Headlines 28 May, 2010
ANTI-SEMITIC GRAFFITI FOUND IN VICTORIA PARK (Canada)
28/5/2010- The Jewish community in Victoria, B.C., was stunned to learn that vandals had spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the slides and climbing apparatus in Clawthorpe Park last week. Police estimated the vandals struck between May 10 and May 11, spraying swastikas and misspelled epithets that were speedily removed the next day by Victoria city work crews. Det. Rhys Wickes of the Victoria Police Department asked for assistance from the public in identifying the culprits and said this kind of hate-filled vandalism is taken very seriously. “It’s just unacceptable and represents a blow to values important in Victoria,” he said. The children of Rabbi Meir Kaplan, who heads Chabad of Vancouver Island, are frequent visitors to Clawthorpe Park, particularly on Shabbat mornings. On his blog, Rabbi Kaplan said each structure in the playground was covered with graffiti. “ ‘No Jews’ it said on the ladder, and ‘Warsaw getto’ on the children’s crawling space. Nazi swastikas were all over the slides. It was very uncomfortable and extremely saddening to see.” Rabbi Kaplan added that he was confident this graffiti in no way characterizes public opinion of the Jewish community on Vancouver Island. “I know that this doesn’t represent Victoria,” he wrote. “We know that the general community here is friendly and tolerant. To those people who may be bothered by the stronger Jewish presence in Victoria, we have some news for them: what they have seen is just the beginning. Jewish life will flourish on the island, more people will be returning from synagogue on Shabbat afternoon… and more Jewish children who are proud of their identity will be playing in the parks.”
Rabbi Kaplan said he met with Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham on May 17 and was assured that the Victoria police were taking the case very seriously. “Graham said they are putting their best people on the job, and that they were confident they would find those responsible,” Kaplan said. Asked if there were many members of Victoria’s Jewish community who used the park regularly, he said it was primarily his family. “The reality is that we use the park regularly on Shabbat morning when we return from shul. It seems to be that this was directed against us.” This is not the first time vandals have struck the Jewish community. Just three weeks ago, the wall facing the parking lot at the Victoria Jewish Community Centre was sprayed with graffiti stating “Zionists are Nazis.” A painter primed and painted the wall, refusing to take any money for his work, and police said they would patrol the area more often. A spokesperson for the JCC said police recognized the graffiti and identified its artist as an agitator who did not target the Jewish community exclusively. Tim Humphreys, community development officer for Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island, said this was the second time in two years the JCC has been spray-painted with anti-Semitic slogans. “There have been a couple of incidents of anti-Semitism up-island in the past few years, and we’ve called on the Canadian Jewish Congress to go and do educational sessions in the schools,” he said. “Usually once they do that, the results are very positive, because the incidents are related to a basic lack of knowledge by students.”
© The Canadian Jewish News
CAR OF FRENCH ANTI-SEMITISM LEADER TORCHED
28/5/2010- The car belonging to the head of a French anti-Semitism organisation was burned overnight outside of his house in a Parisian suburb, he said Friday. Sammy Ghozlan, president of the BNVCA, called the burning of his car "an anti-Semitic attack and intimidation." Police said they had opened an arson investigation after Ghozlan filed a complaint. The vehicle was in the driveway inside the yard of his house in the northeastern Paris suburb Blanc-Mesnil. Ghozlan said he had received neither any threats nor claims of responsibility.
ECCLES MOSQUE ATTACKED (uk)
28/5/2010- Vandals carried out two attacks in one night on a Manchester mosque on April 10. They were captured on camera as they removed fencing and threw bricks through the windows. The vandalism is the latest in a series of Islamophobic attacks on the mosque in Liverpool Road, Eccles. CCTV cameras were installed after a break-in in 2006 when intruders caused extensive damage. Local officers are now providing reassurance to religious leaders and members of the community by holding a series of meetings with the Eccles mosque committee and conducting high visibility joint patrols with a committee member in the local area. Eccles Mosque Chair, Ali Anees, told The Muslim News, “We have had problems regularly. In March, someone threw paint over the outside of the mosque and wrote graffiti. “Then at about 2am last Saturday two men got into the grounds. One is on film throwing bricks which had been taken from a wall of a neighbouring building. They attacked the building twice in about 20 minutes. “Three sections of the windows were smashed and bricks were found inside the office of the mosque. We had another incident in March when eggs were thrown at people leaving the mosque by people driving past. After the damaged caused in 2006, they have spent £425,000 on new buildings. “We have up to 500 members and they are very angry about the attacks. We want the culprits caught.” One vandal is seen to hurl at least five bricks through windows and temporary fencing is pulled down.
In a statement to The Muslim News Sergeant Tom Martin from Salford South Neighbourhood Policing Team said, “We are working closely with members of the mosque to ensure this type of incidents doesn’t happen again. Existing CCTV cameras have been reviewed to maximize their potential and a local resident has agreed to remove loose bricks outside his home in order to prevent them from being used to cause further damage. “I can reassure the community that we do not tolerate this kind of vandalism and we will do everything possible to bring the offenders to justice. If residents have any concerns what so ever, they can contact a member of my team.”
© The Muslim News
10 ARRESTED ACROSS EAST END IN HATE CRIME RAIDS (uk)
27/5/2010- Cops arrested 10 people in a series of raids to crack down on hate crime across London's East End. Officers from Tower Hamlets police's community safety unit took part in a series of cross London raids as part of Operation Athena last Tuesday. The officers struck the homes of people wanted for domestic violence, racially aggravated assault and homophobic crime throughout the day from 7am and arrested a total of 10 people. A 21yr old man from Bow has charged for a domestic assault and appeared in custody at the Special Domestic Violence Court at Thames Magistrates last Thursday. He has been bailed to attend court at a later date. Four other men were cautioned for public order offences and the other five, who were arrested for a mixture of domestic abuse and racist attacks, were released on police bail pending further enquiries.
© The East London Advertiser
FJCR CONCERNED ABOUT INCREASE IN ANTI-SEMITISM IN ULYANOVSK (Russia)
24/5/2010- The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) has said there has been a recent increase in anti-Semitism in Ulyanovsk. "One of the recent manifestations of organized fascism in Ulyanovsk was the appearance of the words "Jews Must Die" and swastika in several districts of the city on April 20," the FJCR said in a statement sent to Interfax-Religion on Monday. At a rally devoted to May 1 organized by the Communist Party, "anti-Semitic leaflets were openly distributed and unknown individuals raided the Ulyanovsk Jewish Community Center building on May 9," the document says. On May 10, the Jewish Community Center was attacked again by a group of people, who threw stones at its windows, the FJCR said in its statement. The Anti-Extremism Center of the Ulyanovsk region's Interior Affairs Department is currently investigating these incidents. The statement quotes Valery Rogatsky, deputy head of the Ulyanovsk Jewish Community, as saying that "these sad events are most likely organized, not spontaneous." The FJCR also said anti-Semitic attacks have happened in Ulyanovsk before (specifically, the Ulyanovsk Jewish Community Center and the synagogue were attacked two years ago). Over ten people acting on behalf of the Russian National Union took part in the attack. The attackers painted swastika on the walls of the building, threw Russian National Union newspapers at the synagogue, and shouted threats at Jewish people.
