ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive March 2014

Headlines 28 March, 2014

Headlines 21 March, 2014

Headlines 14 March, 2014

Headlines 7 March, 2014

Headlines 28 March, 2014

27/3/2014- At the Rotterdam café Beurs, a DJ incited the crowd to chant homophobic slurs to be chanted in the club last weekend. A visitor filed a complaint with the ant-discrimination office Radar, Algemeen Dagblad reports. Café Beurs is a popular place where students go out. It was packed when the dj shouted above the music “whoever isn’t jumping is a homo!” To this, the crowd replied “no homo’s no homo’s!” Visitor Dave van der Wal, who was there on Friday night with his boyfriend. He reported the incident to anti-discrimination office Radar. He called the dj’s actions “absurd.” “I couldn’t believe my ears. That’s not right, is it? A dj has a responsibility. What if there was a boy or a girl in the crowd who still has to come out?”

Café Beurs has since been in contact with Van der Wal, and offered their apologies, but does not want to talk about the issue at length with the press, the AD reports. “He was distressed at the actions of our dj. We have apologized to him, because he left Beurs with a bad feeling”, a spokesperson writes in an email to the AD. “We do everything to make sure people enjoy themselves. If they don’t enjoy themselves, then we say sorry, then we try to compensate for that unease.” The café denies that “no homo’s” was chanted. “The suggestion is being made that café Beurs is gay-unfriendly and that hits us hard.” Radar-researcher Rita Schriemer says that the incident in café is going “very far.” She says that “the acceptance of homosexuality remains difficult.” “That’s why it is important that there is constant attention for it, and that people talk to each other when someone makes a comment.”
© The NL Times


Ukraine: Police brutality targeting Romani people

27/3/2014- At first, just like the vast majority of Ukrainians, Romani people in Ukraine experienced euphoria. They believed better times would come after the toppling of Yanukovych's thieving regime. Now the sobering up has begun. Ukrainian national pride is being turned against Romani people there in the form of discrimination, harassment, and violent actions on the part of the police and their nationally-conscious assistants. Miroslav Horvát, a Romani activist from Uzhgorod and journalist with a local television station there, has reported about these incidents through his personal social networking page. The most recent anti-Romani provocation took place 10 days ago on 15 March in the village of Velika Dobroň in Uzhgorod district. A concert by the popular Romani singer Notar Mary was being given at the local Sting cultural club in the village. Romani people from all over the district planned to attend and chartered several buses to take them there.

An unpleasant surprise awaited them at the scene. Several well-muscled youths stood at the entrance to the club and practiced their own peculiar band of racist identity checks. The bouncers only let in ethnic Ukrainians. "We are not letting Roma inside," was their curt explanation. Local Romani activists called the incident a clear violation of their fundamental human rights and a display of ethnic intolerance. Recently such incidents have increased in Ukraine. "Discrimination against Romani people must stop before it is too late. We cannot permit them to refuse to let us go to a concert by a Romani singer, of all people, just because of our skin color," said a witness to the incident in video footage posted to the social networking site. "Hatred against Romani people is growing. Whatever we do, wherever we go, we're just dirty Gypsies to them. In Chop, where I live, it's gone so far they won't let Romani people ride on public transport. They shout at us that we're out of luck, they will only transport whites," an activist says in the footage

Another incident with a racist subtext occurred on 6 March in a Romani settlement on the outskirts of Uzhgorod. Three local police cars arrived in the settlement at 6 AM. Militia members jumped out of the vehicles and began breaking into the homes where everyone was still sleeping. They broke down their doors and sprayed tear gas in the eyes of children who were just waking up. In one house there were six young children asleep, in another, seven. The pretext for attacking the settlement and forcibly entering its dwellings was an alleged search for a Romani man who had reportedly stolen some hay from a neighboring village. "They were behaving like bandits, not cops. They pushed me so hard I almost collapsed. I didn't know what to do. The children were terribly afraid and shouting, so they began spraying tear gas in their eyes. Little children!" says one witness to the conflict.

"I told them to prove they were from the police and had permission to enter our homes, but they wouldn't talk to me at all. They just started making threats. They started to beat one of the men they found and then put him in a car. They wouldn't tell us what he did or where they were taking him," a women holding an infant says in the video footage. ensions in Ukraine have risen sharply after the publication of the news that the head of the armed fighters with the Right Sector group in western Ukraine, nationalist radical Oleksandr Muzychko (also known as Sashka Byely or "Sasha White"), was recently killed. A special Sokol unit of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry shot him dead during a special raid on nationalist radicals who had rejected a call to hand in their weapons. Reports are coming in from all over Ukraine about groups of ultra-right nationalists going on violent sprees, people who armed themselves during the revolutionary euphoria by robbing barracks and police stations. The new government in Kiev has long endeavored to conceal and downplay the Nazi and racist slogans and symbols used by these fighters, but in recent days the situation has gotten out of hand.

In addition to Romani people in Ukraine, other minorities are also concerned over how these events will develop and affect them. Ethnic Czechs living in the Volyň area are another such group.
© Romea.


The Lord Advocate has admitted disabled people are not reporting hate crimes because they lack confidence in police. He also said families encourage victims not to dial 999 because they fear repercussions.

27/3/2014- Frank Mulholland QC, speaking from a hate crime conference in Glasgow yesterday, stressed both police and prosecutors had improved their approach, but the legacy of historic failures remained a problem. He pointed to Crown Office figures which showed just 68 crimes with a disabled “aggravator”, compared to more than 4,000 involving race in 2011-12. The number of disability-aggravated crimes rose to 138 in 2012-13, but remained dwarfed by other types of hate crime. The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) Act 2009 means crimes motivated by hatred, such as that for a person’s race, sexuality or disability, can result in a tougher sentence. However, it has failed to sufficiently improve reporting among disabled victims, targeted because they are considered vulnerable.

Mr Mulholland said: “There’s a significant under-reporting. It is a huge issue in relation to disabled hate crime. It is quite clear they have been advised in the past to turn the other cheek.” He added: “That’s an historic problem. Law enforcement in general, in the past, has not given enough attention to this, including the Crown Office. He also said ignoring abuse or harassment in the hope it will go away has had disastrous consequences. “When you get small criminality at the bottom end of the spectrum, it can turn into serious criminality, such as assault or even people killed, and there have been examples of that in Scotland,” Mr Mulholland said.

Mr Mulholland hopes to persuade victims that they can report without fear of repercussions: “What I would say to them is, law enforcement agencies will take it seriously. There’s a zero tolerance approach to this type of behaviour.” It is not the first time concerns have been raised about the under-reporting of crime against the disabled. The UK-wide Equality and Human Rights Commission study, Hidden in plain sight, found disabled people were more likely to fall victim to crime than those without a disability. It concluded: “We found that the extent of harassment remains largely hidden; its seriousness rarely acknowledged, its link to the victim’s disability not investigated.”

Capability Scotland said it was heartened by the increased focus on encouraging victims to come forward. A spokeswoman said: “Capability Scotland welcomes the increased focus on disability hate crime by the Crown Office and Police Scotland and hopes that this will make disabled people feel more confident about reporting hate crime than they have in the past.” Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson told yesterday’s conference: “I can think of few more important areas of Police Scotland’s work than keeping those who are, perhaps, more vulnerable due to some form of disability, safe from those who commit prejudicial acts against them.”
© The Scotsman


Russia's Largest Gay Club Shuts Down

After enduring months of homophobic attacks, including gunfire and toxic gas, Russia's largest gay nightclub, Central Station, has finally closed its doors for good.

27/3/2014- The club management surrendered to a spate of harassment in late February, after a group of men allegedly blocked the front gates, preventing patrons from entering the building safely, according to staff members who were on the scene. The well-known club was widely considered a haven and a symbol of freedom for the country's besieged LGBT community. "All was [taken] by our enemies," lamented former club dancer Alexander Moskalets. "It's all gone." "They really stopped the normal work of our club," said a manager, who asked that his name not be used out of safety concerns. "Of course, I'm sad," he added, "but I was ready for this situation."

Prior to the shutdown, "Nightline" aired a special report on the Moscow nightclub after a months-long investigation into the business's effort to survive. "Nightline" traveled to Russia amid evidence of escalating violence against the LGBT community there following the passage the Kremlin's controversial "anti-gay propaganda" law. The report revealed a number of anti-gay attacks that had spread fear among young patrons and staff, forcing several to flee the country for safety, while clinging to their hope for a better life outside of Russia where gay people are more accepted. 

Drag performers, who for years famously lit up the stage at Central Station, expressed deep sadness about the club's demise. "For me, it is a shock," said 21-year-old "Viktor" who fled Moscow three months ago for San Francisco. "[The club] is the place where I met wonderful and unique people; artists and friends," he said. "I hate, with all my heart, those people who have made efforts to shut it down." "Viktor," who painfully said goodbye to his sister before our cameras in December, said he firmly holds the police and the Russian government accountable for leaving the staff vulnerable when they directly asked for help and protection.

After enduring gunfire, gas and water attacks, vandalism and video surveillance provided by a mysterious "Morality Patrol", former club manager Andrew Lischinsky, in December, wrote an open letter to President Vladimir Putin asking him to help keep the club safe. "It's the decision of our government ... and they must protect us," he said. In a country where homosexuality is widely looked down upon, he said, "it's very important to find friends, to spend your free time, to enjoy your life -- we would like to have places where we can feel safe and be open." "Of course, we have not a lot of rights in our country, in Russia," he told "Nightline", as he waged a battle to save the club, "but, we'd like to have rights to visit places for us." In the end, there was no reaction to Lischinsky's plea for protection, said Moskalets, looking back. "Nobody hears, or [nobody] wants to hear us," he said. Like many of his friends, he continued to perform at the club throughout the attacks, as a statement of pride, but now plans to re-locate to the U.S. this spring.

