Headlines 30 July, 2010
5 YOUNG MEN ACCUSED OF VANDALIZING MEMORIAL TO NAZI VICTIMS IN AUSTRIA
30/7/2010- Austrian authorities say five neo-Nazi teenagers vandalized a memorial for Nazi victims in the southern town of Villach. Erich Londer of the local police says the teenagers — all males aged between 17 and 19 — are members of a neo-Nazi group. He says their names have been passed onto the regional public prosecutor's office. The memorial listing the names of people from the area who died at the hands of the Nazis has been repeatedly damaged since it was unveiled in 1999. Broadcaster ORF reported Friday that, over the course of the vandalism probe, police found flyers with neo-Nazi content, as well as swastikas and SS symbols in a local building.
© The Associated Press
MORE FOCUS NEEDED ON HATE CRIME ISSUE (N.Ireland)
A review into how the Northern Ireland justice system manages hate crime has found that 12 of 19 improvements recommended in a 2007 inspection have been made.
28/7/2010- Following up on its previous report, the Criminal Justice Inspection welcomed the work that has been done but added that a number of "key recommendations" had not been dealt with. The group noted its concern that a hate crime strategy still has not been developed, and called the length of time taken by the justice system to establish a common definition of what a hate crime is "disappointing". It said that all incidents of hate crime should be prominently marked on prosecution files and made available to the court. The criminal justice system was also urged to implement a process where the use of hate crime legislation is recorded by the PPS and the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service so monitoring can occur. Inspectors put the failure to act on the remaining recommendations down to an "absence of strategic focus".
Deputy Chief Inspector Brendan McGuigan said that while progress has been made in the last three years there are still issues that must be dealt with. "Since the publication of CJI's original inspection of the management of hate crime, three critical incidents have occurred which have projected a negative image of Northern Ireland on a world stage," he said. "The intimidation of Polish and eastern European residents in south Belfast following a international football match, the sectarian murder of a man in Coleraine and the intimidation of Roma families highlight the importance for agencies to work co-operatively to tackle these issues. "It is vital the criminal justice system reacts to such incidents in a pro-active and timely manner."
Some of the recommendations which had been acted upon include a community tension monitoring group within Belfast Community Safety Partnership, and the Unite against Hate campaign which uses sports organisations and local personalities to raise awareness of hate crime. The organisation also praised the PSNI for making the five recommendations it had specific responsibility for. "During this inspection review we found some excellent examples of criminal justice agencies, government departments, public bodies and other groups working together to improve the management of hate crime," Mr McGuigan continued. "It is therefore vital the criminal justice system reacts to all incidents in a pro-active and timely manner."
The report follows the publication by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of a Cohesion, Sharing, and Integration initiative aimed at improving community relations. Justice Minister David Ford, and representatives of the Prosecution Service and the police, pledged to continue their work to combat hate crime. Mr Ford said everyone had the right to live free from fear and prejudice and he commended the work so far done by the criminal justice system and the police to tackle hate crime. But he added: "However, I am disappointed at the lack of progress on a number of recommendations and it is clear that more needs to be done. "The criminal justice system cannot be complacent in its approach to addressing hate crime, and I have instructed my officials to take forward the outstanding recommendations as a matter of urgency." Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Jim Scholes and Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr welcomed the report.
© UTV News
RUSSIAN COURT SENTENCES 14 NEO-NAZIS TO JAIL
27/7/2010- A court in central Russia has sentenced a neo-Nazi leader to life in jail and imprisoned 13 others for four hate killings and multiple assaults. The Tver city court said in a statement Tuesday that 22-year-old Dmitry Orlov led a cell of the Russian National Unity, a once-powerful organization that since 1990 has actively advocated white supremacy and Orthodox Christian fundamentalism. It says the other defendants, including three teenagers, received sentences of between 3 1/2 and 17 years. In addition to the attacks, the court says, the defendants also owned arms and extremist literature and desecrated Muslim and Jewish cemeteries. The Kremlin has recently cracked down on ultranationalists amid a spike in ethnic violence and killings of non-Slavs: mostly labor migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus.
© The Associated Press
OSCE MEDIA FREEDOM REPRESENTATIVE STRONGLY CONDEMNS BRUTAL ATTACK ON SERBIAN JOURNALIST
26/7/2010- The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic today condemned brutal attack on a Serbian journalist, Teofil Pancic. Pancic, political columnist for the weekly Vreme known for his critical stance against nationalism and sports hooliganism, was brutally beaten on 24 July and was rushed to hospital suffering from brain concussion and arm injuries. "I am very concerned about recent physical attacks against journalists in Serbia. These attacks silence critical and courageous journalism and undermine democratic values of the country," Mijatovic said. Mijatovic welcomed the strong condemnation of the attack by President Boris Tadic, Culture Minister Nebojsa Bradic and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic. "Only by taking a joint stance within the government against all forms of physical and verbal attacks against journalists, and by ensuring swift prosecutions will it be possible to improve the working environment for media in Serbia," Mijatovic said. "I am encouraged by the pledges of the government and law enforcement agencies to put all their efforts into resolving this and all previous attacks against journalists, including unresolved murders, and I welcome the decision by the police to declare the investigation into this case a priority," Mijatovic stated. "Violence against journalists equals violence against society and democracy and should be met with harsh condemnation and prosecution of the perpetrators. There is no true press freedom, as long as journalists have to fear for their life while performing their work," Mijatovic concluded.
TRANSGENDER NEED MORE PROTECTION IN LAW (Sweden)
Transgender people need more protection, the Liberal Party has announced, adding it proposes that the hate crime law be clarified so that it is clear that it also applies to this group, Sveriges Radio's news bulletin Ekot reported on Wednesday.
28/7/2010- The proposal is part of a national action plan to combat hate crimes, the report said. "It is always important that the law be as specific as possible," Integration and Gender Equality Minister Nyamko Sabuni told Ekot. "It is also important to note that there is a group in our society who are neither bi- nor homosexual, but have a different gender identity than the one we believe that they have." The Swedish Federation for Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (Riksförbundet för homosexuellas, bisexuellas och transpersoners rättigheter, RFSL) has long demanded that transgendered people, or people with other gender identities, should be mentioned in hate crime law. "We fear that transgender people fall through the cracks because the individual courts are not as familiar with the law's preparatory work and miss that the section on hate crimes can be used for transgender people," said RFSL chairwoman Ulrika Westerlund. The Liberal Party's plan of action for LGBT people's rights will be presented by Sabuni and European Union Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson on Wednesday in connection with the Pride Festival in Stockholm.
© The Local - Sweden
SWEDISH SYNAGOGUE THREATENED
25/7/2010- A firecracker exploded on the steps of the synagogue in Malmo, Sweden, a day after a bomb threat was taped to the building. The firecracker exploded at 3 a.m. last Friday, according to the Stockholm News. A bomb threat written on paper had been taped to the synagogue on the previous evening. It was the second threat directed at the synagogue in two weeks, according to the Swedish newspaper The Local. Security at the synagogue was increased last week, The Local reported.
© JTA News
25/7/2010- Vandals painted red swastikas on the walls of the Jewish Museum of Greece in Athens. The July 22 attack marked the first time that the museum has been the target of anti-Semitic expression, according to an Athens community news release. Greece has been beset by a chain of anti-Semitic events this year, including twin arson attacks on the Synagogue of Hania, vandalism against Jewish cemeteries in Ioannina and Thessaloniki, and an attack against the Holocaust memorial in Rhodes. Security cameras recorded the eight perpetrators during the museum attack.
© JTA News
ATTACKS ON MEXICANS LEAVE NEIGHBORHOOD IN TURMOIL (usa)
30/7/2010- Police officers patrolling by foot, car and helicopter have turned Port Richmond Avenue, a busy commercial strip on Staten Island, into something like an armed encampment. Reporters have descended en masse. Community leaders dash from crisis meeting to crisis meeting. A spate of attacks in the past four months on Mexican immigrants has upended Port Richmond, a working-class neighborhood on the borough’s north shore that is more accustomed to being ignored. But amid the show of force by the Police Department, which deployed teams of officers to the area this week in what it described as a temporary move to protect residents and defuse tensions, local leaders are taking a longer view. “The question is, what happens when everybody pulls up the tents and leaves?” said the Rev. Terry Troia, an activist and Staten Island native who has been at the center of the hour-by-hour civic response to the unrest.
This is not the first time Latinos in Port Richmond have been victimized in bias attacks. Ms. Troia, executive director of Project Hospitality, an interfaith organization that serves the poor of Staten Island, said the violence dates back to 2003. In one attack, a Mexican immigrant who worked as a cook at an IHOP restaurant was killed by three assailants in 2006, according to local activists and the Mexican Consulate in New York. Some of those earlier episodes attracted news coverage, but then the neighborhood fell back into its usual fraught rhythms. Now its Mexican population, Ms. Troia said, is particularly concerned about what might happen next. “They’re worried that as soon as the police leave, they’re going to be set upon,” she said. The Rev. Dr. Tony Baker, pastor of St. Philip’s Baptist Church in the neighborhood’s heart, said the attacks pointed to deep-seated problems. “I think we’ve gone to sleep on the conditions we find ourselves in,” he said. “And we woke up in the midst of a racial war.”
The police said Friday that nine men — all of them Mexican immigrants — had been attacked since early April, all by young black men. Six suspects have been arrested in connection with three of the beatings, but a grand jury turned down prosecutors’ requests to indict them on hate-crime charges. Two men have pleaded guilty to robbery in two of the cases; the third case is pending. The most recent attack was on July 23. Fidel González, a 31-year-old Mexican immigrant walking home after playing soccer in a park, was set upon by several men yelling anti-Mexican epithets, the police said. The men punched Mr. González and hit him with a scooter, breaking his jaw and cutting open his head, then stole his backpack, which contained an iPod and two cellphones, the police said. On Tuesday night, after appeals by the consulate and local leaders, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced he was sending an emergency contingent to Port Richmond, including about 130 additional officers, a 15-member hate crimes investigative team, horse patrols, helicopter flyovers and mobile observation towers at key intersections.
Mexico’s consul general, Rúben Beltrán, sent a representative on Monday to set up a neighborhood office and directly assist the Mexican population. The representative drives around in a car emblazoned with the phone number for a 24-hour, toll-free hot line and a message in Spanish that begins, “Mexican, know your rights.” Since the representative arrived, several more Mexicans have told consulate officials that they, too, were victims of attacks but had been too fearful of deportation or retribution to come forward sooner, consulate officials said. “There are all kinds of beatings that aren’t recorded,” Ms. Troia said. “People talk casually about this: ‘Oh, I got a dislocated shoulder’; ‘I lost my eye.’ ”
Civic leaders and police officials say they are exploring many possible reasons for the violence: anti-immigrant fervor, racism, gangs, the boredom of idle youth during the summer, joblessness, overcrowding and even the notion that attacking Latinos acquired a cachet in the neighborhood this year, prompting copycat assaults. But in the past few days, all conversations about motive have eventually turned to a dynamic familiar to many neighborhoods in New York: demographic change. In the mid-20th century, Port Richmond was heavily populated with Eastern European Jews and Irish immigrants, who owned many of the businesses along Port Richmond Avenue. But after the Staten Island Mall opened in 1973, stores closed, property values fell and many longtime residents moved away.
Blacks became the dominant population in the 1980s and ’90s, but the number of Latinos also grew. After 9/11 and the imposition of tougher immigration and travel rules that impeded the flow of migrant laborers around the country and across borders, the Mexican population planted deeper roots in Port Richmond and grew quickly. In 1990, according to census statistics, 950 people of Mexican descent lived in the 120th Police Precinct, which includes Port Richmond. By 2008, that number had grown to 8,400. Before 9/11, there were only three Mexican-owned businesses in Port Richmond, Ms. Troia said; now there are more than 50. The student body of Public School 20, once mostly black, is now nearly all Latino and predominantly Mexican.
That growth among Mexicans has unsettled members of some other minority groups, including Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, and especially blacks, many residents say. Black religious leaders and community activists say they often hear constituents complain that Mexicans and other Latinos have taken jobs that should have been theirs. “That’s a conversation that’s been going on,” Dr. Baker said. But, he added, some who have complained “are not going out to get jobs.” Rogelio Vasquez, 48, the victim in one case that has been resolved, said he feared that he might be attacked again for cooperating with the authorities. Still, he said he harbored no ill will toward his assailants; the attacks, he said, were “the errors of young people.”
