ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive June 2012

Headlines 29 June, 2012

Headlines 22 June, 2012

Headlines 15 June, 2012

Headlines 8 June, 2012

Headlines 29 June, 2012

Amnesty International says new criminal code on hate crime inadequate (Hungary)

29/6/2012- Amnesty International (AI) acknowledges provisions on hate crime in Hungary’s new criminal code but it remains concerned about the adequacy of protection against such crimes, the organisation said on Thursday. It is noteworthy that the new criminal code, entering into force on July 1 next year, makes changes to provisions on protecting people against hate-motivated assaults due to their real or perceived identity, AI said in a statement. “Whereas the old legislation explicitly prohibited assaults on the ground of nationality, ethnicity, race or religion the new law extends the grounds to sexual orientation, gender identity and disability,” reflecting NGO recommendations, the statement said. AI expressed concern, however, that the Hungarian authorities had not used the opportunity of reform to include a general provision ensuring that a discriminatory motive be taken as a factor in an investigation or prosecution of other crimes, including murder. It also criticised that death threats based on national or ethnic affiliation would remain outside the category of hate crime. AI noted a “systemic problem” in implementing provisions, largely due to a lack of procedures and guidelines for police and prosecution services on the investigation of such crimes. AI’s research also highlighted the lack of specialised units and expertise when it came to probing hate crimes within the Hungarian police, the statement said. Amnesty urged introduction of a monitoring system and database on hate crimes in line with international law and human-rights norms.
Politics Hungary


Wave of Mosque vandalisms in France

29/6/2012- A leading French Muslim group says three mosques have been vandalized last month and is urging authorities to punish the perpetrators. The French Council of the Muslim Faith, or CFCM, said racist insults and Nazi slogans were scrawled on a mosque in the southeastern town of Tarascon and another in the eastern city of Strasbourg on May 22 and May 23. It said the mosque in the southern town of Draguignan was vandalized May 17. In a statement the CFCM expressed concern about what it called the “multiplication of these cowardly and hateful acts” and warned against complacency. Muslim and Jewish graveyards and religious buildings around France have long suffered sporadic vandalism. The group urged authorities to track down and punish those responsible “with all the necessary severity.”
The Muslim News


28/6/2012- A Moscow court arrested two alleged neo-Nazi activists accused of a killing spree that took the lives of a prominent judge, an anti-fascist leader and, possibly, many other opponents of the far right ideology. Vyacheslav Isayev and Maxim “Baklazhan” (Eggplant) Baklagin face life sentence on charges of hate murder, attacking a judge and illegally obtaining firearms, the Investigative Committee reported on its website late Thursday. The Basmanny district court sanctioned arrest for both suspects until mid-August. No date for the trial was set.

Baklagin, who was on a federal wanted list, was apprehended along with Isayev by a special police task force in an apartment full of firearms in Vladimir region this week, offering armed resistance to arrest. The main charge against Baklagin and Isayev is the 2010 killing of Eduard Chuvashov, a Moscow City Court judge who jailed members of the White Wolves skinhead gang for multiple murders. The actual perpetrator of the killing, Alexei Korshunov, a former officer of the Russian army’s special forces, died in Ukraine in October when jogging with a hand grenade, which exploded on him. Isayev and Baklagin helped the late killer track the judge to shoot him, investigators say.

In 2009, the trio murdered in similar fashion Ivan Khutorsky, a champion of Russia’s burgeoning anti-fascist movement, known for its violent underground clashes with the neo-Nazis, the committee said. Khutorsky, a mixed martial arts practitioner nicknamed “Bonebreaker,” was shot dead in the lobby of his apartment house in Moscow. Isayev and Baklagin are also suspected of other hate crimes, including murders of anti-fascist and charity activist Ivan Dzhaparidze in and Dagestani-born Muay Thai world champion Muslim Abdullayev, both in 2009, RBC Daily news website said.

The duo had close ties to Nikita Tikhonov, a man sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for killing lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in Moscow, also in revenge for Markelov's anti-fascist activity, the report said.
RIA Novosti


Strong Blast in Front of Euroroma Office in Southwestern Bulgaria, 1 Seriously Injured

29/6/2012- A powerful blast, which shook the south-western Bulgarian town of Sandanski early on Friday, has left a 59-year-old Roma man in critical condition. According to Georgi Kostov from the district police directorate in Blagoevgrad, Malin Iliev was passing by when he noticed a suspicious package in front of the office of the Euroroma party in the town. When he lifted the package, the bomb went off, tearing off one of Iliev's arms. The accident happened at around 6 a.m. on Friday. The man was taken to the hospital in Sandanski and his life is in danger. According to preliminary reports, Iliev was on the Euroroma list of candidates at the last round of local elections in the town. The investigation is at an initial stage and the police authorities cannot yet provide information about the reasons behind the blast or the detonation mechanism. The Euroroma party's headquarters in Sandanski are located near the town's market. The massive blast blew out most windows in the building as well as nearby buildings. Police have sealed off the area to conduct investigative work. Experts are yet to determine the type of the bomb.


Bulgaria: Action, not just words, needed to tackle anti-gay hate crimes

28/6/2012- An urgent overhaul of Bulgarian laws is needed to ensure that hate crimes which all too frequently target gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are properly investigated and prosecuted, Amnesty International recommends in a briefing published today. “Dozens of LGBT people have been beaten, raped, and in one case murdered because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Most of these crimes have not been properly investigated and have gone unpunished,” said Emily Gray, Amnesty International’s expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Bulgarian authorities are not only failing in their duty to unmask the homophobic or transphobic motive on which these crimes are perpetrated, but they are failing to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Amnesty International’s briefing, Changing laws, changing minds: Challenging homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in Bulgaria, focuses on the failure of the police and prosecutors to address effectively crimes against LGBT people on the basis of widespread and deeply entrenched discriminatory attitudes towards them. “Due to the absence of hate crimes legislation on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, motives are rarely sought or uncovered. It is important to unearth the motives if the police are to develop effective strategies to reduce and prevent these crimes,” Emily Gray said. Mihail Stoyanov, a 25-year-old medical student was beaten to death in one of Sofia’s parks on 30 September 2008. Two young men were arrested as suspects in 2010. They were charged with “homicide with hooligan motive” and placed under house arrest for two years and then released as the Prosecutor did not issue an indictment during that period.

Ivelina, Kaloyan, Mitko, Kristina and Svetlio were attacked by a group of young men after last year’s Pride march in Sofia. Three of them were punched and kicked to the ground. When the five reported the attack, the police first asked them whether they had provoked it. A year on, the police has yet to identify the perpetrators and say the case is not a priority for them. “I want to see this case resolved. It is important because the message will be that the authorities care and they can solve these issues,” Ivelina told Amnesty International. Transgender individuals face additional discrimination and are attacked more frequently than lesbian, gay and bisexual people. In some instances, police have reportedly refused to investigate violence against transgender people. Discriminatory attitudes frequently prevent them from finding a job, and many turn to sex work in order to survive.

Bulgarian authorities have taken some steps towards equality for LGBT people, including through decriminalizing same-sex conduct and equalizing the age of consent in 2002; and banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation through the Protection Against Discrimination Act in 2004. In March 2012, police officers attended training sessions in Sofia on how to deal sensitively with hate crimes. And the latest draft of a new Criminal Code presented for consultation in April 2012 covers hate crimes based on sexual orientation. But more needs to be done. “Urgent measures are needed to counter prejudiced attitudes and pervasive homophobia and transphobia. Adopting and implementing legislation covering and defining attacks targeting people on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity as hate crimes is an important first step,” Emily Gray said.

“The Bulgarian authorities must clearly state that attacks against people who are or are perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender will not be tolerated; and that such attacks will be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted.”
Amnesty International


Gay rights activist assaulted in Ukraine capital

A leading Ukrainian gay rights activist says he was hospitalized after being beaten during an apparent hate attack in the country's capital, Kiev.

23/6/2012- Taras Karasiychuk, a top member of Gay Forum, said Saturday he sustained a concussion and a fractured jaw during the attack Thursday by a group of unidentified assailants, who screamed homophobic insults at him. Police said Saturday an investigation is under way. The incident comes a month after another violent attack on a member of the gay community caused an international outcry. Ukraine was rocked by allegations of racism and xenophobia ahead of the start of this month's Euro 2012 football championships. Officials deny the claims, but rights groups say Ukrainians, stung by economic hardship, are taking their frustration out on minority groups.
The Associated Press


Anti-Muslim Swiss tweet urges new Kristallnacht

Alexander Müller, a Zurich politician from the far-right Swiss People’s Party has caused outrage by appearing to call for "another Kristallnacht" in a hateful anti-Islamic tweet.

26/6/2012- The offending message, which has since been taken down from Müller's @DailyTalk account, said: “Maybe we need another Kristallnacht… this time for mosques.” Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, refers to the night in November 1938 when the Nazis burned down Jewish synagogues, houses and shops in a coordinated attack across Germany and parts of Austria. Over 7,000 shops were destroyed and an estimated 30,000 people were arrested and put into concentration camps. Figures vary as to how many people were killed. The Zurich prosecutor is considering whether to launch a formal criminal investigation into Müller, who also works as a school nurse. “It is possible that the Twitter post breached the criminal provisions on racism,” Corinne Bouvard, spokeswoman for the Zurich prosecutor’s office, told the website.

The Young Greens have also called for Müller’s immediate resignation from his position as school nurse. Müller denies writing the post, and has alleged that someone forged it, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported. In other tweets, he has previously been seen to make fun of beauty contests in Saudi Arabia, voiced his opposition to integration and the "Islamization" of the country, and accused Muslims of trying to litter the country with mosques and minarets. Should he be found to have written the tweet, he will be excluded from the Swiss People’s Party. “Such a statement constitutes grounds for exclusion,” party president Roger Liebi told the website.
The Local - Switzerland


Anti-religious graffiti on churches in Hastings (UK)

29/6/2012- Anti-religious graffiti daubed on churches in a Sussex town is being treated as a hate crime by police. The words "evil queen" were sprayed on the doors of Blacklands church in Hastings and "Roman devils" was daubed at St Mary's church in the High Street. Other damage was carried out in St Mary's Terrace and the St was removed from the road name signs in the town. Insp Paul Phelps said: "These are being treated as hate crimes. We are appealing for witnesses." He said that some of the graffiti had appeared during daylight hours.
BBC News


EDL commander who organised intimidating protests against Asian MEP at his home jailed for 18 months (UK)

The group barricaded Tory MEP Sajjad Karim's house, shouting abuse and holding EDL placards with Mr Karim, his wife and their two children still inside # Before police made it to the scene they continued on a 'flash demonstrations' rampage around Lancashire # Violence later broke out in Brierfield where a 17-year-old Asian man was floored in the street and one man was run over. 

