ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive January 2014

Headlines 31 January, 2014

Headlines 24 January, 2014

Headlines 17 January, 2014

Headlines 10 January, 2014

Headlines 3 January, 2014

Headlines 31 January, 2014

At least ten hurt in xenophobic attacks in Russia in January

31/1/2014- Ten people were injured and one died in Russia this January in xenophobic attacks, the Sova human rights center told Interfax on Friday. "No less than ten people were hurt in racist and neo-Nazi attacks in January. One, a citizen of Tajikistan, was killed in Moscow," the xenophobia monitoring center said. At least four acts of vandalism motivated by hatred or neo-Nazi ideology were perpetrated in Russia in January, Sova reported. Moscow and St. Petersburg topped the list of Russian regions in hate crimes in 2013, the center reported earlier. "According to tentative estimates, 20 died and at least 173 were injured in such attacks in 32 regions of Russia in 2013," the activists said.

"The levels of violence were the highest in Moscow (eight dead and 53 injured) and St. Petersburg (three dead and 32 injured). There were many casualties in the Lipetsk region (four dead and nine injured), the Chelyabinsk and Moscow regions (eight injured in each) and the Sverdlovsk region (two dead and four injured)," Sova said. People with origins in Central Asia (13 dead and 39 injured) and the Caucasus (three dead and 26 injured) were the main targets of ultra-right-wing forces last year, it noted. Casualties grew significantly amongst religious groups and the LGBT community in 2013, Sova continued. Meanwhile, the number of attacks against youth sub-cultures and left-wing movement members, which were a major target for attacks in 2012, declined last year.

Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky admitted on December 9, 2013, the problem of xenophobia and ethnic intolerance in Russia. "Unfortunately, more cases of intolerance and xenophobia can be observed, which eventually leads to an escalation of inter-ethnic disputes," he said. Many foreigners are the ones to blame for the negative attitude of locals, Romodanovsky said. "This category behaves in Russia the way they are used to behaving in their homeland. Certainly, this causes justified irritation of our citizens. This fact cannot but cause negative reactions from the local population," Romodanovsky said. "Such moods of our citizens are skillfully used by radicals in order to incite national hatred, fear of migrants and sometimes racism," Romodanovsky said.

He also said in a lecture delivered at the Moscow State University on December 6 that migrants who settled down in central areas of Russia had to adapt to local realities instead of being an irritant to the local population. "Clearly, kebab cookouts, ethnic dancing or introduction of some Central Asian customs irritate our population, which has a good reason to be irritated," he said. "Therefore, integration and adaptation are important so that they live by our rules," Romodanovsky said.
© Interfax

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Kosovo Online Media Urged to Curb Hate Speech

An NGO in Pristina has urged online media outlets to ban readers’ comments that are flagrantly offensive and incite hatred - saying very few of them now exercise any such control.

31/1/2014- The Youth Initiative for Human Rights said a large number of online media in Kosovo permit "offensive, denigrating and humiliating language, which potentially incite hatred”. After monitoring nine Kosovo websites in 2012 and 2013, the NGO concluded that most portals "do not filter comments at all, allowing hate speech through insulting expressions, denigration, humiliation and often also calls for violence against certain persons or groups. “Expressions like ‘shkijet’ (an offensive term for Serbs), ‘maxhup’ (an offensive term for Roma), ‘pedera’ (an offensive term for gays) are common in portals, with some exceptions”, the organisation said it its report, “In the name of freedom of expression”.

Alma Lama, a lawmaker, harshly criticized Kosovo's news portals, claiming that “most are part of someone’s political agenda and serve political parties. I am not talking just about parties which are fundamentalist and want Sharia law, I am also talking about other parties,” she said. Lama was attacked in various news portals after she criticized the speech of a Muslim cleric on the role of women in society. “These media do not obey the law,” she said. Incitement to hatred is a criminal offence in Kosovo, punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to ten years. However, Adriatik Kelmendi, an editor at TV KohaVision, said censorshop was not the answer. “This problem cannot be solved by closing comments or detaining people,” he said. “There is a need to educate and raise awareness among the media. On the other hand, the media have to become more determined [to address the matter].”

The Press Council of Kosovo, one of the main bodies responsible to tracking the print media, has no power to fine media outlets, but advocates obedience to a code of conduct for the media. The code, based on international standards of journalistic practice, is intended as the foundation of a system of self-regulation that should be considered binding on reporters, editors, owners and publishers of newspapers and periodicals. Imer Mushkolaj, deputy head of the board of the Council, said online media are responsible for the comments they publish, "just as they are responsible for the news articles they print”. The annual report for 2012 of the Independent Media Commission, IMC, said 83 radio and 21 TV stations were operating in Kosovo in 2012 alongside eight daily newspapers. There are no figures on the number of news portals operating in the country.
© Balkan Insight

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Slovakia: Neo-Nazis terrorizing bar owned by anti-racist activist with impunity

28/1/2014- News server Sme.sk reports that right-wing extremists have been terrorizing a bar frequented by students in the town of Nitra, breaking the owner's leg and kicking two other people there into unconsciousness during one incident. One of the attacks was captured on video by a municipal security camera three months ago, but it is only now that an indictment is on the horizon.

Attack in the Mariatchi Bar
On a Saturday evening, just before midnight, skinhead youth came to the Mariatchi Bar in the center of Nitra. They provoked the customers and staff before asking to buy cigarettes. When the staff refused, the skinheads began to shout loudly and refused to leave even after the owner asked them to. The customers pushed the right-wing extremists out of the club, but they returned with reinforcements. Radovan Richtárik, the owner of the bar, went outside to stop them. "I wanted to tell them to let it go, but they couldn't wait," he says. The skinheads immediately began to beat up both customers and Richtárik. Anyone unfortunate enough to fall to the ground was kicked in the face without mercy and brutally stomped. One neo-Nazi was jumping up and down on the body of a man who was unconscious on the sidewalk. When a barmaid tried to drive him away, the other assailants slapped her.

They came from Valhalla
The October attack is not the only conflict that neo-Nazis have kicked off in the bar. Right-wing extremists have opened up their own business directly across the street called Walhala (Valhalla), which is licensed as a members-only card club. The skinheads meet at the club on Saturdays, and Richtárik says there have been times when he had problems with them on a weekly basis. They make threats, kick in doors, and smash windows. These attacks on the bar are not random. The neo-Nazis are aware of Richtárik as an activist with the People against Racism (Lidé proti rasismu) initiative. The regulars in Richtárik's bar are students in particular. "People with dreadlocks also come here, and that bothers [the skinheads]," he says.

The neo-Nazi attacks escalated on New Year's Eve. "First they smashed in five windows here before midnight," one customer recalls, "and around 3 AM they returned to kick the doors in. [The owner] ran out after them with a camera. They saw him photographing them and they began to beat him up, pushing him to the ground, kicking and stomping him. I wanted to help him, but one of them grabbed me and held me back. When I tried to get away, he ripped my coat." The bar owner was hospitalized with a broken leg and had to undergo an operation on New Year's Day. Police are investigating the assaults but have not charged anyone with them yet. The Slovak daily SME has seen the video footage shot in October and says the attackers' faces are clearly visible in it. "Police are working intensively to solve both cases," says Regional Police spokesperson Renáta Čuháková, adding that the investigation of the case from October will soon be concluded.

Assailants linked to Regional Governor
Walhala, the members-only "gentlemen's card club" in Nitra, has been in business since the fall of 2012. It is open only on Saturday evenings, but not to the general public. Richtárik says about 30 people usually gather there on Saturdays, with numbers rising when birthday celebrations or competitions are held there. The club members have formed a members-only group on Facebook as well. The profile photograph for that group is a drawing of two skinheads shaking hands with the Slovak flag in the background. One of them has an abbreviation for the international neo-Nazi network Combat 18 tattooed on his neck. Four administrators take care of the Facebook group. Three of them have previously run for parliament on behalf of the LS-NS (People's Party - Our Slovakia) party chaired by Marian Kotleba, who is now the Banská Bystrica Regional Governor. The Walhala club Facebook group is also being administered by Jakub Škrabák, currently the head of the fascist Slovak Solidarity (Slovenská pospolitost) association, which Kotleba used to lead. A political party of that same name was previously dissolved by the courts. Škrabák is the only administrator of the Facebook group not from Nitra. He ran for Kotleba's LS-NS in 2010 and 2012. Administrators Anton Baťovský and Dušan Sobolič have been activists for the National Resistance (Národní odpor) group; Baťovský has the name of that organization tattooed on his back. Both were candidates for Kotleba's party in 2010.

Neo-Nazis in Nitra
There have been several other such attacks in the town, such as one in 2008 where youth were attacked in front of the Old Theater, and the militant neo-Nazi movement has established a branch of the National Resistance network there. The neo-Nazis have been organizing an annual "March against Drugs" in Nitra on the anniversary of the founding of the Fascist wartime Slovak state, which collaborated with Nazi Germany.
© Romea.

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Int. Holocaust Remembrance Day: EU countries falling short on hate crime laws

27/1/2014- The European Commission used International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 2014 to call on EU countries that so far have failed to approve adequate laws against hate speech, hate crimes and denial of crimes against humanity, to do so. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was declared by the United Nations in 2005, commemorating the liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp, where part of the Holocaust mass murder of six million Jews was carried out during World War 2.

The EC released a report that found that most EU countries had not yet correctly implemented EU rules designed to tackle racist and xenophobic hate crimes. “Member states unanimously adopted the 2008 Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia through criminal law, yet national laws in a number of countries remain inadequate,” the EC said. In particular, national provisions against denial, condoning or grossly trivialising certain crimes – such as crimes against humanity – remain inadequate in 19 EU countries, the Commission said. The EU Framework Decision aims to combat in particular racist and xenophobic hate speech and hate crime, and requires EU countries to define as criminal offences the public incitement to violence or hatred on grounds of race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.

