Headlines 29 April, 2011
ARSON ATTACK ON TRANSGENDER AND ROMA PEOPLE (Albania)
28/4/2011- Disturbing news from Tirana, the capital city of Albania, where a house jointly occupied by five trans people and a Roma family of seven members (five of whom were minors) was deliberately set on fire in the early hours of last Wednesday, 27 April. Thankfully all twelve occupants are alive and well, although the house is no longer habitable.
The following Press Release has been issued by Pink Embassy in response:
PINK Embassy, an organization that works to protect the rights of LGBT community in Albania, would like to express its concern about an event that happened today morning, on 27 April 2011, where the of five transgender people seriously was put at risk because the house where they stood was set on fire by unknown persons. The transgender people were housed in an abandoned house in Durres Road, adjacent to the building of the former Yugoslav Embassy in Tirana. Around 4:30 am, they were being alerted by smoke and flames, which had blocked almost all entry-exit points of the house. In the same house lived a Roma family of seven members five of whom were minors.
Although fortunately there were no casualties, the transgender community believes that the act of vandalism was committed by a group of homophobes, which should have previously identified their location. The police and firemen arrived on the scene immediately to extinguish the fire and give first aid to the victims. However, the Tirana Police Authority at the time of preparation of this statement had not issued any press release about the event. Hate crimes are severely punished throughout the civilized world and Albania cannot make an exception to this. The event in question shows once again that, while Albania has adopted the Law against Discrimination, the life and dignity of the trans-gender community continues not to be respected and put at risk.
The fact that the Transgender community have not been provided, nor by the Municipality of Tirana or by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, with any opportunity for housing, employment and security, indicates that homophobia is rooted in the mentality of governance in Albania. This is unacceptable for us! The life and dignity of every transgender person is equal with that of every Albanian citizen!
Taking into consideration this event, we would like to urge the Municipality of Tirana and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, to react against this act, while provide transgender community in the shortest possible way the completion of their minimum rights for security, housing and food. These rights expect an urgent response thus we expect immediate actions by the Albanian public institutions. Such episodes damage community life in particular and society in general. Human rights are equal for everyone.
© Bird of Paradox (blog)
PUNCH NO HATE CRIME: JUSTICE (Canada)
Judge rips alleged victim’s ‘calculated’ testimony
28/4/2011- Rarely do you hear a judge take such a strip off an alleged victim of crime. "I found everything he said to be calculated and I disbelieved most of what he said," the judge said of Brandon Wright, the so-called victim at the centre of a controversial London assault case. The case boiled down to this: One 24-year-old, a semi-pro football player deep in debt, punched another in a moving pickup truck - angry he'd been duped by the other man into believing he could make big money as a model in porn movies. There'd even been a bizarre and sexually intrusive audition with the punched-out man beforehand. For 19 months after his arrest, the accused, Alex Myros, a former London Silverbacks player, had lived with the label "gay basher" for punching Wright in 2009.
But Wednesday, Superior Court Justice John Desotti cleared Myros of hate crimes and gave him a conditional discharge for assault causing bodily harm on the "con" man who happened to be gay. Wright -- a self-proclaimed modelling agent -- had a convenient memory lapse, "trying to hide his culpability," the judge said. "I do not consider this to be a hate-crime offence. This is not an attack on an individual because of his sexuality." Wright's sexual orientation was "irrelevant to the attack," Desotti said, the idea it was a hate crime "completely a fiction." "(Myros) was preyed upon," Desotti said, and "in a vulnerable position to be defrauded, conned and used by the complainant." The judge candidly said he's usually "most sympathetic to complainants." But "I am most unsympathetic to the complainant," he said of Wright.
Since his arrest, Myros has lived in Thunder Bay, his hometown, under strict bail conditions. What he wasn't able to say until this week's trial was how he came to punch Wright, who he met after answering an Internet ad for male models. He told Myros he'd be paid $200,000 for modelling and porn-movie work once he performed certain sex acts. After the audition, Wright convinced Myros to pay $700 to his "accountant" to transfer the money. It was after Wright told him he had terminal cancer and was going to will him his millions, that Myros became suspicious. Two years ago, Wright had no problem telling The Free Press he was hit with a metal object in Myros's truck and called a "faggot" during the attack. But Tuesday, in court, Wright dodged questions and clammed up about what happened before he jumped from the moving truck.
Desotti "didn't buy" Wright's failed memory and, after hearing "I don't remember" 20 times, he said, "I faded out a bit." "I didn't believe he didn't remember. I believed he did remember," the judge said. It was clear to the judge there was no metal object, only Myros's fist. Desotti said Myros was "duped, conned" and Wright had committed "a fraud upon the accused." Three months before the assault, Myros had heroically pulled a young girl from a burning SUV that hit the football team's bus in New York state, then helplessly watched the girl's mother die in the vehicle. His lawyer, Frances Brennan, told Desotti that Myros has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and, more recently, a bipolar disorder. He's on medication and in counselling. That backdrop, plus dire financial straits that left the young and then-apprentice boilermaker $20,000 in debt, made him vulnerable. "He was more vulnerable than others to the con," Desotti said in agreement.
The judge said Myros was fortunate his Silverbacks teammates investigated the Facebook website of Myros's initial contact and told him he was being hustled. He was "not overly enthused by the response" of the police, whose only suggestion after Myros called to report the con was a phone number for a counselling help line. "I wonder if this had been handled a little bit differently, would we be here today?" the judge said. "He was angry. I don't blame him for being angry," he said, but he couldn't condone the violence. Myros was given a year's probation as part of his discharge.
© The London Free Press
COURT: MAN WHO POSTED ONLINE COMMENTS FOUND GUILTY OF INCITING RACIAL HATRED (Malta)
27/4/2011- A ¯abbar man who posted comments on The Times’ news portal last year was found guilty of inciting racial hatred. In what is considered to be a rare case of its type, Lawrence Galea, 63, was conditionally discharged for two years over remarks made in reaction to a news story entitled ‘Project to integrate regular migrants launched’, published in March last year, and in reaction to comments by other readers. He had posted several comments such as: “Wake up to the realities of what multiculturalism has done and is doing to other countries and their natural citizens”, “I am disgusted how the government is doing absolutely nothing to prevent the takeover of MY country by foreigner settlers and illegal immigrants”, “Third country nationals have no right to emigrate to Malta”, and “Integration over our dead bodies. Leave now because you shall have to leave later whether you like it or not”. About two years ago parliament approved amendments to the Criminal Code with the aim of strengthening the fight against xenophobia and racism. The Code refers to: “Violence or hatred against a group of persons in Malta defined by reference to colour, race, religion, descent, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins or against a member of such a group.” The amendments had widened the definition of xenophobic and racial hatred, and punishments had been increased by one to two degrees for offences that are racially or religiously motivated.