LATVIAN SUPREME COURT CLEARS NEO-NAZI OF RACE HATE SPEECH CHARGES (blog)
22/5/2010- The so-called "Senate" or highest appeal level of the Latvian Supreme Court (Augstâkâ tiesa) has let stand a lower appeals court decision clearing Latvian neo-Nazi Andris Jordâns of charges of inciting race hatred. Jordâns was originally sentenced to an 18 month jail term for statements he made at a meeting of the Latvian Anti-Fascist Committee denouncing Jews and Roma (gypsies) as "not being human". There were a number of Latvian Jews in the audience during Jordan's remarks, which, as some video records show, were delivered in a normal, non-threatening tone of voice. From news reports, it appears that the lower appeals court decision was based on a failure of prosecutors to prove that Jordâns' speech was an incitement to racial hatred. It did not touch the issue of whether there should be hate speech laws (probably more of a question for Latvia's Constitutional Court), simply that the prosecution failed to make its case. Jordans is precisely the kind of hard case (a racist, anti-semitic loony-tune) where it is necessary to separate principle from personality and stand by the broadest interpretation of free speech. Free expression applies to all speech and expression, regardless of its content and with some very, very narrow exceptions (had Jordan's statement immediately been followed by an attack on Jews in the audience, there might be a case, similarly, there could be a case for diminished responsibility based on provocation if a Jewish person from the audience had taken a punch at Jordans). We can all imagine supporting the free speech rights of a kind little old lady who is arrested for verbally protesting the closing of a shelter for stray cats. But the real test case is for people who we really, really don't like and whose politics, if implemented, are dangerous and totalitarian. That means people like Jordâns or some raving Muslim jihadist preacher. Freedom for the thought we hate, as Anthony Lewis more or less formulated it.
© Free Speech Emergency in Latvia
MOVEMENT TO DEMONSTRATE OVER RACIALLY-MOTIVATED ATTACK (Czech Rep)
23/5/2010- The Czech Movement for an effective solution to the issue of unadaptable people plans a demonstration outside the Chamber of Deputies over an attack by two Romany teenagers on a 13-year-old majority population boy in Krupka, north Bohemia, its head Pavel Vanicek said yesterday. The movement wants all perpetrators of racially-motivated acts to be justly punished. The attack took place in end-April. Police spokeswoman Ilona Novotna said two perpetrators aged 14 and 17 brutally beat up the boy. His injuries included a ripped spleen. Novotna confirmed the attack had a racial subtext. The perpetrators were soon detained. The older was accused of robbery and of causing serious bodily harm with a racial subtext. The younger boy is minor and he cannot be prosecuted. He has been placed in an institute for problematic children and youth. Photographs of the beaten-up boy were posted on the Internet a few days after the attack. Rightist extremists compare the incident with last year's arson attack in Vitkov, north Moravia, in which a girl, then two years old, suffered burns to 80 percent of her body. She has survived, but with permanent harm to her health. The attack in Krupka has been sharply criticised by Tomas Vandas, chairman of the extremist Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS).
© The Prague Daily Monitor
22/5/2010- It was supposed to be the first gay pride parade ever organised in Slovakia to support the empowerment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. But the parade planned for downtown Bratislava was cancelled after neo-Nazi groups attacked the march on May 22. The organizers explained that Slovakia’s police were unable to secure the safety of those attending. Members of the neo-Nazi group Slovenská Pospolitos attacked the participants at a pre-parade rally for LGBT rights. A tear gas canister thrown by one of the approximately 80 neo-Nazis interrupted the rally, attended by 500 people, while the extremists also were throwing eggs at the participants, the Sme daily reported. Two rally participants who were carrying a rainbow flag, the symbol of the parade, were attacked by the neo-Nazis at Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava. They attacked the flag barriers with their fists in the face, the SITA newswire reported. The rally and parade had been announced long in advance and observers said that the police had enough time to prepare for the security and safety of the parade participants. “Instead of the parade of pride, Slovakia has experienced a day of shame,” wrote Sme’s deputy editor-in-chief Lukáš Fila in his commentary suggesting that the attack by the neo-Nazis against the participants shows a failure by the state.
Fila states that if the state was unable to secure order at an event which had been announced months in advance and about which all media had been reporting and to which foreign diplomats had confirmed their presence, then in what other areas are the police incapable of securing public order? The event was intended to remind society of how diverse and colourful humankind is – hence the rainbow has become the symbol of gay parades all around the world. In Slovakia, Rainbow Pride was organised by the Queer Leaders’ Forum civic association, an informal group named Queers, and other civic groups. The organizers expressed regret that the police were unable to secure the planned path of the parade. The history of gay pride marches goes back to the Stonewall riots of 1969 when gay people in New York protested against raids made by police on local gay bars. Since then, a parade in New York to commemorate those events has taken place every year – and the tradition of gay pride parades has spread around the world. The organisers of Bratislava’s Pride event had said they hoped that the rally and parade would provide space not only for people with different sexual orientations, but also for all others who appreciate the values of an open society and support the concept of universal human rights.
© The Slovak Spectator
HOTEL FINED FOR GUEST SLUR AT DISCRIMINATION SEMINAR (Sweden)
A Swedish appeals court has ruled that a Norrköping hotel was guilty of discriminating against a guest who was participating at a conference on ethnic discrimination at the time.
21/5/2010- The court upheld a district court ruling in favour of the Discrimination Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsman - DO) who had taken up the woman's case, and ordered the hotel to pay 8,000 kronor ($1,000) in compensation plus interest and court costs. The woman, whose is member of Sweden's Roma community, was attending the conference at the Elite Grand Hotel in Norrköping in eastern Sweden when she was repeatedly asked by staff as to why she was there. According to court documents three different members of staff approached the woman and asked her whether she was a guest at the hotel. At one point she was informed that the coffee which she was helping herself to at the time was for the consumption of paying guests only. The woman was in Norrköping to attend a conference addressing the subject of ethnic discrimination and she later reported the hotel to DO. The hotel responded, in its defence, that it had previously had problems with Roma and thefts, an explanation the hotel later changed, arguing instead that staff are instructed to check the identity of all guests that they don't immediately recognise. "It is almost impossible to imagine that hotel staff in practice approach every single guest that they do not immediately recognize," the court stated in response to the hotel's explanation. The court furthermore ruled that the Grand Hotel had not sufficiently been able to prove that the woman had not suffered insult or injury as a result of the discrimination and thus remained liable to pay the damages awarded by district court. The Elite Grand Hotel Norrköping's general manager, Krister Eriksson, told The Local on Friday that he was unwilling to comment further on the case.
© The Local - Sweden
Headlines 21 May, 2010
FRANCE HAS FIRST 'BURKA RAGE' INCIDENT
A 60-year-old lawyer ripped a Muslim woman's Islamic veil off in a row in a clothing shop in what police say is France's first case of "burka rage".
