Headlines 26 August, 2011
LYNCH MOB BESETS ROMANI NEIGHBORHOOD, CZECH POLICE LET THEM
26/8/2011- Rumburk has been the scene of unrest today despite the supposed efforts of authorities to keep the peace. The "Civic Resistance" (Obèanský odpor) association, which is linked to someone who has previously organized neo-Nazi events in the town, convened a demonstration for today which the town hall banned. However, the Czech Social Democratic party has held its own public meeting at the same time and same place (17:00 CET) on the topic of security in the Šluknov foothills.
Approximately 800 people attended the officially permitted gathering. The crowd was cool toward Czech MP Foldyna (ÈSSD), with some even whistling their disapproval of him. Czech Senator Sykáèek (ÈSSD), who is also mayor, was whistled away from the podium almost immediately. Josef Mašín, a representative of "Civic Resistance", then took the microphone. The crowd responded to him enthusiastically, with thunderous applause at moments. His speech was a copy of the speeches previously given by members of the Workers' Social Justice Party (Demokratická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) in the towns of Krupka and Nový Bydžov earlier this year. He repeated the ubiquitous lie that the law is not being applied to everyone equally and that police are "minimizing the criminal activity of minorities". He also said local police do not investigate crime because they fear Romani people. His speech lasted eight minutes.
An unidentified demonstrator then plowed through the crowd, reached the microphone, and called for the lynching of the Roma. People set out into the streets as police stood by. When the demonstration was officially over, part of the crowd started marching to the locality where local Romani people live. This provocative march had not been announced to authorities in advance and had not been permitted as part of the demonstration, but that evidently did not bother the police, who did not even bother to accompany the crowd as it proceeded.
Timeline of ongoing events
19:42 Police have completely underestimated the situation and are calling for reinforcements to come to Rumburk, reports news server Deník.cz. An aggressive crowd is assembling near the Roma homes.
19:33 Police officers are preventing news server Romea.cz correspondents from doing their job. "We were photographing police officers arresting someone and officers wearing numbers 231340 and 318031 started preventing us from doing so even though we showed them our press passes. They are preventing us from reporting on what is going on here," our correspondent reports.
19:12 The crowd is back on the town square.
19:06 Aggressive ethnic Czechs have thrown tree branches at the Roma home. Czech Television reports that stones were thrown. Police have not intervened. The crowd is again on the move.
18:59 Ethnic Czechs have begun destroying public property. News server Deník.cz reports they have trampled a fence on the property of a Roma home.
18:50 - News server Deník.cz says police have finally intervened and started to disperse the ethnic Czechs.
18:48 - Our correspondent on the scene reports that one of the neo-Nazi marchers is wearing a firearm. Neo-Nazi marchers are now surrounding a Roma home. They are violating the law and restricting the Romani residents in their movements. Police are not intervening. The Romani residents are not responding to the provocation.
18:35 - News server Deník.cz reports someone has thrown a shoe out of a building where Romani people live.
18:31 - The unauthorized march is still proceeding through Rumburk chanting anti-Romani slogans. One member of the police anti-conflict team has told our correspondent on the scene that police officers will not intervene.
18:24 - Local daily Dìèínský deník reports that the gathering in Varnsdorf is now over. About 250 people were there. Organizer Lukáš Kohout is promising a march through the town on Wednesday 31 August.
18:15 - Our correspondent reports that several hundred demonstrators have returned to the Roma locality and are shouting anti-Roma, generalizing slogans. "There is not a single police officer in the crowd or on the horizon, not even a traffic cop, to say nothing of riot officers," he reports.
18.05 - Our correspondent reports that some of the demonstrators set out for the Roma locality, but that most of them soon returned, because the residents of the apartment buildings were holed up inside and no one was on the street. Police allowed those people, fired up by the call to lynching, to get all the way to the Roma homes without any police presence on hand.
17:41 - Demonstrators have set off into the streets as police watch.
17:33 - The daily Dìèín deník reports that a demonstrator has jumped onto the podium and started screaming into the microphone that people should take up pickaxes and pitchforks and take to the streets to address the situation themselves. The microphone was taken away from him.
17:30 - Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna has ended the assembly and called on people to disperse. They first whistled at him, now they are singing the national anthem.
17:22 - Our correspondent from Rumburk reports that half of the town square has whistled down Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna. Josef Zoser (Hnutí nezávislých za harmonický rozvoj mìst a obcí - the Movement of Independents for the Harmonious Development of Towns and Cities), who is the Mayor of Jiøetín pod Jedlovou and chair of the Šluknov Municipal Association, told the crowd: "We want the perpetrators to be published as soon as possible. We don't want our wires cut and holes everywhere from missing sewer hatches." People booed Mayor of Rumburk Jaroslav Sykáèek and wouldn't let him speak. Organizers then permitted a member of the extremist "Civic Resistance" (Obèanský odpor) organization to speak, who was applauded for repeating the usual lie that there is a double standard in place that favors the Roma.