In Germany, a number of events would be held on January 27 to reflect on the country’s Nazi past, Deutsche Welle reported. Germany’s parliament was scheduled to hold its yearly memorial in the early afternoon with representatives from the German government, as well as guests from other nations. Russian author Daniil Granin was set to hold the keynote speech. The 95-year-old writer is a survivor of both the siege of Leningrad – which also marks its 70th anniversary on January 27 -and of Auschwitz. Ahead of the January 27 events, Israel’s ambassador to Germany called on people not to forget the significance of the memorial. “The Holocaust is a tragedy for all of humankind,” Israeli ambassador Yakov Hadas-Handelsmann wrote in the Germany newspaper, the Berlin Morgenpost. “[The day of remembrance] reinforces our endeavours that it never happen again.” Deutsche Welle said that also on Monday, German parliamentary President Norbert Lammert was to meet with youth groups for a podium discussion, while the parliament’s vice president, was to open an exhibit looking at euthanasia under the Nazi regime.

Polish Radio reported that on January 27, 60 members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, were to attend a ceremony at Auschwitz-Birkenau to mark International Holocaust Memorial Day. “Seven decades after millions of members of our nation were cruelly murdered by the Nazis, it is my privilege and responsibility to lead the largest delegation of the Knesset, the parliament of the independent Jewish state, to the valley of death of Auschwitz-Birkenau,” coalition chairman Yariv Levin said on January 26. Levin is leading the delegation after Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein was compelled to cancel his participation owing to the death of his wife. The Israelis were to be joined by MPs from across Europe, as well as Poland’s official delegation, with as many as 1000 dignitaries taking part. The US’s delegation is being headed by House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

In Ljubljana, the victims of Nazi and Fascist concentration camps were remembered at a ceremony held on January 26 by the Slovenian World War 2 Veterans Association, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. From Belgrade, Serbian news agency Beta reported Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic as saying on January 27 that Serbia was “proud of its anti-fascist tradition in World War 2″ and it would not allow the revision of history and relativization of war crimes. “As the Jewish nation has been the subject of stigmatizing, so some historians and politicians today, backed by the media, are trying to cast shame on the entire Serbian nation,” Nikolic said.

The Serbian capital city’s Staro Sajmište (Old Fairgrounds) must become a memorial centre, energy minister and SNS party Vice-President Zorana Mihajlović said, quoted by Serbian news website B92. The World War 2-era camp in Belgrade, set up by the occupying German Nazi forces, was the place where than 20 000 people were detained to later be killed. “We need to create a centre that will serve to remind and teach about the crimes committed against innocent civilians, political opponents,” she wrote on her Facebook profile on the occasion of International Day of Holocaust Remembrance. Most importantly, she said, as part of the Memorial Centre a special Holocaust Memorial should be built, because of the particular importance of this place for Jews in Belgrade and elsewhere in Serbia. “It is from this place that more than 6,000 women, children and elderly Jews were driven to their deaths as part of a monstrous mission to exterminate an entire nation,” Mihajlović said.

The Hungarian ambassador to the UN said in New York on Thursday his nation took responsibility for its role in the Holocaust, days after the country’s Jewish community accused the government of engaging in Holocaust revisionism, the Jerusalem Post reported. He spoke at a event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Hungarian Jews, sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information for NGOs. Ambassador Casba Körösi, who became unusually emotional for a diplomat during his remarks, conveyed the sincere apologies of the Hungarian state for the crimes committed, and admitted the state’s guilt in both its complicity in standing by and its assistance to the criminals. The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) has been involved in a high-profile dispute with Viktor Orbán’s administration over a series of incidents which it believes show a tendency towards downplaying their countrymen’s role in the genocide of Hungarian Jewry.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for unflagging vigilance against bigotry, extremism, and discrimination as the UN marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Voice of America reported. Ban recalled his visit to Auschwitz – the Nazi death camp in Poland liberated by Soviet forces 69 years ago Monday. He remembered seeing what he calls the “horrific remnants of the machinery of genocide,” and scenes of daily life of Eastern European Jews wiped out by the Nazis. At the White House, US president Barack Obama said bigotry and hatred in all forms must be confronted. He reaffirmed the US commitment to not just bear witness, but to act, VOA said. “Anti-Semitism and racism are a threat to our basic values – those of democracy and respect for diversity and human rights,’’

European Parliament President Martin Schulz said at an event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day he hosted in Brussels. He spoke about the importance of holding the event every year in the European Parliament seat. “It was my humble duty to host the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event in this Yehudi Menuhin Hall here in the European Parliament. A place of European reconciliation and peace,” he said. ‘’Holding a memorial ceremony cannot undo the atrocities that happened to so many families but it can serve as a warning, it can serve as a tribute and it can serve as a lesson,’’ Schulz added, as reported by the European Jewish Press. He continued, “The Shoah was the worst tragedy of humankind. Yet, the dangers and demons are regrettably still present in our societies. This evening we remembered the victims, we paid tribute to the “righteous among the nations” and we say: Never Again!”

The event, co-hosted by the European Jewish Congress (EJC), was also addressed by Greek Prime Minister Antonio Samaras, whose country currently hosts the rotating Presidency of the European Council and Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress. In his speech, EJC President Moshe Kantor decried those who mock the Holocaust or claim that curbing anti-Semitism is just a freedom of speech matter.“The Holocaust is not a matter for satire. Anti-Semitism is not an opinion, it is a crime,” he said. “Today, we are witness to the absolute democratisation of anti-Semitism. A simple inversed Nazi salute performed with impunity at Auschwitz, at the Berlin Holocaust memorial, at a synagogue and even in front of the Jewish school in Toulouse where Jewish children and a teacher were murdered in broad daylight by a French terrorist.” “A symbol invented by a so-called comedian which allows young people out for a drink, soldiers having a laugh and even a footballer scoring a goal, to have their own unique opportunity for Jew hatred.” Kantor added in a reference to French anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.

Kantor also took aim at the rise of neo-Nazi parties in democracies across Europe. “70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, who could have imagined representatives of parties with Nazi insignia, race hatred for Jews and a proclivity for violence marching down the streets of our capitals and into our parliamentary chambers – including this one,” Kantor said in front of an audience of MEPs, ambassadors from across the world and other senior dignitaries. “As we commemorate the destruction of the Jewish communities of Greece and Hungary just 70 years ago, how liberated really are the citizens of Europe when we witness today the eruption of political parties with Nazi insignia on the streets of Athens and Budapest while we genuinely fear the very real prospect of the strengthening of far-right and neo-Nazi parties in the coming European elections?” Kantor lauded the Greek government’s fight against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party as an ‘’example of the defence of democracy which we hope to see replicated across the continent wherever those engrossed in hate, racism and xenophobia seek to utilize the democratic system to further their dark aims.”

Details of many International Holocaust Remembrance Day events can be found at the website of the European Jewish Press.
© The Sofia Globe

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Cars torched in 'hate crime' arson (Northern Ireland)

Cars belonging to four Slovakian and Polish families have been extensively damaged after they were deliberately set on fire in north Belfast.

29/1/2014- The arson attack, which happened on Whitewell Road on Tuesday night shortly before 10.30pm, is being treated as a hate crime by police. A Polish man had just moved into the area six weeks ago with his partner and their two young children, aged three and seven. Their car was parked in the driveway adjacent to their home when it was set on fire. He said that he feels lucky that the house did not catch fire, too. "I'm very sad for myself and my family. I feel very bad for that." He explained that he had lived in Northern Ireland for six or seven years and never had any problems. He is now considering moving to a different area, or possibly leaving Northern Ireland. "I'm still in shock. I don't know what to say," he added. Further along the street, a Slovakian man, who was in the area visiting his friend, also had his car torched. With his daughter acting as an interpretor, he told UTV that he has now lost a day's work because he was unable to drive and fears that he could lose his job. A short time after the attacks, police arrested a 36-year-old man. He has since been bailed pending further enquiries.
© UTV News

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Man charged over racist attack on Brighton to Shoreham bus (UK)

28/1/2014- A man has been charged with racially abusing a fellow passenger on the 700 bus as it travelled from Brighton to Shoreham following an appeal in The Argus. Police released CCTV pictures of the attack last week, which happened at 11pm on December 12. The victim, a 40-year-old man from Shoreham, was racially abused by a man who threatened to assault him. PC Karen Goshawk said: "I would like to thank the media and the public for helping us to identify our suspect. "We will not tolerate racism and will investigate any reports of racist incidents." Richard Whelan, 34, of Harbour Way, Shoreham, will appear at Worthing Magistrates' Court on 25 March charged with threatening or abusive racially aggravated behaviour.
© The Argus

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Racist attacks double within space of a year (Ireland)

A family of six have been subjected to more than four years of racist abuse, vandalism and property damage and are forced to live in one room of their Dublin home.

27/1/2014- This is only one case study in dozens of shocking reports of racism in Ireland. In another incident, a nine-year-old boy was beaten up by his 30-year-old neighbour, and in yet another a petrol bomb was used to intimidate the individual concerned. The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) said it had received at least 20 reports of racist incidents in the first 20 days of the year – twice the number reported at same time last year. The majority of the incidents, 40pc, occurred in local communities, with 15pc of the cases occurring on the internet, the ICI said. The body works closely with the gardai, transport providers, Dublin City Council and Educate Together to raise awareness about racist attacks. CEO Denise Charlton said it was particularly alarming that a huge number of victims could not feel safe in their own homes or communities. She added that the types of intimidation varied from verbal abuse to racist graffiti to cases where houses have been broken into or fire-bombed.

"Local councils have an important role here and we are calling on each local authority to ensure it responds rapidly to ensure that graffiti is removed, homes are repaired and, in the more extreme cases, that re-housing is considered," Ms Charlton said. "It is unacceptable that people must live in fear of a brick through the window or, worse, while at home." A total of 39pc of the victims were African and 17pc were Asian. And 9pc of Irish people who have been victims of racism were targeted by other Irish people because a close family member is of non-Irish or mixed origin, the report revealed. In one case reported by the ICI, an Irish mother and her son of mixed Irish and African extraction are suffering daily verbal abuse from neighbours, with their house vandalised with spray paint.

