NEWS - Archive November 2014

UK & FRANCE NEWS Week 48

UK: EDL fanatic soldier jailed for two years for making potentially lethal nail bomb

Ryan McGee, 20, of Mellor Street, Eccles, was sentenced at the Old Bailey after admitting making explosives and possessing terrorist literature

28/11/2014- A ‘self-radicalised’ soldier who became an EDL fanatic while constructing a potentially lethal nail bomb in his bedroom has been jailed for two years. Ryan McGee, 20, constructed a homemade bomb packed with 181 metal screws, bits of glass and explosives inside a pickle jar which could have killed or maimed if detona-ted. The device sparked a bomb scare after police discovered it while searching his home on Mellor Street, Eccles, as part of an unconnected investigation in November last year. Experts say the powerful bomb was just a ‘simple step’ from completion. Officers also discovered an arsenal of guns and knives and extremist right-wing material in the first-floor bedroom, which was draped in English Defence League flags. Crucially, bomb-making manual The Anarchist Cookbook was also found.

McGee admitted that between May 31 2013 and November 29 2013 at Salford he possessed a document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. He has also pleaded guilty to a second charge that between September 1 2013 and September 3 2013 at Salford he made an explosive device. Jailing him, Recorder of London Brian Barker said: "The fact of the matter is any explosive device in the wrong hands could cause untold misery to anyone on the receiving end. "Sadly, we live in a violent age. Let's be quite clear that any experimentation by anybody with these kinds of weapons must lead to severe sentences. "What you have lost is your reputation and your future but I hope in due course you can make amends for that."

Police originally raided the property as they suspected brother Steven, 21, of possessing child abuse images. Steven was later given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offences Register after being found guilty of possessing indecent images of children. But following the discovery, Ryan - who was was serving in Paderborn, Germany, with 5th Battalion the Rifles - was detained at his barracks and returned to Britain. Private McGee, a former Salford City Academy pupil, told officers he was ‘just experimenting’ with the ingredients but was charged and later admitted making explosives and possession of a document for terrorist purposes. He joined the Army in 2012 and had shown an interest in far-right parties such as the British National Party and the EDL since his early teens.

Disgusting racist rants posted on social media and kept in a handwritten diary revealed his hatred of immigration and admiration for Adolf Hitler and other far-right leaders. In March 2013 he attended an EDL rally in Manchester city centre and regularly uploaded pictures of himself wearing or posing with EDL clothing and flags. His computer also contained footage of a neo-Nazi beheading in eastern Europe. The court was told McGee kept a diary called Ryan's Story Book, which was covered in Scooby Doo stickers and had pictures of birds on the front. But despite its innocent exterior the journal was filled with race hate and threats of violence against immigrants. One extract contained a vow to "drag every last immigrant into the fires of hell with me" and expressed anger over the "millions of immigrants flooding our streets".

The book was also filled with drawings of guns, machetes and knuckledusters as well as images of several paramilitary soldiers. It also contained references to right-wing groups such as the National Front, KKK and BNP, the court heard. He downloaded a number of extreme videos and his laptop had links to websites including gore videos, French Skinheads, Russian Racism, Handguns for sale UK and Germany, and YouTube videos of EDL marches against Muslims and Nazi youth. The prosecutor accepted he was not a terrorist and that he didn't intend to help a terrorist group. Defending, Antony Chinn QC said McGee had been an immature teenager at the time, as demonstrated by the Scooby Doo notebook. He said: "Although he accepts he made the device he never intended to put it to any violent purpose."

McGee, a fifth generation Army man, was "a bit of a loner" who was brought up with far-right views, he said. The bomb has been branded ‘viable’ by anti-terror offi-cers and only needed to be hooked up to an electric current to become useable. He had conducted internet searches on how to make detonators as well as experimen-ting with improvised booby traps. Detectives did not find evidence McGee was planning a specific attack or had identified a target. He remains a member of the armed forces but that is expected to be reviewed after his sentencing at the Old Bailey. Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit described McGee as a ‘self-radicalised’ individual who developed an unhealthy infatuation with explosives. He aid: “He was obsessed with guns and explosives and this had drawn him into the military.

