Headlines 28 June, 2013
Croatia becomes 28th EU Member State after moving to outlaw hate crimes
Croatia completed its final requirements for EU accession after an EU Commission report earlier this year reported that a new Act on Misdemeanours against Public Order and Peace would be fully adopted by the middle of July 2013.
28/6/2013- The law, which the EU characterises as the latest fulfilment of acceding member Croatia’s obligations “to protect those who may still be subjected to threats or acts of discrimination, hostility or violence”, makes it a crime to violate “public peace and order based on racial, ethnic, religious and other grounds”. Germany became the last of all 27 current EU member states to ratify Croatia’s Accession Treaty, signed by both the EU and Croatia in December 2011, last month, following publication of the report. "Croatia's entry shows that the EU's attraction continues unbroken. Europe is not just about crisis. The European perspective is what drives reforms in our neighbourhood," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the German Bundestag. Croatia will now become the 28th full member of the European Union on July 1st.
Speaking of the final stage of Croatia’s EU accession process, which began with negotiations in 2005, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said: “Croatia's is a success for enlargement. It is a proof of the credibility of the enlargement policy: when candidate country delivers on the criteria and commitments, the EU delivers on the membership perspective. This is also a good example for the rest of the region as it moves closer to the EU.” The Commission report further found Croatia had made significant progress towards the “effective implementation of the Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities”. The new law is designed to ensure a minimum 5% recruitment quota for the country’s national minorities in state administration and the judiciary, predominantly relating to its Roma population, but also applicable to its estimated 2,000-strong Jewish community.
The pre-Holocaust Jewish community of Croatia numbered approximately 24,000, spread across 40 different communities, largest of which was based in its capital of Zagreb, home to an 11,000-strong community. The community had enjoyed full emancipation since 1873. However, following the entering into office of a pro-Nazi government in 1941, persecution of the community rapidly increased, culminating in an active collaboration of the Croatian government with Nazi Germany. Deportation and the extermination of thousands of Croatian Jews became established government policy, with an estimated 78% of the country’s former Jewish community dying in the Holocaust. After WWII, only 2,500 Jews remained in the capital, with an estimated 1,000 leaving for Israel on the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948.
Last February, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic made a public apology to his country’s Holocaust victims in an address to the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), on an official visit to the Jewish State. Addressing the WWII-era government’s record of Nazi collaboration, he said: “We need to look into our hearts, and to come to terms with the darkest stain in our history. Here I am, standing before the parliament of the Jewish state, and more importantly, in front of people born in Croatia, and with no ambiguity, I apologise and I ask for forgiveness from all the Holocaust survivors and all the victims.”
Acknowledging an apology was in itself insufficient, he expressed his desire to explore initiating a restitution law to compensate Holocaust victims and their families for property lost during WWII. Some members of my nation worked to systematically destroy parts of humanity. We must look in our hearts, at the darkest stain in our history. We must know: The snake is weak, but it is still there,” he concluded. Croatia’s Jewish community took a further hit, when both the Community Centre and Jewish cemetery of Zagreb were struck by terrorist attacks in 1991. The city did however take in a number of Jewish refugees from Bosnia during its war with Yugoslavia. Croatia has enjoyed full diplomatic relations with Israel since 1997.
© EJP News
Hate crime reports decrease in Sweden
Police reports of hate crimes have declined by six percent since 2008, according a new report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brottsförebyggande rådet, Brå).
27/6/2013- "We don't have a theory as to why there has been a general decline, but there could be a range of factors. But if we look at the latest attitude surveys then tolerance towards homosexuals and people who come from other countries has increased over the last 5-10 years," Carina Djärv at Brå told The Local. The report shows that there has been a general decline in police reports of hate crimes by six percent over the past five years, with sexual orientation related offences declining the most, by some 32 percent. The report divides hate crimes in six different categories according to motive and the vast majority of hate crime reports, some 72 percent, concern racism. Some 13 percent have a homophobic, biphobic or heterophobic motive.
Carina Djärv told The Local that while there are indications that reports of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes have increased, these are not statistically significant. "There is a mixed picture, with reports of anti-African and anti-Roma hate crimes up dramatically since 2008," she told The Local. The statistics show that reports of hate crimes concerning people of African descent and Roma increased by 24 and 21 percent respectively. Djärv explained that more research would be required to establish whether hate crimes had actually decreased in society, and not just the number of reports, but pointed out that the issue has been given greater police priority in recent years.
"The police has worked intensively with the issue of hate crimes in recent years including cooperation with groups such as the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL)." "This would if anything have led to more reports as the police have worked hard to train to identify incidences of hate crimes."
© The Local - Sweden
The return of Nazi-style anti-Semitism? (Belgium)
25/6/2013- No one is under the illusion that anti-Semitism died after the Nazi Holocaust. But for decades following that dark chapter, it was certainly taboo to openly express anti-Semitic positions or demonstrate anti-Semitic behavior. It would seem with the escalation in anti-Semitic incidents in the West of late that what was once taboo is again socially acceptable, at least to enough of a degree for anti-Semites to once again openly peddle their particular brand of hate. A recent incident in Antwerp, Belgium is demonstrative of this phenomenon. Last month, a local Jewish woman and her Israeli girlfriend (the two are in an homosexual relationship) were assaulted by neighbors after daring to openly identify themselves as Jews by placing a mezuzah on the door of their apartment.
Belgian Jewish magazine Joods Actueel reported that at first, the assailants confined themselves to banging on the walls and shouting "stinking Jews." But that didn't last long, and the anti-Semites' appetite soon led them to breaking down the apartment door and beating the local Jewish woman to the point that she required hospitalization for 15 days. As the Jewish woman was being taken away by an ambulance, she reportedly saw the responding police officers joking and laughing with the unrepentant assailants. The assailants later stated that they had come "to finish what the Nazis started," according to lawyer Mischael Modrikamen. Israel Today wrote about Modrikamen last year after he launched a pro-Israel political party in Belgium.
The Antwerp incident and the police reaction to it "sounds like something from 1930s Germany," Joel Rubinfeld, co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, was quoted as saying by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. One of the chief enablers of this renewed wave of anti-Semitism has been has been the rise of anti-Israel sentiment, or anti-Zionism. Conveniently cloaked as "legitimate" criticism of the State of Israel, anti-Zionism in fact takes aim at the hopes and dreams the Jewish people harbored for thousands of years as they suffered in foreign lands. In essence, it says that the Jews deserve, at best, persecution and exile.
© Israel Today Magazine
Temple bashing hate crime, says Hindu leader (Canada)
Men with baseball bats smash windows; police investigating crime as vandalism
25/6/2013- Leaders of a Surrey Hindu temple vandalized Sunday in what they believe was a "hate crime" won't let the defacement stop a candlelight vigil they're staging tonight to mark the 28th anniversary of the Air India bombing. Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning two men who appear to be South Asian were caught on a surveillance camera, carrying bats. They are later seen running away, with nothing in hand. Some hours later, worshippers arriving at the Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Mandir temple, at 8321 140th St., were shocked to find the windows at the front entrance smashed and a broken bat bearing the name "Brar," a Sikh Khanda symbol and inscription "Veradero Cuba" laying in the busted glass below. Temple president Parshotam Goel said he will not point fingers until the RCMP investigation provides "concrete" evidence as to who the vandals are. "Definitely it's a hate crime," he said. "It's not an act of vandalism."
Vinay Sharma, the general secretary of the temple, also believes hate was the motive because nothing was stolen. "For sure it's a hate crime," he said. But Cpl. Bert Paquet said the Surrey RCMP is not "at this point" willing to make that leap and continues to investigate the vandalism as simply an act of mischief. "At this point in time, we don't have any evidence to support that," Paquet replied, when asked if police believe they're looking at a hate crime. Sharma said the Tuesday night vigil will now not only commemorate the Air India tragedy but also "condemn" this recent incident. "We will request the presence and support of the whole community, at this vigil, so that a strong message is conveyed to all those who are involved and for avoidance of such similar incidents in future." Asked if he suspects the vandalism is at all linked to tonight's planned vigil, Sharma replied, "We are not sure if it is connected."
Meantime, Prem Singh Vinning, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, condemned Sunday's vandalism. "We strongly condemn this act," he said. "Any attack on any religious place of gathering, it's not acceptable to society." As for the vandals, Vinning said, "The full force of the law should come to effect on these individuals. We should stand in solidarity with our Hindu community." The vigil begins at 6: 30 p.m. Air India Flight 182 exploded off the west coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 aboard. Sixty children aged 10 and under were among them. The Boeing 747 was heading from Montreal to London when it all but disintegrated some 31,000 feet above the Atlantic. Authorities believe Sikh terrorists loaded a bomb onto the airplane in Vancouver, seeking revenge for the Indian Army's 1984 attack on the Sikhs' Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
© The Now
Anti-Semitism hits new record in Europe
New report presented to government says 26% of European Jews harassed in past year, many considering making aliyah as they no longer feel safe
24/6/2013- A troubling report presented to the government on Sunday verifies what many in Europe have been feeling in recent months – anti-Semitism in the continent is on the rise, and is breaking new records. The anti-Semitism survey was conducted on behalf of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in nine countries in Europe (the official results of which have to be published in October 2013). According to its main findings, 26% of Jews have suffered from anti-Semitic harassment at least once in the past year, 34% experienced such harassment in the past five years, 5% reported that their property was intentionally vandalized because they are Jewish, about 7% were physically hurt or threatened in the past five years. As a result, 40% to 50% of Jews in France, Belgium and Hungary said they were considering emigrating as they no longer felt safe.
The main points of the survey are included in the Jewish People Policy Institute's Annual Assessment report, which was presented to the government on Sunday. According to the report, Europe's Jews are more pessimistic in regards to their future than they are willing to admit, and Jews all over the continent do not feel safe. According to the report's authors, Europe's Jews may be reaching the conclusion that the situation will only get worse. According to the report's figures, some 300 Jewish families immigrated from France to Montreal recently, and another 120 immigrated to London. In light of the situation, the JPPI estimates that many Jews will look into the possibility of immigrating to Israel, and recommends that the government take several steps in order to encourage that trend: Remove bureaucratic hurdles for recognizing academic degrees obtained abroad, ease the absorption of immigrants with professions requiring licensing, and avoid making every immigrant automatically enlist with the army. The JPPI also suggests easing conversion and encouraging the conversion of non-Jews (from all over the world) who are married to Jews.
© Ynet News
Attacks on Skopje Gay Pride Activists Condemned (Macedonia)
Rights groups have demanded action after a gay and lesbian community centre was attacked at the weekend during the Macedonian capital's first Gay Pride Week.
24/6/2013- Rights groups called for the authorities to bring to justice those responsible for launching the attack in Skopje on Saturday evening on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community centre, which was smashed up by dozens of people wearing masks and throwing stones during the screening of a film as part of the inaugural Gay Pride week. The three NGOs, the Macedonian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the Coalition for Sexual Rights of Marginalised Groups and LGBT – United, in a joint statement published on Monday, demand a halt to what they said was a rising trend of hate-related violence. “Although this is not the first attack on the LGBT centre, this is the first time that an attack took place in the presence of the public and amidst an ongoing event, [showing that] intolerance against the LGBT community is increasing,” the statement said. The attack, which broke windows and damaged property, also injured one of the two police officers on duty to ensure security at the event, police said.
The same day, an unidentified group of people also beat up a teenage boy near Skopje’s landmark Stone Bridge in another attack believed to have been motivated by homophobia. Police have said that they are investigating the incidents but have not yet made any arrests. The Dutch embassy also strongly condemned the attack on the LGBT centre, for which it supplies funding. "We appeal to the authorities to condemn any acts of violence which endanger the safety and security of citizens," the embassy said. It also urged the authorities "to undertake a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as to do their utmost to protect the property and the safety of citizens regardless of their social status or beliefs". The violence came amid the first-ever Skopje Gay Pride Week, a series of awareness- rising and educational workshops throughout the city.
In the weeks ahead of the Pride Week, some media seen as close to the conservative government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski falsely reported that a Gay Pride parade was planned. This caused an upsurge of anti-gay sentiment on social media, with some people even announcing an anti-gay march in response, although this did not take place. “No public march was planned but it was obvious that someone wanted to heat up the situation with the spin that a gay parade would take place. I was not surprised [by the attack], as information suggested that there would be an attempt against the centre to show that it cannot continue,” said the head of the Macedonian Helsinki Committee, Uranija Pirovska. The human rights groups urged media to stop spreading disinformation and inflaming hate speech that could lead to further violence.
Local and international rights groups have complained about Macedonia’s controversial anti-discrimination law, adopted in 2010, which according to them misses a key element in failing to envisage explicit protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. A report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, ‘Rainbow Europe Index 201’, ranked Macedonia the worst in the Balkans when it comes to legal protection. Activists also complain about frequent remarks by ministers and government officials that they see as discriminatory.
© Balkan Insight
"White" aggressor brutally beats up two Romani women (Czech Rep.)
24/6/2013- Sisters Božena and Marcela Demeterová paid a cruel price for going to a restaurant last Friday evening in the town of Mikulášovice not far from Rumburk in the Šluknov foothills. The pair were slowly heading home when they were brutally assaulted outside by a young "white" man. Robert Ferenc of the Čačipen association in Krásná Lípa brought the case to the attention of news server Romea.cz. When Božena Demeterová left the restaurant, she looked for her sister Marcela. "A man we know was sitting out there. He first started shouting something at me, then he kicked me from behind and when I fell he kept kicking me. Then Marcela ran over to protect me and he slapped her. I don't know what else he did to her, I didn't see the whole thing because I was still trying to get up. Some guys standing a little way off started yelling at him, asking him what he was doing. He got scared and started running into the park. Marcela threw a rock at him and ran after him. He was waiting for her and he hit her with a board from a fence," she told news server Romea.cz.
Libor Bílý, who was an eyewitness to part of the incident, described what happened as follows: "Božena came out of the pub and called 'Marcela, where are you?' That boy was there and he started shouting at her, 'What are you doing yelling here, you black pig?' and he kicked her from behind. When she fell to the ground, he kept kicking her. Marcela ran up and started arguing with him. The boy took a running start at her and sharply kicked her in the chest area. I started yelling at him, asking how he could do that to a woman, and I ran over there. He started running away and Marcela and I started chasing him. I had to stop for a moment because I couldn't breathe. A second later I heard screaming. When I caught up with her, Marcela was lying on the ground in a pool of blood and a wooden plank from a fence was lying beside her."
Police have also confirmed the assault took place. "On 23 June police arrested a 20-year-old man for committing physical assault against a woman in Mikulášovice. He currently faces charges of battery," Petra Trypesová, spokesperson for the police in Děčín, told news server Romea.cz. Božena Demeterová, who was assaulted by the "white" aggressor first, suffered many bruises and a great deal of pain. The assailant's first target is also a person living with disabilities. She suffered polio as a child. One arm and one leg are shorter than the others and have less range of motion, and she walks with great difficulty. She carries a state identification card of the ZTP/P type ("especially severely disabled requiring an attendant").
Božena's sister Marcela, who tried to protect her, ended up in worse shape than she did. "She's in the hospital in Ústí nad Labem and is waiting to have her broken jaw operated on. She also has a broken collarbone and other injuries," her son Zdeněk Demeter told news server Romea.cz. "That guy is a drug addict and he was drunk, that's probably why he snapped," Zdeněk Demeter said of the aggressor. News server Romea.cz will report further information on this case as it becomes available.
Anti-Fascist Clement Meric Killed by Single Punch from Neo-Nazi Skinhead (France)
A video depicting the last moments of an 18-year-old leftist who died during a scuffle with neo-Nazis in Paris suggests he was felled with a single punch.
25/6/2013- French police reportedly get hold of CCTV footage from Paris transport company RATP showing Clement Meric, a student at Sciences Po University, in a fight in the central Rue de Caumartin earlier in June. Meric is seen rushing towards his alleged killer, Esteban Morillo, to hit him in the back; Morillo turns and punches Meric in the face, RTL radio reported. Meric collapses to the floor almost immediately. It is not clear from the images if Morillo, a young man in his 20s said to be close to far-right movements, wore a knuckle-duster and hit Meric a second time. There is no evidence that the attack on Meric continued after he had been knocked to the ground, as was initially claimed. The scuffle erupted as Meric, a campaigner with the Action Anti-Fasciste group, and three friends got involved in an altercation with neo-Nazis at a Fred Perry private sale in Paris's 9th district. Early reports that Meric died because he hit his head on the pavement after being punched were dismissed by a postmortem examination. Morillo and four far-right radicals were arrested. Morillo reportedly admitted throwing two punches but denied using a knuckle-duster. If the content of the video is confirmed he is likely to face manslaughter and not murder charges. The footage has not been released by police. The incident caused a stir in France prompting calls for violent far right organisations to be banned.
© The International Business Times
25/6/2013- With scooter helmets in hand, a man called Yohan and six buddies stroll around Paris’ 20th arrondissement. The seven look much like a typical group of French students — until they locate a group of Arab men they suspect of perpetrating an anti-Semitic attack the previous day. Using their helmets as bludgeons, members of France’s Jewish Defense League, or LDJ, set upon the Arabs and beat them. Several of the Arabs attempt to escape in a blue sedan, but the LDJ members pursue the vehicle, causing it to crash into a stone wall. The attack last August, filmed by a television crew shooting a documentary on LDJ, was one of at least 115 violent incidents that critics attribute to the group since its registration in France in 2001 — a year after the eruption of the second intifada in Israel and the sevenfold increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the 12 years that followed. “Now they know the price of Jewish blood,” said Yohan, the nom de guerre of Joseph Ayache, one of LDJ’s young bosses.
An offshoot of the American Jewish Defense League, which was founded in New York by the ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1968 and which the FBI considers a domestic terrorist group, LDJ stages violent reprisals to anti-Semitic attacks. The group, which numbers about 300 members, is now on a collision course with France’s Jewish establishment, which has condemned its activities and threatened a lawsuit. French authorities have ignored calls to ban LDJ, though in Israel the Kach movement, also founded by Kahane, has been outlawed. The French government’s apparent acquiescence may have inspired LDJ to ratchet up its deterrent potential by showcasing its activities following the murder of four Jews in Toulouse last year by a Muslim extremist. LDJ traditionally had shied away from media attention. But in the weeks after the killings, which was followed by a 58 percent increase in attacks on Jews in France over the year before, LDJ for the first time allowed a television crew to tag along on a number of guerrilla operations.
In addition to the helmet assault, Ayache was filmed calling for revenge killings in posters he and his group posted around central Paris. When a police car neared, Ayache told officers that he and his friends were working on an art project. The police officers wished him a pleasant evening and drove away. Ayache also was filmed attempting to storm a performance of the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne. “Since when is it illegal to run?” a brazen Ayache told the police after they detained him. Another sequence shows Ayache firing a pistol at a shooting range. “We’ve noticed the Muslim community believes LDJ is some vast machine that operates with impunity and help from Mossad,” said an LDJ spokesman who goes by the alias Amnon Cohen. “It’s not true, but it’s not a bad thing if they are scared. It’ll make them think twice.” LDJ’s growing assertiveness has further strained the group’s already tense relationship with the CRIF, the umbrella body of French Jewish communities.
In April, CRIF’s former president, Richard Prasquier, said he would sue LDJ for defamation for posting a photograph on its website depicting him with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The caption accuses Prasquier of “pardoning [a] killer.” LDJ, meanwhile, has accused CRIF of being undemocratic, obsolete and ineffective. “We operate outside and independently, and that creates opposition within the establishment, which is run by men and women who mean well but don’t know the painful reality of the Jewish rank and file in Paris’ suburbs and poor neighborhoods,” Cohen said. “There are hundreds of French and Belgian Muslims fighting in the Syrian civil war. When they return, do you think they will be scared of a couple guards trained by the community?” CRIF declined to comment.
Earlier this month, LDJ announced that its “soldiers” had put a young Arab in the hospital with a coma, “a rapid and effective response” to the man’s attack on Jews at Saint-Mande, just east of Paris. The announcement drew calls to ban LDJ. As criticism mounted, LDJ retracted the statement and denied any involvement in the violence. Cohen told JTA the person who published the “false statement” had been removed from the group and that the violence actually resulted from a drug deal gone sour. A spokesperson for the Saint-Mande municipality confirmed that account. Still, the events at Saint-Mande resulted in a public row between LDJ and CRIF, which on June 4 blamed LDJ for the violence at Saint Mande and for subsequent calls “to take revenge against the Jews.” Cohen said CRIF is looking for a “scapegoat” to distract from its failure to prevent attacks on Jews through outreach and education. He also denied the group engages in violence, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Besides the television footage, a French court last week sentenced LDJ activist David Ben Aroch to six months in prison for an attack he staged with another LDJ member at a Paris bookstore owned by a pro-Palestinian activist. Aroch’s accomplice, Jason Tibi, was sentenced to four months for the attack at Librairie Resistance that sent the two victims to the hospital for days. It may have been a real-life demonstration of what one masked LDJ boss recently called “treatment a la Israel” during a speech at a secret training camp in France. The filmed address was the introduction to a LDJ propaganda clip titled “Five cops for every Jew, 10 Arabs for each rabbi.”