Port Richmond’s leaders are searching for solutions. Some want to address the lack of community resources, including jobs, housing and recreation. Others are looking for ways to bridge racial, cultural and even generational divides through initiatives like a gathering of mothers from different ethnic groups, or a midnight basketball league. “What it calls for is work,” Dr. Baker said. “The Latino community, the African-American community, the Caucasian community, coming together and saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ ”
© The New York Times
VANDALIZED MOSQUE INVESTIGATED AS HATE CRIME (usa)
28/7/2010- On Friday, police were alerted to "graffiti depicting explicit images" spray painted onto the parking lot. Early Sunday morning, a fire was reported in the playground. By the time officers arrived, the fire had apparently burned itself out. There was extensive damage to the playground and equipment and arson is suspected. Investigators have not yet determined if these two incidents are connected. The agencies are actively looking into these occurrences and if there is any indication that a crime was committed based on race and/or religion that will be taken into consideration when presenting the case to the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office.
© NBC Dallas-Fort Worth Local News
ADL 2009 AUDIT OF ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS (usa)
27/7/2010- Anti-Semitic incidents remained at a sustained and troubling level in 2009. While overall incidents of traditional manifestations of anti-Semitism -- assaults, vandalism, and harassment -- declined, the long-term, ongoing explosion of online anti-Semitism cemented 2009 as one of the most serious years of anti-Semitic activity in a generation.
The Anti-Defamation League's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidenrts recorded 1,211 anti-Semitic incidents in 2009. These included:
- 29 physical assaults on Jewish individuals;
- 760 cases of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events;
- 422 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism.
The 2009 Audit comprises data from 46 states and the District of Columbia, including official crime statistics as well as information provided to ADL's regional offices by victims, law enforcement offices and community leaders and members.
The Audit encompasses criminal acts, such as vandalism, violence, and threats of violence, as well as non-criminal incidents of harassment and intimidation. The latter is comprised primarily of hate propaganda, leafleting and verbal slurs.
For the first time in the more than three decades ADL has tracked and reported on anti-Semitic incidents, the Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents was significantly revamped to improve reporting methods and update some evaluation criteria. At the same time, a new technology platform was developed that enabled the League's 30 regional offices to record and track incidents with even greater speed and accuracy.
As a result, the 2009 total of 1,211 incidents does not include some incidents that would have been categorized as anti-Semitic under the previous Audit system. In 2008 -- prior to the adoption of enhanced reporting methods -- the League recorded a total of 1,352 incidents. The decline of 10 percent between the 2008 and 2009 figures is not inclusive of incidents that would have been counted under the previous methodology.
The 2009 Audit takes a more conservative approach to counting graffiti. The new approach recognizes that the Nazi swastika is no longer exclusively used as a hate symbol against Jews; rather, it appears today in vandalism incidents against African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities and is sometimes used by juveniles who are not necessarily targeting Jews but just using it for its shock value. Therefore, ADL is making a more detailed analysis of each swastika vandalism incident before including it in the Audit. Other modifications include increased standardization of reporting, and verification of incidents prior to inclusion in the Audit.
In addition to a new technology platform and stricter standards, ADL made an important choice in connection with this year's Audit in particular: the 2009 Audit does not include the well over 2,000 anti-Semitic faxes sent to Jewish community institutions by the virulently anti-Semitic Westboro Baptist Church. These faxes caused great distress among recipients and, had they been counted, the 2009 Audit's harassment totals would have significantly increased.
The Audit has never included, and does not now include, thousands of anti-Semitic events that occurred in cyberspace. This decision was made because anti-Semitism in cyberspace, a matter of great concern to ADL, is virtually impossible to quantify. However, while we do not quantify online hate, ADL does receive reports from community members who have seen anti-Semitic content online, and these complaints came in at a substantially increased pace in 2009.
While the Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents does not typically include expressions of opposition to Zionism or Israel, it does include them if they are accompanied by the invocation of classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as Nazi imagery or analogies, or references that delegitimize, demonize or reflect a double standard about Israel.
The Numbers State-By-State
Anti-Semitism at Anti-Israel Rallies
Westboro Baptist Church
© The Anti-Defamation League
ADL: CALIF HAD MOST ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN '09 (usa)
28/7/2010- California had the country's highest number of anti-Semitic assaults, harassment and vandalism incidents last year, the Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday. In its annual survey, the ADL identified 275 events in the country's most populous state in 2009, up 22 percent from the year before. The incidents included a Jewish student in Buena Park getting beaten up after confronting a classmate drawing swastikas. Across the country, the ADL identified a total of 1,211 incidents, including the June 2009 shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum; the May 2009 arrests of four men accused of placing what they thought were bombs outside two Bronx synagogues; and a number of acts of vandalism. "America is not immune to anti-Semitism, and 2009 was no different in this regard than in any other year," said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director. "It is a sobering reality that as Jews have become more accepted in society, there remains a consistent hatred of Jews among too many."
The audit identified 29 assaults, 760 instances of harassment and 422 cases of vandalism nationwide. New York state was second in the nation with 209 incidents. Overall, the nationwide number of incidents was down slightly from 2008, but the ADL said it had tightened its reporting methods and revamped how it considered incidents. For example, Foxman said the swastika had become a nonspecific symbol of hate for some, rather than the main symbol of Nazism. "So we are being more careful to include graffiti incidents that specifically target Jews or Jewish institutions as we continue the process of re-evaluating and redefining how we measure anti-Jewish incidents," he said. The ADL said the audit included data from 46 states and the District of Columbia.
© The Associated Press
STATE POLICE REPORT LEADS IN RACIST, ANTI-SEMITIC VANDALISM CASE (usa)
26/7/2010- Vermont State Police say they have a couple of leads in their investigation of who left racist and anti-Semitic comments on the stone abutments of the historic Dummerston Covered Bridge. Trooper James Matthews said that the community response to the incident, which was discovered a little more than a week ago, has been strong. “The community is really interested in solving this case,” said Matthews, who said the police issued press releases with the goal of jogging the public memory. “We’re on the trail,” said Matthews, who said he was unaware of a report of a second swastika found in an old granite quarry about a mile south of the bridge, which crosses the West River. Matthews said that the racist graffiti, which has since been removed by the town of Dummerston’s highway crew, didn’t appear to be targeted at anyone. “It’s more or less random,” he said, noting that could change if the investigation uncovers something. The graffiti, which is on the Route 30 side of the bridge’s abutments, can be seen from a popular swimming hole.
Anti-Semitism and racism exists in Windham County, as well as other parts of Vermont, said Curtiss Reed, the executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, based in Brattleboro, and Marty Cohn of Newfane, president of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community. Reed said that the vandalism and graffiti was “much more insidious….casting a wider net in a more public way” than the incidents that plagued downtown Brattleboro two years ago, when tensions rose dramatically between a small group of white teens and black and Asian students. “We need to get the word out that this is unacceptable behavior,” said Reed, who said the community needed to convey “what our values are and how we manifest those values.” The increasing shift in demographics means there will be more such incidents, he said, in the tension between old and new. “I think there’s an element of our community, both in Vermont and the United States, where it’s unclear what our community values are,” he said. “We need to affirm our differences and respect our differences.”
Meanwhile, in addition to the racist graffiti at the covered bridge, a Dummerston resident found a 3-foot high red swastika at a abandoned quarry, less than a mile south of the bridge. Eesha Williams reported what he saw to the Vermont Partnership. Williams, who said his mother and her parents were Jewish and were refugees from Hitler, said the swastika was a hurtful symbol of those experiences.’ Williams said that there was other graffiti at the old quarry, which is filled with water, but he said the swastika would be visible from the river and Route 30, once the leaves were off the trees. Cohn said that he works with Reed regularly on anti-Semitism issues, including an incident earlier this year at Bellows Falls Middle School and last year’s incident of a desecrated cross at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church. The cross was defaced with a swastika and “KKK,” a reference to the Ku Klux Klan, which is both anti-Semitic and racist.
Cohn, who moved to Vermont six years ago from Boston, said that between 100 to 150 people from the various religious communities in Brattleboro attended the rededication services. “All of the houses of worship spoke out and it was a really nice outpouring of support,” said Cohn. In the case of the Bellows Falls student who was targeted by a classmate with anti-Semitic graffiti in the boys’ bathroom, the parents of the boy didn’t want the case publicized. But Reed was called to the school to give a program on tolerance and diversity. “There’s a real reticence against speaking out,” said Cohn, who said another anti-Semitic incident occurred last spring at Bellows Falls Union High School, when a teacher who is Jewish received an anonymous letter with anti-Semitic comments.
Cohn said there were “two schools of thought” about what should happen to the graffiti. Cohn said he went to the bridge to personally see the hate message, but it was already cleaned up. “There are two schools of thought. ‘Do you quickly cover it over and do you move on, or do you leave it and use it as a learning tool?” said Cohn, who said he learned toward leaving the graffiti and having a community dialogue. One person who disagrees with that approach is Derrek Shulman, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League New England Region, based in Boston. Shulman said he definitely favored removing the graffiti, since leaving it up gave the vandals the pleasure of more attention and encourages copycats.
Both Shulman and Cohn said that the “vast majority” of anti-Semitic incidents go unreported, but Shulman said that such incidents are not usual in Vermont. “It’s far more important to take it down,” said Shulman, noting the words are “hurtful…very hurtful” to now just Jews, but people who work toward a shared community. When it’s left up, “it’s a cold reminder that hate still exists, “ he said. The swastika is a symbol of intolerant and a “symbol of uncivil discourse,” Shulman said.
© The Rutland Herald
MONTGOMERY POLICE SAY GRAFFITI AT OLNEY SYNAGOGUE IS HATE CRIME (usa)
Vandals spray pointed words, symbols on building, parking lot overnight
26/7/2010- Montgomery police are investigating vandalism at B'nai Shalom of Olney as a hate crime after graffiti described as "Nazi related" was found on the exterior of the synagogue. Police received a call at just before 7 this morning reporting racial vandalism to the property at 18401 Burtfield Drive. The vandalism happened overnight, said Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Angela Cruz. She said vandals used black spray paint on the exterior walls, retaining wall, parking lot and light pole supports. Two houses in the neighborhood also were vandalized, Cruz said, but she had no more details Monday afternoon. Synagogue First Vice President Jeff Orenstein said he was expecting to find a couple of swastikas when officials received the call from police about the graffiti. But the vandalism went well beyond that, he said. "We were very shocked at how much more there was," he said. "It appears to us that this was more than a couple of kids that came by with a can of spray paint to play a prank. I think there is a lot more to this." Orenstein said the graffiti included the number "1488," which synagogue officials have learned is a reference to a white supremacy group.
Debbie Kovalsky, president of the synagogue, said some of the words were German slurs referencing Nazis. "We will heal, but this should not be tolerated in any community," she said. Cruz said coins totaling $3.62 were found outside the main entry doors. "We can't speculate as to what it means, but we have sent it for processing to our forensic services division," she said. Orenstein believes the coins could be a reference to a stereotype. "I think it refers to the stereotype of Jews being cheap and willing to reach out to pick up any nickel or dime," he said. Orenstein said synagogue officials have been touched by how many people have called and stopped by to offer to help clean up the damage. "We decided to let the community participate," he said. "It's important to not just cover it up, but to let the community see and show their support." Following tonight's 7:30 prayer service, there will be healing ceremony to give people the opportunity to express their feelings. "Certainly this is a quiet part of Montgomery County, but it is what it is," Orenstein said. "It's not isolated and unfortunately it has hit us." He said the vandalism has been difficult to make sense of, especially as the synagogue's nursery school students arrived this morning and questioned what they saw. Cruz said she is not aware of any other recent racial vandalism in the county.
© The Gazette
CHURCH VANDALISM NOW LISTED AS HATE CRIME (usa)
24/7/2010- For the past month, New Castle County Police have investigated a series of criminal mischief complaints at a Hockessin area church which have recently been reclassified as a hate crime. Beginning around June 21, 2010, County Police have investigated a total of six property damage related crimes at the church. In each case, an unknown suspect(s) trespassed upon the property and caused damage to the front stone sign. The person responsible for the crimes have also spray painted graffiti to the property with messages that have been classified as hate related. The latest incident occurred on Wednesday night into Thursday morning where the property was once again spray painted. County Police are also investigating a graffiti crime that was recently sprayed on the entrance sign to the nearby community of Stuyvesant Hills. The same sign was later stolen. At least one other location was also reported to be damaged by the graffiti at the Wilmington Christian Academy.
© The Newark Post
Headlines 23 July, 2010
27 JEWISH GRAVES VANDALIZED IN EASTERN FRANCE
21/7/2010- Police say vandals have smashed or overturned 27 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France. The gendarme service of the Bas-Rhin region says the damage was discovered at the cemetery in Wolfisheim on Wednesday. No other details were immediately available. Jewish grave sites around France are attacked sporadically by vandals, who leave gravestones broken or sprayed with anti-Semitic slogans. France is home to western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations, and there are occasional attacks on their schools, cemeteries or places of worship. In January a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg was desecrated by neo-Nazis. Knesset Member Shlomo Molla (Kadima), who was in the French city to attend a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, told Ynet, "It was a horrible sight, which probably stemmed from the rising anti-Semitism is Europe." "There were dozens of shattered tombstones, swastikas sprayed everywhere – complete destruction. This is a heinous crime," he added. "And today of all days, when dozens of European dignitaries are attending the ceremony… this is a reminder that anti-Semitism is alive. World nations must pass laws against such anti-Semitic expressions," he said.