“He was a self-radicalised individual who was in possession of some extremist right-wing material. “What he had produced was a completely viable device. If it had been connected to a power source it would have been ready to go. “By it’s very nature this device was extremely dangerous. “It had the capability of causing very serious injury to people, which ultimately means that it had the capability to kill people. “It’s very difficult to say how dangerous an item like that is. It clearly depends where it’s placed, the positioning of it and exactly how many people are around it. “Human beings are very fragile things and this bomb had the potential to do a lot of damage.” An Army spokesman said: "The MoD can confirm that a serving soldier pleaded guilty to one offence contrary to Section 58 (1) (b) of The Terrorism Act 2000 and one offence contrary to Section 4 (1) of The Explosive Substances Act 1883. "In line with normal procedure when a soldier is sentenced to imprisonment, an application will be made for his discharge from the Army. "The Army does not tolerate racist, inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour and operates a zero tolerance policy to all forms of harassment and discrimination."

Bomb-maker posted vile racist rants and pictures on Facebook
Bomb-making soldier Ryan McGee posted horrific racist rants on Facebook, appearing to call for violent action to be taken against immigrants. One post on the BNP’s Facebook page said: “American, Irish, you make out Nazism (sic) is so bad but in my opinion Hitler was the best immigration officer Europe ever seen and he didnt take no s*** and let them all in he took action!” In another thread he responded to members complaining about the effect of immigrants on their communities by posting: “Stop moaning then and do something!!” He ‘liked’ the EDL, the BNP and its leader Nick Griffin, and serial killer Raoul Moat on his own Facebook page. Other posts included one calling Nick Griffin a “f***ing legend” and another saying “We don’t need the European Union and we don’t need Europeans.” McGee also posted several pictures of himself in EDL clothing and stood next to EDL flags. One image even showed him dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume next to a Confederate flag - which is widely regarded as a pro-slavery symbol. The images were removed shortly after his arrest.
The Manchester Evening News.

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UK: Neglect and indifference kill American man in immigration detention (comment)

A Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) report on Brian Dalrymple’s six weeks in immigration detention paints a grim picture of how the vulnerable are treated. Although Dalrymple was a white man, we report on his case to show that, in immigration detention, immigration status ensures a grim equality of treatment.
By Harmit Athwal


28/11/2014- The report, Investigation into the death of a man at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre in July 2011, details the concerning way that Dalrymple met his death. The inquest, which was held in June 2014, found that he had died as a result of natural causes and that his death was contributed to by neglect. It is usual practice for PPO reports to be published soon after the inquest is held. However the PPO report has only just been published. Though written dispassionately in sanitised language, the report paints a grim picture of how a vulnerable person was treated in detention.

Who was Brian Dalrymple?
Brian Dalrymple arrived in the UK on holiday on 14 June 2011 but was refused entry. Attempts to deport him back to America failed and he then claimed asylum. He was held in Harmondsworth removal centre for six weeks and a few days before his death he was transferred to Colnbrook (next door to Harmondsworth) where he died on 31 July 2011 from a ruptured aorta. Brian’s mother, Lorraine, told IRR News that Brian suffered from mental health problems (schizophrenia) and other health issues but these were adequately managed as long as Brian was taking his medication. Brian had travelled independently before and had only wanted to see the UK and Europe as a tourist.

What happened?
On arrival Brian was detained after immigration officers decided that he was not a ‘genuine visitor’. There was a flight that same day that he could have been return-ed on, but instead he was booked on a flight the following day and redetained at Harmondsworth. At this time immigration officials decided that no mental assessment was required. At Harmondsworth, Dalrymple had an initial health screening on arrival where he told the nurse ‘he did not suffer with high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health problems or any kind of heart condition.’ But she noted ‘that he was anxious about being sent back to America.’ The following morning he was taken from Harmondsworth to Heathrow but once there he told an immigration officer that he was scared of flying and would not get on the flight. He was taken back to Harmondsworth and another flight was booked for the following day. On 16 June, Dalrymple refused to leave Harmondsworth and said he wanted to claim asylum.

An asylum screening interview was arranged for 22 June. However, his transfer to Heathrow for the interview was not arranged and he did not arrive for it. The interview was rescheduled for the following day, 23 June. But on 23 June Dalrymple again refused to leave Harmondsworth. A fax was sent by UKBA officials to Harmondsworth asking Dalrymple to contact them to explain his reasons for failing to attend. There is no recorded response. Four days later, they sent another fax to Harmondsworth, this time addressed to immigration officials at the centre asking them to follow up with Dalrymple. No response was recorded. Then on 4 July, Dalrymple himself contacted the UKBA saying that he wanted to leave the UK but did not wish to return to the US. An immigration officer recorded on his file,‘although not documented as having any psychiatric condition, pax [passenger] does give the impression of not being completely rational in his thinking’. Another immigration official faxed Harmondsworth to see if Brian was ‘fit to fly’. No response was received so he faxed again.