© The Malta Independent
A NEW WAVE OF ANTI-ROMA VIOLENCE IN HUNGARY
The Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata has once again become home to violence between right-wing radicals and its Roma populace. Dozens of extremists marched into the town on Wednesday, one day after provoking brawls with the Roma who live there. It is the continuation of a trend.
27/4/2011- Just a harmless excursion. That is how the Hungarian government sought to portray the evacuation of some 270 Roma residents of Gyöngyöspata over Easter. The group -- two-thirds of the 450 Roma who live there -- had left the village due to a planned training exercise for the right-wing extremist group Vederö, an exercise ultimately prevented by the police. But on Tuesday evening, right-wing Hungarian radicals struck again. According to the news service MTI, three people were injured in fights between right-wing radicals and Roma in the village. Seven people were arrested. On Wednesday morning, dozens of right-wing extremists flooded the village, according to a statement released on Facebook by a group sympathetic to the country's Roma population. Large numbers of police likewise arrived in the village. Around 100 Roma left the village on Wednesday, MTI reported. What caused the fights on Tuesday evening remains unclear. Right-wing radicals are said to have thrown stones at a Roma house in the village. Members of Vederö are thought to have been involved in the brawls on Tuesday, but members of the right-wing group Betyarsereg are also thought to have participated. The group sent "reinforcements" to Gyöngyöspata on Wednesday. Erik Selymes of the Hungarian Red Cross said that the Easter trip had been organized at the request of the Roma and Hungarian government spokesman Peter Szijjarto called reports of an evacuation a "bald-faced lie."
But Gyöngyöspata, a town of 2,800 residents located northwest of Budapest, has for weeks been the focal point of conflict between right-wing militants and Roma. A resident of the village told Reuters last week that he sent his wife and children to Budapest to avoid confrontation with the right-wing vigilantes. In March, the uniformed right-wing radical group Szebb Jövöert marched through the village several times, striking fear into the hearts of the Roma who live there. The group is openly supported by the right-wing party Jobbik, which is represented in the Hungarian parliament after having received 17 percent of the vote in elections a year ago. Opposition to the Roma in Hungary was a major plank in the party's campaign platform. Several other villages with large numbers of Roma residents have likewise seen right-wing marches -- protests, the groups say, which are meant to highlight "gypsy criminality." In the small town of Hajdúhadháza, where members of Szebb Jövöert have been "patrolling" for weeks, five right-wing radicals were arrested 10 days ago for disturbing the peace. They were released just two days later. Gergely Rubi, a Jobbik member of parliament, said the group would continue its marches to "improve public order and security," the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine reported.
'Afraid to Go Out'
A separate Jobbik parliamentarian, János Volner, said the group is merely responding to the wishes of the populace and has "already caught several criminals red-handed and turned them over to the police," young Roma among them. Dénes Csáfordi, the mayor of Hajdúhadháza, has accused the group of creating an environment of fear in which Roma children "are afraid to go out on the street." In Budapest, human rights groups are planning a demonstration on Wednesday evening in solidarity with the Roma. Former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said that in Hungary "there is no Roma problem, rather there is a Nazi problem." Hungary holds the rotating European Union presidency until the end of June. The Hungarian government has been repeatedly criticized by its European partners for its authoritarian leanings and for its alleged censorship of the media.
© The Spiegel
NEO-NAZI COUPLE CONVICTED FOR THE MURDER OF RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN MOSCOW (Russia)
29/4/2011- Over the past decade, we’ve observed a disturbing pattern of threats and assaults against human rights activists in the Russian Federation. Perpetrators of these heinous acts have been rarely brought to justice, and we still don’t know who is responsible for the murders of Natalya Estimirova, Anna Politkovskaya, or Magomed Yevloyev. Last night, however, a divided jury issued a guilty verdict against Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgeniya Khasis, the neo-Nazi couple accused of murdering Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova in downtown Moscow on January 19, 2009. Seven jurors found the defendants guilty, and the forthcoming sentencing could yield a life imprisonment for Tikhonov and as many as 20 years behind the bars for Khasis.
Markelov, a human rights defender, lawyer and founder of the Rule of Law Institute, and Baburova, a young freelance reporter working for Novaya Gazeta, were fatally shot after leaving a press conference. Markelov, who is a well-known and respected figure in Russia’s human rights community, represented victims of human rights abuses in Chechnya, independent journalists, including Anna Politkovskaya and Igor Domnikov, as well as victims of neo-Nazi violence. Anastasia Baburova wrote about street protests, demonstrations, youth movements, and high-profile court cases, including the latest ruling against Russian skinhead violence. Human Rights First, joined by some 1,400 of our supporters, appealed to President Medvedev, calling on the Russian authorities to carry out a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into the murder of Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov, and to find and prosecute those responsible.
Tikhonov and Khasis are well-known figures on the ultranationalist scene in Moscow. At the end of last year, the neo-Nazi movement demonstrated its potential as a viable threat to public stability and an aggressive opponent to the Russian government. In December 2010, ultranationalist groups were able to quickly mobilize thousands of supporters to spread xenophobic rhetoric and rally in downtown areas, committing a slew of violent acts against ethnic minorities encountered by the angry mobs in the streets and on the subway. Trials of alleged organizers are set to begin later this year.
© Human Rights First
RUSSIANS JAILED FOR RACIAL SCHOOLYARD ATTACK
23/4/2011- A Russian court sentenced six men Friday to jail terms of up to three-and-a-half years for a racial schoolyard attack that left a teenager from the Caucasus in a months-long coma. During the attack on two teenagers in February 2009, the group cried: "Russia for Russians." Their victims were from Dagestan, a republic in the Russian Caucasus. The six men -aged between 19 and 26 -were given jail terms from 18 months to 3.5 years by a court in Saint Petersburg. Racism and xenophobia have been on the rise in Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
© The Edmonton Journal
GRANDFATHER SHOOTS AND KILLS TURKISH BOYFRIEND (Netherlands)
26/4/2011- On Monday A 65-year-old man shot the 24-year-old boyfriend of his 20-year-old granddaughter. The man, his wife and the father of the girl have been arrested. The family probably could not stomach that the girl Gusta had a relationship with the Turkish Attila. According to De Telegraaf, the victim previously had threatened and thrown stones through his window.of his girlfriend's grandfather, car dealer Henk W. Gusta's family made her choose between them and her friend. She chose her boyfriend. When Atilla went by on monday morning, after a night on the town, he was shot. The 64-year-old wife of W. alerted the police, but resuscitation was to no avail. W. his wife and 45-year-old Charles, father of Gusta, were arrested.
© I CARE News
Headlines 22 April, 2011
SERBIA FAR RIGHT LEADER GETS 2 YEARS IN PRISON
21/4/2011- A court in Serbia sentenced on Wednesday a far right leader to two years in prison for inciting violence during a gay pride march last year that left scores of people injured. Belgrade's Higher Court ruled that Mladen Obradovic, the leader of extremist group Obraz, or Honor, organized groups who used violence to disrupt the gay gathering, with an aim to incite hatred and discrimination. The court sentenced 13 others to prison terms ranging from eight to 18 months. Most were released from detention pending their appeals. Gay activists and liberals said the sentences were important as the first ever in Serbia handed for discrimination against gays, but complained that they were too lenient. "The verdict is symbolic as it is around the minimum envisaged by the law," said Lazar Pavlovic from Gay-Straight Alliance group. Gay-Lesbian Info Center urged the prosecutors in a statement to appeal, saying such sentences will not halt violence against gays in Serbia.