At the same time that the attacks were taking place, Central Station also was in a dispute with the building owners over its lease agreement, which was originally arranged with a former landlord. According to the outlet Queer Russia, the current landlord claimed the club vacated the premises because of a Moscow Arbitration Court resolution. The landlord did not respond to "Nightline's" requests for comment. Whether the final swipe to terminate the club was a mandate or exhaustion from unchecked harassment makes little difference to the many performers who saw Central Station as a symbolic refuge and a home worth fighting for in a country where their rights have become arguably restricted. "If the government is against gays, how can gays get the government's help?" asked Arkady Gyngazov, who was one of the first staff members to flee the country. "They're allowed to do with gays whatever they want in Russia." Gyngazov now lives in Washington D.C., and is seeking asylum. "A bad sign was sent when the anti-gay law was passed," he said. "The fact that the club finally closed shows us that people are powerless."

But not everyone is giving up on gay life in Russia. The owners have found a new location for a brand new club, according to members of the management, which they hope will open for business this coming summer. "Most of the staff is eagerly waiting for this moment!" said Moskalets. When asked if there were fears that the harassment could follow club-goers to the new venue, one manager simply said, "I try not to think about it."
© ABC News


Swedish police have turned to Interpol to help find the alleged neo-Nazi suspected of taking part in a knife attack that left six people injured, one critically, in Malmö earlier this month.

26/3/2014- The 30-year-old man has been described as an active member of the Nazi group the Swedes' Party (Svenskarnas parti). Police had already detained him in absentia on suspicion of attempted murder, but they now think he may have fled the country altogether. "We have taken the decision to issue a search request internationally," Malmö detective inspector Sten Ove Nilsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper. He later told TV4 that the suspect might have gone to Ukraine, where he was known to have travelled ruing the recent upheaval. The suspect's details have been entered in the police's data registry EPU but also handed over to Interpol in Lyon. The attack took place on March 8th, International Women's Day, when suspected neo-Nazis attacked participants in a feminist demo. he local activist Showan Shattak, 25, well-known for his work against homophobia in football culture, was injured so severely that doctors put him into sedation. A "Kämpa Showan" (Fight, Showan!) graphic has spread like wildfire in social media to show support for his recovery.
© The Local - Sweden


Sweden jails Nazis for 'obvious' instigation

A Swedish court on Wednesday jailed the Stockholm head of the Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR) and said that the neo-Nazis present at the Stockholm demo gone awry were "obviously" the ones to attack.

26/3/2014- "It has been obvious to the district court that (this) group of people were the first to attack the demonstrators," wrote court chairwoman Claudia Vadaszi in a statement. "As soon as they arrived on the square they started running and throwing bottles." The verdict also underscored that the men were armed with shields and bludgeons. The man deemed the regional leader for Stockholm in the neo-Nazi movement was jailed for eight months after being found guilty of instigating a riot (våldsamt upplopp). Two 24-year-old men, also considered ring leaders in the attack, were sentenced to six months in prison for rioting, while one was also sentenced for weapons crimes. Three teenagers that took part in the violent melée were sentenced to community service (ungdomstjänst), with a fourth sentenced to juvenile care (ungdomsvård), when social services become involved to help a young person get back on track.

The defendants had claimed in court that they were simply staging a counter demo, as the neighbourhood protesters they became embroiled with were protesting the sprouting of Nazi graffiti in the south Stockholm suburbs. The police are also looking at potential crimes committed by young people tied to anti-fascist groups, of whom a 25-year-old is being sought for attempted manslaughter - although acquaintances of the young main said he had pulled a stick from the hands of one of the SMR members and defended himself. The prosecutor said the young man had hit the other person on the nose hard enough to have been potentially life-threatening. In the official papers issued for his arrest, the district court said the 25-year-old was suspected "at least" of aggravated assault.
© The Local - Sweden


Shocker: FBI dumps Southern Poverty Law Center as 'hate crime' watchdog partner (USA)

26/3/2014- The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled several Washington, D.C.-based family organizations as "hate groups" for favoring traditional marriage, has been dumped as a "resource" on the FBI's Hate Crime Web page, a significant rejection of the influential legal group. The Web page scrubbing, which also included eliminating the Anti-Defamation League, was not announced and came in the last month after 15 family groups pressed Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey to stop endorsing a group -- SPLC -- that inspired a recent case of domestic terrorism at the Family Research Council. "We commend the FBI for removing website links to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that not only dispenses erroneous data but has been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court. We hope this means the FBI leadership will avoid any kind of partnership with the SPLC,” Tony Perkins, FRC President, told Secrets.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center's mission to push anti-Christian propaganda is inconsistent with the mission of both the military and the FBI, which is to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he added. The Anti-Defamation League, however, was "shocked" by the FBI's move, made without any notice. It's work with the FBI has not been questioned. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told Secrets, “We are shocked, surprised and disappointed that this would be done without any consultation with groups such as ours who have been working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on issues of hate crime. We look forward to having further conversations with them on this issue.” The FBI had no comment and offered no explanation for its decision to end their website's relationship with the two groups, leaving just four federal links as hate crime “resources.” The SPLC had no comment.

SPLC has been a leading voice against hate crimes, and has singled out evangelical and traditional family groups as advocates of hate against gays. It has even gone after a local official, Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, who also heads a group that promotes traditional, opposite sex marriage. In August 2012, a Washington area man guided by the SPLC's "hate map" that cited FRC, entered the group's headquarters and shot a security guard. The guard survived and the shooter, a volunteer with a gay group, pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism. In their letter, the 15 conservative groups argued that the FBI website's inclusion of SPLC as a resource "played a significant part in bringing about an act of domestic terrorism." It added, "It is completely inappropriate for the Department of Justice to recommend public reliance on the SPLC hate group lists and data. The links to the SPLC as a FBI ‘Resource’ must be taken down immediately, leaving only official, trustworthy sources listed on the agency’s webpage."

© The Washington Examiner


Man wearing kippah aggressed in Paris (France)

Three days after thousands of people rallied in central Paris against anti-Semitism, a 59-year-old man has filed a complaint Friday for anti-Semitic aggression.

22/3/2014- The man , wearing a kippah , said he was insulted and beaten Thursday night in the Franch capital by three men who drew a swastika on his chest. According to the National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism ( BNVCA ), the victim, a teacher living in Sameon, in northern of France, came out from a kosher restaurant in the 19th district of Paris when he was insulted and quickly followed by three men in their twenties. The young people started shouting '' Death to the Jews , dirty Jew , dirty son of a bitch’’ as well as expressions in Arabic he didn’t understood. ‘’The three attackers then hit him several times in the face before opening his shirt to draw on his chest with a marker a swastika,’’ a source close to the police investigation said. According to BNVCA the arrival on the scene of an elderly person forced the attackers to flee. The aggressors are described by the victim as ‘’young, wearing light colored hats dressed in jeans and of North African origin.''

The man was taken to a hospital with several facial injuries. A police investigation is underway to find the three attackers. '' The matter is taken very seriously,'' said a source close to the investigation. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe condemned the aggresion. ''This act of unspeakable cowardice is a betrayal of the foundation of the Republic and the values of Paris,’’ he said in a press statement. The anti-Semitic incident comes three days after around 10,000 people gathered in Paris, at the initiative of CRIF, the umbrella group of Jewish organizations in France, to say ‘’no to Jew-hatred’’ as they commemorate the murder two years ago of four people, including three children, in a Jewish school in Toulouse.
© EJP News


'Anti-gay' bus driver fired for spraying lesbians (France)

A public bus driver in northern France was fired after he doused two young lesbians with a bottle of water after apparently becoming offended by a kiss they shared just before boarding his bus, according to reports.

24/3/2014- Transport authorities in northern France laid off a driver ‘as a protective measure,’ after he sprayed a teenage lesbian couple with water after they kissed in front of him last week. The driver stopped in front of a high school near Nancy to pick up students around 5:30pm on Friday when the young couple shared the kiss. The driver allegedly uncapped a bottle of water he had with him and let its contents fly on the teenage girls. One of the teens rode the bus to her destination, all the while drenched from the water, and then confronted the driver, French daily Le Parisien reported. He reportedly told her he was “against homosexuality,” and then told her to get off the bus. The girl reported the incident and the driver was fired after admitting to his bosses that he had sprayed the teens. The local transport service, which goes by the acronym STAN, immediately apologized for the attack. The agency tweeted: "The act cannot be tolerated and that's why the driver involved was immediately laid off as a protective measure."
© The Local - France


Headlines 21 March, 2014

Swiss group records 73 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents, mostly online

21/3/2014- The number of anti-Semitic incidents documented in Switzerland’s French-speaking cantons surged in 2013, mostly online, a local watchdog said. The Inter-Communitary Coordination Against Anti-Semitism and Defamation, or CICAD, documented 151 anti-Semitic incidents in 2013 compared to 87 in 2012, an increase of 73.5 percent, the group wrote in its annual report, published Thursday. The vast majority of incidents happened online. CICAD included anti-Semitic threats and incitement to hatred or violence only in comments posted to mainstream media sites with wide readerships, the report said. In one of the incidents reported, a Jewish family from Pully near Lausanne found a milk carton in front of their home on April 24, with a label that read: “Jews, get out” glued to it.

On Sept. 6, a man approached an Orthodox Jewish family in Geneva and shouted “Heil Hitler” at them before walking away. On December 13, an email was sent to CICAD that read: “The People of thieves and murderers, soon we will fire up the ovens to save the planet from your degenerated breed.” With 33 recorded acts, December was the month with the most anti-Semitic incidents. CICAD attributed the increase to the banning in France of shows by the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala. CICAD said perpetrators could be categorized into four groups: Extreme rightists, Christian religious fanatics, casual online anti-Semitism and people who are moved to anti-Semitic acts by events connected to Israel.
© JTA News


Forced out by racists: Rathcoole family terrorised by petrol bombs and smashed windows (Northern Ireland)

A young family have fled their home after a racist mob launched a terrifying attack on the property in the latest in a surge of hate crimes.

18/3/2014- The gang of men smashed windows at a house in Rathcoole and threw a petrol bomb which gutted the victims' car. More than two racist incidents and one such hate crime are reported to police every day, giving rise to fears Northern Ireland is becoming the race hate capital of Europe. And equality campaigners say they believe 80% of attacks go unreported to police due to fear of reprisals. Speaking at the scene of the Rathcoole attack, Ulster Unionist mayor of Newtownabbey Fraser Agnew said those responsible were deplored by the majority in society. Neighbours said the family, believed to be from eastern Europe, moved out within hours of their ordeal. "Where will this end?" said Mr Agnew. "In this area there is a range of nationalities and there are never any problems like elsewhere. People are afraid and they won't speak out. "The only thing we can be sure of is that this type of thing will happen again. We're trying to get away from this sort of thing, from attacks which do nothing."