17:21 - According to the daily Dìèín deník, more than 200 people are also out in the town of Varnsdorf for an unauthorized demonstration. After half an hour they were angered by a speech given by a Romani activist and started to make their disagreement with him known loudly. Riot police officers barricaded the entrance to the town hall and there has not been any violence there yet. Most of the crowd is comprised of local people who emphasized at the start of the rally that they do not hate Romani people but that they want crime addressed.
17:01 - The daily Dìèín deník reports that people are turning up on the square in Rumburk who were present during the attempted pogrom on a Romani-occupied housing estate in Janov in 2008. Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna (ÈSSD) and Mayor Jaroslav Sykáèek (ÈSSD) are on the scene. People have torn down one of the police tapes lining the square. The number of demonstrators is growing.
16:58 - About 300 people have gathered on the square. Our correspondent doesn't see any larger group of right-wing extremists, just individual extremists.
16:22 - Police President Petr Lessy, who has been visiting Šluknov district, is convinced the police will succeed. "We'll see how many demonstrators come, but we'll handle the situation," Lessy said. He is aware that many demonstrations are planned for today in the foothills, both announced ones and unannounced ones.
16:09 - Riot police are preparing for a possible intervention.
15:19 - Police have brought in a special Tatra 815 truck with a water cannon.
15:19 - Traffic police are monitoring the situation, including the trains. A police helicopter is also monitoring.
15:08 - More than 200 police officers will be on patrol today, according to police spokesperson Petra Trypesová.
15:01 - There are barricades on the square. Some shopkeepers are boarding up their display windows. Only a few people are here so far.
14:58 - Police are patrolling the border with Germany and searching cars driving into Rumburk from Dìèín.
14:42 - Instead of "Civic Resistance" (Obèanský odpor), which is linked to right-wing extremists, today's gathering in Rumburk is being organized by the Czech Social Democrats.
14:30 - For the time being, concerns that Rumburk might be invaded by racists have not been confirmed. At around 13:00 it was still calm in the town. Local Romani people, however, are afraid, and there are rumors in town that neo-Nazis from Germany will attend. Local Roma prevented the staff of news server Romea.cz from filming them because they do not want to become the targets of attack. Czech Police are patrolling the town and police vans are arriving on the main streets.
CALL FOR URGENT INVESTIGATION OF VIOLENCE BY POLICE AGAINST TRANSGENDER (Albania)
25/8/2011- PINK Embassy/LGBT Pro Albania, an organisation that works for the protection of LGBT community in Albania, wishes to express its deep concerns for the latest case of extreme violence used against a member of the transgender community in Tirana, Albania. On August 14, 2011 around 16:00 members of the State Police, accompanied by a private citizen, where investigating the theft of a necklace at the park near the Albanian Parliament. Amongst the people they were interviewing for the case was also a young man, who is friends with the transgender group, which lives by this park. When the police tried to detain the young man, they faced resistance by one of the transgender people called Paloma. The reaction of the Police towards Paloma was extremely violent, crossing all boundaries of its lawful use. A group of six police officers, one of them a woman, used totally unjustified violence which based on international acts ratified by Albania, could be classified as degrading punishment and torture.
Afterwards, Paloma was taken in custody at the Tirana Police Authority, where violence against her continued until she was totally covered in blood and had fainted. To avoid any bruises on the head and face, she was forced to wear a helmet, while kicking and punching continued all over her body. PINK Embassy / LGBT PRO Albania are in possession of pictures that show scars and bruises on her body. The Police took Paloma at Mother Teresa National Hospital (QSUT), where she received immediate aid and was then taken back to the police headquarters of Tirana. Throughout the entire detention, Paloma was not offered any legal assistance and was asked to sign documents without her consent. Paloma cannot read or write.
PINK Embassy calls on the Ministry of Interior and Albanian People’s Advocate to start an immediate investigation on the case and to bring to justice all the people in uniform who were involved in the torturing for endless hours a transgender person, putting her life in absolute danger. For years, the transgender community in Albania has suffered from marginalization and social exclusion. The community lacks support from Tirana Municipality and central government institutions. It is not the first time that PINK Embassy/LGBT Pro Albania publicly denounces the violence and maltreatment of transgender people in Tirana by the Police. Even though during the last months there has been an improvement in the way transgender people were being treated by the Police, the latest case shows that they further need to improve their professionalism and work behavior.
© ILGA Europe
23/8/2011- In Germany, a slight rise in anti-Semitic crimes has been noted in the second quarter of 2011, according to the federal government. From April to June, 215 incidents were registered by police, including four acts of violence against Jews and 41 cases of anti-Semitic hate propaganda. Three victims were injured in attacks. Five people were temporarily arrested and criminal investigations opened against 106 persons. In the first quarter of 2011, a total of 211 anti-Semitic crimes were registered across Germany.
