islamists were also marked as an Islamophobe,” she said.
“Such reporting on Islamophobia attempts to stop any critical thinking and information that has nothing to do with criticism of Islam as a religion, but with criticism of radical terrorist groups that abuse religion for their narrow interests and thus harm the religion to which they belong.”
“I believe that this report is an attack on freedom of speech, made superficially and maliciously with the aim of labeling people who dare to tell the truth, and contains elements of Christianophobia.”