Mr Agnew said he did not believe loyalist paramilitaries were involved in the incident at Ballyronan Park at around 9.30pm on Sunday. The windows of the house were boarded up yesterday and foam used to douse the burning vehicle was visible at the front of the property. Alliance councillor Billy Webb said he was disgusted by the attack. "There is no place in our society for any such hate crime. No one deserves to be the victim of such a racially motivated attack," he said. "The vast majority of the public have been welcoming to people from all backgrounds." Belfast City Council recently launched a billboard and online campaign aimed at combating the abuse. Maire Hendron, who chairs the council's Good Relations Partnership, said the increasing number of reports of racist hate crime were hugely damaging to the image of Northern Ireland. "These are attacks on people who have come here to start a new life, and society and communities cannot tolerate this," she said. "I'm concerned there would be a spike in these incidents for some reason, whatever that reason would be. "We are trying to attract investment, we are trying to attract things like the Giro d'Italia to Belfast to improve our economy and to make ourselves better known throughout the world for all the right reasons."

Earlier this year the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities called for an offence of racially aggravated crime to be introduced here. Many incidents are being prosecuted as assaults or murders without hate motivation being included, making it difficult to gauge trends, a report by the body said. It said only 12 out of 14,000 hate-motivated incidents in the last five years were prosecuted under hate crime legislation designed to protect the vulnerable. Justice Minister David Ford said his department was determined to tackle racist attacks and urged the public to report any information that would be helpful to the PSNI in tracking down and prosecuting perpetrators of hate crime.
© The Belfast Telegraph


Yobs throw glass bottle at woman in hate crime (UK)

19/3/2014- A transgender woman was verbally abused and had a glass bottle thrown at her in a hate crime in Abbots Road. The victim was walking along the road between 10pm and 10.30pm on March 4 when she was abused by suspects who were in a silver Ford Fiesta. She had first seen the car at The Willows parade of shops and it is then believed the car followed her into Abbotts Road. The vehicle had both its front and rear number plates blocked out with black tape. Detective Sergeant Daniel Jeffries said: "One of the men then threw a glass bottle at the victim, narrowly missing her, without getting out of the car. "The two suspects then drove off along Abbotts Road and out of sight. "The driver of the car was white, aged around 18 to 20, had light coloured hair and was wearing a grey sweatshirt. "The passenger, who threw the bottle, was aged 19 to 21 and wearing a dark coloured sweatshirt."
© The Essex County Standard


Gang attack leaves Eastern European men with facial injuries (UK)

A gang attack which left two Eastern European men with facial injuries is being treated as a hate crime by police.

17/3/2014- The victims were walking home carrying groceries late at night when they were set upon from behind. Members of a group of five men and a woman, who moments earlier approached shoppers and asked what were in the bags, are suspected of committing the attack. It happened at the junction of Gaskell Street with Sankey Street, Parr at 12.15am, on Sunday, March 9. One of the men suffered a fractured eye socket, fractured cheekbone, a cut lip and a chipped tooth. The second man received cuts to his face and a black eye. Detectives from Sigma, Merseyside Police’s specialist hate crime investigation unit, are investigating and are keen to speak to two women who came to the victims' aid. Detective Constable Stacey Traynor said: “We are treating this incident as a hate crime and are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the attack, or the group at any point during the evening, to come forward in case they can help the investigation. "We are particularly keen to speak to the two women who helped the victims in case they have vital information for our enquiries.”
© St Helens Star


Moscow’s largest gay club will soon close its doors for good, after a string of vigilante attacks, including shootings, violent assaults and the release of poison gas.

17/3/2014- According to Queerussia, the Central Station club, which is Moscow’s biggest gay club, will shut its doors for good, after owner Andrei Lischinsky resigned as CEO earlier this year. The club has suffered from a huge number of attacks in the past year, including shootings, the release of a poisonous gas, and a coordinated attack by around 100 men. Lischinsky previously said that Moscow Police had refused to investigate any of the incidents, and that none of his 30 complaints had received a police response. Announcing his resignation earlier this year, he said: “I am resigning from my job as CEO of the Central Station club on February 1, 2014. Tired of fighting with the ‘windmills’. “It has been 3 years of unforgettable work in the biggest gay club in the country, a lot has been passed through: the attack of the local prosecutor’s office, and burning my car down, and the fight against the raiders… It was one of the most interesting experiences of my work in the best club in its [market] segment.” After Lischinsky’s resignation it was believed the club would find new management, but co-owner Ilja Abaturov has confirmed it will now be closed for good. Representatives of the landlords are blaming the decision on a decision by Moscow Arbitration Court, despite the club having permission to operate until 2017.
© Pink News


Jewish Cemetery in Hungary Vandalized With Swastikas and Anti-Semitic Slurs

16/3/2014- Unidentified vandals desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Hungary last week spray-painting swastikas and various anti-Semitic slurs on tombstones, Israel National News reported. Residents of the Jewish community in Tatabanya were shocked to discover the offensive slogans on Friday, which included “STINKING JEWS!”, “HoloLie” and “There was no Holocaust but there will be!!!” “They spray-painted swastikas and the black cross which was a symbol of the Nazi movement during the reign of Adolf Hitler,” said Zohar Meir, one of the leaders of the annual March of the Living in Hungary, which is scheduled this year for April. “There is a very strong wave of anti-Semitism in Hungary.” “Based on past experience, these waves are getting stronger as the economic situation becomes more difficult and all the anger is taken out on the Jews,” he added. This is not the first act of vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Hungary. In July 2012, vandals desecrated 57 Jewish graves some 200 miles southwest of Budapest in Kaposvr. The damage was estimated at some 12,000 euros, according to the report.
© The Algemeiner


Headlines 14 March, 2014

Norway: Group of 10 youths sentenced after luring and attacking gay man with fake dating profile

Ten 20-year-olds in Norway have been sentenced with community service and fined a collective equivalent of £10,200 after they lured a middle-aged gay man with a fake dating profile and then attacked him with a baseball bat and BB-gun.

14/3/2014- The men had created a dating profile on Gaysir.no to lure an unnamed gay man in his 50s to the Ingierstrand swimming lake, southeast of Oslo. They surrounded him and attacked him in a car park near a wooded area, where one of the 20-year-olds swung a baseball bat and another began firing BB-gun pellets. The man, who fled from the attack to his car, said the youths has screamed “fucking gay!” and “fucking faggot!” at him. Marte Svarstad Brodtkorb, his lawyer, said to Norway’s NRK network that her client had been traumatised after the attack. “He has not been able to work and he has had several hospitalisations,” she said. “His quality of life has been significantly impaired.”
© Pink News


Kiev rabbi assaulted in suspected anti-Semitic attack (Ukraine)

Two unidentified men assaulted a rabbi in Kiev in a suspected anti-Semitic attack.

14/3/2014- The men assaulted Rabbi Hillel Cohen, who runs the Ukrainian branch of the Hatzalah emergency services organization, on Thursday on the street, his wife, Racheli Cohen, told JTA. “They struck him in the leg, shouting anti-Semitic slurs, calling him a ‘zhyd,’ she said, using the Ukrainian word for “kike.” “This was clearly an anti-Semitic attack.” Cohen was treated for minor injuries in a hospital and is recovering at his home in Kiev. Cohen in an interview last month with JTA said that the Ukrainian revolution increased the risk of anti-Semitic attacks because of the general breakdown of public order. “Things began getting really uncomfortable when the rioters started setting up spontaneous roadblocks to keep police and army troops from reaching the action zone,” he said. “It was very uneasy, being pulled over in a car full of Orthodox Jews by club-wielding Cossacks.”

In January, a Hebrew teacher was assaulted outside his Kiev home by four men, but escaped without serious injury. Later that month a rabbinical student was stabbed by three men while returning from synagogue, sustaining moderate to serious injuries. Earlier this week, vandals removed part of the fence around the Jewish cemetery of Kolomyia in western Ukraine, according to a report by the HTK television channel. In February, a synagogue in Zaporizhia in eastern Ukraine was hit with firebombs that caused superficial damage to its façade. Another synagogue in the Crimean Peninsula was daubed with graffiti reading: “Death to the Jews” several days later.

Viktor Yanukovych, the former Russian-backed Ukrainian president, fled last month to Russia. The Kremlin has blamed the revolution on “anti-Semites” and “neo-Nazis” and on Thursday accused the West of condoning for political reasons the xenophobia of the ultra-nationalist and anti-Russian Svoboda party, which had a prominent role in the revolution.Ira Forman, the Obama administration’s special envoy for combating anti-Semitism, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statements on anti-Semitism in Ukraine were not credible. Ukrainian Jewish leaders also disputed Putin’s allegations.
© JTA News


Dozens of Romas flee their camp after 50-strong mob attack (Italy)

Dozens of people from Naples laid siege to camp throwing rocks at residents; The Neapolitans were shortly arrested by police after their attack; Inhabitants of Roma camp had to put up a road block to defend themselves; Began after 16-year-old returned home claiming she had been assaulted; She put the blame on two Roma, and was taken to hospital for shock; The Roma camp has been under scrutiny recently due to poor hygiene.

12/3/2014- A mob of 50 furious Italians stormed a Roma camp outside Naples after a girl suffered an alleged attempted rape by two gypsies. Dozens of Neapolitans laid siege to the camp, pelting residents with rocks before being restrained by the police. The following day dozens of the inhabitants of the Poggioreale site, on the eastern outskirts of Naples, decamped. Entire families fled the site in vans, apparently fearing further attacks. A 16-year old Italian girl had returned home in a state of agitation, complaining of the alleged attack by two Roma, around 9pm on Tuesday night. She was taken to hospital in a state of shock.

Relatives of the girl headed for the camp with the intention of ‘punishing’ the perpetrators, before exchanging blows with Roma, leaving them injured. But hours later they returned, flanked by the vigilante mob, threatening fires and launching rocks at the campsite. The site's 250 inhabitants were forced to put up road blocks to defend themselves, and the police eventually managed to restore order. The camp, which has been in that location for four years has already been the focus of protests by locals because of poor hygiene conditions. In 2010 police arrested 18 mafia suspects over an arson attack on the encampment. In January the mayor ordered the camp's removal.