© JTA News
Attacks on Scottish Jews rise (UK)
27/6/2013- Jews in Scotland are more likely to be attacked because of their faith than Muslims or Christians, a report has revealed. Figures published by the Scottish Government showed there were 27 criminal charges relating to attacks on Jewish people between April 2012 and March this year. The figure compares to 14 charges in the previous 12 months. The Muslim community, which is seven times the size of the Jewish community, saw 80 charges relating to Islamophobia. The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) said the report was evidence of an “undeniable trend” of hostility, in which Jews were 20 times more likely to face religious hatred than Christians, and several times more likely than Muslims. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, is to meet Jewish leaders to discuss the figures. He said he backed a zero tolerance approach to hate crime. Ephraim Borowski, SCoJeC director, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s seriousness about tackling religious hatred, and we just wish that it was shared by other agencies such as trades unions and the church.”
© The Jewish Chronicle
Merseyside Police probe girl, seven, race abuse claim (UK)
Claims a seven-year-old girl was racially abused by a group of men are being investigated by specialist hate crime officers in Liverpool.
28/6/2013- Merseyside Police is investigating an allegation of racially aggravated public order at a social club. Det Insp Lisa Mahon said: "This has been a very distressing incident for a young girl and her family. "I share her family's disgust, as clearly this alleged behaviour is not acceptable." The alleged incident took place at the The Cricketers Club in Wavertree where a far right group was said to be meeting. Club owner Mr Brian Washington said the girl was with her family who were viewing a room at the club which had been booked for a wedding reception. "They were only in the room a short time and I saw the little girl was upset but didn't hear what was said to her," said Mr Washington. He added: "When the group booked they said they were teachers and we thought it was something to do with the strike. "There was only about 12 of them, we found out they were the National Front or something." Mr Washington added: "They will not be allowed to come here again - we won't tolerate anything like this." In January 2012 councillors imposed strict conditions on the club after Merseyside Police told the meeting it had evidence of assaults, disorder and the sale of alcohol to children inside the premises. The club was at the centre of a row in October 2011 when it hosted a BNP conference which prompted protests by anti-fascist groups.
© BBC News
Hate crime laws facing scrutiny (UK)
Hate crime laws are to be scrutinised in a bid to create a more even playing field for victims, the Law Commission has said.
27/6/2013- A crime is recorded as a hate crime if the victim believes it to have been motivated by hostility or prejudice towards disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation. Under the Crime and Disorder Act, some crimes such as assault or criminal damage are prosecuted as "aggravated" offences if motivated by racial or religious hatred - but this is not the case for disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, the Public Order Act covers those who publish material that is intended to stir up hatred against people on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation - but not disability or gender identity. A new consultation by the Law Commission, the body that recommends law reforms, is to look at whether there is a case for reforming the law to reflect in legislation the view of hate crime held by the criminal justice agencies.
Professor David Ormerod QC, the Law Commissioner leading on the project, said: "Reforming the law would bring consistency. It would extend the protection of hate crime legislation and bring recognition to all victims who are targeted because of their disability, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation. But it may be that the existing legislation and the power of the court to enhance sentencing for these offences already provides victims with adequate remedies, and the price we might pay for reform could outweigh the benefits." The consultation will seek views on whether any new offences would already be covered adequately by existing criminal offences and if the existing power of the courts to enhance sentencing in such cases already provides sufficient remedy.
Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society (NAS), said: "The Law Commission's consultation provides a vital opportunity to ensure disability hate crimes are punished with the same severity as other hate crimes. People with autism have the same rights as any other member of society to lead lives free from fear and violence, but all too often we hear deeply troubling incidents of disability hate crime. "54% of respondents to a recent NAS hate crime survey said the police did not record there experience as a hate crime. Alarmingly, almost two thirds of them said they had experienced hate crime more than 10 times. It's sickening that people with autism become targets of crime because of their disability, but unfortunately the social difficulties those with the condition experience can leave them vulnerable to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals. "It's essential that sentencing guidelines for disability hate crime are reassessed in line with other hate crimes, so that a clear message is sent to perpetrators that this behaviour is not acceptable in 21st century Britain."
© The Belfast Telegraph
Attacker claims she is constable sent to rid the streets of illegal immigrants (UK)
25/6/2013- A woman who assaulted a stranger at a bus stop claimed she was a constable sent to clean the streets of illegal immigrants, a court heard today. Victim Adebimpe Metcalfe was waiting for a bus with her husband on Sunday, May 26, when she was attacked by 42-year-old Catherine Dillon. Dillon approached Mrs Metcalfe – who is black and of African origin – and hurled racist insults at her, calling her a parasite and saying she was an illegal immigrant who was not supposed to be in the country. During the unprovoked attack, Dillon also took Mrs Metcalfe’s glasses and threw them to the floor, before pushing her over as she tried to retrieve them. A witness to the attack, which happened on Crown Street in Darlington, told Dillon she had called the police. In response, it is claimed Dillon said: “I am a constable and I’ve been sent to get rid of the illegal immigrants. I’ve already moved illegal immigrants from the pub.”
At Darlington Magistrates Court today (Tuesday June 25), Dillon pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common assault. Claire Haigh, mitigating, said Dillon – of Gladstone Street, Darlington - was ashamed of her actions and had no recollection of the incident as she had been drunk. She said: “She cannot understand why she acted that way as she does not hold racist views. She has a number of neighbours of different backgrounds and gets on well with them. “She is very ashamed and shocked at her own behaviour. Alcohol misuse is a big problem in her life. She had been a long term drug user and to her credit she has conquered that but her misuse of alcohol has since escalated.” Chair of the bench Nicholas Edger handed Dillon a three month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered her to pay £100 compensation to the victim.
© The Northern Echo
Teenager injured in racial attack (UK)
25/6/2013- Police are appealing for witnesses after a teenager was knocked unconscious and left with injuries to his face following a racially motivated attack. The assault took place at around 7.55pm on Sunday May 26 as the 16-year-old boy was cycling along Foster Hill Road. The teenager - who is a black male - stopped near to the Premier Store to change the music on his MP3 player when the offender referred to him with a racial slur. The victim challenged the offender who then used the term twice more before punching the teenager to the floor and then kicking him until he was unconscious. Officers quickly arrived at the scene along with paramedics and the victim was taken to Bedford South Wing Hospital for treatment. One man was arrested at the scene and released on police bail pending further inquiries.
PC Jonathan Gordon, who is investigating the attack, is keen to hear from anyone who was in the Foster Hill Road area at the time of the incident and may have seen the offence taking place. PC Gordon said: “This was a horrendous and vicious assault which has left a young man with some very nasty injuries. “It is clear that this was a racially motivated assault and it is important that witnesses come forward to assist us with our inquiries. “I’d like to appeal to anyone who was in Foster Hill Road on the day of the attack and may have seen the altercation taking place to get in touch. Even the smallest pieces of information could help.”
© Bedford Today
Police are appealing for information after a homophobic hate crime in Sunderland.
24/6/2013- Between 9pm and 9.14pm on Friday, June 21 a woman in her 20s was in a chip shop on Burdon Lane in Sunderland when she was approached by a group of approximately 20 youths. A number of the youths then assaulted the woman, punching and kicking her and shouting abuse. The woman fled the shop and called her partner, also a woman in her 20s, who arrived to try and help her. However the youths then subjected to the second woman to the same physical and verbal abuse. Both women were left bruised and badly shaken by the attack.
Sunderland Superintendent Jim Napier said: “This must have been a frightening incident for these two victims and I would urge anyone who witnessed it or who has any information about it to contact police. “Hate crime of any nature is not acceptable. Those who target or commit crimes against people because of their faith, race or sexual orientation, sexual identity or disability will not be tolerated in our communities. “We take any allegations of hate crimes very seriously and are working to bring the offenders to justice.” Anyone with information about this attack is asked to contact police in Sunderland on the 101 non-emergency number, or call Crimestoppers.
© The Sunderland Echo
An overview of racial violence and convictions May - June 2013. (UK)
In the aftermath of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in May, the harassment of Muslims continues. Several mosques and Islamic cultural centres have been targeted in attacks, some of which have been attributed to the far Right, and in the most high-profile cases buildings have been firebombed. For the time being, such attacks are in the news. Normally, they are something the mainstream media ignores. Many of the attacks we have recorded – not all of which have been directed against Muslims or appear related to the Woolwich murder – smack of cowardice: vandalising buildings in the middle of the night and then fleeing; chasing isolated victims in packs, beating them and then running away; racially abusing people from the safety of a crowd. In one case, a man went on a spree of violence which included shouting racist abuse at a 78-year-old woman and then assaulting her.
A few of these attacks are presented below.
18 June 2013: In the early hours of the morning, a man poured petrol around the door of a mosque in Gloucester and set it on fire, before fleeing in a car parked nearby. Firefighters were called and the blaze was put out before it caused serious damage. (Independent, 18 June 2013)
14 June 2013: Two men were found guilty of racially aggravated public order offences and, in one case, a further charge of common assault. Last August, they were with a group of men singing racist songs on the Tube in London. The two followed a Muslim man as he got off and racially abused him, with one of them saying ‘go back to your own country you f***ing Muslim c**t’. They then beat him to the ground, as their friends arrived. After the attack, the victim suffered ongoing pains in his neck and was left with breathing difficulties. One of the attackers was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and the other ordered to carry out 120 hours community work. (Asian Image, 14 June 2013)
14 June 2013: A woman in Portsmouth was given an eight week jail sentence, suspended for six months, and ordered to pay costs for comments she posted on Facebook following the murder of Lee Rigby. Amongst the messages, the woman had tried to drum up support for burning down mosques in the locality, saying ‘Feeling like burning down some mosques in Portsmouth, anyone want to join me?’ (Guardian, 14 June 2013)
11 June 2013: Two men, including a footballer who had played for the Northern Ireland junior international team, were jailed for a racist attack in Belfast. Last July the men vandalised a house, chased a Polish man from the property and severely beat him. Their victim was left semi-conscious, with lacerations around his nose and mouth and multiple bruises. The men were given 18-month and 21-month prison sentences respectively. The judge said the attack had ‘severe racist and sectarian overtones’. (Kick it Out, 11 June 2013)
10 June 2013: Bacon was posted to a mosque in Maidenhead in the third incident to happen to it in a few weeks. Prior to this, a window had been smashed and the building had been daubed with racist graffiti. (BBC News, 12 June 2013)
10 June 2013: The letters ‘EDL’ were spray painted on a bin at the Oadby Islamic Centre in Leicestershire. (Leicester Mercury, 12 June 2013)
8 June 2013: A Muslim boarding school in Chislehurst was set on fire, and around 130 staff and pupils had to be evacuated. Two children were treated for smoke inhalation but nobody was seriously hurt. Four teenagers were later arrested on suspicion of arson. (Independent, 19 June 2013)
8 June 2013: A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life in relation to a serious fire at a newsagent in Liverpool. The attack, treated as a hate crime by the police, left a 48-year-old Sri Lankan man in hospital and tenants above the shop had to escape the blaze and were rehoused in temporary accommodation. (Liverpool Echo, 13 June 2013)
6 June 2013: In Reading, a black woman walking with her friend was racially abused and assaulted. The attacker rode up to them on a bike, shouted racist abuse at the woman and barged between them, before elbowing her and then fleeing the scene. (Reading Chronicle, 10 June 2013)
5 June 2013: An Islamic Cultural Centre in Muswell Hill, London, was seriously damaged in a firebomb attack. The letters ‘EDL’ were daubed on the wall of the building. It took firefighters over an hour to get the fire under control and parts of the building eventually collapsed. (Guardian, 5 June 2013)
4 June 2013: Two men accused of ‘waging a campaign of hate against Muslims in Devon’, including daubing mosques with graffiti and sending a series of threatening letters, were granted bail ahead of their next court hearing. The charges, which they deny, include one under the Terrorism Act. The alleged offences took place between July 2012 and January 2013. (HOPE not hate, 4 June 2013)
4 June 2013: A swastika was painted on the door of a proposed mosque in Worcester Park. (Sutton Guardian, 11 June 2013)
3 June 2013: A 78-year-old Asian woman was attacked in Ayelsbury by a man who went on what was described as a ‘racist rampage’. The 31-year-old man allegedly racially abused people in a park, vandalised an Asian family’s house and racially abused the elderly woman before pushing her to the ground. He was arrested and released on bail. (Bucks Herald, 5 June 2013)
2 June 2013: Three men walked into a store in Manchester and one racially abused a customer. Another of the group then punched him with such force that he was instantly knocked unconscious. The two men then ran off whilst the third man put the victim in the recovery position before leaving. (Manchester Gazette, 10 June 2013)
26 May 2013: A rail passenger on a train near Brighton was filmed calling a black passenger a ‘monkey’ and a ‘gorilla’ and threatening to glass him with a beer bottle, saying ‘See that, I will shove that in your f*****g eyes’. When passengers showed the footage to station guards, the man was given a ‘slap on the wrist’ for having the wrong ticket and allowed to leave. (Argus, 7 June 2013)
25 May 2013: A 34-year-old woman walking in Middlesbrough was approached by three white men who racially abused and spat at her, before fleeing the scene. (Gazette, 29 May 2013)
23 May 2013: A Chinese student walking with her boyfriend in Exeter was asked by a group of people about her opinions on the murder of Lee Rigby. They then surrounded her and one of them yanked her hair, punching her repeatedly in the face and subjecting her to racial abuse. (Exeter Express & Echo, 6 June 2013)
20 May 2013: Two youth team coaches resigned from Notts County FC after allegations that they had racially abused black players. The allegations included one coach throwing a banana at a player with the words ‘f**k off’ written on it, and the other switching off the lights in a room and saying ‘Make sure you black lads smile so I can see you.’ The club’s internal investigation was derided as ‘not fit for purpose’. (Voice, 20 May 2013)
17 May 2013: A man in Keighley approached a taxi driver parked by the station and asked him to take him to Leeds. When the taxi driver told him his cab was already booked, the man threw food at him, racially abused him and spat in his face. (Telegraph & Argus, 31 May 2013)
May 2012: A football match in Hartlepool was abandoned at half-time after an assistant referee was subjected to racial abuse and was too upset to continue. The supporter responsible was given a caution by the police. (Voice, 20 May 2013)
© The Institute of Race Relations
HATE AGAINST MUSLIMSIN THE UK
Orthodox Jews pledge to guard London mosque (UK)
28/6/2013- An Orthodox Jewish patrol group in London said it would protect a mosque after a rise in hate crimes against Muslims. The Shomrim patrol group accepted a request for protection by the North London Community Centre in Cazenove Road, an Islamic institution situated in the heavily-Jewish Borough of Hackney in northern London. The deal was brokered at a recent meeting coordinated by Ian Sharer, a member of the local council, the Hackney Gazette reported this week. It came following a rise in anti-Muslim attacks after the slaying of a British soldier on May 22 in London. The suspect, a 22-year-old Muslim extremist, was filmed holding a large knife over the soldier’s decapitated body. A second suspect was charged with attempted murder and is believed to have acted as an accomplice. Tell Mama, a watchdog on hate crime, recorded 212 incidents in the nine days that followed the murder, including 120 online. In 2012, the same group documented 12 anti-Muslim incidents per week on average and 624 in total.
Sharer, who is Jewish, told the Gazette that he was asked by “Muslim friends to chair the meeting. The meeting was a great success. The Shomrim patrols have agreed to include the local mosques and other buildings as part of their routine patrols.” The local Shomrim group, numbering 22, was set up in 2008 in part as a reaction to anti-Semitic incidents, the Gazette reported. Members of the 24-hour patrol group have been trained by Hackney police, and have neighborhood patrol badges and uniforms. Chaim Hochhauser, 33, one of two Shomrim supervisors said the request from protection came from the Muslim community through Sharer. “We told them what we could do. We are pleased the Jewish community wanted to help.”
© JTA News
There remains ‘a lack of political will’ to tackle Islamophobia, warns Government adviser
28/6/2013- Around half of mosques and Muslim centres in Britain have been subjected to Islamophobic attacks since 9/11, academics have warned as the far-right English Defence League prepares to march to the south-London scene of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder. The figures are highlighted in a report which also found that the number of anti-Islamic attacks increased by as much as tenfold in the days following the Woolwich attack. Meanwhile, research by The Independent shows Islamophobic attacks spreading across Britain, with mosques being set alight and Muslims targeted at home in the past month.
Despite the warning signs, a senior Government adviser told The Independent that there remains a “lack of political will” to take on the rise of Islamophobic attacks in Britain. The adviser, who did not want to be named, said that attempts to “tackle this issue – even before Woolwich – struggled to attract buy-in,” with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, identified as the primary source of frustration.
The Muslim community was warned yesterday of the dangers it faces from hate groups in a sermon delivered at 500 mosques. The piece said that high-profile cases of sexual grooming of children by small groups of Muslim men “hitting the headlines in a short space of time and the fallout from the Woolwich case will create a major challenge for the Muslim community”. The trial date for the two men accused of murdering Drummer Rigby, Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, will begin on 18 November, it was announced yesterday.
Professor Nigel Copsey, of Teesside University, the author of the new report which showed that between 40 and 60 per cent of mosques and other Islamic centres (around 700) had been targeted since 9/11 – said: “There has undoubtedly been a spike in anti-Muslim incidents since the Woolwich murder. An obvious concern now is whether the number of hate crime incidents return to ‘normal’ levels or whether Woolwich has been a game-changer in terms of increasing the underlying incidence of anti-Muslim hate over the longer term.”
His report is based largely on figures from the Islamophobia watchdog Tell Mama. It shows an increase of attacks to nearly nine per day in the immediate aftermath of the Woolwich killing, but settling back to around two per day over in the following weeks. Prof- essor Copsey added: “What is significant about our analysis is the extent to which the far right is implicated in anti-Muslim hate crime.” Just this week, swastikas and the letters “EDL”, “KKK” and “NF” were sprayed on the walls of a mosque in Redditch. There were also reports of pigs’ heads being left at Muslim families’ homes and other attacks against individuals. There was also a attack on an Islamic centre in north London.
But Dr Matthew Goodwin, associate fellow at Chatham House and an expert on extremist groups, said that “the broader picture is more positive than we think. Young people are more at ease accepting Muslims in society.” A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “There is no place for anti-Muslim hatred or any kind of hatred in Britain, and we are committed to tackling this unacceptable scourge.”
© The Independent
16 mosques and Islamic centres attacked in a spate of Islamophobic attacks (UK)
27/6/2013- 16 mosques and Islamic centers, a shop and a school have been attacked across the UK. Many Muslim women were attacked too. The latest attack on a mosque was on June 18 when Masjid-e-Noor in Gloucester was set on fire. Britain’s most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, admitted that “these are difficult times for London’s communities” following news that recorded attacks against Muslims in the capital have increased by 700% in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby. Over 200 Islamophobic incidents have been reported since the murder of Rigby in London on May 22 and Commander Simon Letchford said that Islamophobic incidents in London have jumped from one a day to eight and that the true total is likely to be significantly higher. While most incidents have been verbal abuse, there have also been incidents of criminal damage, assaults and two suspected arson attacks on a school in Bromley and an Islamic centre in Barnet – both mocked on social media by the official English Defence League (EDL), Combined Ex-Forces and the British National Party (BNP) Twitter feed. “Remember that at least some Islamic building blazes will be insurance jobs,” tweeted BNP leader, Nick Griffin.
The vast majority of incidents have involved “low-level” Islamophobic tweets and facebook entries gloating about or inciting attacks on Muslims and Muslim properties. One of the more vicious twitter comments came from the Northern Premier League footballer Shaun Tuck who called for Muslim children to be beheaded and for “all mosque’s to be bombed or gassed out!!!… Or stormed by 50 lads machetes, swords the lot…I’d be going through there door mate an taking there kids head off an killing whoever was in site!!” Tuck was charged with an offence under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 on June 17 and is to appear at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on July 3, according to spokesman for Merseyside Police. Many Muslim women have been attacked verbally and physically but are reluctant to come forward. Some agreed to talk to The Muslim News on the condition of anonymity.
