ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive December 2013

Headlines 27 December, 2013

Headlines 20 December, 2013

Headlines 13 December, 2013

Headlines 6 December, 2013

Headlines 27 December, 2013

Islamophobia: Surge revealed in anti-Muslim hate crimes (UK)

Many forces reported a particular rise in anti-Islam hate crimes following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby

27/12/2013- Islamophobic hate crimes across Britain have risen dramatically this year, new figures have revealed. Hundreds of offences were perpetrated against the country's Muslim population in 2013, with the Metropolitan police alone - Britain's largest force - recording 500 Islamophobic crimes, compared with 336 incidents in 2012 and 318 in 2011. A large number of forces across the country reported a particular surge in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamic extremists in Woolwich, south-east London. In May, the month in which Fusilier Rigby was killed, Scotland Yard recorded 104 anti-Muslim hate crimes, followed by a further 108 in June. The figures were obtained by the Press Association which sent Freedom of Information requests to every police force in England and Wales.

However of the 43 forces, just 24 provided figures on the number of anti-Muslim crimes and incidents recorded - with some forces admitting they do not always record the faith of a religious hate crime victim. It is therefore likely that the actual numbers of incidents of hate crimes against Muslims perpetrated in 2013 was much higher. Tell Mama, a group which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, said it has dealt with some 840 cases since just April - with the number expected to rise to more than 1,000 by the end of March. This compared with 582 anti-Islam cases it dealt with from March 2012 to March 2013. Fiyaz Mujhal, director of Faith Matters, which runs the Tell Mama project, said reaction to the murder of Fusilier Rigby had caused the number of Islamophobic crimes to “significantly jump”.

“The far right groups, particularly the EDL (English Defence League) perniciously use the Internet and social media to promote vast amounts of online hate,” he added. Branding guidelines by the Crown Prosecution Service to monitor social media as “not fit for purpose”, Mr Mujhal said tougher sentencing was needed to tackle Islamophobic crime. “They raised the bar of prosecution significantly,” he said. “Now unless there is a direct threat to somebody on Twitter or Facebook, the CPS will not prosecute. The CPS is just plainly out of sync with reality. “We also need more robust sentencing. In one case, a pig's head was left outside a mosque and the perpetrator came away with a community sentence. When you target a mosque, you are targeting the whole community.”

Tell Mama also called for police forces to introduce a system which improves monitoring and recording of Islamophobic crimes, ensuring the faith of a religious hate crime victim is recorded. “There are three problems we come across,” Mr Mujhal said. “Firstly, there is a lack of understanding of the language of Islamophobia thrown at victims in any incidents. “Secondly, there is very little training on how to ask relevant questions to pull out anti-Muslim cases. “Thirdly, recording processes are not in line with each other. One force will allow an officer to flag an incident as anti-Muslim, another force will flag it as religious hate crime. There is no uniformity. “There must be guidelines for all forces so we can know the level of the problem.”

A CPS spokeswoman said that for online communications, only those that are “grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false” are prohibited in order to “preserve the right to free speech”. “Online communication can be offensive, shocking or in bad taste. However, as set out in CPS guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media, content has to be more than simply offensive to be contrary to the criminal law,” she said. The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has previously said over five days after Fusilier Rigby was murdered 71 anti-Muslim incidents were reported to its national community tension team. Superintendent Paul Giannasi, Acpo's spokesman on hate crime, said: “The police service is committed to reducing the harm caused by hate crime and it is vital that we encourage more victims who suffer crimes to report them to the police or through third party reporting facilities such as Tell Mama.

“We would obviously want overall crime levels to reduce and to see fewer victims, but we welcome increases in reported hate crime, as long as they are a sign of increased confidence of victims to report. “We are working with local police forces, to help improve the way we respond to hate crime and to provide robust and transparent hate crime data.” A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “These are despicable crimes that devastate lives and communities. The courts already hand out tougher punishments where race or religion are found to be aggravating factors.” “The number of people receiving a custodial sentence for these appalling crimes is higher than ever before.”
© The Independent

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23/12/2013- Unidentified individuals used a pig’s head to desecrate a synagogue in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar. Representatives of the Jewish community of the city, which is located 600 miles west of Baku, Azerbaijan, found the pig’s head at the entrance to their synagogue on Dec. 20. They believe the perpetrators are also responsible for English-language graffiti on the building’s external wall, which read: “Happy Tu B’Shevat, Jewish Pigs.” Tu B´shevat, which will next occur on Jan 15, 2014, is a Jewish holiday which celebrates ecological awareness and the connection between man and the plant kingdom. Shneor Segal, a Chabad rabbi who used to work in Krasnodar and now serves as the chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Baku, said the community has contacted police with the intention of filing criminal charges against the unidentified perpetrators. Last month, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of a synagogue being built in Sevastopol, a Ukrainian port city located 270 miles west of Krasnodar.
© JTA News

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Headlines 20 December, 2013

Pigsheads at Mosque in Geleen (Netherlands)

20/12/2013- Unknowns last night attached a pig's head at the gate of a mosque in Geleen. On the grounds, a second pig's head was found by the board of the mosque. They have filed a complaint with the police. Police have opened an investigation and is looking for witnesses. The incident took place in a new area, where the mosque is  moving to soon. On Facebook, the Board reports that "this is atmosphere and culture that surrounds the move."
© ICARE

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Czech Republic: Mosque defaced with bones and pork

20/12/2013- Late last night or early this morning someone threw a pile of pork bones in front of the entrance to a mosque in Brno. The door handle was smeared with lard and a piece of pork was hung from it. Muníb Hasan says the Muslim community has filed a criminal report against an unidentified perpetrator. Islam strictly forbids the consumption of pork, which Muslims consider unclean. "We found the bones and meat this morning when we came to the mosque. We have a security camera which has partially recorded the perpetrator. We gave the footage to the police," Hasan said. In his view this is a clear example of extremist hatred against those who believe in Islam. The community left the entrance as it was all morning, posting signs reading "Use the side entrance" and "This is an example of tolerance" over the defacement. The door and entryway were cleaned up after noon. Police will now be investigating further details of the matter; they say it is not yet possible to tell whether the incident is one of disseminating xenophobia or rioting. The mosque is located on Vídeňská Street in Brno. It was opened as the first house of worship of its kind in the Czech Republic more than 10 years ago. The facility has been the target of several attacks in the past. Unidentified perpetrators have broken the glass in its doors and windows and spray-painted graffiti on it.
© Romea.

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Racism, discrimination, intolerance and extremism: learning from experiences in Greece and Hungary

This thematic situation report examines the effectiveness of responses by public authorities, civil society organisations and others to counter racism, discrimination, intolerance and extremism in Greece and Hungary. The report goes on to make proposals for fighting racist crime, increasing trust in the police, and combating extremism throughout the EU.

20/12/2013- Crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and related intolerances, the mainstreaming of elements of extremist ideology in political and public discourse, and ethnic discrimination all persist throughout the European Union. Growing alarm has been expressed at the national, EU and international levels with regard to manifestations of violent racism and other forms of intolerance especially in two EU Member States: Greece and Hungary. An additional important concern is the substantial parliamentary representation of parties that use paramilitary tactics or are closely associated with paramilitary groups and use extremist rhetoric to target irregular migrants in Greece, and the Roma and Jews in Hungary.

In this context, FRA took the initiative to collect data and compile the present thematic situation report. It examines the effectiveness of responses by public authorities, statutory human rights bodies, and civil society organisations to racism, discrimination, intolerance and extremism in these two EU Member States. Despite the fact that this report focuses on two countries, the identification of barriers to counter such phenomena is of relevance to the EU as a whole. The proposals contained in the report on issues such as tackling racist and related crime, increasing trust in the police, and countering extremism could therefore be considered for use in all EU Member States.
© EU Fundamental Rights Agency

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Slovakia: Court acquits non-Romani youth of stabbing Romani man to death

18/12/2013- The District Court in the Slovak town of Košice has acquitted a non-Romani youth of stabbing a Romani man to death even though there is no question he committed the crime. Several psychiatrists testified that he was not responsible for his actions at the time, while other experts came to the opposite conclusion. The Slovak youth responsible for taking the life of another human being was then released by the court because the experts testified that "he does not suffer from any mental disorder." The bloody incident took place at a bus station in 2010 in the town of Košice.

