ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive October 2014

Headlines 31 October, 2014

Headlines 24 October, 2014

Headlines 17 October, 2014

Headlines 10 October, 2014

Headlines 3 October, 2014

Headlines 31 October, 2014

Ukraine: Oldest cinema in Kiev goes up in flames during gay film screening

Kiev’s oldest cinema went up in flames this week during the screening of a gay film after a smoke grenade was thrown into the audience.

31/10/2014- A fire broke out in the Zhoten cinema at 21:41 on Wednesday and lasted for roughly five hours, it has been reported. The flames were extinguished when 22 fire department units were called to the scene. Although the building itself, built in 1931, was left badly damaged, none of the 100 people at the screening were injured. Festival coordinator Aleksey Chaschin said: “The film had been playing for 20 minutes already when people in back rows shouted: ‘Smoke!'” One of the attendees wrote on Facebook that an unknown man tossed an “incendiary smoke grenade” into the audience. He said people attempted to escape the building but the emergency exits were locked. Security guards also did not know how to operate the fire extinguishers. He added: “In a country, where street Nazis have become police officers, no one will investigate a crime, committed by the far-right. One hand washes the other.”

It happened during a screening of the French film Les Nuits d’été, as part of an LGBT program at the Molodist youth film festival. Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko has promised the cinema will be rebuilt. He said: “The arson of the premise, which became a subject of debate and legal battles in recent years, can’t be ruled out. “We won’t allow Zhovten, which became a symbol of intellectual cinema among the moviegoers in the capital, to be taken away from us.” Despite a ban by a local court, more than a hundred LGBT rights activists held the first gay pride demonstration in the capital of Kiev last year. In a 2007 poll 5.7% of Ukrainians said that “gay lifestyles” were acceptable and only 4.7% of Ukrainians stated that they thought same-sex marriage in the country was a priority.
© Pink News

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31/10/2014- A pig’s head was dumped outside an Islamic studies centre in Athens, in a predawn Islamophobic attack on October 17. Vandals spray-painted a crucifix on the door, splashed blue paint on the walls and an anti-Muslim slogan on the pavement outside the Arab-Hellenic Centre, which also functions as a Muslim prayer centre, in the district of Moshato. Photographs of the defaced building were posted on the Muslim Association of Greece (MAG) facebook. No arrests have been made. Greece has experienced an increasing Islamophobic and anti-Semitic violence, in concurrence with the political ascent of Neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. A state prosecutor demanded all the party’s MPs face trial for offences including allegedly running a criminal organisation. Prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos demanded that 70 party members – including leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos should appear before a criminal court on a series of charges including the murders of an anti-fascist rapper and Pakistani immigrant.

The extreme-right party won 18 seats in the 300-strong Greek Parliament after national elections in June 2012, its ascent precipitated by Greece’s economic crisis and growing unemployment. Last year its support peaked at 15%, making it the third-most popular party in Greece. It came third in the latest local and European elections on an anti-bailout anti-EU ticket and performed strongly at local elections in May. In April Greece was told to toughen its measures to combat a surge in massive racial violence by Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published a report in which Nils Muižnieks said that he was “seriously concerned” by the increase in hate crimes targeting immigrants in Greece. “Democracy in Greece is seriously threatened by the upsurge of hate crime and a weak state response. Sustained and concerted action, notably by the police and the courts, is necessary to protect the rule of law and human rights in the country,” said Muižnieks.

The Commissioner noted that there is only one appointed prosecutor to monitor hate crimes in greater Athens as well as police officers tasked to deal with the pro-blem have only been trained for two days. The Commissioner also expressed deep concern by “persistent reports of ill-treatment, including torture, committed by law enforcement officials notably against migrants and Roma.” The report describes Golden Dawn as a “neo-Nazi and violent political party” that should be secluded under legally binding international human rights conventions signed by Greece.
© The Muslim News

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Greece: Holocaust memorial in Athens vandalized

Graffiti scrawled on the Holocaust memorial in Athens included threats against the Jewish community.

31/10/2014- Graffiti scrawled on the Holocaust memorial in Athens included threats against the Jewish community. Police have opened an investigation into Friday’s vandalism, according to Victor Eliezer, the secretary general of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece. The graffiti included a purported quote from the Talmud saying that Jews who convert should be put to death and threats that the synagogue in Athens would be destroyed. “Regretfully, 70 years after the end of World War II, which left millions of victims of bigotry, racism, Nazism and anti-Semitism behind, there are people beyond redemption aiming at terrorizing us by molesting the memory of our brothers, victims of the Holocaust,” said a statement from the Jewish community issued Monday. “They will not succeed in intimidating us,” the statement said.

Erected in 2010, the monument commemorates the more than 60,000 Greek Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. Today only about 5,000 Jews live in Greece. The incident comes several weeks after vandals desecrated the Jewish cemetery in the northern city of Thessaloniki. A recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has Europe’s highest rate of anti-Semitic attitudes, with 69 percent of Greeks espousing anti-Semitic views. That is nearly twice the rate as the next highest country, France, with 37 percent.
© The Times of Change

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Jewish cemetery in Norway vandalized

29/10/2014- Several tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Norway were desecrated. The tombstones at the cemetery in Trondheim, in the northern part of the country, were vandalized with purple paint in an incident discovered Oct. 25, the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten reported. Also, “Der Furher,” a reference to Adolf Hitler, was painted on a nearby building. Police are patrolling the area but have no suspects, Aftenposten reported. Earlier this month, Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish community of Oslo, expressed concern at the level of anti-Semitism in Norway, which he said was higher than in neighboring countries. The word “Jew,” he said, was one of the most common curse words in Norwegian schools. A survey of secondary schools conducted by the City of Oslo revealed that one in three Jewish students was bullied at least once a month, Kohn said in an interview with Aftenposten.
© JTA News

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The European Union and its member states must urgently act to prevent and prosecute homophobic and transphobic crime, Amnesty International has said.

8/10/2014- The human rights organisation made the remarks in response to today’s Italian EU Presidency and Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) joint Conference on tackling Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Brussels. Amnesty International is calling on the European Commission to propose new standards to combat discriminatory violence on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and on member states to support such an initiative. Nicolas Beger, director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said: “The daily and ongoing violence experienced by LGBTI people in Europe is a serious and heinous form of discrimination.” He continued: “However, there is a severe lack of adequate standards to tackle homophobic and transphobic violence both at EU and national levels. There is an urgent need for concrete EU action to duly protect the victims and prosecute the perpetrators accordingly”.

‘‘Too often, we see little to no action by member states’ authorities to thoroughly acknowledge, investigate and prosecute the hate motive behind attacks and discri-mination towards LGBTI people”. Mr Beger added: “The EU must step up and strengthen its standards on hate crime. This is key to ensuring that any discriminatory motive is duly taken into account across the whole of the EU.” The campaigner also mentioned the 2008 murder of medical student Mihail Stoyanov in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia. Mr Stoyanov’s murder has yet to be recognised as a hate crime. Instead the prosecution has been based on hooliganism despite the investigation clearly revealing that he was killed because he was perceived to be gay – witnesses testified that Mr Stoyanov’s was killed by a group who claimed to be “cleansing the park of gays”.

He said: “The EU and member states owe it to Mihail and all other victims of hate crime to acknowledge the true motive of such crimes. Only then can Europe move towards bringing about true justice for the victims and ending these heinous crimes once and for all.” Last week, the UK’s Crime and Prevention Minister, Norman Baker, said more needed to be done to tackle homophobic and transphobic crime in Britain. Mr Baker spoke as the Home Office released hate-crime figures from 2013-2014. From 2013 to this year, there were 44,480 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, an increase of 5% in the previous period.
© Pink News

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Antisemitism in Romania: Historical Legacies, Contemporary Challenges

Anti-semitism in Romania: historical legacies, contemporary challenges by ECMI Senior Research Associate Dr. Raul Carstocea is now issued as ECMI Working Paper #81.

27/10/2014- In the article Dr. Raul Carstocea offers a brief survey of the modes of manifestation of anti-Semitism in Romania, from the time of the establishment of the state in the 19th century and until present day. While aware of the inherent limitations of attempting to carry out such an endeavour in the space of a short article, he believes that adopting such a broad historical perspective allows for observing patterns of continuity and change that could help explain some of the peculiarities of the Romanian varieties of anti-Semitism, as well as draw attention to the importance of a phenomenon that was central (albeit to varying degrees in different historical periods) to Romania's modern history, and that is still visible in the country today. In doing so, the author aims both to provide a survey of the existing literature on the subject for the English-speaking audience, as well as to point out some of the gaps in the literature which call for further research on the subject.

Finally, while the article will be limited to the case-study of Romania, some of the patterns of prejudice explored in its pages display clear parallels with the situation in other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, while others point to context-specific particularities that render the Romanian case distinct from other countries in the region.

The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) is a non - partisan institution founded in 1996 by the Governments of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German State of Schleswig - Holstein. ECMI was established in Flensburg, at the heart of the Danish - German border region, in order to draw from the encouraging example of peaceful coexistence between minorities and majorities achieved here. ECMI’s aim is to promote interdisciplinary research on issues related to minorities and majorities in a European perspective and to contribute to the improvement of interethnic relations in those parts of Western and Eastern Europe where ethno - political tension and conflict prevail.
ECMI Working Papers are written either by the staff of ECMI or by outside authors commissioned by the Centre. As ECMI does not propagate opinions of its own, the views expressed in any of its publications are the sole responsibility of the author concerned.