18/5/2010- The astonishing scene unfolded during a weekend shopping trip after the woman lawyer took offence at the attire of a fellow shopper resulting in argument during which the pair came to blows before being arrested. It came as racial tensions grow in the country as it prepares to introduce a total ban on burkas and other forms of religious dress which cover the face. A 26-year-old Muslim convert was walking through the store in Trignac, near Nantes, in the western Loire-Atlantique region, when she overhead the woman lawyer making "snide remarks about her black burka". A police officer close to the case said: "The lawyer said she was not happy seeing a fellow shopper wearing a veil and wanted the ban introduced as soon as possible." At one point the lawyer, who was out with her daughter, is said to have likened the Muslim woman to Belphegor, a horror demon character well known to French TV viewers. Belphegor is said to haunt the Louvre museum in Paris and frequently covers up his hideous features using a mask. An argument started before the older woman is said to have ripped the other woman's veil off. As they came to blows, the lawyer's daughter joined in. "The shop manager and the husband of the Muslim woman moved to break up the fighting," the officer said. All three were arrested and taken to the local gendarmerie for questioning.
A spokesman for Trignac police said that two complaints had been received, with the Muslim woman accusing the lawyer of racial and religious assault. The latter, in turn, had accused her opponent of common assault. The French parliament has adopted a formal motion declaring burkas and other forms of Islamic dress to be "an affront to the nation's values." Some have accused criminals, from terrorists to shoplifters, of wearing veils to disguise themselves. A ban, which could be introduced as early as the autumn, would make France the second country after Belgium to outlaw the Islamic veil in public places. But many have criticised the anti-burka lobby, which includes the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for stigmatising Muslim housewives. Many French woman from council estates are forced to wear the veils because of pressure from authoritarian husbands. The promise of a ban has prompted warnings of racial tensions in a country which is home to some five million Muslims – one of the religion's largest communities in Europe. Mr Sarkozy's cabinet is to examine a draft bill which will impose one-year prison sentences and fines of up to £14,000 on men who force their wives to wear a burka. Women themselves will face a smaller fine of just over £100 because they are "often victims with no choice in the matter", says the draft. The law would create a new offence of "incitement to cover the face for reasons of gender". And it would state: "No one may wear in public places clothes that are aimed at hiding the face."
© The Telegraph
POLICE CRACKDOWN ON HATE CRIME ACROSS LONDON (uk)
18/5/2010- Raids across London have been carried out by the Metropolitan Police as part of an operation to crackdown on hate crime. A number of officers simultaneously raided properties across the city at about 0000 BST on Tuesday. Seventy-seven people have been arrested for a range of offences including serious assault and harassment. More arrests are expected to be made later. The action comes a day after the International Day Against Homophobia. The raids are aimed at bringing hate crime offenders to justice. Police are particularly focusing their attentions on homophobic and domestic violence within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
Between March 2009 and April 2010 there were 51,839 domestic violence offences, 9,914 racial offences and 1,336 homophobic offences committed in London. To crack down on such offences the Met has about 230 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Liaison officers supporting police work. Det Supt Darren Williams said: "Today's operations represent part of the proactive approach the MPS take to bring those responsible to justice. "We know that all hate crime is under reported and this remains a challenge for us. We will continue to work hard to gain the trust and confidence of all communities so that victims feel that they can come forward and tell police. "My message to all victims is that if you feel you can't tell the police - tell someone."
© BBC News
JEWISH GRAVES DESECRATED IN SHREVEPORT CEMETERY (usa)
18/5/2010- Shreveport police say vandals could face hate crime charges for damaging Jewish headstones in a Shreveport cemetery over the weekend. "People just don't know the treasure that we have out here," says Steve Smith," who guides historic tours through downtown Shreveport and the Oakland Cemetery. "The main reason I started the tour was to let people know what a treasure we have out here." Smith discovered the desecration Saturday afternoon as he was getting ready for another tour. "I almost got sick," he recalls. Nine headstones in the Jewish section of the historic cemetery were toppled and broken. "This is the only place that was hit. This was targeted. This has got to be a hate crime, because this is the Jewish section." "We have to prove that this crime was targeted against these headstones because of their religious symbolism," says Shreveport Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Bill Goodin. "Our investigators don't have a lot to go on, Now, we are trying to interview anybody who might have seen anything, we're asking anybody who might know anything to call our Crime Stoppers and I can assure you that somebody out there knows who did this." If and when the suspects are found and convicted, they face a felony charge of property damage. Penalties enhanced under hate crime laws include up to a $5,000 fine, five years in prison, or both.
Vicki LeBrun lives nearby says she and walks her dog through Oakland Cemetery "just about every day." While she's not convinced it was a hate crime, she does believe it was a crime of opportunity. "I think it's kids going through the cemetery at night. I can't say that it wasn't. But we live two doors up in a historical home, there's an abandoned building on the corner there's another big huge mansion across the street that are rotting down. The city needs to make the owners take care of those places, get lights up so it doesn't look so empty and desolate." The Oakland Cemetery is owned and maintained by the city, but the grave plots are owned by the families. Established in 1847, it is the final resting place of sixteen of Shreveport's mayors as well as officials from every level of government from the antebellum period, the Confederacy, Reconstruction, and afterward. Most of those buried at the site died around 1873 when an outbreak of yellow fever killed a quarter of Shreveport's residents. Whatever the cost for repairs and better security, Steve Smith says can't compare to what's being lost every time vandals strike. He says the destroyed headstones might be worth $1,000, but "historically, they are invaluable. So, you know, we're losing our history here."
GERMAN SYNAGOGUE ATTACKED BY ARSONISTS
Perpetrators' note demands that Jews "give Palestinians peace."
17/5/2010- A synagogue in the city of Worms, in Rhineland-Palatinate state, was attacked by arsonists on Monday. The vandals left a note linking their torching of the synagogue with the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the regional paper *Wiesbadener Kurier reported. German police found eight copies of a note written in “awkward” German, claiming responsibility for the blaze. “So long as you do not give the Palestinians peace, we are not going to give you peace,” read the note. Prosecutor Klaus-Peter Mieth said the authenticity of the note was still an open question. Authorities said there was no serious damage to the synagogue.
Levi Salomon, who heads a task force combating anti-Semitism for the 12,000-member Berlin Jewish community, told The Jerusalem Post it could not be ruled out that German-Palestinians set the synagogue afire. While there are no current statistics on the rise of Islamic anti-Semitism in Germany, Salomon said he had observed an increase in expressions of Muslim-based anti-Semitism. Observers said the attackers could be from the extreme Left, neo-Nazis or radical Islamists, because what unites these groups is their hatred of Israel. Stella Schindler-Siegreich, the head of the Jewish community in Mainz, traveled to Worms and told the *Kurier, “We are a small minority in Germany and we have a such a history.”
Germans destroyed the synagogue in Worms in 1938 and it was rebuilt in 1961. In contrast to many Jewish institutions in Germany, the Worms synagogue does not have a police presence or barricades, according to Schindler-Siegreich. The synagogue was built in 1034. The Jewish Cemetery in Worms, dating from the 11th century, is believed to be the oldest in Europe. The Rashi Shul, a synagogue dating from 1175 and carefully reconstructed after its desecration on Kristallnacht, is the oldest in Germany. Prominent rabbis from Worms include Shlomo Yitzhaki (Rashi), Elazar Rokeach and Yair Bacharach. At the Rabbinical Synod held at Worms in the 11th century, rabbis for the first time explicitly prohibited polygamy.
