Headlines 28 October, 2011
DECLINE IN HATE CRIMES IN FINLAND
Somalis, Turks, and Iraqis most frequent victims of racist attacks
28/10/2011- Racist crime and other hate crimes appear to have declined in Finland. The Police College of Finland released a study on Thursday according to which the number of hate crimes coming to the attention of Finnish police was 15 per cent lower last year than in the year before. Nearly nine out of ten hate crimes had a racist motive. In six per cent of hate crimes, the motive was the victim’s religion, and in four per cent of cases, it was the sexual orientation of the victim. Most frequently the crime involved assault. The decline in hate crimes seems to have continued this year, at least with respect to those with a racist motive. According to a fresh report received by Helsingin Sanomat, police have received about 20 per cent fewer reports of racist crime in the January-September period than over the same nine months last year.
However, complaints received by the police do not necessarily mean that actual hate crimes would have declined in the manner indicated by the Police College study.
“One factor affecting the figures is the extent to which such cases are reported to the police. Studies on the matter indicate that just a small proportion of hate crimes are ever reported”, says Police College researcher Jenni Niemi. Interior Ministry Chief of Staff Ritva Viljanen says that she had heard from sources on the Consultative Committee on Ethnic Relations that there had actually been an increase in hate crimes. “Hopefully this does not mean that everyday racism has become normal, and that people are no longer reacting to it.”
The Police College study indicates that racist crime often targeted people who differ from the majority population in their appearance and culture. Proportionally the most frequent victims of hate crimes last year were Somalis, Turks, and Iraqis. Meanwhile, the largest groups of foreigners - Russians, Estonians, and Swedes - were much less likely to suffer attacks. In more than 80 per cent of cases, the perpetrator of a racist crime was a member of the majority population, and the victim was a member of a minority. In only one per cent of cases was the perpetrator the member of a minority, and the victim an ethnic Finn. In the rest of the cases, either both victim and perpetrator were members of minorities, or the perpetrator’s background was not ascertained.
© The Helsingin Sanomat
FOURTEEN CZECHS FACE RACISM CHARGES FOR ASSAULTING ROMA
24/10/2011- The state attorney has filed criminal charges against 14 participants in a far-right party's March demonstration for assaulting three local Roma and wounding one, saying the attack was racially motivated, Czech Television said Monday. Regional police spokeswoman Ivana Jezkova told CTK that the assailants face up to three years in prison, if found guilty. They attacked the Roma after a demonstration the far-right Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) organised in Novy Bydzov, east Bohemia, in March. The aggressors beat and kicked their victims and called them vulgar names with a racial subtext. One of the Roma was driven to hospital unconscious and with a head injury, the state attorney, Alexandr Pumprla, said. He said the assailants had not known each other before, they only met at the Novy Bydzov demonstration. About 500 right-wing extremists took part in the demonstration. A separate rally was simultaneously held by some 200 right-wing extremism opponents. Tension in Novy Bydzov escalated last November after a few local residents were assaulted and a young woman raped. Over 3000 people signed a petition in support of security in the 7,000-town. Mayor Pavel Louda then made a statement sharply criticising Roma and launched a series of measures against problematic fellow residents.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
RESIDENTS TARGETED IN HATE CRIMES (uk)
25/10/2011- More than a quarter of all hate incidents in Worksop during the past 12 months were against Polish people. Insp Steve Cartwright said there were 55 hate incidents in West Bassetlaw - which include race, disability, sexual orientation and religion - and 29 per cent of those were against Poles. He said: “They are the group that are targeted most now, followed by Asians and then black Afro-Caribbeans.” “It’s disappointing that some bigoted individuals in Worksop feel it appropriate to target Polish nationals who have every right to live in our community and who are making a worthwhile contribution to our society.” “But it’s encouraging that the 16 Polish families who have called us have some confidence in the police and that we will take it seriously and do something about it.” Insp Cartwright said there was “quite a large” Eastern European population in Worksop, although it was difficult to know exactly how many because figures weren’t collated. But he said: “The majority population in Worksop is still white British.” “The reason Polish people have come over here is to make a better life for themselves over here while times are hard in Poland.” “We are not seen as a free meal ticket, they work long hours and they put in more hours than some of our own national residents do.” Insp Cartwright said the majority of incidents were verbal, like name calling with obscenities such as “get back to your own country”. There had also been cases of stones being thrown at houses accompanied by racist remarks. He said: “We haven’t seen any serious assaults, it hasn’t escalated to violence.”
“If we have sufficient evidence to charge then we always do and we have and if say, someone damages a car and it is a racist attack, it will be classed as an aggravated offence and will carry a higer penalty than if it was just damage.” “We work with the victims robustly to challenge this kind of behaviour. We find that people who commit these race crimes can have a deep-seated hatred and just advising them doesn’t always work.” He said Worksop was no worse for attacks on Polish people than other towns. Two Polish women are working voluntarily with Worksop police, one to help Polish victims of crime and the other to help with putting posters up in Polish asking for feedback from the community. Insp Cartwright said: “We have access to an interpreter through our language line but we find most of the Polish people can speak some English or are learning English and want us to speak to them in English.” “This is contrary to what some people believe, that they just stand and speak Polish all the time. They are actively trying to speak, read and write English.” He said there was no particular Polish ghetto in Worksop and that families intermingled with the native population. As with any community, some Poles had been involved in crimes and appeared in court, but they were no more of a problem than other groups. As with any community there are a proportion of people that commit crime,” he said. Their drinking culture led to higher levels of alcohol being found in drink drivers, mainly because they tended to favour vodka and spirits over the lagers and beers of British drinkers, he added.
© The Worksop Guardian
Police have opened an investigation into three acts of “religiously aggravated” vandalism in and around two mosques in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
25/10/2011- Thames Valley Police say the “highly offensive Islamophobic” graffiti was sprayed on Zainabia Islamic Centre in Peverel Drive, Bletchley, between 10.30pm and 11pm on Saturday [September 24] and a shed to the side of the building was set alight and destroyed. Detectives believe this incident is connected to two other acts of criminal damage at Jamia Al-Karam Masjid in North Street, New Bradwell, and on a white Mercedes Sprinter van in the nearby Harwood Street overnight between Saturday [September 24] and Sunday [September 25]. Offensive messages were sprayed in all the three locations. A worshipper at one of the mosques said the graffiti was “sexually explicit” with reference to “Allah”, while the vandalism on the van was racist in nature. In a statement to The Muslim News Det Insp Richard North, investigating officer, said: “I am appealing to anyone who was in the area around this time of these offences, or who has any information to contact my officers. “Did you see anyone acting suspiciously near the mosques? Have you heard someone discussing this before or after Saturday night?
“These messages were highly offensive and designed to cause maximum upset to the Muslim community. We have increased our patrols in the areas and I would like to reassure everyone that we are doing all we can to catch those responsible.” Members of the community believe the incidents may be connected with recent rise in far-right groups’ activity in the area. The British National Party (BNP) branch in the city launched a public campaign against the planned conversion of The Plough pub in Manor Road, Bletchley, into a mosque, as the current Duncombe Road venue has become too small. Members of the far-right party demonstrated outside the former biker pub on January 8. The Milton Keynes branch of BNP started its campaign against the Bletchley Mosque in December last year and has held a series of demonstrations which attracted BNP members from Yorkshire and South Wales Anti-fascist organisation and bloggers have highlighted the growing tensions in the city and the birth of new far-right group.
Writing in his blog, Tom Woodson of the Three Counties Unity, said the newly formed nationalist group England Is Ours - Milton Keynes, incite hatred toward minorities in its website. He writes, “A post appeared on the site tonight that can only be interpreted as a strong and vicious incitement against the presence of minority ethnic communities in this country.” Woodson quotes an entry which declares the death of diplomacy and calls for freedom to be earned through blood: “Freedom is earned with the blood of Patriots and I believe its the right social and economic conditions for true British people to unite and rid this pleasant land of the scum that’s been allowed to dominate our society for far to long now.. Diplomacy has failed.” And in January England Is Ours invited controversial US pastor Terry Jones to address their members in Milton Keynes but the Home Secretary intervened and banned him from entering the country. Jones, who last year planned a Qur’an-burning protest in the US, had been invited to address England Is Ours in Milton Keynes. A worshipper at Jamia Al-Karam Masjid who wished not to be named told The Muslim News, “I think there is definitely a connection between the rise in the activities of far-right groups in our area and the latest Islamophobic incidents.”
© The Muslim News
VICTIM IS SUBJECTED TO RACIST ABUSE IN PORTSMOUTH ATTACK (uk)
24/10/2011- An attacker who hurled vile racist abuse at a man before assaulting him is being hunted by police. The 20-year-old victim was set upon after being approached outside Pizza Mania in Queen Street, Portsea. The attacker and a group of people followed the victim and his friend, a 22-year-old man, into the nearby Spar shop and continued the assault. Passers-by broke up the incident at about 6.20pm on Thursday. Both men, from Bahrain, were later treated at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham for facial injuries. The main offender is white, aged between 20 and 25 and 6ft tall with wavy blond hair. He wore a white tuxedo jacket, a white shirt and black trousers. The other members of the group were dressed smartly and police believe they may have attended a wedding or event nearby.
