ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive May 2012

Headlines 25 May, 2012

Headlines 18 May, 2012

Headlines 11 May, 2012

Headlines 4 May, 2012

Headlines 25 May, 2012

MUSLIMS OUTRAGED AT XENOPHOBIC GRAFFITI (Russia)

25/5/2012- Moscow’s mufti Albir Krganov has appealed to the capital’s Bureau for Human Rights over nationalistic slogans and graffiti which he says insult the feelings of believers and non-Russian nationals. Krganov – vice chairman of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia – said the body had received a large number of complaints from believers over xenophobic graffiti.In particular, they reported such slogans as “Russia is for Russians” covering the walls along the railroad to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. It is worrying that in Russia – a multinational and multi-confessional country – some people allow themselves to express nationalistic statements, the mufti noted to Russian News Service. “I simply wanted to draw attention to the problem so that the society would think about it. Fences and walls belong to someone and they should watch what’s written on them,” Krganov stressed.

In response, the Human Rights Bureau issued a statement calling on Russian Railways (RZD) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to give an ear to “the glaring problem.” “Nationalistic slogans and symbols are dangerous since they are insulting and, also, inspire people with fear for their safety as well as for the future of the country,” the document reads. Extremist statements on buildings near railroads are especially dangerous as they "poison the eyes and souls of tens of thousands of people.” The head of the bureau, Aleksandr Brod observed that railway administration does not always erase xenophobic graffiti. “More attention must be paid to such nationalist activities, especially since according to reports they create special groups for their tricks,” the body’s website quotes him as saying.

Thousands of people including foreigners travel by train and what they see on the walls of railway stations and buildings around is – to some extent – the face of the country, Brod noted. “I wish this face didn’t cause concern. The law enforcement agencies shouldn’t turn a blind eye on these crimes,” the organization’s website quotes him as saying.
© RT

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PARLIAMENT UNANIMOUS IN BACKING HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION (Malta)

24/5/2012- The introduction of tougher penalties for crimes motivated by gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religious or political beliefs drew closer after parliament unanimously approved the necessary legal amendments in their second reading. Last February, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi announced that he had instructed Justice Minister Chris Said to review hate crime laws in the wake of public outcry following an assault apparently motivated by the two victims’ sexual orientation. Laws covering offences motivated by racial or religious hatred were already on the books, with many introduced in 2009. What Dr Said’s office came up with is a number of amendments to the Criminal Code which uniformly replace references to them with references to “gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, ethnic origin, religion or belief or political or other opinion.”

The amendments cover a wide range of crimes, including causing bodily harm, arson, incitement, harassment, threats and the wilful damage of goods. In each case, they would increase the legal punishment for such crimes by one or two degrees if their motivation on the grounds mentioned is proven. As debate on the second reading drew to an end on Tuesday evening, opposition deputy leaderAngluFarrugia observed that while the provisions were commendable, further efforts would be needed in this regard. He warned that the law alone would not change perceptions overnight. In his winding-up speech, Dr Said was in agreement, pointing out, among other things, that such efforts had to be coupled with efforts in the education system, which would help promote the acceptance of differences in opinions and characteristics to avoid such crimes from occurring in the first place.

The minister noted that he was glad to see the opposition agree with the amendments proposed, describing them as not extensive but significant. Parliament, he said, was sending a clear message that it wanted a society that respected persons regardless of who they were or what they thought. Unsurprisingly, given the preceding discussions, the bill was approved unanimously in its second reading, and parliament also unanimously approved sending it to committee.
© The Malta Independent

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RACIST BEATING TRIAL POSTPONED (Greece)

23/5/2012- A court in Greece on Wednesday postponed for the sixth time the trial of three Greeks, including a neo-Nazi parliament candidate, accused of beating up three Afghan immigrants in Athens a year ago. The defence requested the delay in order to obtain testimony from a police patrolman who allegedly caught the defendants in the act. The trial has now been set for September 25. One of the accused, a woman named Themis Skordeli, recently failed to get elected to parliament with the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn group which boosted its support in the May 6 ballot on growing immigration and crime fears. Skordeli has been identified as a member of an Athens anti-migrant patrol group formed in poorer districts of the capital with the help of far-right militants. Around a hundred leftist activists had gathered outside the courthouse, shouting slogans against the far-right and the police, and hurling projectiles at the accused, who were evacuated by a strong police escort.

A Greek representative for Human Rights Watch, Eva Cosse, said the postponement was ”very worrying.” ”Greek justice should take efficient action against racist violence which is multiplying in the country,” Cosse told AFP. The defendants face a five-year prison term if convicted. The case is the first of its kind to come to trial in over a decade, although attacks on migrants have become increasingly common in recession-hit Greece. On Tuesday, a violent anti-migrant protest took place in the western port of Patras after a 30-year-old Greek was fatally stabbed over the weekend in a dispute with three men believed to be Afghan nationals. Police said they fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of around 350 people, mainly Golden Dawn supporters, who tried to storm an abandoned factory where homeless migrants have taken shelter. The protesters threw stones, flares and firebombs at the police, damaging a police bus, a squad car and two motorbikes. Eight policemen were hurt. Five people were arrested.
© AFP

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POLICE: INJURED BOY WAS NOT ASSAULTED BY ROMA (Czech Rep.)

23/5/2012- The 15-year-old boy, who was allegedly brutally beaten up by Roma in Breclav, south Moravia, in April, caused his serious injuries himself after he fell down from a railing, the police investigators have concluded, their chief Ludek Blahak told reporters Wednesday. The boy fell down when he was showing a gymnastic exercise on a railing to his friends on the eighth floor of a house. He fabricated the attack since he was afraid of his mother's reaction, Blahak said. The assaulted boy originally testified that three men, allegedly Roma, asked him for a cigarette. As he did not have any, they beat him up so brutally that he lost his kidney as a consequence. Later he admitted that only one of the perpetrators might be Roma.

The iDnes.cz reported that the boy was selling low-quality marijuana to the assaulters, which might be the reason for the attack. The boy's family denied it immediately. The incident stirred up anti-Romani moods in Breclav. The nationwide association of Roma said it would consider taking legal steps over the case. It will probably ask the boy's mother to apologise for it and the authorities to calculate the costs connected with the case. The boy and one witness underwent a polygraph test Wednesday that proved they were lying. Then all four witnesses changed their original testimonies. The police will shelve the case of the alleged attack since it did not occur. They did not specify whether they would take any other legal steps against the boy or the witnesses.

The boy spent two weeks in hospital where doctors had to remove his kidney. He also suffered liver and pancreas injuries. His health condition is gradually improving. The public criticised the Breclav Town Hall after the incident. An anti-Roma rally against the crime was held in the town, attended by some 2000 people. The ultra-right extremist Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) helped organise the protests. Local inhabitants complained about cohabitation with Roma and high Roma-related crime. The town hall took a number of measures in reaction to the alleged attack. It employed another Romani coordinator and decided to invest money in a camera-monitoring system. Some 500 Roma are living in Breclav with a total of 25,700 inhabitants. The police say they believe that the situation in the town will calm down now.
© The Prague Daily Monitor

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RAOUL WALLENBERG MEMORIAL IN BUDAPEST DEFACED (Hungary)

Unknown vandals hanged bloody pig feet on the memorial in Budapest commemorating Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during WWII.

23/5/2012-  According to Hungarian media, a group of Jewish tourists from New York discovered the statue defaced and immediately informed the authorities. Hungarian authorities promised "immediate action" on the case, according to the media. Raoul Wallenberg saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust by using his position as envoy to the Nazi occupied city to issue protective passports and shelter Jews. He was arrested in 1945 on espionage when the Soviet Army entered Budapest. He later disappeared. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. He was awarded the title of "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and Institute in Jerusalem.
© EJP News

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TEEN GIRLS ATTACK AND RACIALLY ABUSE WOMAN WHILE SHE PLAYED WITH HER CHILDREN IN PARK (uk)

25/5/2012- Teen girls attack and racially abuse woman while she played with her children in Birchfields Park, Rusholme A woman was racially abused and assaulted while playing with her children in a park. The 30-year-old Asian woman was with her three children by swings when she was attacked in Birchfields Park, Rusholme. Three teenage girls told her to take her children away from the swings and kicked her in the legs. A man they were with then indecently exposed himself before they walked off across the park. Police are treating the incident, which took place at around 5.30pm on Tuesday, May 22, as a hate crime. One girl was white, in her late teens, had long black hair with red tints and wore a black top with blue jeans. The second girl was white, in her late teens, had blonde hair and wore a tight black top and short black skirt. The third was white, in her late teens, had blonde hair and wore a top with black, beige and red lines on it. She also wore tight black leggings. The man was black, in his 20s, of slim build, shaved head and wore diamond style earrings in both ears. He was wearing a grey top and grey jogging pants. Police Constable Matt Long based at Longsight Police Station said: "We are treating this as a hate crime and are eager to speak to anyone who witnessed this unprovoked assault. The fact that the offenders carried out the attack in front of the victim’s children proves what kind of people they are. "We believe there may have been a number of people in the park due to the time that this happened and the recent nice weather so I would ask them to come forward and get in touch."
© The Manchester Evening News

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MIDDLE-AGED THUG STAMPED ON YOUNG WOMAN'S HEAD IN VICIOUS 'HATE CRIME' SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE WAS DRESSED AS A GOTH (uk)

Kenneth Kelsall headbutted victim before stomping on her face in attack on crowded train; Accomplice Gareth Farrar bundled Melody McDermott into the corner of the carriage so the assault could continue; Attack has chilling echoes of 2008 killing of Goth student Sophie Lancaster who was beaten to death by two teenagers in a park

24/5/2012- A drunken thug who stamped repeatedly on a young woman's head aboard a crowded tram simply because she was dressed in goth-style clothes was today facing a lengthy jail term. Kenneth Kelsall, 47, battered innocent Melody McDermott after he and his accomplice Gareth Farrar, 43, spotted her on the tram in Bury, Greater Manchester. Kelsall first headbutted 22-year old Melody inside the carriage, sending her reeling across the floor. She managed to struggle to her feet and kicked out at the tram doors but Farrar then bundled her into the corner as other passengers looked on in horror. Kelsall then repeatedly punched Melody and viciously stamped on her head and face five times as she lay between two seats. Farrar thumped Melody’s friend Stephen Stafford, 29, and aimed two punches at Melody before running off. Melody suffered a fractured eye socket and swelling to her face and body and Stephen sustained a black eye and an ear injury in the attack on a Metrolink passenger tram near Bury, Greater Manchester.

The attack has chilling echoes of the killing in 2008 of Goth student Sophie Lancaster, 20, who was beaten to death by two teenagers in a park in Bacup, Lancashires simply because of the long dark clothing she was wearing. At Bolton Crown Court, Melody dressed in long dark dress with lacy sleeves and dyed red hair and Stephen watched from the public gallery as a judge said Kelsall, of Cheetham Hill, Cornwood Close, Manchester and Farrar of Ellingham Close, Beswick, Manchester would facing prison terms over the vicious assault in October last year. Kelsall pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was remanded in custody. Farrar pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray and was granted bail. Both men are due to be sentenced on July 2. Melody and Stephen were returning home from a night out in Bury and were on board a tram at the Metrolink platform when they were attacked by the two men.

Karen Brooks, prosecuting, said Farrar and Kelsall had 'worked together' in the attack - pushing the complainant into the corner of the tram and then turning on Stephen Stafford, punching him to the ground. 'He remembers getting kicked in the face,' said Miss Brooks. 'I understand, the complainant Mr Stafford, had quite a serious injury on his ear which required four stitches. Those injuries are more likely to have been caused by a kick than a punch.' CCTV of the attack was shown to the court, which also includes footage of a third man with the accused. Farrar’s counsel Stuart Duke said: 'There is no dispute on what has actually happened - simply the label we put on it. The co-accused approached the complainant inside the Metrolink tram and head butts her. 'She is then seen to get up and to be kicking at the doors. Mr Farrar pushed her violently into the corner and assaults the other complainant. 'Mr Farrar on video, it seems, swings two punches at the complainant, but whether they connected or not we will never know.'

'It’s an unpleasant incident, he’s certainly guilty of an affray for pushing the complainant violently out the way while he assaults the boyfriend. 'He can be seen swinging two punches against the complainant. But he is a man of 43 and effectively good character.' Mr Duke said Mr Farrar wasn’t even on the tram at the point Kelsall was inflicting violence on Miss McDerott. He added: 'His instructions were that he didn’t even know she had been head-butted. 'The co-defendant continues to kick the complainant - it is arguable to say that the main injuries were caused when my client wasn’t present.' But Judge Elliot Knopf warned they could both face jail sentences and called the incident a 'dreadful assault'. Referring to Kelsall he said: 'He comes in and head-butts her at some sort of speed and sends her flying. She gets up and kicks the door then two of them come in. 'There is a melee - that’s the only way I can describe it.' 'It seems clear from the video the person who actually perpetrated in the assault to the girl would have been Kelsall. But because this man came back in with Kelsall, there is an argument. We have all had to opportunity to see the disgraceful display. 'All the options will be kept open, including immediate custody. Anyone who saw that recording would be horrified by the events on that day.'

