Bob Dylan is being sued by a Croatian community group for alleged racism for comments he made in an interview with the French edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

In the interview which was conducted last year, 72-year-old Dylan, who was recently awarded France's Legion of Honour, was asked if he saw any parallels between current US society and the Civil War period of American history.

He replied: "Mmm, I don't know how to put it. It's like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn't give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that's what it really was all about.

"This country is just too f*cked up about colour. It's a distraction. People at each other's throats just because they are of a different colour. It's the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighbourhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that.

"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."

Slate.Fr reports that the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF) has now issued legal proceedings against Rolling Stone France.

"It is an incitement to hatred," Vlatko Mari told The International Business Times. "You cannot compare Croatian criminals to all Croats. But we have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer."

Maric stated that French courts have accepted the case and have asked Dylan to appear before a hearing.