Headlines 26 December, 2014
Russians awarded prizes for anti-gay hate
Golden Enema 2014 ceremony held to highlight LGBTI rights
26/12/2014- Russia’s worst homophobes have had their efforts rewarded in the Golden Enema 2014 ceremony. The annual awards ceremony for the worst of the country’s LGBTI hate is organized by the Straight Alliance for LGBT equality in St Petersburg. ‘Gangster-fascists’ won their booby prize for tricking gay people to meet them and then making videos where they humiliate their victims. They also steal money and valuables and blackmail the people they entrap. Some victims have breakdowns or even commit suicide. Another prize, dubbed ‘The Stink-Parade’ was given to anti-gay thugs who the organizers said left ‘condoms filled with excrement beside the walls of the State Duma’ and released ‘foul-smelling gas at the opening of the QueerFest 2014 and the LGBT film festival Side by Side’. The award citation accused them of using syringes to squirt corrosive fluids mixed with evil-smelling green dye at the faces and clothes of lawyers and human rights activists.
Business leaders were also criticized. Head of the Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin won a Golden Enema for calling LGBTI people fighting for their rights ‘cultural mutants’. He also dubbed Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst a ‘symbol of ethnofascism’ and harbinger of the ‘rapid demise of Europe’. Also highlighted was St Petersburg’s Maxim Dolgopolov who erected a monument to the iPhone and then destroyed it after Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay. Bureaucrat Irina Boitsova, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Kirov district of St. Petersburg, won for illegally dismissing a homosexual school-teacher. And ‘gay propaganda’ law maker Vitaly Milonov got his prize for ‘indefatigable PR and tireless promotion of LGBT events in St. Petersburg’ Among the other ‘enemas’ handed out, there were joint winners for the international category – preachers Scott Lively and James Manning.
Lively is actively involved in promoting homophobia in Russia and elsewhere and has recently claimed that being a homosexual is worse than being a serial killer. Manning says the sperm of gay men is a ‘secret ingredient of Starbucks latte’. Russian journalists and cultural figures were also highlighted.
© Gay Star News
Arsonist sets fire to Swedish mosque, injuring five
25/12/2014- An arsonist set fire to a mosque in the Swedish town of Eskilstuna on Thursday, injuring five people, police said, an incident which comes amid an intense debate over immigration. The immigration debate has pitted the far right, which wants to cut the number of asylum seekers allowed into Sweden by 90 percent, against mainstream parties intent on preserving the Nordic country's liberal policy. Between 15 and 20 people were in the mosque, located in the ground floor of a building in a mainly residential area, when the fire erupted. Local media footage showed smoke and flames billowing from the windows. "A witness saw somebody throw an object through the window of the building, which serves as a mosque, after which a violent fire began," police spokesman Lars Franzell said. The five injured people were taken to hospital for treatment of injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to lacerations. No suspect has been apprehended yet, Franzell added. Emergency services in Eskilstuna, central Sweden, were called to the scene of the fire shortly after 12:00 noon, and police are treating it as arson.
Sweden: Shots fired at Stockholm migrant camp
Stockholm police have launched an investigation after reports that shots were fired at an EU migrant camp in the south of the city on Saturday.
21/12/2014- The shots were reportedly aimed in the direction of a camp in the suburb of Enskede, "We have launched a preliminary investigation into suspected unlawful threats and violations of the firearms act," said Lars Källgren at Stockholm police. Interrogations have been held and a forensic examination has been conducted at the site. According to police nothing "of significant interest" has yet been found. "We have no indication that anyone has been injured," Källgren said. The police were called by a witness at 6.21pm, although the first police patrol did not arrive until 8.26pm. According to Swedish media reports the police have been criticized for their delayed response to the suspected incident. Lars Källgren explained to the TT news agency that the delay was probably caused by other more prioritized matters. He furthermore added that the witness had indicated that the shots had ceased by the time of the call.