26/6/2012- A ‘commander’ in the English Defence League who led a mob of 40 people to barricade the home of Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim has been jailed for 18 months. Bernard Holmes, 28, was arrested after members of far right group converged on the property of Mr Karim whilst his wife and two young children were at home. Claiming they wanted to deliver a letter, invaded the politician’s driveway and were said to have behaving in an ‘intimidating, threatening manner’ and shouting abuse whilst holding up placards from the EDL. Police were called to the house in Burnley but were too late as the mob had already moved on to carry out a string of ‘flash demonstrations’ in Blackburn and nearby towns led by Holmes. This is not the first time Mr Karim has experienced harassment from far-right groups like the EDL: In 2010, Mr Karim said he was forced to hire a private security firm for round the clock protection due to threats. Mr Karim, MEP for North West, said he believed he was targeted for religious reasons because the EDL have an ‘anti-Islamic agenda’. Mr Holmes, who goes under the nickname ‘Mr B’ is the EDL Blackburn division’s ‘commander’ and led the operation on July 2 last year.

Holmes, from Blackburn pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order offences and was also given a five year CRASBO on top of his 18 month prison sentence at Preston Crown Court today. The court heard how the group gathered outside 41-year old Mr Karim’s house at lunchtime in July last year to stage an anti-Islamic protest allegedly regarding EU proposals on the labelling of Halal meat. The demonstrators carrying placards reportedly went into Mr Karim’s garden and began shouting abuse at him, before peering through his windows and filming his house Mr Karim was in the house with his wife, Zahida, and two children, 10-year-old Bilal, and Rabia, eight, at the time of the protest. At the time Mr Karim said: ‘It was very intimidating experience for us. They were all over my driveway and looking into my house. ‘I had my family in the house and it is just disgusting that they were able to do this. My daughter has been left petrified’ Mr Karim, who defected from the Liberal Democrats in 2007, said the group had gone to his house in Burnley, claiming that one member had wanted to deliver a letter to him. He said people normally used a stamp or arranged to deliver the letter to his parliamentary address. ‘That really was a pretence,’ he said. ‘Their intention was to intimidate, to cause fright to my family and that is why they went about things in the way they did.’

Holmes had a history of violence and in 2010 was jailed for two years and four months after he beat up a man outside a nightclub and left him brain damaged. After Mr Holmes and the group left Mr Karim's fighting broke out in nearby Brierfield town centre. Members of EDL attacked a 17-year-old called Azhar Iqbal and nearby a man was run down by an EDL supporter’s car. Three people were jailed and seven others were given non custodial sentences for the events in Brierfield town centre. Two other people failed to appear at court and warrants have been issued for their arrest. It has been confirmed that Bernard Holmes was involved in the general violence but not in these specific events. Lawyers representing them insisted there was no pre-meditated plan to cause trouble in Brierfield. Supt Steve Pemberton of Lancashire said he was pleased with the convictions and the sentences imposed. ‘This was a spontaneous incident on a busy Saturday afternoon which could have been much more serious than it fortunately was had it not been for the speedy police response and that of local community leaders who were able to quell any subsequent rise in tensions.
The Daily Mail


Drunken man sent to jail for racially aggravated assault on player and wife (UK)

26/6/2012- A racist thug has been jailed for making monkey chants as he watched a football match on a public playing field. Jason Lowe, 41, first picked on the wife of one of the players and then attacked him when he ran to her assistance. He shouted racist taunts at both and a scuffle broke out as a group of drunken friends joined him, while other players ran to help victims Amrit and Satnan Singh. Lowe and his friends could be heard making monkey noises in the background of the 999 call which the players made to the police, Exeter Crown Court was told. Lowe, of Smythen Street, Exeter, admitted two offences of racially aggravated assault by beating and was jailed for 19 months by Recorder Mr Brian Lett, QC. He told him: "You approached a young lady who was recently arrived in this country. She was 21 and 5ft 2in tall. She was on her own in a public place. You were drunk and abused her in a totally gratuitous and unacceptable way. "It comes as no surprise to learn she was extremely upset and that it has affected her confidence and left her feeling insecure since. "There was no possible provocation and bearing in mind the importance of racial harmony in this country and the view which courts rightly take of those who racially abuse, I view this as a serious offence."

Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said Amrit and Satnan Singh were a young couple of Sikh origin who had gone to Flowerpot Fields in Exeter for a game of football in which the husband was playing and the wife was watching. She said: "She [Mrs Singh] was approached by the defendant and two others who immediately began to abuse her racially without any provocation whatsoever. "She was called an Afghan and a Pakistani and sworn at and Lowe threatened her by making a gun shape with his fingers and saying he would shoot her. "He grabbed her and pulled her towards him and she screamed for her husband who ran over from his match. He was also racially abused and then attacked, without causing any injury." The court heard another player, Anderson Jones, came to their aid and other members of Lowe's group got involved in a scuffle. Kelly Scrivener, defending, said Lowe has started addressing his alcohol problem since the offence and is now keen to work with the probation service.
This is Cornwall


Crime scene visit hopes to jog witnesses' minds (UK)

25/6/2012- A disabled grandmother who was spat at and mocked by a laughing gang of youths has returned to the scene of the crime in a bid to get witnesses to come forward. Last week our sister publication Bedford Midweek featured on its front page the harrowing ordeal that 60-year-old widow Sandra, suffered while returning from her husband’s grave. As of yet no arrests have been made in connection with the attack which is being treated as a hate crime. Last Saturday Sandra, from Bedford, returned to Goldington Road accompanied by officers. It was there on June 10 between 2- 3pm that she was spat and laughed at by a gang of seven teenagers between Goldington Green and Polhill Avenue. PC Sarah Lelden said: “The local community have been very supportive. “We have some leads and will be following these up, including using forensic methods. “We’re pretty sure that out of that group of youths, some of those would have been on the periphery of what happened, and maybe felt uncomfortable with joining in or hung back and just watched the incident. “If that is the case, they should come and talk to us, before we come to find them.” They’d also still like to find the two Good Samaritans who tried to help Sandra and anyone who was in the area with information is urged to contact PC Lelden on 101 or text the control room on 07786200011.
The Bedfordshire News


Anger over Gwent mens' racist Facebook abuse (UK)

23/6/2012- Equality groups and politicians reacted with fury, after two Gwent men abused a Muslim man on Facebook. As the Argus reported on Thursday, labourer James Rogers, 21, of Deepweir, Caldicot and his friend Richard Orzel,29, a plasterer from Kensington Gardens, Newport, pleaded guilty to making offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing comments on a public electronic communications network on March 25. The pair were told by District Judge Richard Williams, at Cwmbran Magistrates' Court, that they had put "corrosive and offensive" words into the public domain, after they mocked and threatened violence towards a Muslim man Rogers saw praying at Magor services. Rogers mocked the unknown man, calling him a "rag head" and said the sight of him praying "made him sick," while Orzel suggested he would "spit on the ****." Rogers and Orzel were handed 28 day prison sentences, suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work. Ian George, defending the pair, described the exchange as "a bit of banter."

But a Newport equality group hit out at that comment. David Phillips, CEO of SEWREC (South East Wales Regional Equality Council), said: "I fail to see how such comments could be described as banter among decent people. "The majority of people are quite clear that racism is unacceptable, but there are a minority that still need to learn, it is important that they learn it sooner rather than later. "SEWREC is seriously concerned about the way in which social media is being increasingly used in anti-social ways whether that is to promote racism, to perpetrate harassment or to bully. "But we are very pleased with the response of Gwent Police and the South Wales Argus who have recognised that real crimes with real consequences can take place in virtual communities on line." Mohammad Asghar AM, Shadow Minister for Equalities and Sport, said: "I welcome the verdict in this trial. Racism is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in any form and that includes comments made on social network sites. I hope this will serve as a warning to others that freedom of speech is no defence in such cases."
The South Wales Argus


Slovakia: Off-duty cop says he murdered to establish order'

24/6/2012- News server SME.sk reports that the recent murder rampage in Hurbanovo might have been caused when off-duty police officer Milan Juhász snapped as a result of professional frustration. Police are working with that version of events as one of several under investigation. Police are working under the assumption that Juhász's motivation for murder was that he was unable to cope with trouble-making residents of the small town in his role as a municipal police officer and took the law into his own hands. "That is one motivation we are investigating," Slovak Police President Tibor Gašpar has confirmed.

One week ago, Juhász assaulted five people with an illegally held weapon, murdering three of them. A fourth victim is still fighting for his life after a gunshot to the lung, while a fifth victim survived and is out of danger. The deceased are 44-year-old Gabriel Lakatoš, his 19-year-old son Mário and his son-in-law Július (age 26). The police version of the motivation has been supported by the only explanation provided by the murderer so far. "I woke up that morning with the feeling that I had to go put thngs in order with them," Juhász told a judge. A source familiar with the investigation has confirmed this to SME. Police intend to request a psychiatric evaluation of Juhász.

Numerous state police patrols will be overseeing order in the town for some time to come at least. Municipal officers will return to the streets after the victims' funerals. Police have admitted that they have not succeeded in determining much more about the motivation for the murders, but do say there is no evidence to support speculations that Juhász was connected to the victims through business. The murderer's words indicate that he may have snapped due to long-term frustration. "That was a problematic family. During less than one year we intervened there 13 times. They disturbed public order, burned their garbage, committed shoplifting and other misdemeanors," says Marián Botos, Chief of the Hurbanovo Municipal Police. Juházs assisted with most of those interventions.

SME.sk reports that the murder victims had been previously convicted of several felonies. In 2011 they were convicted of assaulting a public official, property damage, and making dangerous threats. Earlier this year they were convicted of robbery. Court psychiatrist Svetozár Droby considers the police version of what motivated the incident as possible. "It accumulates over time and suddenly it's the last straw," he said of similar cases.


Headlines 22 June, 2012


21/6/2012- The Maltese parliament has extended its hate crime laws for the first time to protect citizens on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The amendment to the hate crime laws, which until now made motives based only on religion, race and disability an aggravating factor in a criminal incident, came after a pair of attacks on lesbian women. In January, a 16-year-old lesbian and her girlfriend were assaulted in a public square. The following month, another lesbian couple were physically attacked on a bus. The Malta Gay Rights Movement welcomed the law, saying: “We thank both sides of the House for supporting this bill and sending a strong message to society that targeting someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable and will incur tougher penalties.

“This Bill was proposed during a protest following the incident against two young lesbians in Hamrun earlier this year and was supported by aditus, We Are, LGBT Labour, Drachma and Drachma Parents, Graffitti, ADZ and Integra Foundation. The courage of these young people to report the crime played an important role in providing the required impetus to move forward with this legislative proposal which had been on MGRM’s agenda for a number of years.” MGRM said the next step was to ensure police were properly trained in dealing with such crimes and in actively reaching out to the LGBT community to ensure that victims feel safe to come forward and report incidents.

It added: “We also look forward to the passing of a second bill which will extend the remit of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality to also cover sexual orientation and gender identity. This is expected to take place this week. It will allow the Commission to act as mediator and to investigate allegations of discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.” A survey by the news agency MaltaToday found support among the population for equal marriage rights among gay couples had risen over recent years to 41 percent with 51 percent opposed, compared with 28 percent support in 2007. Among 18-35s, the support rose to 60 percent.
Pink News



The National Bureau of vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNCVA) has condemned death threats against France’s Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim contained in a virulently anti-Semitic document sent via Facebook.