On the day he committed the assault, Andrej K. (age 20) of the Krupina district had just finished registering for his Master's studies at a local college and was waiting for the bus. A Romani man, 40-year-old Zoltán Z. from the village of Sokoľana, approached him and asked him for money. The youth immediately drew a knife from his pocket and stabbed Zoltán Z. 22 times. The attack was so unexpected that the victim, who was under the influence of alcohol, had no time to respond. News server Korzár.sk reports that the assault lasted just 40 seconds, and even though the victim received rapid medical care, he died one month later as a result of his injuries. Andrej K. was originally charged with battery.

During the police investigation, mainly on the basis of an expert evaluation of the victim's cause of death, the legal qualification of the crime was increased to "the particularly serious crime of murder". Despite this, the prosecutor saw no reason to remand the assailant into custody. Andrej K. refused to testify during the preliminary proceedings and maintained his silence during the main trial. He only revealed why he had drawn a weapon during his psychiatric interview. The assailant claimed that the Romani man, whom he did not know, had been bothering him and said he feared the man was about to kill him. An eyewitness at the bus station said that the late Zoltán used to regularly bother people there with his begging and that they had already thrown him out of the bus station once on that fateful day.

The student's attack on the Romani man was so fast that no one nearby managed to respond in time. CCTV footage of the murder has confirmed that. Two psychiatric evaluations of Andrej K. determined how the court has proceeded in his case. A first team of experts claimed the student found himself under the influence of a pathological affect at the moment of the assault, a state close to unconsciousness in which his ability to tell right from wrong and his capacity for self-control disappeared. A second team conceded that the youth was acting in a state of passion in response to stress, but insisted that his ability to tell right from wrong and his capacity for self-control were merely reduced, not gone entirely. The court then requested another evaluation from a third pair of experts, who spent several months elaborating their critique.

These experts determined that Andrej K. does not suffer from any chronic mental disease or disorder. However, in that particular fraction of a second, he found himself under the influence of a delusional, psychotic, but temporary, disorder. "When the Romani man stood in front of the youth, he was pathologically convinced that he was about to die, that he was about to be murdered. The trigger for his brutal aggression was his acute reaction to that stress. We could not find any other explanation for his behavior," an expert from the third team said, adding that this was the first case of its kind he had seen. According to this psychiatrist, Andrej K., at the time of attack, could not control his own behavior or recognize the danger it posed. In other words, he was not responsible.

The experts did not suggest that the youth should seek prophylactic treatment, as in their view he is not mentally ill. "Given that he was in such a state of mind, I do not insist that the defendant be found guilty, and I propose the court acquit him by reason of insanity," the prosecutor said; defense counsel Marta Šuvadová joined that opinion. Andrej K. has communicated that he is sorry about what happened and said he will have the experience in his mind's eye for the rest of his life. The court in its acquittal stated that the defendant was not criminally liable by reason of insanity; the verdict has taken effect.
© Romea.

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Increase in hate crimes reported in Hampshire (UK)

The number of hate crimes committed in the area has increased.

18/13/2013- Data from a government report shows there were 1,203 hate crimes reported to police in 2012-13, compared to 1,132 in 2011-12. The report, An Overview of Hate Crime in England and Wales, suggests that the number of hate crimes committed each year across the county is higher than the number reported. Inspector Sarah Clapham from Hampshire police’s public protection department said: ‘My message to anyone who has been assaulted, threatened, or intimidated because of who they are is to report it to the police. ‘We are here to help and there is always something we can do. We take all hate incidents and hate crimes very seriously. We will always investigate and help victims get the support they need.’
© The Portsmouth News

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'Homophobic hate crime' appears to be another hoax (UK)

20/12/2013- Today, Police in Guernsey have confirmed that Jenny Harding, 25, is "withdrawing claims that her dog had been hit with a hammer as part of a homophobic attack," but an "investigation is still ongoing," according to Detective Inspector Richard Medhurst. This is Guernsey reported that Harding, a "children’s entertainer," handed Alice the dog over to police for medical treatment after injuries the 6-year-old pet sustained resulting in the loss of her eye. It was reported last week that Alice was "smashed in the muzzle with a hammer as part of a sickening homophobic attack," and had to go to the veterinarian for the eye to be removed. The BBC reported that "a hammer, paint and a paintbrush used in the attack had been left at the scene."

Today, however, Medhurst "said it was unclear how Alice received her injuries, but there was no evidence she had been attacked by someone." Jenny Harding also alleged that the words "Die filthy queer" were painted by a hate-filled homophobe on the back of her van. On a Facebook post, Harding said, "Alice is doing very well at the moment, she'll need a further operation but for now she needs to heal up a bit. Your support is fantastic everyone, thank you so, so much!!! Please keep your ears out for news and hopefully we'll bring the culprit to justice."

As if that was not enough, several days later on Dec. 17, yet more graffiti was found. This time, it was reported that the phrase, "Head down or you next" was found "on her workshop door," and allegedly occurred "while the children’s entertainer was inside the shed." Another article today from the local news seems to confirm that Harding, who received support and donations and even a sympathetic Facebook page with 4,279 sympathisers at the time of this writing, perpetrated the hoax herself.

Today's report said that "police said this morning that they were no longer looking for anyone in connection with the attack." Additionally, it was reported that "As a result of this investigation, Ms. Harding tells us she wishes to withdraw her allegations and would like all donations offered by sympathisers to be returned. We are no longer looking for anybody in relation to these matters." Hopefully it will be determined how Alice the dog lost her eye last week.
© The Examiner

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A children’s entertainer who was last week targeted in a hate crime when her dog was hit with a hammer, has again been targeted with violent threats.

18/12/2013- Guernsey police were investigating after 25-year-old children’s entertainer Jenny Harding, went to feed her six-year-old dog Alice yesterday, to find that her eye was bulging, and a bloody hammer had been found nearby. The dog’s eye had to be removed. Her polka-dot van, used for Punch and Judy Shows was also covered with graffiti, which said “die filthy queer”. Graffiti reading “Head down or u next” (sic), has now been spray-painted across her workshop door. Ms Harding was inside the shed while the threat was sprayed onto the door. The incident took place on Saturday between 6 and 9pm on Sunday.

She said: “When I came out I closed the door and just stood there. It took me a few times before the words sunk in and then I grabbed Alice [her dog] and ran to the cottage. It has made me a lot more worried now. “But I am not going to hide away because somebody is trying to intimidate me.” Ms Harding is trained as a clown, a trick rider, Punch and Judy puppeteer, high-wire and fire acts. Guernsey currently does not have civil partnerships, or same-sex marriage, and gay couples cannot adopt. Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity has been banned in Guernsey since 2004.
© Pink News

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One complaint involved black teenager hit with hurley and verbally abused

16/12/2013- A black African teenager was hit with a hurley and verbally abused in her garden in one of 97 racist incidents reported to an online database in the first 2½ months after it went live. A complaint made to iReport, an online database managed by the European Network Against Racism, said the girl and her family had been racially abused by a neighbour on several occasions and that the family was threatened with arson if the children played outside. Of the 97 racist incidents reported between July 11th, 2013, when the iReport database went live, and September 30th, 2013, almost two-thirds involved physical threat (52 per cent) or physical assault (13.5 per cent).