Marko Karadzic, from Liberal Democratic Party, also criticizes the sentences as "inadequate" considering the scale of the unrest during the march. The pride march on Oct. 10, 2010, was Serbia's first in years. It was widely seen as a test for the country's pro-Western government, which is seeking to join the European Union after years of rule by nationalists. The event turned into a daylong battle between the police, who were securing the participants, and the extremists. More than 140 people _ mostly police _ were injured and downtown Belgrade suffered widespread damage. Obradovic and the others have denied they organized the attacks, saying the trial against them was political. Obradovic on Wednesday criticized the verdicts as "unjust," and said he would appeal it. "This only makes us stronger," Obradovic said.
© The Associated Press
RACISM WHISTLEBLOWER FACES 'NEGRO SLAVE' TAUNT (Sweden)
The man who reported two Lund University student groups over a party featuring guests dressed as "slaves" to be sold at auction has since been subjected to racial slurs at his workplace.
21/4/2011- Jallow Momodou of the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) reported Halland and Helsingkrona student associations for failing to take action when guests who arrived at "jungle parties" showed up with blackened faces and ropes around their necks. Following news of his complaint, Momodou arrived at his office at Malmö University on Wednesday morning to find posters on the library bulletin board featuring his face superimposed on the image of a naked man in chains. "Our negro slave has run away," read the text on the posters. Momodou, who had been alerted the night before that the posters may be circulating at the university, consulted the attending librarian. He was told that a student had handed over a stock of similar posters on Tuesday night, which had apparently been printed out from the library computers.
"It felt awful…really, really bad," Momodou told The Local. While he was also angered by the posters Momodou said he isn't surprised. "For me it's proof that racism really exists in Sweden and is on a level comparable to the southern United States in the 1970s," he said. Momodou has since reported the incident to the police. And his supervisors and other high ranking officials at Malmö University all expressed their concern about the incident and promised to do what they could to ensure similar incidents didn't occur in the future. In an interview published later on Wednesday by Lund University's student newspaper, Lundagård, controversial artist Dan Park, claimed responsibility for the posters. "I want to make fun of the fact that people get upset about something like this," he told the newspaper.
At the time, Park was putting up copies of the poster in Lund. He believes reaction to the "slave auction" has been blown out of proportion. "Certain people are always offended. They have no sense of humour," he said. Park was arrested while putting up the posters and is suspected of doing so without a permit. However, prosecutors will also look into whether he may be charged with racial agitation, the Expressen newspaper reports. Now that the creator of the posters has been identified, however, Momodou hopes that the promises of action to address the incident will be realised. "I'm really hoping and expecting that the university and police will take responsibility and show that such actions will not be tolerated," he said. Momodou also lamented that no politicians had publicly condemned the "slave auction" incident, calling the lack of response "tragic".
"I'm a Swedish citizen and there are lots of Afro-Swedes who feel attacked by this," he said. Momodou emphasised, however, that he wouldn't back down in the face of racism. "I will not be intimidated," he said. "If anything, this encourages me to keep fighting for my rights."
© The Local - Sweden
OPPONENTS BURY PIG'S HEAD TO PROTEST MOSQUE (Belgium)
20/4/2011- Opponents of plans to build a mosque in a southern Belgian city buried the head of a pig under a Christian cross bearing the inscription: "Here Lies Mohamed." Xavier Godefroid, an official with the mayor's office in Charleroi, said Tuesday that the protesters' actions were "unacceptable, intolerable and disrespectful," adding that police had opened an investigation. The pig's snout was still sticking out of the ground when the decapitated animal -which practising Muslims will not eat, and therefore represents a major insult -was found. Charleroi mayor Jean-Jacques Viseur told a news conference that faced with such a "stupid gesture ... we are all Muslims" now.
© The Windsor Star
2 ARRESTED IN CORFU SYNAGOGUE ARSON CASE (Greece)
Less than 48 hours after unknown assailants break into Corfu synagogue, burn Torahs and Judaica, Greek security forces arrest two suspects and are examining terror connections as security around Israelis increased
20/4/2011- Greek Police said Wednesday that they have arrested two suspects in the Corfu synagogue arson attack case. According to suspicions, the two are also involved in vandalizing the Jewish community's offices on the Island. Meanwhile, the police have decided to reinforce security around Israelis arriving in the country on cruises, due to the recent travel advisory published by the Counter Terrorism Bureau. The fire took place at the Corfu synagogue on the eve of the Passover holiday. Unknown assailants broke into the synagogue in the old town of the island's capital after 3 am by forcing open a back door into the 19th century building, a senior officer said. They made a pile of books and documents in front of the rabbi's platform, or bimah, on the synagogue's first floor and set them on fire. Greek security forces launched a search for those responsible and are now examining the connection between the two arrested suspects and terror groups. The search for additional suspects who most likely entered Greece recently continues.
The security department at the Transportation Ministry noted that heightened security was also in evidence around Israeli groups arriving in Cyprus via flights and cruises. Cypriot security forces, who are receiving a great deal of praise in Israel, have also arrested a number of suspected terrorists. Just ten days ago the Counter Terrorism Bureau published a travel warning stating that not only Sinai and Arab countries were dangerous destinations – adding Turkey and Greece to the list. In the announcement published ahead of the Passover holiday the bureau said that the warning was focused on Mediterranean Basin countries as well as certain Far East destinations. Security sources noted that the warning is due to the escalation in the south and refers mainly to threats from Turkey, Egypt, Libya and Greece with special emphasis on Crete.
© Ynet News
CORFU JEWS MOURN LOSS OF TORAH SCROLLS IN WAKE OF ATTACK (Greece)
After synagogue on Greek island burned down by arsonists, Jewish community members gathered to weep at the damage.
20/4/2011- Members of the Jewish community of Corfu gathered at the local synagogue on Wednesday around a pile of ashen prayer books set on fire by vandals the day before and wept. “It’s very difficult for us,” said Rabbi Shlomo Naftali, an Israeli rabbi who was flown over to Greece to conduct Passover ceremonies. “We stood around the books and cried. Now we’ll have to bury them.” On Tuesday morning arsonists broke into the island’s only Jewish place of worship, piled prayer books and Torah scrolls on the bima and torched the ancient texts, some of which were hundreds of years old. “They came at 3 a.m., put all the books together and burned them,” said Vino Shoshi, a former president of the community. ”At first I was very upset. I was ashamed that something like this happened here in Corfu, but we have received the support of all the political parties and the archbishop. They all came out in support of us and told us they were our brothers.”