Municipal leader Armando Coppola said the girl had suffered an attempted rape but had managed to escape. He added: 'Residents have already had to put up with thefts and obscene acts by the gypsies who are inclined to urinate in the street. 'But this episode triggered a violent reaction. 'I have requested the council to order the immediate eviction of the camp. 'Otherwise the justifiable exasperation of the citizens of Poggioreale will no longer be controllable.'
© The Daily Mail


Report finds most racist incidents happen during the day (Ireland)

The iReport by ENAR shows that social media is being used for racist attacks and death threats.

11/3/2014- Most racist incidents happen during the day and black Africans are the most likely to be reported victims of public racism. That’s according to the latest report by ENAR, the Irish Network Against Racism. Speaking about the Second Quarterly Report of iReport.ie, Director of ENAR Ireland Shane O’Curry said, “The latest report on racism details a variety of online incidents ranging from racist name-calling and stereotyping; to threats of violence; to death threats; to expressions of sentiments that can only be described as genocidal”. Twenty three per cent of incidents originating in Ireland involved social media including Facebook and Twitter. Manifestations of hate speech and other forms of racism on social media are disturbingly extreme.

The iReport compiles its data from information submitted by people who have been subjected to racism, by frontline anti-racist organisations and the general public. People who experience racism are encouraged to report it to www.iReport.ie. Reports were mostly made by third party bystanders. O’Curry says, "The Internet is an easy place for people to say things that would otherwise be less socially acceptable to say". “Taken with the lack of legal resources available, and the poor record of self-regulation by social media platforms, this creates the conditions in which “keyboard warriors” can work-up base racist sentiments into something much more sinister and threatening for those on the receiving end. “The government needs to prioritise the issue of online hatred, bullying and death threats”. ENAR Ireland is the Irish coordination for the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), based in Brussels.
© The Journal Ireland


Dutch watchdog reports 23 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents

11/3/2014- A Dutch Jewish watchdog group reported a 23 percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents last year in the Netherlands from 2012. The Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, recorded 147 anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands in 2013 compared to 114 in the previous year. CIDI’s annual report was released Tuesday. Verbal assaults on Jews that involved a direct exchange rose to 21 from 14. “CIDI finds the increase all the more disconcerting because it is partly caused by frequent confrontations between victims and perpetrators,” CIDI wrote in statement. Three incidents involved direct physical violence and one case featured threats of violence.

The report noted a late 2012 incident recorded in January that involved an assault on a man riding a scooter in Delft whom the perpetrator thought was Jewish. “I’m Iraqi and I hate Jews,” he told the victim, according to the CIDI report. In another incident, in June, a resident of an old-age home in Rotterdam performed a Nazi salute to another resident and told her he was friends with Adolf Hitler. He added, “They forgot to gas you.” Then he grabbed her Star of David pendant, pulled her near and bit her in front of witnesses. The incident was reported to police and the perpetrator apologized.

Anti-Semitic incidents at school increased to 11 from five. Incidents that involved disputes between neighbors remained at eight. Vandalism against Jewish sites or objects accounted for two incidents. Fifty-seven incidents involved Twitter messages that CIDI saw as anti-Semitic and violated laws against incitement to hatred or violence.
© JTA News


Jewish man assaulted with taser gun outside Paris synagogue (France)

11/3/2014- Two unidentified men wielding a taser gun assaulted a Jewish man near a Paris synagogue. The attack happened on Monday night at a building next to a synagogue on Pavee Street in Paris’ 4th arrondissement, according to the News site JSSnews.com. The victim was identified as K. Sassoun, a 52-year-old Israeli. The perpetrators fled from the scene immediately after the act. Sassoun did not sustain serious physical injuries but required medical treatment after being knocked down by the taser gun, which sends electric currents that usually incapacitate targets or render them unconscious for several minutes. One of the perpetrators was black, according to an unnamed witness who reported the incident to the National Bureau for Vigilance against anti-Semitism – a Drancy-based not-for-profit watchdog known locally by its French acronym, BNVCA. “The perpetrators assaulted the victim for no other reason than his clothing and appearance, which identified him as being Jewish, and the fact that he was near a Jewish place of worship,” BNVCA said in a statement. Sassoun filed a complaint for racial hate crime and assault with Paris police.

The 4th arrondissement, or Marais, used to be the center of Jewish life in Paris and is considered its historic Jewish quarter. According to BNVCA, the assault was part of a spate of hate crimes against Jews this month. On Saturday, a group of teenagers hurled stones at a Jewish institution in Sarcelles near Paris and shouted “death to Jews.” On Friday, BNVCA learned that a school bus full of Jewish students was pelted with stones by teenagers in Paris. And on Sunday, several people chanted anti-Semitic slogans at a young Jewish woman near a Jewish studies center in Strasbourg. One of the chants was “Merah max” – a reference to Mohammed Merah, an Islamist who killed four Jews in Toulouse in 2012. Earlier this month, the French Jewish community’s watchdog organization, SPCJ, released a report that counted 423 anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2013. The figure was a 31-percent decrease from the previous year, but was still higher by eight percent than the number of incidents recorded in 2011.
© JTA News


Police hunt duo over 'anti-semitic comments and gestures' on the Tube (UK)

14/3/2014- Police are hunting two men after a Tube passenger was allegedly subjected to anti-semitic comments and gestures. The alleged victim, 20, who is from Hendon, is said to have been targeted on a Northern Line train after getting on at Leicester Square at around 5.30pm on February 18. Detectives today released the images of two men wanted in connection with the alleged incident, which they are treating as a hate crime. Detective Constable Oliver Carne said: "During the journey two men boarded the service and made anti-semitic remarks and gestures towards the victim. "This was an intimidating and upsetting experience for the victim and I’d urge anyone who recognises these two men, or has any information that could assist officers with the investigation, to contact us. "Hate crime is completely unacceptable and we will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice."
© The London Evening Standard.


Bricks and paint thrown at house in Dungannon in suspected racist attack (Northern Ireland)

Bricks and paint were thrown at a house in the Moygashel area of Dungannon in the early hours of Monday morning, in a suspected racist attack.

11/3/2014- Police said the attack happened in the Bleachfield Park area. The latest attack comes after a sign was erected in Moygashel at the start of the new year, which read: “Attention Landlords, leasing property to foreign nationals will not be tolerated.” A PSNI spokesperson said: “It was reported that white paint and bricks had been thrown at a property and police are keen to speak to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area to come forward. “Police enquiries are continuing, however one line of enquiry is that this may have been a hate-related crime.” The spokesperson added: “Anyone who can help police with their enquiries is asked to contact them, quoting reference 1408280214. Alternatively information about crime can be passed via the independent Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.”
© The Mid - Ulster Mail


Migrant families in Derry targeted in racist pipe bomb attacks (Northern Ireland)

Nine people – including a child – escaped injury after pipe bombs exploded at their homes in racist attacks.

10/3/2014- The lethal devices detonated at the properties lived in by families from Romania. Police are treating the incidents in the Waterside area of Londonderry in the early hours of Saturday as hate crimes. They follow a series of racist attacks in Belfast in recent months. Shortly after 1.35am, officers received reports a pipe bomb had exploded outside a house in the Lapwing Way area. No damage was caused to the property and four adults and one child who were in the house at the time were not injured. Around the same time another pipe bomb exploded outside a house in the Lincoln Court area of the city. The front door was damaged but the four adults inside the property were not injured. SDLP Assembly member for Foyle Pat Ramsey said two Romanian families had been targeted. "It appears that this appalling attack on homes in Derry was racially motivated; this is a very disturbing development," he said. "The devices used were viable and this disgraceful attack must be condemned by all in our community.

"My thoughts are with the families who have been targeted and endured such a terrifying experience during this unacceptable attack. "We must value, respect and accept our migrant community living in the city. "Migrant workers are making a significant contribution to our economy and our society. "Those responsible must face the full rigour of the law." DUP councillor Drew Thompson said a letterbox had been blown off the door of one of the houses. "One family said to me they heard a bang at about half past one and they ran out, not thinking," he said. "They couldn't see anything, but it was only later on that they realised that there had been a partial explosion." Remains of the devices were taken away for forensic examination. Police urged anybody with information to come forward.
© The Belfast Telegraph


A Swedish anti-homophobia campaigner is said to be in critical condition following a stabbing during an assault by right-wing activists over the weekend.

10/3/2014- Showan Shattak, a supporter of Malmo FF, was on Saturday evening stabbed, by Facebook page Ultras Malmo, a supporters network for the club. Shattak founded ‘Football fans against homophobia’, in Sweden, and the report suggests that he was attacked by “Nazis” in Malmo, and was left in critical condition. Following the attack, Ultras Malmo released a statement condemning the assault. It said: “All of our thoughts and all our love today goes out to our friend Showan who was last night was stabbed and beaten by Nazis. Showan is currently under sedation in hospital. Showan is one of Malmö ‘s most active figures and has strongly contributed to building up the culture of stands today in the MFF. “Our stand is a place of communion and where everybody with a sky-blue heart is welcome. We will never accept racism and Nazism in our stands or in our city. We invite everyone to give their thoughts to Showan and his family. All love to you Showan. Fight!”
© Pink News


Jewish kids face Nazi graffiti at Swedish school

A central Stockholm high school with special classes for Jewish pupils was covered in Nazi graffiti on Monday morning, leaving a parent in tears and fearing the rise of fascism in Europe.

10/3/2014- "My 13-year-old daughter was on the way to school and she saw that one of the entrances was totally bombed by graffiti," Calle Nathanson told The Local. The scrawlings included swastikas, the words "Jewish swine" and "disgusting Jews", and the number 1488, which is a symbol for white power and the Nazi greeting Heil Hitler. Nathanson tweeted several pictures of the graffiti, writing that it was "completely incomprehensible and unacceptable". "I am crying," he wrote on the micro-blogging service. "That's enough now!" wrote Nathanson on Twitter.