© The Portsmouth News
ROMA MINORITY ATTACKED WITH MOLOTOV COCKTAILS (Poland)
Roma inhabitants of the village of Krosnica, southern Poland, near the Slovak border, have called for monitoring on their estate, after an assault involving Molotov cocktails last Friday.
26/10/2011- The incident occurred at about 10 pm on Friday night, when two flaming bottles of petrol landed on property belonging to members of the Roma community. One bottle fell onto grass and the flames quickly petered out. The second landed on the roof of a house, and the inhabitants swiftly extinguished the flames. No one was injured in the assault. Police believe that the crime was carried out by someone driving through the village. Roma inhabitants of Krosnica told the Gazeta Krakowska daily that they are regularly intimidated by drivers, whether it be with empty cans or stones. However, this is the first time that a home-made bomb has been used. “Up until now its just been stones and insults that have been thrown at us,” said one resident. “But now, if someone wants to go as far as to set us alight, we've reason to fear for our lives.” The resident underlined that the Roma community did not suspect other inhabitants of the village. “They're good people, we manage to get along with them,” they said. In January this year Roma from the western city of Poznan complained that they were being banned from bars and clubs simply because they were members of the Roma community. Prosecutors opened an investigation after local authorities and the Interior Ministry became involved to solve what Roma said was a case of “blatant racism”.
© The News - Poland
MURDER PROBE AFTER MAN FOUND BURNED AND BEATEN TO DEATH (uk)
A murder investigation has been launched after the badly beaten and burnt body of a young man was found tied to a lamppost by the side of a road in Ayrshire.
24/10/2011- Stuart Walker, 28, who suffered “horrific injuries” had been out with friends earlier in the night. Police have said they were not ruling out the possibility that his death was the result of a homophobic attack. Strathclyde Police confirmed his body had scorch marks and that he had suffered terrible injuries. Mr Walker’s body was found tied to a lamppost near the Caponacre Industrial Estate in Ayrshire at 5am on Saturday morning by a member of the public. He was last seen alive by a family friend near the fire station in Glaisnock Street at about 2:30am on Saturday. Police said there were several house parties in a nearby housing estate in the early hours of Saturday morning and appealed for anyone with information to come forward. Detectives yesterday launched a murder inquiry following the discovery.
A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police confirmed that following a post mortem, they were treating the death of Mr Walker of Hearth Place, Cumnock, as murder. She said that Mr Walker had not “died from his burns” and had been subjected to “a horrific attack”. Last night detectives were conducting door-to-door inquiries and studying CCTV footage in an attempt to piece together Mr Walker’s final hours. Streets in the nearby industrial estate were sealed off as part of the ongoing investigation. A spokesperson for the force said relatives of Mr Walker, the former assistant manager at the Royal Hotel in Cumnock, had been informed of his death.
Strathclyde Police would not rule out Mr Walker had been murdered because of his sexuality and were now closely examining all aspects of the victim’s life.
A spokeswoman said: “In terms of claims of his sexuality and lifestyle we are not ruling out any aspect of his life to try and identify why someone would want to kill him.” She added: “His body was scorched but it is believed that this was not the cause of his death. We are looking at CCTV and conducting door to door inquiries.” The officer leading the investigation, Detective Inspector John Hogg, said Mr Walker had been with friends earlier in the night. The police officer said: “It is imperative that we find out where he was between 02:30 and 04:50 hours, who he was with and why this happened to him.” Kazza Sutherland used to work with Mr Walker at the Royal Hotel. She said: “Can’t believe this has happened to such a great guy. I hope they catch those who did this to him. Hopefully justice will be served and I hope those who did this go to hell.”
The popular former Cumnock Academy pupil was the subject of countless heartfelt tributes on a Facebook page set up in his honour. Many friends have paid tribute to the popular man, including Amanda Lindsay, who said: “Poor Stuart can’t believe ur life ended in such a horrific way xx a young man who always had a smile on his face & put a smile on everybody elses face too xx I’m sure ur’s will be the brightest star in the sky xx R.I.P ma lovely.”
© The Scotsman
HOMOPHOBIA EXACTS A CHILLING PRICE AS HATE CRIMES CLIMB (uk)
People having sex changes are the new targets
23/10/2011- Hate crime towards gay and transgender people is on the rise across Britain, with thousands of people suffering abuse for their sexuality every year. Crimes against transgender people went up by 14 per cent during 2010 and, in some cities, attacks motivated by sexual prejudice are up by as much as 170 per cent annually. The rise in homophobic crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland went from 4,805 offences in 2009 to 4,883 in 2010. Campaigners say the figures are just the "tip of the iceberg" as research suggests three out of four people are still too afraid to report these crimes. The police now record any crimes they believe are motivated by homophobia – anything from persistent harassment to serious assault and murder. Experts believe the reason for the increase may be in part because more people feel able to be open about their sexuality, making them easier to be picked out by thugs. Vic Codling, national co-ordinator of the Gay Police Association, said: "People have got more confidence in themselves and, when you get people who are openly gay, that provokes homophobes. There is still stigma in Britain and, if you're open about your sexuality, that encourages people to take up arms and act on homophobia."
The gay rights group Stonewall says there is anecdotal evidence that unprovoked attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are on the rise. The results can be fatal. The story of 62-year-old Ian Baynham, who was killed by drunken teenagers screaming "Faggot", while they bludgeoned him to death in London's Trafalgar Square in September 2009, is one of many. The Independent on Sunday is aware of at least nine people who have been killed by attackers because of their sexuality – or who committed suicide after being bullied – since 2009. A growth in more extremist religious views has also contributed to the increase in attacks. A homophobic campaign, launched by extremist Muslims in east London earlier this year, featured stickers declaring the area a "gay-free zone" and that Allah would be "severe in punishment". "A lot of the problems come when people believe their religion encourages them to be homophobic," said Mr Codling.
The rise in recorded attacks may partly be attributable to an increasing willingness among the LGBT community to go to the police and report crime. Police have also been better trained in recording crimes as homophobic, rather than just robberies or muggings. The most dramatic increase is in Scotland, where homophobic abuse has risen fivefold in five years, police statistics show. There were 666 crimes against LGBT people recorded in Scotland in 2009/10 – almost double the 365 reported in 2007/08. In Oxford, homophobic crimes reported to police rose by more than 170 per cent last year; and in London's West End, still a focal point for the capital's gay nightlife, crimes motivated by homophobia increased by 20.9 per cent. Experts say a dramatic growth in the number of transgender people seeking medical sex changes has made those born into a different gender more visible and therefore more vulnerable. In 2010, there were 357 incidents of hate crime against transgender people, up 14 per cent from 2009. The number of people medically changing their sex is growing at a rate of around 15 per cent every year: 1,200 people now undergo gender realignment procedures annually.
Bernard Reed, of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society, said: "The more people who feel the need to reveal their condition, the more people put themselves at risk. Our research shows 90 per cent of transgender people do not report abuse, so this is the tip of a very large iceberg. Society's acceptance and understanding of trans people is up to 20 years behind LGB; we know people who are spat at every day." While numbers of reported incidents rise, police forces nationwide are closing down specialist LGBT liaison officer posts in response to budget cuts. Sam Dick, of the charity Stonewall, believes the problem starts in school. "I think there's a misconception that because the laws have changed, social attitudes towards gay people have changed. But it's clear that people are leaving school feeling that homophobia and violent homophobia is acceptable: 17 per cent of gay students who have experienced homophobic bullying have received death threats. It's clear this behaviour is going on in schools unchallenged." Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities minister, said: "Targeting a person purely because of gender identity or sexual orientation is a shameful act and will not be tolerated. We are working with the police to improve our response to hate crime. For the first time, forces are recording data centrally, which will help target resources more effectively and better protect victims. Everyone should have the freedom to live without fear of hostility or harassment."
Rachel Maton, 56
Rachel has suffered systematic abuse since she began her sex change in 2007
"I became a target because I'm transgender. Youths would pelt my house with eggs, smash my windows and shout at me. One day, I was hit from behind and the lights went out. Then they set upon me. My nose was smashed flat and I couldn't breathe. Now I'm careful not to get in a vulnerable position."
Chas Anderson, 20
Chas, a former model, was assaulted in April outside a gay bar in Clapham
"My partner and I were queuing at a cash point after leaving the bar when a group started making abusive comments. They started saying the shorts I was wearing looked ridiculous, and one of them said that because I was gay, I deserved to be dead. Next thing, a man punched me in the face and I fell to the ground. There was a lot of blood and I had to go to hospital. The police said there had been a spike in similar incidents at the time in Clapham and south London."
