Persecuted Christians and Croatian scholarships
Barnabas Fund, 14 June 2021 (excerpts)
Croatia has been inundated with 5500 applications for scholarships set aside for young, persecuted Christians from developing countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
The government has earmarked about £172,000 to enable young persons persecuted for their Christian faith to pursue undergraduate and graduate university studies in Croatia.
The aim is that they will acquire knowledge and then return to their own countries better equipped to contribute to shaping their communities along democratic and tolerant lines.
The initiative was the result of an amendment to the state budget submitted by independent MP Marijana Petir that was accepted in November 2020.
The proposal was opposed by some NGOs, who claimed that humanitarian aid should not be given on a discriminatory basis.
In response to this criticism of help being allocated exclusively to Christian students, Petir responded that “unfortunately, they are the most persecuted religious group in the world”.
In places where impoverished Christians are too poor to access tertiary education, many are offered scholarships by Islamic sources to study for free in Muslim-majority countries or at Islamic institutions; this results in many conversions to Islam.