Most members of the Jewish community of Corfu, whose history dates back to antiquity, were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Nowadays there are fewer than 100 Jews left on the Greek island. Their sacred books, however, survived the war thanks to gentiles entrusted with their safekeeping. “After the war they gave us all our books back,” Shoshi said. “We had books from the 15th, 16th and 17th century from Trieste, Padova and Verona. Now they are gone.” The Greek government strongly condemned the attack in a press release on Wednesday vowing to stamp out anti-Semitism in the Mediterranean nation. “The burglary that took place in the Jewish synagogue in Corfu and the destruction of sacred liturgical books is an immoral and appalling act, which the Greek government condemns in the strongest possible manner,” Giorgos Petalotis, a spokesman for the Greek government, said. “I’ve said before and I say once again, under this unfortunate circumstance, that bigotry and anti-Semitism are concepts incompatible with Greek culture and alien to the mentality of the Greek people. This act cannot overshadow the longstanding tradition of friendship and mutual respect between the two peoples. The Greek authorities have already received instructions to carry out intensive efforts to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
Meanwhile, local police have started an investigation into the incident. Jewish officials said that while no suspects had yet been apprehended they had faith in the authorities. “There’s no fear here,” Shoshi said. “There never has been any fear and there never will. We are well-established in Corfu and nobody will make us afraid.” Greek Jews living in the US reacted with “disgust and anger” to news of the desecration in Corfu. Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, president of the Association of Friends of Greek Jewry and director of a museum at Kehila Kedosha Janina in New York, said she deplored the attack but believed authorities were doing all they could to battle hate crimes against Jews. “Many would probably use this as another example of continuing anti-Semitism in Greece,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Having a very close relationship with many Jewish communities in Greece and with representatives of the Greek government here in the United States, I sincerely believe that the present government is trying to deal with anti-Semitism in Greece“. As an instance of local pride in Corfu’s Jewish heritage, Haddad Ikonomopoulos cited a series of events planned to take place on May 8 honoring Corfu-born Jewish writer Albert Cohen at the initiative of a local Greek-Christian historian. She added that the Greek-Jewish community in the US would immediately start a campaign to raise money to replace the destroyed prayer books and repair damage caused to the synagogue.
© The Jerusalem Post
HOMOPHOBIC ATTACKS SOAR IN OXFORD (uk)
19/4/2011- Homophobic incidents reported to police rose by more than 170 per cent in Oxford last year. In 2009, there were just seven incidents of homophobia in the city, but this rose to 19 in 2010. Oxford Pride chairman Cheryl Briggs said: “Any number of homophobic incidents is still too many. “And many won’t be reported to the police. There are more than 19 attacks in Oxford every year, I can tell you that.” Ms Briggs said the rise could be down to people feeling more able to report attacks to the police, but it still showed homophobia was present in the city. She said: “On the whole, especially in the centre of Oxford, this is quite a liberal city. I work for the university and I’ve never had any verbal abuse. “But that isn’t the case for a lot of people. The threat of physical or verbal abuse still stops people coming out. This is especially at school, where a lot of young people get bullied.” This year’s Oxford Pride Festival will run from June 3 until June 12. The theme of the event is Let’s Get Brave Together. Lesbian and Gay Foundation spokesman Joanne Dunning said: “Any rise in homophobic hate crimes and incidents in an area is very concerning.” But she added: “This rise in hate crime figures could actually highlight a rise in people reporting, rather than a rise in attacks.”
© The Oxford Mail
WEBSITE SUED AFTER HOMELESS MEN BEATEN (usa)
18/4/2011- A St. Petersburg-based website that features scantily clad women beating up homeless men is under criminal investigation by police and the target of a lawsuit alleging violations of Florida's Hate Crimes Act. Homeless advocate G.W. Rolle says he blew the whistle on Shefights.net after hearing about the beatings from 10 homeless men who volunteered in exchange for payments of up to $50. "From what I understand it's been going on for a couple years," Rolle said. According to a lawsuit filed by Southern Legal Counsel lawyer Neil Chonin on behalf of homeless men George Grayson and Kyle Shaw, some of the beatings took place in the garage of a town home at 73 16th Ave. S., across the street from Tropicana Field. "If someone does not see what the problem is here, then society is in a worse position than I thought," Chonin said. Neighbor Anthony Wolfinbarger said he's heard the sound of beatings inside the town home's garage across a small alley but said the door is usually closed. "The only thing I ever did actually see is a girl who had a bullwhip out and she was practicing in the garage," Wolfinbarger said. Shaw told Rolle he's mentally disabled and suffered a dislocated arm and back injuries, according to the lawsuit.
Grayson, who Rolle said has Asperger's syndrome, ended up with lacerations on his back from the whipping he received for the Shefights video, the suit claims. Both men came back repeatedly to earn more money despite the pain they endured during the beatings. David Brezger isn't part of the lawsuit but said he also was recruited to take part and submitted to a whipping at North Shore Park about six weeks ago. Brezger said two women tied his hands together and hoisted them in a tree above his head "and whipped me with a whip." One whipping was enough for him. "I said I can't handle this," Brezger told a reporter. The homeless man said the website didn't pay him because he didn't last the required 12 minutes. All he had for his trouble were back scars that took weeks to heal. Website creator Jeffrey Williams did not answer calls to his business or respond to a visit to his town home, but later issued a statement by email that said, "While my accusers choose to attempt to pressure me through public attacks, I prefer to make my case in court where I have the advantage."
Participants say Williams made them sign a release that precludes them from suing the website. Brezger thinks someone should get in trouble for exploiting the homeless population that frequents downtown St. Petersburg. "You should not be preying on people because of the situation that they're in," Brezger said. "This is very wrong." St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt said he can't comment because there's an active criminal investigation that's been under way "for a while."
© The News & Advance
CITY HATE CRIMES JUMP ALMOST 50 PER CENT (Canada)
18/4/2011- Hate crimes surged by nearly 50 per cent in Hamilton last year, according to a report prepared by Hamilton police Chief Glenn De Caire. The report, which will be presented at Monday’s Hamilton Police Services Board meeting, indicates that hate crimes jumped from 23 in 2009 to 34 last year. Hate-related incidents in total, including crimes, rose to 124 last year from 88 in 2009, an increase of almost 40 per cent. “Hate is a learned behaviour,” stated De Caire in his report to the board. “Like bigotry and prejudice, people learn these behaviours through history and as they become products of their environment and cultural group. “Unaddressed hate crimes lead to mistrust and may eventually destabilize a community.”
A hate or bias crime is “a criminal offence committed against a person or property which is motivated solely or in part by the suspect’s hate/bias against a person’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability group, age or gender,” according to Hamilton Police Services policy. De Caire suggests in his report that the spike in hate-motivated crimes and incidents is a reflection of increased reporting by citizens and not an increase in the actual number of events. “We are concerned that it’s not going down overall, quite frankly,” said Evelyn Myrie, who took over as executive director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion two weeks ago. HCCI is an agency dedicated to helping newcomers to the city and combating racism.