Other recorded incidents reported to the network included:
A Muslim man who required medical attention after teenagers threw beer bottles at him while shouting racist abuse, including slurs on his religion, in an attack which occurred in Limerick;
A group of Muslims attending a prayer service in Cork who were severely beaten with sticks by a group of men who had travelled by car to the area to carry out the attack;
Six people reported being spat at, including a victim who experienced being spat at on several occasions in Galway city.

The highest proportion of racist incidents were perpetrated against people of black African backgrounds, followed by people of Asian or Chinese ethnicity. Around half of the reported incidents occurred in the Greater Dublin Area, while 12 incidents occurred in Limerick. Almost three-quarters of the reported incidents occurred in the first nine months of the year: 57 per cent occurred in the 2½ months after the database first went online on July 11th. Just over a quarter of the reported cases related to incidents which occurred prior to 2013, something the report pointed to as being “important . . . (as) it points to the severe impact of such incidents on victims and witnesses, which can last for years, and the absence of other appropriate reporting systems”.

The iReport website is managed by the network which co-ordinates 30 anti-racism organisations in Ireland. As well as capturing incidents reported to these agencies, individuals can also report racist incidents online at ireport.ie
© The Irish Times.

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Swedish police detain 28 after neo-Nazi attack

Attack on demonstration protesting against increased neo-Nazi campaigning in the area

16/12/2013- Swedish police detained 28 people Sunday after a group of neo-Nazis attacked an anti-Nazism demonstration in a Stockholm suburb by hurling bottles, torches and firecrackers. Two people were hospitalized and a policeman was injured in the back after being hit by a heavy object, police spokesman Sven-Erik Olsson said. Olsson said around 200 people participated in the planned, peaceful demonstration in the suburb of Karrtorp when they were attacked by a smaller group of about 40. Those detained are suspected of rioting and various assault charges. The demonstration was organized by a local citizen group as a protest against increased neo-Nazi campaigning in the area. Video footage published by state broadcaster SVT showed families with baby carriages escaping the scene as firecrackers exploded in the middle of the crowd and people were heard screaming. Later, the crowd moved toward the attackers chanting anti-Nazism slogans and forcing them to retreat. A neo-Nazi group called the Swedish Resistance Movement claimed responsibility for the attack on its website.
© The Associated Press

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Growing xenophobia may spur inter-ethnic tensions - Public Chamber experts (Russia)

A draft report of the Russian Public Chamber, "On the Status of Russia's Civil Society", affirms a growth of aggressive xenophobia in the country.

20/12/2013- "Aggressive xenophobia is a serious challenge to contemporary Russia. Xenophobia reached its peak in 2013, according to a survey of the Levada Center, which said that 70-80 percent of the Russian population was xenophobic one way or another. This is the top indicator in many years of research and it is not even. Xenophobia peaked in October after the Moscow election and the Biryulyovo incident. It has the highest degree in Moscow because of the highest concentration of migrants," the draft indicated. The draft pointed to the appearance of certain public problems that might spur inter-ethnic tensions.

"Society has numerous objective problems, which may spur inter-ethnic tensions any moment, such as corruption, a low level of professional culture and ethics of civil servants, politicization of the ethnic cultural factor, nationalist organizations and ideologies, and negative ethnic stereotypes that have taken root in the public mentality," the draft continued. It also named the shortcomings of the Law "On the Deterrence of Extremism." "The Law "On the Deterrence of Extremism" misses the mark. On some occasions it applies to opposition politicians and journalists. Meanwhile, the national factor is frequently used by politicians who are instigating a growth of extremist crimes," the draft stressed.
© Russia Beyond The Headlines

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Moscow's Largest Gay Club Comes Under Attack, Director Says (Russia)

15/12/2013- The head of Moscow's biggest gay club has asked President Vladimir Putin to take measures to protect the club from repeated attacks, which he says are part of an attempt to put pressure on its owners to shut the club down. Some 100 people seized the attic of the Central Station club on Saturday, fully "dismantling" the roof of the building and stealing or disabling some of the club's utility equipment, Andrei Lishchinsky wrote in a letter to Putin, arguing that the actions were provoked by hatred toward gays. In his letter, Lishchinsky said he decided to address Putin directly because the president had on numerous occasions made remarks about the state of gay rights in Russia, saying for instance that the law approved this year banning "gay propaganda" among minors did not encroach on gay rights or create an atmosphere of intolerance in society, contrary to the opinion of the law's many critics.

Saturday's attack was not the first on Central Station, one of only a handful of gay clubs in Moscow and one of the largest in Russia. But, according to Lishchinsky, police have failed to identify the organizers of the attacks and have refused to open a criminal case. "The building was seized by a professional raiding company that served the interests of unknown foreign legal entities that ordered multiple illegal actions against LGBT visitors of the club," he wrote in the letter, a copy of which he posted to Facebook. "These actions were obviously motivated by hatred toward representatives of the LGBT community and had a clear extremist tone." Lishchinsky did not name anyone he suspected in the attacks, but national media reported that there was a conflict between the club owners and the owners of the building in which the club is located.

On Saturday, police arrested 40 people standing near the club and said there was a conflict between the club's management and a group of workers employed by the building's owner, RIA Novosti reported. The incident caused the club owners to move a concert by Swedish group Army of Lovers that was planned to be held at Central Station to another venue. Lishchinsky said police may have acted in the interests of those who organized the attacks on the club. There have been more than 20 attacks from the same people in recent months, Lishchinky said in his letter. Since the end of October, "some harmful gas was sprayed" in the club several times, he said, and the club was attacked by armed men.
Gay rights advocates have noted an uptick in violence motivated by intolerance toward LGBT people in recent years, which they say is encouraged by laws such as the one banning "gay propaganda" among minors. Attacks on gay clubs in Russia are not uncommon. In October 2012, a group of hooligans attacked Moscow gay club 7FreeDays during a party held on International Coming Out Day, hitting people, throwing bottles and overturning tables. Four people were hospitalized as a result of the attack. Lishchinsky asked Putin to identify the police officers guilty of inactivity in relation to the attacks on Central Station, as the club owners have filed more than 30 complaints to the police and none of them have been answered.

On the contrary, the police have targeted the club for suspected illegal activity. Earlier in December, Central Station was checked by police and the Federal Drug Control Service, which suspected drug trafficking to be taking place in the club. Police failed to find any drugs during their search. Calls to the Moscow police for comment on the situation with Central Station went unanswered Sunday. Prominent LGBT activist Nikolai Alexeyev said it was likely that Lishchinsky's letter to Putin would go unanswered, since all letters go through the presidential administration, which forwards them not to Putin directly but to different agencies. Alexeyev has sent several appeals to Putin regarding gay rights this year without receiving responses. He added that Lishchinsky's letter would likely be sent to the agencies he complained about in his letter — the police and the Prosecutor's General Office.

Alexeyev said he believed the attacks on Central Station had nothing to do with gay rights but instead were a "pure economic issue." "The building got a new owner recently who tried to break the lease contract with the owners of Central Station, but failed to do so even through a court, which is why the owner started to take measures that would not allow the club to function properly," Alexeyev said. Repeated phone calls to Central Station on Sunday went unanswered.
© The Moscow Times

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Headlines 13 December, 2013

An assessment of racial violence in Northern Ireland

An overview of racist attacks and convictions over the last six months in Northern Ireland.

12/12/2013- According to the most recent statistics produced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), there are two racist incidents reported, and more than one incident recorded as a racist hate crime in the north of Ireland every day. In the last year, there were a total of 750 racist incidents and 470 hate crimes reported to the PSNI – an increase when compared to the 2011/12 period, as documented by the 2013 Northern Ireland Peace and Monitoring Report. Despite the era of a ‘shared future’ and the dawn of a ‘new’ Northern Ireland since the peace agreement(s), the most high-profile attacks that have made the news in the last six months give us a glimpse into the everyday reality of abuse, harassment, and intimidation which BME communities in the north of Ireland experience.