© The Jerusalem Post
BLACK ACTOR KILLED IN RUSSIA, HATE CRIME SUSPECTED: OFFICIALS
17/5/2010- A black actor who appeared in popular Soviet films has died in the northern Russian city of Saint Petersburg after being brutally beaten in a suspected racist attack, officials said Monday. "Tito Romalio, 59, died on May 11 in Alexandrovskaya hospital after being beaten by a 43-year-old Russian in a street in the north of the city following a conflict. The suspect was arrested," a local police spokesman said. The spokesman did not give other details, but Russian media outlets, citing anonymous police sources, reported that the attacker, identified as Khamzya Yenikeyev, beat the actor out of racist hatred. Romalio, who was of Brazilian descent, started his acting career as a child and had minor roles in such popular Soviet films as "Artyom's Adventures" from 1956 and "The Amphibian Man" from 1962. The actor often encountered difficulties with racism, the Novaya Ivestia newspaper reported, citing his friends. "Tito had a bitter fate," his friend Yelena Yakhontova told the daily. "In Russia he always lived with the brand of a 'darkie' and humiliated himself to find work. He had to get by somehow by working as a character actor." Africans and other non-whites living in Russia are frequently attacked by neo-Nazi gangs, though the authorities have claimed some success in reducing violent hate crimes recently. A total of 74 people were killed in racist attacks in Russia last year, a drop from the 120 killed in 2008, according to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, a group that tracks hate crimes.
DEAD SHEEP HANGING FROM BUILDING DUE FOR DEMOLITION (Netherlands)
15/5/2010- Adead sheep was found hanging from a building due for demolition in Roosendaal. "No mosque" in green paint was sprayed across the dead animal. In future a mosque has been planned on the plot of the Burgemeester Schneiderlaan. Judging from the way the sheep was suspended, head down 4 to 5 meters above ground, the police suspects that several people were involved in the action. The dead animal is removed and the police is investigating.
Translation I CARE
© Trouw (Dutch)
GOV'T CONDEMNATION OF JEWISH CEMETERY VANDALISM (Greece)
15/5/2010- The Greek government on Saturday issued a stern condemnation of the incidents of vandalism and desecration at Thessaloniki's Jewish cemetery, which occurred in the early morning hours of Friday or late Thursday evening. Three suspects, two men and a woman, 21, 18 and 17, were arrested as suspects in the incident northern port city. "The government unequivocally condemns the vandalisms at the Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki. Such instances of racism and hate have no place whatever in Greek society, which stands opposed to such acts of violence and chauvinism. The responsible authorities will do whatever is necessary so that the perpetrators of these acts are led, as soon as possible, before justice," government spokesman George Petalotis underlined. According to reports, the trio was picked up by a police patrol after being spotted acting suspiciously outside the cemetery. A knife was found in the possession of one of the suspects, and according to police, the likelihood of their being associated with extremist groups is being investigated. Anti-Semitic graffiti was sprayed on gravestones and on the cemetery's wall, while a can with flammable liquid was found inside the cemetery but there were no signs of arson, police said. Earlier, the Central Jewish Council of Greece (KIS) and the Jewish community of Thessaloniki condemned the desecration of the northern port city's Jewish cemetery. "Three suspects have been questioned by police, and we are convinced that the state will condemn this heinous act and take all necessary measures to bring the culprits to justice. Phenomena of anti-Semitism and similar views must be eradicated, guaranteeing the people's right to exercise their religious beliefs," according to a statement issued by the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.
© ANA - MPA
Headlines 14 May, 2010
HATE CRIME VICTIMS URGED TO REPORT INCIDENTS (Bath, uk)
14/5/2010- People affected by homophobia and prejudice in Bath and North East Somerset are being urged to report all incidents to a specially-appointed hate crime police officer. PC Gemma Kirby, based at Bath police station, said: "A homophobic hate crime is a criminal offence that is motivated by the offender's hostility or prejudice towards the victim's sexual orientation. We take homophobic crime seriously and it's my job to ensure that victims are given a first class service." Homophobic and transphobic incidents are vastly under reported. Latest research by Stonewall (Homophobic Hate Crime 2008) found that only a quarter of homophobic hate crimes and incidents are reported to the police and seven in ten victims report the incident to no-one. PC Kirby was speaking ahead of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) 17th May 2010. It was created in 2004 to raise the profile of the issue and to promote tolerance, respect and freedom regardless of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. More than 60 countries around the World now celebrate the day and information about events can be found at http://idahomophobia.org/. Homophobia is a very real issue and around 40 per cent of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) community say they are worried abut being a victim of crime because of their sexual orientation (Homophobic Hate Crime: The British Gay Survey 2008).
PC Kirby said, "I appreciate it can be difficult to talk about such distressing crimes, but it is important that the Police are aware of what is happening in the community so we can offer appropriate support and take steps to prevent incidents reoccurring or becoming more serious. "If you do not feel confident reporting an incident at a police station we can arrange to visit you at a place you feel comfortable, or it can be done online on the force website (www.avonandsomerset.police.uk). Working together with the support organisation EACH (Educational Action Challenging Homophobia) we have distributed information and self-reporting forms to gay friendly venues in Bath city centre in order to encourage reporting."
EACH is a support service for adults and young people affected by homophobia and transphobia. The freephone Actionline (0808 1000 143) is available from 9am to 4:30pm weekdays and gives callers the opportunity to receive confidential help and support, whilst also providing a reporting service for those living and working in the West of England. In 2009, REACH, a group for young people from the LGBT community, was launched as a joint initiative between EACH and B&NES Council's Youth Service. REACH provides members with the opportunity to socialise in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental environment and to discuss their experiences.
PC Kirby visits the group on a regular basis in order to improve trust and confidence in the Police's ability to respond to the needs of this community. A member of the group explained, "REACH brings LGBT people from 13 to 22 years old together. I find I feel more comfortable and like I can be myself when i'm in the group. It lets LGBT people have a sense of freedom; freedom of speech, thought, and action. This group also helps you work out how to tackle homophobic behaviour." To find out more contact EACH by visiting the website www.eachaction.org.uk
© the Avon and Somerset Constabulary
TRIAL BY FIRE FOR AN ASPIRING NEO-NAZI (Germany)
At the beginning of this year, a wannabe neo-Nazi burned down the "House of Democracy" in the small town of Zossen just south of Berlin. The case lays bare the deep roots of extremism in eastern Germany.