On Numerous Occasions, Bananas Were Also Thrown Into Their Garden With The Boy's Name Written On Them.
An Eastern European man said he felt discriminated against in work simply because of his nationality. He told how he had received inappropriate and degrading comments and remarks from his co-workers. On top of that, he was also denied access to certain work benefits and was informed by colleagues they were exclusive to Irish people only. The ICI has already welcomed the decision by the Oireachtas Justice Committee to examine the issues of integration and migration, and it has made a written submission. Anyone who encounters racism or who has been a victim should contact the council on stopracism@immigrantcouncil.ie
© The Irish Herald

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Threats against Jews: Israel angry, Rome far-right suspected (Italy)

Pigs' heads sent from Rome. Pope on Holocaust, never again.

27/1/2014- The Israeli foreign ministry has condemned as an 'intolerable and brutal incident' the fact that three pigs' heads were sent to Rome's Jewish community in the past two days. The intimidation came on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, when Pope Francis described that genocide as 'a shame for humanity'. 'May those horrors never be repeated again', the pontiff wrote to the chief rabbi of Buenos Aires. Meanwhile police investigations appear to be at a turning point to find those who physically sent the packages. Investigators are certain they were sent from Rome and suspect members of far-right groups in the Italian capital. Security in Rome has been boosted in key areas including the synagogue on Monday, when events marking remembrance day will be celebrated.

Meanwhile the state attorney's office in Rome has opened a probe on instigation of racial hatred charges. Politicians and religious institutions sent messages of solidarity to the Jewish community, including the Rome dioceses which expressed 'closeness and pain for the Jewish brothers' and strongly condemned anti-Semitism on the eve of Remembrance Day. Meanwhile the controversy on the 'barbaric gestures' - as they were defined Sunday by the Union of Italian Jewish communities - which targeted the synagogue in Rome, Israeli embassy and an exhibit on Jewish culture is continuing. 'It is surprising that this could happen in Rome', said the Israeli ministry's spokesman Ygal Palmor. 'It is certainly an isolated incident and not a trend. But this doesn't make it less offensive. It cannot be tolerated'. 'We did not expect such incidents', he continued. 'We have full confidence in police and in the fact that they will unveil the truth, bringing the guilty parties to justice'.

Police are investigating Rome's far-right groups. An employee of the delivery company that sent the packages has already been questioned: the three boxes arrived at 11 pm at a deposit and investigators suspect the packages should have been delivered on remembrance day Monday. The Islamic community has also condemned the incident as 'vile provocation' and has announced its participation in a number of events organized by the Jewish community on Monday. The Rome Dioceses also expressed 'closeness, solidarity and pain for the Jewish brothers'. 'Catholics in Rome renew their esteem and friendship for the Jewish community and deplore such gestures, engage in erecting a barricade against racial hatred and historic ignorance and implore in prayer peace and respect for all', said Vicarage spokesman, Father Walter Insero.
© ANSA Med

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Islamophobia is spreading in France

28/1/2014- French police recorded 226 anti-Islamic acts in 2013. An increase of 11.3% from the previous year, the French Council of the Muslim Cult (CFCM) reports. A rate “still too high”, despite its slow growth compared to the last 3 years. Figures that do not reflect the reality, according to the president of the CFCM, Mr. Zekri, given the many xenophobic attacks unreported by the Islamic community. From vandalism attacks to mosques or insults, to the more recent attempts to assault women with veil or headscarf (14 in 2 months). Or the racist content of the many political speeches and the growth of an increasingly violent Islamophobic language often trivialized, especially on the web.
© West, on-line newspaper aimed at providing the last breaking news on welfare policies.

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Paris Protest Against Hollande Turns Anti-Semitic (France)

Neo-Nazis and Muslims take advantage of "Day of Anger" against French president to vent their hostility against Jews.

27/1/2014- A protest in Paris against French President Francois Hollande turned on Sunday to an anti-Semitic demonstration and ended in clashes between police and protesters. AFP reported that several thousand people marched through Paris in a "Day of Anger" against Hollande. Security forces used tear gas to disperse several hundred youths who lobbed police with bottles, fireworks, iron bars and dustbins. The march was organized by a group of some 50 small and mainly right-wing organizations and, while it failed to attract bigger anti-Hollande movements, Kol Yisrael radio reported that it was attended by neo-Nazi movements and Muslim extremists. The demonstrators chanted anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli slogans, used the ‘quenelle’ anti-Semitic gesture that was invented by controversial comic Dieudonne and sang the anthem of the Nazi collaborators during World War II, according to Kol Yisrael. Organizers claimed a turnout of some 120,000 people, however police estimated there were 17,000 people at the protest, reported AFP.

Some called for France's withdrawal from the European Union, while others urged the respect of freedom of speech, a reference to the government's recent decision to ban Dieudonne’s show because of its anti-Semitic content. The local Jewish students union, the UEJF, condemned "anti-Semitic slogans and Nazi salutes" by some protesters. "This 'Day of Anger' has turned into a day of hate," its president Sacha Reingewirtz told AFP. Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence "by individuals, varied groups from the extreme and ultra-right, whose only goal is to create unrest". The protest took place on the same day that new statistics on anti-Semitism in Europe were presented to the Israeli government by the Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home). The statistics were based on a poll conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. The poll notes that the rise in anti-Semitic activity had led many European Jews to avoid expressing their Judaism - and to refuse to report violent incident to authorities.

The online survey conducted by the organization revealed that in 2013, 23% of respondents refrained from attending Jewish events or religious services for fear of being attacked on their way there; 38% are afraid to wear religious symbols in public; and 66% view anti-Semitism as having a major and constant impact on their lives. The statistics were presented one day after two high-profile anti-Semitic incidents made headlines worldwide. On Saturday, an employee of the Majdanek concentration camp museum in Poland was charged for hate crimes, after he distributed anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posters in Lublin. Later that day, pigs' heads were sent to the Israeli embassy and a synagogue in Rome - with derogatory messages about the Holocaust and references to Zionist figure Theodor Herzl inside.
© Arutz Sheva

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Gay opera tenor is beaten up in Sweden.

26/1/2014- Swedish tenor Rickard Soderberg, who petitioned his government to raise the rainbow flag above its embassy in Moscow, has reportedly been the target of a bias attack. Soderberg was pelted with eggs and rocks on Friday night as he rode his bicycle home from rehearsals at at the Malmö Opera house. ”I was scared, it happened so fast,” said the 39-year-old singer who was heading home after rehearsal for Rebecca. ”I do not know if they were looking for me as a person, and have a problem with what I stand for. I do not know if they had been waiting for me or if it was completely random,” he says. “Right now I’m just upset and it feels degrading, almost embarrassing. “ Soderberg has become a high-profile advocate for LGBT rights, raising the issue on the reality-TV competition Clash of the Choirs. He was attacked in the same area four years ago, and claims this most recent incident follows an uptick in hate mail messages on his social media sites.
© Arts Journal

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Headlines 24 January, 2014

Police record three instances of anti-gay violence a week (Netherlands)

22/1/2014- Police recorded 769 instances of violence against gay people between the beginning of 2009 and September last year, the equivalent of around three cases a week. The figures come from a new police report which aims to establish a better picture of the extent of anti-gay violence in the Netherlands. Previous reports have focused on questionnaires. The report states six out of 10 instances took place in Amsterdam, where police have being paying extra attention to the problem following several high profile cases. Some 17% of cases reported involved threats of physical violence, 31% simply physical attacks and 6.7% serious attacks, the report shows. The rest were categorised as muggings and fights. Men were the victims in 84% of cases.

The report also looked at the perpetrators, who acted alone in 67% of cases. Almost 62% of the attackers who were identified have Dutch nationality only, 16.6% had Moroccan nationality or were Dutch and Moroccan and 5.5% were Turkish. Almost 87% had other criminal convictions, mainly robbery and assault. The report also said the number of threats against people because of their skin colour is far higher than for gay people but in terms of actual physical attacks, the results are similar.
English summary, pages 10 - 13
© The Dutch News

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Six members of a family, who admit to attempting to kidnap their sister’s lesbian partner, await sentencing today at Preston Crown Court.

24/1/2014- ITV News reports that the court was told the family did not accept Nazma Ditta’s same-sex relationship, and arranged for her to marry her cousin in Pakistan. On 20 June last year, three of her sisters were seen on CCTV kicking and punching her partner Sarah Harrison, while trying to force her into a car. They also stole the woman’s handbag in a bid to find out information about where their sister was staying, while brother Tahmoor Ditta threatened Ms Harrison’s friend with a pointed blade. The court also heard that Nazma Ditta was threatened by her sisters as she planned to leave home. They said “just wait til we get hold of you”, ”I am dead to you”.
© Pink News

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'Horrendous' anti-Muslim hate crimes soar in Cambridge area - triggering calls (UK)

20/1/2014- Hate crimes against Muslims rose in Cambridgeshire last year, new data reveals. In the six-month period from October 2012 to March 2013 there were two hate crimes against Muslims in the county. However, in the three months from April to June last year there were 12. The brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in a London street happened on May 22 last year and has been attributed with increasing Islamophobic crimes elsewhere in the country. Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said: “These are disturbing figures relating to despicable crimes often driven by no other motive than the fact that the victim has different religious beliefs or a different colour skin. “It’s very sad that some people can’t see beyond those differences to treat everybody equally and find out the individual qualities that everybody has. “I hope that eventually we will be able to eradicate these horrendous crimes and celebrate our differences.”

Sgt Matt Gadsby, from the Community Cohesion Unit, said: “All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable. We take all reports extremely seriously and want to give victims every confidence to report incidents. “In Cambridge city last year we dealt with 94 recorded hate crimes and detected 59 of those offences in a range of outcomes from caution to imprisonment. We have also sought to use a number of other tactics in targeting hate crime, such as the anti-social behaviour order granted in August against David Camp. “Hate crime in the city for December was at its lowest level since January 2012. “We have an excellent relationship with both the Muslim and wider communities in Cambridge which is enhanced by having officers dedicated to both community and faith engagement.”

Figures from the police revealed the number of race and faith-based hate crimes since 2011. There were 12 hate crimes against Muslims from January 2011-December 2012. Two more occurred from January 2013-March 2013 before the spike in incidents from April-June, when 12 were recorded. The number fell, however, to one from July to September. Many forces reported a surge in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby. Freedom of Information requests were sent by the Press Association to every police force in England and Wales. Of the 43 forces, 24 provided figures on the number of anti-Muslim crimes and incidents recorded. Tell Mama, a group which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, said it had dealt with 840 cases since April, with the number expected to rise to more than 1,000 by the end of March. This compared with 582 anti-Muslim cases it dealt with from March 2012 to March 2013.