Jasmine Muhammad, 23, student from East London, told The Muslim News she was called “f#@king Muslim scum” before having her hijab nudged as she disembarked from a train in Baker Street. “I didn’t have the time to turn around see who did it because the doors closed and the carriage was packed. I didn’t want to hassle the police either,” said the business student. In Harrow, north-West London, hijab wearing teen said a man in a car screamed “f#@king c@nt” at her and her mother as he drove onto a small side road near Harrow on the Hill. The 18- year-old told The Muslim News the incident happened at 3pm on June 9. On May 23, on London Underground Central Line, 19 year-old hijab wearer student was called a “Paki” day after Woolwich murder, at around 6 pm. The offender was a grown man, the victim told The Muslim News. On May 26 in Leytonstone, east London, the niqab of a student was pulled off on the street by two white men. She did not confront them or report the incident, she said to The Muslim News.
In the London Borough of Hillingdon a 19 year-old woman, told The Muslim News, at around 4pm on May 30 she was outside Hillingdon hospital when she was sworn at by a young white man as he spat on the floor in front of her and said, “bastards”. In Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, a 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage, assault and harassment after allegedly going on a rampage through Aylesbury’s Alfred Rose Park and attacking an elderly woman and smashing the doors and windows of a house. The man racially abused passers-by in the Park on June 2. He also broke windows and doors of a house belonging to an Asian family and racially abused a 78-year-old Asian Muslim woman before pushing her over. The man was released on bail until July 23.
And in another twist plot, vandals targeted the Sussex home of a mother of a Muslim soldier, Njaimeh Jawara. Vandals wrote the words “dead Muslim” in permanent on her door while she was away from her East Grinstead home. Unbeknown to the vandal, Jawara had a son who has served for 15 years in the army, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I am a true Muslim so I don’t feel scared and I do not feel bad for what has happened to me. The person who did this is a coward; they should say something to my face,” she said. In Leicester police are appealing for witnesses after two cyclists attempted to pull a woman’s niqab at around 6.50pm on May 26. The woman had walked along Holmfield Road before turning right onto London Road. Whilst waiting at the nearby crossing, two cyclists, described as white men in their early twenties, came towards her and one of them attempted to pull at her niqab. She managed to push him away. Metropolitan Police claimed they had increased police presence around “potentially vulnerable locations” across London to “provide reassurance, following the escalation of arson attacks.”
However, police protection has not translated on the ground as attacks on mosques and Islamic centres have continued not only in London but across the country too. The Muslim News has to date documented, since Woolwich, 15 mosques and Islamic centre attacks in London (3), Buckinghamshire (1), Northern Ireland (1), Lancashire (2), Lincolnshire (1), Dorset (2), Essex (1), Gloucestershire (1), Kent (1), Leeds (1), Wales (2), and even as far afield as Georgia, US. As reported in the last issue of The Muslim News the first serious attempted arson attack occurred in Milton Keynes, (Bucks) where a lighted bottle of inflammable liquid was thrown onto the roof of Zainabia Islamic Centre in Granby a day after Rigby’s murder. Then, attacks also took place against mosques in Kent, Essex, and Lancashire. Since then more have been attacked. On June 18, a man was seen on CCTV pouring petrol around the Masjid-e-Noor mosque door and then setting a rag on fire and using it to ignite the fuel in Gloucester. No one was hurt.
Earlier, on June 5, a Somali cultural and Islamic centre was burned to the ground in Muswell Hill, north London, and the letters “EDL”, the initials of the English Defence League – were found scrawled on the outside. The EDL, which is notorious for anti-Muslim rhetoric, has blamed Muslims and their religion for Rigby’s death. The far-right group has staged several protests against Muslims and mosques in the wake of the attack, depsite attempts from Rigby’s family to distant Rigby’s name from group. The Al-Rahma Islamic Centre, which was established in 2000, hosted Arabic classes for members of the mainly Somali community during the week. Ahmed Muhammad Ali, a youth worker at the Centre, told The Muslim News that the community was “very shocked” and many “were now afraid”. They were surprised at what had happened as Ali said the community relations “were good” in the area.
In Cathay, Cardiff, Wales, Shah Jalal Mosque & Islamic Centre, bacon and other pork products were left outside the mosque at 10.30 pm on May 22. No one has been arrested. A former serviceman was imprisoned on June 20 for attempting to set fire to a mosque in Rhyl, Denbighshire, Wales in revenge of Woolwich murder. John Parkin first went to a night club and told the staff, “I just need a bottle of strong alcohol to burn down the mosque.” They refused and informed the police. He then went and bought alcohol from a shop and stuffed tissue into it and attempted to light it at the Islamic Cultural Centre. He was unsuccessful and was arrested. The judge has banned him from any mosque in Wales.
Bournemouth Islamic Centre and Central Mosque on Stephen’s Road, Dorset, had its wall painted with graffiti daubed in red “Muslim Scum” on May 22. The previous week, a man tried to force his way into the mosque, but was confronted by the Imam. He ran away. Imam Majid Yasin told The Muslim News, “We are very upset about what has happened.” Four windows were smashed at Dorset Islamic Cultural Centre, Ashley Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, at 3.50 pm on May 24. Two people charged with racially aggravated criminal damage, one of them also charged with assault. On May 23, a milk bottle filled with paint was thrown at the Belfast Islamic Centre, Wellington Park, Northern Ireland at 10pm.
Three petrol bombs were thrown over the gate of Grimsby Mosque and Islamic Community Center, Weelsby Road, Grimsby, Lincolnshire in front of police officers who were guarding it at 10pm on May 25. Three days earlier, bricks were thrown through the windows of the mosque and cars parked nearby were damaged. Eleven arrested, six released without charge. “Pakis Out” and “Islam murders scum” were daubed on the walls of Pleasington Cemetery prayer hall on Tower Road, Blackburn, Lancashire. A headstone had EDL written on it on May 31. Islamophobic and racist graffiti daubed on walls and windows of UK Islamic Mission, Lingfield Drive, Moortown, Leeds, on May 31. Graffiti, “F@ck Islam, Help for heros. EDL”, was daubed on the wall of Islamic Cultural & Education Centre, Churchway, Somerstown, London, on June 2. In the CCTV footage captured a would-be arsonist placing lighting material on the doorstep of Idara-e-Jafferiya mosque in Tooting, south London, before returning to put it out.
In a statement to The Muslim News a spokesman for the Met police said: “Officers from Wandworth CID are investigating an allegation of suspected arson at Church Lane Mosque, Tooting, at approximately 23:00 hrs on Saturday 1 June. There has been no damage to the Mosque. No injuries, no arrests and enquiries ongoing.” On June 9 four teenagers were arrested in connection with an arson attack on a Muslim boarding school the previous day. Nearly 130 pupils and staff had to be evacuated from Darul Uloom School in Foxbury Avenue, Chislehurst as a result of the arson blaze which left two men needing treated for smoke inhalation. Luckily, teachers reacted quickly and extinguished the flames, leaving only minor damage to the school. Shocked school Principal, Mustafa Musa, praised firefighters and paramedics, saying: “The fire and ambulance services responded rapidly and ensured no one was seriously injured. “Two boys suffered smoke inhalation injuries, but thank God they are recovering.”
Two men entered Dixy Chicken shop owned by a Muslim on Green Street, Newham, east London, on May 23, banged on the serving counter, shouted, “You killed one of our soldiers, we’ll kill you before vandalising the shop. Two men have been charged with religiously aggravated offences. Graffiti, saying, ‘Hell 2 Muslims. EDL’ was written on Mitcham Junction Railway Bridge, Carshalton Road, Mithcham, south London. In Romney, Cardiff, Wales, anti Muslim graffiti was painted on a wall. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the attack on Al-Rahma Islamic Centre was a wake-up call for more “serious action” against Islamophobia. MCB Secretary General, Farooq Murad, said: “We need to hear from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the leaders of Association of Chief Police Officers as to what they will be doing to protect this rise in attacks.”
© The Muslim News
Mosque sprayed with swastikas in racist attack (UK)
A mosque in Worcestershire has been sprayed with racist graffiti including swastikas after a break-in during the early hours of the morning.
26/2013- The vandals daubed graffiti onto walls and at least half a dozen windows using paint taken from builders' cabins on the site, which is under construction. The initials EDL, NF, KKK and other racist language were also sprayed across the building. West Mercia Police said the damage at Redditch Central Mosque in Jinnah Road was caused between 2am and shortly before 4.30am on Wednesday when it was discovered by a targeted police patrol. Entry to the site was forced via a gate and the intruders then broke into the main building. It is not known at this stage whether anything has been stolen. Police have now stepped up patrols and are guarding the site. Superintendent Kevin Purcell said: "For as long as I can remember the relationship between the Muslim community in Redditch, the Police and the wider community would best be described as excellent. "Due to incidents happening nationally targeted patrols have been put in place and these will now be further increased as we will not tolerate mindless attacks of this nature. "I will be arranging meetings with the chairs of the mosques, local civic leaders and the Independent Advisory Group to reassure them of our commitment and determination to do everything possible to prevent any further such incidents and track down those responsible for this attack."
The £2.5 million mosque has previously been hit by vandalism but those attacks two years ago were not thought to be racially motivated. The incident comes just days after detectives in Walsall launched a major hate-crime investigation when a small home-made bomb exploded near a mosque. Around 150 people were evacuated from their homes in the Caldmore area of Walsall on Saturday night while bomb disposal experts made the device safe. West Midlands Police said a loud bang heard by residents late on Friday "appeared to be consistent" with the device exploding. No one was injured and it caused minimal damage. The remains of the device were found in an alleyway adjoining the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Rutter Street on Saturday by a local man who took them home and showed them to his wife. The mosque's imam also took them home later before anyone realised their significance. Both incidents happened in the wake of a number of similar instances at mosques following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south east London.
Last week two men were charged in relation to an alleged arson at a mosque in Gloucester, and an Islamic cultural centre in Grimsby was hit by petrol bombs last month. Mosques in Braintree, Essex, and Gillingham, Kent, have also been targeted.
© The Telegraph
Hate crime inquiry as bomb explodes outside mosque (UK)
Counter-terrorism officers are investigating the discovery of a home-made explosive device which went off outside a mosque.
24/6/2013- Police confirmed last night that a suspicious package found
outside the building was an explosive. Officers say that a loud bang heard by residents close to the building in Walsall on Friday night appears to have been the device going off. However, West Midlands Police were not alerted to it until the following evening when it was discovered by a member of the public who took it into the building. This triggered the evacuation of more than 40 homes as bomb disposal experts investigated the device. Nobody was injured and police say there was only “minimal damage” around the device, which had been in an alleyway. The incident is being treated as a hate crime by West Midlands Police who say the motive for placing it near a mosque remain unclear.
Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said: “The force is taking this attack against the mosque very seriously and we have a major investigation underway. “To that end, I have called in support from all over the force, including the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, which has a number of experts supporting the inquiry. Specialist investigators have been working all day and continue to ensure that we maximise every opportunity from the crime scene. “At this stage we are keeping an open mind on a motive, but have recorded it as a hate crime. A hate crime is any criminal act committed against a person or property that is motivated by the offender’s hatred of people because of their gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. “The investigation is being supported by officers from the neighbourhood policing team, who have local knowledge and relationships. If there is anyone who heard the bang on Friday evening, or saw suspicious activity on Friday or Saturday, who could help the investigation, I would urge them to come forward as soon as possible.”
Zia-Ul Haq, spokesman for the Ashia Mosque said: “First of all can I thank the police force and the local council for really supporting us on this occasion? “We didn’t think this item was serious, but called the police. “We would like to thank the police for taking this seriously and for investigating this thoroughly. “We have beautiful relationships with the local community and we’ve never had any trouble at all at our mosque. We are not too worried about this and we have every confidence in the police.” Councillor Zahid Ali, Walsall Council’s portfolio holder for public health and protection, said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder together as a community in support of the police. “We’ve worked very hard with the community and shown that we were there for them when the evacuated residents needed shelter. “Walsall has really shown its mettle in coming together and responding with calm determination.”
West Midlands Police said they believed the home made explosive was an isolated incident but had increased patrols in the area to “reassure people who may be worried”. The majority of residents had already returned to their home by yesterday evening and the remainder would be allowed back by the end of the day, police said last night. Some residents living near the mosque in Rutter Street said they heard a loud bang similar to the sound of a firework in the area late on Friday. It is understood that no one living in the area contacted police on Friday evening.
Mir Saeed, who lives around 50 yards away from the mosque, said: “I heard a big bang but I didn’t think it was anything serious. “It sounded like hitting metal with a piece of rock or something.” The father-of-four, who was forced to leave his home at 6am yesterday, added: “It is shocking for everybody when the police come and tell you to leave – it is a peaceful neighbourhood.” Labour MP Valerie Vaz, who represents Walsall South, said: “I think we need to wait and see what the police come up with following their investigations. “But I am pleased to see that the majority of my constituents who were evacuated in the early hours of Sunday morning are now back in their homes.” The evacuation of homes in the “immediate vicinity” of the mosque had been ordered by army bomb disposal experts at the scene. People who were unable to go elsewhere were taken to Walsall Town Hall.
© The Yorkshire Post
Headlines 21 June, 2013
Paint bomb attack on Islamic centre (Northern Ireland)
An Islamic centre in Belfast has been doused with a paint bomb in what police are treating as a hate crime.
21/6/2013- The centre in the Wellington Park area of the city was targeted at about 10pm on Thursday night. A milk bottle filled with paint was thrown at the building and two teenage boys were seen running away from the area. A number of mosques have been attacked in England in the wake of the murder on Wednesday of soldier Lee Rigby by terrorists in London. No one was injured in the criminal damage incident in Belfast. Anyone who witnessed it or who has any information is asked to contact police.
© The Belfast Telegraph
Rise in attacks on Muslims in Europe
Violence against Muslims in Europe is on the rise among the handful of member states that officially record such incidents.
19/6/2013- A report published on Tuesday (18 June) by the Vienna-based Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) found that Finland, France, and Sweden registered an increase in attacks against Muslims between 2010 and 2011. Only Austria registered a decline. Data is missing from every other member state either because they do no collect it or have not published it. Anti-Semitic attacks during the same period dropped in France and Sweden. The FRA report notes the trends do not reflect the prevalence of racist, xenophobic and related crimes in the member states because most incidences go unreported. Other caveats include how member states define these crimes and the willingness of witnesses to report the incidents. Finland recorded 14 cases of anti‑Muslim crime in 2009, 15 in 2010 and 14 in 2011. In France, authorities attribute the increase to applying rules on how to record the incidents. The precise number of cases was not given.
The report points out that “direct comparisons between member states cannot and should not be made here, because any observed variations are a reflection of data collection practices at the national level.” It notes member states with the highest officially recorded rates do no necessarily have the highest rates of such crimes. UK-based NGO Tell Mama records anti-Islamic attacks. The NGO, partially funded by the UK government, has noted 632 anti-Muslim hate incidents since March 2012. Most are women and girls ranging between the ages of five and 89. The few reported incidents elsewhere make for sobering reading. On Tuesday, a young pregnant Muslim woman in Paris miscarried after suffering a brutal attack by skinheads last week, reports the AFP. Two men attacked the 21-year old woman in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. They ripped off her head scarf, cut her hair, and shouted anti-Islam slurs.
© The EUobserver
Spate of Anti-Semitic Attacks Continue in Canada
A recent attack on a Jewish restaurant in Montreal, Canada, has left local Jewish residents upset and searching for explanations.
19/6/2013- The B’nai Brith Canada is “calling on the Montreal Police to get to the bottom of the attacks before people are seriously injured,” the group wrote in an email to reporters, referring to the string of attacks that have plagued the Montreal community in recent weeks, according to the Algemeiner. “This is the 3rd Jewish-owned business that has been fire-bombed in less than 2 weeks and our concern for the safety and welfare of the community is high,” explained Steven Slimovitch, B’nai Brith Canada’s National Legal Council, the Algemeiner further reported. “The Police must take concrete steps to reassure the community that their safety is not in jeopardy.” “The Police must explore every avenue of investigation and put an end to these attacks,” he added.
A wholesale kitchen cabinet showroom belonging to a Jewish businessman was attacked this past weekend. Over the last two weeks, Café Shalom and Chops—two Jewish eateries—were also attacked, according to the Algemeiner. Despite the recurrence of such attacks on Jewish businesses, police see little evidence to blame anti-Semitism for the attacks. “It appears this is a matter of competition between business places right now more than based on any ethnic or religious reasons right now,” a spokesperson for the Montreal police said, the Algemeiner further reported.
Some Jewish organizations were in agreement. “It is easy to assume that these incidents may be anti-Semitic or hate inspired events,” read a statement from the Montreal-based Combined Jewish Appeal, according to the National Post. “However … there is absolutely no evidence that these incidents — while disturbing, to be sure — are in any way motivated by anti-Semitism.” Even an owner of an attacked restaurant was skeptical. “If it’s anti-Semitism they do it at a synagogue,” said Chops owner Ouri Ohayon, according to the aforementioned report.
© The Jewish Voice
Israeli diplomat's family flees anti-Semitism in Cyprus
Son of Israeli diplomat serving in Cyprus ostracized, beaten because he's Jewish; Fearing for his well-being, family leaves country
19/6/2013- An Israeli diplomat serving in Cyprus was left with no choice but to cut her mission two years short after her 15-year-old son found himself the target of ostracization at school because he was a Jew and Israeli. The situation ended with bullies punching him, kicking him, and shocking him on the back with an electric shocker. The diplomat had already served in the Israeli consulate in Nicosia for two years, when one of her sons enrolled in a local private school became the target of intense ostracization by other kids in his class, led by a Palestinian classmate. A Turkish friend who was with the Israeli boy managed to help him flee to a nearby kiosk. “My son returned home with his face covered in blood. He was frightened, crying and hysterical. I almost fainted from the sight,” the diplomat said.
The mother quickly filed a complaint with police. Cyprus law enforcement was cooperative, and arrested the boys who appeared on security cameras. They confiscated the electric shocker and remanded the boys, who will be tried for their actions. The Israeli boy remains traumatized. Since the incident, he is afraid to go to school, and has nightmares. After consulting with the Foreign Ministry, the family decided to shorten their overseas mission, and return home. “What is important to me is what is good for my son. After speaking with professionals, we decided it was best for us is to return to the family. You must understand that as diplomats, we are under personal and security dangers.” The Foreign Ministry worker’s union responded to the situation: “This shows the many challenges which face diplomatic families. In our current situation we want to ensure good service conditions to those on missions outside of the country, with the understanding that this is not only made up of the private individual, but also by the family effort, and the willingness to sacrifice in every sense.”
© Ynet News
Warsaw Unites Against Racism (Poland)
Warsaw's inhabitants stood in solidarity with their African neighbours who were targeted by racists.
20/6/2013- The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association, together with Projekt: Polska, organized a civic action to show solidarity and paint over large racist graffiti that appeared by the entrances of the African restaurant La Mama and a nearby African shop. Both sites are located in the Muranow district, known as the area of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, and they are near the Polonia Warsaw football ground. The La Mama restaurant is a key meeting point for the African community in Warsaw and it has hosted anti-racism educational activities co-organized with the 'NEVER AGAIN' Association, such as the special multi-cultural event on the final of the African Cup of Nations in February 2013.
The graffiti at both sites included racist text and an image of a man on the gallows. The 'NEVER AGAIN' action was organized within hours after the racist graffiti was discovered on 19 June and it brought together several hundred participants mobilized through Facebook. It drew positive coverage in the media, too. The Mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz endorsed the initiative on her own Facebook page saying 'I am happy you have gathered to remove the racist inscriptions through collective action. Warsaw is an open city and there must be no place for any expression of racism! I have instructed the Warsaw City Police to pay particular attention to any such acts of discrimination.'
The incident took place against the background of a series of hate crimes that occurred in several Polish regions in the recent weeks. Anti-racism experts attribute the rise in hate crime to an increased street presence of the newly formed far-right Nationalist Movement which has drawn its strength from the racist football hooligan subculture across Poland. The Polish government has asked 'NEVER AGAIN' to join its new task force for monitoring hate crimes. The recent tendencies in far-right activities were discussed during a study visit of American, British and German organizations monitoring and combatting antisemitism, racism and right-wing extremism, hosted by the 'NEVER AGAIN' Association and the Ebert Foundation in Warsaw on 12-16 June 2013. The visitors included high-level representatives of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, New York Police Department, and the Community Security Trust.
© NEVER AGAIN Association.
One Year on from Roma Deaths, ERRC Highlights Low Sentence for Mass Murderer in Slovakia
17/6/2013- One year ago yesterday, an off-duty municipal police officer shot three Romani individuals dead, and seriously injured two others in a killing spree in the town of Hurbanovo, Slovakia. He was sentenced to just nine years in prison, an exceptionally low sentence. The minimal penalty under the Slovak Penal Code for this crime is 25 years. During his examination for the purpose of expert opinion, he frequently stated his calling to ‘solve the Roma problem’ and to ‘finally deal with the Roma in Hurbanovo’. Despite this, no racial motivation was considered during the case.