© The Independent
Headlines 21 October, 2011
ATTACKS ON BULGARIAN MOSQUES: 'THIS HATRED IS NEW TO US'
21/10/2011- Violent ethnic riots swept Bulgaria weeks before this Sunday's presidential elections, following the killing of a teenager by a man with links to a local Roma crime boss. Originally aimed at highlighting the alleged corruption of "Tsar" Kiril Rashkov, these demonstrations soon spread across the country, before ugly scenes developed. Rioters turned on ethnic minorities and Muslims and attacked mosques in both Sofia, the capital, and Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city. A few months earlier, politicians and the public had gathered to show their support for a unified Bulgaria following violent demonstrations outside Sofia's historic Banya Bashi mosque. But what began as a "peaceful protest" against the volume of loudspeakers that broadcast the call to prayer, ended with supporters of Ataka, the ultra-nationalist party, setting fire to prayer mats and pelting worshippers with stones. Some observers equated this attack with the creep of Islamophobia being seen in parts of western Europe. Yet it came as a shock to many in a country that prides itself on its history of religious tolerance. "[That] was something nobody expected," said Mustafa Alish Hadji, the grand mufti and leader of Muslims in Bulgaria, following the protests. "It is worrying for Muslims and Christians because it [creates] tension that didn't exist before."
Ethnic distinctions have become a favoured topic to exploit in the country's post-communist political landscape, particularly since Ataka won 9.36 per cent of the vote in the 2009 parliamentary elections, establishing an informal coalition with the governing centre-right party. But, while Ataka's hardline rhetoric has served it well, the mosque protests did not get the expected results - ethnic sectarianism is accepted in Bulgaria, religious sectarianism is not. The public laid flowers at the mosque and opposition politicians denounced the attacks as a publicity stunt in the preamble to this Sunday's municipal and presidential elections, in which Volen Siderov, the Ataka leader, is running for president using the campaign slogan, "I am your weapon, use it". Ataka was condemned in a declaration by Parliament to be "dangerous to the government" with an attitude "completely foreign to the Bulgarian people and their religious and ethnic tolerance". Irrespective of ethnicity, Bulgarian Muslims face prosecution because they are considered "Turkish" and associated with the rule of the Ottoman empire. While myths of the terrible Turk are ubiquitous in Bulgarian culture - painted on churches and reenacted in village celebrations - so, too, is a strong sense of religious acceptance. "This hatred is new to us," said Hadji. "It's the first time we have seen such nationalism and seen such hatred towards others. Most Muslims are rural. The problem is not in rural areas, it is in towns and in cities. Nationalism has more power [there] than in the villages," he said. "In the city, people don't know each other so well. In the village, Muslims and Christians live and pray together. Nationalism has no way to separate them."
Nowhere is this religious tolerance better exemplified than in the villages of the Rhodope mountains, where minarets rise above thick clusters of pine trees and Muslims and Christians live side by side. On the same day that blood stained the steps of the Banya Banshi mosque in Sofia, a three-day wedding was underway in the village of Musfata Alish Hadji. The celebration shared by Christians and Muslims exemplifies Bulgaria's comfortable blend of Slavic and Eastern traditions. Women with red sequins glued bindi-style to the centre of their brow began the festivities by ring dancing to a pop song. Their performance was followed by belly dancing and exclamations in Greek and Arabic. Around tables spread with banitsa pastry and halva sweets, wedding guests spoke of their shock at the Sofia attacks. Ramadan, a lorry driver in his thirties who had previously worked in Spain, said Bulgaria was among the most tolerant places in Europe for Muslims. "The racism in Spain is horrible," he said. "In the south, they treat us Muslims like s***, they swear at us. This doesn't happen here. We are respected." The greatest challenge for most Muslims in this part of the country, it transpires, is economic rather than religious. "We have freedom, but we don't have work," said Fatima Emlen, a honey-seller from Yolanda. "It's a hard life, [but] for now we don't have the problems with the Christians that Muslims do in Sofia."
Both Muslim and Christian communities have benefited from religious freedoms in the post-communist era, including the right to religious classes in schools. "Bulgaria may be the only country where Muslims and Christians live without problems," said Mousa Hussein, the mufti for an estimated 7,000 Muslims in Velingrad, a small town of 25,000. "Ataka are nationalists who have no understanding of the people." Attacks on Muslims were commonplace in the communist era. Hussein was a child in the last years of communism when anti-Turkish government propaganda was at its height. He was forced to change his name to Malin in the mid-1980s when his village was surrounded by police who ordered all residents to take a "Bulgarian" name. Those who refused were imprisoned. This "regeneration process" culminated in an exodus of more than 350,000 Turkish Bulgarians in 1989. "Muslims are never pessimistic," he said. "We hope and believe. Religion tells us if you have difficulties, better things will come for you. Muslims and Christians know each other. This relationship is from the past, it's always been friendly and tolerant. The laws are the same for everyone and I'm proud that I live in Bulgaria." That optimism persists despite a recent report from the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, showing the Bulgarian government has failed to enforce the legal and policy protections promised to its citizens by law.
Indeed, the chief mufti's office has reported 54 hate crimes since 2007, including assaults and vandalism such as arson, swastika graffiti, the desecration of tombstones and pig heads being hung on mosque walls. "The level of politics, particularly the competition for votes, is exactly the space where, if one listens carefully, one can catch some discriminatory voices," said Dr Simeon Evstatiev, an associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic history at Sofia University and head of the University Center for the Study of Religion. "We should never forget," he says, "that politics is a struggle over people's imagination." While Dr Evstatiev points to the condemnation of the mosque attacks as evidence of continued religious tolerance, others see the attacks as a longstanding division between its Slavic and Orthodox identity and Bulgaria's Ottoman past. For Bulgaria to find peace, a shared national history and identity must be reconstructed. Otherwise, parties will take advantage of the perceived Turkish-Bulgarian dichotomy. "Both the ruling party and Ataka are very much trying to take over the nationalist discourse as well and show that they are more Bulgarian than Bulgarians," said Dr Rossitsa Gradeva, an Ottoman scholar at the American University in Bulgaria. "If we constantly hear that the Turks and Islam are the greatest threats for us today, I think its very easy to blame our contemporary disasters on somebody else.
"I don't think Bulgarians have been that tolerant. At this moment it sounds very grave to me with what is taking place right now. I only hope that we don't start fighting. I can't understand the logic anymore." The image of Bulgaria as a historical centre of religious tolerance is an attractive one but, like many national myths, it overlooks sinister parts of Bulgaria's past and its current politics. Siderov is not expected to qualify for the second round of presidential elections on Sunday, but Ataka offices have proliferated in villages across the country. As other politicians adopt Siderov's divisive language and a quiet streak of violence reaches Muslims in cities and villages, it is clear that the victims of this hatred are not only ethnic minorities but Bulgarian Muslims of every origin.
© The National
HARASSING RESIDENTS OUT OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD MAINLY AFFECTS ETHNIC MINORITIES (Netherlands)
19/10/2011- Reports about harassing residents out of their house are usually about tormenting gay couples. Yet it is mainly ethnic minorities who are victims of extreme harassment. Figures from antidiscriminationbureaus and some police districts show 96 families and single person households were forced to move this year because of their ethnicity. In at least 34 cases people were driven from their neighborhoods because of their sexual orientation. In 11 cases disabilities was a reason to harass people away.
Director Ahmet Azdural of the Turkish Participation Body in the Netherlands (IOT) finds that the government should have not only look at discrimination against homosexuals, but also at discrimination of ethnic minorities. The IOT has already asked the government for a discussion on the prevention of all forms of discrimination. So far the government hasn't responded. According to Azdural the new figures show the need for such discussions. ,,The IOT is pleased that the study highlights the continuing common racist discrimination,''said Azdural. ,, The government restricts its attention to discrimination based on sexual orientation. We call for joint action against all forms of discrimination.'' The consultative body says it gets many signals from their own members about discrimination. Azdural has the impression that this is partly due to by statements of politicians. The COC Netherlands says harassment because of sexual orientation is much more common than the survey shows. The association for homosexuals has announced that the figures are the tip of the iceberg because it is not always recognized and because of a threshold for reporting.
According to a spokesperson each year thousands of gays and lesbians are victims of violence. So far this year in the Amsterdam region 67 reports of violence against homosexuals within. In the region of northeastern Gelderland to date four. Gay Discrimination is more common in villages than in larger cities according to the anti discrimination bureau Zaandstad/Waterland . The PvdA parliamentary faction asked Minister Ivo Opstelten (Security and Justice) about 'hate crime'. The party wants to see an attack coming. Besides a crackdown on perpetrators of intimidation, violence and hate the Labour Party wants the expertise of local authorities and the police improved. According to the Council of Chief Constables police officers should sound the alarm. Mayors, police and judiciary should agree early on an approach. The association wants. among others, to have better educated district consultants.