© The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI)

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2/3 of Dutch Mosques Attacked: Research

30/10/2014- Reflecting a worrying anti-Muslim trend in the Netherlands, a recent research on anti-Muslim violence in the European country has found that approximately 69% of mosques have experienced at least one attack or more during the last ten years. “I cannot predict a significant growth or decline of attacks against mosques for the near future,” researcher Ineke van der Valk, the author of the book ‘Islamophobia and Discrimination’, told OnIslam.net. “Many of these attacks appear to be a response to national or international events (like terrorist attacks) and obviously those cannot be predicted by me.” Focusing on the amount and characteristics of attacks on mosques, the Muslims’ houses of worship, the research closely monitor trends and development in relation to multiculturalism and Islamophobia for many years.

According to the research, the Netherlands has approximately 450-475 buildings that are in use as a mosque. It lists information of over 70 mosques in the country, indicating that approximately 69% of those mosques had experienced at least one attack or more during the last ten years. The most common attacks were smashed windows, followed by slurs or anti-Islamic comments sprayed with graffiti and arson. Other types of attacks include aggression against mosque personnel, amounting to death threats to Muslims in general or to a specific Mosque by email or phone. For example, a Rotterdam-based mosque received various letters with content like ‘Death to all Muslims’ and ‘Muslims are vomited pig-hallal’ [SIC]. Other mosques received envelopes containing pornographic content or messages that contain blasphe-my.

Other anti-mosque attacks included putting head or different other body parts or blood of either pigs or sheep at the buildings or on the terrain surrounding it. Relea-sed in 2012, Van der Valk’s book, Islamophobia and Discrimination, has since been translated to English, French, German and Italian. Muslims make up one million of the Netherlands’s 16 million population, mostly from Turkish and Moroccan origin.

New Attacks
Concerns about growing anti-Muslim attacks increased after the latest arson attack, which occurred a few days ago. On the evening of Sunday, October 26, a bag with rubbish was placed outside a mosque in the Dutch city Etten-Leur and set on fire but hasn’t significantly damaged the mosque that has been vandalized before. “I was not surprised by the news of this latest arson attack. Although we don’t know for sure what the motive was, in the light of the current international developments we can unfortunately expect to see these type of incidents,” researcher van der Valk told OnIslam.net. “Experiences with international terrorism abusing the Islamic religion are generalized to all Muslims. This is how racism operates.” However, many Muslims blamed biased media coverage and Islamophobic politicians for inciting such attacks.

A recent example is the political response from Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party to a statue of two woman wearing hijab and carrying an iPad. The statue is called ‘girl-friends’ and is part of a total number of forty statues in The Hague, showing the city’s residents. According to one member of the city counsel for the Freedom Party, the statue was a work of “shameless Islam propaganda” and proof of the “advancing Islamization of The Hague”. To make sure his stance was clear, he also referred to the statue as a “terrible object of subjugation and oppression” and an “Islamic monstrosity”. The sculptor, who made the statue, Tony van de Vorst, is a non-Muslim who stated he only aimed to show the multiculturalism within his city.

In one of the many previous anti-Islamic slur, the Freedom Party has also tried to blame Muslims for the growing population of seagulls in the city, claiming this was a result of “the rules imposed by Islam” because Muslims feed their old bread to the birds instead of throwing it away. This caused “suffering” to “native” (i.e. non-Muslim) people living in the city, according to the politician. With increasing number of attacks, in which only one third of perpetrators is caught by the police, the government was urged to take these threats more seriously. “The government recently seems to take these types of attacks more seriously,” says Ineke van der Valk, “thanks to both research and the lobby to put them on the agenda of politicians.” “Until recently these aggressive incidents were not recognized as serious problems and not much was done to prevent them from happening at all.”
© On Islam

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French Muslims Confront Menace Beneath Ban of Veil

For generations France made little effort to include newcomers from its former colonies in North Africa, say critics. Now, two recent bans against religious veiling put French Muslim girls and women at the center of the country's simmering immigration debate.
By Hajer Naili

27/10/2014- Rabha Chatar is scared to walk alone in a big city like this. "I am afraid that I could be attacked, especially if I am with my children," she said. Chatar, 40, who spoke with Women's eNews in a phone interview in September, lives in the small village of Meru, in the Picardie region of France, with her three children and husband. But her fear isn't that of a small-town person in a big metropolis. It's due to her custom of covering her hair with a hijab, part of her way of practicing her Muslim faith. In her town, Chatar feels that her neighbors both know and accept her. But the stories of Muslim women in big cities getting singled out for hate crimes scare her.

Workers at the Paris Opera recently drew international headlines by ejecting a woman wearing a full face veil, or niqab, which Paris outlawed in 2011. But Chatar's fears are not about the niqab, which she doesn't wear. All she wears is a head covering. France began frowning on women in hijab in 2004 when the Parliament passed a ban on the display of religious signs in public schools, which meant schoolgirls could not wear the hijab. In 2012, a similar government rule extended to thousands of older women such as Chatar, forbidding them from escorting their children on school outings. Both bans apply to school settings but for many Muslim women in France today the rulings reach much further, creating a pervasive sense of social prohibition about wearing the hijab that they break at their own risk.

Out of 1,417 Muslims interviewed last year, 2 percent – 30 individuals --reported a physical aggression, found a June 2014 study conducted by the Paris-based Collective Against Islamophobia in France. Women were almost all--97 percent--of those 30 victims. Elsa Ray, spokesperson for the Collective Against Islamophobia, said street aggressions have been more violent in recent years. In the past veiled women were mainly targets of verbal violence, but the aggression has become more physical. "The majority of aggressors are men and we have noticed that some women physically attacked were subjected to sexual touching while they had their clothes ripped off. These are signs of male domination," Ray said in an interview at the collective's office.

Last year, a 16-year-old Muslim woman recounted being attacked by two men in a Paris suburb in a piece published by the Huffington Post. "Then, he grabbed my arms trying to push me to the ground and he started to press his body against mine while he was holding my head. At that moment, the first guy started to touch my breasts. Then, he took a sharp object and started to scar my face with short and quick movements while the second guy was pressing his body against mine and he was blocking my head," the victim, named Aissetou, wrote.

Re-Veiling as Political Act
Ray traces the "re-veiling" trend among younger Muslim women to decades of neglectful treatment by the French government of immigrants from North African coun-tries such as Algeria and Morocco, its former colonial sphere. "We realized that the concessions made in the '70s and '80s didn't help the Muslim community to feel accepted," Ray said, referring to the generations of parents and grandparents who hid their religious practice in order to gain social acceptance and earn livelihoods. Today, younger Muslims born in France are pushing back and claiming their religious identity. The hijab, Ray added, is a piece of cloth worn by women to protect themselves from societal rejection. Ismahane Chouder, co-president of the Paris-based Collective of Feminists for Equality, agrees, citing successive French govern-ments' failure to embrace the children and grandchildren of North African immigrants.

French-born people of North African descent, Chouder said, do not feel accepted as truly French. If they say they are French they will be pushed to describe their family's deeper roots. "Someone who is constantly sent back to their origins cannot feel part of this country, of its history. When you keep emphasizing their origins in an exclusive way, in 8o percent of cases, they will withdraw into themselves," she said. Chouder added that French governments and politicians have been using the principle of "laïcité," or secularism, to impose a specific dress code upon Muslim women. "They keep introducing secularism like a guarantor of gender equality but we are instead witnessing a denaturation of the principles of secularism," Chouder said in an interview in her group's Paris office. "France can't yet tolerate the idea that a woman could define her own identify. They refuse to see women defining themselves and especially in a different fashion from what is seen in the media." Ray, from the Collective Against Islamophobia, added: "France still owns a colonialist and paternalistic spirit."

Two Groups as Highest Risk
Ray said two categories of veiled women are the most vulnerable to incidents: young women aged 13-20 and mothers accompanied by their children. "For young women, it is believed that they are forced to wear the veil, thus they are indoctrinated and it could then be more dangerous," said Ray. "While a mother with her children represents the head of a family along with the values she could pass on to her kids." Two French police unions, Alliance Police Nationale and Synergie Officers, declined to be interviewed about the insecurity faced by Muslim women. "It is a sensitive and complicated issue. And we don't have enough data," Synergie Officers' press person, who didn't want to be identified, said in a brief phone call. Ray said more than 60 percent of the discrimination that veiled women reported came from state-run institutions, citing the findings of her collective's report. "In France, we are mainly facing a 'state-made Islamophobia' practiced by the representatives of the state and public employees."

A veiled woman, for instance, will be asked to remove her headscarf when picking up identification documents at government facilities. She might also be denied access to employment agencies even though no law stands in her way. Ray also cited cases of women who were not allowed to buy gym memberships and restaurants that refused to serve Muslim couples when the women's head was covered. One French town even tried to ban women from wearing hijab on its public beach this summer. The effort was overruled by a French court after two mothers wearing their headscarves were denied access. Ray says the discrimination against Muslim women is spurred by media organizations and politicians who conflate Islam with extremism, fanning Islamophobia across the country. It's been going on for years in two ways, she said; one by the Right and one by the Left.