The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and the lawyers representing the victims believe that this judgment does not establish justice. The law firm of Dr Stanislav Jakubčík, together with the ERRC, submitted a Constitutional complaint on 24 May 2013 to the Slovak Constitutional Court, challenging the judgment and claiming that proceedings before the Special Criminal Court and its ruling were not in line with the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Slovak Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights.
To mark the first anniversary of the massacre, the ERRC, lawyers of the victims and the Roma Parliament in Slovakia held an event at the site of the town of Hurbanovo yesterday, paying respect to the victims of the massacre and holding a media briefing on the constitutional complaint. The ERRC and the Roma Parliament in Slovakia also sent open letters (English and Slovak) to Slovak and international authorities, pointing out the shortcomings of the Special Court’s proceedings and judgment, and asking for their advocacy to establish justice for the victims. The Roma Parliament in Slovakia have launched a petition calling on the Ministry of Justice to re-open the case. The surviving family members have limited standing at the penal court proceedings and their perspective and interests were not adequately considered by the court during the Juhasz case.
“State authorities have a duty to investigate racial motivation in any crime, and to sentence appropriately,“ said Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director of the ERRC. “This sentence undermines the confidence of minorities, in particular that of Roma, in the ability of state authorities to protect them from the threat of racist violence.
© European Roma Rights Center
Paris court throws out anti-white racism claim but jails assailant for three years (France)
A French court has dismissed charges of "anti-white racism" against a man involved in an attack in Paris in 2010 but jailed him for three years for his part in the assault.
21/6/2013- The defendant Arnaud Djender, who is white himself, admitted taking part in the assault but denied having racially insulted the victim. The court sentenced him to three years in prison with the additional sanction that the sentence should start immediately. Djender joined in when another man attacked the victim at Paris's Gare du Nord in September 2010. Witnesses say at least one of the assailants shouted "dirty white" and "dirty Frenchman" as they ran off afterwards, leaving the victim with injuries that meant he was off work for 39 hours. "There is absolutely nothing that establishes that my client pronounced a single racist insult, least of all an anti-white one, which would be absurd given that he is white himself," Djender's lawyer, Grégoire Etrillard, told reporters. Prosecutors had called for a setence of four years, one suspended, claiming that the crime was racially aggravated.
The anti-racist campaign Licra, which joined the prosecution claiming that anti-white racism is a "social phenomenon", has called on them to appeal against a judgement it described as "open to criticism". The court accepted that there had been a racist act, Licra's lawyer, Mario-Pierre Stasi, said, but attributed it to the other assailant, who has not been found. Mainstream right-wing politician Jean-François Copé caused controversy last year when he published a book claiming that racism against whites was on the rise in France, a claim previously made by the Front National's Marine Le Pen.
French judge summons Jewish family over scuffle
21/6/2013- Members of a French Jewish family were ordered to appear before a judge investigating their brawl with six men who shouted neo-Nazi insults outside the family’s home near Paris. The melee took place on June 16 in the suburb of Seine et Marne, 20 miles east of the French capital, according to a report by the SPCJ security unit of the French Jewish community. All six men were arrested and questioned, and two of them were remanded to custody for one day before being released and ordered to report, along with the Jewish family, to a judge in January. The judge will investigate the circumstances of the altercation. SPCJ said it appointed a lawyer to represent the family in court. In the course of the fight, one of the non-Jews produced a metal rod which he used to hit members of the family, including two young women who were hospitalized for several days after the attack, SPCJ reported Friday. One of the women had a broken wrist.
The violence began after one member of the family asked a motorist to drive within the speed limit in the residential area outside the family’s home. According to SPCJ, the driver had driven in circles around the family’s home. The driver went away and returned with five of his friends, who had “a European appearance.” The men did Nazi salutes outside the family’s home and shouted slogans including: “Heil Hitler, we’ll burn you all;” “Time to finish what began in 1940” and: “Dirty Jews, we’ll burn you inside your car,” according to SPCJ. The SPCJ report said a number of neighbors witnessed the event.
© JTA News
Muslim woman loses baby after veil attack (France)
A pregnant Muslim woman who was allegedly attacked in the suburbs of Paris by two ‘skinheads’ for wearing an Islamic face veil has suffered a miscarriage, it was reported on Tuesday.
18/6/2013- A young pregnant Muslim woman, who was allegedly attacked in the street for wearing a veil has lost her baby, her lawyer announced on Monday. According to reports in the French media, the woman, who was four months pregnant, was assaulted in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil on June 13th. On Monday, the 21-year-old’s lawyer Hosni Maati told AFP that the woman had since suffered a miscarriage. “Her husband called me this afternoon. She lost the baby,” the lawyer said, before adding that the family were devastated by the tragedy and would not be making any further comment. A police source involved in the investigation also confirmed the miscarriage to AFP but did not confirm that the attack was the cause of her losing the baby. In reporting the attack to police she described how she was set upon on Thursday morning by two men in the middle of the street, just after she had finished talking to her mother on the telephone. She initially blamed the attack on two "skinheads", saying the two men “ripped the veil” from her head and tore part of her clothing. The prosecutor for Pointoise, Yves Jannier, also said the woman had been kicked in the hip before she managed to flee.
French daily Le Parisien said police sources had some concerns over “inconsistencies” in her account. A contentious law banning the wearing in public of the full Muslim face veil, the niqab, was introduced in France in 2010. It did not however forbid the wearing of the hijab headscarf. The alleged assault on the woman came just three weeks after another veiled Muslim woman in Argenteuil was targeted in a similar manner. And last week, Muslims in the neighbourhood clashed with police after officers attempted to arrest a woman in the street who was wearing the full Islamic veil in public. According to Le Parisien, officers "were attacked. They were insulted and beaten, including punches". Police sources said they were forced to use tear gas to disperse the angry crowd.
In a statement the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) said everything would be done to “protect the rights of the victim”. “We appeal to the authorities that their investigation into this incident is carried out quickly and that strong measures are taken to ensure justice," the statement added. The collective also called on residents of Argenteuil to show “restraint and calm” despite their "inevitable anger" over what happened. The organisation also warned politicians against trying to use the Muslim community as a political pawn during next year's local elections. And the Coalition against Racism and Islamophobia expressed “condolences and solidarity with the family” and its “concern and great anger over the tragedy” in a statement sent to AFP on Monday. “The wave of attacks and Islamophobic incidents require a strong and uncompromising response from the government, which must express its solidarity with all victims, not just those which the interior minister deems worthy to receive," the statement added.
© The Local - France
Six Chinese students in France attacked
Six Chinese oenology students were attacked in the early hours of Saturday in France's wine-producing south-west region of Bordeaux, the interior ministry said, describing the violence as an act of xenophobia.
16/6/2013- Six Chinese oenology students were attacked in the early hours of Saturday in France's wine-producing region of Bordeaux, the interior ministry said, describing the violence as an act of xenophobia. The students, who had arrived in France only two months ago, were allegedly "violently attacked" by three local men who were visibly drunk and previously known to the police, a ministry statement said. Two of the alleged attackers have been detained and are now in police custody. A female student was seriously hurt in the face by a glass bottle which was thrown at her. "She happens to be the daughter of a Chinese political figure," said Sud Ouest newspaper on its website. According to other sources, the political figure is no longer in office.
"I cannot confirm the name, but it is someone who has now retired, having been the mayor of a big city," said Georges Jousserand, who heads the school in Bordeaux where the six Chinese between the ages of 22 and 30 were studying. The students were attacked at their home in Hostens, a small village of 1,300 inhabitants located about 50 kilometres south of Bordeaux in southwest France. Police had apparently called on the three suspects that night over the din they were making. Following that incident, the alleged attackers went to the residence where the Chinese students were living, perhaps thinking that the students had complained to police about the noise, a source close to the case said.
"When the Chinese student opened the door, he was attacked. And while the other students were trying to push the assailants out, it was then that one of the attackers threw a bottle straight in the face of the female student," according to Jousserand. "Two of the attackers were particularly violent," he added. Another source close to the affair said the three were very drunk. They knew exactly where the Chinese students lived and hurled "racist insults" at them, said the source. The mayor of Hostens, Michel Viallesoubranne said that the students behaved calmly, while Jousserand said they were "perfectly integrated in this small village". Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned "severely this xenophobic act, for which the culprits must answer to before justice". The students were meant to be studying in France for a year.
Concern has grown in China in recent months over the increasing number of cases of thefts and attacks against Chinese tourists. In March, a group of 23 Chinese tourists were robbed in a restaurant shortly after they landed at Paris airport. French Tourism Minister Sylvia Pinel was forced to come out to say she would do everything to find the perpetrators. The latest attack came on the eve of one of the biggest wine shows in the world, Vinexpo, which is held in the region. China, which is the French winemakers' third biggest market, has increased its participation at the show, with 18 exhibitors expected this year, up from two in 2011.
Chinese investors have begun buying up vineyards in Bordeaux, not always to the pleasure of locals. French winemakers have recently also sounded the alarm over an anti-dumping probe launched by Beijing into wine imports from the European Union, in an apparent retaliation act over Brussels' decision to slap tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports.
French Muslims Demonstrate against Islamophobia
Hundreds of French Muslims took to the streets in the city of Argenteuil, Ile-de-France region in protest against rising Islamophobia.
16/6/2013- The protestors gathered in front of the city hall, calling for immediate reaction of the city’s mayor and other officials in the face of crimes committed against Muslims, l'express website reported. Abdul Aziz Chambi, head of the organization against racism and Islamophobia (CRI) was among the protesters. He said while anti-Islamic attacks continue in France, the country’s officials remain silent over the attacks. He said violence against Muslims is never justifiable and that there must be an end to anti-Muslim attacks. On Thursday, June 13, a Hijab-wearing pregnant woman was violently attacked in the city by ati-Islamic elements. Another Hijab-wearing woman was recently detained by the police in the center of Argenteuil. In response to Muslims’ protest, Argenteuil’s mayor has said, “We will not let such anti-Islamic actions take place in our city again.” France has the largest Muslim minority population in Western Europe. The country’s Muslim population is estimated to be more than 5 million.
Headlines 14 June, 2013
Police investigating hate crime at Toronto home (Canada)
14/6/2013- A Toronto residence is the focus of a hate crime investigation after a family discovered their garage had been defaced with hate symbols and threatening messages. Police were called Thursday morning to a residence belonging to an Orthodox Jewish family with several young children. The woman, who has asked not to be identified, told CTV News Friday that her husband noticed a large swastika and hate message scrawled on their garage door when he went to take out the garbage. The family soon realized the perpetrators had also entered the unlocked garage, defacing their property even further with threatening messages and more swastikas -- one was drawn on a child’s high chair. “We feel terribly violated,” the woman said in an interview Friday. “The first time it was on the window of a car that was right at the front of the driveway, now it was already making their way into my property.” The woman said it’s the second time in weeks their property has been targeted. The couple found a swastika drawn on the inside window of their car, which had been left unlocked overnight.
After seeing the vandalism, the family called police. Officers canvassed the neighbourhood and collected evidence on Friday. “We treat this very seriously and we want to catch these people and put them behind bars,” said Sgt. Lawrence Sager. Avi Benlolo, the president of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies, also visited the home today to help the family. “You look at the graffiti and the threatening language that’s been placed in a residential neighbourhood and you have to ask yourself: why would anyone do such a thing,” Benlolo said. He said anti-Semitic acts have been on the rise lately, noting a recent firebombing incident in Montreal. Though the family says they have been left shaken by the incidents, they are pleased police are taking the matter seriously. “We are obviously not immune being here in Toronto, but at the same time it should not and cannot be tolerated,” the woman said.
© CTV News Toronto
Councillor calls for black Italy minister to be raped
A councillor belonging to Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League party called on Thursday for the country's first black minister to be raped, sparking an outcry and her expulsion from the party.
14/6/2013- "Won't someone rape her, just to make her understand what victims of this terrible crime feel? For shame!" Dolores Valandro, a councillor in Padua in Northern Italy, wrote on Facebook alongside a photograph of African-Italian Immigration Minister Cecile Kyenge. Valandro was apparently reacting to an article on a website called "all immigrant crimes" which detailed an alleged attempt by a Somali in Genoa to rape two Romanian girls, Italian media reports said. Kyenge said "everyone should feel offended" by the comments, and said she had long battled against violent language and behaviour. Her reaction was supported by Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who said: "Cecile Kyenge is right, each one of us should feel offended, I feel offended." "The words do not deserve any comment, just disdain. Cecile deserves solidarity from me, the government and the country," he said. Valandro later apologized, saying: "It was a something I said in a moment of anger. When I'm angry I vent that way."
Kyenge, an eye doctor and Italian citizen originally from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been subjected to a barrage of racist attacks since being appointed minister in February. She has drawn heated criticism from the League over plans to push for legislation that would allow children born in Italy to immigrant parents to get automatic citizenship instead of waiting until 18 to apply. Earlier this month on June 3rd, Italian rightwinger MEP Mario Borghezio was expelled from the European Parliament's Eurosceptic group for "repugnant" racist comments against Kyenge. According to AFP, the Northern League member had issued a string of insulting remarks against her, the least insulting of which was that "she looks like a housewife". A petition calling for the MEP to resign was then signed by 130,000 people.
© The Local - Italy
Belgium ignores discrimination against Muslims: OSCE
Adil Akhmetov said two cases of suffering in Muslim families in Belgium constituted hate crimes, but went unpunished by the government.
12/6/2013- Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) official Adil Akhmetov has said the Belgium government failed to provide justice to Muslim families living in the country who were subject to discrimination and violence. Ambassador Akhmetov, OSCE Personal Representative on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims and a Senator in Kazakhstan Parliament, met with NGOs and Muslim families in his visit to the northern city of Antwerp. Akhmetov listened to Done Arslan, whose son Mikail Tekin died four years ago in the Jamiouix Prison near the city of Charleroi after suffering violence at the hands of prison guards on the first day he was jailed. According to prisoner witnesses, Tekin, handcuffed, was beaten and dragged on the ground by three guards with whom he had an altercation. Witnesses say Tekin was killed with a baton pressed upon his neck. The guards were acquitted on self-defense. "How in the world could they have exercised self-defense against a tied prisoner; I just can't believe it," Arslan said. "Thank God, the file has not been closed. We have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)."
The OSCE Representative told AA reporter that Belgium authorities was "negligent" in handing due punishment to the perpetrators of what he said should be categorized as "racism and hate crimes". Akhmetov also visited Nerkiz Sahin, who lost her spouse and two children eight years ago when their house was sabotaged. Sahin's life as a mother of two in a family well integrated into the Belgian society turned black when Davy Hendrikx, an ex-convict of several crimes including drug use, could not resist the urge within that he says told him to burn their house. Sahin's husband Suleyman and two of their three children died, while she and a nine year old daughter survived wounded. Sahin was shocked when she learned Hendrikx, who admitted to setting fire to Sahins' house, was handed a three-month prison sentence by a Belgian court. She continues her legal fight in ECHR, while leading the Fair Judiciary Association she founded to provide help and support to the aggrieved.
© The Worldbulletin
Nazi slogans daubed in French cathedral
11/6/2013- Nazi slogans were daubed and Hitler moustaches painted on statues of angels in the cathedral in Nantes in western France. The graffiti and damage was discovered at the cathedral during the weekend and follows similar acts of vandalism suspected to be the work of ultra-right wing groups at the cathedral in Limoges in the centre of the country.
Russian gay rights activists detained after "kissing protest"
* Parliament set to pass law banning gay "propaganda" * Gay rights protesters pelted with eggs * Critics say anti-gay measures fueling violence
11/6/2013- Russian police detained more than 20 gay rights activists involved in a "kissing protest" on Tuesday outside parliament where lawmakers were preparing to pass a bill banning homosexual "propaganda". The bill is one of a series of socially conservative measures garnering support in the Kremlin-dominated parliament during President Vladimir Putin's third term. The gay protesters were far outnumbered by around 200 anti-gay activists who surrounded them, chanting "Russia is not Sodom", singing Orthodox Christian prayers and crossing themselves. They threw rotten eggs at the gay protesters. After scuffles in which one man was knocked to the ground and kicked by the anti-gay activists, police began detaining the gay protesters and bundling them into waiting buses. Journalist and Putin critic Masha Gessen said she was among 24 people being taken to police stations. Moscow police said about 20 people were detained.
The State Duma, or lower house of parliament, was expected to pass the bill later in the day, ignoring Western criticism that it curbs basic freedoms and concerns among activists that it is fuelling hate attacks on homosexuals. The bill would ban the spread of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" among minors and impose heavy fines for violations. "Traditional sexual relations are relations between a man and a woman, which ... are a condition for the preservation and development of the multi-ethnic Russian people," lawmaker Yelena Mizulina told the Duma on Tuesday. "It is precisely these relations that need special protection by the state," she said.
Critics says the bill - a nationwide version of laws already in place in several cities including Putin's hometown of St Petersburg - would in effect ban all gay rights rallies and they fear it could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals. "There is already enough pressure and violence against gays and with this law it will only continue and probably get worse," said Viktoria Malyasova, 18, standing outside the Duma. "I may not be gay but I came to stand up for my rights and the rights of other people to love whom they want," she said. Putin, who has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church as a moral authority and harnessed its influence as a source of political support, has championed socially conservative values since winning a six-year third term in May 2012. The 60-year-old president denies that Russia discriminates against gays but he has criticised them for failing to increase the country's population, which has declined sharply since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Activists say violence against homosexuals has increased since Putin returned to the Kremlin after four years as prime minister and that it is being fuelled by the bill and other aspects of his conservative agenda. It is unusual for Russian authorities to link crimes with homophobia, but investigators have said anti-gay hate was the motive in the brutal murders of two men in the past month, one in eastern Russia and one in the southern city of Volgograd.
Czech organizer of anti-Roma demonstrations doesn't recall expressing a desire for mass murder
10/6/2013- Jan Dufek, the man who was so looking forward to Czech citizens finally rising up to murder off Romani people, is now claiming that he doesn't stand by what he said. "I was upset and unfortunately I can't take it back now," Dufek has told news server iDNES.cz. The well-known neo-Nazi did not clarify to iDNES.cz whom exactly he had in mind when he was talking about mass murder. "I don't know anymore, if I hadn't seen the video recording, I wouldn't have even remembered what I said then," Dufek claims. Jan Dufek and Jindřich Svoboda are the organizers of what so far has been just one anti-Roma demonstration in the Czech town of Duchcov, a protest that was followed by an attempted march on Romani people's residences, but the pair have announced other demonstrations for the future. Mayor Jitka Bártová recently did her best to calm the situation in the town after the demonstration by convening a public discussion. As can be seen from the statement captured on camera, Dufek and Svoboda are convening these anti-Roma demonstrations in order to deteriorate and escalate the situation such that non-Romani people will start murdering Romani ones. News server Romea.cz was the first to report on the case.
"We have the video and we are intensively investigating the case. Detectives are evaluating the recording and other evidence. The legal qualification of the crime has not yet been established. Whether the person captured in the recording is criminally liable is the subject of further investigation," Teplice Police spokesperson Daniel Vítek said. "Jan Dufek may have committed a felony per Section 356 of the Criminal Code by making a statement inciting hatred against a group of people and/or restrictions on their rights and freedoms. Because he did that through television, he could face between six months and three years in prison should he be charged and convicted," lawyer David Oplatek, who has long been involved in litigating hate crimes, told news server Romea.cz.
Let's take a closer look at this man who claims he is so innocent and so upset that he loses his memory. We can start with some samples of the opinions posted to his Facebook profile:
"Today it doesn't matter if it's the gypsies or the Muslims. The white race is dying. It is no longer as grand and proud and that is thanks solely to the humanists and pseudo-saviors. How much longer will this dark era last?"
"Just you try to vote for that JEW FIŠER!!! I don't understand how anyone can love that gypsy rhythm and that cunt Rolincova!!??"
Posted beneath a photograph of an explosion: "Ha ha I already know how we'll get the gypsies out of Dux" Jan Fischer responds to this post: "Share the missiles around" Dufek responds: "Fišo I'd be very glad to, one batch of missiles per town" Fischer responds: "If by one batch you mean a full B52"
According to Antifa.cz, both conveners of the anti-Romani actions in Duchcov are neo-Nazis. "Dufek is a longtime neo-Nazi activist. He has been previously convicted of giving the Nazi salute, weapons possession, and welfare fraud. He has reportedly also previously participated, along with a larger group of people, in attacking a group of Romani people in Slovakia. While standing on the main square in the town of Krupina there, he first insulted Romani people, gave the Nazi salute, threatened to shoot them in the head, and then physically assaulted them," Antifa writes in a press release. Antifa.cz also reported on the neo-Nazi affiliations of Jan Dufek in a January 2008 article entitled "Oslavy v režii Jana Dufka z Duchcova" ("Celebrations as directed by Jan Dufek of Duchcov"). So far only Dufek has been captured on camera discussing the mass murder of Romani people.
