Headlines 29 July, 2011
ELITE CZECH POLICE UNITS OVERDOING HARSH INTERVENTIONS AGAINST MINORITIES
28/7/2011- Six members of an elite police unit in Brno, Czech Republic calling itself "Delta Team" have been competing among themselves and provoking one another to perform harsh interventions. Their actions have included unjustified aggression toward minorities and the humiliation of detainees. The police officers have even taken trophy photographs showing their victims bloodied and naked. Czech Television reports that the Police Inspectorate has been monitoring the team's activities for more than a year, resulting in only one instance of punishment so far. Detectives have determined the officers were acting under the influence of Nazi ideology and are said to have been attempting to bolster their feeling of superiority by committing the brutality.
Command has evidently failed in the case of these six officers and their brutal procedures, according to Dušan Brunclík, the deputy minister entrusted with managing the Police Inspectorate, who spoke on the program "News and Commentary" ("Události, komentáøe"). The team's activities in the field involved unjustified aggression against minorities and competing to see who could perform the harshest intervention or humiliation of detainees. However, in 2009 these aggressive police overdid it when a detained foreign citizen did not survive their attacks. Martin Foltýn, alleged to be the boss of "Delta Team", says the allegations are fiction. "The whole 'Delta Team' thing is just one big artificial piece of nonsense. Those interventions were performed according to the same standards whether the perpetrators were white, black or yellow…," he claims.
According to the Police Inspectorate, commanding officers lost control of the so-called "Delta Team". "In my opinion, the commanding officers failed in their monitoring activity. On the other hand, it has to be said that people with these tendencies usually give more than 100 % to the performance of their tasks, so they seem like perfect police officers," Brunclík said. "Processes to pre-empt this must be established, especially in the security forces. There can't be an official keeping an eye on every police officer or patrol. This has to do with a certain degree of responsibility," explained the Deputy Director of the Zlín Region Police, Jaroslav Vanìk. According to the Inspectorate's conclusions, the six police officers from South Moravia used unacceptable brutality when intervening against foreigners and minorities in order to buttress their sense of superiority. In 2009, a man named Hoang Son Lam, aged 43 and weighing less than 100 pounds, did not survive an intervention by three "Delta Team" members in the center of Brno.
The perpetrators of that incident have been sentenced, but some of their sentences have not yet taken effect. Given the amount of time that passed between the commission of the crime and the lodging of the complaint, only one member of the rest of the squad has been disciplined, and two of the "Delta Team" police officers are still serving in the intervention units in Zlín region. The court has yet to rule on compensation for Lam's surviving relatives.
HOMOPHOBIA LAW BLOCKED (Italy)
Homosexuality measure ruled unconstitutional
27/7/2011– There is no way forward. Two years on, a second halt has been called and this time it looks definitive. Yesterday when the law against homophobia was presented in the Chamber of Deputies, a cross-party front uniting the People of Freedom (PDL), Northern League and former Responsible Ones with the Christian Democrat UDC and some members of Future and Freedom for Italy (FLI) supported a preliminary ruling of unconstitutionality. In practical terms, the move sinks a bill that sought to introduce an aggravating circumstance of homophobia for criminal offences. Severer sentences would have been introduced for prejudice-driven attacks on homosexuals. The vote – 293 ayes, 250 noes and 21 abstentions – reflected a similar situation in October 2009. Then, too, unconstitutionality was the objection presented by the UDC and subsequently approved. It proved impossible for opposition and majority to reach agreement afterwards, even though PD deputy Paola Concia, the presenter of the original proposal and the only openly homosexual member of Parliament, had months before drafted a compromise bill with the minister for equal opportunities Mara Carfagna. That proposal was destined for rejection by the justice committee in May. Yesterday’s text, which included aggravating circumstances on the basis of homosexuality or “in general by reason of disability, sex, age and transsexuality”, also came to nothing.
The row now rages in the Chamber. “If I were an ordinary deputy who could vote, I would have been firmly against this preliminary ruling”, said the leader of the Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini. Democratic Party (PD) secretary Pierluigi Bersani said it was “disgraceful. It’s one of the worst episodes and I hope it does not pass unobserved”. “Today, Parliament was called on to decide whether to take the side of the violent or that of the victims. It has chosen, or at least part of it has, to be on the side of the violent”, said Ms Concia, who was resigned to defeat from the outset. The majority denied any homophobia. For PDL group leader Fabrizio Cicchitto, “our default position is to consider gays as citizens on a par with everyone else and for that reason we contest any differentiation in juridical treatment, which would concede and emphasize a substantially unconstitutional diversity”.
Yesterday’s vote revealed a mixture of attitudes with one or two surprises on the PDL side of the chamber. Fashion stylist Santo Versace joined the opposition in rejecting the preliminary ruling and supporting the measures against homophobia. Sixteen PDL members abstained, including ministers Mara Carfagna and Paolo Romani, the minister for economic development. Ms Carfagna now expresses the hope that “the atmosphere needed to resume the dialogue between majority and opposition can be recreated as soon as possible and that further exchanges can lead to a proposal that will meet with Parliament’s approval”. The equal opportunities minister explained why she abstained “even though I did not agree with some parts of the bill presented by the PD. I think we need a European-style law introducing aggravating circumstances for offences committed in the name of all kinds of discrimination, including discrimination against sexual orientation”. The FLI group was also split, with three deputies voting in favour of the ruling (Roberto Menia, Francesco Proietti Cosimi and Daniele Toto) and the rest voting against. Finally, there were one or two dissidents in the UDC. Anna Teresa Formisano abstained while Pierluigi Mantini and Lorenzo Ria voted against the ruling.
© The Corriere della Sera
POLICE PROBE NEO-NAZI LINK TO ROMA ARSON ATTACK (Germany)
Police investigating an arson attack on an apartment housing Roma and Sinti families in Leverkusen were continuing Tuesday morning to probe the possibility that neo-Nazis may have been behind the attack.
26/7/2011- Police and state prosecutors in nearby Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia are investigating a xenophobic motive to the attack, in which nine people had to flee a ground-floor apartment after assailants hurled several fire bombs through the windows around 12:25 am Monday. All nine people in the apartment escaped unharmed but the apartment was totally burnt out by the blaze and only the intervention of the fire brigade stopped it destroying the rest of the building. The attack came amid a heightened atmosphere surrounding far-right violence in the wake of the massacre of at least 76 people on Friday by a Norwegian nationalist.
Witnesses saw two young men wearing dark clothing fleeing the scene in a dark Volkwagen car, possibly a Golf or Polo, with number plates from the NRW city of Neuss, police reported. Daily Bild reported that the fleeing suspected had shaved heads. A police spokesman confirmed to The Local on Tuesday morning that investigators were continuing to probe the possibility that right-wing extremists were behind the attack, though all avenues were being examined. Twenty-one officers from the Cologne police, including members of the arson squad, were investigating.