Both Melody and Stephen declined to comment on the attack until after the sentencing hearing. But at the time of the attack Det Con Simon Swann from Bury CID said: 'This was a completely unprovoked and violent attack on two people who were returning home from an evening out. 'They were left with serious injuries that have left them both in a lot of pain.' The case was not prosecuted as a hate crime due to the style of their clothing but Sophie’s mum Sylvia Lancaster has campaigned to end intolerance and prejudice since her daughter’s murder. Sophie was kicked and stamped to death by a gang who targeted her and her boyfriend Robert Maltby because they dressed in a Goth-style of clothes. Brendan Harris attacked her when she begged him and four other drunken youths to stop beating her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, 22. Her boyfriend survived the beating but Sophie died in hospital two weeks later. At the trial into her death the court heard Harris, 15 and accomplice Ryan Herbert, 16, were so violent in their attack that when paramedics arrived at the scene in Bacup they couldn’t tell if Sophie was male or female.
© The Daily Mail

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768 RACIST INCIDENTS IN PLYMOUTH SCHOOLS (uk)

24/5/2012- In the past four years there have been 768 reported racist incidents in Plymouth schools, according to new figures. The city's 67 primary schools, accounted for 342 incidents – which can range from name-calling to physical abuse. Sixteen secondary schools reported 241 incidents between them. Eight special schools recorded 208 cases, according to a detailed analysis. Among secondary schools, only Devonport High School for Girls recorded no incidents in the four years. Stoke Damerel Community College had a poorer record with 22 cases in 2010/11 alone. Mount Tamar special school, which has just 91 pupils aged from five to 16, had 67 cases in the same year.

A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said that high numbers did not necessarily imply high levels of racism. "Schools report racist incidents to our education, learning and family support department so that we can target appropriate support to pupils and teachers," she said. "Schools that are rigorous in addressing and reporting these incidents are not necessarily schools in which there is the highest proportion of racism, but rather, they are schools with increasing levels of diversity, committed to tackling negative attitudes and inequalities. "We encourage our schools to be proactive in reporting racist incidents so we can actively work to educate our young people in developing positive attitudes. "The council reports this information to the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board, which is used as evidence in our multi-agency work aimed at keeping young people safe."

According to figures obtained by the BBC there were nearly 88,000 racist incidents were recorded in Britain's schools between 2007 and 2011. Data from 90 areas shows 87,915 cases of racist bullying, which can include name calling and physical abuse. Birmingham recorded the highest number at 5,752, followed by Leeds with 4,690. Carmarthenshire had the lowest number with just five cases. A racist incident is defined as any situation perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person. The Department for Education said racism needed to be "rooted out". After the murder of London teenager Stephen Lawrence, the previous Government ordered schools in England and Wales to monitor and report all incidents of racist abuse to their local authority.

However, the coalition Government has changed that guidance and schools now have no duty to record and report the data. Sarah Soyei of the anti-racism educational charity Show Racism the Red Card said: "Unfortunately, the numbers of recorded racist incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. "Often teachers may not be aware of racism in their classrooms because victims are scared of reporting them out of fear of making the situation worse." Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "These numbers are disappointingly high." The Department for Education defended the change in its guidance for schools. "It is teachers and parents – not central government – that know what is happening in their schools, and they are best placed to deal with racist behaviour when it happens," a spokesperson said.
© This is Plymouth

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THOUSANDS OF RACIST INCIDENTS REPORTED (uk)

23/5/2012- Tens of thousands of racist incidents were recorded in schools over five years, it was disclosed today. Figures from 90 areas across the UK show the extent of racist bullying, including verbal and physical attacks. In total, 87,915 cases were recorded by local authorities, following reports from schools, between 2007 and 2011, according to statistics obtained by the BBC Asian Network through freedom of information requests. An incident can be considered racist if the victim or any other person considers it to be so, the BBC reported. Their figures show that during this time period, Birmingham - one of the biggest local authorities - had 5,752 cases, the highest number recorded, followed by Leeds at 4,690. At the other end of the scale, Carmarthenshire recorded just five cases.

The Department for Education (DfE) said there was no room in modern society for racism, and that schools have powers to deal with abusive pupils. The impact of racial abuse can be "devastating", the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said, adding that the figures were "hugely disappointing". Under the previous Labour government, schools in England and Wales had an obligation to monitor and report incidents of racist abuse to their local council. The coalition Government has scrapped this requirement, and schools no longer need to record cases. Instead, schools are expected to have a "consistent" approach to monitoring bullying. For some this will mean recorded incidents, while others will not keep written records, the DfE said.

The BBC's figures show in 2010 the numbers of recorded racist incidents in schools in England, Wales and Scotland rose to 23,971, up 1,686 from 22,285. And in 2010/11, when rules on reporting incidents were changed, this number fell to 18,996. NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: "The impact of racial abuse can be devastating. Schools need to remain places of optimism and belonging for every student. "We urge our members to go beyond recording, reporting and compliance, to really focus on the culture and ethos of the school and its community to tackle incidents of racial abuse head on. "It's hugely disappointing to hear the figure of 88,000 recorded racist incidents in our schools." Mr Hobby added that figures produced in 2007 suggested that the numbers appeared to be falling, but added that the statistics are still "way too high".

A DfE spokesman said: "There is no room in civilised, modern society for racism. Schools have tough powers to crackdown on abusive and badly behaved pupils - as well as clear responsibility to teach tolerance and respect for others. "Heads and teachers are professional enough never to be complacent in dealing with this issue - parents and pupils expect them to remain vigilant and step in to prevent it whenever it occurs." Schoolchildren in England were expelled on 20 occasions for racist abuse in 2009/10, the latest year for which figures are available. And there were 3,900 suspensions, the DfE statistics show.

Research published last summer also highlighted a problem with racism in England's schools. More than four-fifths (83%) of teachers questioned said they had witnessed racist attitudes or behaviour amongst their students, according to a study by anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card, supported by the National Union of Teachers (NUT). This included name-calling, comments, jokes and stereotyping of different races. And almost a third of those questioned (31%) said they had seen similar behaviour among teachers, the study found. Show Racism The Red Card spokeswoman Sarah Soyei told the BBC: "Unfortunately, the numbers of recorded racist incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. "Racism is a very real issue in many classrooms around the country, but cases of racist bullying are notoriously under-reported."
© Asian Image

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NAZI GRAFFITI ON MOSQUE IN SOUTH-WEST FRANCE

24/5/2012- On Monday night a swastika and Nazi symbols were sprayed the mosque of the El Mouhsinine Muslim association in Tarascon-sur-Ariège. Police have launched an investigation. Local Councillors visited the site to express their support for the association, and the mayor has called for a firm stand to be taken against racism and xenophobia.
© ABNA

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VEIL BAN 'INCREASED HOSTILITY TOWARDS MUSLIM WOMEN' (France)

22/5/2012- New research shows that that there is a link between the banning of the veil in France and increased levels of hostility towards veiled Muslim women. The Research from the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester suggests that the veil ban stigmatises veiled Muslim women as ‘criminals’ and fosters Muslim ‘otherness’. Even if not explicitly inciting hate-motivated violence, the law in its application contributes to a climate of intolerance of Islam in the West. Irene Zempi, who led the study, will present her research on Islamophobia at a Departmental Research Seminar at the University of Leicester tommorrow. Ms Zempi argues: "In light of my interviews with veiled Muslim women, I am confident that the French veil ban is a ‘trigger’ event which has led to increased levels of anti-Muslim hostility towards women who wear the face veil – the most visual symbol of Islam in the West. "The veil ban policy is a clear manifestation of Islamophobia. The veil ban is not a ‘religious-blind’ piece of legislation; rather it attacks ‘Islam’ through the religious code of dress for Muslim women."

Ms Zempi's research is qualitative in nature, drawing on individual and focus group interviews with veiled Muslim women. This research also includes interviews with French Muslim women who moved to Leicester from France because of the French veil ban. Ms Zempi will discuss the implications of the veil ban for veiled Muslim women in France and the UK at the seminar on Wednesday. She argues that the veil ban policy – including support for state veil bans – is fertile ground for anti-Muslim hate crime/incidents in the public sphere. She continues: "The veil ban not only overshadows the fundamental issue of religious freedom as a human right, it also undercuts individual agency, privacy, and self-expression. This law oppresses women who want to wear the veil by depriving them from having control over their bodies and the way they dress." Jon Garland, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Ms Zempi’s co-supervisor, said: "Irene is undertaking some groundbreaking research that is shedding new light on a hitherto under-researched issue. "She is uncovering alarming amounts of prejudice suffered by veiled Muslim women, but her work will hopefully help to increase understanding of this problem and thereby challenge these prejudices."

The research was funded by the University of Leicester.
© Asian Image

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TEEN GYPSY SHOT DEAD, BODY DUMPED AT HOSPITAL (Italy)

21/5/2012- A Roma- Gypsy teenager was shot dead late Sunday and his body dumped in front of a hospital near Naples. The 15-year-old boy who was shot with a pistol was abandoned in front of the San Giuliano di Giugliano hospital in the town of Giugliano. His name was not immediately released but police said he lived in a gypsy camp in Giugliano. A car was seen leaving the seen after dumping the body. Of the 150,000 Roma-Gypsies who live in Italy, about 70,000 have Italian citizenship. Many Roma Gypsies come from Romania. Up to 40,000 Roma-Gypsies migrated to Italy after the 1990s Balkan wars.
© Adnkronos

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AMID QUISLING FUROR, LITHUANIAN SHUL DEFACED

21/5/2012- A famous Vilnius synagogue was vandalized over the weekend, shortly after an official ceremony in remembrance of Lithuania’s 1941 pro-Nazi leader. The event occurred on Friday, when assailants threw green paint at the façade of the only Vilnius synagogue that has remained active since before the Holocaust. A member of the Lithuanian Jewish community, who requested not to be named, said the two events were related. “Every time the government and the big professors commemorate the memory of a local ‘hero’ that worked with the Nazis during the Holocaust, there is an increased sense of anti-Semitism in the city. It only takes one thug with a tin of paint.”

On Sunday, an official ceremony was held in Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania, to burry the bones of Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, who served as the head of Lithuania’s Nazi-puppet “Provisional Government” of 1941. His bones were flown to Vilnius last Thursday, and were received with an official ceremony at the airport. From there, they were transferred to Kaunas and on Sunday they were buried at a respectful ceremony attended by politicians, to the sound of the national anthem. Milan Chersonski, long-time editor of the Jewish Community’s newspaper, told Haaretz that the weekend’s vandalism was clearly linked to what he called the “unofficial supplementary program” to honor the Nazi collaborator.
© Haaretz

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DHARUN RAVI SENTENCED TO JAIL IN RUTGERS WEBCAM CASE (usa)

21/5/2012- A judge Monday sentenced a former Rutgers University student, Dharun Ravi, to 30 days in jail for spying on his gay roommate who later committed suicide, rejecting defense arguments that he did not deserve time behind bars but disappointing prosecutors who portrayed him as insensitive and driven by anti-gay bias. Ravi, who is now 20, had faced 10 years in prison after being convicted last March of invasion of privacy, witness tampering, tampering of evidence, and the hate crime of bias intimidation. He was also sentenced to 300 hours of community service. The jury had concluded that Ravi had targeted his roommate, Tyler Clementi, because Clementi was gay, and the bias-crime status virtually guaranteed he would get some prison time.

Clementi, 18, threw himself from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, shortly after learning that Ravi had secretly videotaped him in their room with a male date. While Ravi never was accused of causing Clementi’s death, the circumstances sparked a national debate on bullying and other pressures facing gay youths. During the trial, prosecutors sought to portray Ravi as a homophobic, self-satisfied college freshman who took pleasure in humiliating his shy, sensitive roommate. Judge Glenn Berman addressed Ravi before announcing his sentence, saying: “Nothing I say is intended in any way to disparage you or demean you. I don’t even know you.” “But I heard this jury say ‘guilty’ 288 times -- 24 questions, 12 jurors -- that's the multiplication. And I haven’t heard you apologize once,” he said as Ravi sat silently, his chin often resting on his fist. “You cannot expunge the conduct or the pain you caused.”

He noted that Ravi has no prior record and that it was unlikely he would commit another offense. He also said he did not think Ravi was anti-gay. “I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi … but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity,” Berman said. Ravi’s mother sobbed in the courtroom as the sentence was read, and Clementi’s parents sat quietly. Ravi, sitting in a dark suit and tie, sat quietly with his eyes downcast, as he had throughout the morning as Clementi’s parents, brother, and prosecutors appealed for prison time, rejecting arguments that as a first-time offender, Ravi should be spared incarcerations. “All of the defendant's actions … were planned, were purposeful, and were malicious,” prosecutor Julia McClure said, describing Ravi as an arrogant attention-seeker and dismissing the defense claim that Ravi meant no harm when he secretly filmed Clementi. It “defies logic and common sense,” she said.