© The Associated Press
SLAP ON THE WRIST FOR RACIST STABBING (Russia)
23/7/2010- A court in Vladivostok, Russia handed down suspended sentences to two youths after finding them guilty of a hate crime, according to a July 22, 2010 report by the web site VladNews. Both the youths stabbed two citizens of Uzbekistan on a suburban train on April 24, 2008. The court found them guilty of hooliganism motivated by ethnic hatred. The light suspended sentence of four and two years respectively is particularly egregious since the victims suffered serious injury,
according to the charging documents. Unfortunately, Russia's juvenile justice system tends to hand down mild sentences to youths, a loophole that neo-Nazi gangs regularly exploit.
LARGEST RUSSIAN LGBT GROUP URGES PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV TO CREATE HATE CRIMES LAW
19/7/2010- The Interregional Public Movement, the largest Russian LGBT Network, has suggested to Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev that he initiates legislation to amend the penal law of Russia to make hate crimes cover lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transpeople. This move would place specific references within the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to crimes against LGBT Russians. If these amendments were to pass, the courts would have to consider whether a crime specifically targeted a person based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, this would prevent law enforcement agencies from not instituting criminal proceedings against anyone who attacks someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Igor Kochetkov (Petrov), the chairman of the Interregional Public Movement, The Russian LGBT Network (to use the full name) stated “State and society should be equally intolerant towards attempts to incite hate and hostility towards all the minorities – racial, national, religious or sexual. Recently we have witnessed numerous unreasonably lenient sentences to those who killed people only because they didn’t like sexual orientation of the victim. Besides the investigating authorities and the courts do not respond to public appeals to isolation, treatment and even extermination of homosexual people. Such practice must be abolished at legislative level.”
(please forgive the translation of Mr. Kochetkov’s statement. It is what was provided in the release sent to us. Unfortunately, none of LGR’s staff speaks Russian)
© LezGet Real
REPORTED ABUSE AGAINST MUSLIMS IN LEICESTERSHIRE RISES (uk)
Muslims in Leicestershire are facing increasing abuse, according to figures from the police.
23/7/2010- Between April 2008 and March 2009, officers recorded 25 offences against Muslims but in the following 12 months, the figure rose to 42. Most incidents involved verbal abuse but there was a small number of cases in which veils were pulled off. Police said they treated all types of hate crime as a priority and urged victims to report any problems.
Insp Bill Knopp said that while the number of offences was relatively low, they took the upward trend seriously. "We have a very good track record in detecting racial and religiously motivated crimes. "I would encourage anyone with information to come forward and there is a good chance we will find the offenders and bring them to book." Rehana Sidat, from Leicester, who wears the niqab, said: "I think there are two things going on. There is more Islamophobia, people are becoming more intolerant. "But also more people are reporting this sort of thing, having more confidence to bring it to the police."
© BBC News
HATE CRIME WEBSITE TACKLES FIVE-PER CENT REPORTING STATISTIC (uk)
A website founded in Cambridgeshire is aiming to help decrease the huge number of hate crimes that go under-reported with local police.
21/7/2010- A website founded in Cambridgeshire is aiming to help decrease the huge number of hate crimes that go under-reported with local police, this month. Local support scheme Open Out – a third party reporting scheme that offers support, advice and information to the victims and witnesses of hate crime – launched openoutcambs.org in 2001 following the death of Stephen Lawrence, allowing members of the public to report incidents quickly and confidentially in order to access support. But now they are reminding the public that it can also be used for gay hate crime. “It is vital that anyone who hasbeen affected by this type of crime can get the help they need. We hope that this new website will make it easier for people to talk about what’s happened and access our service,” says Molly Blackburn, Open Out Co-ordinator. If you or someone you know may have been affected by Hate Crime visit Open Out’s website
© The Pink Paper
WHITE CHRISTIAN BRITONS BEING UNFAIRLY TARGETED FOR HATE CRIMES BY CPS, CIVITAS CLAIMS
White Christian Britons are being unfairly targeted compared with minority groups for committing hate crimes, a new report says.
19/7/2010- The study from think-tank Civitas argues that new hate crime legislation is restricting freedom of speech, and has effectively introduced a new blasphemy law into Britain by the back door. A foreword attached to the main report, “A New Inquisition: religious persecution in Britain today”, argues that prosecutors and police are unfairly singling out alleged crimes by white Christians, while ignoring other similar offences by minority groups. It says: “Some police forces and the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] seem to be interpreting statutes in favour of ethnic and religious minorities and in a spirit hostile to members of the majority population, defined as ‘White’ or ‘Christian’.” Report authors said it is “legitimate to ask” whether these agendas are being driven by “sectarian groups” within either police forces or inside the CPS.
It claims “there is evidence of biased application of the law”, citing the case of a Muslim man who sprayed the words “Islam will dominate the world – Osama is on his way” and “Kill Gordon Brown” on a war memorial in Burton-Upon-Trent. He was prosecuted for criminal damage – “that is neither a racially nor a religiously aggravated offence”. The CPS had argued that “the defacing the memorial did not attach to any particular racial or religious group” despite the fact that the monument was “a Christian and British memorial, carrying Christian and British symbols. "People who read the story found themselves thinking that, if a non-Muslim had defaced a Muslim building the system would have thrown the book at him".
This compared with a Christian couple in Liverpool, Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang, who were prosecuted and then cleared last December of a religiously aggravated hate crime after a strongly worded discussion with a Muslim guest at their hotel about the relative merits of their respective religions. Civitas questions whether the CPS’s decisions are being influenced by an internal staff association called the National Black Crown Prosecution Association (NBCPA), which has in the past received tens of thousands of pounds from the CPS. It says the NBCPA’s “main objective is to advance the careers of ethnic minorities within the CPS but it also takes an interest in the impact of CPS decisions on members of ethnic minorities”. It adds: “Whether this concern threatens the impartiality of the CPS is not clear. But other harmful effects of race-based politics have already led to open criticism by some CPS staff.”
It cites a newspaper report which claimed “that ethnic minorities were being given jobs within the CPS that they could not do”. It adds: “The activities of race and religion-based groups within the criminal justice system, including the police, the probation service and the CPS, are such that a public inquiry is now needed. “Groups that act in a sectarian spirit have no place in a system whose essence should be justice and impartiality.” A hate crime is officially defined as a “criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility, or prejudice based on a person’s religion or perceived religion”. Yet the report argues that these definitions are without substance and result in confusion and silliness in their application.
Although the total number of these crimes has fallen from 13,201 in 2006/7 to 11,845 in 2008/9, the report says the volume of hate legislation has rapidly expanded, with 35 Acts of Parliament, 52 statutory instruments, 13 codes of practice, three codes of guidance and 16 European Union directives which have a bearing on “discrimination”. A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said the NBCPA was “a highly regarded staff association” and “the trailing of the suggestion that the NBCPA may affect the CPS’ impartiality is without foundation. “The NBCPA has no influence over specific casework decisions. The decision to prosecute is based solely on the application of the principles contained in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.”
Prosecutors only take allegations of a racist or religious crime to court when they are satisfied “there has to be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. “Where there is evidence of a racially or religiously aggravated crime, the public interest will usually require a prosecution. “When making their decisions, prosecutors are not influenced by the ethnic or national origin, religion or belief of the suspect or victim and it is incorrect to suggest any one group is singled out more than another for prosecution.”
© The Telegraph
HOW THE NYPD NABBED 'KILL JEWS' FLIER SUSPECT (usa)
Good detective work, technology, luck and a cooperative boss led to arrest of livery cab driver.
23/7/2010- In the course of investigating a spate of anti-Semitic leafleting spanning 16 months, two detectives from the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force kept coming across pieces of a logo on the back of the nasty missives. Sometimes they saw an X, or sometimes a Z. The paper slips — which carried the message “Kill the Jews” scrawled with a black Sharpie pen — were sent to the forensics lab to be tested for DNA or fingerprints. But when they were returned to the task force, Detectives Faisal Khan and Al Provenzali were intrigued by four out of the more than 100 scraps found at 13 locations in Manhattan, 11 in Brooklyn and one each on Queens and the Bronx. Eventually, it dawned on them that the scraps formed the logo of XYZ Luxury Sedan Service in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a company they knew well. Khan and Provenzali, who each had eight years of experience on the task force, had investigated two incidents of anti-Muslim hate mail against the company’s owner, Mohamad Mowad, which took place in 2002. The investigation ended with an arrest of a former employee in 2007. Mowad immediately cooperated with police to find out if an employee was responsible for the fliers, says the head of the Hate Crimes Task Force, Inspector Michael Osgood. “He played a key role in the investigation,” said the inspector.
Once the link to XYZ was established, the trail was easy to follow. Some of the torn pages were from a Taxi and Limousine Commission-issued trip sheet and contained pieces of handwritten information. Mowad was able to match the fragments with intact copies submitted to him and thereby identified a suspect, Dimitrious Apolonides, 37. Mowad wanted to fire the driver, who had 17 years with the company, as soon as he was tied to the crime, but the detectives asked him not to so they could continue the investigation. “They wanted us to keep it quiet for a while,” Mowad told The Jewish Week. “It made no sense,” said the Egyptian immigrant who became a U.S. citizen 35 years ago. “[Apolonides] is very close friends with my vice president, who is Jewish and the head of sales who is an Israeli Jew. So I was shocked that he would do this stupid thing.” The next step was to check data from the GPS system installed in all of XYZ’s cars that records their travel history. Cross-checking that history with the dates and locations of the leafleting incidents confirmed that Apolonides’ car was in those areas at the same time, said Osgood.
The suspect’s name then went to the NYPD’s intelligence unit for an extensive background check for ties to hate or terrorist organizations. “That came back all clean,” said Osgood. A native U.S. citizen, Apolonides, who had no criminal record, had only traveled abroad once, to Greece, 10 years ago. “It would be different if he was going to Saudi Arabia or Yemen multiple times,” said the inspector. Still, for the next three months the detectives sporadically followed and observed the suspect. A court order was not necessary as long as they tailed him in public places. The surveillance was uneventful, but the evidence they had was enough to eventually bring the cabbie in for questioning, at which time, Osgood said, Apolonides admitted to scattering the hateful messages as many as 100 times out the window of his car. The NYPD shared its information with representatives of police departments where similar incidents took place, including Nassau and Rockland County, where similar incidents took place, and they all concluded they had their man. “There’s no doubt it’s the same person,” said Osgood. The arrest was made on July 15.
Apolonides was charged with only one incident, though. It took place on May 13 of this year, on East 65th Street in Manhattan, outside the headquarters of the Jewish Guild for the Blind. That will allow prosecutors to pursue a charge of aggravated harassment as a hate crime, a misdemeanor, on the assumption that he deliberately targeted the institution because of religion, a violation of New York State’s 2000 Hate Crimes Act. The other incidents are not illegal because they could not be considered incitement to cause harm. “For the most part it’s an act that’s protected under the First Amendment,” said Osgood. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s hate crimes prosecution unit is still looking into the case, but a spokesperson declined to comment. If convicted, Apolonides faces one year in jail and a $10,000 fine. He has not yet entered a plea in the case. Apolonides has insisted he has nothing against Jews and told police he doesn’t know why he dropped the fliers.
The Anti-Defamation League is less convinced of his ambiguity. “While the motive for this anti-Semitic leafleting spree remains unclear, there can be no doubt that this was a crime motivated by hate, and that the intent here was to spread fear through the New York City metropolitan area,” said Jeffrey M. Parker and Ron Meier of the ADL’s New York Region in a statement. Osgood said the task force’s top priority in catching the person responsible for the fliers was to determine the threat level. “Our concern was he would take it to the next, higher level,” he said. But asked if Apolonides was dangerous, Osgood said, “I would have to say no if I’m going to be honest with you. Doing this for eight years, there’s never been a case like this. What human being does this? “Our goal was to find him and if he’s not a criminal, at least identify him and tell him, ‘Hey, you’ve got to stop this. This is troublesome to many people.’ ” Mowad said Apolonides, whose father also worked for the company, has been fired from XYZ because he “used our voucher for an illegal issue and involved us. He is out of here.” Mowad said he was disturbed by the incident. “It makes me scared. If a quiet person like that who has a family and a kid can do this, I am afraid of my neighbor.” If Apolonides is convicted, Mowad has a recommendation for the judge: “His punishment should be probation, where he visits every day the Holocaust Museum to see by his own eye how much people suffer for what they believe, and not for what they did.”