20/6/2012- The BNCVA was alerted to the incident by a number of outraged internet users. The image projected on the document shows a montage of the Chief Rabbi’s face with a Star of David projected on it and a revolver pointed at his forehead. A lighter branded Zyklon (the trade name of cyanide used by Nazi Germany in gas chambers to exterminate Jews) is additionally placed under the nose of Rabbi Bernaim. The creator of the document captioned the image with the following text: "Calm down Bernheim, I’m not going to deport you, I just want you to inhale the contents of this lighter, that’s to say the person within! You won’t kiss me on the mouth, I prefer to say." The BNVCA noticed that the highest-profile figure of the French Jewish community is personally insulted and intimidated by the hate mail, continuing that the figure of a Chief Rabbi represents “all of French Judaism, all French Jews, who are also threatened." For the BNVCA this incident is of a “most serious nature”. It has consulted its lawyer over filing an official complaint. The organisation asked French Interior Minister "to immediately demand the an investigation around the identity of the anti-Semitic author of this message." "Neither the Holocaust nor the anti-Semitic murders of Sebastien Sellam, Ilan Halimi and the victims of the Jewish massacre in Toulouse have served a lesson, it seems. On the contrary, the most heightened form of anti-Semitism is further developing, spreading and becoming commonplace, and it seems there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it,” declared the BNCVA, adding it was "in favour of increasing awareness and publicising condemnations of serious acts."



19/6/2012- The number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the Netherlands dropped by 9 percent last year but vandalism and assaults rose sharply, according to the annual report by the country’s watchdog on anti-Semitism.
 The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, attributed the overall drop in recorded incidents to a decrease in the amount of hate mail reported. 

However, the Hague-based organization registered a sharp rise in real-life anti-Semitic incidents — such as vandalism, assaults or abuse — to 55 last year from 31 in 2010. In total, CIDI registered 113 anti-Semitic incidents in 2011, compared to 124 the previous year. CIDI found 18 cases of hate mail in 2011, compared to 47 in 2010. The organization’s records for 2011 show 28 victims of anti-Semitic, non-physical abuse on the street or in the public sphere. In 2009, CIDI listed 20 such incidents. That year saw anti-Semitism incidents of all categories skyrocketing worldwide in connection with Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza.

“There was no comparable external cause in 2011,” according to the CIDI report, which was compiled by researcher Elise Friedmann. The Netherlands has a Jewish population of some 40,000. In 2010, CIDI recorded nine cases of in-person anti-Semitic confrontations. The threefold increase in 2011 is attributable to greater awareness to the need to report such incidents, according to a news release by CIDI. “The Dutch government has been promising since 2008 to apply an improved and more uniform system for the registration of anti-Semitic and xenophobic incidents. To date, there are no signs of this,” CIDI said. Dutch police do not register or flag reports of xenophobic incidents at the time of deposition. Police compile their annual hate crimes report by applying a search engine to the texts of all complaints. CIDI has called the procedure “inadequate” and urged the Dutch police to implement an immediate flag system like the one used in Britain and elsewhere.
JTA News



22/6/2012- A Polish man has been punched in the face in a racially aggravated assault in Runcorn. The 37-year-old victim was speaking on the phone when he was approached by three men who verbally abused him, making racist comments. One of the men then punched him on the left side of the face causing him to fall to the ground. The trio then ran off. The victim suffered a fractured left cheeckbone as a result of the attack. DC Anthony Sullivan said: "It is clear that this incident was racially motivated and we are doing everything we can to catch those responsible. “This type of behaviour is not acceptable. Any form of hate crime will not be tolerated in Halton. "We are currently following up a number of lines of enquiry in relation to this incident. “We are urging anyone who witnessed what happened or who was in the area at the time of the incident and may have seen something significant to come forward to help us with our investigation. "We are also appealing for anyone who has any information regarding the identity of the offenders to get in touch." The attack happened in Liskeard Close, Brookvale, between 9pm and 9.30pm, on Saturday, June 2, but the victim only reported the incident on June 20, after being treated for his injuries. One of the men is described as white, around 5ft 9ins tall, of average build, with short dark hair. He is believed to be aged between 17 and 21-years-old. He was wearing a dark grey hooded top - with a red adidas logo on the left hand side of the chest and three red stripes down each arm − and dark trousers. The other two men are described as white, of average build, around 5ft 7ins tall, with short dark hair. Both were wearing dark clothing.
The Runcorn and Widnes World



Three men attacked and chased him.

22/6/2012- Police are appealing for information after a taxi driver was racially abused and assaulted in Margate on June 9. The driver said he was waiting for a fare in Hawley Square at around 1.25am when three men approached him and wanted a ride to Ramsgate. He offered to take them, but they then refused, racially abused him and then assaulted him. The driver tried to escape and ran towards Addington Street but the men caught up and tripped him up. He then got up and ran away again. The men continued to chase him but then headed off towards Mill Lane. The victim had cuts to his hands, arms and legs and went to hospital for treatment. The suspects are described as three white men aged between 25-35. One man was around 6ft tall with a slim build and shoulder length hair. Another is described as around 5ft 6in tall with a slim build and was carrying a football. The third man was around 5ft 9in tall with a slim build. Kent Police want to hear from anyone who was in the area around the time of the incident and may have witnessed anything, or anyone who thinks they know who these men are. Call 101 quoting reference ZY/15821/12.
Kent News



British-born hairdresser of Pakistani descent Shasta Khan allegedly planned to use home-made bomb against a Jewish target in the Prestwich area. 

20/6/2012- A woman has been charged in the northern English city of Manchester of building bombs with the intention of using them against Jewish targets in the city. The trial of Shasta Khan, a British-born hairdresser of Pakistani descent, opened Wednesday morning in the Crown Court of Manchester. Her husband Mohammed Sajid Khan has already pleaded guilty. The couple were arrested under the Terrorism Act last August. The court was told by the prosecution how the couple had been preparing to carry out a terror attack against a Jewish target in the Prestwich area, not far from their home in the town of Oldham, to the north of Manchester. Prestwich is part of an area with a large, mainly Orthodox Jewish population, Manchester is the second-largest Jewish community in Britain, after London, with over 50,000 Jews.

According to the prosecution, the couple had learned how to build a home-made bomb on their own, without assistance from any organization, but they had become radicalized by material they read on the internet, including from Al-Qaida's online magazine, Inspire, where they also may have found instructions on bomb manufacturing. The chemicals they were using to build the bomb were easily available from local shops. The couple was arrested before they finished making the bomb and it is not clear if they had already selected their target. In the questioning, the husband confessed and has plead guilty, while Shast, 38, is still claiming her innocence. The prosecutor called the case one of "Jihad at home." The bombing plot was uncovered by coincidence following a violent altercation between Mohammed Sajid Khan and his father-in-law, in which police were called. The wife's family then accused him of being a terrorist, following which the couple were arrested and indicted under the Terrorism Act of four charges of planning and preparing a terror attack.



'Anti-scrounger' rhetoric blamed for doubling of offences since 2008 financial crisis 

19/6/2012- The number of disability hate crimes reported to police has reached a record high, sparking concerns that the Coalition's "anti-scrounger" rhetoric is fuelling hostility to the most vulnerable members of society. A total of 1,942 disability hate crimes were recorded by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year. That figure, based on Freedom of Information answers supplied by 43 of 44 forces, represents a 14 per cent rise on 2010. Disability hate crime has doubled since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. Despite the rise, the number of people convicted for the crime actually fell last year. Only 523 people were found guilty of a disability hate crime in 2011, The Independent has discovered, down 5 per cent from 2010. It suggests that barely one in four reported crimes leads to a conviction – a ratio that got worse last year.

Charities expressed grave concern at the rise in reported incidents. Guy Parckar, head of policy and campaigns at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: "The impact of hate crime simply cannot be overestimated, and these figures suggest that police authorities and local and central government must all look again at what they are doing to tackle disability hate crime." While the Association of Chief Police Officers says the rise in cases can be explained in part by efforts to encourage more victims to come forward, many disability groups fear the figures reflect society's growing antipathy towards the disabled community. "There are historical parallels," warns Katharine Quarmby, the author of Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People, who has grown alarmed by the levels of "benefit scrounger" abuse aimed at disabled people. "If you have a group that is blamed for economic downturn, terrible things can happen to them."

Last year the Glasgow Media Trust found the public believed between 50 and 70 per cent of those on disability benefits were fraudulent. The actual number is likely to be between 1 and 2 per cent. The same report found that there has been a tripling in the use of words such as "scrounger", "cheat" and "skiver" in tabloid stories on disability in the past five years. "Iain Duncan Smith [the Work and Pensions Secretary] is saying 'We're going to push through these benefit reforms' and hinting strongly that lots of people on disability benefits are scroungers," Quarmby says. "That kind of rhetoric leads to disability hate crime on the streets." Disability charities receive a constant flow of reports about incidents that are never reported to police – from families who have been forced out of their homes by relentless targeting, to disabled teenagers who avoid groups of strangers for fear of what might be said to them.

Campaigners fear that disability hate crime prosecutions are being undermined because of a perception in the criminal justice system that evidence given by mentally disabled people is unreliable. Jo Davies from Mencap said: "If someone with a learning disability is on a witness stand being pressed for certain details, they may end up being confused by the cross-examination. And then different elements of the case can fall apart." Mencap calls for more support for disabled witnesses, such as better pre-trial preparation and more opportunities to give evidence via video link.

Case study: Since the attack I think to myself all the time, why me?
In March 2011, four people were sent to prison for a total of 27 years after attacking Louise Hewitt. It was one of the most brutal cases of disability hate crime ever to come to court. Here she tells her story.

When I was eight my mum gave me up to foster care. I had an assessment a few years later which said 'you have moderate learning difficulties'. That's the category they gave me. After 10 years with my foster family, I went to a special boarding college then into supported housing. I eventually moved to Torquay, which is where the attack happened. I visited a friend one day and there were these homeless people there, one of whom was called Karl. They told me they didn't have anywhere to live, so I let them stay in my house share for £50 a fortnight.

One afternoon we all had a drink at the house of a woman called Maryanne, who had been going out with Karl. He asked me if she was cheating on him. I said yes. I was telling the truth, but she denied it. Both of them kept shouting at me 'you're lying, you're lying'. Everyone was egging on everyone else to throw in the first punch. Then Maryanne lunged at me, got her stiletto and hit me in the face. I tried to get away but they wouldn't let me. They kept punching and kicking me.

Then I was frog-marched to a house next door, where I was held hostage again. They locked the doors and shut all the curtains. Karl was standing near the door giving orders of what to do to me. I can still see myself sat in that room. I was beaten with saucepans and plates. They dumped a big plant pot over my head. They broke my nose. They cut me with a kitchen knife behind my ear and on my arm. One of them tried to strangle me.