Fiyaz Mujhal, director of Faith Matters, which runs the Tell Mama project, said the reaction to the murder had caused the number of Islamophobic crimes to jump significantly. The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has previously said 71 incidents were reported to its national community tension team over five days after Rigby’s murder on May 22. Private Rigby was attacked and killed by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south-east London. Two men ran him down with a car, then used knives and a cleaver to stab and hack him to death. The men dragged his body into the road and remained at the scene until police arrived. They told passers-by that they had killed a soldier to avenge the killing of Muslims by the British Armed Forces. On December 19, both attackers were found guilty of the murder which was condemned by political and Muslim leaders.
© The Cambridge News

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Thousands of hate crimes reported in Greater Manchester (UK)

There were nearly 3,300 incidents of hate crime in Greater Manchester during a nine-month period last year, police said as they launched a crackdown.

20/1/2014- Greater Manchester Police said the figures related to the period between April and December 2013. Of those, 2,687 were race hate, 338 were over sexual orientation, 244 were religious hate and 106 disability hate. A network of reporting centres is being expanded across Manchester at the start of hate crime awareness week. The centres are safe locations where victims can report incidents to trained staff who can pass the details on to police. Manchester City Council said 25 agencies had either signed up to become a reporting centre or indicated they would do so.

Eggs thrown
Greater Manchester Police was the first in England to record subculture hate crime from 2013, following the death of goth Sophie Lancaster, 20, who was beaten to death in a Bacup park in 2007. Kirsty Mills, 21, from Walkden, who is deaf, had eggs thrown at her windows and front door and was confronted in the street by a 13-year-old boy, who called her names. "He was calling our mother and we did not find it nice," she told the BBC. "He was using vile words and we had not had any problems on the street." The boy was spoken to by police and later attended her home and apologised as part of restorative justice. Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: "The impact of hate crime extends far beyond the initial incident. "By their very nature, hate crimes are very personal attacks that leave victims, who are often already vulnerable individuals, feeling defenceless physically and emotionally. "Because of this, victims may be reluctant to report the crime or - worse still - may come to accept hate crime as an inevitable part of their lives."
© BBC News

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British man who stabbed violinist felt he had to kill a Jew (UK)

19/1/2014- A British man who stabbed a local violinist to death had been discharged from a mental institution less than two weeks before the attack, an inquest has found. Michael Kahan, 39, was stabbed to death in June 2008 outside of a kosher bakery in Crumpsall in suburban Manchester, according to an ongoing inquest in Manchester Coroners Court that resumed five-and –a-half years after the attack, British media reported. Jonathan Mills, then 37, told police he carried out the attack, which police say was unprovoked, because, he said, he “needed to kill a Jewish person.” The attack came ten days after he was released from a psychiatric ward at North Manchester General Hospital. It is believed that Mills stopped taking medication for his psychiatric condition. He had delusions that Jewish people were preventing him from getting his medication, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
© JTA News

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Anti-Semitic Violence Frightens Ukrainian Jews Amid Protests

23/1/2014- Two violent anti-Semitic incidents that took place in Kiev, Ukraine, over the course of a week have alarmed the Ukrainian Jewish community. Some experts speculate that the events could be related to the political conflict that has engulfed the country since November 2013. On Jan. 11, several men attacked Hillel Wertheimer, an Orthodox Jewish and Israeli teacher of Hebrew and Jewish tradition, after he left a synagogue at the end of Shabbat. On Jan. 18, a yeshiva student, Dov-Ber Glickman, was severely attacked by men with their fists and legs on his way home from a Shabbat meal. According to the general Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) General Council, the combat boots of Glickman’s attackers may have been outfitted with blades. Glickman dragged himself to a nearby synagogue’s ritual bath, where he was discovered and taken to a hospital. Glickman told IDF Radio on Sunday that “people are now afraid to leave their homes.” “The frightening thing is that [the attackers] arrived by car, and were apparently organized,” Hillel Cohen, chairman of the Hatzalah Ukraine emergency services group, told Yedioth Ahronot.

In an additional incident on Jan. 18, yeshiva students detained a suspicious individual who, according to the students, was found to possess a detailed plan of the surrounding neighborhood. Sam Kliger, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) director of Russian Jewish community affairs, believes the incidents could be a “sinister sign indicating that some are trying to use anti-Semitism in political confrontation in Ukraine.” “Historically in this part of the world, a political confrontation sooner or later starts to exploit the ‘Jewish question’ and to play the Jewish card,” Kliger told JNS.org in an email. Jan. 19 saw an intensification of the Maidan protests, which have been taking place intermittently since November. On Jan. 21, demonstrators clashed with police forces by catapulting Molotov cocktails. Police forces fired rubber bullets and smoke bombs. About 30 protesters were detained. Two-hundred people were injured and vehicles were torched, Bloomberg News reported.

In November, when the “Euromaidan” protests first began in Kiev’s Independence Square in opposition to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to freeze plans to join a free trade agreement with the European Union, some Ukrainian-Jewish leaders had canceled events out of fear that Jews may be targeted, especially since the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian political opposition party Svaboda, which is viewed as an anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi group by various Jewish organizations, was participating in the protests. But there was little indication of anti-Semitism among protesters at the time. Given the two recent violent attacks on Jews, there are some who suggest that “some pro-governmental forces are behind the attacks in order to then blame the nationalists and ultra-nationalist groups associated with Maidan protesters to denounce their legitimacy,” Kliger told JNS.org. “Yet another version suggests the opposite, namely that some radical groups like neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists are behind the attack, which they then can blame on the government,” Kliger said.

Historian, politologist, and EAJC member Vyacheslav Likhachev said in an EAJC op-ed published Jan. 19 that the former is more likely than the latter. “The large-scale civil protests known under the title ‘Euromaidan’ really do include groups of radical youths whose slogans and actions repel even the nationalistic All-Ukrainan ‘Svoboda’ Union Party,” Likhachev wrote. But he also wrote that such activists have been heavily occupied with protecting the center of the Maidan protests and preparing for confrontations with government forces. On Jan. 20, President Yanukovych agreed to form a cross-party commission to try to bring an end to the conflict, but the opposition may not participate in talks without the president, according to reports. “Considering the general direction of what is happening on the Maidan, I believe that even the most thuggish of the protesters are not interested in Jews at the moment,” Likhachev wrote.

But since the Ukrainian government has been portraying protestors as a threat to minorities, according to Likhachev, pro-government forces may be instigating anti-Semitic incidents to then be able to blame the protesters for them. “It is possible that the second, more cruel incident happened due to the first not having enough resonance in the media,” although “15 years of experience in monitoring hate crimes tell me that usually hate crime is just a hate crime and not an element of some complex and global political plot,” wrote Likhachev. Josef Zisels, chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (Vaad) of Ukraine, emphasized in an official statement translated from Russian that the anti-Semitic attacks were synchronized with the adoption of new legislation initiated by Yanukovych late last week that outlaws many forms of protests. The law bans wearing hardhats or masks, building tents or stages, and disseminating “extremist information” about the Ukrainian government. “Journalists and public figures, including those acting on behalf of the Jewish community, rushed without any factual basis to tie the assaults with the campaign of peaceful civil protests,” Zisels said in the statement.

“Based on the fact that now the topic of anti-Semitism is being used heavily in the cynical political technology campaigns aimed at discrediting the political opposition and the public protest movement, the Jewish community must remain increasingly vigilant,” he said. Both AJC and The National Conference Supporting Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia (NCSJ) issued statements condemning the anti-Semitic attacks and asking the Ukrainian government to investigate the incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice. NCSJ Executive Director Mark Levin told JNS.org that “no one really knows the full truth” yet about who is responsible for the attacks, but that he is not surprised by the incidents. “Anti-Semitism unfortunately remains an issue in Ukraine. It ebbs and flows,” Levin said.
© Jewish News Service

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Two Jewish Men Targeted in Anti-Semitic Attacks in Kiev (Ukraine)

By JTA 
Ukraine Attacks Took Place in Same Week

19/1/2014- A Jewish man from Kiev sustained serious injuries in a knife attack by three men, the second assault on a Jew in the city in one week. The victim of the stabbing on Saturday night was identified by Ukrainian media as Dov Ber Glickman, a 28-year-old student of a local kolel, a school of Talmudic studies for married men. He was attacked by three men after exiting the Podolski synagogue. After the stabbing, Glickman returned to the synagogue and was rushed from there to the hospital, where he is currently recovering, according to Rabbi Moshe Asman, a chief rabbi of Ukraine. Asman told the Israeli daily Maariv that the Glickman suffered a massive loss of blood. Police are searching for the attackers, who ran away after the stabbing. Last week, four unidentified men were involved in an assault on an Israel-born Hebrew teacher from Kiev, whom they followed from his synagogue to his home. Three of them attacked the teacher in the vestibule until neighbors responded to his cries.
© The Forward

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Headlines 17 January, 2014

Polish family targeted in hate attacks (Northern Ireland)

A Polish woman living in east Belfast has told UTV how she believes her family were targeted in two attacks because of their nationality.

16/1/2014- Anna Bloch and her family have lived in Inverary Drive for several years, but after midnight on Thursday a brick was thrown through their window. The young woman, her mother and step-father were in the house at the time, but were not hurt. Her brother's home was also attacked with a brick. He lives with his wife and 11-year-old son in the nearby Sandbrook Park area. Police have also appealed for information on a third property which was attacked in Victoria Court. The attacks, which police are treating as hate crimes, are the latest in a series of similar incidents in recent months. Local DUP councillor Gavin Robinson met with Ms Bloch to offer his support after the incident, which he said was "appalling". "For a community that two weeks ago was being hailed as one which came together with a strong community spirit, last night's incidents are in no way reflective of the overwhelming majority of people within the Sydenham area of Belfast," he commented. Mr Robinson called upon anyone in the area who may have information to contact the police.