© The Local - Germany
GERMAN POLICE SAY RACISM POSSIBLE MOTIVE FOR ARSON ATTACK ON ROMA
25/7/2011- An arson attack was carried out early Monday on an apartment housing Sinti and Roma families near the west German city of Cologne, police said. 'We cannot rule out a radical right-wing background,' a police spokesman said. Unknown individuals had thrown explosive devices into the ground floor apartment in the town of Leverkusen. The occupants escaped unharmed, according to police. Witnesses spoke of four perpetrators who drove off in a car and minibus. The apartment was gutted by the flames, but firefighters were able to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the building.
SHOCK RISE IN HATE CRIMES AGAINST JEWISH COMMUNITY IN GREATER MANCHESTER(uk)
28/7/2011- Anti-Jewish hate crime has rocketed by one third in Greater Manchester – with the region for the first time suffering more attacks than London. Shocking new figures show there were 121 anti-Semitic incidents – including assaults, desecration, threats and abuse - in the first six months of the year. That compares to 98 in Greater London – despite the capital having a Jewish population six times the size. The news comes just days after taxi driver Taha Osman, from Blackley, escaped jail after hurling racist abuse outside Manchester’s King David School. The 36-year-old screamed ‘all Jewish children must die’ in front of horrified onlookers. He was sentenced to a 12-month community order.
Comment: Poison taints our cherished values
The new figures were published by the Community Security Trust, a charity working to protect Jewish communities from crime. They revealed the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the region rose from 95 in the first six months of 2010 to 121 this year. The data included 29 assaults, 10 reports of damage or desecration, nine cases of threats being made, and 73 incidents of abuse – including hate mail and anti-Semitic graffiti. Some 56 of the incidents were in the Salford area. There are large Jewish communities in Broughton Park as well as in North Manchester, Bury and Trafford. In Bury, 35 incidents were reported, while in Manchester there were 21.
In Greater London, the total number of incidents fell from 127 to 98. Greater Manchester Police said the rise was a result of new initiatives designed to encourage victims to report incidents to the trust. Chief Supt Jon Rush, divisional commander for Bury, said the number of anti-Semitic attacks remained ‘far too high’. He said: "Any incident motivated by religious or racial hatred is abhorrent. "We do not want people to suffer in silence – we want them to tell us so we can bring the offenders to justice. We therefore look at this increase as evidence that our Jewish communities are more confident in reporting any incidents." Police and the trust have worked together over the Jewish High Holy Days to deter anti-Semitism, with high-visibility patrols around synagogues. Mobile police stations have also been set up.
© The Manchester Evening News
ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS FALL IN BRITAIN IN FIRST HALF OF 2011
28/7/2011- Anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom fell by 13 % in the first six months of 2011, compared to the same period of last year, figures released by the Community Security Trust (CST) announced. The CST, a charity which monitors anti-Semitic incidents across Britain and provides security for the Jewish community, recorded 283 such incidents in the first half of 2011, compared to 325 in the first six months of 2010. These incidents included 41 violent anti-Semitic assaults, 35 incidents of anti-Semitic damage to Jewish property and 186 incidents in the category of ‘abusive behaviour’, which includes verbal abuse, hate-mail and anti-Semitic graffiti on non-Jewish property.
The first half of 2009 saw a record high of 628 anti-Semitic incidents, more than is recorded in many full years, largely because of anti-Semitic reactions to the conflict in Gaza. CST says it defines an anti-Semitic incident as "any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organizations or property, which shows evidence of anti-Semitic motivation, language or targeting." It doesn’t include the many instances of anti-Semitism that regularly feature on extremist websites and demonstrations, for purposes of consistency and collection of data. The group noted that for the first time it recorded more incidents in Manchester than in London.
Greater Manchester saw in the first six months of 2011 an increase of 27 % in the number of incidents reported to CST: 121 against 95 in 2010. This increase, CST said, occurred mainly in Salford due to local community awareness campaigns and enhanced exchange of information between CST and Greater Manchester Police. There were 98 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Greater London, down from 127 in the first half of 2010. "CST welcomes the fall in anti-Semitic incidents, that comes during a time of relative calm on Jewish-related issues here and overseas. The increase in Manchester reflects local reporting initiatives, and we thank the local Jewish community and Police for their partnership with us," CST spokesman Mark Gardner said.
© EJP News
SHOCK AS RACISM IN PETERBOROUGH SCHOOLS DOUBLES (uk)
25/7/2011- Shock figures have revealed that the number of incidents of racism at primary schools across Peterborough doubled in the space of a year. The latest figures provided by Peterborough City Council for the 2009/10 school year show that there were 167 racist incidents reported at primary schools - compared to just 83 in 2008/09. The vast majority of incidents involved name-calling, though a small number of incidents involved physical attacks. Incredibly, one of the incidents saw parents responsible for racism. Council cabinet member for education John Holdich said that the number had risen because “more people were reporting it”.
BUT Zain Awan, a member of the AVC Forum, a youth inequalities group set up by the Peterborough Racial Equality Council, disagreed with Cllr Holdich’s reason for the rise. He said the figure is just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of actual racism in city schools. He said: “I think this is just scratching the surface, I think racism among young people happens indirectly a lot more often and goes un-reported. “I think we also have institutional racism where young people are afraid to report it because they do not know what the outcome of the complaint will be. “It’s a shock for Peterborough as this city celebrates diversity, so this is a cause of concern for the authorities.”
The council said that those found to be guilty of racism in schools are dealt with in line with the school’s behaviour policy, with parents of both parties generally involved. On occasions when a student is ordered to leave the school, the council says it is the perpetrators that are more likely to be moved rather than the victim. Racist incidents at the city’s secondary schools were fewer, with 86 in 2009/10, the same as in 2008/09. Cllr Holdich thinks that more education of younger students may be required to stamp out racism at primary schools. He said: “Although to have this sort of thing going on at primary school level is not good news, I think it is good to see that these cases are getting reported. “Quite a lot of work is going into this issue from the SaferPeterborough Partnership and schools to tackle it, so it’s good to know that students and parents feel comfortable coming forward with it. “We have also got to ensure we are educating young children properly about this.”
Cllr Keith Sharp, whose North Ward has a high proportion of migrant families and varied ethnic backgrounds, agrees that there should be more education of youngsters - as well as parents. He said: “The problem is that some primary school age children are hearing things and learning things and they do not know that it is wrong. “We need to work hard with everybody, parents included, to make sure we have the education to create a proper, cohesive environment within Peterborough.”
FACTFILE on racist incidents
There were 167 racist incidents recorded at city primary schools in 2009/10.
In 2008/09, there were 83 recorded; with 121 recorded in 2007/08 and 132 recorded in 2006/07.
In high schools, there were 86 incidents in 2009/10. The highest in recent years was the 115 recorded at secondary schools in 2006/07.
Of the primary school incidents, 95 per cent were classified as “verbal abuse”; three per cent were “violent incidents”; two per cent were “non co-operation” and one per cent “parental”.
© The Peterborough Evening Telegraph
AT LEAST 87 KILLED IN NORWAY TWIN ATTACKS
Twin shooting and bomb attacks left at least 87 dead as a Norwegian gunman disguised as a policeman opened fire at a youth camp and a bomb blast tore through government buildings in downtown Oslo.