The vast majority of the racist attacks which have become headline news have taken place in the middle of the night at the homes of foreign nationals, usually from Africa or Eastern Europe – where attackers daub racist graffiti onto the property, ahead of smashing doors and windows before fleeing. In one case, a number of Lithuanians in Dungannon experienced several attacks at their home, including the daubing of a Nazi symbol on their property accompanied by a written order to ‘get out’, in a prolonged campaign of harassment. In another incident, which bore striking resemblance to an attack months earlier in the same area, the home of a Zimbabwean family in East Belfast – who had already left another property in Belfast due to racism – was daubed with ‘No Blacks’ before they had even moved into the property.

In November 2013, Belfast City Council launched a billboard and online campaign, entitled ‘Don’t Turn Your Back On Hate Crime’, in response to recent PSNI statistics that hate crime incidents in Belfast had swelled almost 90 per cent compared with the previous year. With the exception of sectarian hate incidents, racism in Belfast has become the most prevalent hate crime – and the rise of 86.9 per cent between April and November 2013 in comparison with the same period in 2012 has surpassed the 36.3 per cent rise in sectarian incidents in the last 12 months. The number of race-hate incidents in the Belfast area alone is now higher than it was a decade ago for the entire province of Northern Ireland; with 215 reported incidents of race-hate between April and November 2013 in Belfast compared to 212 reported incidents of race-hate between April and December 2003 in all of Northern Ireland.

Could it be possible, as the PSNI argues, that the dramatic increase in racially aggravated crimes represents an increased willingness to report them? Certainly, the PSNI has been working with a range of public, community and voluntary organisations to encourage victims of hate crime to report their experience to police.

But whilst such moves by the PSNI are to be welcomed, a staggering amount (about 80 per cent) of racially aggravated crime continues to go unreported.  There are a number of reasons for this – ranging from a lack of confidence by victims in the policing and justice system (as was documented in a 2006 report published by the Institute of Conflict Research entitled Policing, Accountability, and the Black and Minority Ethnic Communities in Northern Ireland), a failure on the part of the criminal justice agencies to properly identify victims of racially aggravated crimes (as was documented in a 2013 report conducted by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission entitled Racist Hate Crime: human rights and the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland), to a fear of reprisals.

As has been previously acknowledged, the fear of reprisals in the north of Ireland is often linked to paramilitary elements. While racism is not the exclusive expression of one section of the community, there is a high correlation between racist attacks and areas which are staunchly Loyalist and a traditional heartland for affiliation to prominent Loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA). As Bill Rolston has stated, ‘It is not far-fetched to say that nothing happens in this small cluster of streets without these groups knowing, or even more, authorising it’. This sentiment has also been expressed by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), the PSNI, and the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee which has to date acknowledged the significant synergy that appears to exist between Loyalist paramilitary groups such as the UVF and the UDA, and racist violence which targets ethnic minorities.

A selection of these attacks and convictions are presented below:



  • 12 October 2013: The new home of a Zimbabwean family was daubed with racist graffiti in an overnight attack in Loyalist Bloomfield Drive in East Belfast. The family was due to move into the house, having moved from another part of Belfast due to racism. The PSNI confirmed they were treating the attack – in which ‘No Blacks’ was painted on the front of the property – as a racially-motivated hate crime. (Belfast Telegraph, 17 October 2013)


  • 25 September 2013: A hatchet was thrown through the window of a family home in  Loyalist Sandy Row area of south-central Belfast. Nigerian mother of two, Adenike Yisa, who had been resident in Northern Ireland for almost ten years but only lived in Sandy Row for a year, was on the sofa in the living room when a hatchet was smashed through the window. Speaking to the Guardian about the attack she said, ‘I was really, really upset,’ she said. ‘I have never been in that situation in my life. I only moved into that house about a year ago and never had any trouble. When I heard the noise I thought it was a shot, then I saw the axe or hatchet and the big hole in my window. I was screaming at the top of my voice and shaking like a leaf. Luckily my children were in their rooms. I didn’t see whoever did this, but think it was because of the colour of my skin.’ The PSNI confirmed they were treating the attack as a racially-motivated hate crime. (Guardian, 25 September 2013)


  • 18 September 2013: At the trial of Gary Smyth, Lithuanian residents in Dungannon, County Tyrone, expressed their terror stemming from repeated attacks on their homes. Smyth (30), faced charges of criminal damage, disorderly behaviour, attempted intimidation and threats to kill. Testifying at the High Court in Belfast, the Lithuanian residents told how paint was thrown over three of their cars, a brick was thrown through the front window of a home, and a swastika was daubed on the garage door alongside racist graffiti declaring ‘non-nationals must go’. A Lithuanian woman, claiming to have recognised Mr Smyth outside her property on 25 August 2013, alleged he ran across the street shouting ‘Fucking bastards, fucking foreigners, get out now.’ Refusing bail, found him guilty of ‘violent conduct, terrorising innocent people on the basis of their race.’ (Mid-Ulster Mail, 18 September 2013). Mr. Smyth was previously remanded in custody in 2004 following allegations that he was in possession of a petrol bomb and also throwing a petrol bomb with intent to damage the property of Dungannon District Council and cause personal injury to local people and non-nationals. The charges related to an alleged incident in Dungannon town centre when a device was thrown at a group of Portuguese people. No one was injured in the attack at Market Square as the device burnt itself out. (BBC News, 16 August 2004)


  • 19 August 2013: The home of a Nigerian man  in Loyalist East Belfast was vandalised and daubed in racist graffiti in an overnight attack. A window and a door pane were broken at the rented property, with ‘No Blacks’ painted several times on the front of the house. Although a resident of Belfast for eight years, the 27-year-old Nigerian national had only been living at the residence for a few days before the attack. Speaking to UTV News, the man expressed his desire to move out of the property in the aftermath, saying, ‘It feels horrible. I’ve been living in Belfast for eight years and I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s scary to be honest. Ever since I moved here, I have been working every day. To experience something like this it just makes you want to move out. They should be ashamed of themselves. Being a black human person living in Belfast, if that’s a crime, that’s the only crime I’ve committed.’ (UTV News, 19 August 2013)


  • 18 August 2013: A number of cars, a wall and a flat were daubed in racist graffiti in the Loyalist Coolcush Court and Lisnaclin Court areas of Dungannon. Inspector Jamieson of the  PSNI, treating the incident as a hate crime, condemned the attack and appealed for witnesses, saying, ‘This is a mindless and shameful attack on innocent members of the community and I would urge anyone with information to come forward.’ (Tyrone Times, 23 August 2013)


  • 17 August 2013: A male parking attendant in the Market Street area of Armagh was racially abused and  pushed by a man. The victim, who had worked in the city for several months, was offered support by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) following the attack. (Ulster Gazette, 22 August 2013)


  • 10 June, 2013: Two men, including a footballer who had played for the Northern Ireland junior international team, were jailed for a racist attack on a Polish man, Damien Wesolowski, in East Belfast. On 13 July 2011, the two men – Ryan Newberry (23), a Glentoran footballer, and David Wilton (25) – vandalised the house of Mr Wesolowski, kicking in the front door of the property and smashing a window. They then chased the victim from his home into the street where they left him lying semi-conscious after assaulting him. Mr Wesolowski, who had been beaten about the head and face, sustained serious injuries – including lacerations to the nose and mouth, suspected fractures and  bruising. Sentencing the pair, the judge concluded the attack had ‘severe racist and sectarian overtones’. Newberry and Wilton were sentenced to 18 months and 21 months respectively. (BBC News, 10 June 2013)


  • 23 May, 2013: The day after the murder of Lee Rigby, the Belfast Islamic Centre was subject to a paint-bomb attack. According to witnesses, two teenage boys were seen running from the scene, in Wellington Park, at approximately 10pm. The PSNI treatied the incident as a hate crime. (Newsletter, 24 May 2013)



© The Institute of Race Relations
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Is the EU turning its back on victims of hate crime? (AI press release)

11/12/2013- The European Union (EU) could strengthen national responses to effectively combat hate crime by reviewing its current legislation, standards, and policies. However, it seems that the political will to do so is in short supply, Amnesty International has said. Last Friday, the EU's Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council adopted conclusions on hate crime that failed to firmly commit to ending flawed and inadequate national laws and practices on hate crime within its borders. "Recent incidents of hate crime across member states, such as the wave of racist attacks against migrants in Bulgaria, and violence experienced on a daily basis by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people, clearly show the urgent need for EU action to protect victims," said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office.