The central Stockholm high school has more than 800 pupils from grades five to nine, when the children are between 11 and 15. At high-school level, there are three classes with Jewish children who study the Swedish curriculum but also study Hebrew and Jewish studies, according to the Vasa Real website. Nathanson said his teenage daughter did not really understand the significance of the messages. "She was curious... she said to me that she thought it was just drunk and stupid boys in the night. It's hard to understand. But me, I know that there's a wave of Nazism spreading through Europe right now. Greece, Hungary, Ukraine... this is populist parties emanating from fascism. And it's happening here. Especially in Stockholm," he told The Local. He pointed to examples including the recent demonstrations in Kärrtorp, southern Stockholm, and the Nazi graffiti scribbled on the doors of the Stockholm mosque last year.

"The fact that they targeted a school with Jewish kids is a sign for me that they're really organized. They know exactly what they're doing," he told The Local. "It's incredible that (Swedish security police) Säpo doesn't work efficiently with this issue... they must start taking it seriously." The school was closed for the morning while staff members met and discussed how to move forward. Cleaners, meanwhile, worked to remove the scrawlings. Nathanson said he believed it was the first attack of its kind against the school.
© The Local - Sweden


Russian law enforcement drops hate crime investigation on anti-LGBT attack

The investigation into a November 2013 attack at a meeting of LGBT rights activists that left a man with the loss of vision in one eye, has been suspended, and will not be investigated as a hate crime.

12/3/2014- A police official assigned to the case acknowledged to LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday that despite the collected evidence, including bullets and fingerprints, investigators were not any closer to arresting the assailants than they were last November. On Nov. 3, 2013, a group of masked thugs using baseball bats and air-pellet guns forced their way into a meeting of LGBT rights activists yelling anti-gay epithets and firing rounds at the people gathered. One of those activists, Dmitry Chyzhevsky, was struck in the eye and, despite enduring three surgical procedures since the attack, he has lost all vision in that eye. Last week, Chizhevsky and the others learned that investigation into the attack was officially suspended and that the court dismissed their petition to have the incident classified as a hate crime. Chizhevsky’s attorney, Maria Kozlovskaya, criticized police handling of the investigation, noting that video from a local surveillance system, which might have tracked the attackers, was not collected by police investigators. “There is video surveillance camera from a nearby hotel, which can be seen as running away, two young men in masks – the alleged perpetrators” she said.

Chizhevsky said the lead investigator’s “main goal was to fill out all the forms rather than find the criminals … she was completely indifferent to us and to the case.” Viacheslav Revin, a Russian LGBTQ activist, had told LGBTQ Nation last November that the adoption of the local anti-gay law in St. Petersburg has sparked “a street war against the LGBT community in the city.” “As always, the police did not want to do anything to stop the violence or prevent it. I am sure that the authorities either ignore this planned attack on the office of the organization, or make empty statements,” he said. Chizhevsky’s attorney was more blunt in her assessment: “Failure to provide a proper investigation of crime qualification indicates an intention to conceal the fact that homophobic attacks, the number of which in the last year in St. Petersburg has increased significantly.”
© LGBTQ Nation


Moscow police detained armed attackers at March 8 feminist rally (Russia)

8/3/2014- On March 8, LGBT activists took part in a feminist rally dedicated to the International Women’s Day held in Moscow. The rally was attacked by a number of thugs armed with knifes and addle eggs. LGBT activists Igor Iasine, Nikolay Bayev, Evgeniy Pisemsky, several members of the Moscow Rainbow Association and other participants of the sanctioned rally held rainbow flags and placards against homophobia and sexism. The rally was held in Moscow from Samotechnaya Square to Suvorov Square and drew about a hundred participants. The rally was held under slogans for women’s rights, anti-discrimination, against domestic violence, for reproductive freedom. However, shortly after the rally started, the police demanded participants to take the rainbow flags away. But placards with slogans against homophobia were allowed to remain, Grani.ru reports. Police detained about a dozen attackers. One assailant dressed as a janitor had a crowbar and a machete hidden under his clothes. After the rally was finished, the police guarded the participants while they went to the subway station. Video
© Queer Russia


Headlines 7 March, 2014

Nationalism and unchecked violence in Bulgaria

A rise in attacks against minorities has alarmed observers in Bulgaria. They say the violence is generated by nationalism, and that this aggression is rooted in the way Bulgaria reads its own history. DW takes a look.

6/3/2014- Releasing a defendent on bail who faces murder charges can provoke protests in any country in the world. But this time, in Sofia, it's a different story. Last week, a man was released who is not only indicted for murder, but is seen as a symbol for a movement of racially motivated violence that has gone essentially unpunished in Bulgaria for some time now. Last year, Petko Elenkov, a security guard, shot and killed a Roma teenager, who had allegedly jumped over the wall of a refrigerator depot in Sofia in order to steal scrap metal. Elenkov, 50, denies any wrongdoing. A year on, the trial still hasn't begun. Elenkov was released on a 5000 leva (2500 euro) bail prompting Roma minority groups to demonstrate on the streets, calling for justice. Nationalist and pro-Nazi demonstrations ensued.

"Nationalism is on the rise in Bulgaria," Daniela Mikhaylova, who heads the Equal Opportunities Initiative, an NGO based in Sofia's Roma ghetto, told DW. In her opinion, this "new level of violence came as a result of a specific nationalist attitude that has gone unchecked for too long. When such violence happens and people in the media forums write things like, 'Very good, they [Roma] got what they deserved,' people start thinking that this reaction is something natural and even legitimate."

Widespread discrimination
Roma, who number 400,000 in Bulgaria according to official statistics, are the largest and most frequently attacked ethnic group. But they are far from being the only target of hate speech and discrimination. "The nationalists are targeting the Other," said Solomon Bali, President of the Bulgarian branch of the Jewish Organization B'nai B'rith. "These include Muslims, Jews, the gay community, and foreign refugees." "And the attacks have become more frequent, more aggressive and more vocal in recent years," Bali added. During the last decade, he recalls the profanation of the Kyustendil Jewish Cemetery, the burning of Burgas Synagogue and the "unlimited field for anti-Semitic propaganda and bigotry provided by the Internet and social media." At least a dozen armed assaults against African or Asian refugees were reported in the press this winter alone. Last month, a nationalist mob attacked a mosque in Plovdiv with stones, smashing the windows of a building that dates back to the 15th century. "To my recollection, only a few of these cases have been treated by the prosecution as ethnically or religiously motivated. And one of them was a case against a Roma tried for offending Bulgarians," said Krassimir Kanev, president of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.

Parliamentary support?
An EU member since 2007, Bulgaria is still subject to special monitoring by the European Commission. Although the prosecution of hate crimes has yet to be explicitly addressed, the problem can be seen by the number of Bulgarian cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). "One of our latest cases before the ECHR is related to a brutal nationalist assault against the main mosque in downtown Sofia," Kanev said. In May 2011, nationalists jumped over the fence, brutally beat the guard and burst into the mosque just minutes before the morning prayer. Then they attacked the other Muslims with stones, crying out: "Terrorists! Go to Turkey! Don't soil our land!" Yet, the perpetrators were only found guilty of insulting a police officer. The Bulgarian court made no mention of the crime's overtly religious dimension. "The failure of Bulgarian state institutions to impose the rule of law is being exploited to turn persecuted minorities into political and social scarecrows," said Hristo Ivanov, director of the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives.

Many of the state institutions today are influenced by Ataka - a nationalistic party that entered parliament for the first time in 2005, winning close to nine percent of the vote. Today, an Ataka MP presides over the parliamentary ethics commission, and the party has its own representative in the commission for protection against discrimination. "It's no big surprise that their rulings are often supporting the discrimination, rather than fighting it," said Kanev.

'Alarming' xenophobia
"Our estimates suggest about 30 percent of the voters would be happy to see our society turn more mono-ethnic," said Solomon Bali, of B'nai B'rith, with regard to the growing trend of xenophobia in Bulgarian politics and society. And sociological data can corroborate: There is a clear trend towards forming neighborhoods based on ethnicity, wrote Petya Kabakchieva, who heads the sociology department at Sofia University. "Half of the people said they wouldn't want to live in a neighborhood with persons of African, Romani, Arab or Chinese background." Less than 30 percent would agree to work at a company where Roma are part of the senior management. Yet, over 70 percent would join a company where Roma work as cleaners. This "clearly indicates racist attitudes," Kabakchieva concluded, calling the data "alarming." "Openly nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric is made possible by the way history is understood and taught in schools," said Hristo Ivanov, adding that analysts agree that the perception of history in Bulgaria has led to the emergence of nationalist violence.

A decade ago, Bulgaria promoted itself as a country with a unique "ethnic model" of tolerance, commonly citing two examples. In 1943, politicians - together with the Orthodox Church - managed to save all of the 50,000 Jews living in what is Bulgarian territory today. And in 1989, just after the Berlin Wall collapsed, it restored the rights of the Turkish minority, which had been previously stripped by the communist regime. But those examples are often quoted only partially: Many Bulgarians deny the role of the state in the deportation of Macedonian and Greek Jews to death camps. "Moreover, when people of Jewish origin speak out about that, they are often denounced as ungrateful," says Bali. And most Bulgarians fail to recognize the persecution of the Muslim minority that went on through the whole 20th century. Both major negative episodes of Bulgarian history are missing from the textbooks at school. "In schools and in much of the official discourse, Bulgarian history continues to be the political history of the majority, leaving virtually no place for the minority perspective," said Ivanov.

In his opinion, the writing of history is suspended in monolithic "we against them" confrontations. "In this way, we are thought to identify collectively as the victims of different wrongdoings and are left with the option to either fear our neighbors or to hope for revenge."
© The Deutsche Welle.


Vandals in Poland destroy six Jewish gravestones

6/3/2014- Vandals destroyed six tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in Myslowice, a city in southern Poland. The identity of the vandals, who knocked down the 19th-century gravestones on Monday night, remains unknown. Last year, a group of local residents organized a cleanup of the cemetery in Myslowice, about 35 miles from Krakow, grubbing trees and bushes and cleaning the gravestones. During the work they exposed the gravestones of some of the city’s prominent historical figures, including author Jacob Lustig and Loebel Danziger, co-founder of the Myslowice coal mine. “We will inform the police about the damage,” Ireneusz Skwirowski, one of the residents involved in cleaning the cemetery, told the local news website Itvm.pl. ”I was able to take pictures of the people suspected of creating this devastation.”
© JTA News


Nazi gets Spain's first Islamophobia jail term

A web administrator who was handed Spain's first prison sentence for running a homepage inciting race hatred against Muslims could escape jail if he attends a human rights course.