“The jury’s verdict gave some measure of justice … but justice can only be fully realized by respecting and enforcing the law and punishing this defendant for his conduct, his criminal acts,” she said. Defense attorney Steve Altman read a statement to Berman after Clementi’s mother, father, brother and a man secretly filmed with Clementi demanded prison time for Ravi. Altman said he had come before the packed courtroom with an anxiety “1,000-fold more than what I’ve ever experienced before” because he knew he needed to persuade Berman to keep Ravi out of jail. “I know that’s climbing a mountain,” he said, but he repeated his argument that the case had been overshadowed by Clementi’s suicide even though Ravi was not charged in his death. “This isn’t about a simple invasion of privacy,” he said. “This case is being tried and it’s being treated and exists today as if it’s a murder case.” Even the victim impact statements “are replete with suggestions … that Dharun has some responsibility, some role in that terrible, terrible choice of Tyler’s.”

As he spoke, Ravi, dressed in a dark suit, sat quietly, his eyes downcast. Those in the packed courtroom included more than a dozen family members, including his father, Ravi Pazhani, who said his son had been “dragged through the mud” and demonized for Clementi’s suicide even though he said he had no part in it. “Dharun is punished for what happened after the incident,” he said, referring to Clementi’s death. Pazhani described his son as a “passive child” and said it was impossible that he could have become the arrogant bully that prosecutors portrayed during his first year in Rutgers. “We are not a homophobic family. Dharun was not raised to hate gays,” said Pazhani, who also alluded to his family’s Indian heritage. “As an American, I may look different, have a different skin color, may speak differently from most,” he said in heavily accented English. “But believe me, I am a parent first.” Pazhani then went on to pay tribute to Tyler Clementi, referring to his talents as a violinist and lamenting his early death. “Rest in peace, Tyler, you will always be in our thoughts and prayers,” he said before appealing to Berman to spare his son jail time.

Ravi, who had been stoic through the various statements, broke down in tears when his mother, Sabitha Ravi, then took a seat beside him at the defense table and described between sobs how the case had devastated the family and how she felt her son had been wrongly characterized. “Dharun’s dreams are shattered and he has been living in hell for the past 20 months,” she cried.
© The Los Angeles Times

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RUTGERS WEBCAM SPYING CASE RAISES ISSUES ABOUT DEPORTATION, EXPERTS SAY (usa)

20/5/2012- Dharun Ravi, the 20-year-old convicted of hate crimes in the Rutgers University webcam spying case, faces the possibility of deportation in addition to multiple years in prison when he is sentenced Monday. But legal experts say Ravi's situation is far from an "open-and-shut" deportation case, and that the government may not even have the power to remove him from the US due to the complex and novel legal issues surrounding his conviction. Jurors found the former Rutgers student guilty on several counts of bias intimidation -- a hate crime -- in addition to invasion of privacy and hindering his police investigation after determining he was motivated by a dislike of homosexuals when he streamed a romantic encounter between his roommate, Tyler Clementi, and an older man on the internet. Clementi, 18, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after learning of Ravi's spying in September 2010. Ravi was not charged over his death. Ravi, who was born in India, could face deportation over his conviction because he never completed requirements to obtain US citizenship despite spending most of his life in America. Federal authorities have two possible grounds on which to deport Ravi: for committing a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony.

Deportation law expert Norton Tooby told NewsCore that despite its judgmental connotation, a hate crime conviction might not qualify as a crime of moral turpitude. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not define the term moral turpitude, but the Justice Department's official definition says it is a crime that involves "both reprehensible conduct and some degree of [intent], whether specific intent, deliberateness, willfulness, or recklessness." Tooby said that a court might view a hate crime as simply a sentencing enhancement for an underlying crime. And if the underlying crime is not a moral turpitude offense, then, according to Tooby, the hate crime conviction should not qualify the criminal for deportation. "I don't see a hate crime jacking up a non-moral turpitude crime and turning it into a crime of moral turpitude," Tooby said. The underlying crime in Ravi's case was invasion of privacy. Without commenting on the specifics of Ravi's case, Tooby said a decent argument could be made that invasion of privacy is not a crime of moral turpitude. A crime of moral turpitude is one that is done with an evil motive, according to Tooby, as opposed to other crimes which simply prohibit specific actions. "You could say there's nothing inherently evil by looking at someone else doing a sex act, certainly if it's consensual," Tooby said, referring to the crime of invasion of privacy. "It's only that it's without permission, that's what makes it criminal."

But even if Ravi's conviction is deemed a crime of moral turpitude, another limitation in the INA may save Ravi from removal from the country. The INA only allows non-citizens to be deported for a crime of moral turpitude if the conviction was "committed within five years after the date of admission." Since Ravi moved to the US as a young child, he would not appear to qualify for deportation on this ground. But Wake Forest Law School Prof. Margaret Taylor told NewsCore there could be an added complication if Ravi traveled outside of the US at any time in the past five years. "If he has an international travel history, the government may try to argue that that readmission into the United States counts and can trigger deportation grounds," Taylor said. Ravi's attorney Steven Altman declined a request to be interviewed for this article and would not comment on his client's travel history. Still, even if Ravi has not been outside of the country in the past five years, there is yet another wrinkle in the INA that the federal government could use to force him to leave the country. The INA allows the government to deport non-citizens "convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct," regardless of how long they have been living in the country. Ravi was convicted of bias intimidation for spying or attempting to spy on Clementi on two different days.

Tooby said that Ravi's situation is likely to count as multiple convictions under the INA. "If the two instances were on different days and the person could reflect on the crime, then it is not likely to fall in the single scheme exception and would trigger deportation," Tooby said. Ravi's tampering with evidence convictions could also cause him to be deported. NYU Law Professor Adam Cox told NewsCore that courts often define crimes of moral turpitude as those "with an intent to defraud," and tampering with evidence could plausibly meet that standard. Taylor said the convictions for hindering the investigation could have an even harsher effect on Ravi if they are classified as being an aggravated felony. Aggravated felonies were originally defined by the INA as crimes such as murder and drug trafficking. But the list of crimes that qualify as aggravated felonies for the purpose of immigration law has grown substantially to include misdemeanors. Taylor said that while there is not much case law on the issue, it is at least plausible for an immigration court to find that Ravi committed the aggravated felony of obstruction of justice so long as his conviction for tampering with evidence results in a sentence of at least one year. And unlike crimes of moral turpitude, non-citizens with aggravated felony convictions cannot apply to have any deportation proceedings called off.

Middlesex County, N.J., Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman is scheduled to sentence Ravi Monday. Prosecutors have asked for a harsh sentence, while Ravi's attorneys have argued in court filings he should only receive probation. Ravi previously turned down a plea deal in which prosecutors offered no prison time in addition to legal assistance for any potential deportation proceedings.
© Fox News

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UKRAINE: FIRST-EVER KYIV PRIDE CANCELLED IN FACE OF ULTRA-RIGHT THREAT

20/5/2012- The Ukrainian authorities should take action to protect the rights of LGBT people and ensure they are able to exercise their human rights without fear of attacks, Amnesty International said today after the first-ever pride parade had to be cancelled on Sunday. Police advised pride organizers to abandon the march just 30 minutes before it was due to start. They claimed 500 ultra-right football hooligans were en route to the rally point with the intention of preventing the march from going ahead. Two activists were beaten up and tear gassed by a dozen youths in central Kyiv after those already gathered for the march were evacuated with police escort. “It has been clear from the start that the Kyiv police department did not want this march to go ahead. Their reluctance to commit to the event and to put adequate security measures in place to protect demonstrators left organizers fearing for their safety,” said Max Tucker, Ukraine campaigner at Amnesty International.

A senior Kyiv police official had previously told pride organizers that he was not prepared to put his officers in harm’s way for the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. “The Kyiv authorities and police must work harder to ensure next year pride participants can feel confident they will be protected,” said Tucker. Amnesty International also expressed its deep concern about support expressed on Wednesday by a parliamentary committee for a bill restricting the distribution of and access to information “promoting homosexuality”. The bill would amend several laws including the law on protection of public morals, the law on print media, the law on television and radio broadcasting, the law on publishing and the Criminal Code.

The provisions, if adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament, would directly discriminate against Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual individuals in the exercise of their right to freedom of expression. “Passing this bill would fly in the face of Ukraine’s international obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression and prohibit discrimination,” added Tucker. Amnesty International calls on the Ukrainian Parliament to reject the bill and to ensure that Ukraine protects, respects and fulfills the rights of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual individuals without any discrimination.
© Amnesty International

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SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER GRADES SOCIAL NETWORKING GIANTS ON DIGITAL HATE, TERROR

23/5/2012- Facebook has earned an A minus and YouTube merited a C minus for removing pro-terrorist and hate postings, according to a study by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which says social networking sites are magnets for this activity. Micro-blogging site Twitter hasn't been given a grade by the international human rights organization because "they haven't even shown up to the dance yet," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, head of the centre's annual digital terror and hate project. "Five years ago, we were essentially talking about websites," Cooper said of the recently released report. "Now most of the focus has to be on social networking and watching how every wrinkle unfolds." Facebook earned a high mark because it has taken down thousands of pages that the digital terrorism and hate project has brought to its attention, Cooper said from Los Angeles. It got an A minus instead of an A because of its more "nuanced" approach to discussion forums, about the denial of the Holocaust, for example, he said. As for YouTube, Cooper said there's just too many videos about how to carry out terrorist acts. "That stuff doesn't belong on YouTube, it doesn't belong on the Internet. They could and should do a much better job at setting up and policing their own rules."

Twitter didn't get a grade but Cooper said the site should look more at how it's being utilized. In some cases, it's being used by terrorists for command and control of actual events, he said. In Yemen, information about U.S. drone attacks has been tweeted. The growth potential for pro-hate and terrorist activity on social networking sites is exponential, he said. "What was once something that four or five people would see, now 20,000 or 30,000 people might see." The Simon Wiesenthal Center now has a password-sensitive software application to be used by law enforcement and government agencies to give them real-time access to its digital terrorism and hate project. "There are now over 15,000 problematic sites," said Cooper, who recently presented the findings of the 14th annual global digital terror and project to officials from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in Ottawa. He estimated there may be a few dozen websites of concern in Canada, including a jihadist forum with pictures of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Sociology Prof. Vincent Mosco said much attention has been given to how FaceBook and other social networking sites can be used to advance democracy, but the darker side tends to be neglected. "Hate groups tend to use these networks given that the consequences are minimal," said Mosco, professor emeritus at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. Mosco said hate groups used radio and television before regulations were put in place to prevent them from doing so. "Why do we tolerate on Facebook what we don't tolerate on TV?" he asked. "I suspect this will evolve over time with a more responsible kind of activity but it does involve informing people about all sides of the 'Net." The difficulty is that social media transcends borders, making it more difficult to regulate, he said. "Networks can be used for all sorts of things from advancing the need for democracy to human trafficking. Both of those, one for good, and one for evil, are prominent on the 'Net. It seems to me we need to do something about the latter as well as brag about the former." What also worries Cooper is what he calls the "lone wolf," someone who finds a community for his beliefs online but acts alone, such as the so-called "underwear bomber" who was convicted of trying to set off plastic explosives on board a plane to Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009.

"That today is the biggest challenge across the board both in terms of obviously terrorism but in terms of hate crime." Cooper urges parents to know what their kids are doing online. "They're both the main targets for recruitment and they are the people who have the least in terms of their experience and sophistication and are the most vulnerable."
© The Winnipeg Free Press

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SOUTH AFRICA BRACES FOR VERDICT ON MURDER OF FAR RIGHT LEADER

Afrikaners plan to protest as court delivers verdict tomorrow on two black men accused of murdering white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche. Is this the end of the Rainbow Nation?

21/5/2012- A judge will announce today his verdict in the trial of two black South Africans accused of beating their employer, the white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche, to death at his remote farm in the country’s North West Province. There are fears that the conclusion of the case could reignite simmering racial tensions just as the murder itself did shortly before South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup in June 2010. At that time, lurid headlines screamed “Murder Could Spark World Cup Race War,” “We’ll Avenge Terreblanche Vow White Fanatics,” and “Dark Clouds Over The Rainbow Nation” - the moniker adopted by South Africa after apartheid ended and Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994. In the end, the sporting event passed without incident. But anger over the ruling African National Congress’ failure to markedly improve life for blacks and whites, and a habit left over from apartheid of blaming each other for the country’s ills, remains. Terreblanche became famous in the 1980s for his fire-breathing speeches advocating a separate Boer nation. In death, he joined an estimated 3,000 white farmers and their families beaten, tortured, and killed since 1994, mainly by black intruders in raids on their remote homesteads. South Africa’s crime problem is notorious and many more black people have been killed in that time, but the far right say the brutality of the murders suggest a “genocide” that the state is doing little to prevent.

Underage defendant
During the trial, defendant Chris Mahlangu claimed Terreblanche had sexually assaulted him and he had killed him in self-defence. The second defendant, who was aged 16 at the time and so cannot be named, is said to have confessed his role in the alleged murder to police. But Norman Arendse, the teenager’s lawyer, said he is “hopeful and fairly optimistic” that his client will be acquitted at court Tuesday in Ventersdorp, a dusty town almost 90 miles west of Johannesburg. There is no forensic evidence linking him to the scene, although Mr. Mahlangu was covered in blood spatters, and because of his age the judge ruled that the teenage defendant's confession could not be used against him. “He lived and worked at the farm so we don’t deny he was nearby but he was not involved,” Mr. Arendse said. “Mr. Terreblanche had plied him with strong cider earlier that day and that explains his bravado when talking to the police.”