© The Local - Sweden
Swedish centre-left in lead, far-right holds balance of power
21/12/2014- Sweden's centre-left parties lead the opposition centre-right Alliance but the unaligned anti-immigration Sweden Democrats hold a firm grip on the balance of power ahead of the unscheduled election in March, a poll in daily paper Svenska Dagbladet showed on Sunday. The governing Social Democrats and Greens plus the Left party which offers support from outside government had the backing of 44.3 percent of Swedish voters, a poll by SIFO showed, versus 40.0 percent for the centre-right bloc. The Sweden Democrats party, which helped trigger this month's political crisis by voting down a government budget, were supported by 12.9 percent in a poll that showed only minor swings from the results in the general election in September. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven plans to call for a snap election on Dec. 29, with the ballot scheduled to take place on March 22. The last election was in September, which returned a minority centre-left government and left the Sweden Democrats holding the balance of power. The SIFO poll was conducted between Dec. 8 and Dec. 18.
Greek Presidential Candidate: I Will Not Accept Being Elected With Golden Dawn Votes
24/12/2014- Greek Presidential candidate Stavros Dimas ruled out the scenario of being elected as the next President with the votes of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. “As I respect the democratic institutions, I will not accept being elected President of the Republic with Golden Dawn votes,” Dimas underlined, commenting on the ongoing speculation that the xenophobic party’s MPs could vote for him. Nevertheless, Greece ‘s Administrative Reform Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Parliament Third Vice President Christos Markogiannakis appeared to be in line with Dimas, dismissing the scenarios that want ruling New Democracy to be accepting Golden Dawn’s support. Commenting on the scenarios regarding a possible effect Golden Dawn MPs’ votes could have on the result of the third ballot for the election of a new Greek President, Mitsotakis told Greek television: “Don’t even think about it. There will be New Democracy MPs who will not vote for a President if Golden Dawn says ‘yes’… I refuse to join forces with Golden Dawn for the President’s election. My vote will not contribute to the legitimization of Golden Dawn through the Presidential election. I will vote ‘present’; and I believe I will not be the only one to do so.” Markogian-nakis said that “we do not accept support from a criminal organization.”
© The Greek Reporter
Greece: Vandals strike Jewish cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in the Greek town of Larissa was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti signed by “Larissa Skins” on December 23rd.
24/12/2014- Following this act of vandalism, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the WJC affiliated umbrella organization of Greece’s 5,000-strong community, issued the following statement: “The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the Jewish Community of Larissa, and Greek Jewry express their sorrow and indignation and strongly condemn the desecration of the Jewish cemetery of Larissa with swastikas, threats such as “six million more” and anti-Semitic phrases similar to those used by the Nazi to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The desecration of a cemetery, which is a holy place for all religions, is not only an insult to the memory of our dead brothers, but also an insult to the culture of our country and the city of Larissa,” the statement says.
The organization called upon the Judiciary, and Municipal and State authorities to take all the necessary measures to apprehend and punish those responsible and also to protect the Jewish holy places in the country, in order to avoid repetition of such phenomena. “We also expect the representatives of the State and the Civil Society, to come forward and express a strong and determined condemnation of this specific act as well as of any act of anti-Semitism, which is not only a threat to Jews, but also a threat to our democracy,” the organization stated.
The desecration of the Larissa cemetery comes after the Holocaust Monument in Athens was vandalized with graffiti signed by the extreme nationalist and anti-Semitic organization “Unaligned Meander Nationalists” at the end of October this year. This organization –which describes itself as a hard-core radical and nationalist organization, different from the “moderate nationalists” of Golden Dawn – is also responsible for the desecration of the Holocaust Monument in the island of Rhodes in October 2012.
© World Jewish Congress
Germany: Record 17,000 join 'Pinstripe Nazi' anti-Islam march in Dresden
Many in Berlin shocked by emergence of far-right anti-Islamist group Pegida as growing numbers join weekly Dresden protest.
