Hasanbegović Rejects US State Department’s Allegations

By 17 August 2017

The former Culture Minister blames “pseudo-leftist” NGOs and praises Trump.

The State Department's annual report on religious freedom in the world, which sharply criticised former Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović, has been published for almost 20 years, with the aim of protecting religious liberty all over the world. The protection of religious freedoms is, at least formally, at the very centre of US foreign policy, in addition to the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy, reports tportal.hr on August 17, 2017.

Hasanbegović, along with film director Jakov Sedlar, is named in the report due to his attitudes towards the Ustasha regime. It is stressed that their positions had caused concern among the Serb and Jewish communities in Croatia.

Of course, Hasanbegović did not agree with such allegations. Quite angrily, he described the chapter about Croatia as unfounded nonsense. The former Culture Minister added that it was a falsified report created by Croatian non-governmental and overpaid pseudo-leftist circles, which has been, in the absence of serious analytical efforts, uncritically appropriated by the US Embassy in Zagreb, left from the term of the former presidential administration. In his view, the report is as irrelevant as pseudo-leftist agitprop and defamation campaign against President Trump in the United States and beyond.

The report was presented on Wednesday by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, saying that the United States was advocating for religious freedom. Caring for religious freedom is one of the building blocks of US foreign policy because it is the value on which the United States is founded. Presenting the report, Tillerson said Trump's administration was determined to address the advancement of religious freedom around the world, and that the State Department would continue to advocate for the rights of those who try to live their lives in accordance with their faith.

The decision on drafting the State Department's annual reports on religious freedoms was included in the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. With this law, the United States has committed itself to promoting and protecting religious freedoms around the world. It was designed as a response from the United States to the increasingly widespread persecution of people all over the world just for expressing religious feelings, especially in China, Russia, Myanmar, and elsewhere. It came into force at the end of 1998, when it was signed by then President Bill Clinton.

It is highly unlikely that such a report could be influenced by falsifications produced by “pseudo-leftist” non-governmental organisations.