Doubts about justice system
If the teenager is acquitted, Terreblanche’s supporters say, it will prove that the justice system – like everything else in South Africa, they say – is against them and they will unleash “havoc.” Andre Visagie, the former general secretary of Terreblanche’s Afrikaner Resistance Movement who now runs a sister organization People of the Covenant, promised to bring 500 khaki-clad supporters to stand outside the court as the verdict is delivered. “The people are very emotional and aggressive and fed up with farm murders,” he said. “Mr. Terreblanche was murdered in the most gruesome way and if his murderers, who confessed that they killed him, are acquitted, I can assure you there will be havoc.” He claimed that more liberal Afrikaners were now joining their ranks, and as many as 3,000 people would march through South Africa’s cities in the coming months, wearing balaclavas to avoid the “victimization” that has previously deterred them.

'We are fed up'
“We are fed up in South Africa with the genocide of white people, with being second class citizens, with the appalling government of the ANC, with black people stealing money through corruption,” he said. “We have learned one lesson over the last 18 years with this government – they don’t listen to what we are saying. “Violence is what makes them listen. So we are discussing what we are going to do if these boys are acquitted. But we will not say: ‘It’s a shame’, and move on.” Police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said riot units and a police helicopter were on standby in case of trouble. “This is a crunch moment and we are ready for any eventuality,” he said. “It’s always sad to lose a loved one or a leader but there are limits. We will act against any wrongdoing.” Frans Cronje of the South African Institute of Race Relations said that while the far right had neither the numbers nor the political support to launch all-out war, he feared a “Lone Ranger Scenario” where one or two radicals staged a shooting spree at a black school. “That’s perfectly possible and that’s why these guys are dangerous,” he said. “The political fall-out of that could be very significant.”
© The Christian Science Monitor

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Headlines 18 May, 2012

YOUNG MEN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR DEADLY ATTACK IN MADUNICE (Slovakia)

15/5/2012- The Regional Court in Piešťany has ruled in what the Sme daily called the first case of “reverse racism”, finding that two young Roma men had beat to death Andrej Polák, a non-Roma aged 63, during the “Onion Feast” in Madunice. The court sent both men to prison for 13 years. The Sme daily wrote on May 15 that during the attack the two men shouted they would kill all whites. In the courtroom they both reportedly said they had not killed the man out of racial hatred and appealed the verdict. Sme wrote that the case is exceptional because of the brutality of the attack, which the defendants pleaded guilty to and said they regretted. A forensic expert testified that Polák had no chance to survive even if he had received timely medical treatment. Lawyer Irena Bihariová from the association Ľudia proti rasizmu (People against Racism) told Sme that one cannot speak about “reverse racism” as there is just one form of racism. She deemed the case exceptional due to the death of the victim of the attack but added that many victims of racial attacks do not report the attacks because they do not trust the Slovak police and judiciary. She told Sme that each case has to be assessed and judged individually, taking all conditions into consideration.
© The Slovak Spectator

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THE NON-STOP RUSH TO ACQUIT ZIMMERMAN (usa, opinion)

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson: *The rush to acquit rogue, self-appointed vigilante George Zimmerman of the murder of Trayvon Martin—long before a trial has been non-stop.

18/5/2012- The latest effort came with the release in quick succession of fresh photos of Zimmerman’s alleged head and facial injuries at the hands of Martin and an autopsy report that found traces of THC a chemical substance in marijuana in Martin’s system. This was more than enough for the legion of Martin bashers to sprint forward with a new round of see-I-told you that Zimmerman is innocent digs at Martin’s family, supporters, the Reverend Al Sharpton, the media, and of course Zimmerman’s prosecutors. Add this to the long litany of veiled and not so veiled hints, innuendoes, digs, and crass, snide, accusing comments, remarks, slander and outright lies about Martin’s alleged bad background. The aim in pumping out the barrage of supposed damning “new” accusatory information about Martin is not just to absolve Zimmerman of any culpability in the murder of Martin. But to reinforce the image of young black males, such as Martin, as irresponsible, crime prone, and violent.

The image assault on Martin and remake of Zimmerman swiftly kicked in virtually moments after Sharpton and other civil rights leaders answered the appeal of the Martin family and attorneys to help bring public and media exposure to a case that was clearly going nowhere in the hands of an inept, insensitive, and even hostile Sanford, Florida police department. The professional race baiters and bashers slurred that Martin’s hoodie got him killed. He was branded a possibly a dangerous troublemaker. President Obama was ripped publicly by then GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich and a slew of right wing talk jocks and bloggers for playing the race card for his sensitive remarks about Martin.

The attacks have had some success in transforming Zimmerman from an aggressive loose cannon vigilante to a tragic victim of Martin. The image remake has been so convincing to those who look to grab at any excuse no matter how flimsy to justify Zimmerman’s murderous act that they have poured tens of thousands of dollars into his PR and legal defense. This makes the climb even steeper for federal prosecutors weighing possible hate crime charges against Zimmerman. It also raises the ante for state prosecutors to try and prove that Zimmerman acted with brutal malice of forethought in gunning down Martin. The steady churning out of inflammatory and potentially damning facts about Martin to cast Zimmerman in a sympathetic light and that made headline news are widely seen, heard and read by a wide segment of the public. This makes it hard, if not impossible, to find jurors that haven’t heard something about the case. That something more than likely will have been one of the many negative nuggets dropped about Martin.

But what has all the image massage of Zimmerman really changed? Even if it’s conceded that Martin smoked marijuana, and fought like a tiger to defend himself against Zimmerman, it doesn’t change the irrefutable facts. Zimmerman disregarded the admonition of a dispatcher not to pursue Martin, and by his own admission confronted Martin. There is absolutely no evidence that Martin had committed any crime. The campaign of innuendo and attack against Martin and defense of Zimmerman bolstered by alleged new facts about the shooting come weeks after the killing and puts the prosecution and Martin family supporters in the awkward and unfair position of having to fend off every hint or outright accusation of wrongdoing by Martin while Zimmerman’s image of a zealous troublemaker continues to get scrubbed cleaner.

The painful proof of that is Martin’s alleged drug use and Zimmerman’s alleged battle wounds are headlined in the reports. But buried in the same public reports and glossed over are the statements from an investigator and former associates of Zimmerman that he was a bully and a racist, and that he himself was taking prescription drugs for various disorders. The Martin family attorneys brought this out, and it was buried at the tail end of media reports on the “new” negative facts about Martin.

The ultimate trump card that Zimmerman’s army of defenders and Martin detractors can and will play is Zimmerman himself. He’s alive, Martin isn’t. He will be able to tell whatever story he wants to tell on the witness stand. He will be amply armed with the storehouse of officially released and unofficially leaked “new” and damning information about Martin to bolster his tale. He can thank the never ending rush to acquit him for that.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour heard weekly on the nationally network broadcast Hutchinson Newsmaker Network.
© EURweb

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ONLINE HATE IMAGES TARGETING OTTAWA STUDENT PROBED BY POLICE (Canada)

'They were phenomenally hurtful, they were harassing,' Arun Smith says 

17/5/2012- Ottawa police are investigating an alleged hate crime at Carleton University involving a student who was the target of dozens of image macros — an internet term for pictures featuring superimposed text. Arun Smith told CBC News that fellow students told him in April that someone posted the pictures of him on a website called QuickMeme, with the hope they'd go viral. "The impression that they gave me was that they were funny, or something along those lines, until I saw them," Smith said. "And they were not funny. They were phenomenally hurtful, they were harassing, they were libellous, they were hateful, and they were very, very violent." Dozens of images of Smith were posted on the site with words superimposed. Many made fun of the fact that Smith is openly gay, and some went further than that.

Internet hate messages reach larger audience: police
Smith complained to police and the university, and the posts soon disappeared from the site. But police are still trying to track down the person or persons who posted them. Acting Insp. John Medeiros said people are just as victimized by internet hate messages as they are by racist graffiti posted in school hallways, for example, with one difference. "On the internet it could potentially be viewed by a larger audience, absolutely," Medeiros said. Smith hopes other students won't be victimized the same way. He said he would like to see charges laid in the case, but he also wants an apology and more awareness about the effects of cyber-bullying.
© CBC News

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HATE CRIME CASES INCREASE IN SCOTLAND (uk)

Hate crime cases rose by 14% over the last 12 months in Scotland, with just over 6,000 charges being reported.

17/5/2012- The official figures published showed there were 4,518 race crime charges in 2011/12, a rise of 8% on the previous 12 month period. Religiously aggravated charges rose by 29% to 897. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal said greater awareness, reporting and recording of hate crimes partly accounted for the increased figures. The statistics relate directly to race crimes, and on crimes motivated by prejudice related to religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "Hatred of any kind, whether it is on the basis of religion, race or sexual orientation, is unacceptable in modern Scotland and those responsible are being punished with the full force of the law.

"The Lord Advocate sent out strong warning last year that this kind of behaviour would be met with a zero tolerance response and our police and prosecutors are responding, tackling the actions of these individuals head on. "The small minority who think that this kind of behaviour is somehow acceptable are finding out the hard way that it isn't, and never will be. Their actions shame Scotland and they are being swiftly punished by Scotland's prosecutors." The figures do not include 42 charges reported to the Crown linked to a new law on religious sectarian hate crime at football matches, which came into force on 1 March.
© BBC News

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SIX ARRESTS IN ANTI-SEMITIC RAIDS (uk)

Five men and a teenager have been charged in connection with anti-Semitic comments on Facebook that allegedly caused fear and alarm in Scotland's largest Jewish community.

17/5/2012- More than 50 police officers took part in raids on a number of addresses in Glasgow and East Renfrewshire after complaints about the social media page "Welcome to Israel, only kidding you're in Giffnock". The page had more than 1000 followers at the time police took it off the web at the end of last year. An investigation was launched after complaints from those living in the area. In its latest clampdown on internet hate crime, Strathclyde Police said those facing prosecution were aged between 18 and 21, with a 15-year-old boy also among those charged with breach of the peace with religious and racial aggravations. A 24-year-old man was detained and later released without charge, pending further inquiry. Rabbi Moshe Rubin, of Giffnock and Newlands Hebrew Congregation, said: "I think in the days of social networking anything can happen but the fact the community in Giffnock was targeted was quite a shock." Earlier reports claimed the profile picture of the page featured the late Rev Ernest Levy, a Holocaust survivor who was considered the leader of the Jewish community in Scotland. Some messages contained overt racism and swearing.

Chief Inspector Alan Murray, Area Commander for East Renfrewshire, said: "This was a very complex and protracted enquiry. I hope it clearly demonstrates that Strathclyde Police will not tolerate hate crimes." Paul Donnachie, a St Andrews University student who racially abused a Jewish classmate, was last month sentenced to 150 hours of community service and ordered to pay £300 after being found guilty of a racially aggravated breach of the peace. And in March, David Craig, 25, was jailed for 14 months after posting pictures on Facebook of Celtic manager Neil Lennon covered in bullet wounds. In 2010, the Scottish Government introduced laws to specifically curb religious and racial abuse on social media platforms. Kenny Donnelly, procurator-fiscal at Paisley, who worked on the Giffnock Facebook case, said: "There is no place in modern Scotland for such behaviour and we will do all in our power to ensure that offenders are brought to justice." The Community Security Trust, which works to protect the Jewish Community, said: "We welcome the arrests of suspects regarding alleged anti-Semitic statements. Glaswegian Jews should be reassured local police take anti-Semitism seriously. "The spread of all types of hatred on social networking sites and similar media is a growing problem. So, it is hoped this innovative investigation by Giffnock and Strathclyde Police, supported by the procurator-fiscal, will provide a helpful precedent for all of society."
© The Herald Scotland

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BLACK TEACHER ASSAULTED AND 'RACIALLY ABUSED', COURT TOLD (uk)

A black head teacher was assaulted and racially abused by two "out of control" pupils at a Devon school for problem children, Exeter Youth Court has heard.

15/5/2012- Alice Gabbidon was allegedly head-butted and had her hair pulled at the school in Dunkeswell in November. The pupils - an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl - had previously been restrained by other members of staff. The boy denies assaulting Miss Gabbidon and the girl denies racially-aggravated common assault. Prosecutor Beth Heaton told the court that the school, which has now closed because of funding issues, catered for a small number of "problem" children.

'Monkey noises'
Bad behaviour was commonplace, she said, but on the day of the assaults the two young pupils were "out of control" and had caused damage to the property and physically assaulted a member of staff over the course of a few hours. Staff were soaked with water bombs, washing-up liquid was squirted into the eyes of one teacher, and the head's office was "trashed", she said. "There is no dispute between the prosecution and defence that their behaviour was disorderly that day," Ms Heaton added. The court was told the teenage girl, who now lives in Bridgwater, Somerset, made racially offensive comments to Miss Gabbidon and "monkey noises". The girl also armed herself with a piece of wood but the prosecution said that was not used in the alleged attack.