East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton also condemned the incident. "Only a few days ago the health minister was indicating that we needed new doctors, more nurses and medical staff in general to support our health service," he said. "Many of these people come here to actually help us in our health services and bring skills to our economy. Those who carry out these attacks need to think about this." East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle said these attacks would not be tolerated by the community. "I am outraged that anyone should be targeted for this kind of attack. Hate crime is completely unacceptable and rejected by the vast majority of people in East Belfast," he said. "There is no place in our society for this type of behaviour and I would urge the whole community to stand together in condemnation." Although she said she was scared and that the next few days would be "difficult", Anna said she wanted to stay as she believes it is a "nice area" despite the attacks.
© UTV News

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Greece investigation after migrant loses ear in 'attack'

15/1/2014- Greek authorities are looking for any possible racist motives in a three-man attack on an Iranian migrant in which his ear was bitten off, a justice source said today. The 34-year-old victim, identified only as 'Said', says he was assaulted by three dark-clothed men in October while in a run-down Athens neighbourhood. "I was walking on the street and talking on the phone when three men dressed in black attacked me. They hit me," the Iranian told the Greek branch of Doctors of the World in a video posted online. "One of them put me in a headlock and severed my ear with his teeth," he added.

Street attacks on migrants spiked in 2012 following the election to parliament of Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party pledging to rid the country of hundreds of thousands of illegal residents. However, the trend abated after a Greek musician was fatally stabbed by a neo-Nazi supporter last year, prompting a crackdown that has put a third of the party's 18 lawmakers behind bars. Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other senior party members are in prison awaiting trial for allegedly orchestrating attacks on migrants and political opponents. Nikitas Kanakis, head of Greece's Doctors of the World branch, told AFP that the organisation had not publicised the Iranian's beating in October so as not to influence the investigation. He added that racist-related attacks are "greatly reduced" since the crackdown against Golden Dawn began.
© AFP

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Hate crime attack on teen (UK)

14/1/2014- Police are treating an assault on a teenager – where he was pushed and homophobic language was used – as a hate crime. The victim was with friends in McDonald's in Merchant Street, at around 3.55pm on Saturday, January 11, when they became aware of a man staring at them. They left the premises and walked towards The Podium. When they were outside Select Fashion in Broadmead, a man approached them from behind and pushed the victim in the back. He used homophobic language towards him before slapping him around the face. The man in the image is described as white, with blond hair, and he was wearing a dark gillet with a yellow T-shirt underneath and dark jeans. He had a pair of sunglasses on top of his head. Investigating officer PC Richard Glanville said: "We are treating this as a hate crime because of the language the man used towards the victim during the assault. "It is completely unacceptable to use homophobic language and we take incidents like this extremely seriously. "I would like anyone who recognises the man in the image, or who witnessed the assault outside Select, to come forward."
© The Bristol Post

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700pc gap in reports of racism to gardai and PSNI (Ireland/Northern Ireland)

A massive 700pc gap between racist incidents reported to gardai and those reported to police in the North has prompted a call for an urgent review of reporting in the south.

13/4/2014- The figures suggest that many victims in the south "are still choosing to suffer in silence rather than come forward," according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland, which has reviewed statistics for the two jurisdictions. In one year the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) recorded 1,038 incidents compared to just 128 by gardai. Denise Charlton, chief executive of the council, said the figures supported research by the council that racism in Ireland "is going unreported with victims reluctant to come forward because of fears they will be regarded as troublemakers." Some victims are also afraid, she added, that their complaint will not be taken seriously because of a previous experience with corrupt police in their country of birth. Official figures show that 69 racist crimes were reported in the south last year compared to a high of 214 in 2007 and 100 in 2012. They included 13 cases of minor assault, six cases of criminal damage, 37 public order offences and 13 other offences.

Disparity
The PSNI reported 750 racist incidents and 1,372 sectarian incidents last year. Ms Charlton says through their own reporting system -- stopracism@immigrantcouncil.ie -- the State had an 85pc increase in cases in the past 12 months. The council points to the "very serious questions" raised by the disparity between figures north and south, regarding "the way incidents are recorded by gardai and the Department of Justice", saying it "suggests a lot of racism is going unreported". Ms Charlton has called for the introduction of an independent reporting system, "where victims can come forward with confidence and be assured that they will be offered support and advice." In the North, she stressed, victims had access to a 24-hour online reporting system operated by the PSNI where they could detail and categorise the nature of the crime. "As a country we cannot continue to ignore the abuse, threats and even violence being carried out against people in our local communities, on our streets, at work, on sports fields and many other places. "It is time for Ireland to send out a message that in 2014 there is no acceptable level of racism."
© The Irish Independent

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Hebrew teacher assaulted in possible anti-Semitic attack in Kiev (Ukraine)

14/1/2014- A Hebrew teacher in Kiev was assaulted in what Jewish community representatives described as a rare and violent anti-Semitic attack. Four men ambushed the Israel-born teacher, Hillel Wertheimer, on Saturday night at his apartment building after following him home from synagogue services, according to Joseph Zissels, chairman of the Vaad Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine and a vice president of the World Jewish Congress. Zissels told JTA on Tuesday that three of the four men then punched and kicked Wertheimer in the vestibule of his home. Wertheimer was not severely hurt because the assailants were interrupted by a neighbor who came down to investigate after hearing Wertheimer shout for help, Zissels said. Wertheimer filed a police complaint Monday. The assailants have not been identified.

Zissels said he believes the assault was anti-Semitic because the attackers did not ask for money and appeared to have selected their target at the synagogue. World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer called the beating “a vicious act that must not go unpunished.” He said the WJC was closely monitoring the situation. Meylakh Sheykhet, Ukraine director for the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, told JTA that violent, anti-Semitic attacks are rare in Ukraine, occurring on average once or twice per year. In October last year, Jewish businessman Dmitry Flekman, 28, told JTA and other media he was tortured and beaten by police officers from the city of Lviv in western Ukraine because he was Jewish.
© JTA News

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Race hate - a crime the police will not solve (UK)

Community leaders say they no longer trust police to investigate offences as fewer than two out of 10 allegations of race hate are followed up by officers

13/1/2014- Tens of thousands of race hate crimes are going unreported every year, disturbing new figures reveal, as community leaders warn they do not have faith in the police to investigate such offences. A government study shows that the proportion of hate crimes being recorded by police in England and Wales has fallen by almost 20 per cent in the past three years. Less than a fifth of allegations of racially or religiously motivated crime are now investigated, and less than a third of these result in court proceedings, let alone convictions. Campaigners claimed yesterday that the discrepancy showed the police were “no longer looking” for hate crime and were more interested in showing that recorded crime was falling than encouraging victims to come forward.

“There is pressure on the police not to look for these crimes,” said Fiyaz Mughal, who runs Mama, a helpline for victims of anti-Muslim violence. “Who would want to be a chief constable or police and crime commissioner reporting increased rates of racially aggravated crime? All they want to do is reduce crime levels.” The Home Office report compared data gathered from the annual Crime Survey – which estimates the total extent of crime in the UK – with actual incidents reported to police. Based on two years of data it found that there were an estimated 278,000 hate crimes a year – of which 154,000 had an element of racial motivation. But official police figures recorded only 42,236 hate crime offences in the past year and just 30,000 racially aggravated crimes – 15 per cent of the total reported in the Crime Survey.

Although the survey does show higher rates of offending than official figures for almost all crimes, the difference is not usually so stark. On average, across all crimes, police statistics record around 40 per cent of the offences reported to the survey. The statisticians who compiled the report said that it was possible that some crimes – which the victim believed to be racially motivated – were not being assessed as such by the police. Race charities said the discrepancy was also due to ethnic minority groups not having confidence in the criminal justice system and not reporting race hate crimes in the first place. “I don’t believe that hate crime is falling, despite what the recorded crime figures suggest,” said Andrew Bolland, partnership manager at the charity Stop Hate. “What these figures show is that people are just less likely to go to police and report crime than they were. A lot of people lack the confidence that they are going to get a successful outcome from the criminal justice system and that does effect reporting.”

Jon Burnett, a researcher at the educational charity the Institute for Race Relations, said he believed the discrepancy was probably due to a combination of factors. “Often the criminal justice system does not understand racism or know how to deal with it. “We know from our work that many hate crimes do not get reported because of experience or perception that the police will not thoroughly investigate them. “At the same time I think that there is a tendency on the part of the police not to label crimes as hate crimes because there is a belief that it will be more difficult to get a conviction. There is also a feeling that any conviction is a successful result.” Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, the national policing lead for hate crime, admitted that under-reporting of hate crime was a real problem. “There is a significant difference between police-recorded hate crime and the Crime Survey because hate crime is still massively underreported,” he said. “Under-reporting is still one of biggest challenges that the police and the criminal justice system face in reducing the harm caused by these type of crimes. We are committed to increasing the reporting and recording of hate crime.”

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said all forms of hate crime were deplorable and tried to reassure victims that they would get support if they came forward. “We can only confront it if victims feel empowered to come forward, confident that their voices will be heard,” he said. “The number of people receiving a custodial sentence for racially or religiously aggravated crimes is higher than ever before, and these criminals are spending more time in prison. “However, we need to do more to encourage all victims to come forward. This is why we are working with the police and other agencies to increase reporting, improve support and prevent these terrible crimes happening in the first place.”

Case study: Revenge not race behind murder
Changez Arif, 33, was stabbed to death in Manchester in 2006 by 19-year-old Michael Skeffington. Skeffington had already been given an anti-social behaviour order for terrorising a predominantly Asian local estate. However, in the case of Mr Arif the police ruled out racial motivation, stating that the attack was motivated instead by revenge. On the night of the murder, Skeffington and Mr Arif were involved in a fight, from which the teenager came off worse. Enraged at having lost the fight, Skellington picked up a knife and lay in wait for Mr Arif to walk down an alleyway to meet someone. When he did, the teenager stabbed him in the back and stomach. Skellington fled to London but was arrested five days later. He was convicted of murder in January 2007 and will serve a minimum of 15 years in jail.
© The Independent

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Teen politician assaulted after immigration speech (Sweden)

A 16-year-old member of the Social Democrat party youth wing was assaulted in Malmö on Thursday by two adult men who kicked her, spat at her and called her "feminist pussy" after she made a speech on immigration.