23/7/2011- "We have confirmation that at least 80 people are dead. We do not exclude a higher toll," police spokesman Are Frykholm told AFP, speaking of the shooting spree a summer school meeting of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's ruling Labour Party on Utoeya, an island outside the capital. Police had earlier confirmed that seven people were killed as a powerful bomb ripped through central Oslo -- where the prime minister's office and several government buildings are located -- and nine were critically injured. A 32-year-old Norwegian was arrested after the shooting spree. According to the TV2 channel, he has links to right-wing extremists and possessed two weapons registered in his name. Stoltenberg said the culprits would not intimidate one of Europe's most peaceful countries. "People have lived through a nightmare that very few of us can imagine," he said. "The coming days will show who is responsible and what kind of punishment they will get. "The message to whoever attacked us, the message from all of Norway is that you will not destroy us, you will not destroy our democracy and our ideals for a better world." nited States and European leaders immediately denounced the attacks and vowed solidarity with NATO member Norway -- an enthusiastic participant in international military missions that has forces in Afghanistan and is participating in Western air strikes in Libya. Stoltenberg had been due to give a speech on Saturday to the 560 people attending the youth camp on the island. Witnesses described scenes of panic and horror after the gunman, who police said was disguised as a police officer but never worked for the police force, opened fire on the youth gathering.
"I saw a lot of people running and screaming, I ran to the nearest building and hid under a bed," Emilie Bersaas, 19, told Britain's Sky News. "It is kind of unreal, especially in Norway... This is something we hear about happening in the US." Another young survivor, Jorgen Benone, said: "People were hiding behind stones. I saw people being shot... I felt it was best to stay quiet, not to run into the open. "I saw (the gunman) once just 20 to 30 metres away from me," Benone said, adding that he then swam to safety and was rescued by a boat. Norwegian police said they feared there could also be explosives on the island. Reports of the island shooting emerged shortly after a blast tore through the government quarter in central Oslo. Police said a "bomb" had been behind the "powerful explosion." "There are good reasons to believe that there is a link between the events," police commissioner Sveinung Sponheim told reporters in Oslo. Mayor Fabian Stang said the capital was struggling to come to terms with the idea that it had joined the list of cities targetted by bombers. "Today we think about those people living in New York and London who have experienced this kind of thing," he told Sky. "I do not think it is possible for us to understand what has happened today but hopefully we will be able to go on and that tomorrow Oslo will be a peaceful city again."
The prime minister's office and other buildings were heavily damaged, while sidewalks were covered in broken glass as smoke rose above the wreckage. A police spokesman said a vehicle had been seen driving at high speed in the area just before the explosion but did not confirm that the blast had been caused by a car bomb. Police had sealed off the area and urged residents to stay in their homes. UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the EU condemned the attacks and the NATO chief denounced them as "heinous." US President Barack Obama called the attacks "a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring." Related article:Obama urges anti-terror cooperation after Norway attack Norway's intelligence police agency (PST) said in February that Islamic extremism was a major threat to the country, describing it as "our main priority and our main concern." Norway, which counts some 500 troops in Afghanistan, has never suffered an attack at home by Islamic extremists. The Norwegian capital is also a well-known symbol of international peace efforts, home to the Nobel Peace Prize and the birthplace of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords.
Headlines 22 July, 2011
RACIST ATTACK ON LUTON MOSQUE (uk)
22/7/2011- Racist thugs vandalised a Luton mosque during the early hours of Friday morning. They spray painted “EDL” and a swastika – the symbol of Nazi Germany – on the walls, and smashed windows. Imam Shahid Ahmed from the Madinah mosque in Luton spoke to Socialist Worker about the attack. “We locked up the mosque at 11.30pm on Thursday night, everything was fine. When I returned at 4am for morning prayers I found the windows smashed. The words ‘EDL’ were painted on both sides of the mosque and a symbol [swastika] was also painted on one wall.” Bedfordshire police attended the scene and the council immediately removed the racist graffiti.
Shahid said that the racists who attacked the mosque are ignorant. “They have no understanding or respect for any religion,” he told Socialist Worker. “This is a place of worship. We live in a multicultural society. We have to respect each other.” Dave Barnes from Unite Against Fascism in Luton went to the mosque to offer solidarity. “The attack on the Medina mosque was exactly the same form of attack we saw on homes in Bury Park the night after the EDL protest in February – windows smashed and EDL painted on the walls. It is clear who is behind the attack. “We have to stand united against racism. This attack has made us even more determined to organise to get as many people as possible to Tower Hamlets on 3 September to take part in the national protest to stop the EDL marching through the heart of London’s Muslim community.”
© The Socialist Worker
50 RACIST INCIDENTS IN PLYMOUTH A DAY AS HATE CRIME INCREASES 60 PER CENT (uk)
21/7/2011- Plymouth has seen an increase of 60 per cent in “hate crime” in the past five years and now suffers an estimated 50 racist or religiously aggravated incidents every day, a new report claims. The city is one of three areas identified as experiencing particularly high levels of racist attacks which were analysed for the study, The New Geographies of Racism. Official figure show that the number of racist incidents reported to police rose from 224 to 359 between 2005 and 2010. However, according to experts working with people from black, minority and ethnic (BME) groups, under-reporting of offences means the actual number is much higher. Author John Burnett, from the Institute of Race Relations, said: “Some of these incidents have left people seriously injured, permanently scarred and in need of continuous medical treatment. “Others have involved burning or attacking people’s homes, work, or places of worship and others still have been part of concerted attempts to force people to flee the city.” The research was conducted via interviews with a cross-section of people working with racism and racial equality in Plymouth.
It draws on experience with asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers, gypsies and travellers, students and victims of racial violence. Ann Wilkinson, co-director of the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, said the issues were “complex and difficult”, adding that racism was “more overt” in Plymouth than places like London. “It is a very good report and I hope that institutions in the South West will read it and take notice of some the difficulties faced by people who live here,” she added. “Racism is more overt here – that’s not a personal view but one from victims of hate crime – and there has been a rise in Islamophobia, which is a worrying trend we need to keep an eye on.” The number of people from BME backgrounds in the South West doubled from 2.4 per cent to 5 per cent from 1991 to 2001, the report says. Plymouth began 2001 with a population of 1.6 per cent, but by 2006, according to the city council, this figure had risen to six per cent. Three years later, the Office for National Statistics showed the figure had risen to 9.1 per cent.
The demographic has changed since the city was designated an asylum dispersal area in 1999 and the expansion of the European Union has brought more migrant workers. Inspector Gary Neeves, a police local investigations inspector, said the police had detailed two detective constables to focus “purely on hate crimes”. He said the report recalled a decade and a half of the battle against racism in the city and was a “quite sobering” read. “There is still an awful lot of work still to be done and it will never be completed,” he added. “As a city we have become more diverse since 2001 and unfortunately some of those people will be subjected to racial abuse and crime.” “It is really regrettable in a modern city – we have to keep tackling offenders – it is about keeping our foot on the pedal.”