Miss Heaton told the court the pupils were disruptive when they arrived at school because they had been caught smoking in the toilets on two occasions, including the morning of the alleged attack. Miss Gabbidon said in evidence she had previously ignored name-calling and racial comments from the teenage girl, although she was expelled for a short time after the alleged incident involving the monkey noises. The head teacher said the boy, from Llanelli, in Carmarthenshire, was "a follower more than a leader". Ms Heaton said Miss Gabbidon did not use excessive force to restrain the two defendants, but she was suspended and a month later the school was closed down. The trial continues.
© BBC News

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ATTACK ON GAYS IN ST. PETERSBURG SPREADS TO MIGRANT WORKERS (Russia)

18/5/2012- Several dozen masked individuals attacked the first sanctioned gay demonstration in St. Petersburg and vented their anger on migrant workers after police drove the gays from the scene, Fontanka.ru said. St. Petersburg police also arrested one man who shot a participant in the face with a traumatic gun during the action, which was devoted to the international day against homophobia on Thursday. This was the first sanctioned gay rally in St. Petersburg since the city legislature passed a law banning gay propaganda in March. The demonstration participants gathered in Petrovsky Park, and as they released balloons into the air, onlookers behind a police cordon shouted obscenities at them and at police. Eyewitnesses said an unidentified person suddenly fired a rubber bullet into the face of a demonstration participant, who is now in hospital. Police moved quickly and placed all the gays on a bus, which then drove off.

The frustrated homophobes attacked another bus stopped at a traffic light that they mistook for the departed vehicle. But the bus was carrying migrant workers from Central Asia. The attackers hurled stones at the bus and somebody tossed smoke bombs on the road in front of it. They also broke windows and started beating the passengers.  There were no police in the area during the bus attack. Police said later they were accompanying the bus with the gay activists. The press service of the St. Petersburg police also said later that there had been no injuries or damage reported in the bus attack. Presumably, the bus owners, a city company, decided not to seek damages in court in order to keep the incident out of the limelight.

Meanwhile, authorities in Moscow refused to sanction a gay meeting in the capital devoted to parliamentary hearings of a law to ban gay propaganda like in St. Petersburg, said Oleg Oleinik, first deputy chief of the Moscow regional security department. "We have received a request for the action and... have decided to turn it down," Oleinik said. The website for gay rights activists earlier cited their intention to hold a gay pride parade regardless of the city authorities' decision.
© RIA Novosti

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NEO-NAZIS ATTACK GAY ACTIVISTS IN ST.PETERSBURG (Russia)

Several gay rights activists have suffered injuries after being assaulted during and after a chaotic demonstration in St.Petersburg

17/5/2012- Dozens gathered in a city center park to mark International Day Against Homophobia. City authorities had sanctioned the demonstration, and a police unit shielded participants as they chanted slogans and gave out balloons to passers-by. A larger crowd of anti-gay protesters, some wielding Orthodox crosses, repeatedly shouted death threats, and attempted to break the cordon. Eventually, one man struggled past the police and sprayed mace at one of the demonstrators, who lay prone for several minutes until paramedics arrived. Afraid the police would not be able to keep the peace, the activists wrapped up the event within minutes. Police escorted the participants onto buses, but the convoy had only traveled several streets when a large group of shaven-headed men sporting football and neo-Nazi attire blocked their path.

The assailants threw several smoke grenades at the buses, before rushing them. They broke the windows with rocks and clubs and climbed inside, punching and kicking the activists. Police officers intervened and the drivers managed to get away. The attackers then re-directed their anger at a nearby bus of migrant workers. Witnesses reported that gunshots, possibly from non-lethal weapons, were heard. At least two gay activists have been hospitalized with injuries, though the final toll is not clear, and authorities have released no figures.

St.Petersburg recently became a flashpoint in the gay rights conflict after the local assembly passed a law prescribing fines for “homosexual propaganda aimed at minors.” Its opponents say the vague wording of the law means it can be used to criminalize any public gay events. “The violence is a confirmation that the anti-gay legislation is emboldening homophobes who feel free to vent their anger at homosexuals” says a press release from LGBT group Vykhod, which organized the demonstration.
© RT

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FEW RIGHTS IN CYPRUS FOR LGBTS

Cyprus has proven to be close to the bottom of the list once again in rights for LGBT individuals (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender), according to the latest statistics.

16/5/2012- ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map for 2012 puts Cyprus on the same rung as Latvia and Georgia in terms of laws that ensure the rights of these individuals. The association for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex rated 49 European countries. Worse than Cyprus were countries such as Turkey, Russia and Belarus. The statistics were presented yesterday during a news conference by Cyprus association for LGBT individuals Accept-LGBT to mark International Day Against Homophobia tomorrow, with this year’s campaign being ‘Voices against Homophobia’. “Homophobia in Cyprus dominates many areas such as the media, schools and family,” said Giorgis Renginos, spokesman for Accept-LGBT. According to a survey carried out by Accept-LGBT and the Cyprus Family Planning Association, around 47 per cent of LGBT individuals in Cyprus suffer psychological violence and in around eight per cent it happens repeatedly, with around 15 per cent suffering some kind of physical attack.
© The Cyprus Mail

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OF HATE CRIMES AND INTOLERANCE: LESSONS MUST BE LEARNED (Armenia)

16/5/2012- Two days after the parliamentary elections in Armenia, a homemade car bomb was used to vandalize DIY, a bar in Yerevan frequented by non-traditionalist thinkers in Armenia and a safe-haven for the often-persecuted LGBT community in Armenia. This act is a hate crime. There are no other words to describe it. Police arrested two culprits and controversy erupted when two people, who are members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary bloc opted to bail out the suspects Hampig and Mgrdich (also referred to as Arame) Khapazian, who allegedly targeted the bar owner for her activism in the LGBT community, and participation in a Gay Pride Parade in Turkey. These individuals’ mere affiliation with the ARF sparked a campaign in the Armenian press and on social media accusing the party of being behind the attacks and condoning the acts. The situation became more inflamed after of one of those posting bail made comments to the press in defense of the suspects, as well as his personal contention that pre-trial arrests—in general—are unjustified. This, like any other hate crime is deplorable and must be condemned by all forces in and outside of Armenia.

For 121 years, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation has been on the forefront of advocating and working for justice, human rights and against intolerance and persecution. The party’s ideology and advocacy HAVE NOT changed. It is truly unfortunate that the ARF members did not use their leadership perch to advance dialogue and discussion of tolerance and acceptance in our country. However, for people to use their statements to accuse an entire party that operates internationally of masterminding this attack is equally counterproductive. In the US we have witnessed, as recently as last week, how still divisive the issue of LGBT rights can be and how, as a so-called advanced society, some elements are unable to fully comprehend the fundamentals of freedom and equality. The fact of the matter is that this horrible incident has brought to fore the dire imperative for constructive discussion, discourse and dialogue about tolerance. If we are to advance as a nation we all have to work toward and practice what the ARF preamble says, which is that no individual or state has the right to oppress or persecute any other.
© Asbarez Armenian News

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ARMENIA: IN WAKE OF ARSON ATTACK, SUPPORT AND FEAR

15/5/2012- An early morning arson attack on the popular Yerevan-based bar, DIY last week has led to an outpouring of support from concerned citizens, activists and customers who frequented the relatively new establishment, but also anxiously renewed fears in the country’s LGBTQ population, who have kept a relatively low profile and faced discrimination for years. DIY, which bills itself as a bar for alternative thinkers, was frequented by many in Armenia’s gay community, a place considered a safe haven, free of judgment or discrimination. The violent act, which caused around $4,000 of damage according to well-informed sources, is being said to have been motivated by nationalistic and fascist ideology – the bar’s gay-friendly atmosphere as well as owner Tsomak Oganesova’s attendance at Istanbul’s Gay Pride Parade in neighboring Turkey have been cited as two key factors that have categorized the attack as a hate crime.

Armenia and Turkey, whose borders are currently closed, have strained relationships over long-stemming issues of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, which Turkey denies as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, during which Turkey sided with the latter. Two Iranian-Armenian men were detained in relation to the attack and allegedly confessed to their crime. Though it has not been confirmed, sources say the men are tied to a larger fascist organization in the country. At a press conference today, it was revealed that Artsvik Minasyan, a Dashnak member of parliament, paid the 1 million dram ($2535) bail to release one of the detained men free, a headline that local media have started to run wild with. The other, according to Oganesova, was released on signature that he will not leave the country.

Since the attack (which was caught on CCTV camera) supporters have come together to help rebuild it, assembling donation boxes as well as posters and t-shirts to show solidarity as well as strength in the face of adversity. Activists are touting the phrase “We Are DIY” in an effort to spread the message that the act will not be tolerated or silence them. A charity concert took place last week with another, titled “Gender Equality Charity Fair” planned on May 20. Organizers plan to make it an interactive event to raise awareness of human rights issues in relation to gender equality, discrimination and violence. Donations ranging from 500 to 1000 AMD ($1.26 to $2.53) are recommended, money that will go towards the repair of the bar. Oganesova announced last week that she and others will “continue to solve this problem, to move forward and make sure [perpetrators] are punished for what they did.” The speech also hit a somber note when she announced that after resolution, she and others closely involved with the bar will be seeking to leave the country.

“Once this problem has been resolved, we’ll be able to say we have done something for this country and then leave this country,” she said. “If there is another problem in the future, we’ll come back, solve the problem and leave again.” Oganesova, who also heads the Armenian punk rock band Tsomak and Pincet Project posted in the bar’s public Facebook group, noting her departure. “I’m going far away…I’m going to be with those like me, I’ll go fight for and with those like me…I love those who know love…thank you to my friends and close acquaintances, those who respect and understand our pain and joy…those who never leave us alone, those who don’t run away from problems…I love them a lot…thank you…!!!” Her sentiments and the rise of neo-nazi nationalist groups in Europe as well as the former Soviet Union come at a time when some in the country are feeling fearful, many for the first time. Nationalistic sentiments are common in the South Caucasus country, which is almost mono-ethnic and still reeling from the psychological effects of genocide and war. Its isolation, where borders with both Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed and distrust of much of what falls outside the realm of the status quo have been discussed as underlying reasons as to the rise of hate groups whose violent actions have left many fearful.

In a widely circulated interview, human rights activists Karen Hakobyan and Lala Aslikyan sat down with CivilNet to analyze the bombing and the reasons it occurred. “Fascism has reached our door and is now saying I’m here,” Aslikyan said in Armenian. She regretfully emphasized that the stifling of freedom of expression in the country is growing, while Hakobyan pointed out that the groups, mostly consisting of young men in their late teens and early 20s define their “Armenian-ness” by spreading hate towards groups that perceive as threats to national interest. These conditions, he continued, are a regression for the country, whose time on the world map could be in danger if it continues down this path. In a press conference today, local NGOS including Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK) Armenia and Women’s Resource Center of Armenia (WRCA) as well as Oganesova answered questions from reporters about the implications of the attack.

WRCA Co-founder Lara Aharonian pointed out that danger and fear of these attacks is that they can be directed against anyone whose views certain groups or individuals do not agree with. She also said that as a mother, she was concerned, mentioning shortcomings in the education and legal systems of Armenia as well as the media, who sensationalize issues. Marine Margaryan of PINK elaborated that the nationalist groups have ‘terrorized’ other establishments, including Calumet, another popular bar just down the street from DIY. Margaryan said that the groups have spat, thrown up and broken bottles in and outside establishments were ‘free thinkers’ are known to gather. While a report [pdf] released by Pink Armenia in 2011, found that 72 percent of people they surveyed in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor, Armenia’s three largest cities, had negative attitudes toward ‘non-traditional’ sexual orientation, the International Lesbian and Gay Association launched its very first annual review of the human rights situation on LGBT in Europe today. Among its findings – Armenia is one of 10 countries in the negative zone, and does not meet the basic requirements of human rights. Our own initial piece on the attack generated comments of support from in and outside of Armenia, but was also subject to commentors who expressed enjoyment at seeing the bar become the victim of a fire attack.”Bravo to the arsonists,” one commenter wrote in Armenian. “We are all on their side.”

Recently, a 2011 Human Rights Watch report on Armenia found that the country continues to restrict freedom of expression.
© Ianyan magazine

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HATE CRIME TARGETS GAY FRIENDLY BAR IN YEREVAN, MPS BAIL OUT ASSAILANTS (Armenia)

15/5/2012- A homemade bomb this month targeted a bar, called “DIY,” which is seen as a haven for “free thinkers” and welcomes the often-shunned gay community of Yerevan. The hate crime, which happened just two days after the parliamentary elections, has given way to controversy, as ARF MPs Artsvik Minasyan and Hrayr Karapetyan reportedly posted the one million dram (approximately USD 2,500) bail to free the assailants. The attackers, Iranian-Armenian brothers Hampig and Mgrdich (also referred to as Arame) Khapazian, are said to have targeted bar owner Tsomak Oganesova for her activism in the LGBT community, and her participation in a Gay Pride Parade in Turkey. No one happened to be at the bar at the time of the attack, which happened during the early morning hours on May 8. However, substantial damage was reported to the walls and furniture, which were burned from the bomb.