11/1/2014- "They called me disgusting feminist pussy and kneed me. They were tall and big and had short thick jackets and had totally shaved heads," she told the local Sydsvenskan daily. "They said I was an obnoxious "Sosse" and if they saw me again they would kill me," she said, referring to a common term of derision for members of the Social Democrats. The alleged assault occurred at around 3pm on Thursday in central Malmö. A passer-by came to the girl's assistance and the two men fled the scene. The teenager has reported that she was overwhelmed by the incident which has left her reluctant to go out alone. The police have opened an investigation and classified the offence as assault, molestation and unlawful threats. The incident is the latest in a string of attacks on people active across the political spectrum in Sweden.

Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson was targeted in a cake attack in November in central Stockholm while attending a book signing and a further Sweden Democrat was targeted following revelations that he had called on Swedes to take up arms "to defend their country". Some 17,000 people gathered in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp in December to demonstrate against neo-Nazi activity in the area. The demo followed a previous smaller assembly which was attack by Nazis. According to a recent report by the Expo Foundation, neo-Nazi groups carried out 1,824 activities in 2012, an increase of 24 percent on 2011 and signifying a break in a downward trend since 2008. At the same time the number of groups operating within the racial ideology movement has declined from 25 active organisations in 2011 to 18 in 2012, continuing a decline from 40 groups registering activities in 2008. According to Expo this trend indicates a concentration with several groups having merged.
© The Local - Sweden

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Headlines 10 January, 2014

Roma Activist Musician Assaulted in Serbia

Olah Vince, a Roma activist and musician, said he was attacked in the street near his home in Novi Sad at Christmas, having received a series of threatening messages.

9/1/2014- Olah Vince, a Roma activist and musician, said that he was attacked and beaten up by six unknown men as he was walking with his wife at Christmas outside their house in the Telep quarter in the northern city of Novi Sad. "They asked me whether I was Olah Vince and the moment I confirmed it, two men hit me in the head twice," Vince told Beta news agency on Thursday. According to him, the attack was "a classical ambush". He said that in the latter half of 2013 he started getting anonymous threatening telephone calls and text messages, after he publicly accused the Novi Sad authorities, the National Council of Roma and the Vojvodina Office for Roma Inclusion, of corruption and discrimination. Vince organized a protest rally in Novi Sad in June after the city allocated only 50,000 dinars (about 430 euro) for the organization of a Roma festival.

Earlier, Vince won a special award from the City of Novi Sad for his contribution to the development of multiculturalism, expressed through music and social work and activism for Roma participation in the cultural and public life of Novi Sad. The head of the Vojvodina government, Bojan Pajtic, the mayor of Novi Sad, Milos Vucevic, the Councillor for Roma Integration with the Serbian government, Srdjan Sajn, and the Interior Ministry State Secretary, Vladimir Bozovic, all condemned the assault. Serbia's main opposition Democratic Party also condemned the attack. "No one can feel safe in Novi Sad today," the party said in a statement. Roma are periodically attacked in Serbia. In 2000, a group of skinheads in Belgrade beat up Serbian actor Goran Maksimovic as they believed he was a Roma. Maksimovic died from the injuries soon after. According to the 2011 census, there are 147,604 Roma people in Serbia, but unofficial estimates put the figure at closer to 450,000 or 500,000.
© Balkan Insight

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Italy: Police arrest suspect over death of gay rights activist

Police in Italy have arrested a suspect in connection with the death of a gay rights campaigner.

9/1/2014- The body of Daniele Fulli, 28, was found on the bank of Rome’s River Tiber on Tuesday. He had suffered injuries to the groin and at the back of his neck. One doctor suggested it could have been gunshot wounds. Mr Fulli was reported missing on Sunday 5 January and was said to have been suffering from depression. Fabrizio Marrazzo, spokesperson for the Rome Gay Centre where the victim volunteered speculated that it could have been a homophobic killing. “If it was murder, a homophobic motive must be considered,”Mr Marrazz was quoted as saying. Italy remains weak when it comes to LGBT rights. The country currently has no protections against anti-gay discrimination in public, in the provision of goods and services or against hate speech.
© Pink News

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Man in Widnes racially abused and gun fired at his home (UK)

A 20-year-old man has been racially abused and a ball bearing gun was fired at his home in Widnes.

8/1/2014- The Eastern European man became involved in an argument with two men on Monday. Cheshire Police say the men shouted racial abuse at him and he shouted back before making his way home to Dickson Street. The men returned to his home, kicked the front door in the early hours and fired a ball bearing gun. He was not injured and police were called at 05:00 GMT on Tuesday and searched the area. Det Con Stephen Deehan said the victim was "understandably very shaken by what happened". He said officers had carried out house-to-house enquiries in Dickson Street. Anyone with information is urged to contact Cheshire Police.
© BBC News

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Race hate thugs smash windows in east Belfast homes (Northern Ireland)

The windows of three houses have been broken within minutes of each other in a suspected racist hate crime spree.

7/1/2014- All three houses are in the Strandtown area of east Belfast, and were attacked in the space of 15 minutes late on Sunday night. Bricks were used to smash the front windows of two houses in Strandburn Park and another in Victoria Avenue. The attacks are being treated by police as hate crimes. East Belfast's reputation has been blighted by a spate of racist attacks in recent months. Condemning the attacks, East Belfast MP Naomi Long said the growing ethnic minority was part of the local community in her constituency. PSNI area commander, Chief Inspector Mark McEwan, said: "I would ask anyone who may have witnessed this hate crime incident or has information relating to these attacks to share that information with police at Strandtown.
© The Belfast Telegraph

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Flowers cover swastikas after mosque attack(Sweden)

Several swastikas scrawled on the facade of the Stockholm mosque were covered by flowers on Monday, leading the Islamic Association's chairman to hope "the quiet majority" is finally speaking up.

7/1/2014- Last Thursday morning, members of the Stockholm Muslim congregation arrived at the mosque on Södermalm to find the doors were covered in Nazi graffiti. By Monday morning, however, a much more positive display had taken their place: bouquets of pink and white flowers were taped over the black swastikas, and a note of solidarity was tied to the door. "For every hate crime there is a flower," the sign read. "An attack on you is an attack on Sweden! We stand together!" Flowers were also placed outside the mosque in Fittja, which had its windows smashed and pig feet tossed in back in November, as well as a Hagsätra church which had also been vandalized with swastikas last Friday. "I thought society was moving the wrong direction. But now my view changed 180 degrees," Omar Mustafa, chairman of the Swedish Islamic Association, told The Local. "Members of the congregation arrived for the morning prayer at 7am and called me saying there were flowers on the mosque. They sent me a picture and I felt strength and encouragement in a whole new way."

The mosque in central Stockholm, which opened its doors in 2000, is no stranger to vandalism, receiving threats and falling prey to hate crimes each month. But Wednesday's attack was unusual in its magnitude and directness. "We’re used to receiving hateful emails and letters, so they’re not abnormal. But they also don’t feel so real," Mustafa mused. "But I’ve never seen something like this before, right on the front door. It was a very strong message of hate." The mosque had been vandalized before, but not with swastikas, representatives said. The attack followed close on the heels of a neo-Nazi attack in the suburb of Kärrtorp, which was later met by a display of solidarity when more than 16,000 Swedes gathered to peacefully demonstrate against racism. Mustafa said he hopes such actions against racism will encourage others to speak up. "We know that a majority of people in Sweden are against hate and racism. But the majority is also very quiet. What was surprising this time was that the majority actually acted, in solidarity, support, and love," Mustafa said.

In 2013, around 300 hate crimes against Muslims were reported in Sweden, and such incidents are on the rise according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet). Innumerable crimes also go unreported due to fears that media exposure will increase hate crimes. And Mustafa fears things may get worse before they get better, especially with Swedish elections coming up this fall. "Hate is becoming more and more open, and 2013 was a very difficult year," he said. "There were a lot of debates about racism, and many were very negative. I am very afraid that racist parties and movements will win more seats and become a bigger part of decision-making, as we’ve seen in Denmark and Norway. But I hope this kind of action helps more and more people take action." Mustafa and others posted images of the flowers on social media sites, which spread like wildfire and garnered attention and support in Sweden as well as abroad. "When you get this kind of support in flowers or social media, you suddenly feel that you are not alone," Mustafa told The Local. "It’s proof that society is not racist on the whole. I don’t think that the flowers will knock out racism, but it is a strong message. And I think more and more people are lifting their voices against racism and taking action, and I think more and more will."
© The Local - Sweden

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6/1/2014- In the wake of New Year’s revelers desecrating Germany’s Holocaust memorial in Berlin, memorial officials and police plan to meet on ramping up security measures. Reacting to a video of young party-goers shooting fireworks and urinating among the 2711 steles of the memorial last week, spokeswoman Jenifer Stolz told JTA that “we are all quite appalled. But it is not the first time.” Meetings with Berlin police are planned in the coming days and weeks to discuss measures to prevent such behavior. They include temporary fencing similar to Berlin’s central park, the Tiergarten. Berlin’s major open-air New Year’s event takes place near the Brandenburg Gate, and hundreds of thousands of visitors walk past the memorial on the way, Stolz said. “It seems to invite them to such excesses, and it’s not nice,” she said. Stolz said the site cleanup went quickly and that all fireworks detritus was cleared away by 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
© JTA News

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Russia: Racism and Xenophobia: Preliminary Summary for 2013

The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for December 2013. The review also includes preliminary information for a summary of notable incidents and cases for the year 2013 as a whole. It is based on material gathered by Sova Center in the course of our daily monitoring.

8/1/2014- In December 2013, three people were targeted in racist and neo-Nazi attacks. In Moscow a Tajik national was killed, while two Uzbeks were assaulted in St. Petersburg. According to preliminary data for the year, such attacks in 32 regions of Russia resulted in the deaths of no fewer than 20 people and injuries to no fewer than 173. Additionally, nine people were targets of serious death threats. The capital cities maintained their status as the leading centers of racist violence, with eight killed and 53 injured in Moscow, and three killed and 32 injured in St. Petersburg. There were many victims in the Lipetsk region (four killed, 9 injured); the Chelyabinsk and Moscow regions (both with eight injured); and the Sverdlovsk region (two killed, four injured).