Meanwhile, vandals struck Europe's largest Jewish cemetery in Berlin, stealing metal objects from graves. Jewish leaders in the city are now asking metal dealers in the region to check for wrought-iron objects that might have been stolen from the Weißensee graveyard, where 115,000 Jews were laid to rest between 1880 and 1998. Vandals recently damaged 16 graves and stole 47 items from Weißensee , located in the former eastern part of the German capital. Renovations on some of the tombs had been completed as recently as last April. The stolen items are worth about US$ 16,000. "However, the immaterial damage is much greater," the Jewish Community said in a statement on Monday. "Theft in general is a serious offense," Grigory Kristal, head of cultural affairs for the community, was quoted by JTA as saying. "But to destroy graves at the Jewish cemetery demonstrates a lack of respect and lack of understanding of the past."
Observers suggested the motive was profit and not anti-Semitism since specifically metal objects were removed. Such thefts reportedly are on the rise at cemeteries all over Berlin, from all religious denominations. Police patrols and surveillance have been stepped up at Weißensee. The community plans to contact metal dealers to warn them to be vigilant regarding sellers of potentially stolen goods.
© World Jewish Congress
MAN SUFFERS BURNS AFTER CAR SET ALIGHT FOLLOWING RACIST ATTACK IN STRETFORD (uk)
24/8/2011- A man suffered burns after his car was set alight following a racist attack in Stretford. The 25-year-old man was left with burns to his hands and face after discovering the red Ford Fiesta had been targeted by arsonists outside his home on Davyhulme Road East at 3am on Sunday morning. He is being treated in hospital and remains in a stable condition. Just hours earlier, at around 8.30pm on Saturday August 20, the owner of the car and the man’s 44-year-old partner, was the victim of a racist assault when a group of men racially abused her outside her house on Davyhulme Road East. Police are keen to speak to one of the people involved in the racist attack. He is described as white, between 16 and 19 years old, of medium build, between 5ft 7in and 5ft 9on tall. He had light brown cropped hair and was wearing a t-shirt with a skull logo and ripped jeans. Detective Inspector Ben Ewart, said: "I want anyone who witnessed the fire and/or the racial incident to contact police. "One person has been left with nasty injuries and the owner of the car has lost her transportation but such a reckless and dangerous act could have had even more severe consequences. "It is important the community works with us so the offenders can be brought to justice. "All information will be treated in strict confidence."
© The Messenger
EX-SOLDIER FROM BRIERFIELD RACIALLY ABUSED TWO GIRLS (uk)
20/8/2011- AN ex-soldier who abused two young Asian girls in the street has been given a chance to mend his ways. Former squaddie Aaron McKenzie, 22, even rode a bike at the youngsters, during the incident in Colne Road, Burnley, the town’s crown court was told. The girls did not report McKenzie to police but eyewitnesses alerted the authorities and he was later identified via CCTV footage, the court heard. McKenzie’s counsel Phillip Holden said his client had suffered difficulties after a close friend was killed on duty while serving in Afghanistan. The court heard he could offer no explanation for his behaviour, as he held no animosity towards the girls’ ethnic origins, but he had been drinking heavily beforehand. McKenzie, of Albion Street, Brierfield, admitted putting Amna Rasul in fear of violence by using racially aggravated behaviour. He was given a 52-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with a six-month supervision order. Passing sentence, Judge Beverley Lunt said: “There no question that this is a rather unusual set of circumstances in so far as you are 22, without any previous convictions, and have served in the army for two years, until your friend was killed in action. “Then you engineered a dishonourable discharge but I accept that you were having difficulties. "Your explanation of the events on this day, with the two young girls is that you just broke.” The judge said that, if jailed, with his background, he would probably be released within weeks on an electronic tag and faced losing his job and home. Mr Holden said McKenzie now worked as a bricklayer for a local construction firm and was on the verge of being offered an apprenticeship.
© The Lancashire Telegraph
Headlines 19 August, 2011
VANDALS SPRAY JEWISH MEMORIAL IN OSTRAVA (Czech Rep.)
14/8/2011- Unknown vandals sprayed a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Ostrava at the weekend, police spokeswoman Gabriela Holcakova has told CTK. "The perpetrators sprayed the memorial with specific symbols. The material damage has not yet been quantified," she said. The police are investigating the case as hooliganism, damage to other's thing and defamation of a nation, race and an ethnic or other group of persons. "The perpetrators face up to two years in prison," Holcakova said.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
MUSLIMS START PETITION FOR TOLERENCE (Belgium)
13/8/2011- An association that brings together progressive Muslims has launched a petition in defence of multi-culturalism in society. The petition calls for greater tolerance and more openness and has come about after a Belgo-Moroccan couple suffered verbal abuse and physical abuse at the hands of Muslim youths. The incident happened last week around the Liedtplein, in the Brussels Municipality of Schaarbeek. The woman, who is of Moroccan descent, was verbally abused by youths in front of her white Belgian husband. The youths accused her have having broken the Ramadan fast as well as firing off a volley of abuse too crude to be repeated here. Later the couple’s front door was forced and the woman was struck by one of the youths. The Francophone Muslim organisation ‘Musulmans Progressistes’ launched the petition to show its distain at the verbal and physical abuse suffered by the couple. The organisation believes that “those in favour of a multi-cultural society, particularly those with a Muslim background need to be mobilised in defence of a peaceful and culturally diverse society.”