From Trouw newspaper,translation ICARE
NEO-FASCIST REDWATCH WEB SITE ACTIVE AGAIN (Poland)
Despite three men associated with the neo-fascist web site Redwatch being given prison sentences last year for propagating racial hatred in Poland the site is being regularly updated again.
19/10/2011- Redwatch publishes online names and addresses of politicians and other individuals it considers as being “traitors to the race”. In December last year a District Court in the western city of Wroclaw sentenced three men who worked on the neo-Nazi Redwatch site to up to one and half years in prison for “promoting a totalitarian regime in Poland and encouraging hatred towards people of different ethnic origin, nationality, race and religion”. The web site has been taken off line several times, only to reappear again. In the last month, the web site has been updated six times – the last entry on 10 October with details of the email address and Facebook page of a local politician in northern Poland. The Gazeta Wyborcza daily claims that the decision to start updating the web pages again was taken at a rally in the Kujawy region, central Poland. of Blood and Honour, a neo-nazi group associated with Redwatch. The resumption of activity on the Redwatch web site coincides with a number of incidents of racist vandalism in central and northern Poland, including the painting of Nazi symbols at the end of August on the memorial to victims of the 1941 Jedwabne massacre.
© The News - Poland
ARRESTS OVER ALLEGED HATE CRIME AT DUNFERMLINE MATCH (uk)
17/10/2011- Two men have been arrested in connection with football-related hate crime at a match between Dunfermline and Hearts in Fife at the weekend. Fife police said the arrests took place at East End Park on Saturday. An 18-year-old man was arrested in relation to a racially aggravated breach of the peace in the north west stand full of Dunfermline supporters. A 19-year-old was arrested in relation to a religiously prejudiced breach of the peace in a stand with Hearts fans. Both men are due to appear at Dunfermline Sheriff Court later.
The arrests were made as the result of an intelligence-led anti-racism operation, which has been running at East End Park for the last few Dunfermline home games. Plain-clothed police officers have been in the crowd to apprehend anyone acting in a racially motivated way. Sgt Andy Smith, of Fife Constabulary, said: "Fife Constabulary will continue in its commitment to deliver a clear message to those who continue to shout hate-filled comments during football matches. "These arrests should act as a further warning to supporters attending East End Park who are intent on conducting themselves in a racially or religiously prejudiced manner."
© BBC News
17/10/2011- Police are investigating after a 12-year-old boy was knocked unconscious outside his school. Umar Xsayf-Allah, a student at Bramhall High, was set upon by a group of pupils outside the school gates. His father Nasir says the attackers hurled racist abuse at his boy while raining down punches and kicks. Umar, who lost consciousness for around a minute, suffered a swollen eye and was treated in hospital for concussion. Now police officers are quizzing pupils about the attack, at a bus stop outside the Seal Road school. It is the second time this year police have been called to probe an alleged race incident involving pupils. In the latest incident, a group of around ten pupils attacked Umar and his brothers Alee, 13, and 11-year-old Ibraheem, who also suffered cuts and bruises. Nasir, who works as an investment trader, said: "There was a large group of older lads. "They took turns at kicking him when he was on the ground. When they were beating him they were shouting racist things."
Nasir, 40, from Bramhall, Stockport, says he complained to the school previously about racist language going unchallenged by teachers. The three brothers were kept out of school by their father. Although they have now returned to lessons, he says he is still unhappy with the school’s response. Bramhall High, which has a small number of ethnic minority students, said it has a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to racism and added that Mr Xsayf-Allah had brought no specific instances to the school’s attention. Headteacher Heather Cooper said: "The school has had several meeting with Umar’s father to discuss the incident, which has been thoroughly investigated and has resulted in a number of pupils being suspended. Mr Xsayf-Allah has told the school that he was satisfied with the way the school has dealt with the matter." Two pupils received temporary suspensions but have now returned to classes. In April, 13-year-old Khadeja Fahat left the school claiming she had been targeted by racist bullies more than 30 times since September. She said pupils vandalised her homework, called her names and punched her. Khadeja’s family withdrew her from the school. Police logged the incidents as hate crimes, although teachers said they had investigated the complaints and had tried to support the girl.
The 1,300-pupil school, which is rated ‘good’ by inspectors, was criticised by Ofsted last year for not promoting race awareness. A report said: "Students’ cultural understanding is less well developed, limited by the lack of opportunities the school provides for them to engage with others from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds." But Mrs Cooper insisted that the school had no race trouble. She added: "The school has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and racism. "We have robust systems in place to deal with any allegations of racism or bullying and we have clear, agreed policies."
© The Manchester Evening News
MINDLESS EDL THUGS STORM MUSLIM EXHIBITION IN CRADLEY HEATH MARKET (uk)
A Muslim book stall in Cradley Heath market was stormed by over 25 thugs from the English Defence League this weekend.
17/10/2011- The shocking attack occurred in front of shoppers, many of which were women and children, at the market at 2.30pm on Saturday. The local Ahmadiyya Muslim book stall and Qur’an exhibition was attacked and volunteers were manhandled and abused by members of the Far Right organisation. Shocked Ahmadiyya outreach worker Toby Ephram described the scene in the market. He said: “About 25 of the EDL group stormed our stall in Cradley Heath pushing, shoving and threatening our members. We have the book stall to raise awareness of our work in Britain and in the local community we are proud to be British Muslims and this incident saddened us. Our motto is ‘Love for All - Hatred for None’ and we do not meet violence with violence so we just stood there and did not respond to the provocation.” He added: “I’d like to thank the police for responding to the problem so quickly and controlling the situation and we will be back as usual at the market on Saturday.”
Last week the News reported the Muslim group was setting up the stall and exhibition in a bid to ‘increase understanding and improve community cohesion’. Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris condemned the incident and branded it an ignorant and mindless attack. He said: “The people storming the stall may claim that they are defending their English identity, but tolerance for other people’s views and beliefs has long been a key part of what it means to be English. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Cradley Heath actively works to help different sections of our society to live peacefully alongside each other, whatever their religion.” He added: “This mindless attack is absolutely deplorable and can only have been caused by ignorance of the views and action of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community locally.” A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We were called at 1.40pm with reports of people causing a disturbance in the Market Square area of Cradley Heath. “Officers attended the scene and the groups dispersed.” On Boxing Day 2009 Cradley Heath Mosque and Islamic Centre in Plant Street was burnt to the ground by arsonists.
© Halesowen News
GAY MAN JAILED FOR HOMOPHOBIC ATTACK (uk)
17/10/2011- A gay man has been jailed for breaking another gay man’s jaw in two places in a homophobic attack. Maidstone crown court heard that Robert Jackson’s attack was motivated by homophobia, despite being gay himself. According to Kent Online, Jackson, a 21-year-old hairdresser, had been drinking and taking cocaine when he attacked Lloyd Sceats outside Gravesend’s The Grove nightclub on February 27th. Jackson lashed out when the victim intervened in an argument. He later texted a friend calling his victim a “queer”. He admitted unlawful wounding and breaching a suspended sentence and was jailed for two years and eight months. Prosecutor Jo Cope said Jackson’s “sustained” attack was motivated by homophobia, despite his own sexual orientation. In mitigation, the court heard that Jackson had problems with drink and drugs and that his family had refused to accept his sexual orientation.
© Pink News
A LESBIAN ATTACKED WITH A KNIFE IN BELGRADE CENTRE (Serbia)
Regarding the statement of Minister of Interior Ivica Daèiæ and representatives of the Ministry about this morning’s attack on A. Ž. (24) in Belgrade city centre, where she was seriously injured, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) would like to inform the public about several other details of the said attack.
15/10/2011- The attacked member of the LGBT population A. Ž., who was at the time of the attack wearing some symbols of the Pride Parade, reported the case to the police and then also informed GSA. According to the information GSA received, there were three attackers who followed A. Ž. and her two friends from Zeleni Venac to the corner of Carice Milice and Maršala Birjuzova, where the assault took place. After they had noticed that A. Ž. was wearing symbols of the LGBT movement, one of them assaulted her uttering curses and several times asking her if she was a lesbian. He started hitting her and then drew a knife and attacked her with it. A. Ž. suffered major physical injuries – a deep cut on the right hand with severed tendons on two fingers, a head contusion, and several bruises and cuts all over her body, which the attacker gave her using his fists and legs. The attack would have certainly ended with more tragic consequences if A. Ž., with the help of a friend, had not offered resistance in an attempt to save her life and grabbed the knife with the hand that was injured, thus avoiding wounds that could have been fatal.
A. Ž. is currently feeling better, her condition is stable and she is under constant medical supervision in Clinical centre of Serbia, where she is awaiting operation of her right hand. Gay Straight Alliance is in continuous contact with her – GSA’s activists were with A. Ž. this morning when she was admitted to the Emergency centre, and then later today they visited her with a lawyer from GSA’s Legal Service. GSA and their Legal Service will actively monitor the work of the police, the public prosecutor and the judiciary on this case, and will represent the victims of this violent attack before all relevant institutions. GSA commends this morning’s rapid intervention by the police. However, GSA demands that all perpetrators and accomplices in this crime be found without delay, regardless of their age, and that they be brought to justice, while the relevant court must impose adequate punishments as soon as possible.