“One positive, if there is such a thing, is that reporting has perhaps increased,” Myrie added. “The police have made this a priority and articulated that hate crime is not acceptable and people should report. “There’s a growing awareness that people can report these incidents and the police will take it seriously.” Half of the crimes classified as hate-motivated in 2010 involved graffiti. The largest target of hate-related incidents was Hamilton’s black community, with nearly 30 per cent of reported incidents last year. About 16 per cent of incidents were related to a person’s sexual orientation, 10 per cent were targeted at members of the Arab/West Asian community, and the Jewish community was the target of about 8 per cent of incidents.
“We’re disappointed the numbers are growing and we’re certainly concerned about the anti-black racism as well as that against people of different sexual orientation,” said Myrie. “That’s really disconcerting,” she added. “We do want to be noted as one of the more welcoming communities.” She said that HCCI is working with police to help increase public awareness. “It really tells us that there’s a need for an organization like this,” she added.
© The Spec
Headlines 15 April, 2011
CHARRED KORAN PAGES LEFT AT ISLAMIC CENTER (usa)
15/4/2011- Charred remains of burned Korans and a threatening letter were found at the Islamic Center of Springfield in Missouri, its leaders say. The leaders said the pages of the Koran were discovered Sunday. The letter turned up the same day. The FBI told The News-Leader of Springfield it is investigating an alleged civil rights violation, and police records show the incidents were reported. No details were released. The Rev. Mark Struckhoff, executive director for the Council of Churches of the Ozarks, released a copy of the five-line typed letter. It also had a drawing of a ram's head captioned "Death to Islam." The writer said "Islam will not survive" and its adherents "stain the earth." Wafaa Kaf, who coordinates the women's section of the center, said leaders want to make sure the public knows about the threat. "I do not understand," she said. "What are they gaining from this? "Have they accomplished anything? Are they happy now?" The mosque was targeted in January by vandals who covered walls with graffiti. Jamil Saquer said Springfield is not an anti-Muslim community. "We think it is a tiny segment," he said. "They are just acting out of darkness."
© United Press International
RACIST GROUPS COULD MAR EUROPEAN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP (Poland/Ukraine)
Rights campaigners have highlighted the prevalence of racism and anti-semitism on the football scene in Poland and Ukraine as the countries get ready to host the Euro 2012 championships.
13/4/2011- A report by the Warsaw-based Never Again and the Kiev-situated Football Against Prejudices groups noted that between September 2009 and March 2011, fascist symbols and slogans were displayed 56 times in and around football games in Poland and 51 times in Ukraine. In Poland, the overwhelming number - 36 incidents - concerned anti-semitic material despite the fact that Poland is home to a tiny Jewish minority of just 50,000 or so people. Twenty incidents concerned symbols targeting black people and eight incidents concerned homophobic material. The report lists dozens of examples, such as a game in Rzeszow, Poland, on 8 May 2010, in which fans of Resovia Rzeszow displayed a giant banner showing a character with a hooked nose and yellow teeth wearing a yarmulke in the colours of the Israeli flag and with a red 'No entry' sign painted over the top. The police and match authorities did not react. In Lodz on 15 October 2010, Legia Warszawa fans chanted: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas chambers" and threw smoke bombs and flares, sparking clashes with police.
On 15 December 2010, in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, fans of the Karpaty team displayed banners of the Ukrainian division of the Nazi SS corps with the slogan "For a white Europe." Monkey imitations and banana-throwing when black players won the ball, advertisements for neo-Nazi rallies, Ku Klux Klan symbols, the American Confederate flag and the Celtic cross - both neo-fascist insignia - also featured prominently. On some occasions, figures in authority, such as Anna Zalewska, an MP from Poland's leading opposition party Law and Justice, were part of the problem. The report cites that on 12 January this year Zalewska was photographed wearing a scarf in support of the Gornik Walbrzych team with the Nazi motto "Loyalty is my honour."
"The European championship is a big issue in Poland and Ukraine, and there is a lot of talk about preparations but most of it focuses on the infrastructure - stadiums, roads - and we think there's not enough awareness of the social aspects," Never Again activist Rafal Pankowski told EUobserver on Wednesday (13 April). "The championship is a chance to have some positive change. We can't end racism in time for Euro 2012, but maybe we can raise awareness of the problems." Pankowksi said there is a growing number of incidents inside and around lower league games in Poland, but a decreasing number in top-tier games. In Ukraine, even the biggest clubs have noticeable far-right followers. "We don't want to over-dramatise the risks, but of course the possibility exists of racist incidents, maybe even violent incidents during Euro 2012, especially outside the stadiums," he explained. "What we are seeing is very graphic forms of expressing this kind of prejudice. But it reflects something broader in society - racism and anti-semitism are not invented in football stadiums. In Poland, in Ukraine, football is just one area of life where you witness anti-semitism."
© The EUobserver
WEB-BASED HATE ACTIVITY ON THE RISE (Canada)
One-third of city's hate crimes are anti-Semitic: report
12/4/2011- Anti-Semitism has gone digital as social media and new technologies provide an easy way to spread hate messages, according to a 2010 audit conducted by a human rights organization. The League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada released its annual report Monday. The Audit of Antisemitic Incidents has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents across Canada for the past 29 years. The League received 564 reports of Web-based hate activity with a Canadian connection in terms of content, perpetrators and/or victims last year, up from 435 reports in 2009 and 405 reports in 2008, according to the 2010 report. "It has become so easy to make a hate comment, there's so much expression on the Internet "said Allan Adel, the League's Montreal-based national chairman. "There seems to be a banalization of racist or anti-Semitic expressions, (an adoption) of the idea words don't hurt," Adel added. "Our position is that's the wrong approach." Adel urged policy-makers, police and everyday Canadians to adopt a zero-tolerance policy wherever they see anti-Semitism, whether it be in the community or online.
"This kind of hatred is infectious and insidious," said Frank Dimant, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada. "It destroys the very fabric of Canada's multicultural society, and those that would deny its gravity are part of the problem, not the solution," he said. A total of 1,306 incidents - 965 cases of harassment, 317 cases of vandalism and 24 cases of violence - were reported to the League in 2010, a 3.3-per-cent increase over 2009 and, a fourfold increase over the past decade. Although Montreal saw a slight decrease in anti-Jewish hatred with 277 incidents reported in 2010, down from 310 incidents in 2009, the city is in no position to celebrate, the report's authors noted. One third of all hate crimes reported to Montreal police in 2010 were against Jews. And in a section of the report highlighting anti-Semitic incidents across the country, several examples from Montreal were included.