© The Flanders News
19/8/2011- A member of a far-right group threatened to burn down mosques during a drunken rant in Halifax town centre, a court heard. Andrew Ossitt, 40, from Newquay, came to Halifax on April 2, along with around 60 other English Defence League protesters. He was part of a group who came into town after a demonstration in Blackburn. They congregated outside the Courtyard pub, Wards End, Halifax. Another man, Dennis Farrell, 26, of High Lees Road, Halifax, also appeared at Calderdale Magistrates’ Court. He will face trial on November 3 after denying two charges of using threatening words and racially or religiously aggreviated harassment. Scores of police went to the pub at 6pm and marched the group back to the train station.
Vanessa Schofield, prosecuting, said: “Officers’ attention was drawn to Andrew Ossitt. He was walking along, slightly behind the group. He raised both arms in the air and shouted, ‘These are our streets, Muslims off the streets,’. Ossitt admitted using threatening words to cause harassment alarm or distress and a second charge of religiously aggravated harassment and was fined £100. Mohammed Farooq, representing Ossitt, told the court although he joined in with chanting, he was not an instigator. He said: “At no point was it his intention to be part of any demonstration outside the pub. A few members began chanting, a few more joined in. Due to him being in drink at the time he began to chant ‘You burn the poppies, and we will burn the mosques,’.
“Andrew Ossitt says at the time of making these remarks he did not feel he was going to cause anyone any alarm, harassment or distress. With hindsight he said had there been members of the Muslim community there, they would have done.” His solicitor said Ossitt felt “aggrieved” at being prosecuted. “He has been singled out from that demonstration and used as a scapegoat here in court. He has said there should be 60 or so EDL stood next to him,” said Mr Farooq He said Ossitt has not attended any English Defence League meetings since April. As well as the £100 fine, chairwoman Anthea Atkinson told Ossitt to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. “Our aim is to punish you, which we believe this will do. “If this offence had not been religiously aggreviated, you would have paid £30 but it has been increased to reflect the religious aggreviation,” she said.
© The Halifax Courier
15/8/2011- A new report by One Law for All explores how the far-Right has attempted to hijack opposition to Islamism for its own ends. It focuses on the British National Party, the English Defence League and Stop Islamisation of Europe/America, and exposes how their activities, associations, opinions and intentions reveal a racist and inhuman worldview, which must be resisted and criticised with as much vigilance as Islamism itself. See report here.
Enemies Not Allies features:
# Evidence of the BNP’s relationship with neo-Nazi and ‘white’ supremacist groups and individuals, including Blood & Honour, Combat 18 and former Klansman David Duke.
# Proof that the BNP’s leadership believe Islamism is ‘the threat that can bring [them] to power’, and examples of how they have tried to use it for political gain.
# Evidence of how senior BNP members have praised the National Front, applauded acts of violence and expressed ‘nostalgia’ for ‘Germany in the 1930s’, while its election candidates have made racist comments and fought with Asian youths.
# Interviews with former members of the English Defence League who left due its bigotry and racism towards Muslims, which they believe is endemic and ‘increasing’. # Evidence of EDL spokespeople, including leader Tommy Robinson and Guramit Singh, making racist and bigoted comments, as well as justifying or endorsing violence.
# A history of the umbrella group Stop the Islamisation of Europe and evidence of its racism and bigotry, as well as its collaboration with European neo-Nazis.
# Evidence of Stop Islamisation of Europe/America’s racist and alarmist literature and its promulgation of conspiracy theories.
# Documentation of Stop the Islamisation of Europe’s defence of and support for Serbian fascists and war criminals, including Stop Islamisation of America’s explicit denial of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.
The recent massacre in Norway carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, (who praised the groups discussed in this report), has placed a spotlight on the new ‘Islamisation’ and ‘Crusader’ strain within far-Right politics, and the groups and individuals who promote its conspiratorial worldview. One Law for All’s new report by Adam Barnett and Maryam Namazie provides crucial evidence for the struggles ahead, and argues for greater care in distinguishing between allies and enemies.
© One Law for All
Headlines 12 August, 2011
POLL: ONE-TENTH OF HOMOSEXUALS IN CZECH REPUBLIC FACED WITH PHYSICAL HARASSMENT
11/8/2011- One tenth of gays, lesbians and bisexuals have been physically attacked over their sexual orientation in the Czech Republic, some of them even mor times, according to a poll presented at the festival of sexual minorities Prague Pride yesterday. Most of the attacked did not report the case to the police, poll author Olga Pechova, psychologist from Palacky Univeristy in Olomouc, north Moravia, said. The poll was conducted on 496 people from the community aged 15 to 60 in the autumn of 2008. Pechova said the Czech Republic keeps no official data on the number of crimes motivated by hatred of people with a different sexual orientation. "This may give rise to the impression as if there wee no victims of violence over sexual orientation," she said. The poll showed that men are more frequently target of violence. The attackers are mostly unknown people, but also fellow pupils, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours and relatives have appeared among them. In two cases violence was even committed by police. Only three out of 55 victims reported the violence. "Some 94 percent of victims did not contact the police at all," Pechova said.