"Right-wing parties will use a discourse to emphasize the importance of national security. They will use fear, the danger of Islam, the fight against terrorism," Ray said. "Left-wing parties will use discourses promoting the liberation of women, the importance of gender equality, the necessity of freedom, etc." The result is the same: telling Muslim women how not to dress, said Ray.
Hajer Naili is a New York-based reporter for Women's eNews. She has worked for several radio stations and publications in France and North Africa and specializes in Middle East and North Africa women in Islam.
© Women's E News

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Netherlands: Attempted arson at mosque Etten-Leur

Source: ANP
27/10/2014- Sunday an attempted arson took place at a mosque in Etten-Leur. A witness saw two guys put a bag against the facade of the building and set it on fire. They then took off. According to police, the fire probably extinguished itself.  A few months ago the mosque was also defaced. Police are investigating the case.
© The Volkskrant (Dutch)

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Families evacuated after scores of protesters demonstrate outside Manor Street home

27/10/2014- Anti-Roma protests in Waterford city over the weekend have been described as “cowardly, prejudiced and racist” by Minister of State for Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin. Mr Ó Ríordán was speaking after a number of families, including young children and elderly women, had to be evacuated from their homes in the city after upwards of 60 people gathered outside their house in the Manor Street area on Saturday evening, chanting “Roma, out, out, out”. Windows were smashed and a door was kicked in, it was reported. Over 100 gathered in the same place yesterday evening, again shouting anti-Roma slogans. A Garda spokesman confirmed a number of protests took place “at the Manor Street, William Street and McDermott Road areas” last night. “One male in his 40s was arrested for public order offences. He was later released without charge. A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions,” he said.

Protestors said they were concerned about the alleged involvement of some members of the Waterford Roma community in crime. There have been Facebook pages, including one titled ‘Get Roma criminal gypsies out’, where posts included: “Burn the cockroaches out” and “Throw them in the river” and called people “Roma c**ts”. This page was taken down yesterday and a new page was posted, titled ‘Make Waterford a safer place’. It said: “ok lads this page is to be peaceful and not discrimi-nate against anyone because if your found doing this you will be banned from the page as its not about who they are its about what there doing and what the gardai are doing to stop there crimes we need to stand up and show them we will not back down and be victims for there crime while gardai are protecting them (sic)”. Mr Ó Ríordán said it was “completely and utterly wrong to tarnish an entire community” because of concerns about criminality by some.

“This sort of vigilanteism has no place in Irish society. My fear is that genuine concerns about crime are being whipped up and manipulated by unsavoury elements. They are targeting a vulnerable group, a soft target.” Local Labour Party TD, Ciara Conway, called on anyone with concerns about criminality to bring them to the Gardai. “There are many nationalities involved in street crime in Ireland, the Irish chief among them,” she said. “You wouldn’t find mobs gathered outside the house of an Irish framily if they thought they were involved in crime. The Roma are weak and marginalised.” Sinn Féin senator from the area, David Cullinane, said events over the weekend were “completely unacceptable”. “There can be no room in our society for rough justice. If anyone has information relating to allegations of criminality they should bring it forward to the appropriate authorities,” he said. Gaby Muntean, a Roma community development worker, said the community were “very, very scared of what is happening”.

An anti-racism rally will take place in the city on Wednesday evening at 5.30 pm in Railway Square.
© The Irish Times.

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Mob Violence Has No Place in Ireland (press statement)

26/10/2014- Pavee Point strongly condemns any actions to intimidate and promote violence against Roma in Waterford. This follows the publication of multiple Face-book pages which openly incite hatred against Roma, and reports of a public order incident on Saturday evening where up to 100 people are reported to have gathered outside the home of Roma living in Waterford. The content on Facebook pages to date have shown huge misinformation and racism towards Roma and have included inflam-matory, dehumanising and violent language. There is a clear link between online hate speech and hate crime and there is an urgent need to address the use of the inter-net to perpetuate anti-Roma hate speech and to organise violence.

European institutions and groups such as the European Roma Rights Centre have raised concerns about rising violence in Europe and the strengthening of extremist and openly racist groups which spread hate speech and organise anti-Roma marches. Attacks in other European countries have included several murders of Roma. We don’t want this to become a feature in Ireland. “Anti-Roma racism does not occur in a vacuum and we now need strong public and political leaders to be visible, vocal and openly condemn anti-Roma actions in Waterford” said Siobhan Curran, Roma Project Coordinator Pavee Point. “At a national level a progressive national strategy to support Roma inclusion in Ireland needs to be developed as a matter of urgency” she continued.

Pavee Point calls on all elements of the media to take on board the recommendations from the Logan Report and avoid sensationalist and irresponsible reporting.
© Pavee Point

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UK: Attack on mosque was a joke

31/10/2014- Ellesmere Port mosque in Chester was subjected to a hateful attack by intoxicated perpetrator, Martin Peter Sallis. His controversial behaviour is said to be influenced and learnt through “school exercises” and “recent TV shows”. Meanwhile, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee approved plans for the mosque on September 3. On August 8, Chester magistrate’s court issued a restraining order to stay away from the centre for a year. He is sentenced with 12 month supervision with drug rehabilitation and a three month curfew. In addition Sallis was ordered to pay court expenses of £85 – £145. The 42 year-old, from Great Sutton, hung an England flag and children’s bunting on the scaffolding of the building which contained the drawn swastikas and KKK symbols. Sallis continued vandalising the building with offensive and threatening messages such as “burn down the mosque with youse in it” which he later dismissed to be a “bit of a laugh” when he was drunk.

Prosecutor Anouska Youd recounted that one piece of the bunting contained the slogans “Abu Hamza burn in hell” and “burn in hell forever”. “There was also a swastika drawn on it with an SS added” she said and initials “APINF” and “KKK”. The reasoning behind his racial crime was because he wanted to “fit in” with the ideologies of the local community whom he claims share unified Islamophoic ideals for the Islamic cultural centre located in King Street, Ellesmere Port. Sallis, who is an alcoholic and former drug addict, is not new to disorderly conduct as he holds 15 previous convictions. However, he has pleaded guilty to racially or religious harassment. Stephen Ferns defendant of Sallis states “he is shocked by how bad what he had written has been” and that “he does not consider himself to have any deep rooted racial views”.
© The Muslim News

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A man who threatened to burn down a bus packed with Jewish women and children has been jailed for five months for his anti-Semitic tirade.

31/10/2014- Ian Campbell, 42, of Bowes Road, Bounds Green, shouted “I’m going to burn the bus and burn the Jews” while travelling on the 102 bus through Golders Green on September 16. He would have evaded justice had it not been for Crouch End journalist Rosa Doherty who was travelling on the bus at the time and later reported the incident to the police who eventually tracked Campbell down after a public appeal for information. District judge Mark Jabbitt, sentencing Campbell at Hendon Magistrates’ Court today, said: “The 102 bus is a popular bus with many Jewish people, including children. Many Jewish people live in that area and you plainly knew that. “You used grossly abusive and offensive language. You clearly caused alarm and distress and regrettably I don’t think this conduct is particularly unusual. “This time there was Ms Doherty who wasn’t prepared to let you get away with it and she should be commended for that.”

On September 16, Ms Doherty, a reporter for the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, boarded the 102 bus bound for Edmonton in Golders Green Road around 5.30pm and immediately heard Campbell complaining about the rush hour traffic, insisting it was “all the Jews’ fault”. He then made the threat to burn the bus and the passengers on board before ordering the driver to let him off. After exiting the bus, Campbell was heard shouting “long live Palestine and long live Gaza”. The court heard Ms Doherty called 999 after the Transport for London (TfL) driver allowed Campbell back onto the bus and refused to stop to co-operate with police. TfL have since investigated the incident. Ms Doherty, a former Highgate Wood School pupil, then wrote a story about the incident for the Jewish Chronicle which prompted the police to launch an appeal for information.

Campbell was arrested at his home on September 25 and admitted charges of racially aggravated harassment, using threatening words or behaviour and breaching a conditional discharge at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on October 10. The court heard he suffered from drug, alcohol and mental health problems and told police he had watched The Passion of the Christ film shortly before the incident which had “changed his views on Jews”. Campbell was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison and ordered to pay an £80 surcharge.
© The Ham and High

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UK: Neo-Nazi gave out internet abuse tips in campaign against MP Berger

30/10/2014- A neo-Nazi website based in the US is behind a co-ordinated campaign of antisemitic abuse targeting Britain's youngest Jewish MP, the JC can reveal. The site provides a user guide to harassing Luciana Berger and has created offensive images to be shared by internet trolls and sent to her via social media sites. It carries a series of "dos and don'ts" for those who intend to abuse Ms Berger. The site advises trolls not to "call for violence, threaten the Jew b---h in any way. Seriously, don't do that". But it goes on to encourage calling her "a Jew, call her a Jew communist, call her a terrorist, call her a filthy Jew b---h. Call her a hook-nosed y-- and a ratfaced k---. "Tell her we do not want her in the UK, we do not want her or any other Jew anywhere in Europe. Tell her to go to Israel and call for her deportation to said Jew state."