© This is Plymouth
21/7/2011- Police are investigating a hate crime against Southport’s Muslims after a pig’s head was thrown at Southport Mosque. The dead animal was found lying outside the mosque on the night of Wednesday July 6. It had been thrown over the wall of the place of worship on Sussex Road. The pig is particularly offensive to Muslims as they regard the animal as unclean. Islam bans them from eating or touching the animal. Police confirmed they were treating the incident as a hate crime which was being investigated by their specialist SIGMA team. A spokesman for the Sussex Road mosque told the Visiter the pig head attack was a one-off incident and they had not had any similar incident. “In general nothing of this nature has ever happened,” he said. “It was an isolated incident.” Detectives are now investigating and following leads from the attack. And last night Southport’s religious leaders united to condemn the attack.
Reverend Rod Garner from Holy Trinity Church on Manchester Road said: “It is disturbing, disappointing and disgusting. “We have to be vigilant so as to protect other religions and their faith.” He called on religions to learn from their own history and to teach tolerance. And Reverend Richard Vernon from the Lakeside Christian Centre on the Promenade said: “I’m saddened to hear that such a thing would take place. “It is disheartening to think people can behave like that. I’ve never heard of anything like that before. “Whatever people’s religious belief that kind of behaviour is to be condemned.” Police were called at 11.10pm to Sussex Road to reports a pig’s head had been thrown over a wall into the mosque’s grounds. The head of the dead animal was taken away for forensic examination. But the Visiter understands the incident was not caught on CCTV. Superintendent Kevin Johnson said: “Merseyside Police will always take robust action when investigating reports of hate crimes. “We are following up on some positive lines of enquiry in this case and we are confident that we will catch those responsible for this highly offensive act. “The force has a number of specialist SIGMA investigation teams, which are dedicated to investigating crimes targeted at minority and vulnerable groups. “One such team is leading this investigation and working with the relevant religious leaders.”
© The Southport Visiter
PENALISING WOMEN WHO WEAR THE BURQA DOES NOT LIBERATE THEM (opinion, CoE human rights commissioner)
Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudices continue to undermine tolerance in Europe. One symptom is the debate about banning the burqa and niqab in public places. In Belgium a law will enter into force on Saturday 23 July, which besides a fine provides for up to seven days of imprisonment for women wearing such a dress.
By Thomas Hammarberg
20/7/2011- France became in April this year the first country in Europe to prohibit full face veils, exposing anyone who wears the niqab or burqa in public to fines of 150 Euros and/or “citizenship training”. Some 30 women have been fined or prosecuted since the entry into force of the law. Loud voices in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland are demanding similar methods. And in northern Italy an old anti-terrorist (sic!) law against concealing the face for security reasons, has been used by some local authorities to punish women with full-cover veils.
Contrary to European human rights standards
One of the main arguments has been that penalising is in the best interest of the few women in Europe who wear the veil. It is being argued that the ban would help them to liberate themselves. There is very little to show that this would be the case. It is more likely that such laws – so obviously targeting the adherents of one religious faith – would further stigmatise these women and lead to their alienation from the majority society. Banning women dressed in the burqa/niqab from public institutions like hospitals or government offices may only result in them avoiding such places entirely. This is not liberation. A report from the Open Society Foundations reveals that since the debate on the face veil began in France, 30 of the 32 women interviewed for the report had experienced verbal abuse, and some had also been physically assaulted. As a direct result they have preferred to limit their time spent outside the home. In fact, the banning may run counter to European human rights standards, in particular the right to respect for one’s private life and personal identity. In principle, the state should avoid legislating on how people dress. However, there are particular situations where there are compelling community interests that make it necessary for individuals to show themselves for the sake of safety or to allow for necessary identification. This is not controversial and, in fact, there are no reports of serious problems in this regard in relation to the few women who normally wear a burqa or a niqab.
Sidetracking from much deeper problems
Rightly, we react strongly against any regime ruling that women must be dressed in full-cover veils. This is absolutely repressive and should not be accepted. However, the problem is not solved by targeting and penalising the women. The way the dress of a small number of women has been portrayed as a key problem requiring urgent discussion and legislation is a sad capitulation to the prejudices of the xenophobes. Such forces are certainly not undermined when others are adopting some of their terminology and attitudes. Much deeper problems of intercultural tensions and gaps have been sidetracked by the burqa and niqab discussions. In stead of encouraging this unfortunate discourse, political leaders and governments should take more resolute action against hate crimes and discrimination against minorities.
A NEAR MISS (Russia)
19/7/2011- Security at the Darkei Shalom synagogue in northern Moscow was surprisingly light on Friday, just three days after unknown attackers attempted to burn down the Orthodox synagogue in northern Moscow. Rabbi Dovid Karpov was preparing to address the congregation for the first time since the attacks. Life is quickly returning to normal in the congregation, despite the second attempted firebombing of the synagogue in several years.As the search for the culprits continues, Karpov said the attacks show that the extremist community is becoming increasingly desperate, and that he will try to resist locking down the synagogue with heavy security measures. “We’re not going to simply create and stay in places just for Jews; we are not going to return to the times of the pogroms,” he said.
Kostya, a heavy-set security guard at Darkei Shalom with a prominent tattoo covering his forearm, walked around the front of the small synagogue toward a corner facing the courtyard and the street. Standing just behind the fence, he reenacted the scene that took place in the early morning on July 12, when he had just finished his late night shift and was sitting in his car in the driveway. “They threw six bottles from here at that corner of the building; each of the ones that ignited hit with a bright flash of light. It all happened within two minutes. As soon as I realized what was happening, I ran out into the courtyard to chase them; but they had already taken off. There are a million places to hide around here. So I ran back to the building and we started throwing water from the windows to put out the flames,” he said, pointing up toward the scorch marks around the second floor window. “We knew that the building wasn’t in serious danger when we saw that none of the bottles had hit their target.” That, however, is a small miracle; the scorch marks stretch right up to the window on both the left and the right sides – a half meter in either direction and the second floor of the building could have been set ablaze.
Reactions to the attack Tuesday morning were swift, but with little information about the attackers, police so far have had not reported any progress in the case. While authorities have so far called the attacks “acts of vandalism,” Jewish community organizations have complained that an attack on the synagogue clearly constitutes an act of extremism. “The only thing that worries us is that the incident, for the time being, is being interpreted as hooliganism by law enforcement. Attacks against churches in general cannot be considered hooliganism – in any case this action is aimed at igniting religious hatred,” said a statement from the Federation of Jewish Congregations of Russia. In the media, the attack was quickly cited as retaliation for the sentencing of a set of ultra-right nationalists led by Lev Molotkov, accused of 27 ethnically motivated murders, who received a life sentence on Monday.
Heinous attacks against local synagogues and other religious institutions have taken place in Moscow in the past. Eight people were stabbed at Bolshaya Bronnaya synagogue in central Moscow in 2006. On New Year’s Day 2009, skinheads Anton Vasiliev and Konstantin Kucher went on a rampage across the Otradnoye neighborhood, throwing Molotov cocktails at the Darkei Shalom synagogue only after somewhat paradoxically drawing swastikas on the nearby Saint Nicholas Church. For inciting religious intolerance, along with murder, Vasiliev and Kuchkov were sentenced to 22 years and 13 years respectively.