In the meantime Dalrymple became ill and was found to have dangerously high blood pressure. He was then taken to Hillingdon hospital, where he received some treatment but refused blood tests or a chest x-ray and later discharged himself. Back at Harmondsworth the locum doctor failed to contact the hospital about Dalrymple’s treatment at Hillingdon hospital and failed to find out if any aftercare was required, or to ‘prescribe antihypertensive medication believing “he would have refused to take it”’. While in the healthcare unit Dalrymple refused to have his blood pressure checked. He promised staff that he would get it checked the next day, 18 July. He did not. Dalrymple was then discharged to a wing. The next time Dalrymple was seen by healthcare was nine days later. By this time, his erratic behaviour led to his transfer to Colnbrook. At Colnbrook his mental health issues were identified and it was decided that he needed to see a psychiatrist but he died before the appointment.

Signs ignored?
The report suggests that Dalrymple was dealt with appropriately – but surely common sense would have suggested that he should not have been there in the first place. Although he did not tell staff about suffering from schizophrenia his apparent deterioration in mental health was not acted upon. Throughout the report, staff (DCOs, medical professionals and UKBA staff) concerns about Dalrymple’s behaviour are detailed, yet very little action was taken to investigate what was wrong with him. His behaviour was described as ‘odd’, ‘very bizarre’, ‘strange’, ‘rude and incoherent’, ‘abnormal’ and ‘inappropriate’. He was seen ‘whispering and muttering to himself’ by a number of staff, ‘urinating on the floor of his room’, a DCO also ‘witnessed the man place a piece of clothing on his head and wearing it like a turban. He was also described as ‘uncooperative’, ‘racist and sexist’, and ‘unable to ‘maintain eye contact’.

Subcontracting detention
During his time in detention Brian would have been dealt with by numerous officials, from detention custody officers to UKBA staff and medical professionals all employed by different agencies and private companies. At the time of Brian’s death, Harmondsworth, which holds 615 men, was operated by the GEO Group Ltd and healthcare services at the centre were subcontracted to Primecare. And Colnbrook (at the time of Brian’s death) was operated by Serco, with the healthcare services at the centre subcontracted to Serco Health. (Although, this year, in September 2014 Mitie, which also currently operates Campsfield House in Oxfordshire, took over the running of both Colnbrook and Harmondsworth, with a contract worth £8 million, and has plans to merge the two centres into a super-sized Heathrow immigration removal centre.)

Even before the inquest had started, a number of those involved in Brian’s care paid a significant settlement’ to the family of Brian Dalrymple. Although there was ‘no admission of guilt or apology from any party involved’, the GEO Group, The Practice (the primary healthcare provider at Harmondsworth up to 30 June 2011), Nestor Primecare Services Ltd (the primary healthcare provider at Harmondsworth from 1 July 2011) and Dr Hamid (a locum doctor who had responsibility for Dalrymple) saw fit to pay compensation of a ‘significant’ amount of money.

Swapping people!
The report details the ‘swap’ of Brian Dalrymple that occurred between Harmondsworth and Colnbrook. According to the report the ‘Deputy UKBA Manager at Harmondsworth emailed the UKBA Centre Manager at Colnbrook, asking if they would consider doing a head-to-head swap involving the man and a Colnbrook detainee’ because of GEO concerns about Dalrymple’s ‘non-compliant behaviour’. A few days later the swap took place. This raises a number of questions: has the transfer of problematic detainees in the immigration estate been subject to any investigations? Is it a common practice to move difficult detainees from one centre to another?
Institute of Race Relations

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UK: The volunteers who helped police far right's anti-mosque protests

26/11/2014- A retired teacher and housing worker were consulted by police over preventing trouble at the large-scale far right protests against the Astley Bridge mosque. Sylvia Oakes and Sylvia Swain are two volunteers on Bolton's Independent Advisory Group, which comprises residents whose opinions help shape police decisions. Launched about a year ago, the IAG sees residents of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds involved in operations. The aim is to give police a better understanding of how issues are affecting communities, as well as enlightening the public over how the police work. Now, police are hunting for more willing volunteers to apply to join the successful team of eight currently working there. Mrs Oakes, aged 66, from Horwich, went to the Blackburn Road protest over the summer to report on the police's work, and said the IAGs prove the police want to be transparent.