She said the most frequent reason was mistrust of police. The polled said the police would not investigate anything and that many of them are homophobic. The attacked also feared being ridiculed and their case being challenged, Pechova said. People from small towns or villages did not want their vicinity to learn about their sexual orientation, Pechova said. The poll participants described their experience. One gay said he was beaten up because he was allegedly trying to chat up a young man. Afterwards, he was beaten by a group of people who were allegedly enjoying themselves attacking homosexuals. "I am afraid of going alone," the gay wrote. A lesbian woman said she was once attacked by drunk football fans, another time a man beat her up in a restaurant because she was sitting on the knees of her girl friend. A bisexual woman said her man friend beat her up when she wanted to part with him over a woman. More than one third of gays, lesbian women and bisexuals said they were the target of bad language and other verbal attacks. Some even said their property was damaged, for instance, someone scratched their car. People who have become target of homophobia can turn to the Justyna guidance center in the Czech Republic.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
ANOTHER ARSON ATTACK ON ROMANI HOME (Czech Rep)
10/8/2011- An unknown perpetrator attacked a house inhabited by Romanies with a Molotov cocktail in Krty yesterday, and one man was lightly injured, but the fire was extinguished immediately, local police spokeswoman Sona Budska has told CTK. A similar case occurred recently in Bychory, central Bohemia, where a burning torch was thrown into a Romany house. No one was injured. The incident in Krty occurred at 1:00 CEST in the night. "Someone threw a Molotov cocktail into a railway house where some 12 decent Romanies who cause no problems are living," Budska said. One of the inhabitants suffered leg burns probably when he was extinguishing the fire, she added. The police are investigating the case on suspicion of an attempt to cause serious bodily harm for which the perpetrator would face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty. "So far we cannot clearly say that the case was racially motivated," Budska said without elaborating. Another person lived in the house until recently and the police do not rule out that the attack might have targeted the Romanies by mistake.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
HATE CRIMES AGAINST BRITAIN'S DISABLED ON THE RISE
Disability related hate crime has increased by 75% in the UK as campaigners blame Britain's tabloid newspapers for stirring up hatred against disabled people because of the way they vilify people on welfare.
8/8/2011- Charity groups in Britain say there is growing evidence that disabled people are increasingly the targets of abusive comments or aggressive behavior. British charity “Scope” says that over the last two years, disabled people have reported a 50 percent increase in verbal abuse and intimidation on London's public transport. Recently, the organization's chairwoman, Alice Maynard, who has a neuromuscular impairment and uses a wheelchair, admitted she was regularly sworn at when using the London Underground. Other support groups have reported worse incidents. "When you hear stories of people being tipped out of a wheelchair. That frankly beggars belief. Why would anyone actually do that?" David Congdon from the charity Mencap told Deutsche Welle. "Being spat at in the street, having things pushed through their letterbox. All those sorts of awful things that go on far too often, we want to stop," he added. “What we know from talking to people with a learning disability is that too many of their lives are destroyed by the constant harassment that goes on.”
Tabloids to blame?
Campaigners say Britain’s tabloid press has played a role in aggravating hostility towards disabled people. Even as public spending cuts have hit people on welfare hard, some tabloid newspapers in recent months have played up so-called disability benefit fraud. Some have even portrayed disabled people as "work shy" and as "spongers.” One story of a 37-year old claimant, who said she needed crutches to assist with walking but was later seen skydiving, was widely written about. While campaigners say there is invariably fraud within the welfare system, they point out these types of stories are unfair on the majority of people with disabilities because they reinforce stereotypes and spark resentment against some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Signs of progress
While newspapers may be amplifying prejudices that already exist, journalist Katharine Quarmby and author of the book “Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People” thinks police forces are beginning to take the issue of disability-related hate crime more seriously. "Four years ago, many police officers didn't even know that disability hate crime existed. They certainly do now," Quarmby told Deutsche Welle. "Most of them have to do training for it. Prosecutors have to undertake mandatory training so they can apply the law and ask judges to enhance sentences." In the last few years, the number of recorded cases in the UK has risen dramatically. The most recent figures, in 2009, show a 75 percent increase in one year. Quarmby says much of that is the result of better reporting of the crimes. According to her, Britain now leads the world in identifying, prosecuting and challenging disability-related hate crimes.
Victims of 'mate crime'
But there's still a long way to go. In 2007, one of Britain’s worst cases of hate crime against disabled people made the headlines and sparked a huge public debate. Fiona Pilkington, 38, killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, following 10 years of sustained abuse and harassment by a gang in Leicestershire. In the case of Steven Hoskin from Cornwall in south-west England, the 38-year -old, who had profound learning difficulties, was befriended by five people who went on to torture him. They force fed him 70 painkillers and made him jump to his death from a 100-foot bridge. "So many people with learning disabilities in particular are groomed, exploited and eventually attacked by people who they consider to be their friends," said Quarmby. Quarmy has also written about 'Tuesday friends', where so-called buddies visit disabled people on the day their welfare check arrives in the post, encouraging them to part with most or all of their cash. Other campaigners too are determined to ensure that hate crimes don't go unpunished. The charity Mencap has launched the 'Stand by Me' campaign to encourage even more disabled people to report hate crime. They've called on British police forces to continue to improve the way they respond to these sorts of attacks and how they handle the victims. They say it's about time certain sections of the British public changed their attitudes towards the plight of disabled and learning disabled people.