Karpov agreed that Monday’s court sentencing and attempted firebombing were connected, yet noted that growing waves of aggression in young people had formed it into meaningless violence against religious and government institutions. “I was at one of the meetings with them about a half year ago. These were people who, when you look at them from outside, seemed completely normal. But they have all these thoughts crawling around in their heads they’re thinking in their own language. That’s why you see attacks like swastikas on a church. The violence is not aimed solely at one group. It lacks direction,” he said.
Karpov nonetheless called the attacks from outside the fence a “cowardly act,” which showed that extremists were scared to venture across the threshold of the synagogue. Asked whether he would consider installing additional security, including the type seen at synagogues like Bolshaya Bronnaya, he said that he did not see a need to do so. “Our security did what it was supposed to do,” said Karpov. “We rely on the government to provide protection for our synagogue, to battle xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and we ourselves should continue to practice our religion and go to the synagogue.”
© Russian Profile
LITHUANIAN HOLOCAUST SHRINE DEDICATED DESPITE VANDALISM
Jewish, Lithuania dignitaries gather in town of Plunge for dedication of memorial for more than 2,200 Jews murdered by the Nazis in 1941.
18/7/2011- A number of Jewish and Lithuanian dignitaries gathered on Sunday in the northwestern Lithuanian town of Plunge for the dedication of a memorial wall for the more than 2,200 Jews from the town who were murdered by the Nazis in 1941. The monument, built in the nearby village of Kausenai from the bricks of the ruined Plunge synagogue, was vandalized last week and was badly chipped and scratched, but it was decided to go ahead with the ceremony anyway and for the damage to be left as it was. Lithuanian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and former ambassador to Israel Asta Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene was in attendance as was Jakob Bunka, the only remaining Jewish resident of Plunge. Abel Levitt, an Israeli of Lithuanian origin who initiated the construction of the memorial, was also at the dedication service along with a number of people from the Jewish community of Vilnius. Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel director, said that while he was happy that the dedication had taken place, the vandalism is a sign of deep-seated resentment in Lithuania at being reminded of Lithuanian complicity in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.
The memorial for the Ponary massacres near Vilnius was also desecrated last week, with swastikas and offensive slogans daubed on the monuments. One of them bore the words “Hitler was right” in Russian, while the central memorial was spray painted with a picture of a penis, a phrase about oral sex and the words “128 million,” referring to the sum of money (in Lithuanian litas, $52 million) approved by the Lithuanian government in June for the compensation of Jewish property lost during the Holocaust. Approximately 100,000 people, including 70,000 Jews, were murdered in the village of Paneriai between 1941 and 1944. In a statement, the Simon Wiesenthal Center pointed to a recent international conference sponsored by the Lithuanian government at which violence launched by Lithuanians against Jews in at least 40 incidents before the arrival of Nazi troops in 1941 was denied. “If as was claimed at the recent historical conference held at the Seimas [Lithuanian parliament], Jewish historians… purposely lied about the scope of Lithuanian criminality during the Shoah, such desecrations of Holocaust memorials become almost understandable,” said Zuroff. “The ongoing government-sponsored and -financed distortion, minimization and downplaying of the critical role played by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators in Holocaust crimes has created an anti-Semitic atmosphere in which slogans such as “Hitler was right” seem natural.”
Also last week, a synagogue in Moscow was firebombed, causing minor damage and no injuries. The president of the Russian Jewish Congress, Yury Kanner, told the Russian news agency Interfax that the attack had been carefully planned. “The synagogue is in a place far away from metro stations and public transport stops. Those people knowingly chose the place and arrived there at night, bringing along incendiary bottles,” he said. It has been speculated that the attack was linked to the life sentences handed down by a Moscow court last week to five Russian neo-Nazis, although Kanner said he did not think the two should be linked or that it was evidence of growing anti-Semitism.
© EJP News
Hate crimes against Jews living in Malmö, in southern Sweden, are growing less common, reported Swedish radio station SR. The number of reported crimes are less than half as many as 2009's record-high number.
17/7/2011- At the same time, racist and islamophobic crime is on the rise in Sweden's third-largest city. During 2009, as many as 80 anti-Semitic hate crimes, taking the form of threats, violence, graffiti and harassment in schools were reported. The high number sparked an intense debate, and caused the Jewish organisation Simon Wiesenthal Centre to dissuade Jews from travelling to the city, warning of a high risk of harassment. New statistics from the Skåne police force show that anti-Semitic crime decreased sharply in 2010, with 33 reported cases. Susanne Gosenius, hate crime coordinator with the Skåne police, believes that 2009's high figure can be explained by a few exceptional circumstances that occurred that year. "We can see that the reports made in 2009 were derived from the events that took place in Malmö, for instance two major Israel demonstrations, and the Davis Cup, when Israel were here and played. Quite a few of the reports occurred walking to or from the demonstrations, or the Davis Cup games," she said to SR.
While anti-Semitic crime figures are dropping, Malmö hate crimes with racist or islamophobic motives have increased sharply. 167 racist hate crimes were reported in the city in 2009. One year later the figure was 302. Over the same period, islamophobic hate crimes increased from 7 to 40 reported cases. "My guess is that within the police we've become better at acknowledging them, and the media discussion that occurred the year before may have made people more likely to report crimes," said Susanne Gosenius. She underlines that special efforts have been made within the police force to educate about hate crimes. "We also have special hate crime investigators, and hate crimes are a prioritized subject for us." Malmö's Jewish community, while happy to see diminishing figures, continues to feel concerned about anti-Semitic sentiments in their city. "It's an established fact that there is an anti-Semitic current in Malmö. That hasn't changed from one year to the next," said Fredrik Sieradzki, spokesman for Malmö's Jewish community, who also takes care to note that while the crimes persist, the group responsible for them is very small.
© The Local - Sweden
Headlines 15 July, 2011
HATE CRIME STATS DOWN, SAY POLICE (uk)
15/7/2011- ntisemitic attacks in Manchester are bucking the trend and rising, while hate crime of other kinds is decreasing, according to the latest figures. Annual crime statistics released by the Home Office yesterday reveal that overall hate crime incidents fell in Greater Manchester by a dramatic 15.5 per cent between 2010 and 2011. But according to the Community Security Trust's latest figures, published in March, antisemitic incidents in Greater Manchester rose by around five per cent. There were 216 antisemitic incidents across Manchester in 2010, compared with 206 the previous year. The figure had already risen by more than 60 per cent from 125 in 2008. The Home Office figures now show that more than one in 20 of the region's recorded 3,711 hate crimes are directed against Jews, the highest ratio in recent years. The CST's antisemitic incident report for 2010 indicated that Manchester's Jewish community saw its highest ever number of attacks recorded. But the CST said that the increase is partly attributed to more reports reaching them, and improved data exchange with the police. The high figure comes against a backdrop of falling hate crime elsewhere. In London, both general hate crime and antisemitism have fallen dramatically, according to the CST and the Metropolitan Police. Although CST were not able to get a detailed breakdown of the Manchester figures at the time of going to press, its spokesman said: "CST believes that recent rises in Manchester's antisemitic incident statistics are largely due to co-operation and trust between the visibly Jewish community, local police and local CST. This relationship keeps on improving and has resulted in relatively good rates of reporting."