5/3/2014- A court in Barcelona found Jaime T. guilty of inciting violence and hatred against a religious group and inciting ideas of genocide, Spanish daily El Periódico reported on Wednesday. Denunciascivicas.com, which has received at least 21,240 visits, contains material praising the Third Reich in Germany. It also encourages readers to carry out similar crimes against Muslims. Police arrested the IT administrator in March 2011 and seized all kinds of xenophobic paraphernalia, such as photos of Adolf Hitler and swastikas, along with numerous videos from his computer which show him making anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim speeches. But the man's two-year sentence judgement — the first for Islamophobia in Catalonia — may be suspended if the defendant participates in a course or program on human rights and does not commit a new crime within three years. Figures from the Islamic Andalusí Observatory state there are currently 427,000 practicing Muslims in Catalonia. In 2013, the region's government announced plans to control the wearing of burqas and other face-covering attire in public spaces "for reasons of public safety".
© The Local - Spain


Violence against Women: every day and everywhere (European Union)

A new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presents results from the world’s biggest - ever survey on violence against women, revealing the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online.  As well as demonstrating the wide prevalence of violence against adult women, the report also details incidents of physical and sexual violence experienced by women in childhood. The survey shows that policy makers need to recognise the extent of violence against women, and ensure that responses meet the needs and rights of all victims of violence against women in practice and not just on paper.

5/3/2014- “These survey figures simply cannot and should not be ignored. FRA’s survey shows that physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is an extensive human rights abuse in all EU Member States, ” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “The enormity of the problem is proof that violence against women does not just impact a few women only – it impacts on society every day. Therefore, policy makers, civil so ciety and frontline workers need to review measures to tackle all forms of violence against women no matter where it takes place. Measures tackling violence against women need to be taken to a new level now.”

The survey asked women about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including domestic violence. Questions were also asked about incidents of stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse. In addition, the survey asked about respondents’ experiences of violence in childhood.

Drawing on the survey responses, some of the key findings show that:
„h 33% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. That corresponds to 62 million women.
„h 22% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner.
„h 5% of all women have been raped. Almost one in 10 women who have experienced sexual violence by a non -partner, indicate that more than one perpetrator was involved in the most serious incident.
„h 43% have experienced some form of psychological violence by either a current or a previous partner, such as public humiliation; forbidding a woman to leave the house or locking her up; forcing her to watch pornography; and threats of violence.
„h 33% have childhood experiences of physical or sexual violence at the hands of an adult.

12% had childhood experiences of sexual violence, of which half were from men they did not know. These forms of abuse typically involve an adult exposing their genitals or touching the child’s genitals or breasts.
„h 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15 and 5% in the 12 months prior to the interview. This corresponds to 9 million women. 21% of women who have experienced stalking said that it lasted for over 2 years.
„h 11% of women have experienced inappropriate advances on social websites or have been subjected to sexually explicit emails or text (SMS) messages. 20% of young women (18 -
29) have been victims of such cyber harassment.
„h 55% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. 32% of all victims of sexual harassment said the perpetrator was a boss, colleague or customer.
„h 67% did not report the most serious incident of partner violence to the police or any other organisation.

The survey on which the report is based makes clear that a wide variety of groups need to take action to combat violence against women, including employers, health professionals and internet service providers. FRA makes a number of proposals to improve the situation and to support EU and national policy makers to introduce and implement comprehensive measures to prevent and respond to violence against women:

„h EU Member States should ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention).
„h EU Member States must regard intimate partner violence as a public and not a private issue. The law in all EU Member States should therefore treat rape within marriage the same as other incidents of rape, and should respond to domestic violence as a matter of serious public concern.
„h EU Member States need to review the existing scope of legislative and policy responses to sexual harassment, recognising that it can occur in various settings and can use different mediums, such as the internet or mobile phones.
„h Police, healthcare professionals, employers and specialist victim support services need to be trained, properly resourced and given the necessary powers to reach out to victims. „h The police and other relevant services should be trained to recognise and understand the impact of psychological abuse on victims to ensure all forms of violence against women (and girls) in varied settings are recognised, recorded and acted on.
„h The police should be encouraged to routinely recognise and investigate cases where cyberstalking and cyberharassment plays a role.
„h Internet and social media platforms should proactively assist victims of cyberharassment to report abuse and be encouraged to limit unwanted behaviour.
„h Specialist support services are required to address the needs of victims who suffer from negative feelings in the aftermath of victimisation, which can include self - blame and a sense of shame.
„h Campaigns on and responses to violence against women must be directed at men as well as women. Men need to be positively engaged in initiatives that confront how some men use violence against women.
„h There is a clear need to improve and harmonise data collection on violence against women, both in and between EU Member States.
© EU Fundamental Rights Agency


Attacks on asylum shelters rise in Germany

There were twice as many right-wing attacks on refugee shelters in Germany in 2013 as the year before. The German government and refugee groups in the country are alarmed by the development.

6/3/2014- In the Bavarian city of Fichtelberg on a Saturday afternoon in January 2014, a group of men pushed their way into a refugee shelter. Dressed in black and partially masked, the intruders stopped at the stairwell and began yelling, according to sources quoted in the local newspaper "Nordbayerische Kurier." Nobody in the shelter, however, understood what the men were shouting as most of the refugees had just arrived in Bavaria and spoke no German. After the shouting, the black-clad group quickly left the refugee shelter. Arson attacks, broken windows and racists slurs painted on buildings are among the rising number of right-wing acts of aggression against refugee shelters across Germany. The Federal Criminal Police (BKA) registered 59 right-wing offenses in 2013, more then twice as many as the year before.

Other groups stirring public opinion
The real figure, however, could be higher as BKA records only offenses where the nature of a crime can clearly be attributed to right-wing extremists. Attacks like the one in Fichtelberg, for instance, don't appear in the statistics. Police need evidence to determine a xenophobic crime took place, and shouting in the hallway that the shelter's residents did not understand does not qualify. The human rights organization Pro Asylum has registered 20 offenses, including 12 arson attacks, so far this year. Managing director Günter Burkardt told DW that the development reminded him of the charged atmosphere in the early 1990s when right-wing extremists attacked refugees and immigrants, some of whom later died. Fortunately, Burkardt added, authorities have yet to detect any campaigns similar to those in the 1990s.

Groups like the National Democratic Party (NPD), Pro Deutschland and Alternative for Germany (AfD) are the ones stirring public opinion against foreigners today, according to Burkardt. Right-wing researcher Hajo Funke also said Germany has avoided the "wave of pogroms" that poured over the country shortly after unification, resulting in deaths; 27 people died from right-wing attacks in 1992 alone. But Funke is worried about current developments. "The big danger is a spike in arson attacks, and we have more casualties and deaths," he told DW.

Charged right-wing scene
The German government also said it is concerned by the BKA statistics. "The right-wing scene turned noticeably against asylum seekers in 2013," Pamela Müller-Niese, a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior, said in a statement. The number of asylum seekers in 2013 reached its highest level since 1999. A total of some 127,000 people from Syria, Afghanistan and other hot spots in the world fled to Germany last year. To accommodate them, numerous cities have converted empty schools and military barracks into temporary housing. In many places, however, residents feel ignored, and right-wing extremists have taken advantage of the situation by joining anti-asylum protests in their neighborhood. Such was the case in Berlin-Hellersdorf. The situation there became so tense last year that refugees required police protection to enter their housing units. "The far-right is trying to exploit the mood in many parts of the population," said Günter Burkhardt. "There's an attempt to connect to the middle of society." Interior Ministry spokeswoman Müller-Niese also said there were concerns about the right-wing appealing to more of society by hyping allegations of "asylum abuse." Half of Germans say the country already has too many asylum seekers, according to Funke.

Perfectly normal people
Pro Asyl's Burkhardt called on politicians to take responsibility for curbing the right-wing's populist propaganda in Germany. He said there needs to be a clear commitment to the basic right of asylum and corresponding measures that allow asylum seekers to integrate in Germany. "We need to find accommodations for asylum seekers in apartments and not in shelters, which are a visible target for right-wing attackers," Burkhardt added. What's also needed, he said, is an integration concept for refugees. They need access to the employment market and freedom of movement so that they can be perceived what they are - perfectly normal people.
© The Deutsche Welle.


Right-Wing Extremism: Germany's New Islamophobia Boom

Across Germany, right-wing organizations are using anti-Islam rhetoric to further their ideas -- and finding a receptive audience. Now legal experts are debating whether it's time for a new kind of hate-crime legislation.

5/3/2014- Stachus is one of Munich's nicest squares. It is rich in tradition and filled with pedestrians -- and perfect for Michael Stürzenberger's purposes. Hand balled into a fist, he paces back and forth and screams, "The Koran is the most dangerous book in the world." Because a couple dozen people have come to demonstrate against Stürzenberger, police officers in bullet-proof vests are watching over the area. A decade ago, Stürzenberger, 49, was the spokesperson for the Munich office of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. But since 2012 he has been active in a splinter party called Die Freiheit ("The Freedom"), of which he was elected federal chairman three months ago. He preaches hate against Islam and compares the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf." For two years now, he's been collecting signatures opposing the planned construction of an Islamic center in Munich. He has already held over one hundred anti-Islam rallies.

The Freiheit leader isn't alone. Several supporters, have joined him on Stachus, some carrying signs such as "No mosque on Stachus," or "Stop the enemies of democracy." Stürzenberger screams that Sharia instructs men to hit women. His voice cracks. "We don't want that in Bavaria!" A retiree asks where he can sign "against Islam." For most Munich residents, Stürzenberger's verbal assaults are an embarrassment. CSU city councilwoman Marian Hoffman compares his incitements to the "droning speeches of the Nazis." The city government of Mayor Christian Ude, a member of the center-left Social Democrats, is worried about possible conflict during the upcoming local elections. Munich, he says, has become the focus of "experimentation" by radical anti-Islamists with the right-wing populists from Die Freiheit testing whether or not their attacks on the Muslim minority have majority appeal. If Stürzenberger gathers enough signatures for a citizens' initiative against the mosque, it would send a signal across Bavaria and beyond that Muslims are not welcome.

