Croatian catechist fired for praising Bosnian genocide and calling for murder

Krešimir Bagarić, a Catholic catechist at a Croatian primary school, got fired for praising the Bosnian genocide and war criminal Ratko Mladić, and calling for the murder of Croatia's leading political figures. Yet despite gaining much news media attention, the fact that Bagarić is a hardcore Zionist and that he also praised Israel in the same recorded speech, passed unreported in Croatia's media.
Krešimir Bagarić with shirt featuring the IDF emblem (Photo: Facebook)

Pupils from the "Matija Gubec" Primary School in Zagreb secretly recorded the scandalous speech of a classroom teacher Krešimir Bagarić, a Bosnian Croat originally from Bešpelj, a village in the municipality of Jajce in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They forwarded it to Index.hr, a Croatian daily tabloid website, which published it on YouTube and exposed everything to the Croatian public. Instead of teaching children about Catholic catechesis, love and forgiveness, this flamboyant teacher of Christian religious studies instead spends his time telling them which Croatian politicians should be killed, whose heads should be put on a spike, and about the benefits of genocide against Bosnia's Muslim population.

A 10-minute tape starts with Bagarić's remarks about the Yugoslav wars, specifically Operation Storm against the Republic of Serbian Krajina, a self-proclaimed Serb secessionist territory within the newly independent Croatia. "We are fools, we should let two corridors, one to Zagreb and the other to Rijeka, so when they put their heads on a spike, then we come in. That's how it was supposed to be according to fine gentlemen in Zagreb who thinks Croatia ends in Karlovac. Morons and dumbbells, short-sighted", Bagarić put out his tactic.

Then he began to comment on the reactions of his disciples, calling the opponents "calfs" and accusing them for displaying tolerance and political correctness. As the footage emerged after the verdict of Slobodan Praljak, Bagarić also devoted most of his recent class to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He praised the war crimes committed by Ratko Mladić against Bosnian Muslims: "It turns out that the general was right. He protected his people and Serbian interests. And we have been idiots", said Bagarić.

After praising a war criminal who ordered the killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and who also caused deaths of many people in Croatia as well, Bagarić turned to explaining the current political situation in Croatia: "We should hang two former presidents [Stjepan Mesić and Ivo Josipović], and one former foreign minister [Vesna Pusić], and we should do it immediately. The man [Mesić] opened the presidential safe and gave the Hague Tribunal the transcripts. He is a dirty, stinking traitor".

Bagarić had other proposals as well: "You have Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić who talks openly around the world. That is not possible anywhere. You should choose heart attack, stroke, a three-bullet suicide in the back... We are the only people to appoint prostitutes and traitors to important positions. We are a miserable nation, there are no worse people than Croats," continued Bagarić. He later returned to Mesić and Pusić, saying they needed "a shot in the head and to be thrown in a septic tank". He also stated that many Croatian politicians are "neo-liberal idiots", adding later that half of his colleagues in the school were "Yugoslavs nostalgic to the former country".

Fast responses

Ljiljana Klinger, the principal of "Matija Gubec" Primary School, said the teacher will be fired: "What follows is immediate termination of the employment contract. This is personal responsibility and has nothing to do with school. It is related to the unacceptable behaviour of an individual which we did not know existed until this happened". Klinger added that she did not have information about any previous similar incidents. "Religious classes teachers have a regular employment contract and have the same rights and obligations as all other employees. The difference in comparison with other employees is just in the admission process. They are selected not by principals, but by the Church which sends them to schools", said Klinger.

Blaženka Divjak, Minister of Science and Education of Croatia, said she was shocked: "I am shocked with the discovery of the recording which openly propagates hate speech. If this recording is authentic, there is absolutely no place for such a person in a school. The Ministry's team is in contact with the school principal who is currently taking all necessary measures and will inform all competent authorities as soon as possible. We will notify the public about the results as soon as we receive all the necessary information".

State's Attorney Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH) in Zagreb has ordered the local police administration to conduct an investigative survey regarding the content of the teacher's statement. DORH ordered this to determine whether there are elements of a criminal offence for which prosecution is carried out ex officio. "The public will be informed in a timely manner about the results of the investigative action", said the Office in a statement.

A Zionist extremist

Although the scandal has received widespread media coverage throughout the Balkans, one interesting fact still passed unreported. After praising the Bosnian genocide, in the same recorded speech Bagarić said: "We're raising generations of fools who don't understand own military history. If you want to learn, then learn from Israel and smart nations". This is an undisputable allusion to Israeli treatment of Palestinians. A brief look at Krešimir Bagarić's Facebook profile reveals his extremist views more clearly:

Bagarić's liked pages

Bagarić is obvously a staunch supporter of Israel and its armed forces, not only according to liked Facebook pages. He also posted his own photos with shirt featuring the emblem of the Israeli Defence Forces (see photo above), and another one wearing a kippah. From his Facebook profile, we also learn that he is a big fan of the United States, a radical right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the Medieval Crusaders. He is also a member of group called "Proud of a joint criminal enterprise".

Robert Novak

Robert Novak is a social anthropologist and human rights defender with more than five years of experience in the Open Society Institute (OSF), an organization campaigning for human rights and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia. His research interests include law and religion, human rights, comparative ethics, and international relations. Born in Osijek, he lives and works in Zagreb.

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