Attacks on LGBT people happen throughout the entire year, which is something GSA and other LGBT organisations regularly inform the public about. This case of severe injuries, i.e. an attempted murder, is one of the most serious ones that were reported to Gay Straight Alliance in the last several years. It is obvious that attackers no longer shrink from trying to take the lives of those who are of a different sexual orientation or who wear symbols of the LGBT movement. GSA therefore asks the relevant state institutions, and especially those politicians who have lately been talking about LGBT people and their activities in a negative context, if it is necessary that somebody be killed in order to finally realise how serious and severe the problems are that LGBT population in Serbia faces and in order to begin solving those problems.
Attacks which keep getting more frequent and more serious obviously cannot be stopped by sporadically dealing with the consequences; rather, it is high time to start dealing with the causes. GSA demands that the state begin without delay the process of systemic reduction of violence and discrimination against LGBT people and that it urgently bring a plan for combatting violence and homophobia. In addition, GSA will inform all relevant international organisations about this case.
© The Gay Straight Alliance
Headlines 14 October, 2011
COPENHAGEN: JEWISH WOMAN ATTACKED BY BOY WHO'S BEEN TOLD TO 'KILL ALL JEWS' (Denmark)
14/10/2011- The report doesn't state the religion of the attackers, but Danish authorities have been concerned for a long time about the effects of antisemitic Arab satellite TV on Muslim-Danish kids. Via Danish Police (h/t Uriasposten):
A 21-year old Jewish woman was overseeing the Jewish cemetery in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen this past Sunday when two young boys of foreign origin, about 13 years old, approached and asked what the place was. She answered it was a Jewish cemetery. One of the boys asked whether she was Jewish, to which she answered in the affirmative. At this point he pulled out a corkscrew and threatened her, saying he'd been told he should kill all Jews. The other boy told him to stop. Both boys then ran off.
© Islam in Europe
RACIAL TENSIONS HEIGHTEN IN NORTH KARELIAN TOWN OF LIEKSA (Finland)
13/10/2011- Muslim prayers begin on the ground floor of the Lieksa workers’ hall, where a room has been converted into a mosque. Pieces of tape on the rugs indicate the direction of Mecca. Perhaps it is the harsh October weather that keeps the turnout low. There are about 20 people there now; on the busiest days up to 90 people will show up. The popularity of the mosque, which opened in the summer, has not gone unnoticed in the small North Karelian town. With its population of just over 12,500, the number of asylum seekers who have been granted residence permits has rapidly risen to about 220. Most of them are from Somalia. The proportion of approved asylum seekers is much lower than in Helsinki, for instance, but especially the appearance of Somalis in the community has led to a major heightening of tensions. The most serious incident between immigrants and local people occurred during the weekend when a Somali was stabbed, and a native local resident suffered cuts. Two local native Finns have been arrested and one immigrant has been detained.
The Chief of Police of North Karelia, Kai Markkula, is worried. He compares the situation with similar problems that took place in nearby Joensuu in the mid-1990s, when local skinheads clashed with immigrants. “Tensions have been evident for just under a year”, he says. “In discussions the linguistic imagery has become increasingly severe, and attitudes seem to have polarized.” The rising tensions are apparent at the town hall. Soile Syrjäläinen, the head of social services in Lieksa, says that threats have been shouted at her in the city, and that the tyres of her car had been slashed one morning. The prevailing atmosphere reminds local council member Veijo Itkonen (Centre Party) of an incident in 1956 when residents of the industrial community of Pankakoski broke into two houses inhabited by Roma.
Wielding sticks, the local residents chased the Roma into the night and out of the area. Although many feel that there are too many immigrants in the area, local residents say that actual violence has been caused by a small group of men in their 20s.
“They know how to fight among themselves, too”, says youth worker Terhi Harviala. “It wasn’t a very long time ago that they stabbed each other in a restaurant.” Wild rumours about the newcomers have been circulating on the internet, and in coffee-table conversations. Terho Lautanen says at a café at a local supermarket that immigrants have better social benefits than local Finns. “The local people do not have social security because the money is spent on immigrants”, adds Aarno Ikonen.
Officials say that this is not true. Immigrants are entitled to the same benefits as everyone else. They also reiterate that the city has not bought cars for the newcomers, their apartments are not fitted out any better than those of others, and there is no evidence to back up rumours of rapes committed by the immigrants. The main reason for the arrival of immigrants in the area is evident in the district of Mähkö. Lieksa has long been suffering from severe unemployment, and the population has declined by more than 6,000 in three decades.
A declining population leaves apartments empty and brings prices down. In Pankakoski, three-room apartments are available for EUR 24,000. A few years ago the city had 100 empty municipally-owned apartments, especially in the Mähkö area. Now there are few empty apartments, because immigrants have filled most of them. Some of the immigrants are frightened by the prevailing situation. Jama Yusuf Ahmed, who was injured in the clash that took place on Saturday night, looks at cars that crawl past the apartment houses. “I am very frightened. We are too afraid even to go shopping in the evenings.” Chairman Muqtar Moalin Nuur of the local Somali Association says that he has not faced racism himself in Lieksa, and he feels that it is a good place to live. He says that problems are experienced mainly by those who visit bars and drink. He notes that immigrants have also had knives in the local nightlife. “We have also made mistakes. We have the same problems as the local people do - family troubles and others”, Muqtar Moalin Nuur acknowledges.
© The Helsingin Sanomat
BULGARIAN IN COURT ON CHARGES OF INCITING RACIAL HATRED ON FACEBOOK
13/10/2011- A 23-year-old Bulgarian alleged to have set up a Facebook page called "Slaughter of the Gypsies" after the Katounitsa incident was due in court in the Black Sea city of Varna on October 13 2011 on charges of inciting racial hatred. The Katounitsa incident in September happened after a 20-year-old was run over and killed by a motorist reportedly linked to controversial Roma businessman Kiril "Tsar Kiro" Rashkov. The incident was followed by an arson attack on Rashkov’s property and a series of anti-Roma marches in several Bulgarian cities. Prosecutors allege that Slav Zhechev set up a Facebook page, illustrated with photographs of knives and mistreatment of Roma people, which within a few hours gathered 76 people for a planned September 28 involving the gathering of weapons.
Zhechev was due to appear in Varna District Court to answer the charges. A criminal trial involving the alleged use of social networks to incite racial and ethnic hatred is a first for Bulgaria. The aftermath of the Katounitsa incident caused widespread concern among international human rights groups about ethnic tension in Bulgaria. The Government underlined that it saw the initial incident as a criminal case and pledged to come down hard on those who sought to exploit to sow ethnic divisions. The incident has been taken up as an issue by far-right political forces competing in Bulgaria's October presidential and municipal elections. According to Bulgaria's 2011 census, there are more than 325 000 Roma people in the country, just less than five per cent of the total population of 7.3 million.
© The Sofia Echo
RACISTS BLAMED FOR CO ANTRIM PIPE BOMB ATTACK (Ireland)
Councillor says attack on Polish family was 'negative and sinister' as homes evacuated and access to school restricted
12/10/2011- A pipe bomb attack in Co Antrim on Wednesday was carried out by racists targeting a Polish family, a local councillor has claimed. Grainne Teggart, the SDLP's group leader on Antrim borough council, said the attack was racially motivated and described it as "negative and sinister". "I condemn this attack. It's totally unjustifiable and inexcusable," Teggart said. "People in the area are angry at what has happened. This is not in their name. "The positive contribution Polish families and other immigrant families make to the local community is in stark contrast to the negative, sinister and despicable contribution of those responsible for this. Not only is this an attack on the family, but everyone else in Antrim." She said residents of the Oaktree Drive area had been evacuated from their homes, and urged anybody with information about the attack to pass it to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Following the discovery of the explosive device outside the Polish family's home at around 8am on Wednesday, a number of homes were evacuated and access to a local primary school was restricted. Antrim town has in the past been home to a number of small racist factions linked to the now defunct Loyalist Volunteer Force as well as the Ulster Defence Association. Meanwhile, Republican dissidents are being blamed for a shooting in west Belfast in which a man in his 20s was shot in the legs. He was shot in the republican stronghold of Ballymurphy, the former home of the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams. The PSNI said the shooting happened at around 9pm on Tuesday night in the Downfine Gardens area. Officers said five shots were fired during the attack, but the victim's injuries were not believed to be life threatening. It is understood the shooting was a so-called punishment attack, carried out by one of the organisations opposed to the political settlement in Northern Ireland. Over the last year, the Real IRA and other hardline republican groups have increased the number of punishment shootings in nationalist areas across the north of Ireland.