In order to fully tackle the causes, stamp out this most violent manifestation of discrimination, and bring justice to hate crime victims, the discriminatory motive and nature of hate crimes must be recognised and responded to by specific national legislation. The EU has a key role in ensuring national legislation is effective and fully implemented. "Too often, we see little to no action by member states' authorities to thoroughly acknowledge, investigate and prosecute the hate motive behind these attacks. Friday's conclusions failed to put forward concrete EU measures to help combat hate crime in member states, and protect the victims", added Beger.

Amnesty International is concerned by the effectiveness of the existing EU Framework Decision to Combat Racism and Xenophobia (2008/913/JHA), to date the EU's only instrument on hate crime. It does not cover hate crimes beyond those on the grounds of race and ethnicity, focuses on criminalising hate speech over addressing violent acts, and provides no guidance on investigation and prosecution of such acts. "The Council and the European Commission must act immediately to upgrade EU standards to define and integrate hate crime within its broader anti-discrimination polices, and support robust national responses to hate crime. Empty calls on member states provide no added value." As Greece prepares to take over the EU presidency in January 2014, it must ensure that the EU takes the lead in ensuring that member states effectively unmask all hate motives, prosecute the perpetrators, and protect the victims of hate crimes.

Background:
Hate crimes are violent acts of intolerance toward people's perceived or actual social or identity characteristics, such as race or sexual orientation, that are protected and deemed discriminatory under international and European human rights law

Letter to Juazos Bernatonis, Minister of Justice, Republic of Lithuania
Letter to members of FREMP

Amnesty International's submission to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union on the framework decision on racism and xenophobia
Amnesty International's petition calling on the Bulgarian Minister of Justice to take immediate action to secure protection of LGBTI individuals against hate-motivated violence and discrimination.
© Amnesty International

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85% Increase in racist incidents reported during 2013; Harassment, discrimination and physical violence all reported; Review of current laws and reporting procedures urgently required

7/12/2013- Reports of racism and hate crimes have increased by 85% during 2013 according to preliminary figures produced by the Immigrant Council of Ireland. Since January 142 incidents have been reported, compared to 77 over the same period last year. Reports peaked over the summer months, with 31 incidents in July alone.

The findings show that most cases occurred in a person’s local community or workplace with the breakdown showing locations for racism as:
• At home and in victim's local community 21%
• Workplace 20%
• In the street 14%
• While accessing government or community services 14%
• On the internet 12%
• While traveling on public transport 10%
• Other 9%

Harassment both verbal and written accounted for most types of racism, with the reports showing:
• Verbal harassment 35%
• Discrimination (e.g. access to services, education) and Social exclusion 24%
• Written harassment 17%
• Physical violence 9%
• Property damage and racist graffiti 7%
• Non-verbal harassment (e.g. offensive look or gesture) 7%
• Other 1%

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:
“The increase in reported racism is alarming and once again shows that it is a reality which people and families are facing in their communities. While the findings are preliminary and we will produce more details and breakdowns in the New Year they are nevertheless stark. During the year we embarked on an extensive awareness campaign on public transport and across social media to assure victims they had nothing to fear in coming forward and to end the complacency over racism. Our hope is that the increase we have reported is an indication that this has happened rather than an actual increase in racism. These initial findings show that racism can occur anywhere, people have been made victims in their own homes, at work, on the street and increasingly online. We will now carry out analysis of the figures to see why our current laws are not preventing racism and examine what procedures can be in put place, including a reformed reporting system.”

Brian Killoran, Information and Referral Manager with the Immigrant Council added:
“As a frontline agency we are committed to provide information and support to victims of racism. The past 11-months have been unprecedented in terms of the numbers coming forward to us. People need to be continuously assured that when they will be treated seriously when they make a report and that action will be taken.

Anyone who experiences or sees racism should report it to the Gardaí and contact us through stopracism@immigrantcouncil.ie”7/12/2013
© The Immigrant Council of Ireland

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Turkey's gay groups dismayed LGBT abuse not a hate crime

7/12/2013- Gay rights groups in Turkey voiced dismay Friday that proposed legislation fails to make it a hate crime to target people because of their sexual orientation. "The definition of hate crime must immediately be broadened. The government has to guarantee our right to live," Ebru Kiranci, an official from Istanbul's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) association, told AFP. Reforms contained in a so-called "democratisation package" call for jail terms of between one and three years for crimes based on race, nationality, skin colour, gender, disability, political views, beliefs or religion. But the legislation submitted to parliament on Thursday notably excludes crimes based on ethnicity and sexual orientation. Gay rights groups want changes in the criminal code to designate hate and prejudice as an aggravation cause for crimes related to sexual oriantation.

Unlike other Muslim countries, same-sex relationships have never been criminalised in Turkey, where prostitution and sex change operations are legal. But traditional Islamic values hold sway over large sections of society in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim though secular country. Kiranci said 36 transgender people, including six sex workers, were killed in Turkey between 2008 and 2012. "They (the government) turn a blind eye to murders to shore up support from their base. But we are also their support base," Kiranci said. Turkey goes to the polls next year in local and presidential elections, followed by a legislative election in 2015. Although the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has enacted a series of human rights reforms to boost its efforts to join the EU, it has failed to recognise homosexual rights.

Gay groups were among those who joined the nationwide demonstrations in June against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government to highlight their cause. "There are people in Turkey who kill their children just because they are homosexual. This has to stop," said Murat Koylu, foreign affairs coordinator of Ankara-based gay rights group Kaos GL. "We are really disappointed," he told AFP, citing the cases of dozens of people who lost their jobs due to their sexual orientation. A man is currently on trial in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir for killing his 17-year-old son in May, allegedly for being gay, and dumping his body outside a hospital.
© AFP

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Young Roma Singers Attacked in the Czech Republic

9/12/2013- The head of a Roma youth singing group says her students were attacked in an eastern Czech town. Ida Kelarova, a well-known singer and musician, says 19 singers from the Chavorenge group were attacked by about a dozen men Friday evening in Hodonin. She called the incident "shocking." Kelarova said Monday the attackers targeted four singers and kicked them in front of the others, who included eight-year-old children. Nobody was seriously injured. The singers came for rehearsals with the local high school to prepare for two December concerts in the city of Brno with its philharmonic orchestra. Police spokesman Petr Zamecnik said Monday the attackers have not been caught. Some 250,000 Roma, or Gypsies, in the Czech Republic endure high unemployment and are often targeted by far-right groups.
© The Associated Press

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Headlines 6 December, 2013

Hate crime narrowly defined in Turkey's democratization package

The long-anticipated “democratization package” was finally submitted to Parliament on Dec. 5, but the 17-article package’s content with regard to hate crimes does not touch upon the social and cultural aspects of hate crime at all.

6/12/2013- “A person who bars the selling, handing over or renting movable goods or real property to a person; who prevents a person from using of certain service offered to the public; who bars employment; and who prevents a person from running a regular economic activity, because of hatred stemming from the difference of language, race, nationality, color, gender, disability, political views philosophical belief, religion or sect, will be sentenced to prison for a period of one to three years,” the amended article states.