Advice on the easiest ways to set up anonymous Twitter accounts and email addresses to limit traceability is also available on the website. It posts hundreds of racist articles targeting black people, Muslims and Jews. Ms Berger received around 400 abusive messages on Twitter last week. Many carried the hashtags and images created by the American site, which urged trolls to join "Operation: Filthy Jew Bitch". The campaign against the Liverpool Wavertree MP was set up last Monday, hours after Merseysider Garron Helm was jailed for sending her abusive messages. Helm's imprisonment was heralded as an "important precedent", but it is now clear that his abuse was merely the tip of an iceberg.

The JC understands the Labour shadow cabinet member has received death threats amid the series of "deeply threatening" messages. She has not commented on the abuse, but friends said she was feeling isolated after the "relentless" storm of offensive tweets. "Luciana is sickened by what's flashing up on her phone on a minute-by-minute basis," said one. "It's hard for her being the focus of something so sinister and global and relentless." A coalition of security groups, police and Twitter have been investigating the source of the messages and have shut down some accounts. The operation against her is being orchestrated by the racist, white nationalist website Daily Stormer. It is run by Andrew Anglin, who has previously been filmed at Berlin's Holocaust memorial mocking victims of the Shoah and questioning the number of Jews who were murdered. The site promotes use of the #HitlerWasRight hashtag.

It provides what is effectively a resource pack of racist images which it advises trolls to use to "flood" Ms Berger's Twitter account. Among the images are those of the MP next to Labour's Jewish leader Ed Miliband with a yellow star with the word "Jude" superimposed on their heads. The call to action concludes by urging abusers to use the hashtags #FilthyJewB---h and #FreeGarronHelm on every tweet targeting Ms Berger. "We will not bow to Jews. We will not be silenced by Jews. We will not allow Jews to destroy the nations that our ancestors spilled blood on to build on this sacred land." When Twitter began to block the tweets late last week, Daily Stor-mer users began posting Ms Berger's email address on internet forums. A website claiming to be Britain's "number one nationalist newspaper" also highlighted Helm's conviction.

The Daily Bale, run by "nationalist" Joshua Bonehill-Paine, said that as a former director of Labour Friends of Israel, Ms Berger was a supporter of "institutional state child murderers", a "money grabber" and a war criminal. The JC understands police are investigating the comments. Ms Berger's parliamentary colleagues and members of the Jewish community have responded by posting messages of support online. Lord Wood, a Labour peer and adviser to party leader Ed Miliband, wrote on Twitter: "The vile antisemitic abuse of Luciana Berger online only succeeds in uniting everyone in her support and in revulsion against those behind it." Baroness Royall, Labour's leader in the Lords, tweeted: "Luciana Berger is a terrific MP, friend and colleague - a very fine woman. The racist abuse against her must stop. It's abhorrent."

Board of Deputies vice president Jonathan Arkush tweeted: "Racist abuse of Luciana Berger is nauseating and disfigures our country. Perpetrators should expect to go to prison. We value and support her." The case was raised in Parliament on Wednesday, with Commons Speaker John Bercow condemning the abuse as "despicable and beneath contempt".
© The Jewish Chronicle

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UK: Cabbie scarred for life after alleged race-hate stabbing

Javad Iqbal, a father-of-five, needed six stitches following the attack as he dropped off a passenger in the early hours of Sunday in Rochdale

29/10/2014- A taxi driver was stabbed in the face during an alleged race-hate attack. Father-of-five Javad Iqbal, 48, needed six stitches after the attack in Rochdale. He was assaulted after dropping off a punter in the town just before 2am on Sunday. Mr Iqbal, from Deeplish, Rochdale, had to go to hospital and his Toyota Avensis was damaged during the incident. It is believed to be the second stabbing of an Asian taxi driver in the borough in the last two weeks. Mr Iqbal’s boss Abrar Hussain Junior, 43, director of No 1 Diamond Cars in Middleton, said: “One can only put it down as a hate crime. What else can it be? “You don’t go around stabbing someone unless you have a beef with somebody. “This is the second stabbing of taxi drivers in Rochdale borough in two weeks.

“Sadly, the drivers don’t get enough protection. If a taxi driver tries to restrain someone for not paying, the council will take their licence away. “Two weeks ago another driver (at another firm) took a customer from Cheetham Hill to Middleton. He started kicking his car, ran into a house and brought out a knife and stabbed the driver in the face as well. “I’ve worked in Middleton for the last 16 years. I’ve know taxi drivers be assaulted and I’ve known customers do runners. It happens all the time. It’s one of those things. We don’t even tell the police. We just get on with it. But I’ve never known a taxi driver to be stabbed.” He added that the attacks could be linked to animosity towards Asian taxi drivers following the town’s child sex grooming scandal in which two of those jailed were taxi drivers. Stephen Campbell, the boss of Car 2000 in Heywood, last week reversed a policy to offer white drivers on request following a protest by Asian cabbies who complained they were ‘treated like paedophiles’.

UPDATE: A man has been charged with committing grievous bodily harm with intent, possessing a bladed article in a public place, criminal damage and racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage in connection with the incident. He was remanded in custody when he appeared before magistrates. He will re-appear at Minshull Street Crown Court next month.
© The Manchester Evening News.

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UK: Police plea for information regarding pig's head left outside mosque

Two men from Ellesmere Port have been arrested and bailed in connection with the King's Street incident.

28/10/2014- Detectives are trying to find out how a pig’s head which was placed outside an Islamic Cultural Centre was obtained. Police discovered the head of the animal after a member of the public reported two men acting suspiciously outside the building shortly before midnight on Wednesday (October 23). Two men have now been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. A 41-year-old and 33-year-old man, who are both from Ellesmere Port, have been released on police bail pending further enquiries. Detectives have confirmed they are now visiting local businesses to try and find out where the pig’s head came from. Chief Inspector Giles Orton, who leads the Ellesmere Port and Neston Policing Team, said: “We take incidents of this nature extremely seriously and will not tolerate hate crime within the community. “As part of our ongoing investigation, our officers are conducting enquiries with local businesses to discover where the pig’s head might have come from. “We are also appealing to anyone from the local community who may know how the pig’s head was obtained to please contact us.”

Last week police vowed to put an end to all racist incidents and hate crimes in Ellesmere Port following the latest attack on the centre, which is currently under con-struction after being granted planning permission by Cheshire West and Chester Council earlier this month amidst angry scenes. The vow comes as a facebook group containing racist content, including images of pigs and anti Islamic messages, was removed from the social media site. The ‘community’ page, named ‘Ban Ellesmere Port Mosque’, was set up on September 12 by an unnamed individual, and says it aims to “stop Muslims taking over Ellesmere Port” and “keeping Britain British”. The page, which had reached almost 600 likes mysteriously vanished last week. This is not the first time the centre, which will be used as a place of worship and to hold religious festival, has been subject to hate attacks. Last month a man was given a restraining order, forcing him to stay away from the former Ellesmere Port Unemployment and Culture Centre, after hanging racist bunting decorated with swastikas and KKK symbols outside the building.

Anyone who has any information is urged to contact Cheshire Police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
© The Chester Chronicle

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UK Scotland: Councillor charged with hate crime is suspended

The deputy leader of the SNP group on Scotland's largest council has been suspended from the party after being reported to prosecutors over an incident during the referendum campaign.

26/10/2014- Glasgow SNP councillor Billy ­McAllister, 60, has been charged with homophobic breach of the peace and has now been suspended from the SNP pending further investigations. The alleged victim is the partner of former SNP MSP Anne McLaughlin, political activist Graham Campbell. The 47-year-old, who was involved in the Yes campaign and had been a member of Tommy Sheridan's Solidarity Party, has also been reported to the procurator-fiscal on allegations of assault. A Glasgow SNP spokesman said: "Councillor McAllister has been suspended from the SNP group and as a member of the SNP until such times as due legal process has been completed."
The suspension follows allegations of an altercation in Glasgow's Maryhill Road on August 26. It is understood Glasgow MSP Bob Doris was a witness to the incident and that Mr McAllister informed the police of the alleged assault more than 24 hours later.

Following a police interview with Mr Campbell some weeks later, Mr McAllister, who represents the Milton area to the north of the city, was also spoken to ahead of a report to the fiscal. His suspension means that while he continues to be a councillor he may not attend SNP group meetings, share office space with party members or sit with them during council meetings. A police spokeswoman said: "I can confirm a 47- year-old man was reported to the procurator-fiscal for an alleged assault and a 60-year-old man for an alleged homophobic breach of the peace."
© The Herald Scotland

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Headlines 24 October, 2014

Data collection gaps continue to hamper efforts to combat antisemitism (FRA)

Antisemitism remains an issue of serious concern that needs to be tackled. This is shown by the latest report on data collected about antisemitic incidents across the European Union, published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

24/10/2014- “Antisemitism continues to blight Europe today, affecting the everyday lives of Jews across the EU,” said FRA Director, Morten Kjaerum. “Despite the efforts made by many EU Member States over the years, targeted responses are still needed to seriously tackle this persistent problem, as this latest FRA report underlines. Policy makers and civil society must continue to work together to support the victims of antisemitism and effectively combat such hate crime.” This latest report, ‘Antisemitism: Summary overview of data available in the European Union 2003–2013’, points to large gaps in data collection on antisemitism in EU Member States. In addition, each Member State collects different types of data, preventing any meaningful comparison of the data collected.