13/5/2010- On the morning of Jan. 22, Daniel S. went into his father's shed and poured gasoline from a 20-liter (5-gallon) canister into a 1.5-liter soft drink bottle. He took along an igniter and left the farm. Daniel, 16, had big plans for the day. It was bitterly cold and there was snow on the ground in Zossen, a small town just south of Berlin. Daniel was wearing a heavy jacket and gloves when he climbed over a fence on Kirchstrasse at around 10 p.m. A modest hut built during East German days stood on the property. Daniel pushed open a window and jumped in. It was dark inside the building, but he could make out books, musical instruments and computers. He placed the coal igniter onto a shelf, poured gasoline from the bottle onto the igniter and lit it with his lighter, and then quickly jumped back outside through the window. The white, flat-roofed building was ablaze within minutes. The fire department was unable to put out the fire, and the building burned down completely. The damage was estimated at €100,000 ($127,000). But the political fallout was far greater than the property damage. Dedicated citizens had only opened the building, known as the "House of Democracy," in September. Until the night of the fire, the building had housed an exhibition on Jewish life in the town of Zossen. On that night, a sliver of hope also went up in flames. The eastern German state of Brandenburg has taken many steps to fight the activities of right-wing extremists. Prosecutors have increased the pressure on skinheads, and extreme right-wing organizations and concerts have been banned. The state has spent a lot of money to strengthen civil society, and its efforts seemed to have paid off, as the number of extreme right-wing crimes decreased. And now the House of Democracy had been reduced to ruins.
The State Office of Criminal Investigation quickly took over the investigation. A warrant for the arrest of Daniel S. was issued a week later. According to the public prosecutor's office, the teenager had made an "extensive" confession. The defendant had apparently wanted to help right-wing extremists in Zossen "achieve victory." But the police officers were not satisfied. Although they believed Daniel S. was the main culprit, they began searching for people who could have incited him to commit arson. They discovered a group of young neo-Nazis for whom the 16-year-old was apparently a compliant tool. The investigation has led directly into a neo-Nazi swamp, an environment in which the boundaries between neglect, brutalization and right-wing extremism are fluid. "There is a receptive audience," says Michael Scharf, the Brandenburg head of state security, "which is easily controlled by right-wing extremists, poorly socialized and has an affinity for violence." As it turns out, the Zossen arson incident will tell more than the story of an unstable 16-year-old. The underlying problems relate to the appeal of right-wing groups, their arts of seduction and their lack of scruples in turning followers into criminals. The sign on a gray, two-story house in the village of Mellensee, six kilometers from Zossen, reads "Trautes Heim" ("Home, Sweet Home"). Daniel's father Uwe is sitting at the kitchen table, wearing a gray tracksuit. He takes a long drag on his cigarette. His son's file is lying on the table; it includes a photo depicting a friendly-looking boy with an awkward smile. The photo is in a clear plastic sleeve, and the arrest warrant, printed on red paper, is right behind it. Uwe S., 44, the father of six children, works as a boiler man. His wife is pregnant again, and he is home on paternity leave. Daniel is troubled, the father says, pointing out that his son has "adjustment problems" and doesn't know what he is doing. According to Uwe S., Daniel had no friends and was often bullied. The boy eventually started getting into trouble, which included stealing things. According to his father, Daniel broke into a supermarket, but it had already been cleared out. He stole an empty cash register -- evidence, for the father, of how troubled his son is. He refers to him as if he were a neighbor's child gone bad. There is no trace of empathy in his voice.
The court has recognized that there were parenting problems in the family. Daniel was sent to the Lübben State Hospital for psychotherapy in the summer of 2005. He has been in psychiatric treatment since April 2007. He completed the 8th and 9th grades in a special learning workshop, and in 10th grade he spent only two weeks in school. For the police, Daniel is already a hardened criminal, with a history of theft, burglary and assault. The assault incident couldn't have been that serious, says the father, because the victim was released from the hospital after only one day. In November 2008, the municipal court in Zossen convicted Daniel of theft and resisting arrest. He is currently the subject of 10 preliminary investigations. "I never had friends," Daniel once said about himself. But he tried to make connections and sought recognition, which he found in the right-wing scene. His father is convinced that his son's new friends, the ones he had been spending time with, are to blame for his son having become an arsonist. He is referring to Daniel Teich, a neo-Nazi, and his friends. Uwe S. closes the file and says: "Now why is he still at large?"
Teich, 24, lives a short distance away from the family's apartment, on the inhospitable grounds of a former Soviet army barracks. A sticker from the neo-Nazi NPD party on the mailbox reads: "Rudolf Hess: Captured, murdered, forgotten." In February, the Zossen District Court convicted Teich of "denigration of the state and its symbols." He was tried together with five other right-wing extremists, members of a group called Freie Kräfte Teltow-Fläming, or FKTF (Teltow-Fläming Independent Forces). Teich had called for a march under the motto "60 years of lies are enough," and had distributed a flyer that depicted a tombstone with the inscription: "1949-2009 Here in this grave rests a pathetically cowardly nation." Teich usually wears dark clothing and sunglasses, and a black cap with a sticker on it that reads "National Socialist." He has a tattoo of barbed wire on his wrist. Teich's language is that of a trained right-wing extremist. His sentences sound as if they were taken from a manual for up-and-coming Nazis. He talks about the "regime of the Federal Republic of Germany" and the "system press." He also claims that the NPD is too middle-class for his tastes, and that he prefers the left wing of the (Nazi paramilitary group) SA. He is soft-spoken and offers little indication of the brutality of which he is capable. He was convicted of aggravated battery in 2005. "We wiped out a pedophile," he says, because, as he claims, the courts didn't do their job. He explains that he was a skinhead at the time, and he says that he still doesn't regret his actions. Sometimes Teich and his friends walk around in Zossen, armed with sticks and clubs, shouting and drunkenly painting swastikas on walls. Or they hang out at Anita's Snackbar at the train station, where an NPD friend who is also being investigated works as a waiter. Anyone who looks closely enough can recognize the SS runes in the word "IMBISS" (snack bar) printed on the front of the building.
For state security officials, Teich is a key figure in the right-wing extremist scene. He announces neo-Nazi marches, conducts training programs and knows Horst Mahler, a lawyer who has represented the NPD in court. He often visited Holocaust denier Rainer Link, who moved to Zossen in 2006. Link ran an Internet café on the market square where young members of the NPD and the FKTF would meet. When "stumbling blocks" -- small stones embedded in the sidewalk to mark where Jewish families lived prior to the Holocaust -- were laid in front of his house in November 2008, Link placed beer crates over the stones. Later, they were sprayed with swastikas. But the young Nazis abruptly ended their relationship with the older Nazi when they discovered hardcore pornography on his computers. They wanted nothing to do with a pedophile homosexual. On Nov. 30, Link was found dead in his apartment. He had committed suicide. The apartment was sealed off, but it was burglarized a short time later and the thieves took along computers. Teich was one of them. Since the spring of 2009, the neo-Nazis finally have a concrete enemy they can fight, a citizens' initiative of committed people called "Zossen Shows its Face." The head of the group is insurance broker Jörg Wanke, who is determined not to allow the right-wing extremists to gain any ground. The initiative is causing a stir in the quiet little city of 17,000. It makes people uncomfortable, so uncomfortable, in fact, that Mayor Michaela Schreiber, an independent, has distanced herself from the citizens' initiative. It is too far to the left for her taste, and she is concerned about the potential for violence between left-wing and right-wing extremists. Since the leftists came on the scene, crimes committed by right-wing extremists have been on the rise in Zossen. Teich has launched a form of urban warfare against Wanke. On July 5, 2009, he sprayed the words "traitor of the people" and "leftist pig" on Wanke's office building, and in August he wrote "Wanke will die soon" and "Zossen stays brown" onto a wall.