© The Jewish Week
NOOSE HUNG IN INTERRACIAL COUPLE'S YARD (usa)
21/7/2010- They have only been married a month, but an interracial Murfreesboro couple is dealing with what some consider a hate crime: The couple found a noose hanging in a tree in their yard. Adrian Westfield and his wife, Leva, had just gotten home around midnight Sunday when they saw police officers at their neighbor's house that had just been broken into. "I walked over to make sure everything was OK with my neighbors," Westfield said. When he turned to go home, he found more than just leaves and limbs hanging from his bradford pear tree. "(I) came back and stopped right here and noticed that noose hanging in a tree," said Westfield. "My heart just dropped. I said, 'Oh, my God.'" Westfield went over to the same Murfreesboro officer at his neighbor's house and filed a report. Two investigators have been assigned the case, but this hasn't been classified as a hate crime just yet. "In order for the crime to be designated a hate crime, they need to some type of intent that it was designed to target the people of that residence," said Officer Kyle Evans of the Murfreesboro Police Department. The couple said they aren't sure who would do this or why. The couple recently got married, and Leva Westfield is from Iran, but they said they don't know if that had something to do with it. "We've lived here a year now," said Adrian Westfield. "We haven't had any problems like this before." There has been a recent rash of home break-ins and car burglaries in this neighborhood believed to have been committed by teenagers, so police think the noose incident could be a teen prank. But Westfield said he isn't so sure. "It's a direct threat to me -- what it symbolizes, what it stands for is a direct threat," Westfield said. Westfield removed the noose from the tree and is hoping he and his wife can erase the memory so early in their marriage, prank or not. Because of noose incident, as well as all the break-ins along Windwalker Court and throughout the subdivision, neighbors have met with police about starting a neighborhood watch.
© WSMV 4 News
MARK OF HATE CRIME: VANDALS SCRATCH SWASTIKA ONTO CAR (usa)
21/7/2010- A Redding woman says vandals etched a swastika into her car and posted a “for sale” sign in front of her west Redding home in what police are calling a hate crime. “It’s so hate driven,” said Helene Stovall, 55. She said the message was clear — whoever vandalized her car and home on Oro Street on Tuesday night wants her to move because she’s Jewish. “My house isn’t for sale,” Stovall said. “I’ve been here for 16 years, and I’m not moving.” Police are classifying the vandalism as a hate crime because it targets a minority, said Sgt. Bill Schueller of the Redding Police Department. He said police investigate about one hate crime a month in Redding. “We take them very seriously,” Schueller said Wednesday. Stovall said everyone should take it seriously. “It’s like waking up to a burning cross in your yard,” she said. “I feel like the community should know about it. We can’t tolerate this kind of crap this creepy racism that’s starting to show up in Redding.” An RPD officer canvassed Stovall’s neighborhood Wednesday, questioning neighbors about whether they heard or saw anything overnight, and checked for fingerprints on her car.
The incident isn’t the first case of vandalism with racist overtones, Martin Crosby, 43, Stovall’s neighbor said. On May 1 vandals put a “for sale” sign in front of his home, poured out his garbage can, piled rocks onto his wife’s 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and cut “KKK” into the SUV’s paint. The damage cost $1,500 to repair, said his wife Lori Crosby, 38, . The Crosby family, which includes three teenagers and four dogs, didn’t hear anything the night the vandals did their damage, either. Crosby said police took a report on the vandalism but didn’t consider it a hate crime because the family is of German and Irish descent. “They just took it up as kids doing something stupid,” Martin Crosby said. Stovall said she also suspects kids being juvenile. The vandals who hit Stovall’s home also strung toilet paper from the trees in front of the house and set a pair of construction cones in the yard. Stovall’s daughter Leigh Stovall, 16, first saw the toilet paper hanging in their trees at 8 a.m. and soon discovered the swastika carved, likely by key, onto the top of the trunk on Helene Stovall’s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
Neither Helene nor Leigh Stovall heard anything late Tuesday or early Wednesday alerting them of the vandalism outside, they said. And the family’s three dogs failed to raise an alarm. “I feel like taking away their kibble,” Helene Stovall said. Stovall said she grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn — a part of New York City that had many Holocaust survivors — so she takes deep offense to the swastika, the iconic symbol of Nazi Germany. A psychotherapist, Stovall said she canceled her house calls Wednesday morning because she didn’t want any of her clients to see the vandalism. She said she hoped to repair the damage as quickly as possible. “I can’t leave my car anywhere without insulting someone,” Stovall said.
© The Record Searchlight
STATEN ISLAND GAY COUPLE LATEST VICTIMS OF HATE CRIMES AS BIAS ATTACKS SPIKE (usa)
18/7/2010- A gay couple who innocently made a late-night stop at a White Castle in Staten Island was among the latest in a skyrocketing number of hate crime victims in the city. The number of bias attacks has ballooned from 111 to 200 through July 11 - an 80% surge from the same time period in 2009. A pocket of Port Richmond has been ground zero for such attacks, with six Mexican immigrants beaten there in separate incidents since April. For married couple Luis and Richard Vieira, the attack on July 7 began with a homophobic slur. "He looked at Luis and said, 'What the f--- are you looking at, f-----?'" recalled Richard Vieira, 39. A teen punched Luis in the back of the head. The couple, married two years ago in Massachusetts, stormed into the parking lot of the Stapleton fast-food joint to confront the foul-mouthed brute. Suddenly, they found themselves surrounded by more than a dozen teens. Luis dashed back inside the White Castle, but Richard was knocked to the ground and pummeled. "I was left unconscious," said Richard, his face still bearing the bruises and cuts he suffered. "This is our home ...nothing bad has ever happened to us until that night."
In the 120th Precinct, which includes Stapleton and Port Richmond, the number of reported hate crimes has jumped from two to 13. Mexican immigrants are the most frequent victims. The attacks, which many locals attribute to long-simmering tensions between the black and Latino residents of Port Richmond, have terrified many of the area's immigrants. Police suspect some of the attackers target immigrants with confidence, thinking the victims won't go to cops because they're in the country illegally. The latest census data shows about 12% of Staten Island's population is Latino. Alejandro Galindo, 52, was biking home from his job as a restaurant dishwasher on June 24 and stopped to take a break. Four black men assaulted him, Galindo said. "I tried to explain myself what happened," he said of the Port Richmond beatdown just after midnight. "I did not understand why they attacked me. "I spent four days in the hospital," said Galindo, a Mexican immigrant. "I still see blurry." His daughter, Blanca Galindo, 37, is incensed. "He still lives in fear," she said of her father. "They did not take anything. He was attacked just for being who he is." No one has been arrested for attacking Alejandro Galindo or the Vieiras.
Police officials don't have an explanation for the rise in hate crimes across the five boroughs, attributing it to a temporary spike. "Hate crimes are down 60% over the last 17 years," said Inspector Michael Osgood, head of the NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit. "For this increase, there does not appear to be a root cause and underlying theme." Osgood said cops have stepped up patrols on Staten Island and have arrested the perpetrators of three of the recent anti-Mexican attacks. Justice Department and NYPD officials also held two town hall meetings in Port Richmond last week to reassure jittery residents. "Enough is enough," said Luis Vieira. "Too many people turn a blind eye. It's time to put a stop to hate crimes."
© The New York Daily News
THOUSANDS MARCH FOR GAY RIGHTS IN POLAND
17/7/2010- Thousands of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and supporters of equal rights for sexual minorities marched in Poland's capital Saturday in the first annual EuroPride march in Eastern Europe. The colourful parade wound through Warsaw in sweltering heat of close to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), urging the government in conservative and deeply Roman Catholic country to give homosexual partnerships legal status. "We demand a civil partnership law," read a massive banner at the head of march, although participants acknowledged such legislation was not on the cards in a country where homosexuality is taboo and few choose to be openly gay. "We're hoping to open up a debate on the topic of affording legal status to the partnerships of gay and lesbian couples but we're not optimistic such legislation will be passed anytime soon," Jacek Adler, editor-in-chief of the www.gaylife.pl website, told AFP.
Opinion surveys show that 80 percent of Poles oppose gay marriage and 93 percent believe gay and lesbian couples should not have the right to adopt children. Two out of three Poles oppose gay demonstrations. Saturday's event was the first time the annual EuroPride parade was held in one of Eastern Europe's ex-communist states. Last year's march in Zurich, Switzerland attracted about 50,000 people. Marchers, some from as far away as Canada, jived along the route to hits by gay icon Kyle Minogue among others. But the event was a more low-key affair than those in western Europe which also feature scantily clad revellers and drag queens. "I don't think Poland is as homophobic as some people think it is, but for whatever reasons, people are still uncomfortable with the issue of homosexuality," Ken Coolen, director of Vancouver's gay pride parade, told AFP. "It's the midst of a change here in Poland, where more people are coming out," he said.
"We want to be in solidarity with Polish gay and lesbians and we want also to show the police in Poland that there is no problem to be openly gay in the police," Stockholm policeman Goran Stanton, who also serves as head of the Association of Gay Police of Sweden, told AFP. About 2,000 police officers, some clad in riot gear, were on hand to provide security. Eight people were detained for attacking police officers, reports said. People trying to block the parade hurled eggs and bottles at the marchers and Catholic groups distributed pamphlets to parade-goers with an image of Jesus Christ saying: "I have not come to condemn but to redeem." They also held prayer vigils at local churches "in the intention of redeeming parade participants."
The decision to hold EuroPride in Warsaw sparked controversy in deeply Catholic Poland where gays have long complained of intolerance and openly homophobic remarks by politicians are far from rare. "We started lobbying already in 2005 against all odds and amid a very unfriendly atmosphere towards gay rights in our country," said Adam Biskupiak of the Equality Foundation, a Polish group that organised the rally. Poland's late conservative president Lech Kaczynski -- who died in a plane crash in April -- banned a gay rights rally by local campaigners in 2005 when he was mayor of Warsaw. He later fell foul of the European Court of Human Rights for that decision. City authorities declined symbolic or financial support for Saturday's EuroPride event.
Headlines 16 July, 2010
VANCOUVER: CANADA'S HATE-CRIME CAPITAL, SAYS STATS CAN
Vancouver now carries the dubious title of hate-crime and gay-bashing capital of Canada.
15/7/2010- According to figures released by Statistics Canada on Monday, police-reported hate crimes in Vancouver almost doubled from 79 in 2007 to 143 in 2008 — including 34 hate attacks motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, by far the highest ratio of gay-bashing crimes among major Canadian cities. Vancouver and Hamilton reported the highest rates among Canada's 10 largest cities at 6.3 hate crimes per 100,000 population. Toronto had 5.4 hate crimes reported per 100,000. Montreal reported 1.0. Vancouver police Const. Lindsey Houghton questioned the StatsCan report, saying VPD's stats show only 57 hate crimes reported in 2008, 30 in 2007, 16 in 2006 and seven in 2005. "We aren't necessarily convinced the number of incidents are on the rise — we think the number of people reporting [hate crimes] is on the rise," Houghton said.
But Jennifer Breakspear, executive director of Qmunity — a gay-rights resource centre in Vancouver — said she believes there is more gay-bashing happening in Vancouver than is reflected in the StatsCan report. At the same time, the VPD has a dedicated hate-crimes unit, which means attacks might be reported to police in Vancouver more than other city forces, she said. "I believe some of what is behind [the figures] is the Vancouver gay community is feeling the Vancouver Police Department will be there for them," Breakspear said. The StatsCan report follows on the heels of an apparent gay-bashing of a male couple in Vancouver near GM Place on Saturday night. Two unidentified men attacked David Holtzman and his partner, Peter Regier, as they approached their townhouse on Keefer Street at around 10:45 p.m. The couple say attackers shouted homophobic slurs.
Houghton said police have not identified any suspects in the attack, and are not "pre-judging" the incident as a hate crime. But on Monday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson issued a statement denouncing the attack as an apparent hate crime. "I am very troubled and saddened by the assault of two citizens Saturday night in what clearly appears to be an incident of physical and verbal aggression against citizens for who they are," Robertson said. Of the 143 incidents in Vancouver in 2008, 40 were based on religion, 61 were race or ethnicity-based hate crimes, 34 were based on sexual orientation and eight had unknown motivation. Across Canada police reported 1,036 hate crimes in 2008, up 35 per cent from 2007. StatsCan says the gay-bashing crimes were more violent than those based on race and religion, and 85 per cent of the victims of gay-bashing were male.
