Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies calls on Croatian Cultural Center to cancel ultranationalist Croatian singer's Vancouver concert



    TORONTO, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - As a result of the efforts of the Friends of
Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC), the planned Toronto
concert of Croatian singer Marko Perkovic, known as 'Thompson', has been
cancelled. The Center also wants his upcoming Vancouver concert cancelled.
    "Thompson has been singing for years in Croatia," said FSWC Director of
National Affairs, Leo Adler. "One of those songs - titled Jasanovic/Stara
Gardinska, which Thompson sang live in Croatia in 2002 - venerated those two
infamous concentration camps where at least 90,000 Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and
anti-fascist Croatians were murdered by the Ustashe movement and its Nazi
collaborators during World War II.
    "The difficulty with Thompson," added Adler, "is that he and his music
act as a lightning rod for young Croatians who proudly wear Ustashe uniforms
and display Ustashe symbols, which occurred at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb in
June."
    The Simon Wiesenthal Center has been closely monitoring Thompson's
activities. Recently, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center notified the
management of Toronto's Koolhaus Entertainment Complex of Thompson's music and
typical audience.
    "We were pleased to learn that the Koolhaus management cancelled
Thompson's scheduled appearance immediately after our information was
forwarded... we urge the Croatian Cultural Center in Vancouver to follow
suit," said Adler.
    "Much of Thompson's music is a breach of Canadian values and possibly
this country's hate speech laws. We have notified the Vancouver Police Hate
Crimes Team because of the serious nature of this complaint and the fact that
Thompson's concerts attract extremist elements. We are pleased with the VPC's
cooperation."
    Adler said, "This is not an issue of censorship or criticism of any
religion, culture or ethnicity. Rather, this is about promoting the values of
a liberal democracy."
    More information about Thompson can be found at www.wiesenthal.com;
follow the links to the Center's RESPONSE Magazine.

    ABOUT THE FRIENDS OF SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST STUDIES

    Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is a Canadian
human rights organization dedicated to fostering tolerance and understanding
through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. With
over 25,000 members of all faiths around the world, the Simon Wiesenthal
Center confronts important contemporary issues including racism,
anti-Semitism, terrorism and genocide. Friends is affiliated with the
world-wide, Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, an accredited
Non-Government Organization with status at international agencies, including
the United Nations, UNESCO, OSCE and the Council of Europe, with offices in
New York, Miami, Paris, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, and Toronto. Simon Wiesenthal
died in 2005 after devoting his life to preserving the memories of Holocaust
victims, while simultaneously seeking justice for the war criminals. Visit:
www.fswc.ca





For further information:

For further information: David Eisenstadt, The Communications Group
Inc., 1-800-267-4476 x 36, deisenstadt@tcgpr.com

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FRIENDS OF SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST STUDIES

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