It was summer, and Daniel S. was spending more and more time with the neo-Nazis, often going to their hangout on a square in front of the Rewe supermarket in Zossen. He liked the way the right-wing extremists treated each other. Teich kept his distance at first. "He's nuts -- he gets on my nerves," he said, referring to Daniel S. Daniel felt the rejection. "They told me that I didn't know enough," he says. But Teich eventually came around. "I explained a few things to him," gave him a bit of training, he says casually. In September, Daniel was finally allowed to take part in one of the Neo-Nazi group's marches on the market square in Zossen. The House of Democracy opened its doors in the same month, despite the right-wing attacks. Zossen's citizens refused to be intimidated by the neo-Nazis. A few days later, the building was burglarized. Teich and a "comrade" ransacked the building and emptied the contents of a fire extinguisher inside, a spontaneous act committed while drunk, as he later said when he was questioned. Teich was long a role model for Daniel S. The neo-Nazi was unemployed, broke and without a car, and an errand boy was just what he needed. Daniel S. asked Teich what he could do to help him. He would bring his Führer food, and after a dispute with his father, he moved into the empty apartment next to Teich's apartment. When Teich found out about several burglaries Daniel had committed, he shouted at him and told him not to ruin his life. Teich, who had had his own encounters with the law, even called the police, which sent officers to question Daniel S. By then, the 16-year-old belonged to the group, or at least he almost belonged. He played computer strategy games with the neo-Nazis, games that involved capturing the White House and the German parliament building, the Reichstag. But Teich did not reveal any sensitive information to his apprentice, who was allowed to read a few flyers, but nothing more.
On January, the group met in front of the Rewe supermarket again. Insurance broker Wanke and his citizens' initiative planned to hold a rally on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The right-wing extremists discussed how they might interrupt the left-wing group's event. We should burn down that shithouse, Daniel supposedly said. Teich apparently responded that Daniel didn't have the guts to do it. But the boy saw his opportunity. He had dreamed of a "ticket into the movement," as one of the neo-Nazis later put it. And he knew that his friend Teich had already been in the building once before. Daniel asked for a floorplan of the building, but Teich was probably too smart to give him something in writing. Teich incited him to do it, Daniel later said during questioning, and even drew a sketch for him. Teich says that all he did was draw an outline on the table with his finger to show Daniel what the room dimensions looked like in the House of Democracy, and which window was easy to open. This was his chance to show that he had real cojones, Teich supposedly said. The neo-Nazi leader claims that the discussions lasted several evenings, discussions of ways to go about doing it. Nevertheless, he says, they were nothing but war games, and he never believed that Daniel was capable of carrying out the plan. But Daniel wanted to be more than a hanger-on. He wanted to belong, finally, and he drew his own sketch. The next day he set out to complete his task. On Jan. 22, at 2 p.m., Daniel showed up at Teich's door with a backpack and the bottle of gasoline. They played on the computer, and at about 8 p.m., Daniel said goodbye. He took the bus to Zossen, where he met four friends at the train station and, not able to keep his mouth shut, told them what he was about to do. Originally, he had intended to wait until 2 a.m. to set the fire, but it was too cold. Instead, he broke into the building at 10 p.m. By the time it was on fire, Daniel was already on his way home. He threw away his gloves and walked to Mellensee, a one-and-a-half hour walk, during which he finally came to believe that he was truly part of the movement.
When he heard about the fire in the news the next morning, Daniel was surprised to see that the entire house had burned down. He hadn't considered it possible. He asks his father whether he had heard the news. Teich learned about the fire on that same night. A few e-mails were sent, e-mails to announce the successful arson attack. "It made me feel good," he says. But Teich didn't go to the scene of the crime. He knew that things were about to get serious, and that he too could be implicated. He knew that Daniel wouldn't be able to keep his mouth shut. The boy knocked for a long time before Teich finally opened his door three days later. He stood in front of him and bragged about what he had done. Teich says that Daniel seemed truly happy. The 16-year-old was arrested soon afterwards. One of his new, false friends had squealed on him. He was taken to the town of Fürstenwalde, to a facility for youths where he will be kept until the trial. A psychologist is currently preparing his report. The investigation is directed against six presumed culprits and confidants, including Teich, but he remains at large. Charges are expected to be brought in a few weeks. Meanwhile, the citizens' initiative is building a new House of Democracy. It will be a solid, stone building, and there will be bars on the windows.
© The Spiegel
LITHUANIA'S FIRST GAY PRIDE MARCH DRAWS PROTESTS
8/5/2010- Opponents of Lithuania's first gay pride parade threw smoke bombs and tried to break through a barrier Saturday but were stopped by police firing tear gas. Later, protesters threw rocks and street signs at security forces, and two Lithuanian lawmakers were detained after trying to climb the barrier. About 400 people took part in the two-hour march — dubbed "For Equality" — in a sealed-off area in downtown Vilnius. Holding large rainbow flags and dancing to music blaring from loudspeakers, they walked along a road near the city's Neris river. Participants included many foreigners, diplomats and members of the European Parliament. "We are here because we believe ... in a just society. Labels are for filing, for clothing, not for people. And we are here today to remove labels from people," said Birgitta Ohlsson, Sweden's minister for European Union affairs. Some 800 police, some on horses, were mobilized to provide security and keep at bay more than 1,000 demonstrators. Protesters carried crosses and signs and shouted insults at rally participants. A Catholic Mass at the nearby national cathedral was held to pray for homosexuals. "Sweden has already wiped out traditional families. Now they came over here to tell us how to live, how to think and who to sleep with. Lithuania will not allow such perversions," said Jonas Kempinskas, who walked from the Cathedral to the protest holding a huge cross. Police officials said 19 people were detained and one officer slightly injured. The two lawmakers have been released.
It was the first gay pride event in Lithuania, a largely Catholic nation of 3.4 million people that acquired independence from the Soviet Union two decades ago. "There were storm clouds this morning, but now the sun shines and we see a rainbow in the sky and on the ground. I hope this peaceful parade will show the Lithuanian people that there is nothing shameful or frightening," said Vladimir Simonko, leader of Lithuania's gay community. He said the parade would be held again next year. The march triggered a wave of criticism, and a recent poll showed that nearly three-quarters of the population was against holding it in the center of the capital. Earlier Saturday, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the office of a human rights organization — Youth for Tolerance — that helped organize the event. The device failed to ignite, and no one was injured. The parade, originally allowed by the city council, was prohibited Wednesday by a court on security concerns, but on Friday an appeals court overturned the ban.