© The Guardian
MEN RACIALLY ABUSED AND ATTACKED IN WATFORD TOWN CENTRE (uk)
12/10/2011- Two men were racially abused and one slapped in Watford town centre in an attack police are treating as a hate crime. The pair, described by police as being of Asian origin, were standing near the Roosters Piri Piri takeaway in High Street at around 2.20am on Saturday when they were approached by a group of men.
Officers said they were both taunted with racist insults before one of the men was slapped in the face. The group then made off in an unknown direction. PC Andrea Warren, the investigating officer, said: “This form of racially motivated behaviour is considered to be a hate crime and will not be tolerated. “I am therefore appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time and saw the incident take place to get in touch. “It would have been a busy time at night, so I am sure many other people would have been in the vicinity and may have seen something.”
© The Watford Observer
11/10/2011- A white supremacist couple accused of four West Coast murders said they intended to “kill more Jews,” according to court documents. David Joseph Pedersen and Holly Grigsby were arrested north of Sacramento, Calif., last week after allegedly killing Pedersen’s father, stepmother and two strangers, including 19-year old Cody Myers, in a monthlong killing spree that spanned California, Washington and Oregon. According to court documents obtained by FOX 12 Oregon, Grigsby told detectives that the couple killed Myers because they believed he was Jewish based on his last name. “Grigsby also reportedly commented that when arrested, the couple were on their way to Sacramento to ‘kill more Jews,’ " said the document. In a jailhouse interview Monday, Pedersen told the Appeal-Democrat that he was guilty of all four murders, but that Grigsby was forced to participate under duress. Oregon State Police officials told JTA that they have not yet established probable cause to suspect a hate crime.
© JTA News
8/10/2011- Led by the convicted con artist Lukáš Kohout, right-wing extremists from the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dìlnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and other neo-Nazi groups, 300 - 400 people marched through Ústí nad Labem today. The anti-Romani gathering was convened by locals, allegedly to support the rights of "decent" citizens against "the parasitism of inadaptables." The crowd did not deviate from its planned route. At one place, neo-Nazis and approximately 10 opponents of neo-Nazism and racism yelled at one another. As many as 50 police officers kept them apart. Two demonstrators wore neo-Nazi slogans on their coats. There were 100 state police officers, 100 municipal police, and members of an anti-conflict team deployed on the streets of the town. A police helicopter flew overhead and mounted police and police dogs were also on standby.
Several promoters of the DSSS arrived in town carrying flags. The gathering started with speeches by the organizers on the square: Convener Milan Sùra, right-wing extremists from the DSSS, and convicted con artist Lukáš Kohout, who has convened similar marches in Varnsdorf. The crowd then marched through the town. The organizers planned the route to lead from Mírové Square down Velká Hradební street to the Hotel Vladimír, returning to Lidické námìstí along Masarykova street. Along the way, people chanted the slogan "Stop Black Racism" and nationalist slogans such as "Bohemia for the Czechs" or "Nothing but the Nation". They bore banners referencing the attacks allegedly committed by Romani people in Nový Bor and Rumburk, which sparked the recent unrest the neo-Nazis are now exploiting.
Right-wing extremists from the DSSS and convicted con artist Lukáš Kohout occupied the head of the march. "That is exactly what the initiator of this event probably didn't want. It looks like the protest has gotten away from his control and party members have taken over this initiative," a reporter for Czech daily Mf DNES said. An incident occurred at a point along the march route near a closed-down restaurant where local anarchists usually meet. They had hung a banner on the building reading "Nationalism is kitsch" which the marchers tore down. About 10 opponents of neo-Nazis and racism had to be separated from the protesting crowd by about 50 special forces police. The groups shouted at one another for several minutes before the crowd continued its march without further clashes. After roughly an hour and a half, the conveners of the march officially ended it on Lidické Square and people started to disperse.
Police detained two ultra-right radicals for interrogation. "They were wearing illegal slogans on their coats, but it's too early to say whether they have committed a crime or a misdemeanor," said Jarmila Hrubešová, spokesperson for the Ústí police. News server iDNES.cz reports that the men were wearing the English-language phrase "Blood and Honor", the name of an originally British neo-Nazi organization established in 1987 by a singer with the Nazi band Skrewdriver, Ian Stuart. The name was taken from the battle cry of the Hitler Youth. The group defines itself as a "Nationalist Revolutionary Movement" espousing the legacy of the Third Reich. Early this morning, police discovered and removed a cache of paving stones and wooden tool-handles in a cellar along the march route. Mounds of paving stones were also found on Velká hradební street. Before noon, police also arrested a man armed with a machete. Vladimír Danyluk, the head of the Ústí nad Labem territory, said police had been monitoring all access roads to the town since morning but did not discover any more weapons.
At 13:30, a similar rally was held in Varnsdorf (Dìèín district), where people were protesting for the ninth weekend in a row. Police spokesperson Daniel Vítek said the situation in the town was completely calm. About 150 people met on the town square, but did not march anywhere. The conveners of the demonstration once again criticized the Mayor of Varnsdorf, Martin Louka.
Headlines 7 October, 2011
MOBILE WAY TO REPORT HATE CRIMES (uk)
6/10/2011- The Community Security Trust has launched a system to help members of the community report antisemitic incidents direct from mobile phones. CST Report is similar to an "app" for smart-phones, but can be used on any mobile which has internet access. It allows users to register where and when an incident took place, the nature of it, a description of what happened, and their details. Because CST Report is designed specifically for mobile use, it allows those who have seen an incident to upload video or pictures from the phone direct to CST. Financial support for the system was provided by the Home Office's Victims' Fund. Justice Minister Lord McNally said: "It is a fantastic and pioneering way of enabling victims to report antisemitic incidents quickly and easily. "Helping people to come forward and report hate crime is vital to ensuring victims can seek the support they need, as well as helping us to understand the extent of the problem." Mark Gardner, CST communications director, said: "This is an innovative and very practical development to help people report antisemitism to CST. "The easier it is for people to contact CST, the better we can help them. "In particular we expect this to be used by the younger members of our community; and we hope that in time it will help police and the government to better record, understand and combat all types of hate crime."
To use CST Report text CST to 80800 (text cost covered by CST) or insert http://cstreport.mobi into the search field in your mobile phone's web browser.
© The Jewish Chronicle
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: ATTACK SPARKS POLICE APPEAL (uk)
6/10/2011- A man was repeatedly punched and kicked in what police are treating as a homophobic attack outside Birmingham New Street station. British Transport Police have released this CCTV image of two men they want to trace over the incident, at 4.30am on August 29. Pc Carol Stamp, leading the investigation, said the 19-year-old victim was waiting for a taxi with friends when a man began shouting homophobic abuse towards him. She added: “The offender and a second man then began attacking the victim, punching him in the face and kicking him. BTP will not tolerate any form of hate crime on the rail network."
© The Birmingham Mail
DETENTION FOR RACIST YOUTH WHO ATTACKED PENSIONER (uk)
A 16-year-old who carried out a racist attack on a pensioner outside a mosque in Ayrshire has been given three years' detention.
6/10/2011- Samuel Cassidy, of Bishopton, Renfrewshire, admitted racially-aggravated assault to severe injury. Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard that Muhammed Iqbal, 71, suffered severe facial injuries and was left unconscious during the attack in July. Mr Iqbal was described as a "pillar of the community" for more than 40 years. The retired shopkeeper had been opening up Ayrshire Central Mosque in Kilmarnock for early morning prayers shortly before 02:00 when Cassidy attacked him, calling him a "Paki bastard". Witnesses said the assault lasted about 10 minutes, with Cassidy continuing to kick and stamp on Mr Iqbal while he lay unconscious.
Cassidy ran off before two more worshippers arrived on the scene. One was a doctor who gave first aid while an ambulance was called. Mr Iqbal was taken to Crosshouse Hospital and was kept in hospital for several days for treatment. Cassidy later boasted about the attack in a text message. Dr Shaheen Mirza, vice-chairman of Ayrshire Central Mosque, said after the incident: "It is a sad day when an elderly gentleman of any community is viciously attacked. "How you treat your elderly is a gauge of the community's civility you live in." Sheriff Iona McDonald sentenced Cassidy to three years' detention.
© BBC News
GWENT POLICE DEAL WITH 900 RACIST INCIDENTS (uk, Wales)
1/10/2011- Almost 900 racist incidents have been dealt with by Gwent Police over the past three years, according to the Home Office. Figures in a Home Office report show there were a total of 280 incidents in 2008/09, 273 in 2009/10 and 343 in 2010/11, an increase of 63 incidents (22.5 per cent) over the three year period. A Gwent Police spokeswoman said hate incidents and crimes will not be tolerated in Gwent and the force is committed to tackling these offences and providing support to victims. She said: “Historically, we believe that hate incidents (where there may not necessarily be a criminal offence present) were under reported, often because victims did not realise that they could report these to the police, or because of a lack of confidence in the service they would receive. “We have prioritised improving our services to make it easier for people to come forward, feel more confident that the incidents will be properly investigated and get the support they need.” She added that the number of reported racist crimes had fallen from 410 in 2009/10 to 240 in 2010/11, which the force attributes to the zero tolerance message getting across to communities. South Wales Police dealt with a total of 5,581 racists incidents over the past three years, Dyfed Powys dealt with 494 and 1,021 were reported to North Wales Police.