© The Province
HOME OFFICE PUBLISHES DRAFT REFORM PLAN (uk)
Information sharing, the publication of crime data and support for the e-Borders programme are all in the Home Office Structural Reform Plan
14/7/2010- A draft of the plan has been published on the department's website. It places an emphasis on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, increasing the accountability of the police, securing borders, protection from terrorism and the protection of civil liberties. Among its proposals is to support the fight against crime by ensuring hospitals share non-confidential information police on knife and gun crime and other serious violence. The Home Office will work with the Department of Health on the policies, with the aim of having them in place by April 2011.
It also aims to improve the recording of hate crime by setting up systems and providing a consolidated set of data for relevant offences, to be published in an open and standardised format. The target date for this is December of this year. The document says that police actions to tackle crime can be made more transparent by the publication of local crime data every month in a standardised format. This should enable the public to obtain proper information about crime in their neighbourhoods, and hold the police to account for their performance. This is also scheduled to be in place by December.
It says the government plans to support the e-Borders programme for monitoring people's movements in and out of the country. This was introduced by the previous government and has attracted criticisms from privacy activists, but the new government says it will use the systems to reintroduce exit checks by December 2014. The document also reiterates the government's plans to abolish identity cards and the National Identity Register by the end of 2010, and to introduce a Freedom Bill. The latter will include outlawing of fingerprinting children at school without parental permission, new regulations on the use of CCTV, and new controls on the retention of DNA profiles on the DNA Database.
There are also plans to reduce bureaucracy in police forces by removing Stop and Account recording, reducing Stop and Search procedures, and developing options to pare back the police inspection and targets regime. The latter will focus on targets and data requests imposed on the police by the Home Office.
VANDALS DESECRATE GRAVE OF POLISH HOLOCAUST HEROINE (Poland)
Irena Sendler saved about 2,500 Jewish children from death during WWII
15/7/2010- Vandals have desecrated the grave of a Polish woman who saved about 2,500 Jewish children from death during World War II, the public TVP television channel announced. The words "Jews out" were sprayed on the Warsaw grave of Irena Sendler, who spirited out Jewish children from the city's Ghetto to Catholic institutions and convents to save them from death, images on television showed. Sendler, a Catholic, organised the smuggling of children out of the Ghetto, in boxes, suitcases and trolleys, under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhoid outbreak. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel recognised her as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, a special honour awarded to those who did most to help the Jews escape the Nazis. Sendler died in May 2008 at the age of 98.
14/7/2010- A ‘hidden’ crime is being targeted in Greater Manchester. Lawyers and police believe hundreds of cases of disability hate crime go unreported every year – from abusive name calling to theft or assault. Three years ago, just five people were successfully prosecuted in the region but last year the figure rose to 34. And this week an open day will be held at Bury police station and the town’s magistrates’ court to give victims the confidence to report crimes. Earlier this week, the M.E.N revealed how a bus driver was caught on camera refusing to help a woman in a wheelchair get off his single-decker. Award-winning disability rights campaigner Renu Duggal criticised the driver for ignoring her pleas to put a ramp out so she could alight. Her son, Arjun, filmed the incident on his mobile phone. Alison Mutch, chief crown prosecutor for Bury, Bolton, and Wigan, and lead lawyer on disability hate crime, said: “A conference was held in Manchester to which 80 people from disability groups were invited to discuss how the criminal justice system works in relation to this type of crime.” She said that as part of an action plan the open day is being put on – and around 45 people, with physical and learning disabilities, have signed up to attend. The day will focus on how the police and the justice system deal with hate crime cases and it will demonstrate how disabled victims can give evidence through video links and even take a break in the hearing if medication is needed. The prosecutor added: “The police station has full disabled access, but buttons and ramps don’t mean a thing if the attitude of staff dealing with complaints doesn’t give victims confidence.
“We have had great support from the police but there is a lot of fear about reporting disability hate crime – people fear they will not be taken seriously. “We want to assure people that they will.” In 2007, Greater Manchester’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dealt with five defendants involved in disability hate crimes and all were successfully prosecuted. In 2008, 24 were prosecuted, 19 convicted, and last year there were 42 defendants dealt with, 34 of whom were convicted. So far this year 24 out 27 defendants have been convicted. Stacey Davis, community engagement manager for the CPS (north west), said: “We have spoken to disabled people who have suffered hate crimes. One lady was living at home being looked after by a carer and her food was being spat on. “She was warned that if she complained she would be taken into care.” In another case, a disabled man’s coat was set on fire and an able bodied girl was bullied at school because her parents are disabled. She added: “If a crime is not reported a situation can escalate. Sometimes a disabled person will not want a prosecution – a visit from a police officer and a caution – something to get the behaviour stopped will be enough.”
© The Manchester Evening News
NCAVP RELEASES 2009 HATE CRIMES STATISTICS (usa)
13/7/2010- The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has released its statistics regarding LGBTQ hate violence for 2009. According to their report, twenty-two victims of hate murder were reported by the NCAVP, and this may not reflect the full number as hate crimes tend to go under reported. One police district was recording rapes under a different category so as not to have to worry about all of the potential testing and paperwork involved in a rape case. The twenty-two victims of hate murders is the NCAVP’s second highest in a decade. The majority, just near eighty percent of the victims of hate murder, were racial minorities, and the bulk of the victims were transwomen or feminine-presenting. That members of already marginalized groups were targeted disproportionally for the more severe violence was commented upon. “These facts are deeply disturbing as these are the same people who are more likely to face discrimination, criminalization or further violence when interacting with criminal legal and social service systems. What we see is that they are less likely to seek and access support from these institutions,” said Maria Carolina Morales, Intervention Director of Community United Against Violence (CUAV) in San Francisco.
The highest spike of violence in 2009 occurred around the time of the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It is a common correlation that hate crimes go up when visibility of the minority group also goes up. In the wake of the passage of Vermont’s marriage equality bill last year, the RU12 headquarters in Burlington were vandalized. A banner hung outside the building which houses the RU12 and Vermont Freedom To Marry groups “Thank you Vermont, will you marry me?” The weekend around 5 April 2009, vandals wrote on both the building and the banner the word “fags” Roughly sixty-two percent of the intimidation and harassment may not rise to criminal levels. According to Ann Atkins, Program Director of SafeSpace at the R U 1 2? Community Center in Winooski, VT, “Hate violence can be challenged by everyone, on all levels, by working with and reporting even what seem to be the slightest acts to local anti-violence programs. This sort of reporting supports efforts to prevent the escalation of incidents as well as document the scope of anti-LGBTQ hate in our communities.”
Several member groups within the NCAVP had to cut back on crucial staff and programming due to the fiscal crisis in the country. Half of the groups laid off staff, and seventy percent had to cut their budgets. These staff and programming cuts undoubtably cut into the ability of many LGBTQ individuals to report cases and access important support services according to Lisa Gilmore, Director of Education and Victim Advocacy at Center on Halsted in Chicago. She believes that the dip in the number of cases may be more due to the lack of ability to report than the lack of cases. Kelly Clark, Community Safety Director at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley in Rochester, NY stated “For many people, acts of hate violence come to be an expected part of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Hate violence exists in many forms, ranging from hate speech to sexual assault and murder. All can be traumatic and have life-long impact.” The NCAVP called upon state and federal governments as well as criminal liegal systems to support anti-violence programs by ending cutbacks and releasing already allocated funds for prevention, education, and data collection. They also called upon these entities to end institutionalized practices which discriminate against LGBTQ individuals.
Crystal Middlestadt, Director of Education & Advocacy at the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, stated “Ending anti-LGBTQ hate violence will require nothing less than a profound cultural shift supported at all levels of society. Educators, lawmakers, service providers and the general public must support the work of anti-violence programs and LGBTQ people to transform a culture of hate into one that is inclusive, healthy and safe for all.” The report only covers those areas where the NCAVP is active. This is predominantly in the Southwest, Pacific Coast, Midwest and Northeast. There are currently no programs reporting from the Southeast or South. In total, 22 states contributed to this report, and many are the only resource available in their state. “While this report covers hate violence in 2009, NCAVP would like to acknowledge an important report published today by New York City Stands in Solidarity with the Puerto Rican Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community on more recent incidents. This network of non-profit organizations and elected officials in New York City and State organized in the spring of 2010 to monitor and respond to recent heinous and ongoing acts of hate violence affecting the Puerto Rican LGBT communities.”
CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST PROFESSOR WHO SPREAD BLOOD LIBEL (Russia)
16/7/2010- A court in Tyumen, Russia threw out incitement charges against a college professor who spread the Blood Libel--a medieval belief that Jews ritually murder Christian children, according to a July 9, 2010 report by the Slavic Law and Justice Center. Svetlana Shestakova gave a series of lectures in 2008 on the topic of "Sectarian Studies" in a course geared toward the preparation of future public school teachers of the "Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture" curriculum at Tyumen State Oil-Gas University. During her lectures, she reportedly claimed that Jews ritually murder Christian children and use their blood to bake matzo. She added that: "They use a special method for killing an Orthodox child or a saint, such as when the Tsar's family was killed... they were bled because a live person needs to be stabbed before he is dead, and while he dies, the blood comes out... That's why sometimes children go missing, it's the Jews..." Her lectures also contained calumnies directed at minority Christians. The court reportedly dropped the charges after she failed to appear in court, citing illness. The statute of limitations was then allowed to lapse.
REPORT SLAMS ST. PETERSBURG FOR RACISM, OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES (Russia)
12/7/2010- Violations of the right to life and other basic human rights have become routine in St. Petersburg, argues the city’s Human Rights Council in its newly released survey of human rights abuses. The document, which was released this week, talks about army recruits being beaten to death by senior conscripts, prison inmates tortured by guards, and anti-fascist activists and non-Slavs being stabbed to death in the streets of St. Petersburg. “The state is unable to protect its people, and the level of the state’s helplessness is as alarming as the ever-increasing scale of the abuses; the right to life, the most important of people’s rights, is no longer guaranteed here,” said Leonid Romankov, a member of the council. The city’s Human Rights Council was created in 2007, when a group of the city’s leading human rights organizations refused to cooperate with Igor Mikhailov, the St. Petersburg ombudsman at the time. The organizations formed an informal assembly of ombudsmen made up of experts from the city’s nongovernmental organizations and human rights groups. The group has pursued politically charged cases, compiling its own reports for distribution to the media, Western parliaments and advocacy organizations.
Council member Alexander Vinnikov, head of the Russia Without Racism movement, says that the level of hate crime in the city has escalated to a frightening degree. “Extremist groups have moved on from individual actions to more serious, well-organized attacks and they now target migrant workers from Central Asia and the Caucasus on a regular basis,” he said. “It does not help that the police makes no distinction between neo-fascists and anti-fascist groups.” This year, a new section of the report is devoted to the rights of patients of psychiatric clinics. Council member Yury Vdovin, deputy head of the Citizen’s Watch pressure group, has collected horrifying evidence of human rights abuses in the city’s clinics, where patients, regardless of their condition, are not allowed outside for many weeks. “Another absolutely bewildering aspect of the psychiatric wards is that patients are not allowed to use the phone,” Vdovin said in the report. “Worst of all, some of the staff in these clinics humiliate already emotionally traumatized patients — for example, those suffering from depression or recovering from suicide attempts — and there is absolutely no external control over what is happening inside the psychiatric hospitals,” Vdovin said. “It is common for staff to ignore the patients’ complaints and tell the unfortunate people to shut up. No efficient rehabilitation programs are in place in the city, either.”
The council is calling for the creation of an independent body to oversee conditions in the city’s psychiatric clinics and ensure that patients receive adequate medical help, as well as humane treatment and assistance in rehabilitation. “We are swamped with complaints from those who have survived the horror of treatment in these clinics and from devastated members of their families,” Vdovin said. “An open and thorough investigation and assessment of this system is essential to ensure that patients’ rights are observed. The system clearly needs to be overhauled and put under proper control.” Natalya Yevdokimova, the council’s secretary, said the number of complaints against the police has recently hit a new high. “We even received a complaint from a group of policemen, who found themselves helpless against threats and bullying from corrupt senior staff, which just shows that the whole system is in its death throes,” she said.
© The St. Petersburg Times
THE SHARED EXTREMISM OF NEO-NAZIS AND MIGRANT YOUTH (Germany)
Following an anti-Semitic attack in Hanover, German authorities have identified a new source of anti-Semitic hatred in Germany: young migrants from Muslim families. The ideological alliance has officials concerned.