In an interview with Panorama news agency, Minasyan said, “I consider [Oganesova’s] types—I don’t want to sound offensive—destructive to Armenian society.” When asked why he decided to post bail, Minasyan said, “Why? Because knowing those youth, I consider them normal people. The investigation will reveal to what degree the violation they committed endangered public safety.” “In the given situation, I am convinced that those youth acted the right way, in the context of our societal and national ideals. It is a different matter if certain damage has been caused, and compensation must be paid,” he added. During a press conference, Oganesova said that the ARF has continued to persecute her, and that she will present her evidence before the law. MPs acted on their own, says ARF member

Another ARF member, Nvart Manasyan, told Epress that her party is not a totalitarian organization, and that its members have the right to express their own opinions. She also said that Minasyan’s reasons for bailing out the attackers should not be linked to the party. Manasyan said that the ARF is a party that advocates democracy and socialism; that it operates according to the Armenian Constitution, where xenophobia is forbidden; and that it is impossible to condemn such a party for ultra-nationalism. There was an overwhelming outcry on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter condemning Minasyan’s act, and some demanding that the ARF leadership respond.

Swastikas painted on walls
On May 15, a second attack reportedly occurred. A group of men spat on the bar, burned anti-fascism posters, and spray-painted swastikas on the walls. Two of these attackers were reportedly arrested.
© The Armenian Weekly

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Headlines 11 May, 2012

POLICE ARREST 10 NEO-NAZIS PLANNING TO MURDER IMMIGRANTS AND JEWISH PEOPLE (usa)

10/5/2012- News server iDNES.cz reports that police have arrested 10 members of the neo-Nazi organization American Front in the US state of Florida. Detectives say they were preparing to murder immigrants and Jewish people. The raid against the neo-Nazis in Osceola took place last weekend. Police decided to take action on the basis of information from an FBI agent who had infiltrated the right-wing extremists and followed them for two years. Marcus Faella (age 39) and his wife Patricia (age 37) led the group. Neo-Nazis trained with AK-47 automatic rifles and learned hand-to-hand combat on property they owned that was hidden in the forest. The Orlando Sentinel newspaper reports that the group was even considering producing ricin, an extremely poisonous toxin, from the seeds of the castor oil plant. They believed themselves to be preparing for a race war which was inevitable. Faella allegedly planned to turn his property into a base for Aryan resistance after the fall of the US government. American Front is one of the most radical neo-Nazi organizations in the US. Its members are responsible for many violent attacks and murders. Last year, however, their leader David Lynch was shot dead and the significance of the organization in neo-Nazi circles fell noticeably. Faella was planning to attract new disciples to the movement by committing a wave of violence.
© Romea

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ISLAMIC SCHOOL APOLOGIZES FOR ANTI-JEWISH TEACHINGS ON WEBSITE (Canada)

8/5/2012- A Muslim Sunday school has apologized for anti-Jewish teachings that appeared in its website, under investigation as a possible hate crime by York Region police. The East End Madrassah, a weekend religious program run by a Thornhill mosque using space rented in a Scarborough high school, issued a press release Tuesday to “unreservedly apologize to the Jewish community for the unintentional offence that the item has caused.” “Our curriculum is not intended to promote hatred towards any individual or group of people,” the statement said; “rather the children are taught to respect and value other faiths, beliefs and to uphold Canada’s basic values of decency and tolerance.”

Jewish groups had expressed shock at curriculum on the Madrassah’s website that called ancient Jews “treacherous” and “crafty” and accused them of “conspiring to kill the Prophet Muhammad.” “We were shocked such material was being disseminated on the property of the Toronto District School Board, which we know values tolerance and multiculturalism,” said David Spiro, Greater Toronto co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). The Madrassah conceded the sections cited by the Jewish groups “should never have been a part of our curriculum.” “Our team of scholars has already undertaken to review all texts and material being used in the curriculum to ensure that our teachings are conveying the right message.” Premier Dalton McGuinty said he was “delighted the school board is reviewing the matter; there is no room for hatred or intolerance in this province.”

The East End Madrassah rents space for educational programming each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in David and Mary Thomson Collegiate on Lawrence Ave. E. near Brimley Rd., but the program is run by the Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Thornhill, which is why York Region police are involved. The non-profit organization offers religious and moral teachings as well as heritage language programs in Gujarati, Urdu and Arabic. “East End Madrassah has been in existence for almost 40 years and thousands of Muslim students have graduated and have moved on to become law abiding citizens and contributing members of the Canadian society,” noted the press release. The York Region police hate crimes unit is in the early stage of its investigation, said spokesperson Const. Rebecca Boyd.

The Toronto District School Board said in a statement Monday it does not tolerate any group that promotes hatred, and if a permit holder is found breaking the law in any way, such as promoting hatred, the board can revoke the permit. “We will continue to work with police and take appropriate action pending the conclusion of the investigation,” said board spokesperson Ryan Bird, who noted that of the nearly 20,000 permits issued each year, some 570 go to a range of religious groups. At Queen’s Park, Education Minister Laurel Broten said she was limited in what she could say about a police matter, “but as a mother, as a minister of education, certainly this situation is not one that I aspire for in the province that I am raising my children in.” Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he was “shocked” by the episode. “That kind of anti-Israel poison has no place in the classrooms of our province,” saaid Hudak. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it speaks to the need to ensure that “the message that we are giving our young people is respectful of all people and respectful of all genders.”
© The Toronto Star

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GERMANY SEES INCREASE IN CRIMES WITH POLITICAL OR RACIST MOTIVES

11/5/2012- Politically motivated violent crimes in Germany increased by nearly 18 percent in 2011, a year in which two U.S. airmen were killed by an Islamist extremist and a neo-Nazi cell identified as carrying out a series of previously unsolved murders of immigrants was uncovered. Numbers released by the Interior Ministry on Friday showed an 11.2 percent overall increase to 30,216 of crimes carried out for political or ideological reasons across the country. More than 70 percent of the crimes involved groups on the extreme left or extreme right, and many were acts of vandalism during regional elections in several states last year. While the circulation of illegal propaganda, which includes all printed material associated with the Nazis, remained the most common politically motivated crime, the number of racially motivated attacks grew by more than 16 percent.

Leading opposition members called for stronger government reaction against far-right extremists, who many say have slipped away from the scrutiny of security officials who are concentrated on threats from Islamists and the left spectrum. “How horrifyingly high the level of violence is in the far-right scene is only now being realized,” Michael Hartmann, a security expert with the main opposition Social Democrats, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. A 14.8 percent jump in attacks against the police during demonstrations was also recorded. The head of the country’s police union called on the government to take stronger action against those who attack officers during demonstrations. “It is no longer enough to simply distance ourselves from violence,” said Bernhard Witthaut. A bright spot in the statistics was a 2.3 percent drop in the number of anti-Semitic attacks, which decreased for the second consecutive year.
© The New York Times

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GERMAN NEO-NAZI CONVICTED OF MAKING THREATS

Martin Wiese was previously sentenced to several years in prison for heading terror group that plotted attack on Munich synagogue

9/5/2012- A prominent German neo-Nazi has been convicted of threatening journalists and sentenced to 21 months in prison. The dapd news agency reported Wednesday that Martin Wiese was convicted by a state court in Gemuenden, near Frankfurt, of incitement and making threats at a neo-Nazi rally last year. Wiese had argued that his comments that journalists at the rally should be tried by a Nazi-style court and sentenced to death were taken out of context. In 2005, Wiese was sentenced to several years in prison for leading a terrorist group that discussed attacking a synagogue. Wiese was found guilty of membership in a terrorist organization for heading the group, which collected weapons and discussed how it could stop a 2003 dedication ceremony at the Munich synagogue.
© The Associated Press

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JUDGE JAILS SOUTH SHIELDS HATE-FILLED RACIST WOMAN (uk)

11/5/2012- Hate-filled Michelle Eager is today behind bars for trying to yank off a woman’s religious headgear. The vile racist picked on Zakir Mohammed as she walked through a town centre with her niece. Without warning Eager grabbed at Mrs Mohammed’s headgear and tried to pull it from her face, Newcastle Crown Court heard. Eager then slapped the woman, spat towards her, hurled racist abuse then punched the victim’s niece in the face. The court heard Mrs Mohammed had moved to South Shields because she believed it was a good community and somewhere she would be safe. Now Eager has been jailed for nine months after admitting racially aggravated assault. Judge Guy Whitburn told her: “You showed yourself up as a woman who has very strong views, views which can’t be tolerated in a civilised society. “Persons must be allowed, whatever their racial background, to walk round the streets of this country without being abused, spat towards or assaulted by people like you.”

Mrs Mohammed, a British Asian, had been to the library in South Shields last October with her niece, who had come from Pakistan to study. They were heading back to the town centre when drunken Eager approached them. John Brennan, prosecuting, said: “The defendant grabbed the mask covering Mrs Mohammed’s face. “The lady said ‘stop doing that’ and carried on walking and the defendant went behind her and spat on the ground then stood in front of her. “The defendant said ‘you are from Afghanistan, you are not in Afghanistan now, you are in South Shields’. “The complainant said ‘I’m from Pakistan’ and the defendant slapped her across the face.” At that point an elderly passer-by tried to intervene to stop the attack. But Eager, 41, of Warkworth Avenue, South Shields, moved round the peacemaker and punched Mrs Mohammed’s niece in the face. Eager then made untrue remarks about her son being killed in Afghanistan and Mrs Mohammed told her her community was also against the Taliban.

Mr Brennan said: “This was a frightening and embarrassing incident. “Mrs Mohammed was left feeling scared and the abuse made her angry. She says in a statement ‘I moved to South Shields because I thought it had a good community.” Vic Laffey, defending, said: “She’s appalled at the way she acted and she can’t even remember it happening.” After the case, Chief Inspector Michael Barton said: “A custodial sentence reflects how seriously offences of this kind are viewed. “Police and our partners will not tolerate hate crime of any kind and those who indulge in this sort of behaviour can expect to face severe punishment.”
© The Chronicle Live

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PLYMOUTH MAN ADMITS RACIAL ASSAULT ON WORKER (uk)

8/5/2012- A 24-year-old man racially assaulted a city restaurant worker, Plymouth magistrates were told. Adam Bowman, of How Street, Plymouth, appeared before Plymouth Magistrates Court yesterday charged with racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm. The court heard how Bowman caused injuries to Wajahat Hafeez, aged 26, on Saturday, who was working at the Jaipur Palace, on Vauxhall Street, at the time of the incident. Bowman shouted racial abuse at Mr Hafeez before punching him several times, the court heard. Mr Hafeez was left with a bruised nose, a swollen and cut inside lip and two wobbly teeth after the assault. Bowman pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm, with magistrates hearing he had been drinking at the time. Magistrates directed that Bowman should be sentenced by a crown court and was released on conditional bail. He will appear before Plymouth Crown Court on June 8.
© This is Plymouth

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JEWISH, ISRAELI STUDENTS ATTACKED AT TOULOUSE UNIVERSITY (France)

President of French Jewish student organization called on the University of Toulouse to combat anti-Semitism after anti-Semitic protests. 
 
6/5/2012- The president of the French Jewish student organization has called on the University of Toulouse to combat anti-Semitism after a dialogue conducted by Israeli students last week was disrupted by protests’ hateful threats and chants. The incident, which occurred on April 25, came approximately one month following the murder of three Jewish students and a rabbi by an Islamic terrorist in Toulouse. The delegation of Israeli students from a non-political organization were midway through a tour of French universities and had held successful events in Lille and Lyon before visiting Le Mirail campus, in the area where the Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah grew up. They were at a stall on the campus and were handing out leaflets and speaking to students when a group of protesters arrived and began shouting at them through a megaphone.

"They began shouting anti-Israel slogans and saying that Israel was a criminal state," said Sacha Reingewitz, vice president of the UEJF. "They said Jews should be exterminated and that Israel commits genocide." The protesters demanded that the Israeli group remove the Israeli flag from their stall and when the group refused, they took it down by force. "Security had to intervene – it was very upsetting," said Mr Reingewitz. "The protesters were saying 'get out of here' and they sang an antisemitic slogan in Arabic: Khaybar Khaybar is Yahud, Jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya'ud" (Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return)." After security removed the protesters the event continued, but Mr Reingewitz said the Israeli visitors were "very shaken," The Jewish Chronicle reported. "They did not expect this at all," he said. "They were very distressed. They were obviously willing to have a discussion, even one that was tense, but they were not expecting anything of this sort."

The incident took place days after the first round of voting in the French presidential race. A spokeswoman for the Union of Jewish Students in the UK expressed support for efforts to tackle such vitriolic incidents of anti-Semitism in universities. "No university authority should stay silent and lay dormant when events such as this occur," she said. "This week we have been touring campuses promoting Tel Aviv as a wonderful holiday destinaton and earlier this year did a similiar tour with Israeli students and did not and have not come up against anything of this nature. "We stand firm, as proven by last week's tackling of the antisemitic incident at the NUS Conference, that antisemitism will not be tolerated in British universities and UJS would always be willling to lend a hand of support to our French or any other counterparts in tackling this issue wherever it unfortunately occurs. "Antisemitism and hatred is universally unacceptable and there should be a zero tolerance policy for it in a university or any other environment."
© Arutz Sheva

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The 40-year-old man believed to be behind a string of shootings in Malmö in southern Sweden is to be formally charged on Monday for three murders and a slew of attempted murders after having spent 18 months on remand.