Among them: the April 2010 mugging of a pregnant Jewish woman in Montreal's Vézina Park; the January 2010 smashing of windows at Hebrew Academy in Côte St. Luc; an anti-Semitic YouTube video posted by a Montrealer in May 2010; and slurs hurled by passersby at a Holocaust commemoration event on the steps of Montreal's city hall in April 2010. "The paradox is that Canada had made such progress and now the Internet is turning the clock back," said Chaim Steinmetz. Steinmetz is the rabbi of Congregaton Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Côte St. Luc, one of six Montreal synagogues that had its windows broken one night this January. "The footprint of hate on the Internet is very large," he said.
© The Montreal Gazette
POLICE REVEAL RISE IN HATE CRIME AGAINST THE ELDERLY (uk)
11/4/2011- Police in the Lothians have started recording a new category of hate crime - against pensioners. The force has been noting age as an "aggravating factor" in crimes committed against the elderly - but also young people - where they believe it was a motive behind an attack. A total of 43 age-related hate crimes were reported in the force area last year, compared with 23 for the previous year. Age Concern Scotland welcomed the figures as evidence that police were more aware of crimes being committed against people who were targeted specifically due to their advancing years.
The figures showed that race-related hate crimes had risen to 1241 last year against 1164 in 2009. Hate crime against the disabled and people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) community also increased last year. Inspector Helen Boyle, from the force's diversity unit, said: "Legally, only hate crimes relating to race, sexuality, religion or disability are covered by legislation as aggravating factors. There is nothing that covers age, but Lothian and Borders Police decided we would start to record that too.
"Although it's not covered by the legislation, an offence which we record as having an age-related element could be taken into account during sentencing in court. "It's actually a fairly even split between hate crimes committed against the young and older people. In the case of older people, it may be that they are being viewed as vulnerable. "Because we don't have a set standard, it's often up to the perception of the officer investigating an incident to determine whether age was an aggravating factor."
A spokesman for Age Concern Scotland said: "It is encouraging that people are coming forward and reporting these matters to police. "When elderly people are the victims of a particular attack, I think it's unlikely they would see it in terms of being a hate crime. Perhaps the police are becoming more aware of the issue of elderly abuse."
The number of hate crimes reported against the disabled also rose to 29 last year, compared with 21 for 2009. Hate crimes against members of the LGBT community climbed from 103 to 131 over the same period. The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009, means that sentencing relating to crimes which are motivated by malice based on a victim's disability or sexual orientation must take into account. The force's Public Perception Survey 2010 revealed that 60 per cent of hate crime victims did not make a report to police, with many believing that nothing would be done.
© The Scotsman
FIVE FOREIGNERS TARGETED IN NEO-NAZI ARSON ATTTACK IN GERMANY
11/4/2011- A group of foreigners were targeted early Sunday in a vicious arson attack by neo-Nazis in the sleepy South German town of Winterbach, according to news reports. Neo-Nazi thugs tried to burn down a gazebo after five foreigners sought refuge in after fleeing from their assailants. The foreigners did manage to escape from the burning gazebo, however one of them was severely beaten and injured by three neo-Nazis. Police did arrest 14 suspects but released them later for lack of sufficient evidence. The area around Winterbach had in the past been the focus of other racially-motivated crimes following two firebombings of an asylum-seeker home in the
town of Waiblingen in 2001 and a Turkish club house in the town of Murrhardt in 2003. In one of the worst-ever lethal assaults on foreigners in Germany since World War II, a 51-year-old Turkish woman and two Turkish girls, ages 10 and 14, died in an arson attack in the city of Moelln in November 1992.
© Two Circles
FRENCH JEW ATTACKED OUTSIDE SYNAGOGUE
A 21-year-old man was seriously wounded in an anti-Semitic attacked by two youths, after returning home from a Torah course in a synagogue in Villeurbanne, in southern France, the Jewish Community’s protection service (SPCJ) said.
11/4/2011- As he was walking home from the synagogue late Thursday night, the two aggressors, in their twenties, asked their victim’s name. After hearing his response, the two told him: "you don’t look to be named Antoine, you look Jewish, you are a Jew." When the victim confirmed he was Jewish, one of the aggressors fired at him with a pellet gun. As he defended himself, he received several shots of butt on the head and body. The victim was brought to the emergency service of a nearby hospital with serious wounds at the abdomen, head and arm. The young man is still in shock and remains under observation. The SPCJ immediately went to visit him and stayed with the victim overnight. Police are investigating to identify and arrest the perpetrators.
A police source quoted by Agence France Presse said "the tone heightened between the three youths. There was an exchange of blows and two youths of North African origin took out a gun ball and possibly a truncheon." This aggression caused great emotion in the Jewish community, said Marcel Amsellem, a local leader of CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish organizations. "There is no doubt about the anti-Semitic character of this attack. It’s extremely serious because they used physical violence with a weapon," he added. In a statement, the mayor of Villeurbanne “strongly” condemned "this intolerable act."
© EJP News
FATHER OF CHICAGO BULLS CENTER NOAH REPORTS NEO-NAZI DEATH THREATS (France)
10/4/2011- French tennis player turned singer Yannick Noah, the father of Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, said he was targeted with racist slurs and death threats from neo-Nazis before playing a concert, French newspaper France Soir reported Sunday. Yannick Noah, former French Open champion, went to police after receiving the threats in a theater in Roanne, central France, on Friday. He said the hateful messages were signed by Phinehas, a known local extremist, and left for him and French actor Jamel Debbouze on a table close to the entrance. After reporting the incident to police, the 50-year-old singer returned to the theater and performed the concert as planned. Joakim Noah, who leads the Bulls on rebounds this season, was set to face the Orlando Magic on Sunday afternoon after the team clinched the Eastern Conference's top seed.
© The Pocono Record
RABBI DESCRIBES ATTACK ON KIEV'S CENTRAL SYNAGOGUE AS A 'POGROM' (Ukraine)
The Central synagogue in Kiev was attacked by about 50 youths who also beat a rabbi and two others on Saturday night.
15/4/2011- The Central synagogue in Kiev was attacked by about 50 youths who also beat a rabbi and two others on Saturday night. Kiev's chief rabbi, Moshe-Reuven Azman, said the mob marched down the Ukraine capital's main boulevard shouting "Kill the Jews!" before attacking the synagogue. Twenty windows were smashed. The attack happened after worshippers attending evening services had left the synagogue. Police blamed football hooligans leaving Dinamo Kiev's ground and denied it was anti-Semitic attack. Mr Azman would not speculate on whether the attack was linked to tensions in the Middle East, saying only that it was prompted by "the general situation." While anti-Semitism remains widespread in Ukraine, there has been no overt violence linked to recent events in the Middle East. Mr Azman said the youths knocked Tsvi Kaplan, rector of Kiev's Jewish school, to the ground and hit him with stones. Mr Azman's 14-year old son and a security guard also suffered injuries. "I call this act a pogrom," Mr Azman said.