14/7/2010- It was supposed to be a carefree festival in Sahlkamp on the outskirts of the northern German city of Hanover. Billed as an "International Day" to celebrate social diversity and togetherness, the June celebration included performances by a multicultural children's choir called "Happy Rainbow" and the German-Turkish rap duo 3-K. Music from Afghanistan was also on the program. But then the mood suddenly shifted. When Hajo Arnds, the organizer of the neighborhood festival, stepped onto the stage at about 6:45 p.m. to announce the next performance, by the Jewish dance group Chaverim, he was greeted with catcalls. "Jews out!" some of the roughly 30 young people standing in front of the stage began shouting. "Gone with the Jews!" The voices were those of children -- voices full of hate, shouted in unison and amplified by a toy megaphone. Arnds, the organizer, was shocked. He knew many of the children, most of them from Arab immigrant families in the neighborhood. A social worker, Arnds tried using the tools of his profession -- words -- to save the situation. But his words were met with stones, thrown at the stage by people taking cover in the crowd. One of the stones hit a female Chaverim dancer in the leg, resulting in an angry bruise.
Inflammatory Propaganda and Criminal Violence
Arnds immediately cancelled the dance performance. Still speaking through the microphone, he said that he wasn't sure whether the festival could even continue after this incident. When adults walked to the front of the crowd to confront and talk to the children, they were verbally abused, and some of the teenagers ran away. The Jewish dance group was taken to a safe place, and the festival was allowed to continue. The last performance of the evening was by a duo singing Russian songs. "They're not Jews," one of the young people in front of the stage shouted, "so they can perform here." A criminal complaint was not filed with the police until several days later. Until now, attacks on Jews, Jewish institutions and Jewish symbols have almost always been committed by right-wing extremist groups. In the first quarter of 2010 alone, the German Interior Ministry documented 183 anti-Semitic offences committed by right-wing radicals, including graffiti, inflammatory propaganda and physical violence.
The stone-throwing incident in Hanover, however, has finally forced the authorities to take a closer look at a group of offenders that, though largely overlooked until now, is no less motivated by anti-Zionist sentiments: adolescents and young adults from an immigrant community who are influenced by Islamist ideas and are prepared to commit acts of violence. An informal and accidental alliance has been developing for some time between neo-Nazis and some members of a group they would normally despise: Muslim immigrants. The two groups seem to share vaguely similar anti-Semitic ideologies. Right-wing extremists and Islamists, says Heinz Fromm, the president of the German domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), are united by "a common bogeyman: Israel and the Jews as a whole." While German right-wing extremists cultivate a "more or less obvious racist anti-Semitism," says Fromm, the Islamists are "oriented toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" and support "anti-Zionist ideological positions, which can also have anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic overtones." Both extremist movements, says Fromm, "ascribe extraordinary political power to Israel and the Jews, and their goal is to fight this power."
'A Tree, a Noose, a Jew's Neck'
Although the BfV has not separately identified anti-Semitic crimes associated with Islamist groups until now, investigators are paying close attention to the development of anti-Jewish tendencies within the milieu. Anti-Semitism from the two groups shows itself in different ways in Germany. On the one hand, there are the efforts of extremist right-wing groups, which tend to follow a certain pattern. During a football match in April, for example, supporters of SV Mügeln-Ablass 09, a district-league football club in the eastern state of Saxony, chanted "a tree, a noose, a Jew's neck" and "we're building a subway, from Jerusalem to Auschwitz," until the match was stopped. According to the German government's response to a parliament inquiry by Left Party politician Petra Pau, Jewish cemeteries in Germany are defaced, vandalized or destroyed about once every 10 days. Memorial sites are also frequently targeted. Last month, for example, extremists defaced a memorial plaque in the western city of Bochum, a Jewish cemetery in Babenhausen in the state of Hesse and a memorial in Beckum in the Münsterland region. On the other hand, say BfV officials, Islamist ideologues are creating problems with their anti-Israeli tirades, which are being broadcast on the Internet and television. "You can expect this sort of propaganda to have an impact on certain social groups," says Fromm. The Israelis' bloody military intervention against a flotilla of aid vessels off the coast of Gaza on May 31, in which nine Turkish activists where shot dead, has triggered a new wave of hate. The Jewish community in Berlin promptly reported "a rapid increase in anti-Semitic propaganda and death threats against Jews on the Internet." This is particularly the case on Facebook where, according to Jewish officials in Berlin, users like Ulubas L. are spreading their message of hate with statements like: "The only good Jew is a dead Jew."
TV productions like the Iranian series "Zahra's Blue Eyes," broadcast into the living rooms of immigrant families in Germany, only add to the problem. The program is based on a horror story in which a fictitious Israeli general has doctors remove the eyes of a Palestinian girl so that they can be transplanted into his blind son. Such propaganda apparently serves as a breeding ground for anti-Jewish sentiments among poorly integrated members of the immigrant community -- sentiments which can quickly explode into violence. In late June, for example, two Israeli tourists made the mistake of conversing in Hebrew at a Berlin nightclub. Another guest, apparently of Palestinian descent, asked them where they were from. When one of the tourists, a 22-year-old man, replied, "from Israel," the man attacked him and his companion. The situation escalated when a Turkish-born bouncer intervened and attacked the Israelis with pepper spray. The tourists were able to flee and required medical treatment. Law enforcement officials assume that the attack was the result of "anti-Semitic sentiment." The bouncer and the man who attacked the Israelis, whose identity is still unknown, are being investigated for aggravated assault and battery. The Jewish community in Worms, located in the southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate, was also the target of a recent attack. In mid-May, unknown assailants tried to set the city's historic synagogue on fire. Forensics experts later identified eight sources of fire at the crime scene. In addition, a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of the synagogue's library.
Understanding the Background
The community was lucky; the building did not go up in flames. Nearby, the police found letters claiming responsibility, written in broken German: "As long as you don't leave the Palestinians alone, we won't leave you alone." It is still unclear whether the pamphlets indicate that the perpetrators were Islamists or were left there as a red herring. According to the state's Interior Ministry, the authorities are "working hard to investigate all possible leads." Meanwhile residents and social workers are trying to understand the background and motives of the adolescents who attacked Jewish dancers with stones at the "International Day" event in Hanover's Sahlkamp neighborhood. There is no visible evidence of Jewish life in the district, which has about 14,000 residents. According to the police, the stone-throwing incident on June 19 was the first case of anti-Semitic violence in the area. So far, authorities have identified 12 possible suspects. They are between 9 and 19 years old, many are not yet old enough to be prosecuted, and 11 of them have an "Arab immigrant background," according to the public prosecutor's office in the city. No one has said anything yet on the possible motives for the attack. The only comments, so far, came from a little girl, perhaps 10 or 11 years old, who was addressed immediately after the attack by a woman attending the neighborhood festival. "What's going on here?" the woman asked. "The Germans say: Foreigners out!" the girl replied. "Why can't we say: Jews out?" Then she ran away.
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
© The Spiegel
10/7/2010- “There has been enough racism” – that was the topic being discussed in mid-June 2009 by 30 Romani children from Pøelouè, Pardubice, Hradec Králové and Brno as part of a debate competition organized by the Debate Club Association of the Czech Republic at the Radost recreation center in Horní Jelení. The topic was to become especially significant for the young debaters. On Saturday 13 June 2009 at around 10 PM they were verbally attacked with racist insults from youths seated at a restaurant near the center. “The reality encountered by Romani children today and every day confirms the fact that the extreme right is prevalent in the Czech Republic. The debate competition was being held in a pleasant atmosphere until a bunch of drunken juvenile delinquents disturbed the peace by swearing at the children and the lecturers and vandalizing property immediately adjacent to the center where the children were staying,” says Jan Müller, vice-chair of the Darjav Association and one of the organizers of the debating club.
Police take strange action
Organizers had prepared a “walk of courage” for the children that evening. The young debaters were supposed to walk down a designated path in threes. As one of these threesomes was returning from the path, racist slogans started up from the front garden of a nearby restaurant, “U èarodìjnice”. Witnesses say most of the youths yelling were also drunk. “They yelled slogans at the children such as ‘Gypsies to the gas’, ‘Get out of here you black mugs’, or ‘Let’s go get the niggers!’ About 15 young people were sitting there, most of them guys between 15 and 20, but there were also girls with them,” Müller recalls. The organizers reported the assailants’ behavior to the police by calling 158. A patrol was sent out from Holice, but instead of taking the names of the assailants, police told the victims to take action against the assailants themselves. “Some of the youths yelling at the Romani children evidently sympathized with neo-Nazism. We could tell because of the symbols one of them had on the back of his jacket. The police, however, did not take note of these indications even though we drew them to their attention. When one of our girls noticed the symbols, a police officer said to her: ‘Run over there and catch him for us’,” Müller says.
As private individuals, the organizers understandably had no right to take any action against the assailants. “We justifiably requested protection from the Czech Police, but the police officers told us on the spot that what had happened was no big deal. After the police arrived, a girl and boy came over to us and apologized that their friends had been giving the Nazi salute and yelling insults. The two patrol officers heard their apology, but when we asked them to take the witnesses’ names, they said, ‘Why should we? They didn’t do anything.’ They then let both witnesses leave to go into the forest after the others,” Müller says. After another 15 minutes, the youth who had apologized for his friends’ behavior returned. When the officers asked him what he had heard, he told them, “Yeah, that all happened, but I won’t testify.” The patrol asked to see his identification and he refused, saying, “I won’t show you anything because I’m afraid, I’ve been drinking alcohol and I’m not 18 yet.” The officers let him go once again without getting his name. The adult Roma then gave their contact information to the police, who said they would be kept informed as to the course of the investigation. Police had to be called three times before they arrived. In the meantime, fearing the assailants might throw something through the ground-floor windows, the debate club organizers had to move the terrified children up to the first floor of the building. “The police really did not behave professionally,” Jan Müller recalls bitterly.
Racism as a misdemeanor
“Criminal charges were filed against unidentified perpetrators,” says lawyer František Valeš, formerly of the In Iustitia organization. Valeš is providing the victims legal aid with financial support from ROMEA. He says the debate club organizers were so dissatisfied with the police response they decided to file a complaint with the directorate of the East Bohemian Regional Police. “However, the police inspectorate found the officers did nothing wrong and had proceeded according to regulations,” the lawyer tells news server Romea.cz. “The file was transferred to the state prosecutor and decisions were made about what to do next. The case will be decided on after all of the information is collected,” Eva Maturová, spokesperson for the East Bohemian Police, announced after the charges were filed. Officers did not contact anyone from the Darjav Association for a very long time afterward; they never compiled a protocol or asked for statements. “It’s not that the police have let the matter rest. They are investigating the case,” said Radovan Sablík, spokesperson for the Pardubice Police. The officers later shelved the investigation, saying no crime had been committed. The matter will be handled by the town hall in Horní Jelení as a misdemeanor, and the racists could face fines.
“We are of the opinion that this was a felony, not a misdemeanor. We hoped the lawyers assisting us would give the whole thing some weight in the eyes of the police and the state prosecutor, but the police and the state prosecutor don’t care,” Müller says. However, the Darjav Association will not be filing another complaint against the police. “We are afraid that someone might attack the children if the case were to be re-opened. Those verbal attacks were repeated, the children and the lecturers felt deeply injured and offended by them. The children are terror-stricken by them to this day, they are constantly afraid that a verbal attack might turn into a physical one,” Müller explains. Their lawyer was also unpleasantly surprised by the police decision. “As the attorney for the victims (the Darjav Association instructors), I was present when they were deposed. Given the determination of the facts, particularly the victims’ repeated testimony of having been verbally attacked, it was completely evident to me that the restaurant guests had committed a felony, or at a minimum had demonstrably defamed an ethnic group in the sense of paragraph 198 of the penal code. We can assume some of the perpetrators were juveniles, but that is not a sufficiently strong reason to shelve a criminal prosecution. The result of this case is that the victims of this crime have not received even minimal satisfaction from the assailants, and the perpetrators have not been shown what the limits of harassment are,” Valeš says.
According to Valeš, the only effect of the victims’ justified request for protection has been that they have had to participate in an investigation which has taken the better part of a year and to track down witnesses on their own initiative. This has meant constantly returning to the incident and the concerns and traumas it provoked, particularly in the children. “The criminal justice system in this case has shown that it marginalizes verbal violence motivated by hatred and has given up on taking the impact of such violence on the victims into account,” Valeš concludes.