As news server Romea.cz reported previously, Dufek's colleague Svoboda has expressed himself in the same terms on his own Facebook profile, as follows: "So finally it's out! The secret video of the assault in Duchcov! Those black fuckers! They should all be massacred! How much longer will we tolerate this? I propose that it is time to unite and fucking give them what for! I'm going to go throw up and then I'm going to sharpen my knives...." Jindřich Svoboda, known by the nickname "Pinďa", defended himself in a Facebook post stating that he is neither an extremist nor a radical. However, he also admitted being a member of the right-wing extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS).
Neo-Nazis and other ultra-right extremists are now competing with activists from the opposing camp to see who can announce more events in the town of Duchcov. The Konexe association and the Otrokem rasy ("Slave of Race") initiative have already announced events for several public spaces for as far as three months in advance, but the DSSS, Dufek and Svoboda are neck and neck with them in terms of making their own announcements. An overview of the events announced there is available on the town's official website.
Scotland sees rise in number of race hate cases (UK)
14/6/2013- The number of charges for hate crime against disabled people more than doubled from 60 in 2011-12 to 136 last year, official figures have revealed. The increased incidence of abuse against the disabled was identified in Scottish Government statistics which also found a rise in homophobic abuse and Islamophobia in Scotland. An analysis of hate crime in Scotland found that there were 729 charges relating to offences aggravated by prejudice towards sexual orientation in 2012-13, an increase on the 650 charges recorded in 2011-12 and the 452 reported the year before that. When it came to charges connected to derogatory behaviour towards Islam, they rose from 19 in 2011-12 to 80 in 2012-13.
The rise in Islamophobic-related charges was attributed to behaviour at one event in Glasgow, where the Scottish Defence League organised a counter- demonstration to a “Campaign to Welcome Refugees” march. The majority of charges – 57 – resulted from incidents at the event. Overall, however, there was a decrease in both racist and religiously aggravated offending in Scotland, according to a series of government reports that looked at hate crime, religiously aggravated offending and the first annual statistics published on the new Offensive Behaviour Act, which scrutinises football matches. In total, there were 4,012 race charges recorded in Scotland in 2012-13, a decrease of 12 per cent on the previous year and the lowest level since 2003-4.
Launching the research, the community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham said the Scottish Government would work to tackle homophobic hatred and abuse against disabled people. There was, she said, evidence that the rising number of charges relating to abuse against disabled people and the rise in homophobic abuse was down to a increased willingness to report such crimes. “There is some suggestion from within both of those communities that this may simply be an increased confidence in reporting, because they no longer as communities are prepared to tolerate this behaviour so they have growing confidence that the police will act quickly to deal with it as well,” she said. But activists fighting for equality for disabled people and homosexuals were concerned by the figures.
Richard Harner, the director of external affairs at Capability Scotland, said: “Whilst the majority of Scots treat disabled people as equal members of our society, it’s an unfortunate truth that a small minority choose to persecute them simply because of their impairment.” Tim Hopkins, of the gay rights campaign group Equality Network, said: “We are concerned by the level of crime and we know that there is a lot of crime that still goes unreported. So it is a very big problem.” Figures examining the new Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 showed that there were 268 charges in 2012-13. The majority of those were as a result of behaviour at football stadia.
© The Scotsman
Police warning over hate crime after Maidenhead mosque attack (UK)
12/6/2013- Thames Valley Police has warned hate crime will not be tolerated following two further religiously-motivated acts at Maidenhead Mosque. On Monday, a piece of bacon was posted through the Holmanleaze mosque's letterbox, while 'England till I die' graffti was sprayed on nearby tarmac last week. It comes after stones were thrown through a pane of glass at the mosque on May 22 - the night after Drummer Lee Rigby was attacked and killed in a suspected Islamist attack in Woolwich. Windsor and Maidenhead LPA area commander Simon Bowden said: "The behaviour of a very small minority is causing concern within the local community. "Thames Valley Police view all types of hate crime seriously and will not tolerate this appalling behaviour by small minded individuals. The local Muslim community play an important part in the fabric of our community, as do other faiths." Maidenhead neighbourhood inspector John McKee added: "The Holmanleaze mosque is highly respected locally. "We've received much support over the years from them for various community events and issues. I find it deeply saddening that such genuinely nice people could be abused in this way."
© The Maidenhead Advetiser
Plymouth 'hate crime' against disabled people rises by over 900 per cent (UK)
12/6/2013- Reported incidents of disability hate crime in Plymouth have risen by 942 per cent. The number of incidents reported has risen from seven in 2012 to 73 in 2013. While Devon and Cornwall Police claim that the huge rise is due to confidence that victims’ complaints will be dealt with effectively, the level of hate crime against disabled people has been soaring across the country. Charities have raised concerns that rhetoric about 'scroungers' is playing a role in the national rise. Devon and Cornwall Police say that it's diverse communities team (DCT) works alongside officers from neighbourhood teams and partner organisations to raise awareness, increase knowledge and build trust and confidence with those from disability support groups. And over the last year this work has focused on education sessions with groups to raise awareness of hate and mate crimes and how to report these crimes and incidents.
Sergeant Robin Loveridge, from Plymouth’s DCT, outlined the type of incident now being reported to the police: “Recently we had an incident where a man with Down’s syndrome was verbally threatened and abused at a bus stop in the city centre, while he was in the company of his support worker. “On another occasion a woman with learning disability was subjected to some pretty nasty name calling which caused her a great deal of distress. “Police are currently investigating both incidents and we will always push for a full sanction to be applied in such circumstances.” Police and partners, including the city council and fire service, are supporting Plymouth People First, the self-advocacy charity for adults with a learning disability, in holding a Blue Light Day on June 17, at Plympton fire station.
Over 20 organisations South Western Ambulance Service, the Red Cross, the National Health Service will have stands and around 200 adults with learning disability are expected to attend on the day. “Plymouth People First is grateful to its sponsors and particularly Plymouth’s diversity unit for facilitating a second Blue Light Day,” said Jill Singh, self-advocacy project officer. “Ensuring the continued safety of our members and encouraging partner agencies to develop working relationships with our users, to increase access to services, is an integral part of our work. “I am genuinely thrilled with the huge uptake of offers we’ve had from different organisations to get involved with our event this year.”
Ros Clarke, the community safety manager, for the fire service said: “Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to be the host venue for the second annual Blue Light Day for adults with learning disabilities. “It is through close working with our partner agencies that we are able to engage with those most vulnerable in our communities, events such as these afford us the unique opportunity to deliver our collective safety messages whilst giving those who attend a really enjoyable day out.” Sgt Loveridge added: “The day is an important chance to engage with a variety of support groups from across the city to raise awareness, increase knowledge and build trust and confidence. “It will allow us to show how important it is that people do not tolerate any form of hate or mate crime and report incidents to the police. It also allows us to show them how to go about reporting. “It is also very important that the general public report these incidents and demonstrate that these crimes are not acceptable and not tolerated within Plymouth.”
© This is the West Country
How can British Muslim communities better protect themselves? (opinion)
Co-operation between Jewish and Muslim groups has been heartening, but police cuts and vigilantism may present problems
By Maleiha Malik
11/6/2013- "We sat and wept", said the leader of the Somali Bravanese community to Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of the New North London Synagogue after a fire burned to the ground the al-Rahma Islamic Centre that had been used for prayers, celebrations and educating children. It is not just the Somali Bravanese Muslims of Muswell Hill who are the victims of this suspected hate crime, but all British Muslims who experience fear and intimidation when their religious community is the target of violence. Hate crimes also undermine the sense of safety, security and belonging of all racial and religious minorities, such as Sikhs, Hindus and Jews. But in this particular case, fear was quickly replaced by calm. Abubakar Ali of the al-Rahma centre was overwhelmed by the support he received from the rest of the local community: "When it [the fire] started I was shocked. I was emotional. But when I saw the crowds yesterday I was relieved and I was happy. It gave me assurances I have family, friends, neighbours – everyone was behind us."
The importance of this immediate support by local synagogues and Jewish groups cannot be overstated: it challenges popular assumptions of intractable tensions between British Muslims and Jews. It is important for Muslims and Jews to form alliances because as non-Christian monotheistic religious minorities they face similar forms of prejudice. British Jews have a long history of experiencing state-sponsored persecution, violence and expulsion that is more extreme than the contemporary situation facing Muslims in Britain. Nevertheless, Muslims can learn important lessons from the extensive experience of British Jews in their fight against racism. The Community Security Trust (CST), which safeguards British Jews, was set up as Jewish voluntary community group without public funding, at a time when the criminal law, the police and statutory agencies did not prioritise the fight against violent racism. The CST has generously shared its experience with other racial and religious minorities, including most recently the newly formed Mama Project (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) that records anti-Muslim attacks, provides community-based advice and supports victims.
What exactly can Muslim communities fighting racism learn from British Jews? The experience of the CST confirms that a strategy has to involve three stakeholders: the individual, the community, and statutory agencies. First, therefore, it is important to build individual confidence among Muslims that encourages them to report rather than endure anti-Muslim hatred. Even minor incidents, such as name-calling on Twitter, should be reported. Second, community groups such as Mama need support because they are uniquely placed to build trust and respond sensitively. Third, individuals and community groups should work constructively with the police and statutory agencies. These days, the police are better placed to safeguard Muslims than they were in the past, since hate crimes now cover religion as well as race, and post-Stephen Lawrence policing reforms ensure a greater (albeit not optimal) institutional capacity to fight hate crimes and support victims.
Some suggest that it is safer for ethnic minorities to take the protection and policing of their communities into their own hands – the plans of the jihadist gang jailed for plotting to bomb an EDL rally seems to stem in part from that kind of flawed logic. If the EDL continues as an anti-Muslim "street movement", the police must stop the cycle of violent retaliation between extremist groups. This requires strengthening links between statutory agencies and local Muslim organisations that have deep roots and legitimacy in their communities. More generally, those who argue for self-policing underestimate the resources needed to fight racism. Moreover, it is not realistic to expect Muslims, an economically deprived and socially excluded group, to have the internal resources to record incidents, support victims or tackle jihadists. Community-based initiatives such as Mama, valuable though they are, cannot replace the work of national statutory agencies, especially for Muslim communities.
Still, tackling hate crimes in an age of austerity and cuts to police budgets will be challenging. Lynne Featherstone MP set out the coalition government's approach in the 2012 report Challenge it, Report it, Stop it: the Government's Plan to Tackle Hate Crime. Featherstone's approach shifted the lead for tackling hate crimes from national statutory agencies to the "local level with professionals, the voluntary sector and communities". This "deregulation" of hate crime initiatives, at the same time as cutting police budgets, will leave not only Muslims but all citizens vulnerable. It is tantamount to the government trying to extricate itself from the responsibility for recording and tackling extremist hate crime altogether: not only the acts of violent racists who target Muslims but also those jihadists who target white communities.
In the face of the visceral hatred of both the EDL and jihadists, co-operation between Jews and Muslims remains especially important. Although there is no simple relationship between antisemitism and anti-Muslim prejudice, both racisms as well as jihadism share a common feature: they are an attack on our democratic values of tolerance, equality and solidarity. This also explains why antisemitism in the Muslim community, and anti-Muslim prejudice in the Jewish community, are not only wrong in principle but they are also ultimately a self-defeating "own goal". The spectacle of Muslims repeating anti-Jewish conspiracy theories or Jews disseminating narratives about a Muslim plot to seize control and establish "Londonistan" is like watching turkeys vote for Christmas.
The Jewish experience also provides an important clue about wider ethical responsibility for racism against British Muslims. It is true that many of the perpetrators of racism are young, white, working-class men. Yet, it is also true that the rhetoric of anti-Muslim prejudice was not created by young, white, working-class men in a pub in Muswell Hill. EDL leader Tommy Robinson's words on Radio 4's Today programme may have jarred with polite sensibilities, but they were a version of crude, false generalisations about Muslims, sharia and Islam that are commonplace throughout the British media. Just as in the past it was often the educated literati who were responsible for creating a false identity about British Jews that led to their persecution, the originators of anti-Muslim prejudice in the present have largely been educated political and media elites rather than white working-class men. These elites are the wider perpetrator community who provide the legitimating discourse and language for violent racism.
Comments on this article will be premoderated for legal reasons
© Comment is free - Guardian
6 jailed in UK for plot to attack far-right rally
Six British men inspired by Islamic extremist material were sentenced Monday to almost 20 years in prison each for plotting a bomb and gun attack on a far-right rally a year ago.
10/6/2013- Six British men inspired by Islamic extremist material were sentenced Monday to almost 20 years in prison each for plotting a bomb and gun attack on a far-right rally a year ago. The men, from the Birmingham area of central England, had earlier pleaded guilty at London's Central Criminal Court to planning an attack on the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim English Defense League. The plot failed when they arrived after the rally had ended. They were caught by chance after a car was impounded for insurance violation. The vehicle contained guns, a homemade bomb and other weapons. Judge Nicholas Hilliard said the suspects had intended to cause serious injuries and possibly deaths. He said the men had immersed themselves in a "tide of apparently freely available extremist material."
Hilliard sentenced Omar Mohammed Khan, 31; Jewel Uddin, 27; and 22-year-old Zohaib Ahmed to 19 years and six months in prison. Mohammed Hasseen, 24; Anzal Hussain, 25; and Mohammed Saud, 23, each received 18 years and nine months. As the sentencing hearing ended, English Defense League leader Tommy Robinson and his deputy Kevin Carroll called out "God save the Queen" from the public gallery, as supporters of the defendants shouted "Allahu Akbar." The judge said he was aware members of the EDL used Islamophobic obscenities and caused anxiety among Muslims. "I acknowledge the unrest and enormous distress such behavior gives rise to," he said. "But as a response, more unlawful violence is not on the list of options."
© The Associated Press
British police say fire at London Islamic school suspicious (UK)
A fire at an Islamic boarding school in London late on Saturday night is being treated as suspicious, the police said, just days after a mosque was burnt down in another part of the British capital in a suspected arson attack.
9/6/2013- In an incident likely to stoke fears that an anti-Muslim backlash is under way after the killing of a British soldier on a London street last month, police said they were investigating a fire at the Darul Uloom Islamic School in Chislehurst. Police who were called to the school just before midnight on Saturday said that two people were treated for smoke inhalation and the flames had caused minor damage to the building. Around 120 children and staff were inside the school at the time and had to be evacuated, local media reported. "Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the fire. At this early stage it is being treated as suspicious," the police said in a statement on Sunday, saying they had made no arrests so far. The fire follows a suspected arson attack on an Islamic centre in north London last Wednesday. "EDL" was found scrawled on the side of that building. EDL is the acronym for the English Defense League (EDL), a far-right group that has held several protests in London and elsewhere since the murder of soldier Lee Rigby last month. The EDL denied any involvement in the previous incident.
Merseyside Police treating Anfield newsagent fire attack as a 'hate crime' (UK)
Shopkeeper was verbally abused and is now in hospital after trying to put the fire out himself
9/6/2013- A city newsagents was torched by thugs who verbally abused the shopkeeper before setting his shop on fire. A police investigation is now underway after the arson attack on Saturday (June 8) night which has left Robinson News on Priory Road in Anfield badly damaged and put the 48-year-old shopkeeper in hospital. Officers are treating the incident as a “hate crime” and say it might be linked to a fight between two customers in the shop earlier in the week which was reported in the ECHO on Thursday. Residents said the store was “petrol bombed” but police say investigations are still underway to determine the cause of the blaze, although they confirm some sort of accelerant was used. The shopkeeper is thought to have been injured after he went back into shop, trying to put out the fire. His hands and arms have been badly burned but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Two men are wanted in connection to the arson attack, both had their faces covered before going into the shop just before 9pm. One resident said: “It is terrible, shocking. The shop is so badly damaged I hope it hasn’t put him out of business.” Detectives investigating the incident want as many witnesses to come forward as possible. DCI Andy O'Connor said: "Merseyside Police takes all forms of hate crime extremely seriously and I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and has any information to come forward. This kind of incident will not be tolerated and we must all work together to find those responsible. "The investigation is in its early stages, and there are a number of lines of enquiry being examined at this time, one of which is the possibility that the arson may have some links to a fight inside the shop earlier this week between two customers."
The shop has been significantly damaged by the fire. There is a flat above the shop which was occupied at the time but the resident managed to escape the fire unharmed. Police were called out to the blaze by Merseyside Fire and Rescue. The two men are described as being about 5ft 7in tall, wearing dark clothing. The scene has been sealed for forensic examination by Merseyside Police and fire investigators and house-to-house enquiries are underway. Police patrols have been stepped up in the area.
© The Liverpool Echo
Muslim hate monitor to lose backing (UK)
Ministers end funding for body that claimed 'wave of attacks’ against Islam.
9/6/2013- A controversial project claiming to measure anti-Muslim attacks will not have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods. The project, called Tell Mama, claimed that there had been a “sustained wave of attacks and intimidation” against British Muslims after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, with 193 “Islamophobic incidents” reported to it, rising to 212 by last weekend. The group’s founder, Fiyaz Mughal, said he saw “no end to this cycle of violence”, describing it as “unprecedented”. The claims were unquestioningly repeated in the media. Tell Mama and Mr Mughal did not mention, however, that 57 per cent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain.
Contrary to the group’s claim of a “cycle of violence” and a “sustained wave of attacks”, only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 per cent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment. There have been a further 12 attacks on Islamic buildings, three of them serious, including a probable arson attack on a Muslim community centre in north London, which burned it to the ground. Tell Mama supporters launched a furious campaign of protest against The Sunday Telegraph after it disclosed the breakdown last week, with round-robin emails to the newspaper accusing it of behaviour “better suited to the days of 1930s Germany”. However, The Sunday Telegraph has now learned that even before Woolwich, the communities minister, the Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, called Mr Mughal to a meeting and said that Tell Mama’s grant would not be renewed.
The organisation has received a total of £375,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) since last year. “Mr Mughal was giving data on attacks to DCLG which wasn’t stacking up when it was cross-referenced with other reports by Acpo [the Association of Chief Police Officers],” said one source closely involved in counter-extremism. “He was questioned by DCLG civil servants and lost his temper. He was subsequently called in by Don Foster and told that he would receive no more money.” A senior Liberal Democrat source confirmed the sequence of events, saying: “There was a bit of a spat. He was called in and told that Acpo had cast doubt on his figures. He was told that he would be closely monitored for the remaining period of the grant and that there would be no more money.” A DCLG spokesman confirmed that Tell Mama’s funding would not be renewed and refused to deny that officials had raised concerns about its methods.
Tell Mama claimed in March that anti-Muslim crime was “rising”, even though the group had only been in operation at that stage for a year and had no previous figures to compare with. Other figures, collected by the police, show that hate crime in mainly Muslim areas has fallen in the past 10 years. The only large force that collects figures on specifically anti-Muslim crime, the Metropolitan Police, reported an 8.5 per cent fall in such crimes between 2009 and 2012. There was a spike in anti-Muslim incidents after the killing of Drummer Rigby. However, contrary to Tell Mama’s claims that it was “unprecedented”, the Met’s assistant commissioner, Cressida Dick, told MPs last week that it was “slightly less” than after previous terror attacks. “There has not been such a very big increase in attacks as we might have feared,” she said. Mr Mughal himself has now admitted to the BBC that the number of physical attacks was “small”.
Tell Mama has also been using its budget to threaten members of the public with libel actions for criticising it on Twitter. In mid-May, before Woolwich, one Jewish activist, Ambrosine Chetrit, received a threatening letter from solicitors after she tweeted that “Tell Mama are sitting on Twitter on the EDL hashtag, threatening anyone and everyone whose comments they do not like about Islam”. Tell Mama also objected to a tweet in which Ms Chetrit said it was “trying to close down pro-Israel [Twitter] accounts daily”. Other recipients of legal threats at the same time include Atma Singh, a former race adviser to the then Labour mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who received a legal letter from Tell Mama after tweeting that it “gives a platform to Islamists”.
Tell Mama did not claim that either of these individuals was racist or anti-Muslim. But it said their tweets were false and “defamatory” of Mr Mughal, had “damaged” his reputation, causing him “distress and embarrassment”, and demanded immediate apologies and damages. Up to four other people are believed to have received similar threats. The letters were written by Farooq Bajwa, a solicitor who has acted for a number of Islamists and Islamist sympathisers, including the Palestinian radical leader Raed Salah and the Respect MP George Galloway. The letters to Mr Singh and Ms Chetrit were sent to their private home addresses, neither of which are in the public domain. Ms Chetrit’s lawyer, Mark Lewis, who has acted for many phone-hacking victims, has reported Mr Bajwa and Tell Mama to the police after they refused to say how they obtained the information.