FRA’s survey of discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States, published in November 2013, revealed how 64% of those who experienced physical violence or threats of violence did not report the most serious incident to the police or to any other organisation. Yet, 66% of all respondents considered antisemitism to be a problem in their country. This latest report on antisemitic incidents – coupled with the survey findings – underline the need for policy and civil society actors at all levels to remain vigilant and pursue their efforts in combating the ongoing problem of antisemitism. This includes addressing the problem of under-reporting by victims and the accurate recording of such hate crimes.

The updated report compiles available data on antisemitic incidents collected by international, governmental and non-governmental sources, from 1 January 2003 until 31 December 2013. No data on antisemitic manifestations were available for Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia at the time the report was compiled.
This is the 10th in a series of yearly reports on data collection on antisemitism published by FRA and its predecessor, the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).
© EU Fundamental Rights Agency

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Homophobic Hooligans go on Rampage in Macedonia

About 20 hooligans caused mayhem on Thursday night at the LGBT centre in Skopje, where the country's gay community was holding an anniversary party.

24/10/2014- Around 20 hooded hooligans tried to wreck the second birthday party of the centre for support of the LGBT community on Thursday in Skopje, vandalizing the “Damar” cafe in the Old Bazaar area, where the event took place. A woman was injured after the hooligans threw a bottle at her head. Witnesses said the attack only lasted around 10 minutes but had devastating effects. “The hooligans entered the cafe and started throwing everything, like bottles, crates… It was a stampedĺ. One girl was injured and was taken to the accident and emergency centre. She is fine, but still recovering,” Uranija Pirovska, director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Macedonia, a host of the event, said. The victims of the homophobic rampage said they could not see the faces of the hooligans because they wore hoods. “They were well organized. They had an exact plan of how to enter, what to demolish and when to leave, before the police came,” a witness said.

This is not a first attack on the LGBT Centre in Skopje. On October 24, 2012 when it first opened, the building was attacked and the windows broken. Last year, a policeman was injured after 10 hooligans in masks threw rocks and bottles at the building. The centre is financially supported by the Dutch Embassy. The outgoing Dutch Ambassador, Marriët Schuurman, in an interview for BIRN on Tuesday, expressed grave concerns about the rule of law in the country. The failure of the authorities to react to violence "creates a perception that this is sponsored, or tolerated in the best case, by the government and used as an instrument to make people afraid and try to shut people up”, she said. Pirovska repeated the same allegation of official complicity to BIRN. “I will meet representatives of the EU delegation in Skopje and with all the ambassadors. The attackers responsible for previous events were never found - and that means that the institutions tolerate violence," she said. "In Macedonia, the fundamental rights of the LGBT community have no value. Their right to live is endangered,” Pirovska added.
© Balkan Insight

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Sweden: Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot.

24/10/2014- Södertörn district court said it could not prove that the three members of the Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR) had carried out a knife attack in the Stockholm suburb Hökarängen, despite witness testimony from a man they knew. But the court did find two of the same suspects guilty of racial agitation and rioting at an anti-racism demon-stration in another suburb, Kärrtorp, a week later. The pair were each sentenced to seven months in prison.

News of the demo last December shocked Swedes, as neo-Nazis attacked a crowd that included families with small children. Four other SMR members were jailed earlier this year for their part in the clashes, which left several people injured. In the Hökarängen stabbing, the three suspects were charged with attempted murder and assault. Two people were injured in the attack. One of them was struck by his assailants. The other victim, a visitor from Nigeria, received serious stab wounds. The prosecutor said his attackers targeted the man because of his skin colour.

When questioned, one of the suspects, an 18-year-old SMR member, said he had used force “in self-defence” but denied taking part in a knife attack. “You know, that really would be a very strict breach of our rules, to use violence unprovoked,” he told the court. He said SMR was “absolutely not” a racist group. He agreed they were national socialists but said, “there’s a big damn difference”. The two other suspects denied involvement in the attack. The Nigerian victim said he was stopped by the men while out walking in Hökarängen. “So I took out my earphones to listen to them and hear what they had to say. Then I was stabbed here, so deeply, in my stomach,” he told SVT’s Uppdrag Granskning, an investigative news programme.

The court said the only evidence tying the suspects to the attack was the testimony of an acquaintance, a man who was also previously a suspect in the case. Testimony of this kind “has to be treated with special care, and it alone is not sufficient for a guilty verdict,” said Judge Sara Rosén in a statement. The court said it also took into account the fact that the witness only stepped forward after seeing pictures of himself on the television show, and his testimony could be viewed as an attempt to protect himself. The court sought to contact him again but was unable to find him.

The three men were also cleared of involvement in an attack on another man on the same night in December 2013. Surveillance footage showed the suspects following a man and beating him on the platform at the Hökarängen metro station. The events shown in the video were partially obscure, however, and the men were able to argue they had acted in self-defence after the camera caught the alleged victim striking one of them on the head with a bottle.
© The Local - Sweden

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Czech authorities alarmingly unwilling to prosecute online hate crimes

Ill-will, incompetence or indifference. In which category does the inactivity of the Czech Police with respect to racist threats and verbal attacks belong?

22/10/2014- The failures of the criminal justice authorities result in making it possible for incitement to racism and threats to be made with impunity in the virtual realm, especially on social networking sites. Zdeněk Ryšavý, director of the ROMEA organization, recently became the target of such threats. More and more Czech citizens are personally experiencing this every day. People are becoming the victims of online threats because of their alternative opinions, religion, skin color, or - in the case of the director of ROMEA - because they refuse to agree with incitements to racism or to participate in disseminating xenophobic opinions.

When people fear for their lives, it is natural for them to turn to the police for help and protection, as the police motto goes. However, after experiencing bureaucratic obstacles and the time it takes to write up various documents and requests or make official statements, many realize the futility of seeking such police assistance; while rank and file detectives in the police departments do their best to help, their dependency on the often absurd instructions given them by police command ties their hands.

Incitement to murder
On 17 February a Czech-language Facebook page was launched with hateful content and an unambiguous name: "We Demand the Public Execution of the Executive Director of Romea, o.s., Zdeněk Ryšavý" ("Požadujeme veřejnou popravu výkonného ředitele Romea o.s. Zdeňka Ryšavého"). In addition to other texts inciting violence against a particular group, on 28 February the following discussion post also turned up there: "Not only will Zdeněk Ryšavý and his daughter have to pay with their blood, but so will Tomáš Bystrý, Jarmila Balážová and the dubious artist and perverted homosexual David Tišet" [sic, the correct spelling is Tišer - editors]. A Facebook user appearing under the name Gabriel Zamrazil then posted: "I totally agree. He deserves death.... Let me do it."

This commentary indicated a readiness to personally commit a crime or to otherwise ensure its realization. Ryšavý reported the page to Facebook as hateful and demanded that it be removed. "We immediately reported the page and called on our fans to do the same," Ryšavý told news server Romea.cz. Facebook sent a response within moments. "We have checked the page you reported as containing hateful language or symbols and found it does not violate our Community Principles," read the answer. This is the automatic reply that Facebook sends out within just a few minutes in such cases.

Publicity helped
Ryšavý, afraid for his own life and for the security of his family, filed a criminal report on 5 March about the facts indicating that the making of criminal threats (Section 353 Act No. 40/2009, Coll.), incitement to commit a crime (Section 364) and approval of a crime (Section 365) had all been perpetrated. The presumption also exists that the people who supported these Facebook threats by clicking the "like" button (another 27 people) have committed the felony of approving of a crime. The police response that followed could have been a model for an absurd tragicomedy about how the rule of law works, one that should be screened in police academies as an example of how police officers and the state prosecutor are definitely not supposed to proceed when fulfilling their obligations. Ultimately, what helped the case was publicizing it; most probably, when the perpetrator learned from the media that a criminal investigation was underway, he got scared and erased the Facebook page himself.

Lost in translation
"The unwillingness of the Police of the Czech Republic to pursue serious verbal crimes like this is alarming," said Klára Kalibová, a lawyer who directs the In IUSTITIA organization, which participated in writing up the criminal report. The correct URL address of the Facebook page was included in that communication. Police had to first have the text of the report translated into English, and it then underwent approval according to a so-called Telecommunications Service Monitoring protocol, in accordance with the Czech Criminal Code, after which it was sent by the Police Presidium to the country at issue. In the first phase, that was Ireland, which is where Facebook has its European branch.

Not only did that entire procedure take several months, but the Czech Police sent the wrong URL address to Ireland. "Understandably, they wrote back from Ireland that the URL address was wrong and needed correction," Kalibová comments, adding, "but [the Czech Police] didn't correct it - instead they issued an absurd decision that was not based on the truth, claiming that they had not managed to find the perpetrator and that the case was being postponed." After some time, there was nothing left to do but to resubmit the motion to the police, again with the correct URL address. The police were repeatedly called upon to communicate with Face-book.

In the interim, however, an internal methodological instruction for the Police of the Czech Republic took effect according to which officers must first consult every-thing with the state prosecutor, who will decide on how to proceed. This, of course, meant that the excruciating process of the criminal investigation was far from over. "One state prosecutor, whom I will not name, but who is presented as a leading specialist in extremism, by the way, has already shelved several cases of verbal crimes, saying they are allegedly not serious and are covered by freedom of speech protections," Kalibová said. Those cases have involved, for example, right-wing extremists from the National Resistance, or Patrik Banga's criminal report filed against a journalist who invented and published a "news" story about Romani people allegedly robbing a collection that had been taken up for flood victims. "In Zdeněk Ryšavý's case, a police officer consulted it with [the state prosecutor] and she decided not to file charges. She allegedly insisted in her decision that in her experience, the Americans would not pursue this," Kalibová said.