František Kostlán, Tomáš Bystrý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Headlines 9 July, 2010
TWO TEENS SENTENCED IN HATE ATTACKS (usa)
8/7/2010- Two Apple Valley teenagers accused of hollering racial slurs and assaulting a black family pleaded guilty Wednesday. James and Regina McWilliams and their two sons were riding their bikes on Navajo Road on their way back from a park in Apple Valley on June 21. Then suddenly, Tommy Lee Rhea, 19, came rushing toward them, shouting racial slurs with a knife in his hand, officials said. James McWilliams said he quickly got in front of his children to protect them. Rhea went back to his apartment to get Richard Butler Cambria, 17, James McWilliams said. The teenagers kept yelling slurs and threats while holding baseball bats, according to authorities. "My kids were scared to death," Regina McWilliams said. "They were crying and screaming. ... They need to know they can't do things like this. It's 2010." The victims suffered no injuries, but the parents say their 9- and 6-year-old boys are still suffering from the traumatic experience. "He doesn't want to go outside by himself," Regina McWilliams said about her older son. "He's scared to go outside, go to the park. He wants to stay home." Investigators found neo-Nazi and gang related writings and taggings inside Rhea's home, Deputy District Attorney Shannon Faherty said. The defendants were initially charged with hate crime allegations. Rhea and Cambria changed their pleas at the last minute before their preliminary hearing Wednesday at Victorville Superior Court. Rhea pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and admitted to participation in criminal street gang. Judge John Tomberlin immediately sentenced him to four years in prison. Cambria, who wore a gray juvenile detention sweatshirt, pleaded guilty to assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and admitted to making criminal threats. He's scheduled to be sentenced to three years in prison on Aug. 24. They'll each get a strike under California's Three Strikes law.
© The Victorville Daily Press
RI HATE CRIMES BILL UNNECESSARY, SAYS CARCIERI (usa)
8/7/2010- Rhode Island's governor has vetoed a hate crimes bill that was designed to expand the state's hate crime definition to include "gender identity" and "gender expression." In his veto message, Governor Don Carcieri (R) contends that "those who struggle with gender confusion deserve our compassion and understanding -- not laws that cement them into an identity which denies biological and objective reality." Because he is a strong advocate for the family, Carcieri did not give in to the pressure from surrounding states. He feels the existing law already addresses actions "motivated by racial, religious, sexual orientation, gender and disability prejudice." "NOM (National Organization for Marriage) Rhode Island is pleased that the governor chose to veto the hate crimes legislation that was before him this year on the grounds that hate crime legislation like this has been used in other places, such as Vermont and Connecticut, to further the homosexual marriage agenda," notes NOM Executive Director Chris Plante. He points out that homosexual activists use hate crimes legislation as an incremental step forward. "We call it 'insidious legislation' to desensitize citizens to their agenda and then be ready to move in with homosexual marriage when people really have just gotten so desensitized that it becomes no big deal," Plante explains. He is unsure about whether the House will convene a veto session, but he feels there are certainly enough votes to override the governor's action. But more importantly, as election time approaches, Plante is urging Rhode Islanders to put into office people who will protect traditional marriage.
© One News Show
COPS: GAY COUPLE ATTACKED IN PIEDMONT PARK (usa)
7/7/2010- One man and five minors were arrested in Piedmont Park on Friday night after an assault and robbery of a gay couple, according to an Atlanta police report. At approximately 10 p.m., Jarvis Johnson, 19, and five other males ranging in age from 13 to 17 approached two men having a picnic in Piedmont Park, asked if they were gay and then threatened them, the report states. The suspects then began to attack each individual separately, according to the report. "We were just finishing up dinner and playing cards when they came up to us and asked if we were gay," Joshua Noblitt, 32, told the AJC on Tuesday. "It wasn't very organized. I don't know if they thought gay men in the park would be an easy target based on stereotypes and stuff, or what." Noblitt said one of the suspects used a large stick to assault him, which he grabbed away from him and turned on his assailant. The report states that Noblitt and his boyfriend, Trent Williams, 25, "began to get the best of the suspects," and Johnson used his cellphone to call for help from friends. Several other teenagers ran into the field to help Johnson and the other suspects in the beating, the report says. Noblitt fled to Charles Allen Drive, where he called 911 from his cellphone, police said. Noblitt told police that a suspect in a black tank top, who he believed to be Johnson, took the cellphone from him, put a gun to his face and demanded his wallet.
Noblitt sustained a visible head injury and back pain from being kicked in the head and kidneys, the report states. "I had a bruise across my forehead which is finally going away today, and I went to the doctor today about a possible broken rib, but I think it's just bruised," Noblitt said. After responding to the call, police found several of the suspects ducking behind a building, where they were approached by several officers. Further investigation revealed that the suspects were involved in a previous armed robbery minutes earlier in the evening at Linden and Central Park Place, police said. "I have to say, the LGBT community and the Atlanta police haven't always gotten along, but the police were very respectful in their response time and the treatment of me and my partner," Noblitt said. "And they were able to catch most of [the suspects]." Noblitt, the Social Justice Minister at St. Mark's Methodist Church, said he has worked with people in criminal justice before. Although he is happy his alleged assailants were caught, he worries about them. "I saw on the police report that one of them was only 13. They could potentially be tried as adults because it was an armed robbery," he said. "I'm just sad that this whole thing happened. It breaks my heart."
© The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
CANADIAN CHARGED WITH HATE CRIMES
8/7/2010- A Canadian man who has called for the "extermination" of Jews in Canada has been charged under a rarely used hate crimes law. Salman Hossain, 25, accused of "willfully promoting and advocating genocide of the Jewish community," was charged Thursday afternoon by Ontario Provincial Police following an investigation into his website and blog, which feature hundreds of racist comments. Authorities also looked at his racist posts on other websites. Hossain was charged with three counts of willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group and two counts of advocating and promoting genocide against an identifiable group, according to police. It is the first time an advocating genocide charge has been prosecuted in Canada, according to the National Post. "Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly," Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino said in a statement. "But we must not stand idly by when these rights are used as a shield to promote hatred against any community." York University suspended Hossain after reports of his Internet postings were made public. He attended classes to modify his behavior. Hossain has been posting for the last year on the Filthy Jewish Terrorists site, a conspiracy theory website, with headlines such as “The Jews and the West must be nuked” and “The destruction of the West is the only way to exterminate the Jews.” He is now living in his birth country of Bangladesh, where he moved in the middle of the police investigation. Canada does not have an extradition treaty with Bangladesh. Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley decided not to prosecute Hossain last year because Hossain had removed many of his posts. Bentley pressed charges when Hossain began posting this year on Filthy Jewish Terrorists. Last week, Hossain wrote that “We must never cease in our efforts to eliminate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. Their permanent liquidation and destruction is the only solution.”
© JTA News
ALLEGED ASSAULT ON GAY COUPLE DEEMED POSSIBLE HATE CRIME (Canada)
6/7/2010- Victoria police have arrested a man for what they describe as a possible hate crime — motivated by the victims' sexual orientation — after two men were assaulted outside their home, the third such attack on gays in B.C. in recent weeks. One of the victims, Donell McDonell, alleges two men — friends of his next-door neighbour — began hurling objects at their Victoria-area home, damaging their landscaping and yelling homophobic remarks around 9 p.m. June 29. McDonell alleges the pair was retaliating against the couple for complaining to police about a loud party at the neighbour's house the previous weekend. "They were threatening to 'f— us up' if we don't move," McDonell, 45, said. He alleges the men said they would "piss all over our rainbow fag lives." McDonell said his partner, David St. Jean, 47, had gone outside to confront the men when one pushed and shoved him. McDonell, on the phone with a 911 operator, went outside to intervene and alleges one of the men grabbed his arm and pushed him. As Victoria police neared the scene, one man bolted down a side street and the other ducked into the neighbour's home, refusing to open the door for police. Officers arrested the suspect who had fled down the street the next day, said police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton.
"The accused did make threatening comments relating to the victim's sexual orientation, so the file is being investigated as a hate crime," he said, adding that the altercation is a result of an ongoing neighbour dispute. A 47-year-old man is facing assault charges and will make his next court appearance on Aug. 9. He was ordered not to come within two blocks of the couple's property. "I've never had anything like this happen to me personally . . . not since high school," McDonell said. "We're worried for the safety of our home and for our own safety." The Victoria assault charge follows two similar attacks in Vancouver's downtown core in recent weeks. Two Richmond brothers have been arrested following a violent assault on a gay couple on June 12. Both victims, who were attacked outside their condo, suffered concussions, cuts and bruises. In a separate and unrelated incident, police have also arrested two Vancouver men in relation to a possible hate crime early Canada Day. A 30-year-old Vancouver man is recovering from facial injuries. Both attacks were being investigated as possible hate crimes, police said.
© The Vancouver Sun
REPORT: ANTI-SEMITIC HATE CRIMES RISE IN 2009 (Sweden)
The number of anti-Semitic crimes reported in Sweden rose 57 percent last year, mainly in the southern region of Skåne, the national crime prevention council said on Thursday.
2/7/2010- Last year, 250 anti-Semitic crimes were reported, primarily in Skåne, the report said, adding the overall number of hate crimes reported in Sweden had remained unchanged. "In 2009, 5,800 hate crimes were reported. Crimes against foreigners or with racist motives continue to dominate and the reporting of anti-Semitic crimes has increased," the council said in a statement. Presenting its latest hate crime statistics report, the council added that it did not know if there had been an actual increase in the number of anti-Semitic crimes or merely in their reporting. Crimes and threats against the small Jewish community in the southern city
of Malmö recently received much media and political attention. Education Minister and Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund met with Jewish community leaders earlier this year after it was reported some Jews decided to leave the city because they felt unsafe. Malmö Mayor Ilmar Reepalu was criticised in the media for failing to stop the crimes or even fuelling the anti-Semitic sentiment in the city. Of the hate crimes reported in Sweden in 2009, 71 percent were against foreigners or motivated by race, 18 percent were related to sexual orientation, 10 percent had religious motives (Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, or anti-religious crimes) and one percent were against transexuals.
© The Local - Sweden
Headlines 2 July, 2010
DISCO ATTACK ON JEWS APPARENTLY SPURRED BY ANTI-SEMITISM (Germany)
30/6/2010- German national security police are investigating an attack, apparently motivated by anti-Semitism, on two Israeli tourists at a Berlin disco club. A man who identified himself as a Palestinian began choking and punching a 22-year-old Israeli after asking where he came from, according to reports. The victim's 18-year-old friend also was beaten in the overnight Monday incident. Before fleeing, the attacker also reportedly threw a glass at the younger Israeli man but missed. According to police, a 43-year-old employee of the disco escorted the victims to the door and then reportedly sprayed mace at the Israelis, who managed to get in a taxi. The victims called the police from their hotel. The Israelis were treated for their injuries at a local hospital and released.
Recent statistics on anti-Semitic attacks in Germany have shown a rise in incidents -- violent and verbal -- during periods of turmoil in the Middle East. The number of such attacks rose during Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip during the winter of 2008-09. The disco attack follows on the heels of Israel's May 31 interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla that left nine passengers dead. Following a recent stone-throwing attack on a Jewish dance troupe in Hanover, Juliane Wetzel, a member of the new expert panel on anti-Semitism for the German Parliament and a scholar at the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism in Berlin, told the Welt online newspaper that the problem of anti-Semitism among young Muslims in Germany had not been thoroughly examined.
© JTA News
U.S. AT OSCE: COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM WITH OTHER HATREDS (Kazakhstan)
30/6/2010- The U.S. delegates to a conference on intolerance emphasized working jointly to combat anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and other hatreds. This week's Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe conference on tolerance and non-discrimination, taking place in Kazakhstan, grew out of the umbrella body's conferences on anti-Semitism that started in 2004. In a symbolic gesture to the Obama administration strategy of holistically combating prejudice, Hannah Rosenthal, the State Department's envoy on anti-Semitism, read prepared remarks about discrimination against Muslims in Europe, and Farah Anwar Pandith, the special representative to Muslim communities, outlined reports of a sharp increase in anti-Semitism in Europe in 2009. "Stereotypes and prejudice towards Jewish communities persist around the world, which is why we must ensure continued support for the OSCE's anti-Semitism initiatives," Pandith said. "In one OSCE-participating state Hannah recently visited, a government official she met with actually gave credence to a modern version of the medieval anti-Semitic blood libel lie, discussing an accusation that Jews kidnapped children to steal their organs."
Both Rosenthal and Pandith concluded that "Jews cannot fight anti-Semitism alone. Muslims cannot fight Islamophobia alone. Roma cannot fight -- alone. The LGBT community cannot fight -- alone. And the list goes on. Hate is hate, but we can overcome it together." The George W. Bush administration, which established the anti-Semitism envoy office subsequent to congressional legislation, tackled anti-Semitism in a separate report; Rosenthal insisted that it be incorporated into the overall State Department human rights report. Separately, the Anti-Defamation League and Human Rights First said in a joint report that 23 of the 56 member nations of the OSCE failed to live up to pledges made at past conferences. The report released Tuesday "focused on key benchmarks for compliance by governments, such as collecting and publicizing hate crime data and ensuring that their data is disaggregated to properly identify the targeted groups," a statement said. "What is clear from this analysis is that many OSCE governments are still resistant when it comes to responding to hate crimes and gathering data and making it public," Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director, said in a statement. The OSCE is a crisis management umbrella for Europe that encompasses nations not only in Europe, but also in central Asia and North America.
