Croatians React to Alleged ISIS Beheading of Tomislav Salopek


Tomislav Salopek reading about ISIS demands in a video released in July Source / YouTube.

Tomislav Salopek, a Croatian citizen working in Cairo, Egypt, was abducted on July 22 by ISIS, an Al Qaeda offshoot that has come to control large parts of Iraq and Syria, using openly brutal, oppressive, and violent tactics. Three weeks later, on August 11, 2015, it was disclosed that Salopek was beheaded, when demands by ISIS weren't met, the group claims. Photos of a beheaded body were shared extensively among regional social media users on Thursday, August 12, while some Croatian media outlets pleaded with users and media not to share such images. According to, it is unclear when the execution took place, or if the body in the photos belongs to Salopek.

We ask readers as well not to share the photo on social networks, not only out of respect for Salopek and… [his family, but also because the publishing of such photographs is what ISIS terrorists want.]

— (@indexhr) August 12, 2015

ISIS announced Salopek's abduction in a YouTube video in July, showing Salopek on his knees, holding a recent newspaper and saying he would be executed in 48 hours, unless Egypt released a group of Muslim women from its prisons.

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović held an unexpected press conference after news of Salopek's alleged murder, saying that it has not yet been confirmed if the beheaded body in the images circulating online really belongs to Salopek, but that he fears the worse in this case. One of the journalists at the press conference asked Milanović if Croatia will now embark on a firmer fight against ISIS and the Prime Minister replied:

Hrvatska neće sudjelovati u borbenim akcijama protiv takozvane Islamske države. S time se moraju nositi neki drugi.

Croatia will not participate in the fight against the so-called Islamic State. That is something the others will have to do.

Since the photographs have been released, mainstream media outlets are asking other journalists journalists and online users in general not to share the disputed photograph and to respect Salopek's family during what must be a very hard time.

Croatia is in shock and a large part of the local Twitter community is sharing condolences using the hashtags #TomislavSalopek and #Salopek.

Tomislav Salopek was a 31-year-old father of two, working as a surveyor for a French company in Egypt. He moved to Egypt for a better job, with the sole goal of providing for his family.

Messages of condolences and solidarity have been pouring in on social networks since the news of his beheading. The messages have come from all corners of the world, in many different languages. British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson, for instance, tweeted:

Top Egyptian cleric Al-Azhar called the beheading of Salopek “demonic” and stressed that it “has nothing to do with religion or customs”, condemning this and any other similar acts by ISIS in a statement.

Commentary by Croatian social media users demonstrates a mix of grief for their countryman, shock, and anger at ISIS and similar terrorist groups.

R.I.P. T. Salopek. And before you are overcome with righteous wrath, remember, not all of “them” are the same and not all muslims are to blame.

— Kristian Lajšić (@KICZO) August 12, 2015


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