© The Jewish Chronicle
ARSON ATTACK AT FLAT IN HARRYVILLE, BALLYMENA, 'HATE CRIME' (uk)
12/7/2011- Police have said they are treating an arson attack in the Harryville area of Ballymena as a hate crime. Shortly before 0600 BST on Tuesday, a fire was started in a coal shed at a flat in Chichester Park West. It spread and damaged the front door of the flat. A couple and their baby escaped through an upper window. SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan said the family targeted were Slovakian and it was the second attack on foreign nationals in the area in recent days. In the early hours of Sunday, shots were fired at a house on the Larne Road occupied by Polish people. Of the latest attack, Mr O'Loan said: "This was an extremely serious incident and it could easily have led to death if one family member had not detected the fire on time. "I have no doubt that the fire was deliberately started and that the motivation was racial. "There are clearly persons active in Ballymena who are so consumed by racial prejudice that they are quite willing to risk lives."
© BBC News
RUSSIAN NEO-NAZIS FIREBOMB SYNAGOGUE (Russia)
13/7/2011- Neo-Nazis firebombed a synagogue near Moscow Tuesday less than 24 hours after members of the banned group were sentenced to jail. No one was hurt in the midnight firebombing of the Darchei Shalom synagogue, whose walls sustained damage. Police believe the attack was an anti-Semitic response to the sentencing of members of the banned neo-Nazi National-Socialist Society, the European Jewish Press reported. A Russian court sentenced members to prison terms of up to 10 years for 27 hate killings, attempted murders and a plot to blow up a electricity power plant. The defendants entered the court while yelling out anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi chants. Russia’s chief rabbi Adolf Shaevich responded to the attack, “We have a paradox now. There are many more believers in the country than before, but the spiritual and moral climate has not improved in any way. It is very sad when young people do such things. There could have been people inside, there might have been victims.” Two teenagers are suspected of having attacked the synagogue. The Federation of Russia’s Jewish Communities called on law enforcement bodies to view the incident not simply as hooliganism but as an attempt to ignite inter-ethnic hatred. “Such incidents make it clear that crimes committed on national or religious grounds are propaganda in action. We are concerned by the fact that the Moscow authorities qualify such acts as hooliganism,” claims the organization’s statement as quoted by RIA Novosti. “In any case, it is an act looking to provoke religious hatred. The aim of such acts is to intimidate people, to weaken the eagerness of society to fight nationalism and extremism.”
© Arutz Sheva
RUSSIAN NEO-NAZI GANG CONVICTED OF 27 MURDERS
12/7/2011- Four Russian neo-Nazis were handed life sentences on Monday for the murder of 27 youths in a 2007-2008 spree that shocked Moscow and led to tougher hate crime laws. The court also convicted several of the 13 gang members of terrorism for plotting a suburban Moscow train station bombing that was uncovered in time by the police. The court handed 10- to 23-year prison terms to eight members of the group while one person received a suspended sentence for cooperating with the investigation. The Nationalist-Socialist Society was a legally registered organisation when it began its hunt on young ethnic minorities who arrived in the Russian capital from southern Muslim republics and the Central Asian states. Russian media reports said at least one of the attacks was videotaped then distributed on Russian nationalist websites. An outcry from human rights groups over these and similar attacks prompted the Kremlin to call for a review of Russian nationalist groups' links to hate crime.
The Kremlin had initially provided informal backing to some of these organisations as part of its drive to improve young people's interest in politics. The Nationalist-Socialist Society was formally banned in February 2010 and several similar groups have since been forced to disband. But they maintain a strong presence on Russian social media networks and often manage to bring out large numbers of supporters for protests outside foreign embassy in times of diplomatic tensions with the West.
Monday's hearing received national media attention and saw the group walk into court chanting neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic slogans and repeatedly jeering the judge from the dock. One member of the gang wore a black t-shirt with a skull and bones while others wore surgical masks to hide their identities. Several had shaved heads. Presiding judge Nikolai Tkachuk quickly read through the 250 page verdict before delivering his sentence and calling gang leader Lev Molotkov "an extraordinary danger to Russian society". The father of one of the defendants broke down in tears after the verdict while the group chanted in unison: "Our conscience stands above the law." The neo-Nazi leader had pleaded not guilty. "We plan to appeal. This ruling was simply not objective," said defence attorney Maria Malakhovskaya. Her client -- a 21-year old unemployed man identified as one of the senior gang members -- received 20 years behind bars.
A recent spike in ethnic violence prompted the Russian authorities to crack down on neo-Nazi groups and ban some organisations that had operated in the open for years. The rise in ethnic tension in Moscow and other major cities spilled over in December when a massive riot broke out near the Kremlin following the murder of a nationalist supporter of a Moscow football club by a Muslim suspect. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin later raised eyebrows by visiting the grave of the slain football fan in the company of several nationalist organisations that took part in December's rioting. But both he and President Dmitry Medvedev have identified racism as one of the country's more pressing social concerns and chaired various meetings designed to address Russian xenophobia.
RUSSIAN CHIEF RABBI WANTS MEASURES AGAINST XENOPHOBIA (Russia)
12/7/2011- A multi-confessional state such as Russia must fight xenophobia and acts such as the attack on a Moscow synagogue on Tuesday night, Russian Chief Rabbi Adolf Shayevich told RIA Novosti. Two unidentified assailants threw four bottles with petrol at the Darkei Shalom Synagogue at Signalny Street. Shayevich pointed out that there are a lot more religious people today than there were in the USSR. Yet moral issues have become a major problem. He believes that the government must make efforts to prevent xenophobia. The Federation of Russian Jewish Communities urged law-enforcers to view the synagogue attack as an augmentation of interethnic tensions. The police view it as hooliganism.
© Vestnik Kavkaza
ARSON ATTACK ON ROMANI HOME WAS RACIALLY MOTIVATED, POLICE SAY (Czech Rep.)
13/7/2011- The Monday arson attack on a Romany house in Bychory, 60 kilometres east of Prague, was racially motivated, Central Bohemian police spokeswoman Sona Budska told CTK yesterday. The regional state attorney has filed racism charges against one of the four suspects, for which he can be sentenced up to 12 years in prison, if found guilty, Czech Television (CT) said. The remaining three youths who were detained in connection with the attack are facing the accusation of violence against a group of people and individual, which carries six months to three years in prison. At first, the police accused all four of attempted bodily harm in complicity along with racist motivation. A group shouting racist slogans was marching through Bychory in the night to Monday and one of its members threw a pole wrapped with cloth into the living room of a house inhabited by Romanies. The inhabitants managed to extinguish the torch within a minute. According to the media information, some of the youth suspects took part in a concert staged by ultra right groups and attended by some 200 extremists in Velky Osek, central Bohemia, on Saturday night.
The suspects are from Bychory and the surrounding area, the media has written. However, Budska did not confirm this. "All of this is being investigated," she said. She also declined to comment on the information that one of the suspects had attacked the Romany family before already, threatening it with killing one of its children. CT has said the suspicion that the arson was racist was corroborated by what one of the youths said on Facebook. Czech media started to more focus on attacks against Romanies after four young extremists attacked a house of a Romany family in Vitkov, north Moravia, with Molotov cocktails in April 2009. A baby girl nearly died, suffering terrible burns. The four men were given long prison sentences last year. Another case that came to the limelight last year was an attack against a Romany family in the Bedriska settlement in Ostrava, north Moravia. This time not racism but a neighbourly dispute was behind the attack.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
FLAMING TORCH THROWN INTO ROMANI HOUSE CAUSES NO INJURIES (Czech Rep.)