When the case eventually came to court, I went along for the verdict. All I heard was each person's name and the years they got each, and I thought, 'Yes, I've won this one'. Since the attack, I think to myself all the time 'why me?' Is it because I'm kind-hearted or because I'm vulnerable? I don't like meeting new people now. I feel uncomfortable. I have nightmares.
The Independent



16/6/2012- An off-duty policeman has killed three people and wounded two more in south-west Slovakia. The 51-year-old man drove up to a house occupied by a Roma (Gypsy) family in the small town of Hurbanovo and opened fire, local media report. He was understood to have known the victims, who were in the garden. The policeman was arrested after a two-hour stand-off during which he threatened to shoot himself. His motive remains unclear. There was no immediate explanation for the attack, and police have so far refused to confirm a racial motive. According to Slovak media reports, the man drove up to the house at 11:00 (12:00 GMT), and opened fire on the inhabitants who were in the yard. Three were shot dead on the spot, and another couple are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds, reports say. Local people said that a large Roma family lived in the house and that the policemen knew the victims. Hurbanovo is part of an ethnically mixed Slovak-Hungarian-Roma region, on the plain of the River Danube.

According to the latest census results, around 3% of the 8,000 people who live in Hurbanovo are Roma. But a 2008 estimate by local authorities suggests the real figure is four times higher - concentrated in a predominantly Roma district known as Sarad, says the BBC's central Europe correspondent, Nick Thorpe. Up to 10% of Slovakia's 5.4 million population are Roma. Ethnic tensions usually focus on allegations of petty theft by Roma, our correspondent says, while the Roma accuse the majority population of segregation, especially in education. In the general election in April, a Roma candidate Peter Pollack won a seat in parliament for the first time.
BBC News


Headlines 15 June, 2012


15/6/2012- The Belgian press has reported that three Vlaams Belang politicians staged a protest at a school in Schoten, where many of the students are Muslims, because it had organised a barbecue that included halal meat. The protestors climbed over the wall into the school grounds and, according to deputy head Jacques Gits, "intimidated the children and pushed pork sausages down their throats". One of the students, who were aged between 12 and 14, added: "They said that halal meat is not real food and that our stomachs needed filling." Vlaams Belang claim that they were responding to objections by parents to the "halal barbecue", although the school itself says that the only complaint it received was one anonymous phone call. School head Ilse De Bast explained: "This week was about other cultures and their customs. Every child was free to bring food from home for their classmates to taste. There was halal meat, but also other food." In reply to criticisms, VB leader Filip Dewinter said that the protest "was meant to be funny". He added: "It would be better if schools stopped exposing children to such multicultural activities." It appears that the story was broken by the Anti-Fascist Front who also provide a summary of press coverage.
Islamophobia Watch



Norwegian places red-hot coin on student's neck; NGO: Silence of school, police, gov't reminiscent of Nazi-collaborating Norway.  

13/6/2012– A schoolboy burned a Jewish student with a red-hot coin at an Oslo secondary school on Monday, triggering the Simon Wiesenthal Center to issue a strongly worded letter to Norwegian Justice and Police Minister Grete Faremo. “This child has been the subject of anti-Semitic bullying and violence for the past two years, reportedly, because his father is Israeli,” the letter said. “Despite the mother’s report of assaults on her son to NRK radio evening news in 2010, there has been no reaction by the school, the police or governmental authorities.” Dr. Shimon Samuels, head of the Wiesenthal Center’s division of international affairs, noted: “The boy has stated that he must stay clear of Norwegian and Muslim children and hide his parentage to avoid continued anti-Semitic attacks. “These young school hatemongers point to a new generation of Breivik-style racists for Norway’s future. You have a responsibility to protect every threatened child and, especially, this victim targeted simply for being Jewish,” Samuels added, referencing Anders Breivik’s Oslo massacre in July 2011, which was motivated by his far-right ideology.

“The Norway, Israel and the Jews” website, which monitors Norwegian anti-Semitism and hate directed at Israel, appears to have first reported on the attack. The article’s headline read: “Anti-semitism in Norwegian schools – now they are fire-branding Jewish kids.” According to “Norway, Israel and the Jews,” the “Med Israel for Fred” website “has gained access to a private cellphone image showing the result of the attack, which took place at a school barbecue for the senior class this Monday. The 16-yearold boy was enjoying his grilled chicken when a red-hot coin was placed on his neck by a fellow student, an ethnic Norwegian. The coin made a very visible burn on the boy’s neck.” Vebjørn Dysvik, the chargé d’affaires at Norway’s Embassy in Tel Aviv, wrote in an email on Wednesday to The Jerusalem Post, “The embassy does not presently have any more information about the specific case other than what has been reported on a Norwegian blog.

At a general level, I would like to underline that the Norwegian government has a zerotolerance policy when it comes to bullying in schools. This has been an important objective for successive Norwegian governments.” Dysvik continued, “The letter from the Simon Wiesenthal Center will be replied to by the Ministry of Justice in due time. I would nevertheless like to highlight that the quotes I have seen from the letter contain several extreme statements that lack any foundation in reality. We take exception to the attempt of painting a picture of Norway and Norwegian society as being anti-Semitic. This is a gross distortion of facts for which the center must bear responsibility.” “Recent studies show that that the prevalence of anti- Semitic notions in Norway is low, and on par with countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain and the Netherlands,” he said, conceding, “Nevertheless, anti-Semitism is a big problem for those who feel its effects.”

According to European reports, Norway’s school system has permitted the fomenting of an increasingly hostile climate for Jewish students. The Austrian paper Die Presse wrote in 2010 that “statements sharply critical of Israel” by Kristin Halvorsen, education minister of the Norwegian Socialist Left Party, have been “legitimizing attacks” against Jews. Critics say Jewish students have been subject to assaults in Norway’s schools, and teachers have looked the other way. The Wiesenthal Center said that “the silence of the school, the police and your government is too reminiscent of another Norway, under the World War II Nazi collaborator [Vidkun] Quisling.” The center referenced the Norwegian politician who in 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d’etat. Quisling went on to serve as minister-president from 1942 to 1945. “Our center urges your immediate investigation of this case and protective and judicial action, as continued silence is tantamount to complicity,” Samuels wrote in the letter.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a leading Israeli expert on anti- Semitism in northern Europe, wrote in an email to the Post, “The issue with Norway is not that they are more or less anti- Semitic than others. The issue is that their elites are pioneers in promoting Israel-hatred and that according to the European definition of anti-Semitism, [this includes] several members of their government.” Meanwhile, a woman who took over the Swedish government’s Twitter account unleashed a storm of criticism on Tuesday with tweets viewed as anti-Semitic. Sonja Abrahamsson, a mother of two from Goteborg, participated in a project that allows ordinary Swedes to run the country’s Twitter feed. “What’s the fuzz with Jews?” she asked, also lampooning Jewish circumcision. “In Nazi Germany, they even had to sew stars on their sleeves. If they didn’t, they could never know who was a Jew and who was not a Jew,” she tweeted. Gerstenfeld commented: “The social Web has created new means to transmit anti- Semitism to certain publics.

The contents of the anti-Semitic messages usually do not differ much from what one sees or hears elsewhere; the mode of transmission is, however, different and reaches different publics. “Experts keep telling us that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all problematic when one approaches them to remove hate content,” he added. “As I once heard: ‘On the Internet some Davids can become Goliaths.’”
The Jerusalem Post



13/6/2012- Hate crimes are on the rise in Ukraine, a group of human rights organizations said Wednesday, amid calls to boycott European Championship matches because of the threat of racially motivated abuse. Ukraine, which is a co-host of Euro 2012 along with neighboring Poland, has been rocked by accusations of racism and a recent call by a former England soccer to not attend matches here because fans might return "in a coffin." Days before the tournament started, the BBC broadcast footage of racist and violent incidents at recent club matches in Ukraine, including host city Kharkiv. Authorities have responded angrily to the suggestions that the country is racist. Officials have vowed that all fans would we greeted with open arms. UEFA's tournament director in Kiev, Markiyan Lubkivskyi, said Tuesday there have been no reports of racial abuse during the four group matches played in Ukraine so far.

But a recent study of racism and xenophobia conducted by the Eurasian Jewish Congress shows that the number of hate crimes rose from 37 in 2009 to 48 in 2011. "Without a doubt, racism exists in Ukraine," said Maksym Butkevych, of No Borders, a Kiev-based advocacy group. He cautioned that racism wasn't a widespread practice affecting the daily lives of the majority of Ukrainians, but said racial and ethnic intolerance among Ukrainians was growing. "We are seeing a rise in such sentiments and views and this is a worrisome tendency," Butkevych said. Yevhen Zakharov, head of the Kharkiv Rights Group, a leading rights organization in Ukraine, said the rise in xenophobic sentiments can be attributed to a severe economic crisis that has shaken the country in recent years, leading people to blame others for their hardships. "The level of aggression in society has risen. People look for enemies and they find them — not in themselves but around them," Zakharov said.

The activists said authorities rarely punish the perpetrators of hate crimes and often write off such attacks as mere hooliganism because they are harder to prove and victims are often scared to report them, fearing retribution from the attackers and more racially motivated abuse at the hands of police. "The standard reaction of a victim is to lie in bed at home and not tell anyone about" the attack, Butkevych said. Grygoriy Surkis, president of the Ukraine soccer body, said the racism threat was overblown in Ukraine and urged everyone to turn their attention from politics to sports. "There can be individual cases of racism in Ukraine stadiums and that needs to be stopped," Surkis said Tuesday. "But it is important we focus on the most important thing — football ... We should not keep talking about racism in Ukrainian football. The tournament is about football, not politics."
The Associated Press



12/6/2012- A 28-year-old Egyptian man has been hospitalised with serious injuries after he was beaten in his own home in a suspected racist attack early on Tuesday morning. The attack occurred between Keratsini and Perama, outside Piraeus. According to reports, shortly after 3pm twenty attackers on ten motorbikes arrived at the house, where four Egyptians lived. All the Egyptians are employed as fishermen. According to journalist Niko Ago, the men are legally resident in Greece and came to work under a bilateral agreement with Egypt.

The attackers set about smashing the windows of the house and two cars outside the house, three of the house's residents managed to escape. One didn't manage to flee as he was asleep on the rooftop. According to a local resident and eyewitness, the man received a severe beating from the attackers. He was taken to the Tzaneio hospital in Piraeus but was later transferred to Evangelismos hospital, in central Athens, and may have to be operated on.

In a statement, the police said they detained six of the suspected perpetrators – five men and one woman – on Schistou Ave in Keratsini, about a half an hour after the attack. After they were identified by the victims, they were arrested and will be lead before a prosecutor. A local resident told news website Tvxs.gr that the attackers were associated with the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
The Athens News



12/6/2012- French police arrested three men suspected of attacking an 18-year-old Jewish man in Sarcelles, a northern suburb of Paris over the weekend, Le Parisien reported Monday. According to the report, the three subjected the man to anti-Semitic insults and stole his mobile phone. On Saturday, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls met with Jewish community leaders at the great synagogue of Sarcelles and expressed his determination to combat anti-Semitic words and actions. The attack comes just a week after three Jewish men wearing skullcaps were attacked with hammers and iron bars in Villeurbaine, near the city of Lyon. Police arrested two suspects and France’s interior ministry labeled the attack anti-Semitic. The three received treatment and were discharged from hospital a short while later. Valls condemned the attack which he described as an "intentional attack" against the Republic.
Ynet News



One of girls had broken nose

12/6/2012- Two brothers were fined €500 each for attacking and slightly injuring two teenage lesbians, although the court decided the assault had nothing to do with their sexual orientation. A 35-year-old woman,who also participated in the assault, albeit limitedly, was fined €50 after being found guilty of threatening one of the girls and breaching the peace. The brothers, aged 15 and 17, were found guilty of all the charges but in a separate judgment, the girls were cleared of slightly injuring the older brother, assaulting the boys and the woman, and breaching the peace. The incident took place on January 13 and started with the boys hurling insults at the girls from a nearby balcony. They called them “lesbians” and “twisted” and went down into the square, the girls said. The 16-year-old girl ended up at a health centre with a fractured nose, a grazed face and bruises to her breasts. Her girlfriend got away with a bruise to the head and scratches on her wrists which she sustained when pushed to the ground.