© JTA News
JEWISH OFFICE BUILDING EVACUATED DUE TO BOMB THREAT (Canada)
29/6/2010- Members of Toronto’s Jewish community were given an unpleasant reminder on Tuesday that expressions of hate can sometimes become a real threat. The Lipa Green Building, which is home to many offices serving the Toronto Jewish community including UJA Federation, was evacuated on Tuesday afternoon following threats of a bomb in the building. Sources on the scene told Shalom Life that two phone calls were received over a period of two hours on Tuesday. Both times, the person who made the call informed of a bomb in the building. As a result, the building was evacuated at approximately 1pm Tuesday afternoon, a time when offices are open and the building is filled with individuals going about their daily business. UJA Security, under the direction of Doron Horowitz (Director of Community Security), acted promptly and quickly upon receiving the bomb threats. Following the evacuation the building was thoroughly examined for any potential threats.
At approximately 3pm, after a thorough examination determined that there was no threat of a bomb or other forms of explosives in the building, the evacuees were allowed to re-enter the building. UJA Security officers conducted the entire operation with full cooperation from the Toronto Police. Some of the individuals who were on scene praised the security officers, who were on high alert and were able to quickly respond to the emergency and deal with it in an appropriate and timely manner.
According to statistics released by B’nai Brith several months ago, incidents of anti-Semitism in Canada are at an all-time high. B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights found that 1,264 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 2009, marking an 11 percent increase from 2008. As B’nai Brith Executive Vice President Frank Dimant explained at the time, the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2009 was a direct result of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. “We note that the highest number of incidents ... occurred in January 2009,” said Dimant. Anti-Semitic incidents remained high over the course of 2009, with an increase in such incidents being reported around the period of the high holy days, when ten Canadian synagogues were vandalized. All in all, B’nai Brith’s audit found that in 2009 there were 884 cases of harassment, 348 incidents of vandalism, and 32 incidents of violence nationwide. Toronto saw the highest occurrence of incidents with a total of 479. Two years ago intelligence officials reported that Hezbollah conducted surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Ottawa and on several synagogues in Toronto. It was believed that the militant organization was activating some of its “sleeper cells” in Canada for the purposes of avenging the assassination of its senior leader Imad Murniyah, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in February 2008. At the time of the report, Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber told the Canadian Press: “Our belief is that our federal authorities have things in hand. They’ve known about this alleged threat for a while, they’ve investigated it, and they’ve told me categorically that while the chatter is out there, and it has been for a while, there is nothing to lead them to believe that there’s anything imminent or that in fact the chatter is real.”
© Shalom Life
New evidence emerged on Monday at the trial of four neo-Nazis accused of racially-motivated attempted murder after throwing petrol bombs through the windows of the home of a Roma family last year. A two-year-old girl was horrifically burned in the attack, which has received unprecedented attention here in the Czech Republic.
29/6/2010- A scratchy police surveillance recording of suspected arsonist Jaromír Lukeš, recorded several weeks after the attack on the Roma family in Vítkov, North Moravia, last year. In the recording - played to Ostrava Regional Court on Monday – the two discuss how well the attack had gone and how the police would never track the group down. A voice – allegedly belonging to Lukeš – then expresses envy at a similar attack in Hungary, where a 27-year-old Roma man and his six-year-old son were shot dead as they fled their burning home: “In Hungary they chucked their petrol bombs in, waited for them to run out, and then shot them. Total dudes they are.” Experts are hesitant to draw any direct link between the attacks in the Czech Republic and Hungary, although from the police wiretaps it appears Czech neo-Nazis could at least have been partly inspired by the spate of race killings in Hungary in recent years. Robert Kushen is the Executive Director of the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest. On the phone from New York, he told me advocacy groups were still waiting for courts in Central Europe to send a clear signal that racially motivated murder cannot be tolerated. “The trial in the Czech Republic is encouraging, but we have to see what the final verdict is. We’re hoping there will be a severe penalty assessed to serve as a deterrent. In Hungary for a long time there was no effective action taken against some very serious violent incidents resulting since 2008 in nine deaths. We understand there will hopefully be an indictment handed down some time in the fall, but thus far we haven’t seen it.” After hearing the recordings Jaromír Lukeš told the judge he had deliberately lied about the attack because he suspected his friend of being a police informer and wanted to catch him out. That argument may not stand up in court, but his lawyer says the wiretaps were illegal and is lobbying for them to be rejected as evidence.
© Radio Prague
HOMOSEXUALS MARCHED THROUGH BRNO, EXTREMISTS PROTESTED (Czech Rep.)
26/6/2010- Czech riot police separated Saturday some 600 participants in the Queer Parade gays and lesbians' event in Brno centre and about 150 extremists who protested against it thanks to which no one was injured. The police deployed 600 people, including dog handlers and mounted police. A helicopter was monitoring the situation. The police detained seven extremists. The homosexuals want to draw attention to that gay and lesbian couples cannot adopt children in the country and that young people with minority orientation are often the target of bullying at school. The participants were addressed by gay activist Jiri Hromada and Dzamila Stehlíkova, former minorities and human rights minister, also came to the event. Brno centre started to prepare for Saturday's events right in the morning. Restaurants and shops were closed, trams were not passing through the centre. Shortly after noon the Youth Christian Democrats (MKD) reacted to Queer Parade with a March for the Family that was attended by about 100 people. They did not clash with the homosexuals. They intentionally chose a different route, their chairman Petr Jurcik told CTK. Queer Parade returned to Brno after two years. Some 500 people took part in the first march in 2008. The route had to be cut short over opponents' attacks and the march lasted a mere 20 minutes against the planned two hours. The police detained 15 radicals then.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
RACIST AND HOMOPHOBIC ATTACKS INCREASING IN DERRY (N. Ireland)
28/6/2010- There has been a rise in racist attacks in the Foyle area over the last year. Police said there were 17 more incidents compared to the previous 12-month period. Homophobic attacks increased from eight to 10.The figures came to light after two men were assaulted in Londonderry at the weekend. They said they were targeted because they are gay. The couple, aged 22 and 38, were beaten by three men in the city centre at about 0200 BST on Saturday morning. The police are treating it as a homophobic attack. "I believe there are low-level hate incidents that happen on a day and daily basis," said Inspector Tony Callaghan. "Whether it's race based, religion based, sectarian, homophobic or relating to disabilities. People out there are suffering in silence." The men attacked on Saturday morning suffered cuts and bruising to their faces. One of the men, who did not want to be identified, said it had affected both of them badly. "I'm terrified of going to bed, I'm terrified walking down the street," he said. "I've got to walk my fella to his work because he's terrified. "It's just absolutely soul destroying and it's not on."
David McCartney from gay support group Rainbow Project said the impact of a hate attack was "quite extraordinary". "It's not that random, violent assault," he said. "There is something more sinister and more hateful and hurtful to it and you're left feeling you don't belong. "You're left feeling you're not a part of this community, you're singled out, set apart and picked upon." Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the attack was "sickening". "Regardless of whether it expresses itself in the sort of wanton attack on this gay couple or in the subtle prejudice we see all too often, homophobia is inexcusable. "As a community we need to show our solidarity with those who suffer this awful prejudice. And we need to show those who attack them that it is they who are in the tiny minority in this society."
© BBC News
3 FAR-RIGHT YOUTH ARRESTED DURING BULGARIA'S GAY PARADE
26/6/2010- Three young men have been arrested for attempting to attack the participants in the 3rd annual Sofia Pride gay parade taking place in the Bulgarian capital Saturday. Several other far right extremists have attempted to provoke the participants in the gay parade including through verbal abuse but their intentions have been prevented by the police, the Interior Ministry announced. Earlier on Sunday, some 100 nationalist and far-right youth gathered for an anti-gay parade rally with slogans such as “Gays want death for Bulgarians”, “Homosexuals out of Bulgaria, to keep our children pure”, “Bulgaria is a place for normal people – gays should go to jail” and “All the gays, go to Uganda”, there were several provocation attempts during the Sofia Pride parade itself but those foiled by the police. A total of 300 police officers were commissioned Saturday to guard the 3rd Sofia Pride gay procession. The 2010 provocation attempts pale in contrast to the first edition of the parade in 2008 when the police arrested several dozen skin heads throwing Molotov cocktails at the participants.
NYPD CALLS LATEST PORT RICHMOND ATTACK A HATE CRIME (usa)
26/6/2010- The savage assault on day laborer Alejandro Galindo — the latest spasm of violence in Port Richmond — has been classified as a hate crime by the NYPD. The 52-year-old Mexican immigrant was attacked as he returned from work early Thursday morning. Galindo said that as he walked his bicycle through his home community at the intersection of Jewett and Forest avenues, three men confronted him and one, without provocation, punched him in the eye. Galindo is in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Richmond University Medical Center, with a fractured eye socket and brain trauma. An NYPD spokesman said the suspects are described only as black males; the investigation is ongoing.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday joined Staten Island elected officials and community advocates in denouncing the fourth such crime in Port Richmond since April. "I am outraged to learn that another anti-Latino hate crime has occurred in the city. We will not tolerate this kind of vicious hatred directed at any community, anywhere in our five boroughs," said Ms. Quinn (D-Manhattan). "Those who perpetrated this crime must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. "My prayers and thoughts are with the Galindo family and I hope for a quick recovery for Alejandro." Daniel Coates, an organizer with the immigrant rights group Make The Road New York, said Galindo has bleeding in his brain and may require surgery. Others echoed Ms. Quinn’s sentiments.
Said Gonzalo Mercado, executive director of El Centro and the Staten Island Immigrant Council: "The Staten Island Immigrant Council and El Centro denounce the continued violence against the immigrant community, particularly against Latino immigrants, in this fourth unprovoked bias attack. All immigrants who live and work on this Island have a right to safe passage home from work without fear. "We implore our elected officials and law enforcement to help us create a strategy that will lead to non-violence, safety and peace." Both Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and City Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) have deplored the bias attacks. "These young men who are participating in these senseless, violent acts are a disgrace and a shame to the community," said Ms. Rose. "Their actions must be stopped."
Said McMahon: "This attack is just the latest in a string of disgraceful violence against members of our community whose only crime is having a different background. It is very upsetting to me that such hateful crimes could occur on the streets of Staten Island." McMahon voted in favor of legislation expanding the definition of hate crimes and strengthening applicable laws in October 2009. The Rev. Terry Troia, executive director of Project Hospitality, said she has known the Galindo family for years. "They are a hardworking immigrant family, centered on prayer, work and love of neighbor and family. Our heart goes out to Mr. Galindo, his children and grandchildren, in this time of injury and healing," she said.
The attacks began in Port Richmond early on Easter Monday, April 5, when Rodulfo Olmedo, a 25-year-old Mexican baker, was beaten outside his Port Richmond Avenue residence and his skull cracked. On April 17, a 23-year-old Mexican immigrant was ambushed at the intersection of Post Avenue and Clove Road and clubbed into unconsciousness. And on April 25, at about 1:20 a.m., a Mexican man was badly beaten on Castleton Avenue.
© Staten Island NY Live
FECES SMEARED ON MUSLIM VAN NEAR BELLEVUE MOSQUE (usa)
26/6/2010- Vandals reportedly smeared excrement on a van displaying ads for Islam while the vehicle was parked outside a Bellevue mosque Thursday. The incident happened across the street from the Islamic Center of Eastside, near the corner of Main Street and 148th Ave. NE. A local Muslim returning from noon prayer found a substance that appeared to be feces on the van's windshield, driver's side window, and side door handle. He called police around 7:40 p.m. The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIRN-WA) has asked authorities to investigate the matter as a possible hate crime. Bellevue police will increase patrols near the mosque, and they are treating the incident as a case of vandalism or malicious mischief, according department spokeswoman Carla Iafrate. "It could possibly be bias or a hate crime, but there's no indication right now that it's anything other than poop smeared on a van," she said. The van involved in the incident is wrapped with graphics related to the Islamic Circle of North America's "Why Islam" campaign. Why Islam aims to help people "understand Islam and do away with misconceptions," according to CAIRN-WA executive director Arsalan Bukhari. Bellevue Police captain Patrick Spak met with Bukhari and two Why Islam vounteers this afternoon to talk about the incident and explain that police plan to increase patrols near the mosque. "We have to keep this in perspective," he said. "The van is not damaged and the building is not damaged. From a police department perspective, we don't want to over-react, but we don't want to under-react." Police have no leads on suspects. They are urging anyone with information to come forward by calling 9-1-1. "It's very likely somebody out there has information on this," Bukhari said. "Tips from the public can really help solve this." Bukhari said he doesn't know of any incidents of malice against local Muslims, but a group called Act! For America recently put "nasty fliers" with anti-Islam rhetoric under the wipers of every car parked at three Muslim schools renting space in Newport, Redmond, and Tacoma.
© The Seattle Post-Intelligencer