The excuse of freedom of speech in the USA
What is absurd about the state prosecutor's approach in this context is the fact that she has argued in her decision that freedom of speech is extensive in American legislative practice. The state prosecutor's interpretation of that information is that US law tolerates these kinds of threats. That claim is dubious to say the least, because death threats against a specific individual are prosecutable in the USA, just as they are in the Czech Republic. It is mainly dubious in another sense: The state prosecutor either does not know or does not want to know that she was supposed to have been turning in this case not to the USA, but to Ireland, where EU legislation applies.

She is, therefore, involuntarily participating in creating de facto impunity for verbal crimes committed in a racist context in the Czech Republic. What is paradoxical is that according to our information, the Irish branch of Facebook responsible for Central Europe is friendly and helpful when it comes to intervening against such excesses, but of course they need the correct information to do so, and the Police of the Czech Republic, and indirectly the state prosecutor, basically were incapable of supplying it. "I was in contact with Irish Facebook's head of public relations for Central Europe, who said that if the police can prove this to her, she would cooperate with them. She told me: Have them write it up properly and we will be happy to oblige," said Kalibová, "but the Czech police officers, of course, did not respond to that."

Calls for murder illegal in US too
Kalibová believes this points to a serious systemic problem in addressing hate crime in a cybercrime context, because Europe cannot be toothless in its cooperation with the United States, and the clarification of specific crimes should not have to depend upon whether Czech police officers speak English or not. The state prosecu-tor's key argument, that the case of Zdeněk Ryšavý falls under the protection of freedom of speech as it is interpreted in the United States, is doubly moot. Even if the case were to fall under American legislation (and not Irish law, as it actually does), any call for the specific murder of a specific person is clearly illegal in all of these systems. "This is extremely serious misconduct by the criminal justice authorities and it is endangering the security of a specific person and his family," Kalibová stresses; she is considering using her final enforceable procedural tool, that of a complaint to the supervising Prosecutor's Office, which could order the state attorney to proceed in accordance with the Criminal Code.

Grist to the mill of the xenophobes
Giving the excuse that threats to publicly execute a Czech citizen and his family cannot be prosecuted by referring to the practically unlimited freedom of speech in the United States of America is unacceptable for two reasons: Such an excuse not only contravenes the facts, it mainly contributes to a false legal analysis and reinforces Czech racists and other extremists in the illusion that their behavior is tolerated by society and the state. This is particularly dangerous in a situation where blogs, the media, and social networks are abuzz with incitements to hatred.

Such lack of action further disseminates the feeling that calls for violence against ethnic minorities, or against those whose opinions differ from ours, are generally tolerated. In this context, the futile, long-term, strenuous efforts of this author to contact those responsible at the Police of the Czech Republic for a statement on this issue is symptomatic of a bigger problem; if the Czech Police provide us a statement after this piece is published, we will be glad to publish it.
© Romea.

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Slovakia: Neo-Nazi fined EUR 400 for kicking victim in the head

20/10/2014- The Slovak news server ta3.com reports that the first sentence has been handed down in the scandal of the aggressive neo-Nazis who assaulted customers of the Mariatchi Bar in the Slovak town of Nitra last year. Professional soldier Tomáš Spišiak has been fined EUR 400, which he must pay the state for having kicked a defenseless, prone person twice in the head. Spišiak must also reimburse the victim's health insurance company EUR 12.60. If he does not pay the fine, he will go to prison for four months. Because the settlement was reached out of court, the decision has now taken effect. Spišiak confessed to committing the crime and concluded the agreement with the Public Prosecutor regarding his culpability and punishment. The District Court in Bratislava has now approved the arrangement. The other perpetrators involved face up to 12 years in prison.

How the assault took place
Last October a group of skinhead youth visited the Mariatchi bar in the town center. They provoked people and then said they wanted to buy cigarettes. When the bar refused the skinheads service, they began to shout and would not leave even after the owner asked them to. The other customers pushed them outside, but the right-wing extremists returned with reinforcements. Bar owner Radovan Richtárik exited the bar in order to stop the skinheads. "I wanted to tell them to drop it, but they wasted no time," he said. The skinheads immediately began to beat him and some of his customers up. When people fell to the ground, they brutally stomped on them, kicking some in the face and head without mercy. When the barmaid tried to chase away a neo-Nazi who was jumping up and down on a man lying limp on the sidewalk, another attacker slapped her. The attacks against the bar were not random, as the neo-Nazis are aware that Richtárik is an activist with the People against Racism initiative in Slovakia. The usual customers of his bar are students in particular. "People with dreadlocks come here too, which bothers [the neo-Nazis] also," Richtárik said.

Kotleba's people
The violent thugs usually gather in the private Walhala Club across the street from the bar and are part of the entourage around Slovak Fascist Marián Kotleba. He was voted Governor of the Banská Bystrica Region in the latest elections. Members of the Walhala Club have created a closed group for themselves on Facebook. Its profile photograph is a drawing of two skinheads shaking hands against a backdrop of the Slovak flag. One of the men in the drawing has an abbreviation for the international neo-Nazi network Combat 18 tatooed on his neck. The Walhala Club Facebook group has four administrators. Three of the Facebook administrators previously ran in the Parliamentary elections for Kotleba's LS-NS party. The page is also administered by Jakub Škrabák, the current boss of the Fascist association Slovak Solidarity (Sloven-ská pospolitost), which was previously led by Kotleba; the courts have already dissolved Slovak Solidarity as a political party. Škrabák is not from Nitra. He ran for Kotleba's LS-NS party in 2012 and 2012. Two of the Facebook administrators are from Nitra. Anton Baťovský and Dušan Sobolič were once activists with the National Resistance organization and Baťovský has the name of that organization tatooed on his back; both ran for Kotleba's party in 2010.

Last year's attack not the only one
Last year's attack was not the only conflict sparked by neo-Nazis in the bar. The right-wing extremists opened up the Walhala enterprise across the street from it, officially as a private card-playing club. They used to gather there on Saturday evenings, and Richtárik said there were times when he had problems with them every week. They broke windows, kicked in doors, and threatened the customers. The neo-Nazi attacks came to a head on New Year's Eve. "First, before midnight they had broken five windows," a customer recalls. "It was probably around 3 AM when they returned and kicked in the door. Rádo ran out after them with a camera. They saw him photographing them and started to beat him up, pushing him to the ground, kicking and stomping him. We wanted to help him, but one of the skinheads grabbed me and held me back. When I tried to get away he tore my coat," the customer said. The bar owner ended up in the hospital with a broken leg after the assault. On New Year's Day he was operated on.

Leading figures horrified
Juraj Malíček, a teacher at Nitra's University of Constantine the Philosopher, said he had experienced similar battles as a student. "The video footage was terrible, but it was not surprising. I have lived in Nitra since 1993 and I know the neo-Nazi community here has always been strong. When I was at college we always preferred to walk to the dormitory in the evening as a group rather than alone. In reality this is much more common than just that video," he said. Actress Eva Pavlíková and painter Karel Félix believe neo-Nazism is not just a problem of Nitra. "I don't believe that Nitra is exceptional, rather, this case has drawn attention to everything. Naturally I condemn this and the claims that this is not about extremism have upset me," Félix said. The head of Nitra's theater company, Ján Greššo, called the attack brutal, hateful and inhuman. "I am always appalled when I see anger that harms people not just physically, but also psychologically," he said. Former Slovak presidential candidate Pavol Hrušovský also lives in Nitra and has demanded harsh punishment for the perpetrators since the beginning. "Such brutal violence is deplorable. I am sorry it took the police so long to investigate given the video footage," he said.

Neo-Nazis in Nitra have long committed assaults
Neo-Nazis in Nitra have been attacking people for quite some time now. For example, in 2008 they assaulted a group of young people in front of the Old Theater and have established a branch of the militant neo-nazi National Resistance movement network there. In the past neo-Nazis have organized a "March against Drugs" in Nitra on the anniversary of the founding of the Fascist Slovak state. That entity collaborated with Nazi Germany during the war.
© Romea.

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UK: Man beaten and hit by car in suspected race hate gang attack

Police probe after 34 year-old beaten up by gang in Lower Breck Road

20/10/2014- Hate crime detectives are appealing for witnesses after a man was attacked and then hit by a car in a gang attack in Anfield. Police confirmed they are investigating the “serious assault” in Lower Breck Road, on Sunday. Paramedics found the 34-year-old victim with what North West Ambulance Service termed a “serious” head injury and an injury to his knee and ligament damage. Police said he was taken to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital where his condition is serious but not life-threatening. Officers were called to Lower Breck Road at about 5.30pm amid reports a man had been hit by a car near Sams takeaway. They think the man was playing football with friends in Breckside Park at about 5pm where they had a row with a group of youths. The youths are believed to have hurled racial abuse at the victim before leaving the park.