In this version, hate crimes do not include provisions for those targeted because of their sexual orientation or ethnic identity. At the time of the package’s announcement, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said the criteria of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) would be taken as a model in defining “hate crime.” However, the OSCE’s definition includes crimes motivated by both ethnicity and sexual orientation. Another key amendment in the package, the fifth of its kind, paves the way for higher sentences in cases similar those related to the Gezi Park protests. Currently, when a person is given the lowest possible sentence, which is a one-year-long imprisonment under Article 112 of the Turkish Penal Code, the court is able to postpone the execution of the sentence. The amendment increases the lowest sentence to two years, removing the possibility that the execution can be postponed.

Other key part of the package submitted to Parliament include:
- Political parties and candidates will be able to use any language or dialect in all forms of promotion, making material in Kurdish possible. Bans on Kurdish names for settlement places are also being lifted.
-Political parties will be able to implement a co-leadership system, on the condition of having such a system in their party statute and not having more than two co-leaders.
- Political parties that receive more than 3 percent of the total number of valid votes cast in a general parliamentary election will receive treasury funds. The fund will be no less than 1 million Turkish Liras. This arrangement will enable the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to receive a treasury fund.
- Preventing the use of freedom to announce religious beliefs, opinions and convictions either by force or by another illegal act will be sentenced for one year up to three years’ imprisonment. The same sentences will be applied to those who intervene in a person’s choices about lifestyle based on his belief, opinion or convictions and force this person to change their choices.
©

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4/12/2013- Another 12 people are likely to be added to the list of Golden Dawn supporters suspected of committing a range of crimes, which is due to include the murder of a Pakistani immigrant that had not been officially linked to the neo-Nazi party until now, Kathimerini has learned. Special magistrates Ioanna Klapa and Maria Dimitropoulou have steadily been building the case against the party’s leader, MPs and members, who are accused of running or being members of a criminal organization. Sources said 12 more people thought to have been involved in criminal actions related to the far-right party are likely to face charges. Incidents which are set to be added to the case file include the murder of a 27-year-old Pakistani man on his way to work in Athens on January 17 this year. He was stabbed by two men on a motorcycle. Two suspects aged 25 and 29 were arrested. Golden Dawn fliers were found at one of the men’s houses. Another incident allegedly connected to the party is the near-fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old pupil outside a school in Neo Faliro, southern Athens, in January. One of the two men arrested, aged 20, has since been identified as having links to Golden Dawn. The party’s deputy leader, Christos Pappas, failed on Wednesday in his bid to be granted conditional release from pretrial custody. Earlier this week, Golden Dawn chief Nikos Michaloliakos also had his request turned down.
© ekathimerini

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A disturbing rise of anti-Semitism (opinion)

From Europe to South America, Jews find themselves facing modern forms of bigotry
By Elayne Clift


4/12/2013- In Belgium, a group of students at a Jewish school are assaulted by neighborhood youth. In a small town in the Czech Republic, vandals topple 80 tombstones at a Jewish cemetery and damage a Holocaust memorial twice. In Finland, swastikas with anti-Semitic slogans are spray-painted on public buildings. The son of a rabbi in France is attacked outside his home by men shouting ant-Semitic slogans. Reports continue to grow in Spain of incidents that include vandalism, verbal harassment, and anti-Semitic sentiment in newspapers and at sporting events. These examples, all of which have been reported by the State Department, are true. And all of them occurred in Europe, where 22 percent of Jewish people say they hide their Jewish identity because they are afraid. But the same kinds of anti-Semitic acts are happening all over the world, from Armenia to Argentina, Belarus to Brazil, Syria to Saudi Arabia. Commenting on a 2012 survey of more than 5,000 people in nine European countries conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, a former representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe noted that “a majority of European Jews are experiencing a rise in anti-Semitism.”

The global increase in incidents of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, not only by individuals but by some government officials and religious leaders, has prompted the U.S. State Department to appoint a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. The Department’s 2012 report on religious freedom cited particular concerns about government-sanctioned expressions of anti-Semitism in Venezuela, Egypt, and Iran. A recent Voice of America editorial shared a message from Hannah Rosenthal, the now-retired U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. “Not only is anti-Semitism still prevalent,” she said before stepping down last year, “but it is evolving into new, contemporary forms of religious hatred, racism, and political, social, and cultural bigotry.” One need only consider how President Obama has been treated in some quarters to see the relevance of her remark. According to the VOA editorial, Ms. Rosenthal has underscored that anti-Semitism is no longer limited to its traditional forms, such as defacing property and desecrating Jewish cemeteries. New forms include Holocaust denial; “Holocaust glorification,” a particular favorite among some Middle Eastern media that call for a new Holocaust to finish Jewish annihilation; and “Holocaust relativism,” in which some governments and institutions conflate the Holocaust with other tragic events that include great human suffering.

Because of the increasing frequency and severity of anti-Semitic incidents over the past decade, especially in Europe, the international community is taking steps to combat it. But how effective will these efforts be? United Nations meetings and resolutions are notoriously ineffective. Speeches by government officials are just so much blah-blah. Law-enforcement agencies frequently downplay the seriousness of hate crimes. And the media seems increasingly willing to provide a forum for anti-Semitic propaganda to flourish. Perhaps recent events in Hungary, reported by The New York Times, offer a way to at least shine light on anti-Semitism. Iván Fischer, conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, fed up with right-wing parties in his country and across Europe, wrote an opera about a famous 1882 blood libel case in Hungary as a rebuke to the country’s growing tolerance for anti-Semitism under the leadership of its right-wing, authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán. The opera has been seen widely and is much discussed in the media and in coffee houses across Hungary. “Culture has a strong responsibility to find the essence, the real concealed truth, which lies behind the day to day,” Mr. Fischer told The New York Times. Perhaps culture can help curb the growing crisis.

But as Hannah Rosenthal knows, “leaders must confront bigotry. Where there is hatred born of ignorance, we must teach and inspire,” she said. “Where there is hatred born of blindness, we must expose people to a larger world of ideas,” Rosenthal said. “Where there is hatred whipped up by irresponsible leaders, we must call them out and answer as strongly as we can — and make their message totally unacceptable to all people of conscience.” Having just passed the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” in Berlin that marked the turning point toward Hitler’s Jewish genocide, Rosenthal’s words are urgent and perhaps prescient. A Neo-Nazi group in Kansas City, Mo., chose the anniversary day to plan a rally protesting immigration reform. The white supremacist gang, which is connected to the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups, claims to be “the political party for every patriotic white American.” It stands against granting amnesty to “illegal aliens” who, its members say, (as Hitler did of German Jews) are causing the “nation to drown in a free fall of economic collapse.”

Never again? As my mother would say, “From your lips to God’s ear.”
© The Commons

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Police probe far-right motive for 750 deaths (Germany)

Germany will review almost 750 unsolved murders, manslaughters and attempted killings dating back more than two decades to assess whether they were motivated by far-right extremism, officials said on Wednesday.

4/12/2013- An initial police review of 3,300 such unsolved violent crimes between 1990 and 2011 had found that 746 of them, resulting in 849 deaths, will need a second look to see whether they were racial hate crimes, said the interior ministry. The outcome is expected in the second quarter of next year, said a ministry spokesman, who cautioned that the review does not mean "that they are indeed crimes motivated by right-wing extremism." Current statistics say about 60 people were killed in right-wing crimes since Germany's reunification in 1990. Critics have long charged that official statistics underestimate the incidence of racist, xenophobic and other right-wing violent attacks, and complained that states use different standards in collating the figures. The Green Party's parliamentary leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt said on Wednesday that authorities had "completely misjudged" the true extent of right-wing violent crime.