6/5/2012- Peter Mangs, who has passed two birthdays in police custody since being arrested on November 6th 2010, denies charges that he is the man behind the string of shootings which spread fear among Malmö residents throughout 2010. Mangs will face court on Monday to hear the charges he is set to face when Malmö district court convenes to try his case a week later. The police investigation into the case has extended to a reported 7,500 pages - a file which will become a public document this week. Periodic reports emerging from the police investigation since Mangs' arrest have added further cases to the charge sheet and he is now expected to face charges relating to more than 20 cases of murder or attempted murder. Police statements in October 2010 indicating that they were investigating whether a lone shooter with a racist motive was behind a string of attacks dating as far back as 2003 led to the suspect being compared to the "Laser Man" case of the early 1990s. Laser Man was the nickname given to John Ausonius, who shot 11 people of immigrant origin, killing one, around Stockholm from August 1991 to January 1992. Ausonius, who got his nickname by initially using a rifle equipped with a laser sight, was sentenced to life behind bars in 1994 and remains in prison.
© The Local - Sweden

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ITALIAN FOOTBALL FANS THREATEN POGROM AGAINST ETHNIC ROMA

5/5/2012- Police in the Adriatic port city of Pescara are fighting to prevent a potential pogrom after rising tensions between football fans and the local Roma community – the ethnic minority, rather than the football club of the same name. The conflict has seen a murder and petrol-bomb attacks in the past few days – with the threat of worse to come. Roma, often regarded as the most discriminated-against ethnic group in Europe, have already been the target of vicious attacks in other Italian cities, most notably in Naples where the local Camorra mafia have torched gypsy camps. Now violent elements among Pescara's football fans have told Roma that they have five days to leave the city or face the consequences.

The simmering ill feeling between the violent fans and local gypsies exploded on Tuesday evening when one supporter, Domenico Rigante, 24, was shot and later died in hospital after a group of six Roma broke into a house and attacked him. The suspected Roma killer, Massimo Ciarelli, 29, had, according to local press reports, threatened to kill the victim a week earlier following an argument involving Mr Rigante and his twin brother Antonio. It has also emerged that Mr Ciarelli was arrested in 2005 following a shooting incident involving other Roma. Even before Mr Rigante died in hospital, extremist Pescara supporters, who are said to have links with the neo-fascist Forza Nuova political party, retaliated with petrol bomb attacks on Mr Ciarelli's house.

On Thursday evening, a group of Pescara supporters, who call themselves the Rangers, held up a banner outside the town hall which read: "You have five days to drive them from the city". Pescara supporters plan a provocative demonstration on Sunday in the Fontanelle district, the heart of the city's Roma enclave. This will be followed by a meeting in front of the town hall to press home their demands for the group to be cleared from Pescara. One message that has sprung up on walls around the city reads: "If they don't leave, we'll expel them. This won't be racism but a general clean up, whether they're Roma or not." Similar threats have appeared on Facebook.

Pescara's mayor, Luigi Albore Mascia, has already held an emergency meeting with police chiefs in the hope of preventing further violence; extra police have already been put on duty. Mr Mascia said: "There is concern in the city but we're hoping that things don't get out of control. Pescara is not the 'wild west' that many make it out to be. I for one am not signing up to intolerance and racism, and I'm launching an appeal for reasonableness." A police spokesman said the murder of Mr Rigante was the culmination of violence and confrontations between football fans and Roma "that had nothing to do with football".

Alessandro Baldati, a spokesman for the local Right of Pescara political group, told La Stampa newspaper that the city needed policies to ensure that Roma "respect the rules, show public spirit and a life marked by work and non-violence and the proper education of children". Even one leading consumer group, Codici, the Centre for the Rights of the Citizen, issued a thinly veiled attack on the criminal elements in the Roma community: "Criminality has upped the battle against those of us it considers enemies, and it shows it has no compunction about killing on a whim."

But Nazareno Guarnieri, the president of the National Roma Foundation, said it was wrong to use the killing as an excuse to slur all Roma. "The person responsible must be caught and put in prison like any other criminal," he said. "The Roma community is not delinquent. If anything, the responsibility lies with local authorities and the institutions in the sense that there are insufficient opportunities for them to avoid marginalisation and social exclusion."
© The Independent

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Headlines 4 May, 2012

MAN MAKES ANTI-SEMITIC ANNOUNCEMENT ON BELGIAN TRAIN

Passengers baffled when loudspeaker system announces: 'This is train to Auschwitz; all Jews asked to get off at Buchenwald'

4/5/2012- Distasteful prank – Belgian train passengers were surprised on Thursday when the loudspeaker system suddenly announced: "Welcome to the train to Auschwitz. All Jews are asked to get off in Buchenwald." Belgium's national railway company later condemned the announcement, which was heard at 4:51 pm on a train traveling from Brussels to Namur. inspectors who boarded the train Immediately following the incident were unable to locate the man responsible for the act. "SNCB harshly condemns the act," the train company said in an issued statement, adding that the anti-Semitic act can result in a lawsuit. According to the statement, the man who made the distasteful announcement was not an employee of the company. Following the incident, an official complaint was filed with the railway company's customer service and Jewish Parliament Member Vivian Teitelbaum. Responding to the incident, Teitelbaum said: "Many were baffled to hear the announcement, but in my opinion more and more red lines are being crossed, and therefore I must respond. These types of incidents are also inspired by politicians who compare between certain things," she said.
© Ynet News

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The death of Belgian man whose body was found this week may be the first to be treated as a homophobic killing under Belgium’s new laws.

3/5//2012- Belgian news sources are reporting that the body of Ihsane Jarfi was discovered by two hikers after his disappearance on 22 April. Ihsane Jarfi, 32, had been at a gay bar in Liège on the night he disappeared. Reports say he left the club and entered a Volkswagen Polo with other men. On Tuesday, his body was found in a field away from a road leading out of the city. Tetu.com reports that one of the man who was present in the car subsequently used the victim’s phone to send a text message. When he was arrested, he gave the identities of the three other men who had left the bar with them. One is still being sought. Nieuwsblad.be reports that Edouard Delruelle, adjunct-director of the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism said the organisation would step forward as a civil party if the prosecutor recognises it as a homophobic hate crime.

Vincent Bonhomme, project coordinator at Arc-en-Ciel Wallonie said it would be the first death to be a result of homophobic violence under the 2003 Belgian law which made sexuality an aggravating factor for such offences. He said: “We suspect the general population and the government underestimate homophobia and we demand the government provide us with a anti-discrimination plan. This probably isn’t the first homophobic murder, but it will be the first one to be officially labeled as such. Since 2006 public prosecutors and police are obliged to mention such motives.” Two suspects said the deceased man was still alive when they left him in the field, having physically beaten him. RTL reported that they claimed the victim had made a sexual advance. The third suspect denies everything. Tetu.com reported that the men had been charged with robbery, forcible confinement and assault causing death without intention, with homophobic intent possibly forming an aggravating factor.
© Pink News

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THE AGGRESSIVE TACTICS OF THE GREEK RIGHT WING

Greek far-right parties could end up with as much as 20 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has intensified the xenophobic atmosphere in the country. Those who confront them are threatened with violence, journalist Xenia Kounalaki recounts. 

3/5/2012- At night, the streets leading to Omonoia Square are empty. That wasn't always the case. The area was the premier multicultural neighborhood of Athens and one of the first quarters to be gentrified. Jazz bars and Indian restaurants lined the streets, separated by the occasional rooms-by-the-hour hotel. It was a quarter full of immigrants, drug addicts and African prostitutes, but also of journalists, ambitious young artists and teenagers from private schools. Today, the immigrants stay home once night falls. They are afraid of groups belonging to the "angry citizens," a kind of militia that beats up foreigners and claims to help the elderly withdraw money from cash machines without being robbed. Such groups are the product of an initiative started by the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi -- Golden Dawn -- the party which has perpetrated pogroms in Agios Panteleimon, another Athens neighborhood with a large immigrant population.

There are now three outwardly xenophobic parties in Greece. According to recent surveys, together they could garner up to 20 percent of the vote in elections on Sunday: the anti-Semitic party LAOS stands to win 4 percent; the nationalist party Independent Greeks -- a splinter group of the conservative Nea Dimokratia party -- is forecast to win 11 percent; and the right extremists of Golden Dawn could end up with between 5 and 7 percent. My name is Xenia, the hospitable. Greece itself should really be called Xenia: Tourism, emigration and immigration are important elements of our history. But hospitality is no longer a priority in our country, a fact which the ugly presence of Golden Dawn makes clear.

A Personal Attack
Shaved heads, military uniforms, Nazi chants, Hitler greetings: How should a Greek journalist deal with such people? Should one just ignore them and leave them unmentioned? Should one denounce them and demand that they be banned? One shouldn't forget that they are violent and have perpetrated several attacks against foreigners and leftists. I thought long and hard about how to write about Golden Dawn so that my article was in no way beneficial to the party. On April 12, the daily Kathimerini ran my story under the headline "Banality of Evil." In the piece, I carefully explained why it was impossible to carry on a dialogue with such people and why I thought the neo-Nazi party should disappear from media coverage and be banned. Five days later, an anonymous reply to my article appeared on the Golden Dawn website. It was a 2,500-word-long personal attack in which the fascists recounted my entire career, mocked my alleged foreign roots (I was born in Hamburg) and even, for no apparent reason, mentioned my 13-year-old daughter. The unnamed authors indirectly threatened me as well: "To put it in the mother tongue of foreign Xenia: 'Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat, kommt Attentat!'" In other words, watch your back.

Most Greeks believe that Golden Dawn has connections to both the police and to the country's secret service. Nevertheless, I went to the authorities to ask what I should do. I was told that I should be careful. They told me that party thugs could harass me, beat me or terrorize me over the phone. It would be better, they said, if I stopped writing about them. If I wished to react to the threats, they suggested I file a complaint against Golden Dawn's service provider. That, however, would be difficult given that the domain is based somewhere in the United States.

Like Weimar Germany
A friend told me that I should avoid wearing headphones on the street so that I can hear what is going on around me. My daughter now has nightmares about being confronted by members of Golden Dawn. Three of her classmates belong to the party. The three boys have posted pictures of party events on their Facebook pages. For their profile image, they have chosen the ancient Greek Meandros symbol, which, in the red-on-black manifestation used by Golden Dawn, resembles a swastika. The group's slogans include "Foreigners Out!" and "The Garbage Should Leave the Country!" The fact that immigration has become such an issue in the worst year of the ongoing economic crisis in the country can be blamed on the two parties in government. The Socialist PASOK and the conservative Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy, or ND) are running xenophobic campaigns. ND has said it intends to repeal a law which grants Greek citizenship to children born in Greece to immigrant parents. And cabinet member Michalis Chrysochoidis, of PASOK, has announced "clean up operations" whereby illegal immigrants are to be rounded up in encampments and then deported. When he recently took a stroll through the center of Athens to collect accolades for his commitment to the cause, some called out to him: "Golden Dawn has cleaned up Athens!"

Yet, Chrysochoidis is the best loved PASOK politician in his Athens district, in part because of his xenophobic sentiments. His party comrade, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, is just as popular. Loverdos has warned Greek men not to sleep with foreign prostitutes for fear of contracting HIV and thus endangering the Greek family. High unemployment of roughly 22 percent, a lack of hope, a tendency toward violence and the search for scapegoats: Analyses in the Greek press compare today's Greece with Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic. "We didn't know," said many Germans when confronted with the truth of the Holocaust after Nazi rule came to an end. After elections on May 6, no Greeks should be able to make the same claim.
© The Spiegel

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ANTI-SEMITISM NOT ON THE RISE IN CZECH REPUBLIC, REPORT SAYS

3/5/2012- Anti-Semitism has not been on the rise in the Czech Republic in the past few years, the situation is stable unlike in other European countries, says an annual report on anti-Semitism symptoms in the country in 2011 that the Jewish Community released yesterday. The document was worked out by its security centre based on information from the persons affected by anti-Semitic action and from information avalaible to the public. "No significant deviation either in the number of incidents or their character was registered in 2011," the centre said. The situation in the Czech Republic is very favourable for the Jewish minority, the centre says in its assessment. Czech society has traditionally rather a positive attitude to the Jews unlike its stance on a number of other minorities, the report says.

According to its authors, another reason might be the fact that the Jewish community in the Czech Republic is relatively small compared to the Western countries and that its members cannot be identified at first sight. Last year, the centre registered five anti-Semitic attacks on property and one on a person. A similar attack was previously registered in 2008. The report also mentions three cases of threatening and one of harassment. The figures are almost the same as in 2010. In 2011, the centre also monitored seven anti-Semitic web pages and 19 articles, video-recordings and pictures. There were five more in 2010.

The police registered 16 acts with anti-Semitic motives last year, 11 of which were investigated on suspicion of support to and promotion of movements leading to the suppression of freedom, two as incitement to racial and ethnic hatred, one as violence and threatening, one as defamation of race or nation and one as vandalism (by spraying), the report noted. The ultra-right wing tried to revitalise its activities last year, but its scene is splintered, the report said.

Neo-Nazis sought high publicity for their trials if they were charged and they tried to present them as political or show trials. They also focused on discrediting experts in extremism. One of them was, for instance, accused of bias over his alleged Jewish origin, the report writes. Moreover, it adds, the issue of anti-Semitism has become a certain taboo for rightist extremists. Over negative reactions of the public, extremists rather highlight their anti-Romany stances and "the fight against the System." The Czech right-wing extremist scene is no imminent threat to the safety of Jewish communities, the report concludes.