In 2013, the primary victims of attack from far-right activists were natives of the Central Asian countries (13 killed, 39 injured), the Caucasus (three killed, 26 injured), people identified simply as bearing a “non-Slavic appearance” (one killed, 28 injured), blacks (five injured), and Chinese (six injured). Others who faced assault were the same groups targeted by repressive laws passed recently: minority religious groups (24 injured) and the LGBT community (one killed, 25 injured). At the same time, the number of attacks on leftist activists and members of youth groups decreased (seven injured); these had formerly been primary targets for the far right. We are aware of only a single act of neo-Nazi vandalism in December 2013, carried out against a Jewish community center.

Accordingly, we recorded 79 acts of ideologically motivated vandalism in 37 regions of the country this year. The main targets were Orthodox churches (29 incidents), Jehovah’s Witnesses buildings (11 incidents), and Jewish and Muslim objects (10 and nine incidents respectively). In terms of public actions, the ultra-right laid relatively low in December. In St. Petersburg there was a march “Against Ethno-Terror” held on the anniversary of the December 2010 events on Manezh Square in Moscow; it was organized by Dmitry Bobrov of the National Socialist Initiative, with 100-120 people in attendance. Moscow activists organized by Aleksandr Amelin (of the Russian Renaissance) attempted to pull off a similar action, but most were detained before it began.

Additionally, a small rally was held on December 7 at Yauzskie Vorota Square, near the monument to the “border guards of the fatherland,” timed to coincide with the anniversary of the death of soccer fan Egor Sviridov. The action, which brought together some ten people, was organized by the Brotherhood of St. Vladimir (Moscow RONA led by Oleg Filatchev) in conjunction with Pamyat. December saw a few local conflicts that sparked anti-migrant incidents among residents. The most important was in the Nizhny Novgorod region city of Arzamas, where riots turned into pogroms, leading to detentions. The source of the unrest was a brawl at a local café that ended in a local’s death at the hands of Armenian nationals. Another notable event was the November 23 murder of boxer Ivan Klimov in Omsk, which was made known on a December 10 edition of the Channel 1 show Let Them Talk. The suspects in the killing are Roma drug traffickers. The broadcast caused new excitement around the case, leading to a few rallies.

No fewer than three convictions were issued this month for racist violence motivated by hatred, in the Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod regions and the Khabarovsk Krai. Nine people were convicted. The most notable decision was the Prioksy District Court (Nizhny Novgorod) verdict against seven Nazi skinheads of the group White Flock. The convicts had been accused of no fewer than 10 attacks on “nonwhite” people, or those “mistaken for pedophiles” from 2010 to 2012. None of the group was sentenced to prison time – instead, the group’s founder was given a suspended sentence, while two other individuals were sentenced to hard labor. The case against the remaining four was discontinued due to either reconciliation or amnesty. As such, 2013 saw no fewer than 30 verdicts for racist violence motivated by hatred in 23 regions of the country. These decisions convicted a total of 54 people; four of them were exempted from punishment for various reasons, while 12 were handed suspended sentences without additional sanctions.

There were 14 verdicts (against as many people) in 12 regions of the country for xenophobic propaganda in December 2013. One of those convicted was sentenced to prison time, one was released due to an expired statute of limitations, and the rest were subjected to non-custodial sentences. For 2013 as a whole, there were 129 cases against 131 people, in 57 regions of the country, on charges under Article 282 (inciting hatred) and Article 280 (public calls for extremist activity). Eleven of those convicted received suspended sentences, 13 were given custodial sentences, and almost all received accumulative sentences with account of mostly violent criminal charges. For organization of an extremist organization, or the participation therein (Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code), 2013 saw two proper convictions against three individuals, in the Irkutsk and Moscow regions. In Irkutsk, the Molotochniki group was sentenced along with the leader of the organization Spiritual-Ancestral Power Rus. There were nine convictions for vandalism motivated by hatred (Article 214 Part 2) against 12 people in eight regions this year.

In December 2013, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated three times (on December 6, 17 and 20). Items 2143-2179 were added. In total, 2013 saw the List expand from 1589 entries to 2179 over the course of 46 updates. Entry 1674 was excluded from the list while the number was kept; entry 1844 changed as the number of the materials in question was increased by one. As of December 30, 2013, the list included 39 “zeroed” items (meaning those excluded while their numbers of entry remained); five of these were deletions due to duplicate entries; 34 were deletions based on rulings canceling a material’s status as extremist. Sixty-two entries reflect duplicates of single rulings (not including those concerning the same texts with differing output data), while two reflect decisions already included in the list.

Four new groups were added to the Federal List of Extremist Organizations in 2013. As such, as of December 30, 2013, the list includes 33 organizations whose activities have been enjoined by a Russian court, and whose continued activities are punishable under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code: the organization of activities of an extremist organization. Also in 2013, the Moscow City Court banned the nationalist Autonomous Combat Terrorist Organization (ABTO) as a terrorist group, not simply as extremist. This is the first case where such a label has been applied to a far-right Russian group (indeed, to any non-Muslim group). As of December 30, 2013, the decision is not reflected in the online list of domestic and international organizations deemed terrorist by the Russian government (which is maintained on the FSB website). That list currently includes 19 other groups.
© SOVA Center for Information and Analysis.

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Uzbek Migrant Found Dead In Moscow (Russia)

6/1/2014- An Uzbek labor migrant has been found dead in Moscow. Police in the Russian capital said on January 6 that the body of an Uzbek national was found with at least two gunshot wounds in the offices of the scrap-metal company where he worked. His name was not released. A 31-year-old man from Russia's Republic of Udmurtia and a 38-year-old man from Russia's Komi Republic have been detained as suspects. Their names were also not released. Attacks against labor migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus occur regularly in Moscow. The Russian capital was hit by major antimigrant protests in October after a Russian man was stabbed to death, allegedly by a migrant worker from the Caucasus. Several Central Asian labor migrants were killed in Moscow and St. Petersburg following that incident.

Meanwhile, in related news, a Moscow-based think tank monitoring xenophobia and extremism says ethnically motivated attacks remained relatively stable in the country in 2013. According to the latest report by the Sova Center for Information and Analysis, 20 people were killed and dozens injured in ethnically motivated attacks across Russia's 32 regions last year. The deadliest attacks occurred in Moscow, where eight people were killed and 53 injured by suspected ultranationalists. Three people from the Caucasus and Central Asia were killed and 32 injured in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg. The report also said that attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community members are on the rise in Russia. Sova said that 18 people had been killed and 171 injured across Russia in ethnically motivated assaults in its 2012 report.
© RFE/RL

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Stark reality of everyday racism revealed in Sligo service reports (Ireland)

Victims urged to break silence and speak out on racist incidents.

4/1/2014- A woman enters a busy shop, asks for the footwear department, and spots a staff member signalling to a colleague to follow her. She is looking at running shoes when she is approached and told that if she is not buying anything, she should leave. The woman, a medical professional, buys six pairs of running shoes, leaves them on the counter, and tells the sales assistant who has been shadowing her to give them to charity. In the same town a mother with two small children stands in a queue in the office of a Government agency. When her baby starts to cry the person behind the counter tells her to take her children outside. Other children are happily running around the office, without apparently annoying anyone, and it is raining and cold out. But the humiliated woman feels she has no option but to step outside.

A Dublin-born third-level student answers a room-for- rent ad and is told on the phone that the room is still available and she should come and see it. When the landlady answers the door she insists that there is no room and that there had been no phone call. The student hits the redial button and the phone in the landlady’s hand rings. The student with the pronounced Dublin accent is black. So is the medic in need of a pair of running shoes. The mother standing in the rain with her crying baby is from a minority ethnic group.

Their experiences were recently reported to the racist incident reporting and support service launched by the Sligo Family Resource Centre last June. In the first three months, 17 reports were received, but they are now coming in at rate of 10 a month. Co-ordinator Deo Ladislas Ndakengerwa believes that many people opt not to make any complaint. “But we say if you do not break the silence you will continue to be a victim,” he stressed. “You cannot stay inside with the curtains drawn, telling your children they cannot play outside because the neighbours do not like them. What message is that for your children.” Incidents reported range from random abuse on the street, such as spitting and name-calling, to negative treatment at service provision counters and alleged assaults.

The Garda has been notified about a sustained campaign against a family in one housing estate. However, Mr Ndakengerwa says mediation is the preferred option. He is very concerned about reports of “institutional” abuse, for example the treatment of Kurdish people who arrived in Sligo almost a decade ago under the government resettlement programme and are Irish citizens. “When they want to see community welfare officers [Department of Social Protection representatives], they are told to go to Globe House, the centre for asylum-seekers,” explained Mr Ndakengerwa .

Integrated
“They were told ‘you are Irish on paper only’. These families feel they have integrated in the community but officials perceive them as asylum-seekers,” he said. A spokeswoman for the department said this issue had not been raised with it. Customers wishing to attend its offices at Cranmore Road in Sligo could be accommodated “by advising the officer where they currently attend”, she added. Mr Ndakengerwa said this had been done on a number of occasions. An online reporting service has been established as part of the project and anybody who witnesses a racist incident is encouraged to report online.

Mr Ndakengerwa, a native of Rwanda who has been in Ireland for 10 years, says the most upsetting thing for those who are verbally abused or intimidated is when bystanders look the other way. The campaigner recalled being attacked while standing in a bus queue on Westmoreland Street in Dublin. “A guy called me a ‘stupid nigger’ . He broke a bottle and threatened me and when I ran, some bystanders assumed I had robbed him.” He says the support of the Garda in Sligo has restored people’s faith in the system. “They have been just fantastic – and most Sligo people are. There’s just a few who have an agenda or who are ill-informed.” A multi-agency project, funded initially by the EU-supported Peace lll programme, the reporting service is set to run out of funds at the end of February. “We believe the Government should support services like this, they should be mainstream,” said Mr Ndakengerwa.
© The Irish Times.

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Man Charged With Hate Crimes for 7 'Knockout' Attacks on Jewish Women (USA)

By JTA
Barry Baldwin Targeted Orthodox Women — One Victim Is 78 

5/1/2014- A Brooklyn, N.Y. man was arrested and charged for his involvement in seven so-called knockout game attacks. Barry Baldwin, 35, was charged with six counts of assault as a hate crime, six counts of aggravated harassment as a hate crime, and other crimes, including menacing and endangering the welfare of a child for the attacks that occurred between Nov. 9 and late December in Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York police said Saturday, according to New York media. Baldwin was arrested on Dec. 28 by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force. The victims were all Jewish women, ages 20 to 78. One of the women was holding a small child, who she fell on top of during the attack.