Growing Anti-Islam Movement
There have been plenty of movements such as Stürzenberger's in Germany in recent years. They generally begin in response to the construction of a mosque: Reluctance turns into resistance, then hate and violence. Over the last two years, there have been arson attacks against Muslim prayer houses in Berlin, Hanau and Hannover. Politically Incorrect, the most prominent German-speaking anti-Islam website, has up to 120,000 visitors per day. In addition to Die Freiheit, radical anti-Islamists have founded the political party Pro Deutschland ("Pro Germany") and the citizens' movement Pax Europa. They are currently attempting to gain influence over the euro-skeptic Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) -- the former federal chairman of Die Freiheit has called for his followers to support the AfD in this May's European elections. According to a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 56 percent of Germans consider Islam to be an "archaic religion, incapable of fitting into modern life" and many believe religious freedom for Muslims should be "substantially restricted."

There are several potential explanations for the rising skepticism of Islam in Germany. For one, many third-generation Muslim immigrants are living more strictly than their parents did, making them more conspicuous. Also, in some neighborhoods in large German cities, Muslim girls are afraid of going outside without wearing a headscarf. There have also been several reports in the German media recently of ethnic-German men converting to Islam, radicalizing and going to Pakistan for terror training. Just this past week, the Minister of the Interior warned that a total of 300 German Jihadists have left Germany to fight in Syria. Hans-Georg Maassen, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany's domestic intelligence agency, sees a "correlation" between the activities of the radical Salafists and far-right agitation. There are about four million Muslims in Germany, almost half of which have a German passport. The BfV estimates that about 42,000 (or 1 percent) of them are fundamentalists and 1,000 are potentially violent.

Anti-Islamists generally don't differentiate between Sunnis, Shiites and Alevi, or between militant Islamists and peaceful believers. In their imagination, Islam isn't a religion but a political ideology that must be fought. Muslims are accused of trying to take over the world, undermining the sovereignty of democratic states, infiltrating their legal systems. The Politically Incorrect internet platform reads: "The spread of Islam means that our descendants -- and probably us too -- will live in an Islam-dominated social order oriented towards the Sharia and the Koran and no longer towards the constitution and human rights." The website of the "Nürnberg 2.0" project shows wanted posters of supposed Muslim supporters -- judges, journalists, politicians -- who are to be brought to justice for the "Islamification of Germany" in the vein of "the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials of 1945."

In the summer of 2013, a video by a self-described "Anti Islam Faction" made the rounds via Politically Incorrect. It showed a Koran being burned on a tree stump followed by the appearance of three men in aluminum foil masks who then burn another Koran and address Muslims in a distorted voice: "You are the most fascist and hate-filled religion in existence." Then the video shows images of decapitations, blood-smeared fanatics, mutilated women's bodies and faces that have been eaten away. It ends with the words: "Don't give Islam a chance!" The Munich State Prosecutor has begun proceedings against the video's creators.

Numerous Attacks
Politically Incorrect (PI for short) was founded by Stefan Herre, a teacher from Cologne. Herre's influence stretches beyond the Internet: He's acquainted with right-wing populists like the Geert Wilders in Holland and Islamophobes such as the American pastor Terry Jones. Local PI groups have formed in many German cities, as well as in Austria and Switzerland; the Munich PI branch is being monitored by Bavarian state intelligence officials. When Matthias Rohe, a Bavarian Islam scholar who argues for a more nuanced understanding of the religion, gives a talk, he is often booed and insulted by anti-Islamists. One PI comment reads: "In the future, people attending Mr. Rohe's speeches should make sure to bring the appropriate equipment: a mop and a bucket, a camera, a nice big cross … and a nice sharp knife."

In mid-November, the Leipzig fire department was called to the property of the Muslim Ahmadiyya congregation, where a garbage can was on fire. Next to it, emergency responders found five bloody pig heads impaled on wooden stakes. The floor had been covered with a blood-red liquid. The police suspects radical right-wingers were responsible. The Ahmadiyya congregation is planning a mosque with two decorative minarets and prayer rooms for about one-hundred worshippers in the Gohlis quarter of Leipzig. Two weeks before the attack, the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) had held a demonstration. By the end of last week, over 10,000 citizens had signed a petition called "Gohlis Says No!". A CDU politician was instrumental in launching the signature drive; organizers insist that a mosque would "destroy" the quarter's character.

Increased Visibility Spurring Hate
There's no doubt that Islam has become more visible in Germany in recent years. Muslims now have risen to higher positions in politics and the economy. Mosques are no longer just being built in industrial areas on the edges of cities, but, as in Leipzig, downtown. But according to Yasemin Shooman from the Academy of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, this continuing Muslim integration is, paradoxically, one of the reasons anti-Muslim prejudice has become stronger. The NPD has recognized how to transform skepticism and hatred of Islam into political capital. In their party newspaper, Deutsche Stimme ("German Voice"), an article describes how anti-Muslim campaigns can be used to "open doors for much broader anti-immigration sentiments": "The Muslims -- with their foreign origins, customs and religiosity -- create unease, fear and resistance among most Germans. The NPD is therefore well-advised from an electoral tactical perspective to focus the immigrant question on the Muslim question and to offer up Muslims as a space on which to project everything the average German doesn't like about immigrants." Maren Brandenburger, the head of the Lower-Saxony intelligence service, confirms that neo-Nazis are increasingly stirring up hatred against Muslims, a phenomenon she sees as a "strategic reorientation of organized right-wing extremism." Anti-Islamic sentiment now comes in the guise of the average German man or woman.

'Let That Melt in Your Mouth'
In the civic center of Bonn-Bad Godesberg, about 50 older men and women are listening to a talk by Marie-Luise Hoffmann-Polzoni, the chairperson of the Womenforfreedom association. Her subject: "Sharia vs. Human Rights." On a table there are German books with titles like "The Jihad System" and "Endangered Freedom." On the wall there's a photo of a man whose back is covered in cuts, supposedly having been flogged because he converted from Islam to Christianity. Hoffmann-Polzoni wears a black frilled dress and speaks with a tempered voice. The vision of Islam she paints is a grim one: stonings, crucifixions and decapitations are expected by Muslims as penalties for purported crimes like adultery. "Just imagine that," she whispers.

Anti-Muslim speech has found its way into the center of society, stoked by politicians like Hans-Jürgen Irmer, the deputy floor leader for the CDU in Hesse. He warned state parliament that "Islam is set on global domination," and that "we don't need more Muslims, we need fewer." Muslim groups, he said, could not be trusted -- because deceiving non-Muslims is a central part of Islam. Merely the expression of an opinion? From a legal standpoint, Islam can be criticized just as harshly as Christianity in Germany, says Maassen. In the case of Politically Incorrect, authorities are unsure whether to consider it a digital platform or an organization with leaders. Monitoring a blog for its opinions is considered legally questionable. Intelligence officials speak of a "gray area."

Solution: American-Style Hate-Crimes Laws?
But perhaps gray areas can be eliminated. Last Tuesday, the anti-racism commission of the Council of Europe rebuked the German government for not following through on an initiative to include a provision in the penal code that "makes racist motivations an aggravating factor" in crimes. Countries like the United Kingdom and the United States are further along on this path: They have laws against so-called hate crimes largely to protect immigrants. Ender Çetin, 37, is a victim of hate and racism. The head of Berlin's Sehitlik Mosque Association has been attacked several times in the past three years. In addition, there have been four arson attacks against the mosque, balloons filled with paint were flung against the walls, tombstones were covered in swastikas and, one time, there was a pig's head in front of the door. In April, Cetin received a letter: If he doesn't immediately leave Germany, he will be shot. Çetin asked for police protection, but the authorities played down the issue. Many members of his congregation are afraid, he says, particularly after murder spree undertaken by the neo-Nazi trio NSU. Now he has installed security cameras, paid for with private donations, at the entrance of the mosque.
© The Spiegel


Racism:An intolerant society (Malta)

5/3/2014- Yesterday, Malta saw two examples of intolerance at its best. The first instance involved a Maltese man being made to get off an Air Malta flight in Heathrow after hurling racial abuse to an African man before the flight was due to take off. Air Malta said that the man was hurling abuse at the man who was sat next to him on the flight, and as a result – as per terms of carriage – he was told to leave the plane. The flight crew made him do so because he was deemed to be of a nuisance and could have posed a danger to other passengers. As Air Malta was perfectly entitled and obliged to do, the man was removed from the flight. Air Malta’s terms and conditions also stipulate that the passenger can be prosecuted for what he did, and one expects a follow up in this regard. In cases of racism and also in cases of endangering an aircraft and its crew and passengers – charges can be pressed ex-uffcio, which means that the police can (and should) proceed with an investigation.

In another instance, a Spanish man was beaten and kicked at the ferry point in Gozo simply because he decided to play his harmonica. It is understood that the incident took place at about 5am, and while nerves could be a little jangled, it is certainly no excuse whatsoever to kick and beat someone. It was said that the Spaniard spoke to a policeman, but it is not clear as to whether he made a formal complaint. Again, in this regard, it would be interesting to hear what the police have to say and whether an investigation will be launched. Sometimes, it really does seem as if we live by the law of the jungle rather than the rule of law. While such instances happen everywhere, it does seem to be the case that people think that they can do whatever they like in the eyes of the law.