11/7/2011- An unknown perpetrator threw a burning torch into a Romany house in Bychory, 60 kilometres east of Prague, during the night but none of the persons in the house was injured. The night attack was probably racially motivated, Central Bohemian police spokesman Pavel Truxa said yesterday. A group shouting racist slogans was marching through Bychory last night and one of its members threw a pole wrapped with cloth into the living room of the house inhabited by Romanies. The inhabitants managed to extinguish the torch within a minute. Truxa said it is not known yet who is responsible for the attack. If a racially motivated attempt to severely injure the Romanies is proved, the perpetrators face up to 12 years in prison. Czech media started to more focus on attacks against Romanies after four young extremists attacked a house of a Romany family in Vitkov, north Moravia, with Molotov cocktails in April 2009. A baby girl nearly died, suffering terrible burns. The four men were given long prison sentences last year. Another case that came to the limelight last year was an attack against a Romany family in the Bedriska settlement in Ostrava, north Moravia. This time not racism but a neighbourly dispute was behind the attack.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
ANTI-LGBT VIOLENCE UP SIGNIFICANTLY (usa)
12/7/2011- From 2009 to 2010, there was an astounding 23% increase in murders of LGBT and HIV-affected people in the United States, with the second highest yearly total ever recorded by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Twenty-seven LGBT people and HIV-affected people were killed in 2010, according to the latest numbers from the NCAVP. Total incidents of violence, which include victims who survived, were up 13% from 2009 to 2010. The statistics found that LGBT people of color and transgender women were subject to a disproportionate number of attacks — 70% of the 27 murders in 2010 were LGBT and HIV-affected people of color, while transgender women made up 44% of the murder victims. Aside from providing the sobering statistics, the coalition issued recommendations to stop or slow the violence:
-Fund critically needed research and data collection on hate violence against LGBT and HIV-affected communities, their access to services, and violence prevention initiatives.
-Gather data about sexual orientation and gender identity in all federal, state, and local government forms.
-Create new public and private funding streams and target the use of existing funds to increase access to antiviolence services for LGBT and HIV-affected individuals, particularly for those disproportionately affected by hate violence — i.e. transgender people and people of color.
-Create programs and campaigns to reduce anti-LGBT hate violence. Prioritize the leadership of those most impacted by severe hate violence within these programs.
Stop the culture of hate through policymakers and public figures denouncing anti-LGBT violence.
The coalition is coordinated by the New York City Anti-Violence Project; the New York City group found that violence against LGBT and HIV-affected New Yorkers rose 11% from 2009 to 2010, and attacks happened in popular gay neighborhoods such as Chelsea and the West Village.
© The Advocate
RACIST KNOCKED OUT BY HATE-CRIME TARGET (usa)
A self-proclaimed skinhead was knocked unconscious by a black man after threatening to stab him last weekend in Bayview, Idaho, officials said Friday.
9/7/2011- Daren Christopher Abbey, 28, was booked into jail on malicious harassment charge after being treated at a hospital for facial fractures, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. Abbey is accused of threatening to stab Marlon L. Baker, 46, inside J.D.'s Resort July 3 in Bayview after telling him he didn't belong in the bar because he was black, said Lt. Stu Miller. Baker left the bar to avoid a fight, but Abbey followed to a marina about 300 yards away, called him racial slurs and again threatened to stab him. “He said black people don't belong in Bayview,” Miller said. Baker punched Abbey once in the face, knocking him to the ground unconscious. Sheriff's officials already were in Bayview patrolling the Independence Day weekend festival that included a boat parade that night. Miller said they arrived about 8:50 p.m. to find Abbey unconscious. Abbey apparently was unaware of the writing on the back of Baker's t-shirt: “Spokane Boxing Club champion.” “If he had been able to read that maybe he wouldn't have done that,” Miller said.
Spokane Boxing Club President Rick Welliver said Baker, who could not be reached for comment, is not affiliated with his organization and is not a boxer. Miller said Baker acted in self defense. “He felt threatened - there was an actual threat that was made that he was going to get stabbed,” Miller said. “(Abbey) actually followed him for quite some distance” Baker told deputies he punched Abbey instinctively as the skinhead approached, Miller said. Abbey has several neo-Nazi tattoos and told Coeur d'Alene police in 2004 that he was an “independent skinhead” who didn't like minorities, Miller said. The 2004 contact with police didn't lead to an arrest or citation, Miller said. Miller didn't have details on the reason for the contact but said Abbey's twin brother was there and said he wasn't racist but was in the area helping his brother look for work. Abbey, of Sacramento, Calif., said he lives as a transient in the Coeur d'Alene area after moving from Montana, Miller said. He remains in jail on $75,000 for felony charges of malicious harassment (Idaho's hate crime law) and battery.
© The Spokesman-Review network - blog
Headlines 8 July, 2011
YOUTH JAILED FOR EIGHT YEARS FOR ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE (Netherlands)
8/7/2011- A 19-year-old youth has been jailed for eight years for the attempted manslaughter of three gay men by a court in Maastricht. An 18-year-old youth was given 24 months in juvenile detention and a psychiatric prison term for the same offences. Stefano I and Tanusan S, both from Sittard, made contact with their victims via internet chat rooms. After setting up a meeting, the men were violently attacked. One was put in the boot of his car and driven to Germany where he was dumped. The car was set on fire. The court was told that Stefano I had had homosexual contacts for some time and started attacking gay men to prove he was straight.
© The Dutch News
HOSTILITY TOWARD OTHER NATIONALITIES IN KYRGYZSTAN POINTS TO TENSION IN SOCIETY
4/7/2011- The hostility demonstrated toward other nationalities in Kyrgyzstan primarily points to a common effect of some discontent and tensions in society, a member of Trend Expert Council Alexei Vlasov said. "This discontent is expressed in the form of ethnic distrust. The calmer the situation, the less xenophobia, nationalism," the deputy dean of the History Department at Moscow State University and the chief editor of the Vestnik Kavkaza Vlasov said. A scandalous incident involving a foreigner occurred in the shop "Beta Stores" in Bishkek. Gunes Yýlmaz, who worked a technologist there, beat a saleswoman, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan Cholpon Oruzbayeva. Later, the victim told that the the Turk expressed obscene proposal. That day, he shouted at the shop assistant because she refused from selling expired goods. Then he severely beat her. The injured person was hospitalized with internal injuries and internal bleeding. The abuser was arrested but soon released under house arrest. His location is unknown. Yilmaz is wanted. Turkish Beta Insaat Yatyrymchylyk firm leadership sent an official letter addressed to the Kyrgyz leadership. It complains about the pressure from certain youth groups.