© The Deutsche Welle
ISRAELI RECEIVES ANTI-SEMITIC MESSAGES FROM EBAY SUPPLIER (uk)
Rosh Ha’ayin resident discovers the words Hitler, Jude, and SS scrawled on invoice for book he received delivered from an outlet in UK.
8/8/2011- An Israeli eBay customer was shocked to discover anti-Semitic messages scrawled on the invoice for a book he received on Wednesday, delivered from an outlet in the UK. Michael Romano, 24, from Rosh Ha’ayin, opened the package containing his new book to discover that someone had drawn swastikas on the receipt and written the words Hitler, Jude, and SS on it. The Thames Valley Police, under whose jurisdiction the incident falls, has confirmed that it is being treated as a hate crime under the UK Malicious Communications Act of 1988 and that an investigation is currently underway. The book was bought through an eBay supplier called Brit Books based in Buckinghamshire.
Operations manager for Brit Books, James Acquaroli apologized for the incident and told Faith Romano, Michael’s mother, that the company is conducting an internal investigation and has also reported the matter to the police. “It had to be someone from the supplier because the package had not been tampered with,” said Faith Romano. “Clearly what’s happened is someone’s seen that the package is going to Israel and decided to pass on their little message. Living in Israel, we never experience anti-Semitism, and Michael, for the first time in his life, felt threatened for being a Jew, which he has never had to deal with before.” EBay also apologized for the incident, calling it “extremely regrettable.”
© The Jerusalem Post
Headlines 5 August, 2011
TORONTO SYNAGOGUE DEFACED WITH SWASTIKAS (Canada)
5/8/2011- Toronto Police are investigating several swastikas spray-painted around the city in recent days. A red-and-black stenciled Swastika was found on the wall of the school of Beth Tikvah Synagogue, a Conservative congregation in Toronto, Friday morning. The words "Islam will Rule" were scrawled underneath the symbol. Police are currently reviewing footage from a video camera to identify the vandals. Two similar swastikas have been painted nearby this month, one outside a Korean-language church. In a letter to congregants, Beth Tikvah's rabbi, Jarrod Grover, wrote "This kind of hatred has no place this street, in this city, or in this country." He asked Muslim leaders "to speak out against anti-Semitism and vandalism." “We will remain vigilant in the wake of this disturbing and offensive event,” said the CEO of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, Shimon Fogel, in a statement. “We know that this outrageous act will be condemned by Canadian Muslims and members of all faith communities who share our commitment to security, peace, and respect for all faiths.”
© JTA News
ASSOCIATION TO SET UP CENTER TO MONITOR HATE CRIMES (Turkey)
The Social Change Association, established to fight ethnic, religious, regional and sexual discrimination, has announced that it will be setting up centers to monitor hate crimes in Turkey.
4/8/2011- The association's Hate Crime Monitoring Center will be supported by the Stop Nationalism and Racism Initiative. According to association officials, the center will use the organizational model of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The association has said the center will start functioning later this year. Its primary duties will be monitoring and publishing reports on hate crimes, which will then be submitted to the government and judicial institutions to contribute to a solution. Work to launch the center has been under way since the end of 2010. The center will fill an important gap, both in Turkey and the world, as there are not many examples of mechanisms or institutions that monitor hate crimes alone. In September, the Social Change Association will release a guide explaining its methodology. This document will serve as a roadmap for individuals and groups that will work with the center.
Levent ªensever, secretary-general of the Social Change Association, said they have long been working on the guidelines that will shape the center's monitoring policies. ªensever said the center will report on specific and individual events, such as the Selendi incidents in which locals attacked a Roma neighborhood in Manisa, the concert where Kurdish singer Aynur was booed for singing in Kurdish or when a young man was killed in a bar for singing in Kurdish. ªensever said the reports will be presented to the prime minister, the Justice Ministry, members of the government and national and international agencies. The group will also advocate adopting legislation against hate crimes. Experts from the OSCE's Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights as well as US-based civil society groups also support the center's activities, ªensever said.
OSCE received only 250 complaints from Turkey
According to a 2009 OSCE report on hate crimes based on information from 56 member states, the Justice Ministry of Turkey only reported 250 cases of hate crime. In 242 of these cases, the perpetrator was found guilty and punished. England, on the other hand, reported 57,000 cases, more than 13,300 of which were investigated and about 10,000 of these resulted in legal consequences for the perpetrator. ªensever says the difference in the numbers reported by Turkey and the UK is enough to show why a hate crime center is urgently needed in Turkey.
© Today's Zaman
HAARLEM LESBIAN COUPLE RECEIVED DEATH THREATS (Netherlands)
A lesbian couple from Haarlem has filed a report with the police after receiving death threats.