“This arrest is welcome news to all of us, but I continue to urge caution. No one in our community should live in fear, but prudence is always advisable,” New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind said in a statement. In the so-called knockout game, attackers try to knock out someone with one punch. Other incidents of knockout attacks have occurred in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., as well as other U.S. states, according to reports. A Long Island man was arrested in mid-December in connection with four other knockout attacks that date back as far as April.
© The Forward

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Headlines 3 January, 2014

Hair-burning incident no hate crime: Crown (Canada)

Teen offender sentenced to 18 months probation.

3/1/2014- A Winnipeg girl who had her hair singed by a lighter-wielding classmate at a city high school wasn't singled out because she's Jewish, but rather because her tormentor is "a jerk and a bully," a judge was told Thursday. Now 17, the girl's attacker previously pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a weapon in the November 2011 incident at the southwest Winnipeg high school he used to attended. The case attracted national media attention after being construed as a potential hate crime due to the offender's anti-Semitic comment. Senior Crown prosecutors ultimately declined to pursue related criminal charges. The offender and the 15-year-old victim crossed paths near his locker and they began talking, Crown attorney Colin Soul said Thursday.

He pulled out a lighter and started flicking it near her head, saying, "Let's burn the Jew." A portion of the victim's hair was singed by the flame. She didn't suffer lasting physical injuries. It wasn't the offender's intention to burn her hair and he didn't pick on her because she was Jewish, Crown attorney Colin Soul to provincial court Judge Robin Finlayson.
Instead, he made the comment because he wanted to taunt her in a manner specific to her. "He's a jerk and a bully," Soul said of the teen's motivations. "This was an extremely serious offence." Soul read the victim's impact statement in court. The girl said the ordeal "changed her world upside-down." She was not present for the sentencing hearing.

The girl went to therapy to deal with the resulting fear and anger. At school, the offender's friends treated her as if she were to blame, she wrote. The event came to light a few days after it happened and the offender was suspended. He ultimately withdrew from the school. A resolution to the case has been on hold since last summer, when another judge ordered the teen to take part in a psychological evaluation. While it wasn't spelled out, the youth suffers from a "stress-induced psychosis," and had in the past been prescribed medication for a potential attention-deficit disorder. His therapist was of the opinion "the offence was an impulsive teenage action," defence lawyer Sandra Bracken said Thursday. Soon after the incident, the offender sent the victim a text message to apologize after he couldn't find her at school to say he was sorry in person, said Bracken.

The anti-Semitic comment was part of an "established pattern" of negative interactions some students at the school took part in, she added. Given the context, it was difficult for the offender to fully realize the effect of his words and actions on the victim, said Bracken. He's since come to see that what he did was "unfortunate (and) unacceptable," she said. Finlayson said he accepted the "totally vulgar and inappropriate" assault was impulsive, unplanned and not racially motivated. He called the school culture in which the offender made the anti-Semitic comment unhealthy and dark.

Finlayson endorsed a joint submission from the lawyers that the offender should serve 18 months of supervised probation. He had no criminal record at the time of the incident. The probation requires the youth to seek out counselling, write a letter of apology to the victim and perform 75 hours of community service work. "You are fortunate," said Finlayson. "I hope you take advantage of counselling."
© The Brandon Sun

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Mosque swastika attack 'no isolated incident' (Sweden)

The Nazi graffiti daubed on the central Stockholm mosque on Wednesday night was no isolated incident, with all religious groups in Sweden reporting an increase in hate crimes.

3/1/2014- "We receive hate mail, threatening letters or suffer vandalism around twice a month," said Omar Mustafa , president of the Islamic Association of Sweden. "This type of racist messages are quite common against Muslim communities." Statistics from the National Crime Prevention Council (Brottsförebygganderådet - Brå) showed that police reports of hate crimes have increased in recent years, including those against Jewish and Christian groups. "What is most noteworthy are physical attacks and and when our cemeteries are desecrated - overturning stones, painting swastikas and the like," said Lena Posner-Körösi, chairwoman of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities (Judiska centralrådet). Swedish synagogues are routinely equipped with CCTV and security guards to protect visitors. "We would otherwise not be able to have our institutions open," said Posner-Körösi, who argued that the current situation in Sweden is deeply disturbing.

"Each incident may seem isolated, but people are targeting Jews, Muslims , homosexuals, Roma. All those who don't blend in with the picture of how to be in Sweden," she said. The city of Malmö has been particularly affected by anti-Semitic violence in recent years. In December 2010, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre issued a warning to Jews advising them to avoid travelling to southern Sweden. Omar Mustafa think it is important to highlight the hatred and the threats that various groups are exposed to. At the same time, he expressed understanding for those who elect not to file a police report. "The vast majority of Muslim congregations who become victims choose to remain silent in order not to provoke new hate crimes," he said.

When asked about the development over time Omar Mustafa replied:
"This kind of hate message has been around all the time but it goes a bit up and down and in line with global events. When Muslims, for example, are described negatively in news reports threats often increase." Mustafa argued that the solution to tackling the issue was not straightforward and required a broad approach. "This is a huge social problem. This is nothing that we Muslims can handle alone." He argued that while protection is a necessity, public education is key to tackling the problems of intolerance. "The change must come from both policy makers and from regular people in office break rooms." While hate crime with an anti-Semitic or Islamophobic message are more common, Christian groups are also exposed. A police report tally shows that incidences of graffiti and vandalism against churches and parish houses are increasingly common.
© The Local - Sweden

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Nazi graffiti on Stockholm mosque; hate crimes investigation launched (Sweden)

2/1/2014- Swedish police have opened a hate-crime investigation after swastikas were spray-painted on the entrance of a mosque in downtown Stockholm. Omar Mustafa, the head of Sweden's Islamic federation, says employees discovered the vandalism as they arrived to open the mosque Thursday morning. He posted pictures of the graffiti on Twitter. Mustafa said the mosque is targeted by hate mail or vandalism about twice a month, but this is the first time the entrance was defaced with swastikas since the mosque was built in 2000. Stockholm police said its hate-crimes unit was involved in the investigation, but had no suspects Thursday. Statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention shows about 5,500 hate crimes were reported to police in 2012. Six percent targeted Sweden's Muslim minority.
© The Associated Press

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Police in South Yorkshire unable to monitor number of anti-Muslim hate crimes (UK)

Police forces across the country have revealed a surge in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes this year – but police chiefs in South Yorkshire claim they do not record offences in the same way as other forces.

31/12/2013- Britain’s biggest force, the Metropolitan Police, recorded 500 offences from January to mid-November this year, compared with 336 in 2012 and 318 in 2011. In May, the month when two Islamic extremists murdered soldier Lee Rigby in south-east London, Scotland Yard recorded 104 anti-Muslim hate crimes, followed by another 108 in June. Greater Manchester Police recorded nearly double the number of Islamophobic crimes this year – 130 in 2013 compared with 75 in 2012. But South Yorkshire Police said it was unable to provide like-for-like figures. A spokesman said its crime management system ‘does not facilitate the recording of anti-Muslim hate crime separately to other forms of religious hate crimes’. He said the system ‘solely relies on what information is entered by the inputter recording the crime’. The force found five anti-Muslim hate crimes recorded from January to October, four in 2012, and five in 2011.
© The Star

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Police accused as number of homophobic hate crimes rockets (UK)

The number of homophobic hate crimes recorded in Surrey nearly doubled last year, according to Home Office figures, despite a drop in overall hate crimes 

30/12/2013- The number of homophobic hate crimes recorded in Surrey nearly doubled last year and campaigners believe that most victims do not feel they can go to the police. Overall, the number of hate crimes dropped from 633 in 2011-12 to 592 in 2012-13, but hate crimes based on sexuality rose from 28 to 46. Despite the overall drop, revealed by Home Office figures released this week, there are concerns that many incidents still go unreported. Gino Meriano, the chairman of Gay Surrey, said he and his partner Mike have received death threats, and have been the victims of assaults and intimidation. Gino says there is a lack of confidence in the police and local authorities in Surrey. Gay Surrey takes calls from the victims of hate crimes but callers rarely want to give their details to the police. In the past the police would thank them for letting them know about incidents, even when there is too little information to investigate them, but now Gino claims they are not interested.

“So 46 people in Surrey were the victims of hate crime? I can probably triple that – easily 150 for 2013 and that’s not including my own ones,” he said. “I’ll be supportive of Surrey Police. As a whole they do a good job, but I think they’ve completely abandoned the gay community, as have the councils and the CPS.” A recent survey carried out by the Surrey charity Outline found that 84% of respondents felt their physical safety could be significantly at risk if they were to show any public display of affection with a same-sex partner. A third said they had been the victim of a hate crime or hate incident. More than half had never heard of LAGLOs (lesbian and gay liaison officers) and 62% thought that local public bodies do not do anything for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley announced in September a grant of £2,700 to fund a promotional campaign by the charity to raise awareness of crime reporting routes. The project will aim to increase the work and visibility of the Surrey LAGLOs with a publicity campaign in the new year. PC Mike Patey, the diversity advisor for Surrey Police, said: “Overall, Surrey has seen a reduction in the total number of hate crimes reported to police. “Race hate crimes have seen the largest reduction by 58 offences in 2012-13, compared to the year before. “However, hate crime in relation to sexual orientation has seen an increase in reports with 18 more reported offences for the same period. “Surrey Police has done a lot of work in this area over the past year alongside the charity Outline and has specially trained officers working with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to support victims and witnesses.

“This may account for an increase in reporting and is a positive if we are giving people the confidence to come forward. “We have also been working closely with partner agencies to encourage reporting of disability hate crime. “It is well known that nationally all types of hate crime go under-reported and we would urge anyone who has been the victim of, or witness to, any such crime to report it to police or to a support agency which can pass it to us to investigate. “Hate crime is taken seriously by the force and we will take action against offenders.”
© Get Surrey

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