© The Associated Press
TRIAL OF EXTREMISTS OVER ARSON ATTACK ON ROMA STARTS (Czech Rep)
11/5/2010- The trial of four right-wing extremists suspected of the April 2009 arson attack on a Romany family house in Vitkov, north Moravia, started under tough security measures at the Regional Court in Ostrava yesterday. The four, David Vaculik, Jaromir Lukes, Ivo Mueller and Vaclav Cojocaru, face exceptional sentences, up to life imprisonment, if convicted of racially motivated attempted murder. They have been escorted to the courtroom by a strong unit of Prison Service officers. The state attorney says the crime, committed in the night to April 19, 2009, was planned by Lukes. This is also what Cojocaru and Mueller told the court. They said Lukes told them about the plan that was to frighten local Romanies in a pub in Opava, a town near Ostrava, on April 18. Lukes and Vaculik refused to give testimony. Lukes stayed in the car and each of the three young men threw a Molotov cocktail in the windows of a Romany family house in Vitkov. Then they drove away. Three of the house inhabitants suffered injuries in the subsequent fire. The worst afflicted was a 1.5-year-old girl, Natalka, who suffered severe burns on 80 percent of her body. Natalka stayed many months in hospital, undergoing a series of surgeries. Doctors call her survival a miracle. She will bear lifelong consequences of her injuries, however. Cojocaru and Mueller claim they did not know that the house they attacked was inhabited. Muller said Lukes told them it was a place where stolen goods were stored.
Both Cojocaru and Mueller said they heard the news about the burnt girl only in the morning after their attack. They read it on the Internet, they said. "We really felt sorry for the little girl... We didn't realise that something like this might happen," Mueller told the judges. The four wanted to draw attention within local extremist groups. They also wanted to take a "bigger action" on the eve of Adolf Hitler's 120th birth anniversary, the attorney said. Cojocaru and Mueller rejected this. "I was spontaneous. I don't believe that anybody prepared it. At least not with me," Cojocaru said. Lukes's lawyer Pavel Penkava said he disagreed with the statements that Lukes masterminded the attack. "We will try to refute this claim during the trial," he said. Pavel Uhl, the representative of the children who were in the house when the attack occurred, told CTK yesterday that he would demand financial compensation worth some nine millions of crowns. Markus Pape and Ladislav Balaz demand compensation of 900,000 crowns on behalf of Natalka's family. The VZP health insurance company demands the payment of 7.5 million crowns for the treatment of Natalka and her parents. The trial is to continue on Wednesday at 9:00.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
FBI INVESTIGATES ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIME (usa)
FBI in Jacksonville USA called on residents to come forward with any information regarding an attack on the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.
13/5/2010- The explosion, which shook the mosque took during the Maghreb (evening) prayers was described as a possible hate crime. FBI found the remnants of a pipe bomb which resulted in a fire leaving a gaping whole in the wall, fortunately no casualties were recorded. Investigations are currently underway as FBI checked surveillance videos which revealed a potential suspect leaving the premises at the time of the blast. The attack followed an incident early last month where a man entered the mosque and shouted anti-Islam slogans threatening to come back later. Residents condemned the aggressive action describing it as a morally reprehensible act against the 5000 families of the Muslim population. Paul Hooker, of the Interfaith Council of Jacksonville, issued a statement on behalf of the organization condemning the incident stressing that it tarnished the good name of the city.
Headlines 7 May, 2010
GAY MAN BEATEN UP NEAR GAY MONUMENT (Netherlands)
6/5/2010- A 38-year-old homosexual man was beaten up on Wednesday evening near the gay monument at Westermarkt. His injuries were so bad he had to spend a night in hospital. The incident took place shortly after the liberation party, around midnight. Two Marrocan boys started to shout at the man and his friends, who walked on. Suddenly the two boys jumped on the man hitting and kicking him, yelling 'dirty faggot'. A friend who tried to intervene also got hit. After the man fell to the ground and lost consciousness the two boys apperently got scaired and took off. The police and an ambulance arrived a few minutes after the incident. The police takes the case very serious. ''This will certainly register with us as gay-related violence,''said a spokesman. ''There has been contact with four witnesses. More are welcome.''
Translation by ICARE
© The Parool
MONTREAL JEWS FEAR 'GANG ATMOSPHERE' AMID RISE IN ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS (Canada)
Quebec is the latest region to fall prey to Canada’s growing anti-Semitism, registering the largest rise in incidents in a city over the course of the year - 373 incidents in 2009, compared to 245 in 2008.
5/5/2010- Many in Montreal's Orthodox Jewish community say they are afraid to leave their homes, due to the "gang atmosphere" that has taken over their neighborhood amid renewed anti-Semitic activity. The Chabad community in the city's Côte des Neiges district has experienced a number of violent incidences against it over the past few weeks, including the mugging of a visibly pregnant woman. In addition, swastikas have been sprayed in at least three locations in the Montreal suburb of Outremont – home to a large segment of Hasidic Jews who wear traditional garb. According to B’nai Brith Canada, which compiles the country’s figures on anti-Semitic incidents, reports of vandalism targeting Jewish schools, synagogues and businesses have accelerated rate in the last month. "Some community members now reportedly think twice before they leave their homes. The ongoing fear and intimidation suffered by our community is an unacceptable situation in a free and democratic society like Quebec," a spokesperson for the Quebec branch of B’nai Brith said. “There have also been and anti Semitic slurs in educational and workplace settings and web-based hate activity is also on the increase,” the spokesperson added. In March, the Ahavas Yisroel Viznitz synagogue in Outremont was broken into and two swastikas were drawn inside the synagogue. Vandals also threw prayer shawls and holy books onto the floor. The rabbi of the synagogue met with police following that incident, but the perpetrators have still not been found. Rabbi Mendel Marasow, executive director of Beth Rivkah Academy in Côte des Neiges, told a local paper. “I live in the area and if I compare the situation now to five years ago there is a serious problem. “There is a gang atmosphere, with tough individuals walking the streets. It is uncomfortable and unsafe out there. Is it anti Semitic? Listen, all I can say is that Jews make good targets.” One local Jewish café owner who had a swastika painted on the sidewalk in front of his business said he was worried about the “media attention” being given to anti-Semitic incidents. “The Jewish community in Outremont has been getting a lot of media attention,” he told the Jewish Tribune. “I don’t want to see these incidents get too much publicity because it is only going to stir things up more. I did not even report this. Someone else did."
Quebec is the latest region to fall prey to Canada’s growing anti-Semitism, registering the largest rise in incidents in a city over the course of the year - 373 incidents in 2009, compared to 245 in 2008. The province holds 90,000 Jews - around a quarter of Canada’s Jewish community. In total, 1,264 incidents were reported in Canada throughout 2009, representing a 12% increase over the 1,135 cases in 2008, and a more than five-fold increase in incidents over the past decade. Last year there were 884 cases of harassment, 348 of vandalism and a doubling from 2008 in the incidents of violence to 32. The anti-Semitic daubing seen in Montreal is nothing new in Canada. Calgary, Toronto, Oshawa, Woodstock, and Barrie have recently seen anti Semitic incidents including swastikas and slogans, such as "Kill Jews" and "six million more," spray-painted on Jewish community property, community centers, Holocaust memorials, Jewish-owned residential property and vehicles. B'nai Brith's audit into anti Semitic incidents identified “anti-Israel agitators” fuelled by opposition to Operation Cast Lead as the trigger for the spike in attacks. “Anti-Israel agitators, far-left-wing groups, and more recently Islamists, have latched onto Nazi motifs and age old anti-Jewish stereotypes, in an attempt to bolster their campaigns against the Jewish State, while the far-right-wing camp has eagerly embraced anti-Israel propaganda to give an updated appearance to its traditional hate material.” According to Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada, “Anti Semitism is a serious and ongoing problem here in Canada. We have encountered everything from harassment and vandalism to physical assaults on individuals. " B’nai Birth’s community Anti-Hate Hotline is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to provide assistance and consultation but the organization is apprehensive about whether they are investigated as hate crimes. “We hope that the law enforcement officials across the nation investigate these crimes as hate-crimes from the outset – hesitation to designate as a hate crime is simply unacceptable. We also urge that these crimes are treated seriously, and that proper resources are dedicated to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice," said Dimant.