She said: "We are not a token gesture, we are asked for our honest opinions and they are valued. "We are encouraged to challenge the police and not be afraid to say we disagree with something. "For example, we were asked to attend a Gold meeting of senior officers and asked our opinions on the community reaction, media and even where the march should take place, ahead of the Astley Bridge demonstration." Other issues that the IAG members have been asked about include stop and search powers and child sex exploitation (CSE). Mrs Swain, aged 65, from Harwood, said: "I was a housing practitioner and was approached by the police to apply because of my links with residents groups, including the Somalian community and Asian communities. "It has been a real learning experience so far. I would not do it if it was not worthwhile.”

The team for Bolton meets every two months but members can be called in to advise on big incidents or issues at any time. PC Andy Vernon said: "The IAGs are critical friends of the police and advise on local issues that might affect a small number of people, to force-wide operations. "It is not a PR exercise. It is not a case ‘we will deal with things and then ring them later’. “We want the IAG members there on the front line with us.”
To apply email julia.wharmby@gmp.police.uk or write to Bolton IAG, Bolton Central Police Station, Scholey Street, Bolton, BL2 1HDl. There is no closing date for applications.
The Bolton News

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UK police report huge rise in recorded anti-gay hate crime

There have been 300 violent homophobic attacks in London alone from January to October this year alone.

26/11/2014- Recorded instances of violent homophobic crimes have risen in the UK this year, according to new figures. Hundreds of assaults on gay and lesbian people have been reported to police in 2014, including more than 300 in London alone. Gay rights charities believe LGBTI people feel more encouraged to speak out if they have been victims of hate crime.

Some of the UK's biggest police forces reported the following to Press Association:
Scotland Yard: 1,073 violent homophobic offences between January and October, up from 1,007 and 1,002 for the entirety of 2013 and 2012.
Greater Manchester Police: 278 violent homophobic crimes (Jan-Oct 2014), compared to 231 in 2013 and 269 in 2012.
Northern Ireland: 280 incidents (2013/2014), up from 245 (2012/13) and 200 in (2011/12).
South Wales Police: 162 violent homophobic crimes (Jan-Oct 2014), up from 132 in 2013 and 89 in 2012.
Avon and Somerset Police: 147 homophobic violent crimes (Jan-Oct 2014), up from 139 in 2013 and 106 in 2012.
West Midlands Police: 174 violent homophobic crimes between January and October, compared with 184 in 2013 and 165 in 2012.
Essex Police: 86 violent homophobic offences between January and October
West Yorkshire Police: 40 violent crimes due to a person's sexual orientation in 2014 so far.
Merseyside, Suffolk, South Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall, North Wales, Kent, Bedfordshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Durham, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire police forces also reported a rise in violent crimes which were homophobic or motivated by a person's sexual orientation.

'We believe that more and more victims and witnesses of homophobic attacks are building up the courage to speak to others and report these instances to the police,' Richard Lane, spokesman for Stonewall, said. 'Hate crime is a key area of our work at Stonewall and our campaigns aim to not just encourage individuals to report attacks, but also for the police to try and make people feel more at ease with approaching them. 'We know, in the past, many have been hesitant to report crimes to the police for fear of the consequen-ces.' Nick Antjoule, from LGBT anti-violence charity Galop, said: 'It's encouraging that more people feel able to talk to the police, though the vast majority of hate crime remains hidden. 'Each year the police record over 4,000 homophobic crimes, but that's dwarfed by the 39,000 homophobic crimes that happen every year in this country according to government estimates.'
Gay Star News

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UK: 'I'm sorry' says former Britain First far right group member for terrorising Crayford mosque

 A former member of a far right organisation has apologised to the congregation of a Crayford mosque he once joined the group in terrorising.

24/11/2014- Former Britain First member Matthew Lester, 26, gave an emotional address to a packed Friday prayer meeting at the North West Kent Muslim Association in Crayford High Street on November 21. The self-employed tablet computer salesman of Ramilies Road, Blackfen, was a member of former Swanley BNP councillor Paul Golding’s group for eight months. But he quit at the end of October, accusing them of targeting Muslims in general rather than combating Islamic extremists. Matthew took part in a Britain First protest outside Crayford mosque in July, which followed Mr Golding’s ‘invasion’ of the building earlier in the month, when he demanded separate entrance signs for men and women be taken down.