23/12/2014- A record 17,000 people have joined the latest in a string of demonstrations against Islam in Dresden, eastern Germany, celebrating the rise of their far-right populist movement by singing Christmas carols. The march on Monday night was organised by Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West – a group that has grown rapidly since its first protest in October. Politicians from all major parties have been stunned by the emergence of the right-wing nationalists who vent their anger against what they consider a broken immigration and asylum system. About 4,500 counter-demonstrators marched through the city under the slogan “Dresden Nazi-free”, warning that there was no space for racism and xenophobia in the country that perpetrated the Holocaust. Most Pegida followers insist they are not Nazis but patriots who worry about the “watering down” of their Christian-rooted culture and traditions. They often accuse mainstream political parties of betraying them and the media of lying.
Braving cold and wet weather, they gathered outside the historic Semperoper concert hall for their pre-Christmas recital. Police put their numbers at about 17,500, up from the previous high of 15,000 a week earlier. The management of the opera house signalled its distaste by turning the building’s lights off and flying flags outside that read: “Open your eyes”, “Open your hearts”, “Open doors” and “Human dignity is sacrosanct”, the first line of the national constitution. The Protestant bishop of Saxony state, Jochen Bohl, said the Pegida followers, by singing Christmas carols, were seeking “to exploit a Christian symbol and a Christian tradition” for political purposes, German news agency DPA reported. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, of the centre-left Social Democrats, called for concerned citizens to launch a “rebellion of the decent” against the anti-foreigner movement, saying “that’s the kind of public reaction we need now”.
Pegida, born in a city that was part of communist East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, has spawned copycat groups in western areas which have failed so far to attract similar crowds. Smaller clone groups rallied Monday in the western cities of Bonn, Kassel and Wuerzburg, but they only drew up to 200 followers each and were all vastly outnumbered by counter-demonstrations that drew 20,000 nationwide. Police reported no major violence but said eight people were tempora-rily detained after confrontations in Kassel, reported German news agency DPA. The biggest anti-Pegida march was held in the southern city of Munich, where at least 12,000 rallied under the banner “Make space – Refugees are welcome”. “We have space for people of different skin colour, ethnic origin and mother tongue,” city mayor Dieter Reiter told the crowd. “We have space for all religions and believers: for those who go to the mosque on Fridays, who go to the synagogue on Saturdays, or to church on Sundays, but also for those who prefer to just stay home.”
The movement has emerged at a time when Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has become the continent’s top destination for asylum seekers, and the world’s number two destination for migrants after the United States. The influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and several African and Balkan countries has strained local governments, which have scrambled to house the newcomers in old schools, office blocks and army barracks. Chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned Germans against falling prey to any form of xenophobic “rabble-rousing”, while other lawmakers have deplored the new “pin-striped Nazis”.
German Council of Jews chairman condemns "immensely dangerous" PEGIDA
In light of recent marches by the controversial PEGIDA movement, Germany's Central Council of Jews (ZdJ) has come to the defense of Muslims in Germany. Chairman Josef Schuster has warned to not underestimate the group.
20/12/2014- The newly-elected chairman of the council, Josef Schuster, said in Saturday's edition of the German newspaper Die Welt that fear of Islamistic terrorism is being "exploited" to vilify an entire religion. "This is completely unacceptable," said Schuster. "Of course Islamist extremism needs to be taken as seriously as other extremist trends," he said, "But the security authorities have long been aware." To draw the conclusion from so few Islamists that Islam is going to become Germany's state religion, is "as absurd as when we conclude that, due to the existence of right-wing extremism, the Nazi dictatorship will be rebuilt tomorrow," Schuster added.