The chairwoman of the anti-xenophobia Amadeu Antonio Foundation, Anetta Kahane, accused the government of playing down the issue and challenged it to "face the fact that right-wing extremist violence is a huge problem". Germany was shocked by news in 2011 that a series of 10 murders of mostly Turkish immigrants was committed by a three-member neo-Nazi cell that authorities now consider a terrorist group. Beate Zschäpe, the only surviving member of the self-styled National Socialist Underground (NSU), is now on trial in Munich over the killing spree, which also claimed the lives of an ethnic Greek man and a German police woman. The review announced Wednesday was sparked by the NSU case, which also motivated a new legal push launched this week by Germany's 16 states to seek a ban of the far-right and openly racist National Democratic Party of Germany.
© The Local - Germany

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Far-right German politician sentenced for selling pro-Nazi CDs

NPD Berlin chairman Sebastian Schmidtke given suspended sentence for selling music with antisemitic lyrics

4/12/2013- A German court has given a senior member of the country's main far-right party a suspended eight-month prison sentence for selling CDs featuring content glorifying nazism and inciting violence. Berlin municipal court convicted Sebastian Schmidtke, head of the National Democratic party's Berlin branch, of offences including incitement and displaying the symbols of anti-constitutional organisations – a charge that covers banned Nazi paraphernalia. The court on Wednesday found that a shop owned by Schmidtke sold music CDs with lyrics that stirred hatred against Jews, foreigners and gay people, called for violence, and used banned slogans glorifying nazism. It says Schmidtke, who can appeal against the ruling, denied selling CDs in his shop. Germany's 16 state governments this week launched a drive for the country's highest court to ban Schmidtke's party.
© The Associated Press

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Migrant workers in Rome threatened by racist youth raids (Italy)

Migrant workers in Rome, Italy's capital, are being targeted by racist youth gangs, which according to disputed news reports are whipped up by a neo-Fascist organisation.

2/12/2013- In late November, the La Repubblica newspaper said there had been hundreds of cases over the past months. It quoted pro-migrants lawyer Carlo Scepi as saying that Bangladeshi workers had been singled out for attacks. Scepi says he is defending "over 10" Bangladeshi migrants who have been assaulted, and has been told of "10 other cases" by his clients. Rome prosecutors have opened a formal investigation but have not yet identified any suspects, he adds. According to Scepi, young Bangladeshi men are seen as "ideal victims" because they are "meek, not used to violence, slight-bodied, they do not provoke, they do not react ... and almost never report" their beatings to police. One of Scepi's clients is 22-year-old Simon, who earns a few dozens euros a day selling umbrellas and unloading cases of fruit at a food market. He told La Repubblica that he was attacked one evening while waiting at a bus stop. "I don't know why they do all this. But I know that we Bangladeshi are often victims of these aggressions," he said.

Another lawyer and two social workers, on conditions of anonymity, say Bangladeshi and other undocumented migrants are usually reluctant to talk to authorities because they fear being issued with expulsion orders. In extreme cases, they can be sent to detention centres for migrants awaiting repatriation. Police were first alerted about the migrant beatings in May, when someone on a balcony saw two Italians, aged 16 and 19, stop a Bangladeshi teenager in the street, ask him for a cigarette, throw him to the ground, punch and kick him. Officers managed to catch the aggressors, their clothes smattered in blood, because one of them had lost his mobile phone as he ran away. The victim was hospitalised with a fractured eyebrow bone and a split lip.

La Repubblica quoted Massimiliano Scaringella, a lawyer for the younger aggressor, as saying that his client had been "indoctrinated" by "somebody older" from Forza Nuova, a far-right party, who took him on a "Bangla Tour" as part of an "initiation rite." "He explained to me that for him, beating up Bangladeshi people was not just a way to have fun, it was a proper crusade, a battle he had to wage at all costs," Scaringella told the paper, adding that his client had been "brainwashed." Several raids were reported to have started from Forza Nuova's branch in Rome's Appio Latino neighbourhood, a semi-central area that features plenty of graffiti paying homage to Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and right-wing terrorists and thugs from the 1970s. Party leader Roberto Fiore, a former European Parliament member, has since issued a strong denial and has urged La Repubblica to retract the story. "Forza Nuova has absolutely nothing to do with these events," he said in a statement posted on the party's website. Scepi is unsure about the political accusations. "I do not have any certainties," he told dpa, adding that his clients said some of the people who beat them looked like those who assaulted a Bangladeshi-owned shop in a 2008 attack that was blamed on Forza Nuova sympathisers.

Italy is experiencing the worst recession in its post-war history, with spiking poverty rates and jobless numbers. But so far, there has been no mounting support for violent hard-right groups, such as Greece's Golden Dawn. Fiore's party, for example, is a fringe movement: It won just 0.26 percent of the votes in this year's general election. It advocates a stop to immigration and wants Italy out of the euro, but rejects any characterisation as a racist party. Yet, anti-migrant feelings are common in a country that is an entry point for tens of thousands of European Union-bound asylum-seekers. Last month, a shipwreck off Italy's Lampedusa island resulted in the worst migration tragedy in Europe's recent history, with 366 dead. In May, national statistics office Istat found that 37.1 percent of Italians blame migrants for stealing jobs, and about 20 percent think there is no more room for them, given the poor state of the economy. In addition, two of Italy's best-known dark-skinned figures - Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, the country's first-ever black cabinet member, and footballer Mario Balotelli - are frequent targets of racial abuse.
© DPA

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Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry believes that “theft” was the motive for the latest brutal attack on Syrian nationals in the capital.

2/12/2013- Two Syrian asylum seekers were assaulted by a group of over 20 men armed with knives and chains in Sofia late on Sunday, with local media reporting that a third foreign national escaped the attack. The victims were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The assailants reportedly stole some BGN 1000 (EUR 500) from the asylum-seekers. “Criminologists from the Sofia Directorate of the Interior Ministry are working towards identifying the perpetrators of a theft,” an Interior Ministry said in a press release on Monday. Bulgaria has seen a massive increase in xenophobic attacks over the past few weeks, with recent incidents including the stabbings of an 18-year-old Malian boy and a 17-year-old Syrian national in Sofia. Last week, Chief Prosecutors requested increased police presence in downtown Sofia in order to prevent the so-called "civil patrols” organized by ultranationalist extremist groups. The leaders of the "patrols" have claimed they seek to "protect" Sofianites from foreigners.

One Arrested for Brutal Beating of Syrians, Lebanese in Sofia 
LAST NEWS 
One has reportedly been arrested for the brutal beating of two Syrians and a Lebanese national on Slivnitsa Blvd in Sofia on Sunday night. The attacker was recognized by the assaulted among photos from the archive of criminal records of the Sofia police, according to reports of private TV station bTV. The press office of the Interior Ministry and the Sofia District Police Directorate did not confirm the information, saying that the investigation was underway. The assault took place at around 9 pm on Sunday. The victims, two Syrian nationals and a Lebanese citizen, are legal residents awaiting refugee status or humanitarian status, according to reports of Darik radio. According to preliminary reports, they were attacked in front of a fast food restaurant by a group of 10, some of whom wore masks and hoods. Sofia police informed that the assault had most probably been an attempted robbery, not a racist attack.
© Novinite

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Public Menorah Erected by Chabad in Budapest Gets Vandalized (Hungary)

Anti-Semitic Act Is First in Menorah's 24 Year History
By JTA 

1/12/2013- A public Hanukkah menorah erected in downtown Budapest was vandalized. The menorah, erected by Chabad, is located in the center of downtown Budapest, opposite the Western Railway station. A branch of the menorah was forcibly broken off, Judit Papp, a Hungarian National Police spokesperson, told the Hungarian News Agency on Saturday. Police are searching for the unknown vandals, according to the spokesperson. Chabad has erected a public menorah in Budapest every Hanukkah since the fall of communism in 1989. It is the first time that the public menorah has been damaged.
© The Forward

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Cheshire league football club suspended after Poynton FC players 'racially abused and headbutted' during match (UK)

FA officials have suspended St Helens-based Penlake from all football and have launched disciplinary proceedings following the game

6/12/2013- A football team say they had to barricade themselves in a dressing room and were left with a catalogue of injuries after violence exploded at an amateur match. Players from Poynton FC say they were racially abused, punched from behind, stamped on and headbutted when trouble flared at their Cheshire League clash with Penlake FC. FA officials have suspended St Helens-based Penlake from all football and have launched disciplinary proceedings following the game which was abandoned and saw police called. The Manchester Evening News understands top-of-the-table Poynton were leading the Division Two match 2-1 when the referee sent a third Penlake player off. One witness said: “I have never seen anything like it. It kicked off and they were throwing punches, attacking people from behind and all sorts. “The away team ran to the dressing room and barricaded themselves in. “The police were called and they were escorted out of there.” On social media Poynton players relived the drama. One, Tom Bridge, wrote: “Still in shock over today’s events, never seen or experienced anything like it.” He later added: “Kicked off big time mate, one of our lads racially abused, I got butted, Simmo punched from behind, Hursty stamped on ground.”