“I have been instructed to resist the claim,” said Mr Lewis. “It has no merit. I have not had any response as to how my client’s name and address were obtained.” Mr Singh said: “I find it absurd that someone can threaten people on this kind of basis and use libel in this political way. This is nothing to do with Islamophobia – they are just trying to shut down debate.” Ms Chetrit said: “It is very worrying and scary. All the people who have been threatened by Tell Mama are pro-Israeli.” The DCLG claimed that Tell Mama’s funding was always due to cease in September 2013 and that Mr Foster was “very impressed” by the “progress” the group had made. However, the funding of Tell Mama was described as “ongoing” in the Government’s “hate crime action plan” last year and only in November Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, announced that £214,000 of “new” and “further” funding had been granted to Tell Mama.
Mr Mughal said: “The meeting with DCLG officials related to the publication of 2012 anti-Muslim prejudice figures and having an independent review of those figures, which is good practice. "This was agreed and has always been part of the process. The 'loss of temper’ did not relate to the methodology of data collection.” Mr Mughal said that no public money had been used to issue the libel threats. He said: “We will defend the right of all people to express their identities and their support for countries and groups freely. However, we have the right to defend the integrity of our work when people broadcast [on Twitter] comments that are simply untrue and highly damaging about us.” He declined to explain how the private addresses had been obtained, but said it was “within the law.”
© The Telegraph
Graffiti that can't be ignored (Ireland, opinion)
Defacement of a Dublin building with anti-Semitic rantings is something we must take seriously
By Chris Jackson
9/6/2013- Atop the high, thick walls of the building that was to be the Anglo Irish Bank headquarters blood red graffiti bled, below it read, 'Zionist engineered financial holocaust' and 'Jewish supremacist destruction of indigenous Europeans'. Even in a nation where Jews number less than 2,000, anti-Semitism – the most sick and storied form of prejudice – exists enough so that a few depraved degenerates decided to make such a detestable public statement. It is a statement that we must not ignore. Persecution in Ireland, be it of Africans, Asians or Eastern Europeans, is based on the primary perceptions that they put Irish people out of jobs, or that they come to Ireland to live off the State, or in extreme examples, that they are less than the Irish. Such persecution, regardless of basis, is without question abhorrent. But anti-Semitism is different, it is a form of persecution unlike any other, and that should cause concern.
Anti-Semitism is as diverse as those who draw on it. It's foremost religious. In medieval and renaissance Europe, anti-Semitism was usually of the "Christ Killer" kind, often embellished with accusations about the slaughter and mutilation of Christian children. The Jesuits rescinded a 16th-Century ban on candidates of Jewish descent only in 1946. It's also racist. The idea that the Jews are a distinct and inferior race gained acceptance with the eugenics movement in the late 19th Century, and ultimately culminated in the deaths of six million Jews, almost two-thirds of Europe's Jews.
The form of anti-Semitism exhibited on Dublin's North Quay last week was economic and political. While it is not a new phenomenon (Jews were blamed in the Twenties and Thirties for both capitalism and communism) it is one that is increasingly prevalent, in large part due to national and international political and economic uncertainty. The idea that Jews nefariously manipulate the world's financial system plays to the paranoiacs that suspect a secret world government, a government supposedly behind such acts as 9/11.
This kind of anti-Semitism should concern us for it can so easily spread. The internet is inundated with crass conspiracy theorists that rationalise their anti-Semitism on the basis that many influential politicians, academics, financiers and legal professionals are Jewish. The infinite mass of the internet means that the anti-Semite will always have the means with which to push their propaganda. The public distrust and disquiet resultant from five years of great economic difficulty means there are invariably some who seek a scapegoat. As history attests such scapegoating invariably leads to anti-Semitism, which in the past has lead to mass exodus or execution. It is imperative that such attitudes are arrested before they have a chance to percolate and pervade the population.
© The Irish Independent
Headlines 7 June, 2013
Rome's Chief Rabbi Worried After Week of Anti-Semitism (Italy)
7/6/2013- Chief Rabbi Shmuel (Riccardo) Di Segni of Rome expressed concern, this week, after anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted at a number of central locations in Rome as well as in the northern locality of Verona. The rabbi, who serves on the European Conference of Rabbis, said, "These acts occur from time to time, but this time it's a concentration of cases in two or three days and it is very alarming. But the answer to these cases of anti-Semitism is continued momentum and Jewish activity in the city, deepening Jewish identity among Jews in Italy. Spirit will defeat all those who plot evil against us." Mayor Gianni Alemanno of Rome expressed solidarity with the Jewish community, calling the vandalism something that Rome didn't deserve. Similar sentiments were expressed by Governor Nicola Zingaretti of the Lazio region, who said the incidents were not to be downplayed since they constituted symptoms of a larger malaise in Italian society.
© Arutz Sheva
Concern expressed over racist graffiti in Dublin (Ireland)
Immigrant Council: there is a notable increase in hate messages
6/6/2013- Concerns are being expressed about the posting of hate crime messages in Dublin city centre. The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) says racist posters were placed on their offices on St. Andrew's Street while anti-Semitic graffiti was also sprayed on the former Anglo building on North Wall Quay. A home in Dublin was also scrawled with racist graffiti. The ICI is appealing to people to report any suspicious incidents so that they can keep track of what is happening. They say the graffiti and vandalism "will be condemned outright by all right-thinking people". The Council says it appears to have been a coordinated action, with posters claiming that 'ethnic-cleansing' of Irish people is underway. This follows on the back of an attack on a family home in Dublin at the weekend with messages telling the occupants to leave daubed in graffiti. The ICI says that on Tuesday alone, 8 racist incidents were reported to them. CEO Denise Charlton says they believe the incidents are linked.
Swedish neo-Nazi vigilantes formed a ‘National Guard’ to stop ‘race riots’.
by IRR European News Team
6/6/2013- In the UK ‘riots’ of August 2011, the EDL formed a vigilante group in south London and ended up attacking black passers-by and the police. In Sweden, the Research Group (an independent group of engaged Swedish citizens who investigate stories that don’t get properly reported) has drawn attention to neo-Nazi ‘vigilantism’ during the May 2013 ‘riots’ in Stockholm. A Facebook page was set up by men linked to the Third-positionist Party of the Swedes (Svenskarnas Parti), the neo-Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska Motståndsrörelsen) and past members of the National Socialist Front who appealed to ‘firms’ from three Stockholm football clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby and AIK) to form a ‘national guard’ to end the ‘race riots’ as ‘all attacks on the Swedish society’ are ‘an attack on Swedishness’ and, as such, ‘will be answered by us’. The Facebook page included this call to action: ‘We do not negotiate with terrorists! Talk to your friends, families and acquaintances. Tonight we will go out and take our city back from these hooligans’.
It seems that the aim of the Facebook grouping was to form a mob to punish for the rioting young people whose appearance marked them out as of immigrant origin. For all their bravado, the fascist national guard seemed to have concentrated on districts of Stockholm not affected by the disturbances. In Storvreten, for instance, they beat up a 15-year-old boy who could not get away because he was on crutches. They attempted an immigrant hunt in the nearby suburb of Bredång, but local residents who had gathered to stop the ‘riots’ spreading to their neighbourhood, saw them off. By the time the neo-Nazis and football firms arrived in the suburb of Fittja, the police had been alerted. When the neo-Nazi ‘national guard’ attempted to repeat their vigilante activities the next day, they ended up driving around the southern suburbs of Stockholm all under the watchful eye of the police cruising alongside them.
© The Institute of Race Relations
Group of teens attacks rabbi in Germany
"Mediterranean looking" mob calls him "sh..tty Jew" during attack on orthodox Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz.
5/6/2013- A group of youths attacked a rabbi on Sunday evening in Offenbach, a city near Franfurt. Six to eight “Mediterranean looking“ youths attacked the 39-year-old Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz. The youths pushed the rabbi and called him a “shitty Jew. The Orthodox rabbi filed a police complaint. Police spokesman Rudi Neu, in southeast Hesse state where Offenbach is located, said a criminal complaint was filed and there was probable cause to investigate for an anti-Semitic hate crime, bodily injury and harassment. After the initial verbal hostility, Gurewitz photographed the youths with his mobile phone, the police spokesman said. The youths ordered him to delete the photos. The alleged attack took place in a shopping center passage. The authorities are reviewing video cameras from the shopping area for footage of the event.
Mark Dainow, the deputy director of the Jewish community in Offenbach, criticized the security personnel at the shopping location for failing to intervene to stop the aggressive activity of the youths. Gurewitz was forced to flee the building and the youths pursued him. A friend of the rabbi drove by and rescued the rabbi by picking him up in his car. The manager of the shopping mall apologized for the conduct of the security personnel. On May 26, three people attacked a 26-year-old Jewish man in Berlin early in the morning, lightly wounding him. He was wearing a Tshirt with a pro-Israel emblem on it, and the assailants learned that he was Jewish in the course of a conversation. Also last month, an IDF soldier on leave was among 10 young Israelis who were subjected to an anti-Semitic verbal attack before the May 24 Beyonce concert in Berlin.
The soldier, Nathanel Zerad, told JTA that, standing at the head of the line to enter the O2 World Stadium, the Israelis were verbally attacked by a group of about 50 Germans who wanted to move ahead of them. “Some of them noticed that we were speaking Hebrew,” Zerad said. “One of them said, ‘You stink, you should go back to Israel.’ A girl said, ‘You guys smell so bad. Why didn’t he die in the Holocaust?’”
© The Jerusalem Post
FBI to track hate crime statistics for Sikhs (USA)
5/6/2013- At the urging of followers of the Sikh religion, the FBI says it will begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs as part of the law enforcement agency's crime reporting program. The approval of the addition Wednesday by an advisory policy board of the FBI has long been sought by people in the Sikh community. Sikhs have been targeted with attacks including the massacre in Oak Creek, Wis., that claimed the lives of six worshippers last August. According to surveys by a coalition of Sikhs in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, 10 percent of Sikh adults say they have experienced physical violence or property damage because of their religion.
© The Associated Press
Foreigners in Oslo subjected to most hate crime (Norway)
Just under half of 47 reported hate crimes in Norway’s capital were directed against people of foreign origin last year, a new police report shows.
4/6/2013- Topping the list of these 22 persons, which officers term as the “ethnicity” sub-category, were 10 from the Middle East – defined as Turkey, Arabian Peninsula states, Iraq, and Iran. Hate crimes against people of African, Asian, and European origin were five, three, and one, respectively. There were two reports of hate crimes involving gypsies, and one involving anti-Semitism. At the same time, Oslo police shelved 30 of the 48 reported incidents of hate crimes overall, according to their figures. 16 were not investigated further due to lack of evidence and 12 because they were committed by an unknown person. “It is not correct that the police do nothing. Considerable efforts have been made in several cases,” state officers in the report. Hate crimes due to sexual orientation accounted for 15 of 48 cases, total, whilst incidents involving religion, political views, and disability were six, four, and one, respectively. “Nevertheless, there is room for improvement in handling hate crime cases by Oslo police. Work on improving is underway and must continue,” officers write. Assistant Chief of Oslo Police Sveinung Sponheim tells NRK, “We’ve understood we have to pull our weight.” “We must improve routines and knowledge. As a consequence, we’re out training every unit this,” he concludes.
© The Foreigner
Female Skinhead in Neo Nazi Gang Accused of Killing anti-Fascist Clement Meric (France)
Four people have been arrested in connection to an alleged politically motivated attack that has left a 19-year-old leftist dead in Paris, French authorities said.
6/6/2013- Interior minister Manuel Valls said four individuals, including the one who probably struck the blow that killed Clement Meric, are being questioned by police. The four - three men and a woman - are aged between 21 and 37 and have been identified thanks to photos and eyewitnesses' testimonies, police sources told AFP. Meric, a member of an anti-fascist group, was beaten to death following a dispute between left-wingers and skinheads at a clothes sale in Paris central 9th district Wednesday evening, authorities said. The politics student at Sciences Po University was attending a Fred Perry private sale in Rue de Caumartin with three friends, when four neo-Nazis sporting shaved heads and swastika tattoos arrived at the premises and an altercation erupted. Meric was reportedly punched with a knuckle-duster and hit his head on the pavement.
Thursday morning he was declared brain dead by doctors at a Paris Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, where he was taken in desperate conditions the previous evening. A few hours later, police confirmed Meric had died. The deadly blow was delivered by a 21-year-old close to Paris-based neo-Nazi organisation JNR (Young Revolutionary Nationalists), police sources told the news agency. JNR members were first accused of being behind the attack by far-left parties umbrella group Parti de Gauche that also urged lawmakers to ban violent far right organisations. JNR founder Serge Ayoub, 48, denied the allegations. President Francois Hollande strongly condemned the attack and pledged swift action against far-right groups if the link between the attackers and organised political movement is confirmed. "For too long these groups have created disorder and have to be repressed," Hollande said. Hundreds of students gathered outside Sciences Po University to pay tribute to Meric.
Paris student left brain-dead by far-right attack (France)
There has been widespread horror and condemnation in France on Thursday, after an 18-year-old student activist was left brain dead in an attack by far-right skinheads in Paris. One politician has called for far-right groups to be disbanded.
6/6/2013- Clément Méric, an 18-year-old student at Sciences Po in Paris, was “violently attacked” by a group of three skinheads, including one woman, near Saint-Lazare train station on Wednesday evening, it emerged on Thursday. Méric, known for his radical left-wing activism, was left brain dead by the beating, which has provoked a flood of horrified and angry reactions from many different quarters in France. French President François Hollande, speaking on an official visit to Japan, said he "condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms." "I have given the most rigorous possible instructions so that the authors of the odious act can be arrested at the earliest possible juncture," he said in a statement.
The Parti de Gauche (Left Party) reflected the mood of many, especially on the Left, in France. "The horror of fascism has just killed right in the middle of Paris,” they said in a statement. “Violently beaten to the ground by a group of activists from the extreme right, manifestly from the group JNR (Jeune Nationaliste Revolutionnaire), left motionless, he was declared this evening to be in a state of brain death at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris,” the statement added. For his part, the leader of JNR, Serge Ayoub, also known as 'Batskin', has denied his group's involvement in the attack. "That's absolutely false," he said.
An attacker 'wearing knuckle dusters'
A number of eyewitness reports, as well as a police source quoted by TF1 television, indicate that a group of left-wing activists had gone clothes shopping on Wednesday evening on rue Caumartin in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. After far-right activists entered the same shop, there was an angry exchange of words and insults. When the group including Meric left the store, the extreme-right group had "brought reinforcements." The victim was hit by a man wearing what appeared to be knuckle dusters, and fell to the ground, hitting his head on a bollard, according to initial reports.
There has been widespread anger and condemnation in France, from all sides of the political spectrum. Bertrand Delanoe, the Socialist mayor of Paris described his "horror" at hearing about the attack, while French Interior Minister Manuel Valls had vowed to "eradicate this kind of violence, which bears the mark of the extreme right." Harlem Désir, president of the governing Socialist Party has announced a rally in honour of Meric, to take place in Paris this evening.
For his part, Front Gauche (Left Front) leader Jean-Luc Mélénchon has called on Valls "to disband groups on the extreme right who, in the last few weeks, have committed numerous acts of violence in Paris and across the country." Pierre Laurent, president of the French Communist Party has announced a rally in Paris this evening, along with the Parti Gauche, with whom his party forms the Left Front. On the other side of the political spectrum, main centre-right opposition UMP leader Jean-François Copé took to Twitter to strongly condemn what he called a "barbaric attack."
© The Local - France
French court to jail 'anti-white' racist for attack
A man in the southern French city of Toulon has been given a jail sentence after racially abusing a white man, before attacking him. The victim was called a 'dirty white', and told 'this is a place for Arabs.'
4/6/2013- A court in the southern city of Toulon sentenced a local man to a year in prison this week, with nine months suspended, after he racially abused a white man and later attacked him. The assailant, aged in his thirties and of north African origins, was found to have shouted "You dirty white, I'm going to smash you. This is a place for Arabs," at the victim, who was in a carpark with five friends, both male and female, on the night of May 10th. The attacker, accompanied by his own entourage and already drunk, according to TF1 television, then punched and head-butted two of the group, who were all aged in their twenties. Police were called to the scene and arrested the assailant.
A court in Toulon on Monday convicted the thirty-something of collective assault and public injury, the latter relating to his racist abuse. He was sentenced to a year in prison, but will only serve three months, after the court put him on probation for nine months. This is only the latest incident of 'anti-white racism' to hit France. In April, The Local reported that a trial had begun over the racially-motivated beating of a white Frenchman. The attackers allegedly shouted “dirty white" and "dirty French" before assaulting the victim. A fact that risked clouding the issue for some is that the man accused of carrying out the attack is white himself, according to French daily Le Parisien.
Significantly, the prosecution’s stance was supported by the International League against Racism and anti-Semitism (LICRA). "We are acting just like we would for any kind of racism case, whether it's anti-Semitic or anti-black," Vice president of LICRA Philippe Schmidt told The Local at the time. "We cannot just pull a blanket over our eyes because this is a case of anti-white racism." "It's obvious that incidents of anti-white or anti-French racism are less common, but that does not mean we have to ignore them," he added.
The issue of anti-white racism is a sensitive subject in France. Up until recently it was a concept invoked mainly by members of France's far-right organizations. However, leader of the opposition UMP party, Jean-François Copé, provoked uproar last October when he claimed “anti-white sentiment is thriving in some French neighbourhoods." "Some people, of whom many are French nationals, despise other French people because they don't follow the same religion," Copé added.
© The Local - France
Roma Still Shunned in France Ahead of E.U. Rules Change
3/6/2013- In the last three weeks alone, the French police have dismantled Roma encampments in Saint-Denis, just outside Paris, and along the Var River west of Nice. In Lyon, 200 Roma were temporarily housed in a gymnasium when someone set fire to their squat in a disused factory, killing two women and a 12-year-old. President François Hollande’s Socialist government came into office a year ago promising a better deal for the Roma, also known as Gypsies, an end to the shantytowns and the rehousing and integration of those displaced. But like other promises, including a return to economic growth, reality has been a recalcitrant political partner.
Having criticized the previous center-right government of Nicolas Sarkozy for being careless with individual rights and flirting with the anti-immigrant far right, the Hollande government has done little to change policy toward the Roma. The interior minister, Manuel Valls, who has been praised for his organizational ability and toughness, has expelled at least as many non-French Roma as his predecessor and continues to order the police to dismantle illegal camps and shantytowns, without rehousing most of those displaced.
On Jan. 1, the rules will change, as Romanians and Bulgarians, seven years after entering the European Union, will have the same right to travel and work in member countries as others in the union. But that will not make them more welcome — most illegal Roma immigrants come from those two nations. Fanned by anti-immigrant and nationalist parties of the right and far right all over Europe, the coming change has led to new fears of a large influx of poor workers and criminals seeking to take jobs from citizens and benefit from lavish social welfare systems.
“In principle, things are different in France, but in practice, things are pretty much the same,” said Dezideriu Gergely, the executive director of the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest. “We expected a different approach, to reduce social exclusion and economic problems, instead of taking a problem and moving it from one place to another.” The complexity and tragedy of the problem are easily seen here in Paris at the Gare du Nord, one of the busiest transportation hubs in France. Near the third glass door from the left of the older building, young Roma men hover. Small, thin, often wearing bright clothing like green pants or a pink scarf, the men are prostitutes, looking for work or waiting for prearranged rendezvous.
Some are as young as 14, though they insist they are older; some are 16 and married, sometimes with children. They come from a community around Craiova, in south-central Romania. They troll the station to earn a living, which they say gets them about 100 euros a day, or $130. A young man named Ruset said he was 19 and had left Romania as a child. He and his friends, like Bogdan, 17, and Gutsa, 17, whose wife is pregnant, “do business” at the station, he said; they live in a shantytown in a forest east of Paris, near the Noisy-Champs station on the suburban railway line. None wanted to have their family names used. “France is terrible for us,” Ruset said, watching for the police, whom he called “superracist, hassling us all the time.” Echoing many of France’s estimated 20,000 noncitizen Roma, he said: “I would like to stay in Romania, but there is no chance to work there. France I liked well at the start, but today things are very hard.”
Despite the coming change in the rules, expulsions from France are increasing. In 2012, an election year, 12,841 citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, nearly all of them Roma, were deported from France, compared with 10,841 in 2011, an increase of 18.4 percent; 9,529 were deported in 2010, according to the Interior Ministry. While the Sarkozy government provided airfare home and 300 euros for every adult and 100 euros for each child to induce a “voluntary” repatriation, the Hollande government called the system perverse and wasteful. But Paris still provides 50 euros per adult and 30 euros per child, Mr. Valls has said, while emphasizing that France is instead financing “80 microprojects” in Romania “to improve living conditions.”