But on Friday Matthew told members of the mosque: "Britain First are a minority. "Don’t let them give you a perception of what we think of you. "The majority of us want unity and we want to stand together. "Thank you for accepting my apologies and together we are stronger." Matthew is originally from Birmingham but moved to Blackfen two years ago. He has also visited mosques in Brent Cross and Tower Hamlets to say sorry. He told News Shopper: "Britain First were just manipulating my view and telling me what I wanted to hear. "They were just basically saying they were going to help the homeless and give blankets out but they never bothered.
News Shopper

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UK: Controversial 'golliwog' doll removed from shop window display

24/11/2014- A row over whether a golliwog in a Saltaire shop window causes offence to visitors to the World Heritage Site has ended with the controversial knitted character being removed from view. Speech therapist Susie Lloyd was shocked to see the black woollen doll in the display window of The Saltaire Vintage shop on Victoria Road, which she believes could have upset many visitors to the historic village. And the mum-of-two, who has lived in Saltaire for ten years, decided to ask the shopkeeper to remove the golliwog. "I went in and very politely explained that I didn't think she should be selling it as it is well known to be a racist and offensive toy," Mrs Lloyd said. "I said 'how would you feel about a young black child seeing that in the window?' "Like everyone who lives here I'm proud of Saltaire, it's a multicultural area and I think that's the sort of thing that could make people feel uncomfortable at the very least."

The shopkeeper denied it was racist and asked Mrs Lloyd to leave if she did not like what was on sale. "I wasn't ranting or anything and some people might say it's an historical item - but then the Nazis made anti-jewish items and you wouldn't expect them to be on sale. "Some people might say this is a small thing, but small things all add up," said Mrs Lloyd. Lesley Barrett shares the running of Saltaire Vintage Shop with two other women and on Friday said it was a colleague who put the doll in the window only days earlier and who also spoke with Mrs Lloyd. "There is certainly no question of the doll being a racist item," she said. "It had only been out for a few days and we had lots of people coming in, 'oohing' and 'aahing' over it and reminiscing - no other negative comments. "She's a pretty old doll and we've had people saying how they had one just like that. "Everything we sell is genuine vintage and nothing is reproductions and we just sell whatever we come across. "To say take it down is a type of censorship - gollies are still being made and for example there are lots for sale on Ebay."

Ms Barrett acknowledged that the doll could be used in a racist way, but said: "People throw bananas onto football pitches in a racist way, but that doesn't make the banana itself a racist item. "However, if we did get a lot of complaints about it, then the doll would be removed." And indeed by Friday evening the doll had been taken away with a statement from the shop that no offence had ever been intended. Saltaire traders spokesman David Ford, of the Bookshop, said modern sensitivities sometimes caused issues for vintage retailers. "If we start saying such things shouldn't be seen, then we start wiping out history. "I personal-ly wouldn't censor such things and I'm sure there isn't an ounce of racism involved. "My shop has books from the 19th and 20th centuries which would not be judged suitable today - but they are important social documents. "It's a very interesting subject for discussion," Mr Ford said.
The Telegraph and Argus

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UK: Police Deny Any Attempt To Shut Down Britain First Conference

23/11/2014- The far-right group Britain First have claimed that police "shut down" their first annual conference in Kent, but police have denied any interference, claiming they were called in response to a disturbance and did not attempt to halt the event. Police were called at around 2.20pm to the Swanley Banqueting venue in Hilda Avenue, Swanley, where the group were holding a gathering. In a Facebook post, the group said that the meeting "closed down by the police who threatened our activists with arrest!" Britain First also claimed that the police "deliberately cut the power in our Conference room" and said that "Deputy Leader Jayda Fransen even got an official police caution for opposing this outrageous breach of our democratic rights". A video posted of the event likened the police to the "Gestapo".