Anyone who has been a victim of any sort of hate crime should contact Gwent Police on 101 or contact the Community Cohesion Team via email@example.com
© The South Wales Argus
SENTENCING GUIDELINES URGED FOR RACIALLY MOTIVATED CRIMES (Ireland)
5/10/2011- Migrants have been assaulted, urinated on and forced to leave their homes, a study about racism in Irish society has found. The research by the Immigrant Council of Ireland found racism was a part of everyday life for migrants in workplaces, streets and communities. The council called for sentencing guidelines to be introduced covering racially motivated crimes in order to distinguish between racist offences and others. The report points to a “leadership vacuum” in institutional responses to racism since the closure in 2008 of the State anti-racism body, The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism. “This report illustrates very starkly the price being paid for our lack of consistent, effective and strong action against racism,” the council’s chief executive, Denise Charlton, said.
African bus drivers, Luas workers and Asian health workers living in Ireland for six to 10 years made up the 24 migrants interviewed for the research. Racial harassment involving minors and children was a “serious problem” for some participants, and most incidents were perpetrated by groups, the research found. One Dublin Bus driver recounted being abused by a group of young people using racist language and refusing to pay. After they paid and went upstairs, some of them began to urinate on him through the ceiling. Migrants also felt more unsafe in Ireland than in other countries. One Luas inspector of Asian origin who grew up in the UK experienced racist abuse four or five times a day and was assaulted seven times since 2004. She had never experienced racism in the UK in the way that she had in Dublin, she told researchers.
Some victims living in a racially harassed environment waited years for an offer of alternative accommodation from their local authority, the report noted. One family from Africa left their home after attacks including eggs being thrown at their door, their car being vandalised and racial bullying of young children.
© The Irish Times
ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS REPORTED AT TWO GERMAN HIGH SCHOOLS
5/10/2011- Reports of threatening anti-Semitic incidents involving high school pupils in two former East German towns are being investigated. The Jewish Museum Berlin canceled the visit of its touring exhibit about Jewish life in Germany by schools in the towns of Werder and Havel last week, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, after some students barraged museum staff with anti-Semitic comments such as "no more Jew-blabbering" and "they used to gas you," according to a report in the Markische Oder Zeitung online. Martina Munch, minister for education, youth and sport in the state of Brandenburg, is investigating the cases, according to news reports. At the Carl-von-Ossietzky-Schule in Werder, museum staff called the police when teachers did not initially step in, according to reports.
The Potsdamer Neueste online news reported that four 15-year-old students came together allegedly to verbally abuse the museum staff. The four were identified with help from classmates. Principal Ines Amelung has apologized for the incident and said she plans to speak with museum representatives after the Jewish High Holidays. The school participates in the federal Schools without Racism project. Later in the day, museum staffers who were to mount the traveling exhibit at the Johannes-R.-Becher-Oberschule in Erkner left after they reportedly were verbally abused by two eighth-graders. The staffers also were to give workshops. The two incidents mark the first time that staff has ever walked out of such programs, which have been offered in 250 schools since 2007, project spokesperson Dagmar Wunderlich told the Markische Oder newspaper.
Evelyn Seidel, deputy director of the school in Erkner, told Markische Oder that one of the students tried to apologize afterward "but it was not accepted." Some students even pleaded with the museum staff to stay, she said. Munch reportedly has promised to take the incidents "very seriously." "Anti-Semitic insults and threats, or derogatory remarks made to representatives of Jewish institutions at our schools, are completely unacceptable," she said. Meanwhile, the Potsdamer Neueste website reported that pupils at Werder were upset about the incident and hoped their classmates would be punished appropriately. "That's all everyone is talking about," a 16-year-old class leader said: "They were way out of bounds." A mobile pro-democracy project visited the school the day after the incidents.
© JTA News
ADL AUDIT: 1,239 ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS ACROSS THE U.S. IN 2010 (press release)
States With Highest Totals Include CA, NY and NJ
4/10/2011- Following a consistent trend over the last several years, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States remained constant in 2010, with a total of 1,239 incidents of assaults, vandalism and harassment reported during the calendar year, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, released today, found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents increased slightly in 2010, to a total of 1,239 incidents, compared to 1,211 incidents reported in 2009. It is the first increase reported by ADL since the numbers hit a record high in 2004, when the U.S. experienced 1,821 incidents of anti-Semitism. Since 2004, the total number of anti-Jewish incidents had declined incrementally each year.
The ADL Audit tracks incidents of vandalism, harassment and physical assaults against Jewish individuals, property and community institutions across the U.S., using reports and data gathered by the League's 30 regional offices and law enforcement. "While we have come a long way in society as Jews have been accepted into the mainstream, America is still not immune to anti-Semitism and bigotry," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The good news is that we have continued to enjoy a period of relative calm, where the overall numbers are mostly unchanged and the incidents isolated. But the bad news is that for all our efforts to educate, to raise awareness and to legislate, anti-Jewish incidents remain a disturbing part of the American Jewish experience."
The 2010 ADL Audit identified:
22 physical assaults on Jewish individuals (down from 29 in 2009);
900 cases of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events (up from 760 in 2009);
317 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism (down from 422 in 2009).
The 2010 Audit comprises data from 45 states and the District of Columbia, including official crime statistics as well as information provided to ADL's regional offices by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders and members. The Audit encompasses criminal acts, such as vandalism, violence and threats of violence, as well as non-criminal incidents of harassment and intimidation.
Majority of Incidents Concentrated in Handful of States
Continuing a longtime trend, the states with the highest totals were those with large Jewish populations. The top four states were California, with 297 incidents in 2010, up from 275 in 2009; New York, with 205 incidents, down from 209; New Jersey, with 130 incidents, down from 132; and Florida, with 116 incidents, up from 90. According to the ADL Audit, other states with double-digit totals in 2010 include Massachusetts (64, up from 55 in 2009); Pennsylvania (42, down from 65 in 2009); Colorado (38, up from 14); Connecticut (38, up from 24); and Texas (37, up from 28). The Audit has never included the thousands of anti-Semitic events and expressions occurring in cyberspace, as it is virtually impossible to quantify.
"As a barometer of anti-Semitism in America, the Audit helps us to identify trends across the country and to take stock of how and where anti-Semitism is manifested," said Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. "This information helps us to work with law enforcement and others in cities and communities to address the problem of hatred of Jews." The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs. Compiled using official crime statistics, as well as information provided by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders and evaluated by ADL's professional staff, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
© The Anti-Defamation League
TWO MEN CONNECTED TO WHITE SUPREMACIST GROUP SENT TO JAIL FOR RACIST ASSAULTS (Canada)
1/10/2011- Two young men who handed out pamphlets for the white supremacist group Blood and Honour were sentenced Friday for their parts in a series of racially motivated assaults in Edmonton last February. David Roger Goodman, 19, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of criminal harassment, two counts of assault and causing a disturbance. He was sentenced to 15 months plus a year of probation to get counselling for a drinking problem. James Andrew Brooks, 26, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of criminal harassment, causing a disturbance, assault and assault with a weapon. The court ordered a pre-sentence report, then Judge L.G. Anderson sentenced Brooks to 13 months in prison in a separate proceeding Friday. Brooks, coincidentally, played a neo-Nazi skinhead descending into madness in a independent film called Blue Eyed Devil. All charges relate to the evening of Feb. 12, which started with Brooks, Goodman and two friends handing out flyers promoting the group Blood and Honour.
They started drinking at bar, singing a “Nazi song” from the movie American History X, yelling racial slurs at non-white patrons and talking about hangings. Two people, both black, told police they left because they felt unsafe. Eventually the friends left and came across a group of black men. Goodman head-butted one of them, knocked him to the ground and punched him about 20 times while he was on the ground. Brooks and another accused kicked the man. Goodman was later caught on video in a nearby liquor store bragging about the assault. In the last confrontation, Goodman punched a bouncer who refused to let them into a club, and Brooks attacked a five-foot Caucasian girl who stood up for her non-white friend. He was charged with assault with a weapon because he punched her with a glove that had plastic knuckles. The two friends with Brooks and Goodman are scheduled to appear again in court November and April.
© The Edmonton Journal
Europe’s increasingly vocal and powerful Far Right parties have swapped a racist agenda for an Islamophobic one, moving them closer to the mainstream, where anti-Muslim views are commonplace among conservative commentators and politicians.
