Dylan accused of race hate against Croats

Legendary singer Bob Dylan has been charged in France with inciting hatred over a 2012 interview in which he compared Croatians to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

The Paris prosecutor’s office revealed that charges of “public insult and inciting hate” were filed in mid-November.

The charges stemmed from a legal action by a Croatian community group in France over the interview in America’s Rolling Stone magazine.

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A lawyer for the group, Ivan Jurasinovic, said they only want Dylan to apologise to the Croatian people for the comments.

He did not say why they filed the case in France. The country has strict laws punishing hate speech and racist remarks.

Speaking about race relations in the United States, Dylan was quoted as saying: “If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that.

“That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

Dylan, famed for his association with civil rights and protest movements in the 1960s, who has written songs strongly critical of racial prejudice, seems an unlikely target for a prosecution over racial prejudice.

Mr Jurasinovic said the 30,000-strong Croatian community in France was upset by the remarks, but he did not know why Croatians in Croatia or the United States, where Rolling Stone is based, have not filed similar suits. It is understood Croatian radio stations have now banned his music.

The charges were also filed two days before Dylan received a French government honour at the Culture Ministry but were not publicly confirmed until this week.

The Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said that, for French people, he embodied a “subversive cultural force that can change people and the world”.