Kent Police told Huffington Post UK that the claims were entirely false. "Officers attended and spoke with members of the group and staff at the business," a spokesman said. The police did not ask the group to leave, nor stop the conference. The spokesman told HuffPost UK that the group left the venue by 4pm and that no one was given any official police caution. "One person was spoken to and given a harassment warning," he said. Britain First said it was "meeting with our solicitors this coming week to discuss ways to enforce our democratic rights and stop the police and local councils walking all over us". It was the second choice venue for the group after Owslmoor Community Centre, in the town of Sandhurst near the officer training academy, refused to host the conference. Local councillor Paul Bettison, leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said they had decided to cancel the event "due to concerns that it could impact on the peace and harmony of the local community, which includes several nearby community facilities.”
The Huffington Post - UK

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How far-right party Britain First is gaining traction through 'Christian' ideology

Extreme right-wing parties such as Britain First are fast gaining support, aided by a political elite which has "deliberately ripped up our Christian heritage", a leading campaigner told Christian Today.

22/11/2014- Alan Craig, formerly the leader of the Christian People's Alliance and now a UKIP supporter, said that the Christian appeal of far-right groups is a natural response "to the political elite, which has deliberately ripped up our Christian heritage over the last 50 years, deliberately attacked it, undermined it and our society is poorer for it." "I'm not surprised that at long last people are rising up and saying 'enough is enough', we've been badly led by leaders who have wrecked our heritage," he said. Craig admitted that some political expressions "are fairly ugly", but stressed the importance of politicians talking about issues such as immigration, and said the popularity of groups like Britain First serves as an indication that the general population is "angry at the way culture is going". Main-party politicians, he added, have an "inbuilt hostility against Christianity".

"Of course they [far-right groups] are getting traction" because they appeal to ordinary people, he said. "Some of this can be ugly, there's no smooth PR, because it's coming out of people's guts and bellies – they're fed up, and I agree with them. As a Christian, I want to be on the side of the outsider and the marginalised...the powerful have got it all sewn up." Britain First has been compared to fascism, and is known largely for its arguably misleading and offensive posts on Facebook, where it boasts over 580,000 'likes' to date – more than the Conservative and Labour parties put together. One widely shared posting on social media claimed that illegal immi-grants and refugees are being given benefits of £29,900 a year – a figure that Christian Today was unable to find substantiation for.

The mother of Drummer Lee Rigby earlier this year criticised the group's use of her son's image during an election campaign, forcing the Electoral Commission to issue an apology. As stated on its website, the party's first principle is a commitment to "the maintenance of British national sovereignty, independence and freedom". It campaigns primarily against mass immigration, and its rhetoric repeatedly calls for a return to 'Christian culture'. Former BNP councillor Paul Golding, who has led Britain First since 2011, yesterday defended his party's stance, insisting that Britain "is built on Christianity". Speaking to Christian Today, Golding said: "Jesus Christ did use physical violence according to the Gospels in the temple in Jerusalem, and he met a very violent end. He preached love and forgiveness etc, but he also said he didn't come to bring peace; he came to bring division and a sword, he came to bring fire upon the world to sort the world out."

When asked how he reconciled discriminatory policies with a Christian ethos, he responded: "Quite easily." "All through the Bible from beginning to end, it doesn't talk about the brotherhood of man, it talks about nations and people. Quite frankly, if God wanted the world to be one, he would have made it one, but he made it into different nations," Golding added. "There's no need for hatred or enmity between different nations; we want to cooperate and be friends [with other countries] but we don't want our country to be demographically taken away from us and us to be made a minority. It's nothing to do with race, we're also opposed to the millions of white Europeans in this country, and we have black activists...[To call us] 'racists' is just a silencing tactic created by the left wing of politics to get us to shut up."

Golding says critics who accuse his party of racism are "absolutely" wrong. "What we stand for is not at all at odds with Christianity, our ideology is a Christian ideolo-gy," he said. A regular church attender, Golding said although he doesn't "really bother with denominations," he'd consider himself Protestant. "At the end we're all Christians," he explained, though he wouldn't share which church he's part of due to security concerns. At the heart of Britain First policies, he said, is a concern that the country is moving away from Christian principles. "Marriage is no longer sacred or respected, and neither are family values. This country used to be renowned for decency and manners – there's an old quip that 50 years ago if you trod on someone else's foot, they would apologise to you, such was the level of manners for British people – and we've lost that completely. "Our entire moral, cultural and religious fabric is falling away, and making us a much weaker and more degenerate country."