© The Independent
UKRAINIAN SYNAGOGUE VANDALIZED AGAIN
10/4/2011- Vandals struck the synagogue in a northeastern Ukraine city for the fifth time in as many years. Late in the evening on April 4, two cans of red paint were splashed on the walls of the synagogue in Sumy, the chairman of the city's Jewish community, Aleksander Goron, told the Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union. The synagogue had been attacked three months ago. "At best it's typical anti-Semitism and dislike of Jews," Goron said, according to UCSJ. "At worst it's an ideology, a policy."
© JTA News
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: UKRAINE SEES LESS ACTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM (Ukraine)
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State has noted that the number of acts of anti-Semitism in 2010 in Ukraine has decreased.The U.S. Department of State said this in the "2010 Human Rights Reports: Ukraine" published on its Web site on April 8.
9/4/2011- The report says there were a number of acts of anti-Semitism, some involving vandalism of Jewish property. According to the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine's (VAAD) there were nine incidents of vandalism during the year compared with 19 incidents in 2009, and 13 in 2008. There were no reports of violent incidents of anti-Semitism. The report lists last year's desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Ternopil, Pavlohrad, Sumy and desecrations of Holocaust monuments in Kirovohrad and in Sevastopol, and paint thrown on the walls of a synagogue in Sumy. At the same time, there were no reports that the authorities had identified suspects or made arrests in cases of vandalism against Jewish property in 2009, including swastikas on the walls of Jewish Charity Center in Melitopol, Nazi symbols on the front door of the Kyiv office of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and paint splashed on the monument marking the birthplace of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson in Mykolaiv.
In 2010 members of marginal populist and nationalist parties and organizations continued to make occasional extremist, intolerant, and anti-Semitic statements. In January unidentified individuals in Sudak, Crimea were reported to have passed out leaflets calling for genocide against Jews in the country. As of the end of the year, there had been no further developments in the incident. The report also names the reaction of law-enforcement officers on the anti-Semitic statements by Serhiy Ratushnyak, the former mayor of Uzhhorod, and member of Kherson City Council Serhiy Kyrychenko. According to the report, Anti-Semitic articles continued to appear in small publications, although their number and circulation continued to decline. According to VAAD, 46 anti-Semitic articles were published in major print media outlets in 2009, compared with 54 in 2008 and 542 in 2007. VAAD said the sharp decrease in anti-Semitic publications was due primarily to concerted political and social pressure by NGOs, the government and the Jewish community on the Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP). In previous years, MAUP, a private higher-education institution, accounted for nearly 90 percent of all anti-Semitic material, but has now ceased the publications.
The document also noted the continued efforts to combat anti-Semitism by senior government officials and politicians from various political parties by speaking out against extremism and social intolerance, and by criticizing anti-Semitic acts. According to the government the SBU acted to prevent at least six hate crimes in 2009 and 2010, including illegal activities by skinhead groups in Cherkassy and Dnepropetrovsk and an attack on the cultural center Hesed Haim in Sumy. An estimated 103,600 Jews live in the country, comprising approximately 0.2% of the population,, the report quotes the data of government census and international Jewish groups. Local Jewish leaders estimated the number of persons with an ethnic Jewish heritage to be as high as 370,000.
© The Kyiv Post
Headlines 8 April, 2011
PENALTIES FOR ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE TO BE DOUBLED, NEW MEASURES ANNOUNCED BY THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT.
8/4/2011- Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt said that intimidation, threats and violence targeting gays and lesbians should be eradicated. The new rules will come into effect on 1 June, 2011. According to daily de Telegraaf, further measures include a directive for police to respond to anti-gay violence reports without delay. Schools will be required to report anti-gay incidents to the government's Education Inspectorate.
Every kind of discrimination
Education Minister van Bijsterveldt says that far too many gay and lesbian youths are afraid to come out of the closet. The rate of attempted suicides among these teenagers, according to some figures, is 12 percent. The minister says the new rules are not just targeting discrimination against gay people, "It is a generic rule. Every kind of discrimination should be countered." The cabinet said it is aware that certain groups in society, such as ethnic minorities and orthodox religious communities, are having difficulty coming to terms with homosexuality. But Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten did not mince his words. "Violence against gays is unacceptable. Gays and lesbians can rely on this government to guarantee their security."
LGBT rights figure prominently in the Dutch cabinet's policies. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal wrote to the Lower House on Wednesday that he will actively oppose the treatment of homosexuality as a punishable offence in parts of Africa. Mr Rosenthal also announced that he will support improvement of LGBT rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Vera Bergkamp, the chair of the Dutch gay rights association COC, said the group is delighted with the foreign minister's plans. On its website, the COC points out that "LGBTs are being oppressed in many countries. Homosexuality is a punishable offence in 85 countries. In seven countries it even carries the death penalty."
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
SCHOOLGIRL, 13, IS SECOND CHILD ARRESTED BY HATE CRIMES TASK FORCE FOR 'BULLYING A MUSLIM STUDENT' (usa)
5/4/2011- A school girl has become the second teenager to be arrested by a Staten island Hate Crimes Task Force for allegedly bullying a Muslim student. Krystal Callender, 13, was arrested on Friday for terrorizing a 13-year-old Muslim classmate from Dreyfus Intermediate School several times over a two-month period, police said. She joins 12-year-old classmate Osman Daramy who yelled 'Are you a Muslim?' as he and Callender kicked and punched the victim to the ground, according to police.Quoting unnamed sources, The New York Post said Callender has been charged with attempted robbery as well as felony assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime. The paper also said on one occasion, the pair allegedly pushed the girl into the snow and began punching and kicking her while also trying to rip off her hijab outside the school. It was also reported Callender threatened to stab the victim with a knife unless she handed over her cell phone and all her money. She was arraigned on Saturday and was released into the custody of her mother.
Bizarrely, last week Osman's father Frank Davis claimed the boy was himself a muslim. 'How could a Muslim have another hate crime against a Muslim?' asked Mr Davis, 32, about his son. Davis told the New York Post that while the family does not regularly attend a mosque, they pray at home and his son joins in on Islamic prayers with his Muslim mother Agnes Daramay. The father told the New York Daily News that he recently bought a ticket for his son to fly to Sierra Leone so he can live with relatives and escape the abuse he is subjected to at school. 'They treat the African kids different,' she told the Daily News, showing off the April 17 ticket to Freetown.'Other kids mock him and the teacher never stuck up for him...I need to get him out of this country.' But Osman had been tormenting the girl for two months, said sources at the school, allegedly shoving, hitting and threatening her. One teacher described him as a 'terror', telling the Post 'he goes around terrorising staff and students.'
