Former Head of the Islamic Community in Croatia Reacts to the Tomislav Salopek Kidnapping

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Former head of the Islamic Community in Croatia Ševko Omerbašić on the kidnapping in Egypt.

In an interview with Nova TV, the former head of the Islamic Community in Croatia Ševko Omerbašić reacted to the case of Tomislav Salopek, whom the members of groups linked with the Islamic State have kidnapped in Egypt and threatened to murder, reports Jutarnji List on August 11, 2015.

He advised Croats not to go to unsafe countries like Egypt, but also said that people called jihadists have nothing to do with Islam. “Those of us who know the Arab world feared something like this would happen. It is hard to say something that would be meaningful. We can only call on the kidnappers to release Tomislav. However, as far as I know, they just do not listen to anyone”, said Omerbašić.

When asked if it was even possible to negotiate with the kidnappers, Omerbašić replied that the government says no. “They are now reportedly searching for them to save Tomislav.”

He believes that the real objective of the kidnappers was someone from France, “but they did not know that he is not a Frenchman. He was just collateral damage”.

“Both Croatia and Egypt are doing everything they can. ISIL has never before given a second chance to anyone”, said Omerbašić referring to the alleged extension of the ultimatum by the jihadists. “Deadline extension has never been given”, he added. “For Tomislav Salopek, that extension is probably even worse. He himself knows what is happening within him. As long as there is any hope, we must work on his release. What I think so far no one has said – I would seriously advise all those who intend to go to those countries that they should not go, because our safety there is not guaranteed. The media often claims that ‘we are a factor that can help’ – but we can help the least. Islam and religious organizations in the Islamic-Arab world are something different.”

Finally, he said that the terrorists misuse religion. “Islam is a most popular thing. They attach themselves to it and say – ‘Islam allows it’. However, Islam is something completely different”, concluded Ševko Omerbašić in an interview with Nova TV.


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