He believes that many of the party's supporters are also Christians. A survey of its 155,000 registered activists and supporters found that 75 per cent identified with Christianity, and only a minority considered themselves atheist. In response to Golding's assertions, commentator Andy Walton warned of a "growing trend" in far-right parties of trying to appeal to the idea of Christian heritage in Britain. "When Nick Griffin was in charge of the BNP he talked about defending Christians and defending Christian culture," he said. "Christianity and the Gospel don't need defending - God doesn't need defending by anyone, and we as Christians certainly don't need to be defended by a group of fascists." Walton added that while the Gospel can indeed be "divisive", its aims are fundamentally different to those of far-right parties. "The goal of the Gospel is not to alienate and cause misery and mire...The aim of the Gospel is to bring all things and all peoples, all races and all nations under Christ, which is very different and a much more radical perspective than fascism."

Vasantha Gnanadoss, a member of the General Synod who brought forward a motion in 2009 to ban members from belonging to organisations which do not promote race equality, stressed that the message of the Church must be that "we all, whatever ethnicity we are, belong together. That's what the Church promotes". "If they [political parties] do not promote race equality, then they are not doing that." Any clergy, ordinand or lay person who represents the church cannot be a member of the National Front or the BNP according to the 2009 measure, and it is possible for "other organisations to be added to that group", she added. Ian Geary, an executive member of Christians on the Left, criticised Britain First's controversial tactics. "The Jesus of the Bible would not invade Mosques in order to intimidate worshippers, including women and children, and wear Paramilitary style uniforms to frighten people," he said.

"The Jesus of the Bible's message is of love, compassion, forgiveness and grace. Britain First by their actions stand against all these principles. It is very difficult to see how they are inspired by Jesus Christ." Geary added: "Those inspired by Jesus live out the example of his justice, mercy and compassion by serving in their local foodbank, getting the unemployed into work and bringing together estranged communities in the spirit of the common good. "They also support voting in elections, standing for public office and a range of positive Christian engagement in politics driven by an insatiable desire to heal a broken world."
Christian Today

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France: Protesters smash Paris's 'racist' human zoo

A divisive art show featuring black actors in cages as a portrayal of 19th century "human zoos" had to be halted on Thursday after more than 120 angry protesters smashed their way into Paris theatre where it was being held.

28/11/2014- Angry demonstrators gathered on Thursday night outside the Gérard Philippe theatre in Paris’s Saint Denis, a district with a high non-white population, in a bid to block an exhibition on the horrors of colonialism using live black actors. Journalist Gilda Di Carli who was covering the event for The Local said: "At about 6:40pm things started getting lively as protesters, who numbered around 100 started arguing with police officers. "Then the metal barrier was pushed over and every-one, protesters and journalists included, rushed up the stairs toward the entrance of the theatre. "The police were lined up in front of the doors and there was a lot of shouting and chanting. The police were blowing their whistles as protesters chanted slogans such as "No to racism" and "Cancel the show". It took Paris police five minutes to break up the what theatre directors described as a “riot”, by which stage protesters had smashed one of the building's window panes and knocked over several barriers.

Two shows took place before theatre director Jean Bellorini decided to cancel other showings. The controversial work, created by white South African artist Brett Bailey, is supposed to be a thought-provoking look at the 19th-and 20th-century practice of exhibiting people from the colonies in human zoos for public amusement. Bailey insists “Exhibit B” aims to improve awareness of the racism of Europe’s colonial past, while challenging viewers to question their role as voyeurs in contempo-rary human tragedies (one of the “tableaux” features a modern-day asylum seeker bound to an aeroplane seat with gaffer tape). Writing on his Facebook page last night a defiant Bailey said: "Protesters at the premiere of Exhibit B in St Denis, Paris, smashed through the theatre doors tonight. Set off fire alarms. Trying to stop us. "My performers are full of fire. My team is full of fire. The presenters are full of fire. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. The show will go on. Watch this space."

The artist recently told AFP the sudden anger over the installation was a grave misunderstanding from people who had not actually seen the "deeply emotional" work.
But not everyone agrees. A petition, mirroring a successful appeal for the same art show to be banned from London’s famed Barbican theatre, has already been signed by more than 14,000 Parisians. “It is already surprising that in the mixed districts of northern Paris, the multi-ethnic population is being invited to come and learn about the racism of a white South African,” reads the appeal. “It is all the more shocking that the possibilities for black artists to present their work in these prestigious cultural centres are extremely limited,” it added.