By David Smith
6/10/2011- Islamophobia is “more widespread in Western Europe than any social prejudice since the anti-Semitism of the 1930s”, says a leading expert on the Far Right in Europe. According to Professor Cas Mudde, a Dutch academic at DePauw University and the younger brother of prominent right-wing activist Tim Mudde, Islamophobic views have largely replaced racist ones on the Far Right. But anti-Muslim rhetoric is not just limited to the extreme fringe, says Professor Mudde; Mainstream European commentators and politicians also frequently denounce Muslim practices. “The problem is that the vast majority of Muslims in Europe are born and raised there. By excluding them discursively, but also increasingly in government policies, such as putting limitations on building mosques, which you don’t have on churches and synagogues, or by banning the burqa, you marginalise and exclude a large part of the population which is growing.”
Mudde argues that Islamophobic ideas have become acceptable because a near majority of European citizens now consider Muslims to be alien to Western culture:
“Democratic societies are based on loyalty and solidarity. If Muslims are excluded and isolated, why should they feel solidarity with other populations? It’s important because there are increasingly cities in Europe with Muslim majorities.” In addition, the demonization of the Islamic faith in popular culture has also led to a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes. Strong evidence of this came in a 2009 study of anti-Muslim prejudice by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. They questioned 23,500 people from ethnic minority groups in all 27 EU Member States about their experience of prejudice. The report found an extremely high level of intolerance: One in three Muslim respondents had been discriminated against in the previous 12 months, and 11 percent had experienced a racist, or anti-Islamic, crime.
Despite the high figures, most discrimination against Muslims goes unrecorded. Some 79 percent of Muslim respondents in the study had not reported their experiences; with 59 percent believing that “nothing would happen, or change by reporting it”, while 38 percent said that “it happens all the time”, and “cannot be stopped”. Dr Robert Lambert, the co-director of the UK’s European Muslim Research Centre, has researched hate crimes against Muslims in the Tower Hamlets area of London.
“I was a policeman in the area in the 1980s and 1990s, when the large Bangladeshi community was terrorised by Far Right groups like the National Front and Combat 18. It was a largely poor, new immigrant community and very intimidated. Violence and racism became regular and routine,” he said. “Then, eventually the threat receded because the local community stood up against it robustly.” However, Lambert’s recent interviews with Muslims in Tower Hamlets now indicate that hate crimes have returned. “Some of the victims from the 80s and 90s thought it was all over, but they say they are victims a second time over. First, it was their ethnic identity and now they are targeted for their Muslim identity.”
The website Islamophobia Watch also lists thousands of acts of violence and prejudice, many of them carried out by members of the English Defence League (EDL) – an anti-Muslim street protest group formed in 2009. Last week, for example, EDL thugs in east London were jailed for smashing their way into a mosque in Redbridge and attacking the imam. The attack took place near Dagenham, where the EDL has staged anti-Muslim demonstrations outside another proposed mosque. The EDL has also been trying to spread its malign influence overseas. An investigation by the left-leaning British newspaper The Observer established that the movement’s leaders have regular contact with anti-jihad groups in the Tea Party organisation, and invited Rabbi Nachum Shifren, a Tea Party activist, to speak about Sharia law and funding, in London. The EDL has also elicited support from the notorious Pamela Geller, who was influential in the protests against plans to build an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero. Geller, darling of the Tea Party’s growing anti-Islamic wing, advocates an alliance with the EDL. She said on her blog: “I share the EDL’s goals… We need to encourage rational, reasonable groups that oppose the Islamisation of the west.”
Islamophobia: Fuelled By Politics?
The focus on Islamophobia distances the EDL from the racist outpourings of the discredited British National Party. It also moves the movement closer to the mainstream, where many right-wing commentators and politicians make anti-Islamic statements. “Islamophobia pre-dated the main radical right parties and many of their arguments come from mainstream parties and journalists,” said Mudde. “In Britain, not many people read the National Front’s magazines, but millions read the Daily Mail, whose columnists like Melanie Phillips are Islamophobic. Her columns are way more influential than the EDL, or the BNP. They are often quoted on the EDL site and serve to legitimise some of the Far Right’s views.” Melanie Phillips is one of Britain’s most strident right-wing commentators. She has written that Britain is “sleepwalking into Islamisation”, and “doesn’t grasp that it is facing a pincer attack from both terrorism and cultural infiltration and usurpation”.
Europe’s Far Right also like to quote the hard-line views of major politicians, including British PM David Cameron, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, all of whom have branded multi-culturalism “a failure”. Cameron was the first European leader to criticise “divided communities”. In February this year, he called for an end to “passive tolerance”, and told members of all faiths that they must integrate. His remarks were immediately picked up by Europe’s Far Right. French National Front leader Marine Le Pen, for instance, said that Cameron supported her party’s ideals. “I sense an evolution at European level, even in classic governments. I can only congratulate him,” she said. Elsewhere, Cameron’s speech was perceived as inflammatory, especially as it came on the same day as a large demonstration by the EDL. “Whatever the intention, the timing of this speech has played into the hands of those who wish to sow seeds of division and hatred,” Nick Lowles, director of anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate told The Guardian.
We should not be too surprised to find right-wing, and Islamophobic, rhetoric among Europe’s leaders. Most of the continent has been lurching to the right of the spectrum for some time. In 2001, 12 European states were under right-wing, or Conservative ruling parties and 14 states were governed by left-wing, or liberal parties. But by 2011, only five European states were ruled by left, or centre-left, politicians, with right-wing, or Conservatives, ruling 21 states. There has also been a concomitant rise in the percentage of votes won by Far Right parties in some European countries. In the Netherlands, the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) won 15.5 percent of the national vote in the 2010 elections (up from 5.9 percent in 2006). That gave them 24 seats out of 150 in the House of Representatives. The PVV also won 17 percent and four seats out of 25 in the European Parliament. The Islamophobic Geert Wilders leads the PVV. Wilders has called for a ban on the Koran and new mosques, a tax on head scarves, and an end to immigration from Muslim countries.
In Norway the Progress Party, which was supported by mass murderer Anders Breivik, won 22.9 percent of the vote in the 2009 elections (up from 1.9 percent in 1977). And in Switzerland, the Swiss People’s Party (UDC) won 28.9 percent in the 2007 elections (up from 11.1 percent in 1971). Other parties with a significant stake in national politics include the Lega Nord (Northern League) in Italy (10.2 percent at the 2009 European elections), the Jobbik party in Hungary (14.7 percent at the 2009 European elections), the National Front in France, the Flemish Interest Party in Belgium, the Danish People’s Party, the Sweden Democrats and the True Finns. The rise in paranoia about Muslims has also seen legal restrictions placed on Islamic practice. Five German states have banned female Muslim teachers from wearing the headscarf, but still allow teachers to wear Christian symbols.
In April, France introduced a law against covering the face in public. Women in niqabs are now banned from walking down the street, or going to the shops. French politicians said they were acting to protect the “gender equality” and “dignity” of women. But Muslim groups reported an increase in discrimination and verbal and physical violence against women in veils. Belgium introduced a niqab ban this summer, punishable by seven days in prison. In Italy, the far-right Northern League has revived a 1975 law against face-covering to fine women in certain areas of the North. And Silvio Berlusconi’s party is now preparing an anti-niqab law. Denmark is preparing legislation to limit the wearing of niqabs; politicians in Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland are pushing for outright bans. “The niqab ban allows the use of lofty liberal-democratic arguments to express prejudice,” said Mudde. “The right-wing politician can argue ‘I’m not saying it’s barbaric and a threat to the way I want to live, but I’m defending the right of women’. But those arguments depend on the motivations of those wearing it. If they are forced, that’s a bad thing, but if it’s their choice, the liberal will say it’s not right to limit freedom of expression.” “The dominant discourse is that it’s not their choice, but many Muslim women say they want to be judged for whom they are, not their appearance. They argue that European women are completely sexualised. We end up with a slippery argument, with both sides saying ‘my culture is better than yours’.”
Ironically, the labelling of heterogeneous groups of people from Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, or Morocco, and many other countries, “Muslims” has created a stronger group identity. Professor Terri Givens, from the Government Department at The University of Texas, said: “In the 1990s I didn’t hear much talk about Muslims, or veils, when I was researching racism in Europe. People from Turkey, or Pakistan, would refer to themselves as Pakistani or Turkish before they thought of themselves as Muslims.” “But since 9/11, London’s 7/7 and the Madrid train bombing, the level of Islamophobic rhetoric has increased and we increasingly see a defensive reaction in these communities. Being Muslim is adopted as a political identity in response to Islamophobia. The response from Muslim women has been to wear the hijab more often.” Muslim grievances against demonization also rarely find political voice. “Islamophobia is a serious problem in Europe,” said Professor Givens. “Studies in both France and Germany show well-educated Muslims are far less likely to be employed than white people, but the ability of Muslims to get engaged politically in order to fight discrimination is limited.” “The Netherlands is one of the best at getting Muslims on local and municipal councils, but in most European countries there are very few mechanisms they feel they can trust.”
© Economy Watch