Magistrate Joseph Apap Bologna said there was absolutely no proof that the boys attacked them because of their sexual orientation. He noted that the matter had been given a lot of publicity in the media and people had been given the impression this had been a form of “hate crime”, a provision which still did not exist in present criminal laws. But it had not been proven in court that the attack took place because of the girls’ sexual orientation. The court heard a friend of the two lesbians testifying that one of the victims had been head-butted by one of the aggressors as he declared that he would not shirk from assaulting women. The girls were watching their friends dancing to music from a mobile phone in the ¨¤amrun gazebo while the boys and the woman were in a balcony overlooking the garden. There was conflicting evidence on whether it was the girls who first called the boys “gays” or whether it was the boys who told the girls “lesbians”. What happened later was clear: the boys went down to the garden and an argument, followed by a brawl, ensued. One of the girls suffered a broken nose.

The magistrate gave more weight to the girls’ version, saying that parts of the boys’ testimony were “not credible”. Magistrate Apap Bologna said the incident was the result of “bullish” behaviour by the two underage and “idiotic” boys. He therefore cleared the girls of the charges brought against them and fined the brothers €500 each. The 35-year-old woman was only found guilty of threatening one of the girls and was fined €50. Lawyers Michael and Lucio Sciriha appeared for the boys and the 35-year-old woman. Lawyer Cedric Mifsud appeared for the two girls.
The Times of Malta



Catharine Whelpley, 43, charged with vandalism and contributing to the delinquency of minors * One house belonged to son of Holocaust survivors

12/6/2012- A mother has been accused of helping her 14-year-old daughter smear faeces, swastikas and slurs in maple syrup on the houses of her classmates. Catharine Whelpley, 43, has been charged with nine misdemeanors including vandalism, trespassing and contributing to the delinquency of minors. Prosecutors say she drove her daughter and friends to vandalise the house of a former friend from her Los Angeles middle school with syrup, faeces and toilet paper. They say the Northridge woman then took them to another girl’s house in the San Fernando Valley, which belonged to the son of Holocaust survivors. They did the same thing, but Whelpley’s daughter also allegedly drew a swastika on the front door and wrote 'Jew' on a concrete path. Whelpley waited for the girls to finish, then drove them home, it is claimed.

Surveillance video on a neighbour’s house led police to Whelpley. But the vandalism was also pictured by actor and comedian Jon Lovitz, who claimed on Twitter that the second house belonged to his friend. He tweeted a photograph of the swastika and faeces outside the front door and wrote: 'Some coward & idiot left this on a friend’s doorstep, yesterday. This is an insult to all of us.' He added later: 'My friend’s parents are Holocaust survivors.' He claims they did it to 'bully' his friend's daughter. According to a report by the Los Angeles Daily News, the incident has also driven the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in Los Angeles to hold discussions with youths about how to confront anti-Semitism.

The actions by the girls on April 3 do not consitute a hate crime because the words and symbols were written in material that can be washed off, the City Attorney’s Office said. But the Los Angeles-area director for the ADL, Amanda Susskind, said the decision to hold the mother accountable should be commended. ‘The whole thing painted a picture of ugliness,’ she said. If convicted on all charges, Whelpley could face up to seven years in county jail or a $13,500 fine, according to prosecutor Ayelet Feiman. Whelpley’s arraignment is scheduled for June 28. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the number of hate crimes fell by 28 per cent in the county in 2010, but California leads the country in anti-Semitic incidents, with 297 reported to the Anti-Defamation League in 2010, the last year for which data was released.
The Daily Mail



12/6/2012- Representatives of immigrant groups in Athens have told Kathimerini in the wake of an Egyptian man being seriously beaten by a group of assailants that there has been a spike in the number of attacks on foreigners following the May 6 election, when neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) vastly increased its share of the vote. “Things have got worse since the elections,” Reza Gholami, the head of an association of Afghans, told Kathimerini. “There are daily beatings. These guys don’t just want to frighten people, they are hitting to kill. They are hitting on the head, a lot of people are attacking at the same time. Most incidents are not known because immigrants do not notify authorities. They are afraid for their lives or don’t have legal papers or lack the funds to pay the cost of a lawsuit.”

Another immigrant, who wished to remain anonymous, described how attacks take place in the Aghios Panteleimonas district of Athens, where he lives. “The attacks are carried out by gangs, either on motorbikes or on foot,” he said. “If there is a witness, the attackers start shouting that the victim is a thief.” An Egyptian fisherman was severely beaten at his home in Perama, near Piraeus, early on Tuesday. A group of assailants entered the house and while three migrants were able to escape their attackers, the 28-year-old was unable to run away and suffered a broken jaw and nose, as well as other injuries, in the attack. Six suspects, including an 18-year-old woman, were arrested later. Sources close to the victim told Kathimerini that unidentified individuals approached other Egyptians in the area later in the day and warned them that they would suffer reprisals if anyone testified against the suspects.

A Golden Dawn official told Kathimerini that he did not know if the suspects were members of the far-right party. In a report on Tuesday, the Guardian newspaper quoted Golden Dawn candidate Ilias Panagiotaros as saying, “If Chrysi Avgi gets into Parliament, it will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place.”
The Kathimerini



Germany pledged to crack down on right-wing extremists following the exposure of a far-right terrorist cell last year. But in rural parts of the eastern state of Saxony, neo-Nazis remain well established in local councils and continue to intimidate people at will, unhindered by the police

The German federal state of Saxony in May 2012: Two men in the city of Bautzen assault a Colombian exchange student, calling him names and kicking him. In Hoyerswerda , right-wing extremists lay siege to the office of a member of the Bundestag, Germany 's parliament, smashing windows and attacking an employee. In Limbach-Oberfrohna, neo-Nazis attack a center for alternative education. In Geithain, an explosive device detonates in front of Pizzeria Bollywood, a restaurant owned by a Pakistani.

12/6/2012- "This is what hell looks like," says Kerstin Krumbholz, 50, sitting in her living room in Geithain, a small town in the eastern German state of Saxony. Spread out on the table in front of her are newspaper articles about neo-Nazis, flyers and posters that record the right-wing terror plaguing everyday life here. "People in the cities have no idea what's going on out here in the country," Krumbholz says. She and her husband moved to Geithain 19 years ago. They had lived in Leipzig, some 40 kilometers away, but had wanted their children to grow up in a safer environment, away from criminality and drugs, far from the dangers of the big city. Lutz Krumbholz is a professional chimneysweep, while Kerstin Krumbholz takes care of accounting for the company, and they shared the responsibilities of raising their children.

Before, Kerstin Krumbholz didn't know much more about right-wing extremism than what she heard on the news, for example if a home for asylum-seekers was burned down somewhere, or when the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) took seats in a state parliament. But those things had little to do with her own life -- until a neo-Nazi injured her son so badly that he nearly died. A right-wing extremist attacked Florian, then 15 years old and a member of the punk scene, at a gas station in May 2010, fracturing his skull. Florian now lives with a titanium plate in his head, and he's moved away from Geithain. His mother wasn't a political person before Florian's attack, but now she studies far-right Internet forums and blogs, attends demonstrations and founded a group called the Initiative for an Open-Minded Geithain. Krumbholz has made battling neo-Nazis her life's work -- but it's a losing battle here in rural Saxony.

'What's Happening in Saxony is a Scandal'
Seven months have passed since it emerged that German authorities had for years been unaware of the existence of a far-right terrorist cell calling itself the "National Socialist Underground" (NSU) that murdered 10 people, most of them Turkish immigrants, in a nationwide killing spree that went on from 2000 until 2007. When this group, based in Zwickau, Saxony, first came to light, politicians declared their intention to tackle and root out the far-right problem, but nothing has come of those declarations. "What's happening in Saxony is a scandal," says Hajo Funke, a political scientist in Berlin. There is no other German state where neo-Nazis have such a high profile, he says, adding that the regional government was refusing to take action against it.

The members of the Initiative for an Open-Minded Geithain have gathered today at the town hall. Krumbholz has invited Mohammad Sayal to the meeting, the owner of Pizzeria Bollywood, the local restaurant attacked the previous weekend. Sayal describes the harassment he's experienced from neo-Nazis in the five months since he opened his restaurant. The very first night, they smashed his windows. In May, a group of 10 of them showed up in front of his restaurant, wearing masks and wielding knives. They kicked at the door, threw a stone through the window and shouted, "You shit foreigner, we'll get you. If you don't get out of here, we'll kill you." A week later, an explosive device wrecked his restaurant. The murders committed by the NSU went unsolved for so long partly because both authorities and the general public assumed the murderers came from the same segment of society as their victims. In Geithain, too, many people claim it wasn't right-wing radicals who attacked Sayal's restaurant, but fellow Pakistanis, reacting to disagreements over money, or family feuds.

Neo-Nazi in the Town Council
In communist East Germany, Geithain was the administrative center of the surrounding rural district. This was once a coal-mining region, but today only around 6,000 residents live in Geithain. The town square has been nicely renovated since unification, but the streets are empty. Young people looking for work move to Leipzig, or straight to the west of Germany. The established political parties have scaled down their presence here, while the right-wing extremists have expanded their influence, especially since neo-Nazi Manuel Tripp, a member of the NPD, joined the town council in 2009.

Tripp, 23, studied in Leipzig and nurtures the image of a man who looks after his constituents. The people of Geithain can reach him at any time through his homepage. He tweets about city council meetings and publishes the "Geithain Mouthpiece," a local paper with articles on the shortage of doctors in eastern Germany, or about the annual hunting festival. He works to support the zoo, and together with others from his party organizes soccer tournaments and camps where kids can hike around the countryside in military uniforms. His true motivations emerge when he makes statements that violate the German constitution, for example: "National socialism can't be elected or begged for. It can only be achieved through the path of revolution." Tripp is a leading figure in the "Free Network" (FN), a network of militant far-right "Kameradschaften" groups throughout Germany.

The FN emerged from the "Thuringian Homeland Protection League," a group of neo-Nazis that also included the three NSU terrorists. The FN's Saxony branch is led by Maik Scheffler, who is also deputy party leader for the NPD party in the state. Scheffler has a criminal record for grievous bodily harm and illegal possession of a weapon. Together with Tripp, Scheffler has managed in the space of just a few years to establish firmly rooted neo-Nazi structures in the rural region between the eastern cities of Chemnitz and Leipzig. At the same time, the Kameradschaften are expanding their influence. "FN cadres have repeatedly been behind acts of terror in Saxony," says Kerstin Köditz, a member of the Left Party who analyzes far-right trends.