France's black community rights group CRAN said it was not calling for the exhibition to be stopped but said that while “it might be well-intentioned it reinforces stereotypes”. “It shows black people as passive and as victims,” CRAN president Louis-Georges Tin told The Local. “It never shows the struggle by black people for their own emancipation.” "There were objections to the fact that a white South African is telling a story about racism," Bailey told AFP. The exhibition toured Europe in 2013 and received a "beautiful response" he added. In France, Exhibit B has received support from the League of Human Rights, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin. Pellerini condemned "attempts at intimidation or censorship”. The show is scheduled to continue at the theatre until November 30 before moving to the 104 theatre between December 6 and 15.
The Local - France

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France: Sarkozy faces racism accusations over claims he appointed Justice minister because 'it made sense'

Former president ignites storm after asserting it "made sense" for Rachida Dati, whose parents were Algerian and Moroccan, to talk about "criminal justice policies"

26/11/2014- Nicolas Sarkozy sparked a race row on Wednesday after asserting that appointed Rachida Dati as justice minister because her North African origins meant it “made sense for her to talk about criminal justice policies”. The centre-Right former French president made the controversial claim on Tuesday night at a meeting in Boulogne-Billancourt, a Paris suburb, where he was campaigning to become leader of the opposition UMP. Mr Sarkozy is widely tipped to win Saturday’s vote, in which party members will choose between three candidates, including Bruno Le Maire and Hervé Mariton. During his rally, the 59-year-old ex-president, who has Jewish Hungarian and Greek roots, said he was proud of the “diverse cabinet” he had formed after taking power in 2007 - in particular his appointment of Miss Dati as justice minister, a post she held for three years. He said: “I said to myself that it would make sense for Rachida Dati, with an Algerian and Moroccan father and mother, to speak about criminal justice policies”.

The second of 12 children, Miss Dati, 48, was born to a Moroccan father, a bricklayer, and an Algerian mother. The family was impoverished and she left school at 16 but studied at night to gain degrees in economics and law before become a magistrate. When Mr Sarkozy made her justice minister, she said: “For him, I’m not a token Arab.” Today, she is an MEP and mayor of Paris’ seventh arrondissement. Two of her younger brothers, Omar and Jamal, have spent time in prison for drug dealing. Mr Sarkozy’s remark sparked angry accusations of racism, with critics saying it implied that French people of North African origin were more likely to be criminals. Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme, described them as “absolutely appalling”. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” he told BFMTV. “These are remarks made by a former French president whose words carry weight. “He is playing with prejudices and visibly he totally assumes them.”

He later mockingly tweeted: “I’m not racist, I made Rachida Dati justice minister.” Mr Mariton, a rival for UMP leadership, also slammed the comments as “unacceptable” as they linked “a person’s origin and the policies they should lead” while François Bayrou, a centrist, said: “When you always talk about origins and colour, in a certain way you create different categories of citizens. That’s not my vision of things.” But Sarkozy allies claimed his words had been “scandalously” twisted in a meeting in which the ex-leader had also insisted: “I won’t be the president of a political formation that singles people out for the colour of their skin or their difference.” Referring to Miss Dati, Laurent Wauquiez, an MP from Mr Sarkozy’s UMP party, said: “When you have someone who is the incarnation of republican meritocracy, who started out in a modest family that taught her the values of work, of commitment and who gradually worked her way up to occupy a post as important as the justice minister, yes it makes sense.”

Gérald Darmanin, Mr Sarkozy’s campaign spokesman, said that on the contrary, Mr Sarkozy had “sought to shake up the make-up of elites because France is diverse”. He added: “For Nicolas Sarkozy, diversity is a richness.” The remarks came a month after the release of an explosive parliamentary report by Guillaume Larrivé, an MP from Mr Sarkozy’s UMP party, which estimated that around 60 per cent of inmates in French prisons were “from Muslim culture or religion”. The report warned that “several hundred individuals” risked being discreetly indoctrinated with “radical Islam” and called for a tough “anti-radicalisation plan”. Miss Dati’s office did not respond to a request for a comment. There are no official statistics on the number of inmates of North African origin in France. The comment came to light after it was tweeted by an ally of Alain Juppé, the former French prime minister and Mr Sarkozy’s main rival to lead the centre-Right in 2017 presidential elections. Relations between the two turned venomous this week after Mr Juppé was copiously booed when he made an appearance at a Sarkozy rally in Bordeaux, where he is mayor.
The Telegraph

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