A short time later a number of men returned to the park and assaulted the victim before making off in a grey Vauxhall Astra and a blue transit van. Lower Breck Road was closed for a short time yesterday whilst officers carried out forensic searches. Detectives are also checking CCTV from the area and are appealing to anyone with information to come forward Detective Sergeant James May, said: "This was a very serious and unprovoked attack on a man who had just been out enjoying a game of football with friends. "A group of teenagers approached the victim and shouted racial abuse at him and his friends. A short time later a number of men went to the park and assaulted the victim. "We are treating this as a racially aggravated assault and believe the victim was also hit by a vehicle before the offenders made off from the area. The victim suffered facial injuries and a knee injury and although he is out of hospital is likely to need further treatment

"The assault took place during daylight hours and it is possible people in the area saw what happened. I am sure the local community would agree that this type of behaviour has no place on Merseyside and I would like to reassure the public that we will do everything possible to find those responsible. "Information from the public is really important for our investigations and every piece of information is looked into so please come forward if you know anything about this matter.”
© The Liverpool Echo

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UK: Ask any gay person in London: homophobia is alive and well (opinion)

Gay people still suffer abuse in all areas of their life – from strangers, neighbours, workmates and even family
By Ruth Hunt, Acting Chief Executive of Stonewall  

20/10/2014-  For many young lesbian, gay and bisexual people growing up it’s a mecca. A safe haven of acceptance where same-sex couples hold hands in public and everyone is just more at ease with ‘the gay thing’. But ask any Londoner who is lesbian, gay or bisexual whether this is the case and you’ll be met with a pause. In recent days a male couple has claimed that they were subjected to horrific abuse on a bus, simply because someone took offence at their public display of affection. At Stonewall we know that incidents like this continue to blight the lives of too many gay people.

In the 25 years since Stonewall was founded it has sometimes felt that progress has been an unstoppable march forward, carried on a wave of overwhelming public support. Britain’s 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people can now marry their same-sex partner, enjoy an equal age of consent, serve in the military and live free from being sacked simply because of their sexual orientation. We hear from supporters and opponents alike that now is the time to declare ‘mission accomplished’ whilst standing triumphantly aboard the decks of our Pride floats. Despite this progress homophobic and biphobic hate crimes and incidents remain rife in our villages, towns and cities.

Across Britain some 630,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual people were the victim of a homophobic hate crime or incident over just the last three years. And in the workplace 2.4m people of working age witnessed verbal homophobic bullying in the last five years. Gay people still suffer this abuse in all areas of their life – from strangers, neighbours, workmates and even family. The abuse ranges from verbal insults and harassment to devastating physical assaults. In London alone some 19 per cent of lesbian, gay or bisexual people say they’ve been the victim of a homophobic hate crime or incident in the last three years. While the legal landscape has been transformed since Stonewall was established 25 years ago, it’s clear that there’s still much work to do to win over hearts and minds to support lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

The picture’s little better in schools. When we asked teachers about their willingness and ability to tackle homophobic abuse in schools, it was London’s educators who reported the lowest score of any across the nation when it came to even knowing whether they could talk about issues like same-sex parents. In recent years schools and local authorities working with Stonewall have driven down physical homophobic bullying in schools by ten percentage points. But the use of anti-gay language in school is almost endemic with 99 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people hearing phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’.

So for gay couples scared to show affection in public, for a young bisexual person worried out being out at work and for a same-sex family scared to use public transport with their children, we’re far from ‘mission accomplished’. To create a world where everyone feels able to be themselves will require all of us to stand up to abuse and challenge prejudice. We can’t be bystanders when our friends, neighbours, colleagues and families are made to feel less worthy and their lives less valid. It’s time to show it’s the end of the line for homophobic hate crime.
© The Independent -Voices

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British Hero Defies Anti-Muslim Sentiments

19/10/2014- An East London Muslim politician, who has been named as the Hero of the Year in the European Diversity Awards, aims to correct the negative image of Muslims, defying the soaring anti-Muslims attacks in the British community. “If you watch Theresa May’s [UK’s Home Secretary] speech at the Tory conference, she talks about extremism and then refers to a large Muslim community in Tower Hamlets,” the hero of the year, Tower Hamlets councilor Rabina Khan, told East London Line on Saturday, October 18. “She doesn’t exactly accuse us of Sharia law, but she puts them in the same sentence. “Comments like these are enough to damage the whole Muslim community.” The councilor's comments come amid increasing anti-Muslims attacks in Tower Hamlets, prompted by the distorted media coverage coupled with remarks by influential politicians that convey a negative image of Muslims.

Moving to Tower Hamlets in the 1990s, Khan has been promoting gender equality and incorporation between different groups in the borough over the past 15 years. The Muslim woman was titled the “Hero of the year” in thcoe European Diversity Awards earlier this month for her work as “an independent councilor and community worker promoting equality and diversity”. Khan's award coincided with an Ofsted inspection of an Islamic primary school over extremism allegations, putting the politician under attack from “negative media coverage”. “I think that the media have a wrong perception of the borough. It has been covered in a negative light,” Khan said. An earlier report by think-tank Chatham House identified a considerable Islamophobic sentiment in Britain, detecting a “wide reservoir of public sympathy for claims that Islam and the growth of Muslim communities pose a fundamental threat to the native group and nation.”

A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims, estimated by 2.7 million. A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.

Negative Image
Challenging the negative image of Muslims, the Muslim diplomat asserted that no single terrorist has been arrested in Tower Hamlets. Khan said: “When it comes to facts, I haven’t heard about one extremist being arrested in this borough, or being challenged and finally jailed.” Along with promoting equality and diversity, the Muslim councilor has been ecouraging Muslims students integration by visiting schools, clubs and arranging summer camps. “We use their energy in a positive way, not to teach them to go out and bomb people,” Khan said. Explaining her struggle as a veiled Muslim politician in London, Khan recalled a meeting where she was discrimina-ted against because of her Islamic appearance. “The assistant took all the others to their seats but I was left there. They were all white, middle-aged men. I didn’t go and said I was a part of the meeting, I just sat there and waited,” she said. “The assistant finally came, looked at me and said that the meeting was about to start. He thought I was a secretary.”

Despite the incidents of Islamophobia in east London, Khan still optimistic to see positive change in politics, media and people’s mood. “Younger people go out there to find information because they want the truth, they don’t want the lies. If they have the truth, then they will challenge the Muslim community and they will challen-ge me,” Khans said. “They have the right to do that: if we don’t get challenged, we can can’t bring about positive changes.” In September 2013, about 15 anti-Muslim hate crimes were recorded, compared with three in the same month in 2012 and nine in 2011. Hundreds of anti-Muslim hate offences have been carried out across UK in 2013, with Britain's Metropolitan police recording an increase of 49% than last year. The Metropolitan Police recorded 500 Islamophobic offences from January to mid-November this year, compared with 336 offences in 2012 and 318 in 2011.
© On Islam

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Anti-Semitic graffiti in Spain due to media coverage of Gaza, watchdog group says

19/10/2014- A Spanish pro-Israel group said the recent spraying of anti-Semitic graffiti in Toledo was the result of media coverage of the latest Gaza war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Madrid-based Action and Communication on the Middle East lobby group, or ACOM, made the assertion over the weekend in connection with the Oct. 4 spray-painting of dozens of epithets on Jewish heritage sites in the Old City of Toledo. Two days later, police arrested a 32-year-old in connection with the graffiti, lavanguardia.com reported. “Spanish media coverage of the last Gaza war and the Israeli conflict in general has encouraged such actions,” Daniel Fernandez of ACOM wrote in a statement on Friday. “Spanish public TV’s coverage, coupled with general ignorance in Spain about Israel, could serve to incite just about anyone.” The reports about the Toledo vandalism did not name the suspect or indicate whether the actions were believed to be connected to Israel.

One of the epithets was spray-painted on the foot of a statue of Samuel Levi Abulafia, who in the 14th century founded Toledo’s El Transito Synagogue. It read “No Jews!” and featured dollar signs. Abulafia, or Samuel Levi, served as treasurer under Peter I, the King of Castile, until his death in 1360 in Seville, where he was tortured on trumped-up charges of treason. In July, the Jewish community of Madrid said it would sue a celebrated Spanish author, Antonio Gala, who in a July 23 Op-Ed in the El Mundo daily cited Israel’s attacks in Gaza to justify the mass expulsion of Spanish Jewry during the 15th and 16th centuries, among other atrocities committed against Jews. Later that month, 100 Spanish celebrities, including Academy Award winners Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, endorsed an open letter accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. Fewer than 100 Jews live in Toledo, which prior to the Spanish Inquisition was home to one of the Iberian Peninsula’s largest Jewish populations.
© JTA News

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Headlines 17 October, 2014

Attacks on Albanian Shops in Serbia Condemned

A wave of attacks on Albanian businesses in Serbia has occurred in the wake of the disastrous Serbia-Albania football match earlier this week.

17/10/2014- Serbian police have arrested one person, following a series of attacks on Albanian-owned shops in Serbia that came after a football match raised tensions to boiling point in the country. An 18-year-old man was arrested on Friday on suspicion of having taken part in attacks on two bakeries in the town of Banovci owned by ethnic Albanians. Attacks on Albanian-owned businesses in the northern province of Vojvodina started after a football match between Albania and Serbia on October 14 ended in chaos and fighting on the pitch. The UK referee called off the match. A day later, two shops in the towns of Stara Pazova and Sombor were set on fire while another in Serbia’s second city of Novi Sad was stoned. The attacks continued on October 15. During the night a bakery in Novi Sad was burned, while hooligans damaged five more shops in Novi Sad and Vrsac.