The activists of several youth organizations demanded that the company owning "Beta Stores" to pay the compensation for the injured person. Moreover, they called to close stores of the network until Yilmaz is detained again. A protest action was held near one of Beta Stores. The participants voiced nationalist slogans and tried to break into the building. Vlasov said that the demonstrations in Bishkek had the character of requirements for the authorities to limit the arbitrariness of Turkish business and individual Turkish businessmen. "At the same time, the Turkish Foreign Ministry advises entrepreneurs who are working not only in Kyrgyzstan but also in other Central Asian countries, to behave properly and decently in terms of meeting its commitments to business partners, and in terms of public behavior to avoid incidents such as beating a woman in Bishkek's supermarket," he said. There is another issue that the aggressive style of Turkish business in Kyrgyzstan annoys many people. "This is typical not only for Kyrgyzstan. When the financial amount is not large, the government will be pleased to any money that is invested in the country. There is no way to selectively apply to investors.
Perhaps, when the situation in the country becomes more stable and the economic situation improves, lobbying the interests of Turkish business by Kyrgyz officials will unlikely to have the acute form. At present, the Turkish business, as Russian, is conducted according to the ideas. But the time will come when it will be conducted according to the law, he added. In general, the quieter the general situation in Kyrgyzstan, the less severe the political struggle. The situation in the field of interethnic relations is normalized. Vlasov said that it is wrong to think that the Kyrgyz people treat other people with suspicion. "It is just an index of the current level of political culture, an intense emotional state, rather than the natural features of the Kyrgyz people," he said. "The Kyrgyz people are tolerant and peaceful people, like other Central Asian peoples. But the circumstances and the course of political developments lead to a surge of emotions."
© TREND News Agency
COUNTER-DEMONSTRATION AFTER EDL DEMO VIOLENCE (uk)
Protesters are preparing to march against the English Defence League and Islamophobia following the beating of two Asian men during a far right demonstration.
8/7/2011- The Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) has called for a demonstration after the men were caught up in violence during an EDL protest against against plans to turn a disused butcher’s shop into an Islamic prayer centre in Green Lane, Dagenham, three weeks ago. Tomorrow’s protest, which is also directed at the police response to the incident, is expected to leave the Becontree Heath Islamic Society in Green Lane, Dagenham, at 11.30am . Protesters will then proceed to Chadwell Heath Police Station, where they will hand in a petition “from all the local residents to say that we want EDL off our streets and for an end to Islamophobia” according to the MPACUK Facebook page. CI John Davison said: “It is the police’s duty to facilitate peaceful protest and I am confident that we can police this event in an appropriate and orderly manner.” A police spokeswoman said: “The march/protest will be policed by one police inspector, three police sergeants and 18 police constables. “Further police resources are available should they be required. However, at this time, police anticipate a peaceful protest. “PS Gary Buttercase will be present to accept a petition from the demonstrators.”
© London 24
MEP SAJJAD KARIM CALLS POLICE AFTER FAMILY HOME 'TARGETED BY FAR RIGHT ACTIVISTS' (uk)
Police are investigating claims by north west MEP Sajjad Karim that his house was targeted by far right wing activists.
4/7/2011- Mr Karim says at least 40 members of the English Defence League gathered outside his family home at the weekend. He was forced to delay his flight to attend parliamentary business in Strasbourg this week due to safety fears for his wife and two children, aged eight and 11. He said: “There were at least 40 of them congregated and gesticulating for me to come outside. “Thankfully the police arrived quickly but I'm not convinced they are taking this seriously enough. “My primary concern is my family and I cannot leave them until I am satisfied they have the security they need. My children are petrified.” It is not the first time Mr Karim, a Muslim, has asked police to investigate 'race hate' claims. The letters BNP were written on the pavement outside his home, in the Lancashire village of Simonstone, last year. He also reported a string of abusive emails from activists. Mr Karim is the subject of several posts on the EDL Blackburn Division's facebook page. A Lancashire Constabulary spokesman confirmed they had dealt with an incident. She said: “An investigation has been launched to establish whether any offences have been committed and by whom.”
© The Manchester Evening News
ALMOST 2,000 CHILDREN ARE REPORTED FOR 'HATE CRIMES' (uk)
4/7/2011- Nearly 2,000 children in Scottish schools and nurseries were reported to their local education authority for "hate crimes" in the last three years, according to official statistics. Many of those accused of homophobia, racism and sectarian bigotry were merely toddlers. The figures were revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request. One expert described branding children at nursery as "racists" when they have only just learned to speak as "ridiculous". The figures reveal a total of 1,913 incidents of discriminatory or prejudicial behaviour were reported in Scottish nursery, primary and secondary schools in the three-year period. The vast majority were for racism and 1,150 involved children at primary school. Out of the 539 incidents logged in Glasgow, almost two-thirds were in primaries while nine involved toddlers at nursery. The overall total is likely to be even higher as five councils either refused to respond to the request for information or did not do so in the six weeks they are legally allowed to take.
Liz Smith, the Tory education spokeswoman, described the labelling of very young children as bigots as "unconstructive". A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the Equality Act 2010 places a duty on local authorities to actively deal with inequality. In virtually all the instances reported, the "offending" child's parent, parents or legal guardians were informed, while in others, pupils were suspended or excluded. In a handful of cases the police were called in. Josie Appleton, of the Manifesto Club, a civil liberties group, said: "The obligation on teachers to report these incidents to authorities is a waste of time. "Most are just kids falling out. They don't need re-educating out of their prejudice. "It also undermines the authority of teachers, who should be left to set the moral tone in classrooms themselves." She added: "Children at nursery have only just learned to speak, so the idea that they can be racist or homophobic is utterly ridiculous. "It's entirely appropriate for teachers to deal with these incidents, but in the vast majority of cases it should end there."
In England, following the introduction of the Race Relations Act 2000, schools were placed under a duty to report all racist incidents to their local authority, although many aspects of the law have been repealed south of the Border. In Scotland it is left up to individual councils to decide what to so, but the Scottish Government "encourages councils" to record the information. Many authorities, including the biggest, Glasgow City Council, record only allegations of racist abuse. Others ask schools for reports on racist as well as sectarian and homophobic confrontations. One council, North Lanarkshire, does not record the data. It was revealed last week that Central Scotland Police had reported three children from a high school in Stirling to the procurator-fiscal for alleged racist abuse towards university students on buses.
© The Scotsman
CROSS BURNING WON'T BE INVESTIGATED AS HATE CRIME (usa)
3/7/2011- Authorities with the Creek County Sheriff's Office say a cross burning that took place outside an all-black church in Sapulpa will not be prosecuted as a hate crime. It happened June 23rd outside St. John's Church near 161st Street South and Hickory Street. Investigators were able to locate and question three persons of interest in the case, including 18-year-old Uriah James Leach, who was cooperative with police and came forward with his involvement in the crime. Two others -- both juveniles -- were interviewed as well and police say they and their parents, too were very cooperative. While the sheriff's department said it considered the incident a hate crime, the U.S. Attorney's Office advised them late last week that the case would not be investigated as such and would be needed to be heard in state court. Leach could be tried in state court if the district attorney's office finds enough evidence to support the charges. The juveniles could be tried in juvenile court. Creek County Sheriff Steve Toliver says he credits neighbors for their quick response in reporting the crime and their cooperation with helping bring a sense of security back to the members of the church.