The state of Bavaria is seeking to impose a ban on the "FN South" branch, yet here in Saxony -- the same state where the NSU's trio of murderers were able to stay under the radar for over 10 years -- the government is dragging its feet. Saxony's Interior Minister Markus Ulbig from the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) considers the FN nothing more than an "Internet portal," a kind of Facebook for Nazis. And state governor Stanislaw Tillich, also of the CDU, has stated that Saxony does not have a significant problem with right-wing extremism.

'Piss Off, You Wog'
While Kerstin Krumbholz and the other members of her anti-Nazi initiative are discussing right-wing extremist violence at Geithain's town hall, a different sort of gathering is taking place in front of the Total gas station at the edge of town. Here, young men are hanging around revving their car engines, listening to loud neo-Nazi rock and drinking beer. As the evening progresses, more come to join them, some greeting the group with a Nazi salute. If a gas station patron looks at them a moment too long, they holler, "Shit Jewish pig, I'll bump you off!" At Geithain's secondary school, the right-wing extremists are seen as the cool ones, the rebels. Kids who reject the neo-Nazis are greeted in the schoolyard with "Heil Hitler" or "Piss off, you wog." Some of the girls use sunscreen to draw swastikas on their skin when they go on class trips.

Anyone who opposes this ideology is intimidated and persecuted. After German investigative journalist Günter Wallraff gave a reading in Geithain this April, neo-Nazis scrawled "Send Wallraff to Africa!" on the street in front of the town hall, and issued threats to Geithain's mayor and to a Left Party politician. A local priest addressed the right-wing extremists in an open letter, and the next morning found the walls of his church covered in graffiti. The neo-Nazis publish their adversaries' names, addresses and pictures online. The local "Anti-Antifa" -- a name for right-wing extremist groups that oppose the "Antifa," or antifascist, movement -- posted that left-wingers people in Geithain's should expect "disciplinary measures, house calls and car damage." The neo-Nazis also announced the attack on Florian Krumbholz online, using a video as a call for violence against him: "Leftists have names, leftists have addresses. Let's march and show our strength." A few weeks before the attack, on Good Friday 2010, neo-Nazis spray-painted the Krumbholzes' garage with the slogans "Death to the Red Front" and "We'll get you, Florian." The attack at the gas station lasted just a few seconds. Surveillance footage shows the assailant kicking Florian in the chest, then driving his fist into Florian's forehead. The attacker, Albert R., received just a suspended sentence at his initial trial, despite having a considerable criminal record. The case went to appellate court, where he received a tougher sentence.

Citizens Feel Abandoned by the Police
Meanwhile, Albert R. is already facing charges for another crime: He and two friends stand accused of attacking a group of young men and spraying tear gas in their faces. R. assaulted one of the victims with a beer bottle. Many people here feel abandoned by the authorities. In recent years, police stations have been closed and police districts merged, and Saxony's Interior Ministry plans further cuts. Case files from Saxony's state criminal police office reveal an attitude of resignation and indifference among officers. One such file describes an attack by violent right-wing extremists on a commercial building in Colditz, a neighboring town to Geithain, four years ago. Emergency call transcripts show the police in West Saxony began receiving calls from concerned citizens in the late afternoon. By the evening, more than a dozen calls had come in.

7:49 p.m., a female caller: "Something's about to happen at Sophienplatz in Colditz." "What's happening?"
"There are all these masked men down here."
"They're kicking everything here to pieces down here."

7:51 p.m., a male caller: "There are more than 50 people here at Sophienplatz in Colditz, wearing masks."
"And why are you calling?"
"Because these guys down there are kicking at a building, hitting things, throwing explosives."

8:04 p.m., a female caller: "They've destroyed everything at Sophienplatz. And they wanted to set something on fire up here at the youth club, too, at least that's what I heard."
"Well, if you've observed damages, you can come by the police station at any time to file a report."

8:43 p.m., a female caller: "I called before, and I need the police here. We already asked you to send someone."
"Yes, but there's no one available."
"Please, please, send someone."

8:44 p.m., a male caller: "They've bashed in the windows four times already."
"And what do you expect me to do? Should I go and stand in front of the windows, or what were you expecting?"

Only a few people dare to confront the neo-Nazis in Colditz. Uwe L., for example, an electronics salesman, made an attempt by founding the "Alliance against the Far-Right" and organizing concerts. But neo-Nazis attacked his store repeatedly, smashed the windows, defaced the walls, damaged his car and threatened his son. L. gave up. "I wouldn't have survived it, financially or psychologically," he says.

'The Neo-Nazis Control Everything by Now'
The NPD holds seats on the Colditz city council as well. Right-wing extremists are involved in an association that supports the secondary school. They also help run the soccer club and a canoe club. The local youth club is run by the mayor's son, together with a well-known neo-Nazi. Parents show up to preschool festivals wearing T-shirts that bear slogans such as "Scenic Train Journey to Auschwitz." Frank Hammer, who works for the Saxony branch of an organization called "Mobile Counseling against Right-Wing Extremism," says, "Things are calm in this region. But only because the neo-Nazis control everything by now." When Geithain celebrated its 825th anniversary last June, Mayor Romy Bauer (CDU) gave the neo-Nazis a permit to run a stand at the festival. Tripp and his colleagues handed out slices of cake, set up a wheel of fortune and marched at the front of the parade. If she had refused their application, Bauer says, violence might have broken out at the festival. The mayor also declined to participate in an anti-far-right demonstration organized by the Initiative for an Open-Minded Geithain.

Those trying to combat right-wing extremism in Saxony complain of a lack of support. Kerstin Krumbholz has trouble finding people to participate in her initiative, which at the moment has just eight members. When they organized a festival against right-wing extremism last year, Krumbholz says, they couldn't find a single bakery in Geithain willing to sell them cake for the event. After the initiative's meeting ends, Krumbholz stands on the street in front of the town hall and lights a cigarette with trembling hands. Memories of the attack on her son still haunt her. Yet to this day, none of her neighbors has brought up the topic with her. There has been not a word of sympathy, not a word of regret. Everyone in Geithain, Krumbholz says, acts as if the attack never happened. Krumbholz brushes away tears and wonders aloud, "Do people have to die for something to change around here?"
The Spiegel



13/6/2012- A man has been assaulted in a race hate crime in Shropshire, police said. The 30-year-old black man was walking down The Common in Donnington, Telford, when an unknown man shouted racist abuse at him at about 15:45 BST on Monday. An attack followed, leaving the victim with injuries to his face. The offender was described as being white, about 5ft 7in tall, aged in his early 30s with short, blond hair and a slim build.
BBC News



12/6/2012- Almost half of all racist incidents recorded by police were against people of Asian origin, according to new statistics. People of Asian origin remained the ethnic minority most targeted by racists, with 46% of all 4907 incidents being against victims of that background. The figures released on Tuesday showed a decline in racist incidents and crimes recorded by police forces in the past year. One of the few ethnic groups that saw a rise in the number of incidents was White Irish, which, according to the publication released by the Scottish Government, increased from 87 to 131 in 2010 to 2011 compared to the previous year. People of a Bangladeshi origin were targeted by racists more than the previous year, with 62 incidents compared to 95, while people of Pakistani origin were the victims in the largest number of incidents, with those of a “White British” ethnicity in second in the publication. The number of crimes involving racism also decreased from 6470 to 6169, but the clear up rate of those had fallen slightly from 67.5% to 67.2%.

In response to the statistics, Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "Hatred of any kind has no place in modern Scotland and we need to do everything we can to stop it wherever and whenever it occurs, whilst tackling the root causes. Along with tough enforcement through record numbers of police officers on our streets, community engagement and education is driving home the message that there is no place for racism of any kind in Scotland. "While these figures show a decrease in incidents in 2010 to 11, we cannot be complacent, particularly as we saw new prosecution figures being published last month which show an increase in racist charges this year. That is why we must continue with the work we are doing to tackle racism and hatred in all its forms whilst constantly looking at new ways of getting across the message to the next generation of young Scots."

The majority of incidents took place in the street, but there was an increase in those that occurred at schools, sporting venues and on public transport. The number of racist crimes involving violence and indecency rose from 60 to 74, according to the report. According to the publication, White British made up the majority of the perpetrators of the incidents and crimes with 4181, while the number of incidents where the perpetrator was Black rose to 64. Glasgow saw the highest number of racist incidents with 1328, while Edinburgh had the second highest with 844 and Aberdeen had the third with 464.



12/6/2012- As concerns mount about the violence of elected far-right politicians in Greece, and Sol Campbell warns black and Asian football fans against travelling to Poland and the Ukraine for Euro 2012, the Institute of Race Relations reveals that the problem of far-right violence is not confined to a few European countries. On the contrary, a new geography of racism is fast developing as extremists set up shop in rural areas, towns and city neighbourhoods in every country of Europe. Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right brings together over 100 cases, mostly from EU countries, but also Switzerland and Norway, which documents patterns of violence, from the peddling of hate online and the drawing up of lists of ‘national traitors’, to violence, arson and murder on the streets, and the stockpiling of weapons in preparation for ‘race war’. While the principal targets of far-Right violence are Muslims in western Europe and the Roma in eastern Europe, anti-black racism and anti-Semitism are also very much on the increase. And in a trend that is in danger of rapidly escalating as the economic crisis deepens, attacks on Social Democrats, Left politicians, academics and journalists that report on the far Right around Europe are intensifying too.

Amongst the 100 cases documented in this report:
# Experts on extremism in the Czech Republic choose no longer to appear as court witnesses because of constant abuse and threats from the far Right.
# Academics in Finland studying immigration and integration issues withdraw from public discussion rather than face intimidation and threats to their families.
# A former leader of the Social Democrats grouping in the Bundesrat is beaten senseless in Vienna on the official Auschwitz memorial day as the police reportedly, look on.
# A Roma woman gives birth prematurely after far-right militia dressed in black uniforms stage provocative marches in villages across north-eastern Hungary.

Other cases documented in Pedlars of Hate reveal that the state services which should protect the public are failing, and in some of the most disturbing cases, colluding with the far Right. For instance:
# A Danish police officer is investigated after it was alleged that he was the principal organiser of a secretive far-right network that had established an extensive ‘traitor archive’ entitled ‘The Great Memory’.
# An undercover officer from the German intelligence services is present as a young Turkish man is murdered by the terrorist National Socialist Underground.
# One estimate suggests that up to half of all police officers in Greece voted for the Golden Dawn in the May elections.                                                                     # A Hungarian police trades union newsletter declares anti-Semitism the ‘duty of every Hungarian homeland lover’.
# A serving British soldier writes on Facebook about bashing the skulls of ‘dirty, rotten rodents’ only to be found guilty of firebombing a mosque in the UK.
A former French soldier describes his act of vandalising Muslim graves as act of resistance to the ‘Arabic and Islamic invasion’.