We are supposed to be a modern, tolerant and educated Mediterranean society, but such instances show that we have a long way to go. By and large, the Maltese are a friendly, welcoming people. But these are the ones who give us that bad name. These are the instances that make people think of us as racist thugs. These are the instances which embarrass the people as a whole. When the Labour Party came to power, it said that it would shake up the Police Corps, and on the ground, there does seem to be fresh new impetus to tackle crime. But we must stop turning a blind eye to such instances. Offenders should be investigated and prosecuted according to law.
© The Malta Independent


Arab men beat French Jew in Paris train (France)

3/3/2014- Four unidentified Arab men savagely beat a French Jew in a Paris Metro train, a watchdog organization reported. The attack happened Sunday as the train was traveling from Nogent Sur Marne to Gare de Lyon, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. Two of the attackers held down the 28-year-old victim, who was identified only as A. Levy, while a third strangled him and beat his face, BNVCA said on its website Monday. The report said Levy sustained some injuries but did not specify. His attackers shouted the Arab word for “Jews” before attacking Levy, who is a religious Jew belonging to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, the report said. One of them also told him: “Jew, we are going to lay into you, you have no country,” according to the report.

They stopped assaulting Levy after one of the passengers said loudly that the police were coming, according to BNVCA. The suspected attackers got off the Metro at the Chatelet-les Halles station in the heart of the French capital. Levy stayed on the train and filed a police complaint for aggravated assault at Gare de Lyon, the report said. On Sunday, the SPCJ monitor unit of the French Jewish community reported in its annual summary that it had recorded 423 anti-Semitic incidents in France during 2013. The figure constitutes a 31-percent decrease over the previous year, but is still eight percent higher than in 2011.
© JTA News


One-third drop in French anti-Semitic incidents

2/3/2014- The number of anti-Semitic attacks in France last year decreased by 31 percent from 2012 — short of the level the Jewish community’s monitoring group was seeking. In its annual report released Sunday, the SPCJ security organization recorded 423 anti-Semitic incidents in 2013 compared to 614 the previous year. The SPCJ is the French Jewish community’s watchdog on anti-Semitism. “The decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in 2013 compared to the previous year failed to meet the level we had expected,” SPCJ wrote in its report. The 2013 figure was 8 percent higher than the 2011 numbers, the watchdog said. According to SPCJ, hate crimes against Jews in 2013 constituted 33.2 percent of all 1,274 racist incidents recorded in France by the French Interior Ministry. Jews make up only 1 percent of the French population.

Among the 2013 incidents, 49 were classified by SPCJ as involving “physical violence” compared to 96 cases in 2012 — the year that an Islamist killed four Jews at a school in Toulouse — and 57 in 2011. SPCJ said the 2012 murder unleashed a wave of approximately 100 attacks on Jews across France and mainly in Paris within 10 days. “Anti-Semitism in France cannot be considered anymore as a temporary situation associated with the situation in the Middle East; it is a structural problem that has not been fought as such and has not been halted yet,” SPCJ wrote in a statement released to the media with the report. Threats and verbal abuses of an anti-Semitic character accounted for 152 cases, or 35 percent, of the total. In 2012 the figure was 219. Fifty-two incidents in 2013 involved “defacing and vandalism.”

About 100 incidents were recorded in the Paris area. Incidents in and around Marseille and Lyon accounted for another 48 combined. One of the documented assaults was an attempted stabbing on Sept. 24 of a Jewish schoolboy in Paris. A passer-by saw the boy being attacked by a young man who was hurling anti-Semitic insults at the boy. The passer-by intervened and gave the boy a ride away from the scene on his scooter.
© JTA News


Student hospitalised after racist attack in Glasgow (UK)

AERO-engineering student, James Maina, was left lying unconscious in West Nile Street after the sickening attack.

2/3/2014- An African student was kicked and punched in the face by a gang of six thugs – including two girls – in a foul racist attack. James Maina was called a n***** and told to get out of Scotland before he was assaulted. The 24-year-old was walking home from a night out when he was chased by the yobs and punched so hard he was knocked out. The bullies left the aero-engineering student lying unconscious in the middle of West Nile Street in Glasgow city centre. James, who moved to Scotland in September to study at Strathclyde University, is now unable to see in one eye and has bruising to his right side, a swollen arm and suspected nerve damage to his teeth. It is the latest in a string of hate attacks which have shocked Scotland in recent weeks after the Sunday Mail told how a TV crew had captured a sickening racist assault on a busker in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street.

James, who lives on the student campus, said: “I’d had a great night with my friends at Campus nightclub in Sauchiehall Street and was walking home alone when the group spotted me and started shouting, ‘N*****, get back to your own country, get back to where you belong’. “I didn’t want trouble and just ignored them, then one of them went for me and hit me in the face. “I fell backwards into the middle of the road and then he kicked me in the face and another tried to hit and kick me. “I think I was knocked out for about 30 seconds. I woke up and saw them running away towards Buchanan Street. “I managed to stumble to the side of the road and called an ambulance and the police.

“I’m really disappointed. I came here to study and I understood that Glasgow is one of the safest cities to live in. “But when I was lying in the middle of the road, taxis just dodged me and drove past. Nobody stopped to help.” James was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary after the attack at 2.30am on Friday. He said the main attacker was white, 5ft 8in and of average build. Police confirmed last night they had received a report of an assault.
© The Daily Record


Drive to unmask cyber cowards (UK)

Avon and Somerset Police at Yeovil station move to tackle hate crime

2/3/2014- Police say social media will not act as “a cloak of anonymity” enabling abusers to go undetected. That was the warning following the launch of a film, screened in Yeovil for the first time on Saturday, to raise awareness of hate crime. Volunteers, police and public figures gathered at the Methodist Church Hall in Vicarage Street to watch Everyone is Different and learn how to combat incidents in Somerset. The film will be shown in schools to warn against the impact of such crimes. Renata Dudek, hate crime co-ordinator for East Somerset, based at Yeovil police station, said the growing use of social media has seen a rise in cyber bullying. She said: “We now use the internet so much now. Social media is brilliant if it is used properly. But quite often you can get drawn into conversations you might not normally take part in. Writing can sometimes take away insecurities in how we express our thoughts. It’s not about making people afraid to give their opinions. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion but we also have to respect each other. Saying something online is not anonymous and the police can detect and investigate the culprit.”

This is just one strand of ‘hate crime’, a name that refers to any incident motivated by hostility or prejudice against race, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. It occurs when someone bullies a victim, damages or steals their property, and verbally or physically abuses them. Mrs Dudek said: “Sometimes people may not know they are a victim, or that their actions mean they are a perpetrator.” Between April 2013 and January this year between 93 and 117 hate crimes were reported in the East Somerset area and spanned all age groups. In comparison, in the same period more than 600 were reported in Bristol alone, and 112 reported in West Somerset. Mrs Dudek said: “This is a slight increase but it is no cause for alarm. I would like to think it’s because people are more confident in reporting hate crime and there is a good support network. Often speaking about it is a huge relief for people.” She said recent court cases and reports published after Stephen Lawrence’s murder have brought the subject to the forefront of policing. Mrs Dudek said: “As soon as a hate crime is reported, the duty inspector is informed because we take it very seriously.”

Repercussions, depending on the severity and nature of the incident, can vary from a community sentence to time in jail. She urged people to seek support immediately if they felt they might be a victim of hate crime. She said: “A victim could become withdrawn, or aggressive and could become a perpetrator too. People should avoid reacting to the incident, and report the crime. “The problem with crime is that it affects us very deeply. We can feel it’s our fault and shut ourselves away from people we trust. If you feel something is not right it’s important to talk about it. We want to encourage people to come and ask for support and re-build their lives. I feel very patriotic about Yeovil. There are a lot of positive things happening here.” She added: “It’s unusual for Yeovil to have this sort of event but I hope we will have more. These types of events have been successful in other parts of the county for other forms of policing. It brought the community together and got people out of their comfort zone. It was a success and and an excellent way of celebrating diversity. “There was total silence when the film was being shown and for some there were tears in their eyes. It is very moving.”

Case studies from the film, which are based on real incidents in Somerset:
1. Cecylia recently moved to England and knows little English. She is insulted at school by a group of girls because of this. The group also pick on her because they believe she shouldn’t be in ‘their’ country. It even leads to physical violence. Her story focuses on hate crime between different races and how she overcomes this problem with support, building a strong group of friends and integrating in society.

2. Jack suffers from Autism. He struggles to be sociable and some boys make fun of him. They manipulate him because of his strive to be neat and other habits he has.

3. Adam is the victim of gossip and rumours at school because he is gay. He is a victim of cyber bullying which leads to self-harming. He learns to tackle this and comes out in the open. This story looks at sexual discrimination and bullying.
© The Western Gazette


Bristol: Arrest In Hate Crime (UK)

Avon and Somerset Police say they've arrested a 24 year old man in connections with an assault at the Dojo Lounge nightclub in Bristol in January.

1/3/2014- A 27-year-old man from Cheshire was assaulted at the Park Row nightclub in Clifton in the early hours of Sunday 26 January, while out with family and friends. He suffered a suspected broken nose. The assault is being treated as a hate crime. A 24-year-old man has now been arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm. He has been interviewed and released on bail until 30 May to allow for further enquiries to take place. Police are still appealing for witnesses to the incident to come forward, as well as anyone who has information which could help our ongoing inquiry.
© Heart 96.3


As Ukraine crisis deepens, Jews in the Crimean peninsula fear more anti-Semitic attacks.

2/3/2014- Anti-Semitic graffiti was found Friday morning on the entrance to a synagogue in the Crimea region of southern Ukraine, local media reported. According to the Russian-Israeli news site izrus.co.il, swastikas and the phrase “Death to the Jews” were sprayed on the door and facade of the Reform Ner Tamid synagogue in Simferopol, located in the Crimean peninsula. Anatoly Gendin, head of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Crimea, told the news site that the perpetrators needed to climb a two-meter wall to reach the building. “Clearly, it was important for the anti-Semites to commit this crime. Since the crisis began prices went up by 30 percent, pensions aren’t being paid," he wrote in a statement sent to media by the World Union for Progressive Judaism. "As usual, Jews are blamed [for] these disasters and Jews are held responsible. I am afraid to think how this will progress." The attack took place as Ukrainian troops reported takeovers of two airports in the Crimea region by Russian forces. Crimea is heavily populated by ethnic Russians.

Protests against Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, forced him to flee from the capital city of Kiev to Moscow after scores died in bloody street clashes last week. The protest movement was spurred by his policy of privileging Ukraine’s ties to Russia integration with the European Union. Earlier this week, firebombs hit the Chabad-run Orthodox Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia, located 250 miles southeast of Kiev. That attack caused only minor damage.
© JTA News


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