Guillaume Lardanchet is the director of Hors la Rue, a Paris-based organization that works with young Roma and other foreign minors in trouble. “Valls reproduces the same security strategy as Sarkozy,” he said. “We haven’t seen a concrete difference compared with the old government.” Robert A. Kushen, the chairman of the European Roma Rights Center, agreed that Mr. Hollande “has really continued the policies of his predecessor.” Under pressure from the European Union, France introduced “some cosmetic changes to the law, but the substance hasn’t changed,” he said. Perhaps even odder, he said, the government is pursuing its expulsions even though the rules will soon change. Although Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, special restrictions were put in place requiring their citizens to obtain work permits, and only in certain industries, within three months of visa-free entry or leave France. The Hollande government eliminated a special tax on employers for each person hired, but with France in a triple-dip recession and unemployment high, jobs are scarce.
A recent joint letter to the European Council and European Commission from the interior ministers of Britain, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands asked for new penalties against those who travel across visa-free borders to “abuse” social welfare systems. Citing support for freedom of travel, the four wrote: “We are equally committed to preventing and combating the fraudulent use of the right of free movement by union citizens or by third-country nationals abusing free movement rights in order to circumvent national immigration controls” to prevent “excessive strain on the social systems of the receiving societies.”
The politicians have also focused on petty crime, like pickpocketing and the theft of smartphones, which they associate with Roma. Recently, the Louvre was shut down for a day in protest because groups of young men were harassing staff members and visitors. (The museum is free for those under 18.) The Louvre now has a warning on its Web site about pickpockets. The police support Mr. Valls. “We salute the firmness of Mr. Valls in his Roma policy,” said Christophe Crépin of the main police union, UNSA Police. “These are people who sell themselves, who racketeer, who construct criminal networks, and their way of life is totally incompatible with that of our modern societies.”
The legal limbo for Romania and Bulgaria has been bad for the Roma, said Alexandre Le Clève, a former director of Hors la Rue and member of Romeurope, associations that work in six countries to improve the health and lives of Roma. “Paradoxically, their situation has worsened since the entry of Romania into the European Union,” he said. “The Roma lost certain rights, like state medical aid, that they had as non-E.U. foreigners.” The new rules, Mr. Le Clève said, “will put into relief all the contradictions of this government.” In the United States, he said, “people talk of regularizing immigrants. Not here.” At the Gare du Nord, Ruset said he would prefer to return to Romania. “But there is no work, and here there is plenty,” he said. “There you earn 15 euros a day, if that, and here at least 50 to 100.” In the forest, he and his extended family have built cabins of discarded wood. There is no running water. Asked about toilets, he laughed and said, “It’s a big forest.”
Mr. Le Clève, who speaks Roma and has worked with these young men, said Roma were often denied housing, in part because they are dark-skinned and so recognizable. “The problem is that they are very visible,” he said. “But, institutionally, they’re invisible.”
© The New York Times
Unprovoked Attack on Jews in Lyon (France)
Jews attacked as they walk to synagogue.
2/6/2013- Anti-Semitism continues to plague France. According to local media outlets in Lyon, two Jewish residents of the city were attacked Saturday as they walked to a local synagogue. The two were attacked by three men of Arab origin in an unprovoked, sudden assault. The two Jews shouted for help. Neighbors began to arrive at the scene, and the attackers fled. Police arrived as well, and began to investigate. They discovered that the attack had been captured on film by security cameras at a nearby store. Investigators expressed hope that the film would lead to the attackers’ quick capture. One year ago attackers brutalized three Jewish men in an unprovoked assault in Lyon. Two of the victims were hospitalized. A short time later the Chief Rabbi of Lyon received a letter threatening attacks on Jews.
© Arutz Sheva
Russian Mayor Allegedly Orders Hate Crime Against Prominent LGBT Activist
6/6/2013- There’s more troubling news out of Russia this week, following Putin’s vow to ban same-sex couples from adopting and the massive shade thrown at Elton John’s wardrobe. One hundred meters away from boarding a train from Kostroma to Moscow yesterday, Moscow Pride co-Founder Nikolai Alekseev (pictured) claims he was physically and verbally attacked by “three skinheads dressed in black, wearing white masks.” He was in the city attending a court session about the legality of Kostroma’s ban on a gay pride march. Alekseev was one of 30 activists arrested late last month in Moscow after unfurling a rainbow flag at Moscow Pride’s inaugural march. “At first I thought it was a simple mistake but then they started shouting ‘Fuck off to Europe you faggot,’” Alekseev told Gay Star News. “Then one threw an egg at the back of my head, while another punched me at my left ear. I still have pain in my left ear with a burning sensation.” Alekseev also believes the attack was orchestrated by the city’s mayor, who he has sued in the past. “I think this is an attempt to scare me,” he says. “He will not stop my fellow activists or me.”
Gay man killed in Russia's second suspected hate crime in weeks
* Investigators says man was killed because he was gay * Follows killing of a gay man last month * Activists say bill to ban gay "propaganda" fuels crime
3/6/2013- A man was murdered in Russia because he was gay, investigators said on Monday, the second such killing in less than a month, and activists fear homophobic violence is being fuelled by President Vladimir Putin's conservative agenda. Three men in a village on the Kamchatka peninsula on Russia's eastern coast stabbed and trampled the victim to death last week, the country's Investigative Committee said. The suspects, who are under arrest, put the 39-year-old's body in his car and set in on fire, it said in a statement. Interfax news agency reported the victim was a senior administrator at an airport. It is unusual for Russian authorities to link crimes with homophobia. Last month investigators in the southern city of Volgograd said a 23-year-old man was tortured and killed after revealing he was gay during a drinking session.
Activists said that killing was an example of rising violence against homosexuals, which they fear is being fuelled by a bill backed by Putin's allies in parliament that would ban spreading homosexual "propaganda" among minors. "Now the deputy director of an airport has been killed in Kamchatka. Because he was gay. And it's going to get worse," Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia's most prominent gay rights activist, said on Twitter. Critics say the bill would effectively ban gay rights rallies and events. Alexeyev has said it is part of a "homophobic policy" that is giving Russians carte blanche to attack gays.
Homosexuality was decriminalised after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but a poll by the independent Levada Center last month found 38 percent of Russians believe gay people need treatment and 13 percent said they should face prosecution. Putin has championed socially conservative values and the moral authority of the Russian Orthodox Church during his new term which began in May last year, after a series of large street protests by mostly liberal Russians in big cities. Putin has said Russia does not discriminate against gay people but has criticised them for failing to increase the population. Russia plans to amend legislation to ensure foreign same-sex couples do not adopt Russian children, after Putin said last month that a French law allowing same-sex marriage went against traditional Russian values.
Female student punched in racist attack (UK)
6/6/2013- A student of Chinese origin was the victim of a racist street attack in the city. Kelly To, who is British-born, was punched several times in the face while being racially abused during an unprovoked assault at Exeter Quay. The 20-year-old student was taunted over the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
© Exeter Express and Echo
Hate graffiti at Army mother's home (UK)
A Muslim woman whose son is in the Army has had anti-Islamic graffiti scrawled on the door of her West Sussex home.
6/6/2013- Sussex Police believe N'jaimeh Jawara, of Tower Close, East Grinstead, was targeted because of her religion following the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in south-east London. The graffiti daubed on the door said "Dead Muslim". Police have appealed for information and said they were treating the incident as a hate crime. Mrs Jawara, who has lived in her flat for nearly nine years, said: "If somebody is so ignorant to come and write this sort of thing on my door - he or she should have come and faced me and tell me face to face rather than writing it on my door." She added: "I have no problem with nobody in this house. Truly, I am a true Muslim. I was born Muslim. My parents are Muslim. But in The Gambia, Muslim and Christians are all alike. We are like sisters and brothers. We don't discriminate."
She said she condemned the incident in Woolwich and had cried as she watched the news on the day of Drummer Rigby's death. She said: "I felt it so much as if it was my own son because my son is in the British Army for 15 years so if somebody comes and does this to British soldiers, I feel as if it is my own son." Mrs Jawara said she had not viewed the graffiti as racist because the perpetrator had not referred to her being black or African. But in a statement, Sussex Police said two words constituting racially offensive language had been scrawled in black marker pen on the door. Sgt Graeme Prentice said: "Hate crime and hate incidents are not acceptable under any circumstances. "They are hurtful and can be very threatening, confusing and frightening and cause a lot of worry."
© BBC News
'EDL' graffiti found after Muswell Hill mosque is burnt down amid fears of Woolwich link (UK)
Right-wing group denies involvement as police investigate potential connection to Woolwich attack
5/6/2013- Counter-terrorism police are investigating a suspected racially motivated arson attack on a Somali community centre in Muswell Hill, north London, by a far-right group amid fears of a backlash against the Muslim community following the Woolwich terror attack. Investigators are examining the wreckage of the damaged Bravanese Welfare Centre in north London after the three letters EDL – English Defence League - were found freshly painted on the building’s outside walls, according to the centre’s leaders and police. The leader of the EDL, a group that shuns mainstream political activity in favour of volatile street protests against immigration, denied any role and said that any such attack would be “disgusting”. If it proves to be an attack from a far-right group, it will be the most serious so far despite a reported reduction in incidents of reported abuse against the Muslim community following the Woolwich attack that killed Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, on May 22.
Scotland Yard specialist investigators are conducting a fingertip search of the area in Muswell Hill and trying to establish if the daubed paint was linked to the fire, which is currently being treated as “suspicious”. Chief Superintendent Adrian Usher said: “Obviously a focal point of the investigation will be establishing whether that is connected to the fire". The fire brigade was called at 3.23am amid reports of an explosion at the centre and nobody was believed to be at the centre at the time. Senior community leaders told The Independent that the building, which partially collapsed after the fire, has never before been the target of an attack. One woman living nearby was treated for shock. The attack has been passed to the Yard’s counter-terrorism team which has specialist knowledge of the EDL, founded in 2009 in response to protests by radical Islamists at a homecoming parade for soliders returning from Iraq.
The EDL and has built up an active membership of up to 35,000 people, according to the Demos thinktank, though splits within its ranks have meant that its volatile street demonstrations are mustering only a few hundred people. The Government’s own counter-terrorism strategy in March this year said: “We know these extreme Islamist and far right organisations feed off one another and try to create enmity, suspicions and hatred between our communities.” Condemnation for the attack came swiftly from across the political spectrum with London Mayor Boris Johnson describing the attack as “cowardly, pathetic and utterly pointless”. “There is no place in an open, tolerant and diverse city like London for hate, for prejudice, for violence,” he said.
The EDL’s leader Tommy Robinson said he doubted any members of the group were behind the graffiti but condemned the attack. “I may be proved wrong, but EDL graffiti gets used for a lot of things,” he said. “I’m always sceptical.” Asked if he would report any of his members, he said: “I would, they have put innocent people’s lives in danger. It’s disgusting. I’ve asked our members never to attack mosques or Muslims. The police will find out who has done that and they will be rightly punished.” The fire comes at a sensitive time following the Woolwich attack and in the week that a group of Islamist extremists are due to be sentenced over a murderous but ultimately bungled plot to launch a gun and bomb attack on hundreds of people attending an EDL rally in Dewsbury last year.
There was shock in Muswell Hill where the suspected attack happened where leaders described it as an attack on a peaceful community. The centre was not a mosque or used for prayer but hosted Arabic classes for members of the Sudanese and Somali community during the week, said police. Becky Marks, whose 5-year-old daughter goes to the school next door, said: “one of the things about this community is that it's so diverse. It's just utterly unbelievable, completely shocking, so unexpected in this area.” Marcia, who declined to give her last name, has lived on the estate by the centre for 46 years since moving from Jamaica. “I've never felt reluctant to walk the street at night before because of the colour of my skin. Now I'll think again,” she said.
Drummer Rigby accused’s court hearing
One of the men accused of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby railed against his treatment in detention during a hearing at the Old Bailey. Speaking by videolink from Belmarsh prison, Michael Adebolajo – who has asked to be called Mujahid Abu Hamza – repeatedly interrupted legal arguments. The 28-year-old had earlier complained that he had to undergo two strip-searches before his appearance. He will next appear at the court alongside co-defendant Michael Adebowale on 28 June.
© The Independent
Islamophobic hate crime: is it getting worse? (UK)
From online abuse to fire bombs thrown at mosques, there has been a spike in anti-Muslim attacks. While many incidents are not reported to the police, groups such as the Tell Mama project paint a worrying picture of rising Islamophobia and violence
By Homa Khaleeli
5/6/2013- "I don't really want to go out now," Rizwan Ali says anxiously. "If I needed something I used to just go to the shops, but I've been staying in." On 24 May the father of four had been to Friday prayers at his local mosque. On his way home he popped into Pound Stretcher to look at gardening equipment. As he browsed he noticed another customer staring at him. "He was looking at me, as though I had done something," Ali (not his real name), explains. "Then he started shouting: 'You are a Muslim, you are a soldier killer.' I was shocked and scared. It was very upsetting. I moved to the front of the shop, but he kept following me."
Since the brutal murder of drummer Lee Rigby earlier this month, campaigners say that such anti-Muslim incidents have been repeated across the country. Monitoring groups have recorded the targeting of 11 mosques, while women wearing hijab have complained about being spat at, or having their headscarves pulled off. This week, a community centre and mosque was destroyed in a fire and police are investigating whether it was firebombed, after reports that fire crews saw the letters EDL scrawled on the side of the building. Online, activists say there have been shocking levels of vitriol unleashed. But the attacks have also revitalised the argument over whether Islamophobia, and the targeting of Muslims, is being overstated. The Metropolitan police's head of counter-terrorism, Cressida Dick, calls the wave of attacks "horrible" and agrees there has been an increase, but says "compared to previous times we have had slightly less".
Yet monitoring groups and campaigners point out that hate crime is often under-reported, with Muslims in particular reluctant to contact the police for fear they won't be taken seriously. Some campaigners point out confidence in the police may also be low in the wake of counter-terrorism strategies such as Prevent. And they say harrasment that is not violent, such as verbal abuse or spitting, can still spread fear and make communities feel under siege. For the imam of Grimsby mosque the answer to whether Islamophobia is a problem, is clear. Dr Ahmad M Sabik says his mosque has always had a good relationship with its neighbours, pointing to regular schools visits and an active interfaith network. But days after the Woolwich killing, bricks were hurled through the window, narrowly avoiding worshippers. A group of teenagers were arrested and the community shrugged off the incident. But three days later things became more serious.
"It was about 10pm and one of the brothers was leaving," Sabik recalls. "Just as he was opening the door fire was thrown at it. We realised it was a petrol bomb. Another one had been thrown at the fire exit – can you imagine? And there was a third that they had tried to throw on the roof. There were children inside. Everyone was frightened." Two ex-soldiers have since appeared in court, charged with arson with intent to endanger life, but Sabik worries that such incidents are not being taken seriously enough. "What happened in London was nothing to do with Islam, and what happened in Grimsby was nothing to do with British culture – but both are terrorist acts." Fiyaz Mughal, director of conflict resolution charity Faith Matters, says many Muslims feel the same. The organisation runs the Tell Mama project, mapping Islamophobic incidents around the country. The idea for Tell Mama (the acronym stands for Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks) was sparked by the government's desire for more information – and a growing perception among British Muslims that Islamophobia was underestimated.
After the Woolwich killing was linked to Islamist extremism, the number of incidents the project recorded skyrocketed from an average of about eight a day to 221. Mughal says their numbers are higher because people do not always report cases to the police, and Tell Mama records Islamophobic incidents as well as crimes. The figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which is more cautious, also recorded a spike in incidents – with 71 hate crimes or incidents reported between 22-27 May, compared with 27 reports of anti-Muslim activity in the seven days before the killing. The police's online reporting facility for hate crimes, True Vision, had 136 complaints, including physical offences and internet material (but say some of these may be duplicates). The Metropolitan police force, meanwhile, says it has had eight reports of potentially Islamophobic crime each day in London since the Woolwich murder compared to an average of one a day in the past 12 months.
The police says it takes such crimes seriously, with Sir Peter Fahy from ACPO saying there had been: "enhanced monitoring of local tensions … enhanced patrols and high-visibility police presence at vulnerable locations … and proactive investigations of any incidents reported, including hate crimes". The Met, meanwhile, insists: "We want communities to have the confidence to come forward and report hate crime when it happens. Hate crime is not ignored – we will take positive action, we will investigate, we will support victims and we will work hard to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice." But Leon Moosavi, a sociologist at the University of Liverpool who specialises in Islamophobia, says problems remain: "A lot of people think Islamophobia is exaggerated but actually minorities generally under-report. Someone might be called a Paki or a terrorist but most people won't even tell anyone."
Not everyone is convinced, however. Last weekend Andrew Gilligan took Tell Mama to task, accusing it of exaggerating the problem. He pointed out that only a small proportion of the incidents it had recorded involved physical violence against an individual: many were online attacks, or at the "lower end of seriousness", and that while the "Islamophobia industry" says the problem is getting worse, it has actually calmed down. In the light, airy London offices of the project, Tell Mama's young workers say the criticisms are unjustified. While the spike seemed to be short-lived (Tuesday saw only six incidents reported), the attacks created a real atmosphere of anxiety in communities around the country, which cannot be quickly forgotten, they say. The organisation fielded calls from hijab-wearing women who were scared to go out, while those who had experienced "low-level" harassment, such as Ali, were often deeply affected.
Case worker Amani El Sehrawry flicks through some recent reports to show me what the project is dealing with: a woman has emailed to flag up the verbal abuse of Muslim stallholders in Brixton market; a man has sent in a screenshot of an EDL member posing with a gun and tweeting about how he will exact a "violent revenge" against Muslims; a woman has rung in extremely distressed because dog excrement has been smeared on her house.
Meanwhile the 11 confirmed attacks on mosques, says Mughal – which include graffitti, arson, and even bacon being left outside – could have a huge impact on how safe Muslims feel. "When a mosque is attacked, it may be an attack on an institution not an individual," he says, "but it affects hundreds of people, and leads to the perception within the community that their identity is under seige. I think if it was 10 churches or 10 synagogues attacked there would not be this undermining of our work." Abuse on social media should not be underestimated either, he insists, pointing out it can lead to offline attacks. "When we started the project we would pick up social media chatter by far-right groups saying, 'We should go and put a pig's head, or pig's trotters, outside a mosque,' but we had not had anything like that reported. "But in the past few months we have seen eight of these incidents – a shift from talking about it online to doing it in real life."
El Sehrawry says she had to phone the police several times last week to report direct threats, something she has not had to do in the project's 14-month lifespan. "We have had people online using someone's name directly and saying 'why not stab them?'. There have been people saying we need a repeat of the Norway massacre to make a statement. It's really disgusting." Moosavi too, believes that monitoring online Islamophobia is important. "It causes great injury and can inspire real-life hatred and discrimination: "Online Islamophobia reflects more hidden attitudes than those that circulate in society." And while he thinks Muslims may fear Islamophobia more then they should, dismissing hate crimes against any groups, is counterproductive, he believes. "There is a strong movement of those who strongly dislike Islam dismissing Islamophobia, and that is a shame because their dislike of Islam prevents them from realising that Muslims are often discriminated against because of their faith.
"The same attitude is still taken towards antisemitism and racism more generally. Academic research is entirely certain that Islam and Muslims are often percieved in negative terms and this should not be dismissed as irrelevant if we want to be a society based on fairness and equality." For Moosavi the resurgence of the EDL is particularly worrying, as they stoke up hatred against Muslims. "A few weeks ago a lot of experts would have said the EDL were at their weakest," he says. "They had a march in Manchester and there were less than 100 people. But after the [Woolwich] attack more than a thousand people came to their demonstration in Newcastle. "The EDL's main rallying point is Islam. They may say they are not against all Muslims, but the stereotypes they use suggest otherwise." Yet the picture is far from unremittingly bleak. EDL protesters last weekend were outnumbered by counter-demonstrators, while politicians' (including David Cameron and Nick Clegg) condemnation of far-right violence and attacks on Muslims, has been impressive, Moosavi says.
"There's a level of maturity in the recognition that Muslims and terrorism are not the same thing, which I hope means we are on the way to a more moderate conversation." Others are even more hopeful that the attacks might have unexpected consequences. Shabir Subar is the director of the Zainabiya Islamic Centre in Milton Keynes. A day after the killing of Lee Rigby a petrol bomb was thrown on to the roof of the centre, as worshippers left for the night. On the Friday following the murder, a woman driving to the mosque was chased, verbally abused and had rubbish thrown at her car, Subar recounts. Yet, he insists, the murder and subsequent attacks have sparked an important change in community responses. "It has made Muslims, who may have kept quiet in the past, speak out against terrorism and dissociate ourselves from such attacks – these men don't belong to Islam and Islam doesn't belong to them. "In the past Muslims just wanted to keep their heads down, but we realised we have to stand up and be counted."