‘We hope those politicians who respond to the economic crisis by offering nationalism or ultra-patriotism as a palliative will think again,’ said Liz Fekete, the author of the report. ‘In the 1930s, Jews were accused of having a “decadent culture” which was unpatriotic and cosmopolitan. Today, those nostalgic for a racially pure society use “multiculturalism” as a synonym or shorthand for cosmopolitanism, and this is another reason why those politicians who find a scapegoat for society’s ills in the multicultural society should think before they speak.’
The Institute of Race Relations



9/6/2012- A suspected Islamist stabbed two policemen Friday at an underground station in a Brussels neighbourhood where scuffles broke out a week earlier, local media reported. The two victims, a man and a woman who were attacked during a routine check, did not sustain life-threatening wounds, the reports said. The attacker was quickly subdued and was found to be carrying documents connected to Shariah4Belgium, an extremist Muslim group active in Belgium, public television said. "He confessed to wanting to attack the police because of Belgium's attitude towards Muslims," television said. Clashes broke out last week in the same Molenbeek neighbourhood between police and Muslim youth over the arrest of a young woman wearing a full veil. The Shariah4Belgium group had then posted a video on the Internet defending the detained woman. The group's leader was subsequently arrested.


Headlines 8 June, 2012


Gil Shefler brutally assaulted in the street in central Athens

8/6/2012- Gil Shefler, Jerusalem Post reporter on assignment to cover the rise of a Greek neo-Nazi-like political party, was viciously beaten in Athens Tuesday for filming a mob that was attacking immigrants, refugees and homeless people in the street. A Jerusalem Post reporter — on assignment to cover the rise of a Greek neo-Nazi-like political party — was viciously beaten in Athens Tuesday for filming a mob that was attacking immigrants, refugees and homeless people in the street. About 20 men wearing masks and helmets were beating people with batons outside the National Archaeological Museum, a popular tourist spot in the capital city, The Jewish Journal reported. The assaulted reporter, Gil Shefler, saw the mob attack and instinctively grabbed his camera to start shooting, he told the Athens News. “I snapped a photo, and one guy came up and told me ‘Listen, don’t take a photo. They’ll beat the hell out of you,’ ” Shefler told the paper. “Seconds later, I was being chased by five of these people. They caught me and beat me with sticks for around five minutes, I reckon.”

Shefler was in Greece on assignment covering Golden Dawn, the right-wing extremist political party that’s been compared to neo-Nazis. The group has tried to distance itself from the Nazi label, but employs a Greek symbol that resembles a swastika as its logo. Their offices are also stocked with literature promoting Aryan supremacy, Reuters reports. The virulently anti-immigrant group enjoyed surprising success in a May poll as austerity-angered Greeks responded to the organization’s rhetoric, which blames immigrants for the country’s economic troubles. Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Loukakis said the Greek government “unreservedly condemns the attack.” He called The Jerusalem Post to apologize. Shefler was hospitalized for head and chest wounds and is now in good condition. “Back in Israel, bandages are off, wounds are healing, sun is shining,” he tweeted Friday. Shefler told newspapers he was stunned by people’s unresponsiveness during the incident. Greek citizens walked calmly by as tourists ran from the violent scene. Police showed up some 20 minutes after the attack. An ambulance came but didn’t treat him because the mob was still milling around, he said.

“Greek nationals were walking calmly by, doing their best to ignore what was going on. I was beaten in the middle of the street for a few minutes with police nowhere in sight,” he told The Huffington Post. Local police told The Jerusalem Post they’re unsure who the attackers were, but speculated they could be members of the Golden Dawn group or anarchists associated with Syriza, a far-left party in Greece. “This country is going through a hard time, and its citizens have my empathy,” Shefler told the Athens News. “But authorities need to know incidents like these do not inspire confidence. Clearly there is a problem when mob violence can take place in broad daylight in the center of the capital.”
The New York Daily News



8/6/2012- Police say a World War II Jewish burial site has been vandalized in western Ukraine. A police spokesman in the town of Rivne (also called Rovno) was quoted by the ‘Associated Press’ as saying that Wednesday night, several unidentified assailants broke a memorial plaque and street lamps at a site commemorating the killing of 17,500 Jews during the Holocaust. The perpetrators had used the metal parts from the broken street lamps to compose insulting phrases and lay them out on the site. Police in the city, around 350 kilometers west of the capital Kiev, are investigating. The broken street lights were laid on the ground and arranged to spell out insulting phrases. Local Jewish community leader Hennady Frayerman called the incident “horrific.” Some 1.4 million of Soviet Ukraine’s 2.4 million Jews were executed, starved to death or died of disease during the Nazi German occupation of the country in World War II. In Rivne, many mass executions took place.

On Friday, the European soccer championships held in Ukraine and Poland kicked off, one of the biggest sport events in Europe this year. Earlier this week, a BBC program reported about wide-spread racism and anti-Semitism among fans in both countries. People were shown giving the Hitler salute in stadiums, black players were subjected to monkey chants, and anti-Semitic attitudes and violence toward supporters of Asian origin are widespread, according to the BBC program. In recent years, a number of violent anti-Jewish incidents were recorded in Ukraine. In 2010, a yeshiva student was brutally murdered in Kiev. In March of this year, a Holocaust memorial was desecrated in the city of Lviv. In April, a Ukrainian yeshiva student was attacked by anti-Semites as he left a synagogue in Kiev and was inflicted with life-threatening injuries. He later regained consciousness after receiving treatment in Israel in what doctors termed a miraculous recovery.
World Jewish Congress



8/6/2012- A Conservative private members’ bill that repeals part of Canada’s hate speech laws has passed the House of Commons with scant media attention, and even less commentary. But it's being cheered by many Canadian conservatives as a victory for freedom of speech. And it's being cheered most vocally by another group: White supremacists. Bill C-304, introduced by Conservative backbencher Brian Storseth, repeals Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which bans hate speech transmitted over the Internet or by telephone. It passed third reading in the House of Commons on Thursday and is now headed to the Senate. “This is a huge victory for freedom in Canada,” a poster calling him or herself “CanadaFirst” posted on the website of StormFront, a notorious white supremacist group. “However, we still have other unjust Zionist ‘hate’ laws that need to go.” “Way to go, Harper. I know we can’t get everything we want, but I stand a little taller today as a Canuck,” wrote “OneMan.”

The new law doesn’t make hate speech legal on the web or by phone -- hate speech remains illegal under the Criminal Code. But by removing it from the Canadian Human Rights Act, it takes away the authority of the country’s human rights commissions to investigate online hate speech and request that violating websites be taken down. That has alarmed the Canadian Bar Association, which said in a recent report it’s concerned that the law may be the start of a campaign by the Conservatives to weaken Canada’s human rights laws. “The debate surrounding the expediency of section 13 has become the proxy for an open assault on the very existence of an administrative framework to protect human rights in this country,” the CBA stated. "Over the years, human rights commissions have remained at the vanguard of eliminating discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other grounds, and advancing equality," the CBA added. Other supporters of the commissions say taking away their authority over hate speech will embolden racists and lead to more racial violence.

But human rights commissions have become bogeymen to many Canadian conservatives, and some others, who have campaigned for years to eliminate them altogether, painting them as bureaucratic tools of censorship. In one famous case, conservative media icon Ezra Levant was hauled in front of an Alberta tribunal to explain his decision to run controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed in the magazine he ran at the time, the Western Standard. Levant became a cause celebre for opponents of the commissions, and his decision to republish the cartoons online on the day of his human rights hearing was hailed as heroic by many conservatives. But all the opposition parties voted against the private members’ bill in Parliament Thursday, with NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison arguing that it would now be much harder to prevent hate speech online. “We do have a serious problem,” Garrison told the National Post. “If you take away the power to take (websites) down, it’s not clear they have any mandate to even to talk to people about it and educate them about it.”

Garrison argued that the Tories are being dishonest by having these laws be introduced as private members’ bills, rather than government bills, noting that the Conservative Party of Canada made repealing human rights commissions’ ability to regulate hate speech a part of their platform. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews defended the bill, tweeting on Thursday that the new law will “end arbitrary censorship powers of human rights commissions.” Public opinion on human rights commissions is split. An unscientific poll on the CBC website shows a bare majority of people supporting the Tories’ move.
The Huffington Post - Canada



7/6/2012- Hungary’s government, opposition parties and several Christian churches have condemned a verbal attack on a retired Chief Rabbi. The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities says an unidentified man insulted 89-year-old Jozsef Schweitzer near his downtown Budapest home on Tuesday, telling him "I hate all Jews." A statement Wednesday from the Government spokesman’s office said the government was doing everything possible to repress "voices incompatible with European norms." Hungary’s main Christian churches expressed their solidarity with Schweitzer and the whole Jewish community, calling the insults a "cowardly attack." Two weeks ago, Budapest police detained two men suspected of defacing several Jewish memorials in the capital city, including a statue remembering Jews murdered during the Holocaust, when some 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed.
The Associated Press


Pointing to recent statistics, France's Jewish communities have expressed alarm over a rise in anti-Semitic incidents since last March's deadly shootings of a rabbi and three schoolchildren in Toulouse. Is it a disturbing trend, or a cyclical spike? 

7/6/2012- On Saturday, June 2, three people wearing the Jewish skullcap were attacked by a group of assailants with a hammer and iron bar in the southeastern French city of Villeurbanne. The new assault has revived fears in France's Jewish community that anti-Semitism is on the rise in the wake of a grisly shooting that claimed the lives of four French Jews, including three children, in the southwestern city of Toulouse in March. That attack, carried out by radical Islamist Mohammed Merah, sent shockwaves through France, which is home to Western Europe's largest Jewish community, about 500,000 people. After Saturday's incident, the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, France's most prominent Jewish association, released a statement noting the attack "was not an altercation between gangs, but a clear act of anti-Jewish violence". The statement read the incident was "far from being an isolated act" and "part of the shocking surge of anti-Semitic violence that has followed the deadly attack at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse".

A 'before- and after-Merah'
Saturday's attack seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back for some in the Jewish community. The French Union of Jewish Students warned authorities of zones in which Jewish citizens are continually targets of anti-Semitic acts. And another group, the Service for the Protection of the Jewish Community (SPCJ), published a report condemning "the explosion" of anti-Semitic acts in the country since Merah’s killings. According to statistics cited in the report, which were provided by the Interior Ministry, 148 anti-Semitic incidents, of which 43 were violent, were reported between March 19 and April 30. That's more than twice as many as the 68 recorded for the same period in 2011. Aside from the numbers, the SPCJ is expressing concern "some of the people committing the acts feel empathy for Mohammed Merah". The group points to several incidents in schools, including students refusing to participate in a minute of silence in honour of the Jewish victims, as well as pro-Merah graffiti found in bars. "There is a before- and after-Merah," said Shmuel Trigano, a professor of Sociology at the University of Paris X in the Paris-area suburbs. "Despite the widespread condemnation of the killings, there was, among certain people in France, a desire to see this type of violence continue." According to Trigano, who has written widely on French Jews, there is a definite link between the Merah killings and Saturday's incident in Villeurbanne. "The attack in Villeurbanne fits into a chronological list of anti-Semitic acts that have multiplied since Merah," he said.