The victim, who has not been named, was left with bruises and a cut lip after Osman and another girl, also 13, allegedly assaulted her behind a building at Berta A. Dreyfus School on Tuesday. The vicious attack culminated in Osman trying to rip the hijab off the girl's hair, police said, but she fought back and stopped him. The girl's older sister told the Post her sister was 'fine'. She said: 'She was crying at that moment, but she's OK.' She said: 'My brother is the one who called the police. He got angry, he wanted to beat the kid up, but he is older and decided to call the cops.'A teacher told the newspaper he had been suspended 'in-house' rather than being reported to police. And another member of staff said his behaviour had been so difficult officials had at one time appointed a school safety agent to sit at the front of the class to 'allow the teacher to teach.' But a woman claiming to be his mother, who did not wish to be named, told the Post: 'I know my son is a good boy. 'He's a kid, he made a mistake. It's not right for him to bug anybody for their religion.' A source told the Post there had been other violent incidents at the school. Two weeks ago a student punched a teacher in the face, and another had to take leave after being pushed into a wall.
© The Daily Mail
VEILED MUSLIM WOMEN ARE UNDER ATTACK IN THE UK CLAIMS NEW RESEARCH (press release)
5/4/2011- Research into the experiences of veiled Muslim women is to be presented at a public event to be held at the University of Leicester on April 6. Irene Zempi, from the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester, is conducting postgraduate research into the victimisation of veiled Muslim women and their experiences as direct victims of Islamophobia in the streets of Leicester. With her in-depth qualitative research revealing the ‘hidden’, often ‘invisible’ nature of Islamophobia, Irene will also identify ways to improve services and support offered to victims of anti-Muslim hate crime. The research design employs interviews with female veiled victims. In particular, prospective research participants include British Muslim women who are descendants of immigrants from South Asia (in particular Pakistan, Bangladesh and India) and from other Muslim-dominated regions such as the Middle East, from African countries such as Somalia and Nigeria, as well as British converts to Islam.
Irene said: ‘‘My study is looking into the experiences of veiled Muslim women in order to raise awareness about the ‘true’ nature of Islamophobia that they face, and the consequences of the abuse and intimidation veiled Muslim women and their communities have to go through’’. ‘‘It is worrying that in a liberal democratic society such as Britain, Islamophobia is accepted and even expected. It is necessary to point out that Islamophobia is a new form of racism. As Baroness Warsi said in her speech at the University of Leicester about the ‘cancer of Islamophobia’: ‘‘When people get on the tube and see a bearded Muslim, they think ‘terrorist’ ... when they hear ‘Halal’ they think that sounds like ‘contaminated food’ ... and when they walk past a woman wearing a veil, they think automatically ‘that woman is oppressed’’. Irene highlights that public expressions of Islamophobia are invariably random in nature and so individual victims may be targeted when they are spotted in a public place such as streets, shopping centres, buses, and trains.
‘‘Persistent staring, spitting, calling names, throwing of eggs or stones, and pulling women’s veils off are the overwhelming types of anti-Muslim hostilities, yet rarely reported to the police. As a result, this victimisation remains ‘invisible’ for police and local authority,” says Irene. Dr Neil Chakraborti, from the Department of Criminology, added:
“This research is extremely timely and has the potential to make a significant contribution to scholarship and policy. The topic of Islamophobia has been subjected to considerable debate and conjecture in recent years, but at present little is known about the specific nature, extent and impact of Islamophobic prejudice experienced by veiled women and its consequences for victims, their families and wider communities.”
© University of Leicester
MUSICIAN ATTACKED NEAR SURREY BUS STOP (Canada)
Cops won't say if it's a hate crime
3/4/2011- RCMP said Sunday it’s too early to tell if a vicious assault of a local musician near a bus stop in Surrey early Saturday can be designated a hate crime despite a number of arrests. Bandmates of Michael Taylor said a group of five youths were taunting another transit rider on a bus their friend was taking home after finishing playing at a bar downtown. When Taylor tried to step in, the pack responded with a string of racial slurs, followed by a pepper-spray attack and beating that left the 200-pound musician unconscious. “The determination of a hate crime hasn’t been made as far as I know,” said Staff Sgt. Blair Mccoll Sunday. “The investigation is certainly ongoing. It’s very active.” Mccoll, added of the five people arrested, one is female but did not have other details. Taylor, whose wife is expecting their second child within the week, was on his way home from the attack happened, friend and fellow musician Diane Lines said. “He’d been trying to do as many gigs as possible before the baby was born,” she said. Doctors released Taylor from hospital but he’s still suffering from dizziness, nausea and a lack of appetite. Lines and Acoustic Grooves front man Tony Chamberlist has set up a fund to support Taylor through his recovery.
© Vancouver 24 hours
UEFA REPORT DETAILS HATE CRIME IN EURO 2012 HOSTS POLAND AND UKRAINE
• Nearly 200 serious hate crimes detailed in report • Michel Platini promises 'zero tolerance' at Euro 2012
2/4/2011- A Uefa-sponsored investigation has uncovered nearly 200 serious hate crimes at recent football matches in Poland and Ukraine, heightening fears that the 2012 European Championship finals could be marred by racist incidents. The report, which was compiled by the Uefa-sponsored East European Monitoring Centre, discloses disturbances including antisemitic chants and banners, hooligans abusing their own team's black players and violent attacks against anti-racist groups. The report will be released on Sunday, 15 months before the two countries host Euro 2012 and a week after an international match between Poland and Lithuania ended with clashes between supporters and police. There have been 133 reported incidents in Poland over the 18 months, according to the report, 56 of which related to the open display of racist or fascist symbols.
In March 2010, at a first division match between Polonia Warszawa and Arka Gdynia, hooligans unfurled one banner featuring a Totenkopf skull and crossbones symbol identical to that used by the Nazi SS, and displayed another which read: "Stop Islamizacji Europy" ("Stop Islamisation of Europe"). Black players in Poland have experienced hostility at many grounds and there have been 20 reported "anti-black" hate crimes, according to the report. Supporters of Lechia Gdansk demanded last year that the Brazilian Luiz Carlos Santos Deleu be the last black player at the club, according to the report. There were 36 reported antisemitic incidents at Polish football matches. One of the most shocking took place during a third division derby between Stal Rzeszow and Resovia Rzeszow. Resovia fans exhibited a giant banner showing a silhouette of a man wearing a characteristic yarmulke in the blue and white colours of Israel. Another banner was displayed above the caricature, carrying the words: "Death to hook noses".
While Ukraine has had fewer – 62 – serious hate crimes reported at football matches, it has seen some of the most violent incidents. In August 2010, around 30 Arsenal Kyiv supporters, known for their left-leaning views, were attacked by 50 neo-Nazi fans of Dynamo Kyiv. The attackers shouted "Heil Hitler" and "white power" and an Arsenal Kyiv fan was stabbed three times in the back. Others suffered multiple injuries. Uefa's director of Euro 2012, Martin Kallen, told a conference last week that Polish fans have a "huge image problem".
"What we saw at last Friday's match [between Poland and Lithuania] was not a very good picture to see that happening in a stadium. We and the Polish government are concerned. They are taking this seriously and will have changes in the next month." After Poland's friendly in Lithuania 60 fans were detained after bottles, flares and benches were thrown at police. The Uefa president, Michel Platini, said in October that hooligans would be treated with "zero tolerance" at Euro 2012.
© The Guardian