At the same time the outpouring from the wider community has been "humbling", he says. "The response has been overwhelming. It's been really reassuring to the community that we are not all being tarred with the same brush as these mindless thugs." In Grimsby, Ahmed Sabik feels the same. "I am hopeful that Muslims won't feel less welcome in the UK, but instead it will encourage us to build more relations with others. I think now people are more receptive to hearing about our religion so this could be a positive turning point. A huge number of people have sent cards or emails. People have been saying 'we support you' and 'these crimes don't represent us' and 'you are welcome here'. We were so happy because it shows we are all united against these people who wanted to destroy our harmony."
Yet groups set up to monitor Islamophobia say more needs to be done. Shenaz Bunglawalla, from the group iEngage, which encourages media awareness and political participation among British Muslims, says that to ensure official recognition of the problem, accurate figures are essential. They want anti-Muslim attacks recorded seperately, something the Met currently does, although elsewhere in the country such recording is patchy with many forces recording all such incidents under "religious hate crimes". Mohammed Khaliel, who advises the Met and reported on Islamophobia for BBC Newsnight, says the force's latest comments would not help in the drive to encourage Muslims to come forward. "The issue is people are not reporting these crimes to the Metropolitan police force, they are reporting them to mosques or other places. I have had reports of four incidents myself [since Newsnight was aired on 30 May] of altercations, including one with a taxi driver and EDL supporters, where the driver said he feared it would become violent. People think the police won't do anything about it. Even if it is not violent, people do feel terrified by these incidents."
Forces in areas with the largest Jewish communities already dis-aggregate hate crime figures, according to the Community Security Trust, established to ensure the safety of the British Jewish community. Mark Gardener from the group points out that having accurate figures, and breaking them down, is an essential first step towards taking action and showing communities the police, politicians and civil servants are doing their utmost to tackle the problem. ACPO says it is something forces are working on. "Driving up reporting is absolutely vital in helping us to reach those affected by hate crimes," says its hate crime spokesman, Paul Giannasi. "Local forces are already recording different forms of hate crime, including those which target Muslims. Work is under way to ensure a more detailed breakdown of reported hate crimes is available, so that we have the most accurate picture possible of the nature and scale of the issues."
© The Guardian
Emma West pleads guilty to racially abusing passengers on Croydon tram (UK)
5/6/2013- Emma West has pleaded guilty to hurling racist abuse at passengers on a crowded Croydon tram. The mother-of-two had maintained her innocence for nearly two years despite her rant being caught on camera and then watched by 11 million people after the video was posted on YouTube. But at Croydon Crown Court yesterday (Monday) the 35-year-old dramatically changed her plea. Her legal team had argued that West did not want to plead guilty for fear of being branded a racist. Right wing groups such as the National Front and British National Party had adopted her cause after she was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence in November 2011.
West’s barrister said their support - including sending her flowers and cheques - had “greatly distressed” his client and led her try and take her own life. Her deteriorating mental health led to concerns for her safety and that of her family, fears which were realised last month when she stabbed her husband Ricky Metson with a knife - while on bail - after he intervened in her latest attempt to self-harm. Mr Metson suffered superficial injuries after incident at their home in Grenville Road, New Addington, on May 15.
The following day West appeared at Croydon Magistrates’ Court and was remanded in custody after pleading guilty to actual bodily harm and assaulting a police officer. It was during a bail hearing in relation to this case that she changed her plea after both the prosecution and defence agreed to a compromise suggested by Judge Warwick McKinnon, the Recorder of Croydon, who had previously said the 20-month legal process was in danger of “spiraling out of control”. West had denied racially aggravated intentional harassment on a tram travelling between Croydon and Wimbledon between September 30 and November 28, 2011.
However, she has now pleaded guilty to a lesser offence of racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, which crucially does not include mention of ‘intent’. Unlike the original charge, which may have led to a custodial sentence, this is a summary offence normally dealt with by a magistrates’ court by way of a fine. Both guilty pleas can now be revealed after a reporting restriction preventing details of the tram incident from being published was lifted. West’s trial had been adjourned five times, most recently on April 9, amid debate as to whether she was fit to stand.
Other hearings in June, July and then September last year were put back, as well as a scheduled trial date in January. West, who has suffered from depression since she was 18, was admitted to a psychiatric ward in Foxley Lane, Purley, in September 2011. Following her release she had been receiving support at the Tamworth Road Resource Centre, in West Croydon. It was as West returned from one of these sessions with her four-year-old son that racially abused passengers in a packed tram. Her barrister, David Martin-Sperry, told the court during an earlier hearing that she had taken double the recommended dose of antidepressant Citalopram which had caused her to have “unusual” ideas.
A passenger recorded her bemoaning the impact of immigration on “her Britain”. On the video, called My Tram Experience, she turns to one commuter and says: “You aren’t English” She then looks around the carriage and shouts: “None of you are ******* English. Get back to your own ******* countries.” With her son in her arms, who can be seen playing with a toy, another passenger intervenes: “Excuse me dear, there are little kids on the tram.” “So What? I’ve got a little kid here,” replies West, who then dares the woman, who is black, to throw her off the tram before shouting: “Go back to ******* Nicaragua, or wherever you come from.” West added: “You aren’t British, you’re black.”
Still holding her child, West turns and points at the passengers behind her: “Someone’s got to talk up for these lot. Look, the whole ******* tram, look at them.” Another passenger asks: “What’s wrong with that?” The woman replies: “Because it’s all black and ******* brown people.” West was arrested after the video was posted online on November 28. She was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. A second charge was added after tram passenger Ena-May Eubanks complained West had punched her. The prosecution is expected to offer no evidence to both charges after the compromise was struck. West was bailed to return to Croydon Crown Court to be sentenced for the tram rant, and the assaults on her husband and the police officer, on July 1.
© This is Croydon
1 in 10 hate crimes in Fife target the disabled (UK)
4/6/2013- More than one in 10 hate crimes committed in Fife are aimed at the disabled - and the number might be even higher as many go unreported. The shocking statistics from the Fife Community Safety Partnership (FCSP) revealed that of the 108 reports of hate crime it received in 2012/13, 13 - or 12 per cent - related to disability. There were also 58 connected to race or ethnicity, 16 to sexual orientation, 10 to age, six to gender and five to religion. The issue was discussed at the Adult Protection Conference, attended by 130 people at Dunfermline's Lynebank Hospital recently. FCSP development officer Bill Harley said high-profile cases such as the Fiona Pilkington tragedy - where a single mum killed herself and her disabled daughter in 2007 after years being targeted by yobs - drove home the effect hate crime could have. He told the Press, "We're always encouraging people to report hate crime. "There might be many more that we don't know about because people don't report the incident and just put up with it.
"They don't report for one reason or another. It could be they don't want to bother anybody, have a distrust of authority, fear reprisals, or just accept it as part of being disabled. If you're a victim, you don't have to put up with it. "There are support systems to help people who've suffered at the hands of perpetrators." The Scottish Government defines hate crime as "a crime motivated by malice and ill-will towards a social group", and can range from verbal abuse to assault. Roseanne Fearon, Fife Council head of adult services, said, "Disability hate or harassment has clear connections and overlaps with adult protection. "Where an individual comes to our attention as an adult at risk we need to be considering if the harm they are experiencing is motivated by or is the result of hate or harassment because of an actual or perceived disability. "For many people with a disability this kind of harassment is commonplace. "We have to demonstrate our commitment to those individuals, to provide support to help them speak up about their experience and provide them with protection and appropriate joined up action once we are aware."
© The Dunfermline Press
Family say they fear for their safety (UK)
3/6/2013- A family in Micklefield say they fear for their safety in the face of what they claim to be racist and anti-social behaviour. Father-of-three Zulfiqar Shah told a press conference on May 22 that other residents have "simply wanted us out". The press conference was called by Saqib Deshmukh, who is part of The Justice for Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah campaign, to highlight the family’s plight. Mr Deshmukh is a key campaigner for race equality in the town, after a campaign was set up in July 2008 after the death of Habib during a routine stop and search by police in a car park in High Wycombe. Mr Shah claimed he had been racially abused and that last July he was attacked near his home.
Although police say an assault was reported, after an investigation it was Mr Shah who was charged with ABH. However, he was found not guilty in April at Aylesbury Magistrates Court. Mr Shah referred back to the alleged attack and ongoing incidents that had had "irreversible effects on our lives". Mr Shah was critical of the way police handled the incident, claiming: "Had I have been a white father, I have no doubt but to believe the police and council would have applied maximum force to contain the anti-social and racist element." He claimed key witnesses were not interviewed, although police say they were not told about these.
Another family, the Guls, told the press conference they had moved from the area in February because of alleged racist and anti-social behaviour. However, Deputy Police Area Commander Colin Seaton said officers attempting to speak to Mrs Gul have been told she is not available. Mr Shah said he feared for his family and wanted to move out of the area as soon as possible. He has refused mediation as he believes it will not help the situation and a CCTV camera because he considers this would make him a target.
Chief Inspector Seaton said: "We are trying our best in relation to both families. Without a doubt there are issues of anti-social behaviour in that area. We are working really hard to sort it out with various different people." He added: "We need people to come and report things to us. It is clear there is a significant number of these things that haven't been reported to us.
"Hate crime will absolutely not be tolerated."
Both families said landlords Red Kite Housing had not been responsive to their concerns, and Mr Shah said the housing association threatened his family with a possible eviction. However, Zosia Katnik, spokesman for Red Kite Housing, said: "We are disappointed to hear that Mr Shah and his family are unhappy with the action we have taken so far regarding the anti-social behaviour that has been reported in this case. "We are in regular contact with Mr Shah and have been for the past year.
"Any steps we take towards eviction are made clear to all tenants as part of their tenancy agreement and are typically a result of a breach in tenancy which can include prosecution. "As this was not proven in court in Mr Shah’s case, we have not pursued eviction proceedings. "We are here to support all of our tenants during experiences of anti-social behaviour. "We have offered Mr Shah a number of options to help with the problems he has reported and if at any stage he would like to pursue these, we are ready to do what we can. "We are closely monitoring the case and evidence provided by Thames Valley Police and will continue to support Mr Shah."
© The Bucks Free Press
Anti-Muslim Incidents On Twitter And Facebook Are Not Minor Attacks, Tell Mama Says (UK)
3/6/2013- Tell Mama, the charity which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, has hit back at claims they overstated Islamophobic attacks in the wake of the Woolwich killing. The government-funded project was attacked by the Sunday Telegraph for recording offensive messages posted on Twitter and Facebook as well as physical violence. Of the 212 anti-Muslim incidents recorded by Tell Mama, 57% took place online, the newspaper reported. Some of the incidents didn't take place in Britain and included in the tally were offensive remarks not directed at individuals but hate statements made publicly.
Tell Mama, whilst admitting the article was correct, labelled journalist Andrew Gilligan's evaluation as "reductionist" and said their figures would be independently checked by Birmingham university for a report next month. The charity posted a point-by-point critique of the Telegraph's article online, arguing that many third party hate crime reporting organisations record reports of verbal abuse and "increasingly online abuse." It also argued that graffiti in graveyards and broken windows on mosques are not 'relatively minor' but serve to impact on community tensions.
Online hate incidents should not be downplayed as they cause "emotional disturbance" and distress, Tell Mama added. If figures from Tell Mama did not marry with police reports, this was because many Muslims "are fearful of engaging with police and many have reported to us that their cases have been re-classified with race hate incident flags rather than with Islamophobia flags" the detailed statement said. However it did stress the United Kingdom was "still the safest place to live in and that it was one of the best countries for faith communities to be in."
The charity added: "Thankfully, there is something inherent within the British public which detests violence and this may be why we had not seen an orgy of violence after the murder in Woolwich." On Saturday, the road outside the Palace of Westminster became a battleground as supporters of the British National Party (BNP) clashed with rival anti-fascist campaigners, predominantly members of Unite Against Fascism (UAF).
© The Huffington Post - UK
Fiyaz Mughal runs a project called Tell Mama, which receives £214,000 a year from the Government to monitor anti-Muslim attacks in Britain. In the wake of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder, he has been understandably busy.
1/6/2013- There has, said Mr Mughal, been “a wave of attacks, harassment, and hate-filled speech against Muslims … an unprecedented number of incidents”, including “a rise in street harassment of Muslims – unprovoked, opportunistic attacks from strangers as Muslims go about their lives”. He added: “Over the past week or so, these sorts of hate crimes have noticeably increased in number and, in many instances, become more extreme. "The scale of the backlash is astounding … there has been a massive spike in anti-Muslim prejudice. A sense of endemic fear has gripped Muslim communities.” The media, especially the BBC, have accepted the claims without question. A presenter on Radio 4’s influential Today programme stated that attacks on Muslims were now “on a very serious scale”. Talk of a “massive anti-Muslim backlash” has become routine. And it is that figure issued by Tell Mama – of, to date, 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” since the Woolwich murder – which has formed the basis of nearly all this reporting.
Mr Mughal is in no doubt what lies behind it all. As he told a newspaper: “I do not see an end to this cycle of violence. There is an underlying Islamophobia in our society and the horrendous events in Woolwich have brought this to the fore.” And as he put it on Today, “the [Government’s] Prevent [anti-extremism] agenda, the extremist agenda, have not been good for building confidence – the sense of fear just alienates and isolates communities.” Yet the unending “cycle of violence” against Muslims, the unprecedented “wave of attacks” against them from strangers in the street, the “underlying Islamophobia in our society” – all turn out to be yet more things we thought we knew about Woolwich that are not really supported by the evidence. Tell Mama confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph that about 120 of its 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” – 57 per cent – took place only online. They were offensive postings on Twitter or Facebook, or comments on blogs: nasty and undesirable, certainly, but some way from violence or physical harm and often, indeed, legal. Not all the offending tweets and postings, it turns out, even originated in Britain.
Tell Mama has no written definition of what it classes as an anti-Muslim incident, but has in the past adopted a wide definition. Last November, the cross-bench Asian peer, Baroness Flather, told a newspaper it was “pointless for the Conservatives to chase Muslim votes. They are all on benefits and all vote Labour”. Tell Mama added this admittedly crass and untrue remark to its database as an “anti-Muslim incident,” though it said it had deleted it following an explanation from Lady Flather. Although the service says its caseworkers “carefully handle each report as it comes in, to determine whether it can be verified and justified as an anti-Muslim incident”, Mr Mughal admitted that a further 35 of the 212 post-Woolwich incidents, or 16 per cent, had yet to be verified. He justified publishing the figure, however, saying he expected that all but a handful of incidents would be verified. Fewer than one in 12 of the 212 “incidents” reported to Tell Mama since Woolwich – 17 cases (8 per cent) – involved individuals being physically targeted.
Six people had things thrown at them, said Mr Mughal, and most of the other 11 cases were attempts to pull off the hijab or other items of Islamic dress. Without in any way denying the distress and harm caused by such attacks, they do stand at the lower levels of seriousness. Seventeen is still likely, of course, to underestimate the total number of attacks. The Metropolitan Police, the only major force in Britain which breaks down “offences with an Islamophobic flag”, said there were 13 allegations of common or racially aggravated assault of Muslims reported to it in London in the week after the killing. About 40 per cent of Britain’s 2.7 million Muslims live in the capital, so the national figure could be around 32 cases, or about one Muslim in every 100,000. Offences of common and racially aggravated assault are typically used where there has been no injury, such as hijab snatching, or minor injury not drawing blood or requiring medical treatment, such as the throwing incidents reported by Tell Mama. The Met said there were no cases reported to it where any more serious injury resulted.
Asking other police forces and trawling local media reports, The Telegraph has been unable to find a single confirmed case since Drummer Rigby’s death where any individual Muslim has received an injury requiring medical treatment. Tell Mama’s Twitter feed reported one such incident, of a Muslim woman “knocked unconscious” in Bolton, but the local police said they had no knowledge of this and did not believe it happened. It is unlikely, though not impossible, that any case of serious injury could have escaped the notice of the media or police. Perhaps the most serious manifestation of anti-Muslim feeling after the killing was a number of attacks on mosques. These are believed to total 11, though here again evidence for a “wave of violence” is lacking. With only two exceptions, a mosque in Grimsby into which firebombs were thrown and another one in Essex where a man entered with a knife, all the incidents were relatively minor, such as window-breaking or graffiti.
According to the Charity Commission, there are between 1,100 and 1,500 mosques in the UK, so the number attacked is less than 1 per cent. Two other sets of figures are available. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), forces nationally reported 71 anti-Muslim hate crimes or “incidents of note” to the National Community Tensions Team in the week after the murder of Drummer Rigby. “That would cover everything they feel has a link to Woolwich, though an incident of note would not necessarily be a crime,” said a spokesman. The second set of figures is from True Vision, an online hate-crime reporting tool operated by Acpo. There were 136 reports of anti-Muslim activity – internet or physical – received via this website in the week after Woolwich, overwhelmingly in the first few days, though Acpo said that not all were crimes and some reports were duplicates.
As for the claim that there is “no end” to the cycle of anti-Muslim activity, it has substantially ended already. According to police, there was a sharp spike in reported incidents in the day or so after the killing, but they have already subsided to pre-Woolwich levels. Acpo said that by last Wednesday, a week after the murder, the number of incidents reported to True Vision had fallen back to four a day. The claim that the spike and numbers were “unprecedented” is wrong, too. After the 7/7 attacks in London – admittedly more serious than the killing of Drummer Rigby – there was a far bigger and more prolonged rise in faith-hate crimes. According to the Met, 269 were recorded in London alone in the three weeks after the 2005 attacks, compared with 40 for the same period the year before. What the data broadly show, in short, is that Drummer Rigby’s killers have failed. The breakdown in community relations has not come. There has been a rise in incidents, but it appears to be very short-term, overwhelmingly non-violent and even then almost entirely at the lower end of the scale.
Yet this is not a message the Islamophobia industry wants heard, now or ever. Two months before the Woolwich killing, Tell Mama was already claiming that anti-Muslim incidents were “rising”, on the basis of reports made to its service. But at that point it had only been going for a year, so it had no previous figures to compare. In 2010 a report for the Islamist Cordoba Foundation, described by David Cameron as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood”, said there was already what it called a wave of “terrorism” against British Muslims, with an “alarming rise” in hatred of Islam. What evidence there is simply does not support the claims. There is anti-Muslim hatred in Britain, and it is disgraceful. But nearly all the evidence shows it is diminishing. In 2009 there were 368 anti-Muslim crimes in London; in 2012, there were 337. In the first 11 weeks of 2013, there were 64 crimes, equating at that point to 303 across the year, though the Woolwich attack will drive that up.
Hate crime in London’s main Muslim area, Tower Hamlets, has dropped by almost half since 2003 (though it rose slightly this year). Outside London, faith-hate crimes reported to the main forces with big Muslim populations – West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire – have fallen, too. Broader political developments suggest a country increasingly at ease with Muslims. In 2009 the main anti-Islamic party, the BNP, had 55 councillors. Now it has two. The number of Muslim MPs doubled at the last election, some elected for entirely non-Muslim seats such as Bromsgrove, Gillingham, or Stratford-upon-Avon with no backlash whatever. Continental campaigns to ban minarets and the niqab have gained absolutely no political traction in Britain. Opinion polls after the Woolwich attack showed rising positive sentiment about Muslims – though, as with so many of these exercises, the answers can depend on the questions you ask. Yet broader politics are also driving the Islamophobia industry.
For Islamists such as the Cordoba Foundation, the narrative of British Muslims under attack, increasingly hated and feared by their fellow citizens, is essential for recruitment, and for furthering their central lie that different races and faiths cannot coexist. “Islamophobic” is also a handy charge to throw at anyone who questions Islamist ideology. Tell Mama is not Islamist, though Mr Mughal has written in the Cordoba Foundation’s journal (he says it was a “mistake” which he will not repeat). But part of its motivation appears to be an attempt to draw some of the sting from Islamist terrorism by equating it with the work of anti-Muslim extremist groups such as the English Defence League. As Tell Mama’s Twitter feed puts it, “whilst we need to tackle the narrative of hate inspired by al-Qaeda, we also need to tackle the thuggery and hate of the EDL”. Mr Mughal insists that “both groups are significantly problematic”.
Loathsome as the white extreme Right is, however, there is clearly no comparison. No one in Britain has been killed by the EDL; 53 people have been killed by Islamist terrorists. White racists, unlike their Islamist equivalents, do not control key religious institutions or have a significant presence in British universities. Over the past decade, half a dozen or so white British Right-wingers have been convicted of possessing explosives and other weapons. But all were loners not acting in concert with any group. In contrast, there have, over the same period, been 150 convictions for Islamist-related terrorism in the UK, many relating to serious, carefully organised, often multinational plots against specific targets involving substantial numbers of people. For some quarters of the Islamophobia industry, it has now become Muslims who are the main victims of the Woolwich horror. But while some innocent Muslims have of course become victims, the main victim was Drummer Lee Rigby. And in overhyping the backlash, some in the Muslim community are playing right into the hands of his killers.
© The Sunday Telegraph