4/8/2011- Their neighbour has been calling them names ever since they moved to Haarlem in 2008. Two weeks ago they saw her talk to a man who has been hanging around their house ever since. The couple no longer feels safe in their own home. The Haarlem police have confirmed that a report has been filed. The couple has also filed a complaint with their housing association, which offered them a different, but more expensive place to live. The couple rejected the association’s offer because it did not meet their requirements. The housing association refuses to comment on the issue. In a separate development, the police in the city of Utrecht on Tuesday arrested three men for gay bashing. The three allegedly insulted, spat on, and threatened a man because of his sexual persuasion.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
GERMAN JUSTICE SLAMMED IN HONOR KILLING STUDY
What drives families to commit 'honor killings?' Who are the killers and where do they come from? A new study commissioned by the German police has found that the killers are almost always first-generation immigrants from poor backgrounds, that cases aren't increasing and that courts are making mistakes in their handling of them.
2/8/2011- In March 2009, 20-year-old Gülsüm S. was killed by her father and her brother. The men hit her in the face with branches and pieces of wood in an assault so brutal that it was difficult to identify her body. The Kurdish woman had to die because she was no longer a virgin. Because she had had an abortion. Because the family felt dishonored by her actions. In 2005, Hatan Sürücu was killed with several shots to the head -- fired by her brother. Who are the killers? Why do they kill? How does the German justice system punish them? A study by the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, which has been obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE ahead of its release, provides the most comprehensive overview yet of so-called "honor killings" in Germany. The researchers investigated 78 cases with 109 victims and 122 perpetrators. Commissioned by the German Criminal Police Office (BKA), criminologists Dietrich Oberwittler and Julia Kassel spent three years researching "honor-related homicides in families and partnerships between 1996 and 2005." The 250-page document outlines crimes of staggering brutality, such as the 22-year-old Turkish man who killed his younger sister by stabbing her 46 times because she had separated from her husband. Or the Jordanian whose underage daughter had to die because she rejected her boyfriend. The researchers pored over court documents and BKA files, and combed through newspaper archives. "There has never been such an empirical overview of honor-related killings in Germany," said Oberwittler, the head of the research team.
Number of Killings Not Increasing
The study refutes a widely-held view that the number of honor killings in Germany is increasing. While the numbers vary from year to year -- there were two in 1998 and 12 in 2004 -- the average has remained at between seven and 10 cases per year. The huge spike in media coverage of such cases has created the false impression that they are on the rise, the researchers say. Virtually all such homicides are linked to the "lack of female submission to the control of a patriarchal family will," the study says. The woman's choice of partner is supposed to be a matter for the family. If she resists, she is seen as besmirching the "honor" of her parental home. The researchers distinguish between four types of cases:
# The victim's failure to stay in a "legitimate" partnership by being unfaithful, planning to separate or actually separating. In 43 of the cases examined, this was the motive for the killing.
# An "illegitimate" partnership by the victim such as a premarital sexual affair or pregnancy. Or a partnership with the "wrong" person. This was the motive in 25 of the 78 killings investigated.
# A victim's desire for independence. An excessively "western lifestyle," or a refusal to adhere to family traditions regarding family and marriage. This was the motive cited behind 20 killings.
# Other reasons that don't fit in the above three categories, such as the rape of a woman which is seen as having brought shame on the family. The researchers looked into eight such cases.
In many cases several people, mostly family members, committed the killings together. At first sight, the large number of male victims is surprising. A total of 43.1 percent of honor killing victims were men. However these were in most cases "additional" victims that were killed alongside the "actual," female victims. That means that the killers were targeting a woman and killed her friend/partner/lover at the same time. Most of the victims were young. More than half were aged betweem 18 and 29. Seven percent of victims were underage, the remainder were 30 and over.
Problem is 'Serious, But Limited'
The killers tend to be older, with 32 percent aged 40 and over. Most of them -- 76 of 122 -- were of Turkish descent. People from Arab states and from the former Yugoslavia come a distant second and third. Fewer than 10 percent of the killers were born in Germany and only 7.6 percent had German citizenship. Honor killings are hardly ever committed by second or third-generation immigrants. This, says Oberwittler, is a sign "that integration is working in Germany. The problem of honor killings is serious, but limited." More than a third of the killers were unemployed. Most of the remainder were poorly educated and in manual jobs. The study says German courts are in many cases failing to adhere to the ruling by the Federal Court of Justice that honor killings be treated as having "base motives," which tends to lead to more severe sentences. But in fact, base motives were only determined for 28 out of the 87 people convicted. In around 40 percent of cases, the honor killing aspect wasn't even addressed. In 15 cases, the judge even deemed the "honor" motive as a cause for leniency. "Those are mostly cases in which the family environment exerted a lot of pressure on individuals. Younger perpetrators have been influenced in that way. They are often people who haven't been in Germany long," said Oberwittler. The research team based its study on strictly empirical research. But Oberwrittler is aware that the results could fan prejudice against immigrants in Germany. That is why he stresses: "Such crimes are almost exclusively committed by a small, poorly integrated underclass. The 'honor killing' is in no way typical behavior for the Turkish community in Germany."