Another, Jake O'Regan, tweeted: “ 1 broken jaw, 1 broken nose, 1 bust up face, 1 stitched up eye. ..... Have a good weekend every" Poynton FC declined to comment. A club spokesman said: “There is an ongoing investigation so we cannot say anything.” Liverpool FA could not be reached for comment. A statement on their website read: “Liverpool FA have today suspended Penlake FC from all football until further notice following their fixture versus Poynton FC on Sat 30 November 2013. “The Cheshire Football League have therefore suspended Penlake’s fixtures during this time frame. “No further comment will be made on this matter until Liverpool FA have completed their disciplinary proceedings.” A spokesman for Penlake FC, which held an emergency meeting last night, said it had launched an investigation. He added: “We will co-operate fully with the league and adhere to their decision.” Police appealed for witnesses.
© The Manchester Evening News

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Hate crime victims can report to Halesowen mosque (UK)

4/12/2013- Victims of hate crime, who are scared to go to the police, can now report offences to the Halesowen-based Ahmadiyya Muslim Association. Its Baitul Ghafoor Mosque, Long Lane, is one of a growing number of third party reporting centres across Dudley borough. These independent centres provide the public with opportunities to report hate crimes motivated by gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation, anonymously if required, which is passed on to local officers. Staff and volunteers at the centres have received training from police officers as part of the accreditation process. PC Sean Roberts, crime and vulnerability officer, said: "There is a common misconception amongst victims of hate crime that the incident they have been involved in does not warrant police action. “I cannot emphasise enough that the police do want to know and, in line with the victims' wishes, we will investigate thoroughly.

"We would prefer victims to come to us directly but experience tells us that for a variety of reasons, some do not want to speak with officers, preferring to report crimes anonymously or not at all. "It is important that victims of hate crime get the support they need and that we ensure that offenders are brought to justice. If hate crimes are left unreported we can't tackle the issue and, if unchallenged can escalate from minor anti-social behaviour to more serious violent incidents." Victims of hate crime should report offences to police on the 101 telephone number at a local third party reporting centre or via www.report-it.org.uk.
© Halesowen News

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Two brothers launched terrifying city-centre street attacks which a victim believes was started because of his “goth” appearance.

30/11/2013- Shaun Hindmarsh, who has long hair and was wearing a black trenchcoat, believes Nissan worker Neil Douthwaite targeted him purely because of his appearance. The 20-year old was pushed to the ground before being repeatedly kicked while passers-by pleaded for the violence to stop. When Anthony Hindmarsh stepped in to help his nephew, he too was viciously attacked. Newcastle Crown Court heard the 39-year-old was punched and kicked on the ground before undergraduate Anthony Douthwaite rammed the victim’s face into some shutters. The uncle needed surgery under anaesthetic to repair a broken cheekbone and is still suffering physical effects from his injuries more than six months on. Prosecutor Caroline McGurk told the court: “Anthony Hindmarsh had been out drinking with his nephews, one of whom is Shaun. Shaun was wearing a long, black trench coat, a beard and his hair long. He describes himself as having an appearance of a goth. It might be for this reason he was targeted by Neil Douthwaite. “There were a number of people who got involved to try to calm the situation down, to no avail.”

The brothers, both of Gladstone Street, Roker, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the uncle. Nissan worker Neil Douthwaite admitted common assault on Shaun Hindmarsh, who suffered pains in his legs for weeks after they were repeatedly kicked. Both brothers deny the trouble flared because of the nephew’s appearance. Mr Recorder Kealey said he would not sentence the men on the basis it was a hate crime, but he added: “He has the appearance and describes himself as a goth. “It had been his opinion, no doubt because there really isn’t any other explanation, that he was attacked because he was a goth.” The judge said the brothers said nothing during or after the attack that would prove the motive was the nephew’s appearance. He sentenced Neil Douthwaite, 24, who has a previous conviction for violence, to 20 months behind bars. Anthony Douthwaite, 27, who has never been in trouble and was not involved in kicking, was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work and £1,000 compensation.

The judge said he was spared going straight to jail by the “skin of his teeth”. Vic Laffey, defending, said Neil Douthwaite feels “great shame” for what he did. Mr Laffey added: “This was nothing at all to do with the young man’s appearance at all.” Andrew Rutter, defending the older brother, said the trouble flared after there was “words exchanged” and had nothing to do with anybody’s appearance.
© The Sunderland Echo

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30/11/2013- Putin’s Neo Nazi gang led by infamous Maxim Martsenkevich, aka “Tesak” (“Cleaver” or “Slasher” in Russian), has just expanded in the neighboring Ukraine. Ukrainian law enforcement authorities practically mirroring their Russian counterparts and do not take any steps against these criminals thus encouraging the escalation of violence. Several of our well-informed sources and political pundits suggested that current Ukrainian version of former KGB actually supports Mr. Martsenkevich activities for a number of political reasons. European tolerance toward LGBT community was heavily exploited by the provocateurs to derail the integration between Ukraine and EU. Russian news publication “Arguments and Facts” reported on November 29, 2013 about a brutal attack on the star of the Ukrainian version of the popular British television music talent show for aspiring pop singers drawn from public auditions, called X Factor.

According to that newspaper: “Police is investigating whether the founder of the movement “Occupy Pedophilia” has beaten the Ukrainian star. One of the participants of the show X Factor Alexander Bohun accused the founder of the movement “Occupy Pedophilia”, Maxim Martsenkevich (“Cleaver” or “Slasher”), to have beaten him. For this reason, the Department of the Interior Ministry of the Leninsky District in Sebastopol (Crimea), has opened a criminal investigation into the matter, reports TSN. According to Alexander Bohun, Martsenkevich has beaten him repeatedly, intimidated him by violence and forced him to make a series of false statements in front of the camera. “I was referred to as “pedophile” illegally, mocked, and forced to admit actions and desires that I have not committed in any circumstances, and I had to admit all that publicly”, he said.

The counsel of the “star”, Elena Kherson, said that Martsenkevich broke the law, accusing a man of a crime without any investigation or trial. “There is no evidence of the involvement of Alexander Bohun, in the crime of which “Slasher” accused him, “she said.” And most importantly, he is the victim. “ In addition, she said she wanted to lift the ban on dissemination of the video where Alexander Bohun admitted he was a pedophile.In those shoots, we can see Martsenkevich shaving the head of the singer, painting it with a rainbow marker, making him drink a cup of urine and pouring it in a few gallons on his head.” On the video Martsenkevich provided a few words of encouragement for his victim: “Basically I would not kill you because you’re gay” told “Slasher” to him. “I would send you to a concentration camp, organize parades for gays there, dress you as a woman, and make you sing songs. Take a good care of you.”
© Spectrum Human Rights

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