The far-right Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) campaigned mainly against Romanies and immigrants, too. Anti-Semitic statements were for example made by Ladislav Batora, former leader of the D.O.S.T. ultra-conservative movement. The report considers it noteworthy that supporters of Batora, who has links to promoters of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi ideas, claimed he was a victim of a manhunt similar to the Hilsner Affair from 1899-1900, when a Jew was unjustly accused of blood libel after a murder of a young Catholic girl from the Czech countryside. Apart from the conservative Catholics, anti-Semitic statements were also made by a member of the Czech Muslim community. This concerned a sermon from 2009, but the news of it spread only last year.
© The Prague Daily Monitor

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NEO-NAZIS STRIKE ROMANI ACTIVIST IN THE HEAD WITH COBBLESTONE DURING PRAGUE DEMONSTRATION (Czech Rep.)

2/5/2012- Roughly 150 supporters of the right-wing extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and the Workers' Youth (Dělnická mládeže - DM) gathered on 1 May to demonstrate in Prague. The right-wing radicals threw cobblestones and glass or plastic bottles at counter-demonstrators objecting to their neo-Nazism who marched past just after 15:00 near Na můstku street. One of the cobblestones struck a Romani activist from the Hate is No Solution initiative, Jozef Miker. The aggressive neo-Nazis also injured three police officers. One neo-Nazi was arrested for assaulting an officer. The ultra-right supporters gathered at 14:00 at the bottom of Wenceslas Square, where several people gave speeches. DSSS chair Tomáš Vandas opened the demonstration by criticizing Czech PM Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats - ODS) for preserving his existing cabinet through the support of the Public Affairs (VV) MPs who want to see Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake (VV) stay in office. Vandas said the PM would do better to call early elections. He then went on to give his usual remarks, attacking Romani people and also news server Romea.cz. During its on-line reporting of the demonstration in real time, news server iDNES.cz said the DSSS leader made the following deceptive claims: "Tomáš Vandas is criticizing police reform, wiretapping, and says he is bothered by government support for news server Romea.cz."

Representatives of Germany's National Democratic Party (NPD) then gave speeches as well. According to Anti-fascist Action (Antifašistické akce), those who spoke are leading German neo-Nazis. After 15:00, several hundred opponents of the neo-Nazis walked through the lower part of Wenceslas Square heading from naměstí Republiky to Shooter's Island (Střelecký ostrov) in the Vltava river. The Czech Press Agency reported that there were more than 250 marchers, while police estimated their numbers were as high as 500. Police vehicles and riot officers separated the neo-Nazis from the counter-protesters. Despite these precautions, however, the neo-Nazis did their best to break through the police cordon in order to reach the counter-demonstrators and officers had to push them back. The neo-Nazis threw cobblestones at the counter-demonstrators as they passed by. One cobblestone struck an activist from the Hate is No Solution initiative, Jozef Miker, in the ear. He was transported to hospital, where he received three stitches.

"We were marching from náměstí Republiky back to Střelecký ostrov and at Na můstku street the Nazis attacked us. First they started throwing plastic bottles, then glass ones, and then stones. Suddenly I was struck by a stone on the ear and I didn't know what was going on anymore," Miker described the assault to news server Romea.cz. The neo-Nazis also injured three police officers. Two were given medical treatment at the scene and a third was transported to hospital. "Police have arrested at 22-year-old man over the skirmish on Na můstku street on suspicion of assaulting a public official and rioting," said Prague Police spokesperson Tomáš Hulan. The neo-Nazi who was arrested reportedly sprayed tear gas in an officer's face. The Czech Press Agency also reported that a glass bottle struck a girl who was standing among the DSSS supporters on the head. At approximately 16:00 the neo-Nazis set off on a march through the streets of Prague. From their meeting point at Na můstku street, they marched up Wencelas Square to Vinohradská street. Marchers carrying banners shouted various anti-Romani, nationalist and xenophobic slogans. The march arrived at Jiřího z Poděbrad Square, where Vandas dispersed it just before 17:00. The DSSS traditionally convenes protests on 1 May. Last year supporters of the party met up in Brno. This year's demonstration was officially entitled "For social security, against reforms".
© Romea

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SWASTIKAS DAUBED ON JEWISH WOMAN'S CAR IN BRIGHTON (uk)

4/5/2012- Vandals who spray painted five swastikas on to a Jewish woman's car are being sought by police in Brighton. Three tyres on the 64-year-old's car, which was parked outside her home in Whitehawk, were also let down. Sussex Police said it was treating the incident as a racist hate crime, and the family had been left "shocked, devastated, and very upset". Insp Bill Whitehead said the woman had not returned to her home in Heron Court since the attack on Tuesday. "A cowardly attack like this has a dramatic effect on somebody, particularly when they're quite vulnerable due to their age," he added. Rabbi Herschel Rader, the leader of Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation, said the incident was "very shocking" for any Jewish person. He said it was "a chilling and traumatic experience". Police have been checking CCTV cameras and speaking to people in the area to try to find who was responsible for the attack.
© BBC News

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PENSIONER HEAD BUTTED IN EXTREME RIGHT-WING THUG ATTACK (uk)

30/4/2012- Two pensioners handing out anti-fascist leaflets were set upon by extreme right-wing thugs in a shocking high street attack. Activist Andrew Smith, 69, was helping man the regular Socialist Worker stall in Lewisham High Street on Saturday at around noon when he was head butted in the face, while his colleague, 67, was punched to the floor. Mr Smith, a long-standing anti-fascism campaigner and retired teacher, needed laser surgery for a torn retina after the unprovoked assault but is hopeful his sight will be okay. He told News Shopper that before the attack, the gang made reference to Brighton, where anti-fascists faced-off with the March for England right-wing group earlier this month. Mr Smith said: "They were shouting something about Brighton and accused us of attacking women and children." A group knocked over the men's table before coming back a short while later in a group of around 10 men and one woman. One man approached Mr Smith and began talking to him. Mr Smith said: "In the middle of the conversation I had an uneasy feeling and he head butted me - one blow to the face. "I was on the ground and sort of remember crouching, like a boxer who's gone down in the ring. I was completely dazed."
© News Shopper

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ISRAEL FLAG RACISM STUDENT PAUL DONNACHIE LOSES APPEAL (uk, usa)

A man who called a Jewish student a terrorist has lost his appeal to have his conviction for racially aggravated behaviour quashed.

1/5/2012- Paul Donnachie, 19, was given 150 hours for putting his hands down his trousers before rubbing them on Jewish student Chanan Reitblat's Israeli flag. Lawyers acting for Donnachie were told by appeal court judges a sheriff did not make a mistake when sentencing him. Donnachie committed the offence at St Andrews University in March 2011. The 19-year-old from Blackpool, Lancs, was convicted at Cupar Sheriff Court in September last year of defiling a flag that hung on the wall of American student Mr Reitblat's room. He also called Mr Reitblat, from New York, a terrorist during the incident. Sheriff Charles Macnair QC also ordered Donnachie to pay £300 compensation towards his victim, who studies at Yeshiva University, also in New York. However, Donnachie's legal team believed Sheriff Macnair committed a miscarriage of justice when he did not allow members of a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign group to give evidence during proceedings against Donnachie. The protesters were expected to tell the court about the political situation in Israel - something which solicitors acting for Donnachie thought was relevant to his defence.

On Tuesday, three judges at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh refused to grant Donnachie's appeal to have his conviction overturned. In proceedings that lasted less than a minute, Mr Donnachie's lawyers were told that the appeal had failed. In a written judgement, The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, said that Sheriff Macnair had acted correctly when dealing with Donnachie. He wrote: "There was therefore no substantive miscarriage of justice nor was there an appearance of injustice." His fellow judges, Lord Mackay of Drumadoon and Lord Bonomy, also refused to overturn Donnachie's conviction. Donnachie was thrown out of St Andrews University after being found guilty of racially abusing Mr Reitblat following the two day trial at Cupar Sheriff Court.
© BBC News

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MLB SUSPENDS DELMON YOUNG OVER ANTI-SEMITIC ALTERCATION (usa)

1/5/2012- Delmon Young, the Detroit Tigers outfielder who was arrested in New York for allegedly attacking a group of men and making anti-Semitic remarks, was suspended without pay for seven days. The suspension is retroactive to April 27, when he was placed on the restricted list. His loss of pay amounts to more than $250,000, according to the Detroit News. Young will not contest the suspension. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced the suspension Monday night, saying that "Those associated with our game should meet the responsibilities and standards that stem from our game's stature as a social institution. An incident like this cannot and will not be tolerated. I think that Mr. Young is regretful, and it is my expectation that he will learn from this unfortunate episode." Young is facing a misdemeanor aggravated harassment hate crime charge stemming from the April 27 incident outside the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where the Tigers were staying before the start of a series with the New York Yankees that night. He is scheduled to appear in court in New York on May 29 and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

According to reports, a group of tourists staying at the hotel were approached by a panhandler wearing a yarmulke. Young yelled anti-Semitic epithets at the group. Young also reportedly shoved one of the men, who sustained minor injuries. Young was taken to the hospital after the incident. A New York Police Department spokesman told the New York Post that it was unclear whether the alleged victim, described as a 32-year-old male, was Jewish. Young, who endured a 50-game suspension in 2006 for throwing a bat at an umpire, apologized for the New York incident in a news release. The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement saying it was "deeply disturbed" by reports of the player's outburst. "Bigoted words are unbecoming for any professional sports player and anti-Semitism certainly has no place in the game, either on or off the field," the group said. Tigers chief executive officer, president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News that some of the allegations reported in the media are untrue, but would not elaborate on which ones.
© JTA News

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SYRIAN FAMILY BEATEN UP IN ANTI-FOREIGNER ATTACK IN GERMANY

A Syrian family has been beaten up in an apparent xenophobic assault in the East German town of Eisleben over the weekend, the daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported in its Monday edition

30/4/2012- The 10-member Syrian family was attacked by three men as they were visiting a fairground Sunday evening. One of the family members, an unidentified 32-year-old man, was transferred to a hospital with a concussion as a result of the attack, while three others suffered bruises to their bodies. Police arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with the assault, while the other two are still on the run. Germany has time and again witnessed brutal racist attacks in recent years as the center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has tried to downplay the seriousness of the problem. Most of the racial assaults are committed by mostly young unemployed neo-Nazis who live in what used to be formerly communist East Germany. The German government has been under fire for not really cracking down on far-right violence which is aiming at mostly foreigners and leftist activists. Young neo-Nazis feel more and more emboldened to commit hate crimes, knowing that police won't charge them with an offense. Most of the suspects implicated in far-right crimes are juveniles. Hate crime experts and sociologists have repeatedly stressed Germany's political leadership lacked a clear and effective strategy to really combat neo-Nazi crimes.
© IRNA

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GENEVA'S FRENCH WORKERS TARGETED BY HATE CAMPAIGN (Switzerland)

29/4/2012- Residents of France who work across the border in Geneva have become the targets of a virulent anti-migrant campaign calling for their houses and cars to be burned. Some 90,000 foreigners, most of them French, cross the border to work in Geneva, sparking tension in an area with the highest unemployment in Switzerland -- 5.3 percent in March, against a national rate of 3.2 percent. A pamphlet distributed this month outside the Geneva University Hospital calls for the elimination of "this border scum". "They are everywhere... in a number that far exceeds the tolerable quota, with their arrogance, their pollution, their contempt, their insolence and their privilege," the pamphlet said. "Total war is declared," said the tract, which was reprinted by the local Socialist Party in a newsletter expressing alarm over the document's violent nationalism. "Burn their houses, their cars. Border workers, get out." The hospital said it planned to file charges against the pamphlet's anonymous author.

The labour union that represents employees there defended the practice of hiring cross-border workers, saying Geneva's own education system doesn't train enough nurses. "We defend all workers, wherever they're from," union secretary Julien Dubouchet Corthay told AFP. The hospital's 10,172 employees are 48 percent Swiss and 34 percent French, its 2011 records show. The nursing staff is 56-percent French, but 66 percent of doctors are Swiss against just 11 percent French, and 72 percent of senior executives are Swiss. Tensions over the large number of foreign workers at the hospital erupted into the open in February, when the director general said the hospital would begin favouring Geneva residents in promotions. "Out of 165 medical unit managers, 110 are cross-border workers. Some employees who live in Geneva have complained," hospital chief Bernard Gruson told a local newspaper. "So I've decided to favour a return to equilibrium. That will be my priority for every promotion. It's absolutely not about ostracism, but about my role as boss to arbitrate when people are dissatisfied."

The remarks unleashed a heated debate in Geneva, and fed the rhetoric of local political party the Geneva Citizens Movement, which regularly criticises cross-border workers. The movement also claims French criminals come to Geneva to steal from residents. The local Socialist Party has meanwhile called for the creation of a cross-border parliament that would bring together officials from the border districts of Geneva and Vaud with their counterparts in France. The body would deal with the entire region's housing and employment issues, the Socialist say. "The Geneva Socialist Party is aware of the enormous distortions in both the employment and housing markets," it said. "That's why the party is convinced that the France-Vaud-Geneva people must work together to find solutions to their problems, especially by creating appropriate democratic institutions and true tools to fight against underpaying wages."
© AFP

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