© The Spiegel
FEARS OF FAR-RIGHT RISE IN CRISIS-HIT GREECE
1/8/2011- They descended by the hundreds – black-shirted, bat-wielding youths chasing down dark-skinned immigrants through the streets of Athens and beating them senseless in an unprecedented show of force by Greece’s far-right extremists. In Greece, alarm is rising that the twin crises of financial meltdown and soaring illegal immigration are creating the conditions for a right-wing rise – and the Norway massacre drove authorities to beef up security on Monday. The move comes amid spiraling social unrest that has unleashed waves of rioting and vigilante thuggery on the streets of Athens. The U.N.’s refugee agency warns that some Athens neighborhoods have become zones where “fascist groups have established an odd lawless regime.” Greek police on Monday said they have increased security checks at Muslim prayer houses and other immigrant sites in response to the Norway shooting rampage that claimed 77 lives. “There has been an increase in monitoring at these sites since the events occurred in Norway,” said police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis. Greece’s fears are shared across Europe. Last week, EU counter terror officials held an emergency meeting in Brussels on ways to combat right-wing violence and rising Islamophobia, warning of a “major risk” of Norway copycats. The massacre by Anders Behring Breivik prompted continent-wide soul-searching about whether authorities have neglected the threat of right-wing extremists as they focus on jihadist terror.
Greece, however, may be particularly worrisome because of the intersection of extreme economic distress and rampant illegal immigration, which can create fertile ground for the rise of rightist movements. Immigrant scapegoating has been rife here as unemployment balloons amid economic catastrophe. Even as Greece flounders under mountains of debt, illegal immigrants have been streaming into the country across the Turkish border – turning Greece into the migrant world’s gateway to Europe. Last year, Greece accounted for 90 per cent of the bloc’s detected illegal border crossings, compared to 75 per cent in 2009. The UNHCR and Muslim groups say hate crimes have risen sharply, although police do not have hard numbers. The xenophobic rage exploded in May, when youths rampaged through a heavily immigrant neighborhood in broad daylight, knifing and beating foreigners. The attacks left at least 25 people hospitalized with stab wounds or severe beatings. Athens has since suffered a spate of hate attacks by far-rightists. Last November, the leader of a neo-Nazi group won a seat on Athens’ city council, with an unprecedented 5.3 per cent of the vote. The UNHCR warns of daily attacks by fascist groups in central Athens. “There has been a dangerous escalation in phenomena of racist violence targeting indiscriminately aliens, based solely on their skin color or country of origin,” the UNHCR wrote in a June report. “In certain areas of Athens, cruel and criminal attacks are nearly a daily phenomenon staged by fascist groups that have established an odd lawless regime.”
Immigrants testify to the growing atmosphere of hostility.
“I receive threats all the time,” Naim Elgandour, the Egyptian-born head of the Muslim Association of Greece, said in an interview. “Things have gotten much worse lately. It’s an alarm bell from the rest for Europe,” he said. “There may be 5,000 hardcore extremists in Athens, they are gaining sympathy and tolerance by the day.”
Mr. Elgandour said at least 10 makeshift mosques – basements and coffee shops converted by immigrants to use as prayer sites – have been damaged in firebomb and vandalism attacks in the past year. Under the strain of fast-growing unemployment and new immigrant arrivals, once middle-class neighborhoods north of the centre are turning into a rightist-ridden slums. Police with machine guns guard intersections, white brothel lights line narrow back streets, and young men from violent far-right groups sit casually in squares, sipping cans of beer and hoping to intimidate immigrants. Police spokesman Mr. Kokkalakis said violence by far-right groups has seen “periodical increases” but lacked numbers to point to a trend. But he said most cases of violence that appeared to have a “racial component” in Athens turned out to be the result of rivalry between criminal gangs. Analysts argue that once-marginalized extremist groups are gaining a foothold in mainstream society for the first time, filling a perceived gap in law enforcement in crime-ridden neighborhoods, and benefiting from a surge in popular anger against the political establishment.
Since winning a seat on Athens City Council, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, head of the violent far-right group Golden Dawn, has tailored his recent rhetoric to the financial crisis. “We are living in an enslaved country, financially and nationally,” Mr. Michaloliakos, a 54-year-old mathematician, told supporters last month, giving a speech under a statue of Alexander the Great. “We have a bankrupt economy and the thieving politicians responsible go unpunished,” he said. “How long do they think they can keep lying and fooling the Greek people? Whether they like it or not, the hour of Golden Dawn and nationalist revolution is coming.” Aristotle Kallis, a professor of modern history at Lancaster University in Britain, studies European fascism. He argued that Greek extremists are losing the stigma of being associated with the 1967-74 far-right dictatorship and becoming more similar other European groups – sharing ideas and methods on the Internet. “Since the 1990s, Greek nationalism has mutated quite substantially,” Mr. Kallis wrote in an email to the AP, warning of a broader European rise in bigotry. “We are ... becoming complacent about a wider, deep and dangerous prejudice against immigrants that is spreading well beyond the constituency of the conventional far-right.”
© The Associated Press