The Simon Wiesenthal Center calls on the New York Archdiocese to distance itself from Croatian rock star Marko Perkovic, also known as “Thompson,” whose repertoire includes songs glorifying ethnic cleansing, and whose followers were photographed giving the Ustashe salute. Perkovic’s concert in New York is scheduled to take place in a venue that, according to reports, is owned by a Catholic Church in midtown Manhattan. Moreover, tickets for the concert are being sold at the Croatian Catholic Church. In a letter to Cardinal Edward Egan, Mark Weitzman, Director of the Center’s Task Force Against Hate, wrote in part,
“Any glorification of the Ustashe regime, with its murderous record against Jews, Serbs and other Croats, especially one that uses popular culture to appeal to a new generation, must be firmly rejected. I urge you to take the lead on this issue, and to reaffirm the Church's commitment against antisemitism, intolerance and violence by making sure that there is no connection between the Church and Perkovic that could in any way imply support of his hateful positions.”
Center officials have also been in touch with Croatian diplomats in an effort to urge the Croatian government to live up to its international obligations to repudiate the singer and to ensure that institutions connected to the government do not give Perkovic any support.
Further concerts on the US tour are scheduled for Los Angeles and Cleveland. In Toronto, the owners of the hall where the concert was scheduled was cancelled after protests by the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and others. Authorities in Vancouver have indicated that they planned to send members of the Hate Crimes Unit to monitor the show. “Inviting this man to sing in North America is tantamount to inviting a singer to extol ethnic cleansing in Darfur,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center. “Croatia today is a free country but in a democracy, those who celebrate the genocidal Ustashe regime deserve condemnation, not accommodation,” he concluded.