'Racism and xenophobia'
At the same time, however, Schuster expressed his deep concerns over the demonstrations led by PEGIDA, which loosely translates as the "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West," and warned against underestimating the movement. They are "immensely dangerous," he said. "Here, neo-Nazis, parties from the far-right and citizens who think that they can finally let out their racism and xenophobia are all mixed together," Schuster said.
PEGIDA's largest demonstration to date took place on Monday evening in the eastern German city of Dresden. Some 15,000 people took to the streets to demonstrate against islamization and Germany's immigration system. Nearby, however, about 6,000 counter-protesters - made up of civic, political and church groups - marched under the banners "Dresden Nazi-free" and "Dresden for All." Ahead of Monday's march, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the recent wave of PEGIDA marches and cautioned Germans against falling prey to xenophobic "rabble rousing."
© The Deutsche Welle.
Germany: East Berlin district a haven for far-right xenophobia
22/12/2014- There’s little to break the monotony of Communist-era apartment blocks stretching across Marzahn-Hellersdorf, an east Berlin satellite district that has gained national notoriety for a spate of anti-foreigner protests. Week after week, hundreds of residents here have angrily rallied against plans for a new centre to house refugees seeking asylum on a stretch of parkland now ringed by cyclone fence and watched by security guards. As Germany confronts a rise in far-right populism, with “anti-Islamisation” marches drawing thousands in the eastern city of Dresden, this bland corner of the sprawling capital, a district home to almost 300,000 people, has become another flashpoint of resentment and xenophobia.
“I have nothing against foreigners, I’ve been around them all my life,” said Fritz Siebke, 91, enjoying a Christmas season banquet of meat rolls, potato dumplings and gravy with fellow German pensioners at a district community centre. “But since we’ve accepted refugees into Marzahn-Hellersdorf, things have changed in the neighbourhood. My gardening tools were stolen from right outside my house. In the past, that wouldn’t have happened.” Christa Timm a fellow retiree who has lived here “for half-a-century,” since the days when a Marxist-Leninist regime was in charge — grumbled that “it would have been good if the authorities had informed us properly.”
At first glance little has changed in Marzahn since the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago the few splashes of colour amid the prefab walls of 1970s-era architecture are mostly discount supermarkets and the yellow trams leading to the city. With one in five residents unemployed and the area suffering neglect, the drab district is a world away from Berlin’s more cosmopolitan and diverse centre and, analysts say, fertile ground for the far-right protests. “Just look at the decay of our roads, our schools,” argued Manfred Rouhs, head of the far-right Pro Deutschland (For Germany) party, which has helped organise protests venting anger at the entire political class, as well as the mainstream media. “It’s normal that people demand their problems be addressed before they host economic refugees,” he told AFP in his office, seated before a black-red-gold German flag and a poster calling for “more education and less immigration”.
Marzahn district mayor Stefan Komoss, a centre-left social democrat, said he understood the concerns of many residents, but argued that “if we had to wait for budget surpluses before we dealt with the asylum issue, we wouldn’t be doing anything at all.” He insisted his local administration had used “all the available channels of information” to gain acceptance for the new asylum centre. “Those who still complain of not being informed are merely saying, in a roundabout way, that they are against the arrival of refugees in their neighbourhood.”
Germany to look into all angles in mosque attack case
23/12/2014- German states are themselves responsible for taking security measures around mosques, German interior ministry spokesman said Monday. The spokesman made the statement after a recent neo-Nazi attack on a mosque in Dormagen city. Johannes Dimroth said that authorities were carefully analyzing all aspects of the attack as it did in every such case. "We are considering such cases, and we are making inferences," Dimroth said. "I don't set down a case with violence and religious motives as normal," he added. Neo-Nazis attacked the Turkish-Islamic Union’s Suleymaniye Mosque by leaving swastika signs on its walls in Dormagen city in Northern Rhein-Westphalia State Saturday. German police said they have examined the security footage around the area and launched an investigation into the incident. Police also announced a reward of €1,500 for anyone who gave information on the perpetrators.
© The Turkish Press