Although vandalism causes on-going fear in the street, the theme of anti-Israel agitation has reached boiling point, particularly on Campuses. This came to a head three weeks ago after an alleged machete attack on pro-Israel students. Two Ottawa students, both well-known for their pro-Israel views, were assaulted when they left a local lounge in the early hours of the morning, by a large group of anti-Israel agitators, one of whom was wielding a machete. The Jewish student, who along with his friend was called numerous derogatory and anti Semitic slurs during the assault, was a local organizer of B’nai Brith’s recent Imagine With Us pro-Israel campus initiative – an initiative which was banned by York University, a university which last year saw Jewish Hillel students verbally abused by an anti-Israel group while trying to convene a press conference. Actions like this are leading to calls for a ban on anti-Israel campaigns on campus, such as those witnessed during Israel Apartheid Week.
ELDERLY JEWISH MAN ATTACKED OUTSIDE SYNAGOGUE (France)
Three men have attacked an elderly Jewish man outside a synagogue in southern France, spraying tear gas in his face and leaving an anti-Semitic slogan.
3/5/2010- The man, aged in his 80s, has filed a police complaint following the assault on Sunday in Nimes as he was waiting to attend services, said Paul Benguigui, president of the Jewish association in Nimes. The attackers daubed explicit anti-Jewish graffiti on the synagogue doors. The incident comes less than a week after a man wearing a kippah was wounded in an assault in Strasbourg by a mentally disturbed attacker armed with a knife and metal bar. The 38-year-old man was charged Sunday with attempted murder after he told police that he was "the target of a Jewish plot", a prosecutor said. Jewish leader Mr Benguigui said the attack on the synagogue and the elderly man had "triggered certain worries" in the Jewish community. France is home to Europe's biggest Jewish community, estimated at some 500,000.
© The Telegraph
MAN WEARING YARMULKE STABBED, BEATEN IN FRANCE
1/5/2010- French Jewish groups and police say a man wearing a yarmulke, or skullcap, has been stabbed and beaten in eastern France. Jewish groups say Friday's assault in the city of Strasbourg appears to be an anti-Semitic attack. Police say they took two suspects into custody, both of whom have a history of psychiatric problems. The victim was hospitalized for injuries to the head, back and shoulders. The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism condemns the assault, and the Union of Jewish Students of France calls it "an extremely violent anti-Semitic attack." The student group says it has been a troubling week for anti-Semitic and other religious and racial attacks. A mosque in southern France was also targeted with gunfire. No one was injured.
© The Associated Press
TWO SONS OF FORMER BISHOP OF ROCHESTER INJURED IN RACIST ATTACK (uk)
Two sons of Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, were the victims of a racist attack, police have said.
7/5/2010- Ross Nazir-Ali, 30, and his brother Shammy, 34, suffered minor injuries in the assault outside a kebab shop. The pair did not need medical treatment after the attack in Rochester and the incident is being investigated by Kent Police. Details have been passed to a hate crime unit which will offer support to the brothers and give them updates on the inquiry. No arrests have been made after the incident last Saturday, a police spokesman said. Ross Nazir-Ali told the Sun newspaper: ''We were in a kebab shop in Rochester when about 20 guys came up to the window. ''One guy called me gay, then others shouted racist abuse. When we left the shop, they chased us round a corner. One punched my brother and I in the head. I thought he was going to kill me but they then ran off.'' A police spokesman said: ''Kent Police were contacted on Saturday May 1 at 8.30pm following an assault which took place in Cossack Street, Rochester. ''Two men, aged 30 and 34, suffered minor injuries as a result of the incident and did not require any medical treatment. ''An investigation into the assault is under way and officers have taken details of the incident from the victims. ''Details have also been passed to the Medway Hate Crime Unit who will provide support and reassurance to the victims as well as giving regular updates on the progress of the investigation.''
Pakistani-born Dr Nazir-Ali stepped down as the 106th Bishop of Rochester last year after 15 years in the position. He was the first non-white bishop in the Church of England and during his tenure he courted controversy with some provocative remarks. He received death threats in 2008 for saying in a Sunday newspaper that Islamic extremists were creating ''no-go areas'' for non-Muslims in Britain. He was also quoted as claiming that the Church was not doing enough to convert Muslims to Christianity. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said his decision to step down would create ''a real gap in the ranks of English bishops''.
© The Telegraph
ASSAULT 'SECTARIAN HATE CRIME' (N.Ireland)
1/5/2010- Three people have been injured during an assault in Coleraine. Two men and a woman were walking along Killowen Street at 2300 BST on Friday when a number of people approached them. One of the men suffered a cut to his head, the other received cuts and bruising to his face, while the woman suffered shock, bruising and a sore back. Police are treating the assault as a sectarian hate crime. Police said they will continue to work closely with the community while they investigate the assault.
© BBC News
POSSIBLE HATE CRIME SPREE LEAVES BRONX COMMUNITY ON EDGE (usa)
The Bangladesh community in the Bronx is banding together over what they say is a possible wave of hate crimes in their neighborhood. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
2/5/2010- Mohammed Matin says his life is becoming a living hell in his Parkchester neighborhood. He says he and his family have been attacked and robbed several times. And within the last month, the glass doors of their home have been broken in to during two separate incidents. "We're always looking out, it's like really frustrating and everybody's just so nervous and so worried what's gonna happen next," said Matin's daughter, Amina Umma. The Matins are not the only ones who say attacks on people from the Bengali community are on the rise in the Parkchester area. Parkchester business owner Zakir Khan says he has heard of at least seven or eight attacks in as many months on people living in the community. "He was badly punched in the face, and then more blood like all over the place, and he was on the street," Khan recalled.
At a recent meeting called by sheikh Moussa Drammeh, an African and Muslim leader, representatives from the New York City Police Department and the Bronx district attorney's office listened to the concerns of the community. "I could be the best attorney in the city, but unless I have the cooperation of you the crime victim, then there is not much I can do to prosecute the case. You have to work with members of the police department," said Michael Cooper of the Bronx district attorney's office. Law enforcement officials tell NY1 that these could very well be hate crimes because people are saying they are usually not robbed but they are seriously attacked and their property vandalized. But officials say more investigation is needed to make that determination.
Police and the community are urging anyone who has been a victim to come forward. But some admit residents have been hesitant to speak out. "That they'll say I'm ashamed or that whoever is attacking us they will come after us again," Khan said. "We want peace, we don't want fight, we don't want robbery, we don't want stealing, we don't want to hate each other," said Community Board 9 member Mohammed Nurul Ahia. For now, community members say they will keep a close watch on each other and hope the police are watching as well.
© New York 1