'Everyday racism'
But other specialists are more cautious in their assessment. Laurent Mucchielli, a sociologist from France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, does not see any substantial connection between Merah and the recent spike in anti-Semitic acts in France. "Levels of anti-Semitic incidents are never stable, but rise and fall quickly," he noted. "Nothing indicates that the Merah murders and the incident in Villeurbanne are related. We should be wary of generalisations." While records show that there has been a steady minimum number of anti-Semitic incidents in France since the early 2000s, the recent spike is reminiscent of a similar trend in 2009, the year of the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip that left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead. The number of anti-Semitic incidents doubled to roughly 815 in 2009 before falling sharply in 2010, and then rising again in 2011.

Numbers of other discriminatory acts fluctuate in France, as well. Mucchielli pointed to the rise in Islamophobic incidents in the wake of the Merah killings as evidence. According to Mucchielli, the killings provided fodder for "racist speech directly targeting Arabs and Muslims and a sentiment reflected in the strong showing by the [far-right] National Front in the recent French presidential elections". The Collective Against Islamophobia in France confirmed anti-Muslim incidents in France have indeed been on the rise after the Merah killings. "At least five Muslim institutions were defaced with Nazi tags, and there were numerous insults and assaults in the street that were directly linked to the Toulouse tragedy," said Marcia Burnier, the group's spokesperson. For Mucchielli, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are facts of life in France. "But there is no indication that it's getting worse," he qualified. "Unfortunately, we’re talking everyday racism."
France 24.



8/6/2012- Israel Radio reported late Thursday that the lead suspect in last weekend’s anti-Semitic attacks in Lyon, France has turned himself in to police. The suspect and 10 others attacked three people as they left the Beit Menachem Jewish school on Saturday night. The French Interior ministry said the assailants wielded a hammer and an iron bar. One victim sustained an open wound to the head, and another suffered a neck injury. Both men wore Jewish skullcaps. France's national agency tasked with fighting anti-Semitism said the attackers were likely of North African extraction. The agency said the attackers shouted anti-Semitic insults at the victims before attacking them. Five of the suspected assailants are now in police custody. France, home to western Europe’s largest Jewish community, estimated at about 500,000 people, was shaken in March when a radical Islamist shot dead a rabbi and three Jewish children in southwestern Toulouse.
Arutz Sheva



6/6/2012- French police said Wednesday they have detained two suspects in connection with an attack on Jewish youths in Lyon but that the main perpetrator of the assault was still at large. Two of the three suspects in the attack were placed under formal arrest after turning themselves in to police on Wednesday, Lyon prosecutor Marc Cimamonti told reporters. However, the "main perpetrator" of the attack "remains at large," local police chief Albert Doutre said. The attack took place on Saturday in Lyon as the three victims, all of them wearing Jewish skullcaps, left a Jewish school in the east-central city, police said. A group of people jostled and insulted them, then about 10 other assailants armed with hammers and bars joined in, striking the victims. Two of the youths were struck in the head while the third was hit in the arm, authorities said in Lyon, which has a 20,000-strong Jewish community.

CRIF, the representative body of Jewish groups in France, said it saw a direct link between Saturday's attack and the killing of three Jewish children and a teacher in Toulouse in March by a self-confessed Al-Qaeda follower. "The link appears unquestionable to me, as we have statistics," said CRIF president Richard Prasquier. "In the weeks that followed (the Toulouse killings), there was a considerable increase in the number of anti-Semitic acts." The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism said the attackers in Saturday's incident were of North African origin. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Monday condemned the assault as "intolerable violence", adding: "We must constantly fight against all forms of anti-Semitism, of racism."



5/6/2012- France's government is pledging to spend more money protecting Jewish neighbourhoods, while cracking down on anti-Semitism online following three new violent attacks. Interior Minister Manuel Valls made the promise at a meeting Tuesday with Jewish leaders. Valls said in a statement he had called the meeting after two people wearing Jewish skullcaps were injured Saturday in an attack in Villeurbanne in southeast France, and a Jewish youth was attacked Monday in Marseille. He said police would maintain heightened security measures at Jewish schools, in place since a school shooting killed three children and a rabbi in Toulouse in March. Since the shooting, 43 violent incidents and 105 threats or acts of intimidation targeting Jews have occurred, according to the Service for the Protection of the Jewish Community.
The Associated Press



Three French Jewish youths were attacked by assailants carrying hammers and iron bars in Lyon on Sunday in what the interior minister has described as an "extremely serious" anti-semitic attack.

4/6/2012- The attack happened around 6.30 pm as the three victims, all of them wearing Jewish skullcaps, or yarmulkes, left a Jewish school, police said. A group of people jostled and insulted the three, then about 10 other assailants armed with hammers and bars joined in, striking the victims. One youth had an open wound to the head and a girl was struck in the neck, authorities said. The third was hit in the arm. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, denouncing the assault, said he was "determined to fight against any aggression of a religious nature. "These extremely serious acts are a deliberate attack against our republic, which allows everyone, without exception, to live freely and in all safety in their religious affiliation," his office said in a statement. The victims were hospitalised but later released as police stepped up patrols in the neighbourhood. The National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism said the attackers were of North African origin. Investigations were under way and no suspects had been arrested. "We are in the 21st century and there are youngsters assaulting those wearing Jewish skull caps with hammers and bars," lawyer Alain Jakubowicz of French civil liberties group Licra said. Lyon is located about 470 kilometres south of Paris. The Jewish community there is about 20,000 strong.
The Local - France



4/6/2012- The recent massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse "triggered an explosion” in anti-Semitic attacks across France, according to the French Jewish community's protection service. The Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive, or SPCJ, made the observation in a statement about its report released Monday, which documented more than 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the 10 days that followed the March shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse that left four dead. In total, the ministry recorded 148 anti-Semitic incidents in March and April. Forty-three of those incidents are classified as violent. The SPCJ report was released two days after the violent anti-Semitic attack on June 2 against three Jews at Villeurbanne near Lyon.

The report relies on data compiled by the French Interior Ministry since the March 19 Toulouse shooting, in which Muslim radical Mohamed Merah killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school. In March and April, the French interior ministry listed 24 and 19 violent anti-Semitic attacks respectively, compared with four and 10 incidents in the corresponding months of the previous year. Authorities also recorded 69 instances of anti-Semitic intimidation and threats in March and 36 such incidents in April, compared with 17 and 37 in March and April 2011.

The last violent incident recorded in the interim report occurred April 30 in Marseille. A Jewish man and his friend were assaulted by people who self-identified to the victims as Palestinians and promised to “exterminate” the Jews, according to the report. The perpetrators assaulted the man, causing him internal bleeding. SPCJ called the situation “deeply worrisome” and added that it reflected "empathy" on the part of some attackers toward the actions of Toulouse shooter Merah.
JTA News



6/6/2012- A drunken Tredworth girl battered two women over their heads with her stiletto shoe. Two Polish girls ended up in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for treatment after the assault outside a city centre nightclub in the early hours of the morning. Emma Cox, 20, of Birchmore Road, Tredworth pleaded guilty to assaulting Anna Szumska and Patricia Kuchinska on January 15. Gloucester Magistrates' Court heard the attack was racially aggravated. Prosecuting solicitor Sharon Green said: "It was 3.30am when two groups of girls, one Polish, had an argument in the ladies' toilets at Registry nightclub in Eastgate Street. "Doorstaff told both groups to leave but the defendant saw two of the girls outside the club when she called them 'foreign bitches' and told them to go back to their own country. "The defendant then ran after Anna Szumska and hit her over the back of the head with her stiletto shoe. Her victim fell to the floor. She then turned to the other girl and hit her over the head several times with the shoe. "Both victims went to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for treatment to cuts. "In a victim impact statement, Anna Szumska said that she was very upset and disgusted by the level of violence she received just because she was Polish." Defending solicitor Lucy Beales said: "My client was subjected to abuse and an assault herself in the toilets and she already had the shoe in her hand – she did not take it off to use as a weapon." A district judge imposed a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered Cox to pay £100 compensation to Anna Szumaska and £85 prosecution costs.
This is Gloucestershire



4/6/2012- A group of Slovakians have been assaulted in Hastings in what police believe was a racially-motivated incident. The Slovakians were attacked outside the Pig in Paradise at White Rock at just before midnight while sitting on the beach. The men had been waiting for a friend when, according to Sussex Police, several men began to make abusive comments, some of which were racially offensive, while kicking gravel at them. A 36-year-old man sustained cuts and grazes, a 29-year-old man was punched to the head but sustained no injury, and another man had a minor face injury. The Slovakians then walked off the beach and up the steps from the seafront but were followed by the group who then assaulted three of them before running off.

The incident happened on Saturday, May 26, but police have only today released details. They report that an 18-year-old local man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of common assault and released on police bail until July 6 pending further enquiries. Police have condemned the incident and they are appealing for witnesses. PC Diane Browne said: “Fortunately the injuries were very minor but this was an unpleasant incident and we are keen to hear from anyone who saw what happened or who has any other information. Please call us on 101 quoting serial 2079 of 26 May. “Hate crime can cause considerable fear among victims, members of the community and local residents. We are committed to reducing it by working closely with community groups to increase reporting, widen awareness, and build confidence with victims to help bring offenders to justice.”
The Hastings Observer



3/6/2012- Unknown vandals on June 3 threw paint over a memorial boulder in Mahilyow that commemorates victims of the Holocaust. According to the local Judaic community, the act of vandalism occurred between 10 a.m. and noon. About half of the surface of the boulder and the inscription, which says, “In memory of the Mahilyow Jews who fell victim to the Nazis,” were covered with brown paint. An empty three-liter jar in which the vandals apparently had brought the paint was discovered in nearby bushes. Navum Iofe, chairman of the local Judaic community, called the police, which launched an investigation. “I view this act as a clear manifestation of anti-Semitism and evidence of the moral degradation of a certain part of society,” Mr. Iofe told BelaPAN. “They not only defaced the monument but also insulted the memory of the Jews who were martyred by the Nazis.” A series of events collectively called Days of Jewish Culture had been held in Mahilyow a month before the incident. Israeli Ambassador Yosef Shagal called the events a “festival of Belarusian-Jewish friendship.”
Naviny Belarus News



3/6/2012- Insults and eggs have been thrown at participants in a gay rights parade through central Warsaw. Organisers said they changed the parade's route a day before the event because 13 registered counter-demonstrations were legal and, thus, could not be stopped by police or city officials. Some 4000 to 5000 people marched, according to organisers, under the slogan 'Simply Equality' in a parade that demanded equal rights for homosexuals and minorities. There was a heavy police presence, as well as volunteers providing security. The annual event has been banned in the past and still sparks tensions. Ultra-nationalists protested nearby carrying signs ironically 'thanking' Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz for 'promoting Euro-sodomy and HIV'.

Tensions rose when a small group waving a flag of the labour union Solidarity, known for their protests against communism in the 1980s, also waved a sign saying that homosexuals 'should build their own Warsaw' if they want to 'parade in the streets'. Opponents yelled insults and eggs were reportedly thrown at some participants in the parade, reported the Interia news website. But there were no serious incidents as the parade wound down on Saturday evening. Concerts and celebrations after the parade were slated to run later into the night. Participants waved signs reading 'MPs, come out of the closet,' while demonstrators from Belarus waved a poster reading 'It is better to be gay than a dictator'. Others danced to techno music atop floats decorated with the rainbow-coloured gay rights flags.
Sky News


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