Bajram Temaj, the owner of Novi Sad bakery that was torched on Thursday night, said police turned down his request for protection, which he had made after attacks started a day earlier. He said the police had answered that they did not have enough patrol vehicles or the capacity to respond to his request. Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, condemned the attacks and stated that all citizens and their properties were entitled to protection. “These are our citizens who work and pay taxes regularly and we will guarantee them full security,” he said. “These are criminal acts and the government will respond by protecting its citizens,” Vucic added.

Aleksandar Nikolic, State Secretary of the Interior Ministry, said Serbia would not tolerate the spread of religious and ethnic hatred, and that all those who destroyed property in this fashion would be punished. “The ministry is working intensively to identify the individuals who have attacked facilities owned by our citizens of Albanian nationality,” Nikolic said. He also stated that the police would guarantee the security of all the country’s citizens. “We are doing everything in our power to prevented these and similar attacks, despite the brutal provocation at the football match”. The “provocation” referred to was a drone that flew over the stadium in Belgrade bearing a map of Greater Albania. Fighting then erupted on the pitch and some Albanian players were assaulted by Serbian fans who had invaded the field.
© Balkan Insight

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UK: Religious hate crime in England and Wales up almost 50% in one year

Crime figures released today have shown that the number of rapes reported and recorded by police is at its highest ever level, while there has been an almost 50% increase in religious hate crime.

16/10/2014- The Office for National Statistics found that there were 2,273 religious hate incidents and 22,116 rapes reported to and recorded by police, though crime as a whole fell 16% to 7.1m. Statisticians believe the increase in religious hate crime may have been driven by the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in May last year, while John Flatley, head of crime statistics at the ONS, told the BBC that that the rise in rapes may be party due to the increased willingness of victims to come forward. ‘We have seen over the last few years a notable rise in victims coming forward to report historical offences,’ said John Flatley ‘But this recent set of figures shows quite a change in that pattern, with 73% of the rise due to current offences.’

Chief Constable Jeff Farrar added: ‘Victims of abuse have greater confidence that if they report to the police they will be listened to, taken seriously and their report will be investigated fully.’ Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said that the statistics showed there was now 2.3million fewer crimes per year than when the coalition Government took office, including 413,000 fewer violent acts and 160,000 burglaries. Criminal damage was down by 962,000 incidents. ‘This is good news for a safer England and Wales,’ he said.
© Metro UK

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Russia: Two Central Asian Migrant Workers Killed In Moscow

13/10/2014- Two Central Asian migrant workers -- from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan -- were found stabbed to death in Moscow on October 12. The second secretary at the Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow, Aiymkan Kulukeeva, told RFE/RL on October 13 that the two men's bodies had been found in a park in southwestern Moscow. Police in the Russian capital were searching for two men and a woman identified as suspects. Attacks on people from Central Asia and the Caucasus, many of them labor migrants, have become frequent in Russian cities in recent years. Sova, a Moscow-based think tank that monitors xenophobia and extremism, said last month that 14 people have been killed and 77 injured in ethnically motivated attacks across Russia in 2014.
© RFE/RL

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Russia: Moscow Tear Gas Attack Shows Rise of Anti-Semitism in Putin Era

Rosh Hashanah Battle Points to Disturbing Trend.
By David E. Fishman


12/10/2014- On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, a group of five or six men disrupted a Jewish concert in the Great Hall of Moscow’s International Music House with a tear gas attack. A half-hour into the program, the men, who were seated in the first row, began shouting menacing insults at rock star Andrey Makarevich, the featured performer of the evening, and hurled canisters of pepper gas into the hall, forcing the audience of 400 to evacuate the building teary-eyed and coughing. To the Russian Jewish Congress, a major national Jewish organization, this was a clear anti-Semitic attack. In a statement after the onslaught, the group condemned the incident as a desecration of the Jewish holiday, which many members of Russia’s largely nonreligious Jewish population celebrate through cultural rather than religious observance. The use of gas against Jews was especially hurtful, the RJC said, conjuring up painful memories of the Holocaust.

But state-controlled Russian TV networks presented things otherwise. NTV, for example, described the attack as a legitimate expression of outrage at Makarevich “for his friendship and support of the fascist junta in Ukraine,” where pro-Russian rebels, with Russian military aid, are battling government forces. Television and the mainstream Russian press coverage have made no mention of the Jewish nature of the occasion (Rosh Hashanah), the concert program (“Yiddish Jazz”) or the makeup of the audience. In the media’s reading, the incident had nothing to do with anti-Semitism; it was all about Makarevich’s politics.

The truth lies somewhere in between, but closer to the RJC position than to that of NTV. Over the past year or two, Makarevich, lead singer of the iconic Russian rock band Time Machine (Mashina Vremeny), has been on two journeys. One has been an exploration of his Jewish roots: His mother is Jewish and reportedly lives in Israel, while his father is Belarusian. That journey took him to the American Yiddish swing music of the 1920s and ’30s, to songs such as “Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn,” made famous in America by the Barry Sisters. He produced a CD of “Yiddish Jazz,” which brought Yiddish music (sung mainly in English and Russian translation) into the mainstream of Russian popular culture.

The other journey has been Makarevich’s increasingly vociferous condemnation of the Putin regime and of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He has marched in protest rallies in Moscow and traveled to Ukraine to perform, and his latest song is called “My Country Has Gone Insane.” (“My country has gone insane, / and there’s nothing I can do to help. / What should you do, how should you live, / if everything is topsy-turvy? / You don’t have to grow the wings of an angel; / just don’t be a shit. I’m sure of one thing: / it’s time to choose. / I’ve decided not to be a shit / and to live and die with a clear conscience.”)

Makarevich hasn’t connected his Jewish and dissident journeys, other than to say that he wants to be a more open person. But the xenophobic Russian extreme right, which the authorities have elevated to a legitimate position on the political spectrum, has connected the dots. For them, Makarevich represents an age-old paradigm: the treacherous kike. At a protest demonstration in the spring, a right-wing heckler shouted out at him, “Look at Andrey, the zhid has sold himself to Bandera.” That was a reference to Stepan Bandera, leader of the ultra-nationist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists during World War II.

A group called the National Bolshevik Party took credit for the attack on his Rosh Hashanah concert. The assailants — who called out “Makarevich is a traitor of the homeland” in deep menacing voices for a full minute before hurling their tear gas canisters — didn’t shout anti-Semitic slogans. But the National Bolsheviks have a long-documented history of anti-Semitism. And ethnically Russian performers have not been vilified, nor have they had their concerts disrupted. Makarevich is not alone; there are several activists of Jewish heritage in the Anti-War/Anti-Putin Movement, which attracted 30,000 to a protest march in September. Several were targeted in the recent propaganda film “The Junta’s Thirteen Friends,” which aired on NTV. At least five of those featured were Jewish in a country where Jews constitute an estimated 0.25% of the population. The film is a classic Soviet hatchet job, a genre now making a revival in Russia. In it, ominous background music accompanies secretly filmed videos and unrelenting character assassination. Among the Jews accused of treason, fascism and acting as paid agents of the Ukrainian junta were Makarevich, journalist Viktor Shenderovich, author Dmitryi Bykov and economist Stanislav Belkovsky.

But when the film came to activist Mark Galperin, who has helped organize several recent protests in downtown Moscow, it went out of its way to point out his Jewishness. Galperin himself has shown no particular interest in Jewish affairs or his Jewish identity, but he did write a Facebook post a year and a half ago, calling upon Jews not to work for the Putin regime or to receive honors from it. The film lashed out at him for his “unpatriotic” appeal. It then quoted a non-Jewish “expert” commentator: “Galperin is a disgrace to the Jewish people. We’ve seen many times in history how provocateurs like Galperin have been the catalysts and stimulators of the terrible phenomenon of anti-Semitism.” So here we are again: Jews are “the catalysts and stimulators” of anti-Semitism. The charge was a not-so veiled warning by the state-controlled propaganda machine: Jews should be quiet and not join the protests, or they will face an anti-Semitic backlash.

The emotional statement issued by the Russian Jewish Congress after the Makarevich concert suggests the organization is worried that the backlash has begun, and that it will grow if it isn’t nipped in the bud. Meanwhile, the other major Jewish umbrella organization, the Chabad-led Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, known by the Russian acronym, FEOR, did not react to the tear gas attack. The federation has been a loyal ally of the Putin regime and presumably didn’t want to appear to be defending a Jewish “Fascist and Banderist,” even against a tear gas attack while playing apolitical Yiddish music. In other words, FEOR decided to heed the propaganda film’s advice. (A third major group, the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, issued a condemnation of the attack, without the RJC’s rhetorical flourishes.)

In September I tried to console a colleague of mine in St. Petersburg who complained in a Skype conversation about the “difficult moral and psychological conditions” under which he and other intellectuals are living: “Come on,” I said to him. “You lived through Soviet times, you should be used to this kind of stuff.” He replied: “This time it’s much more aggressive. And it’s not just talk.” The next day, an unknown assailant splattered a bucket of green disinfectant on Galperin, when he left his home on his way to a demonstration. Galperin attended the protest covered in green gook from head to toe. The police have not apprehended Galperin’s or Makarevich’s assailants. Don’t hold your breath.

Just a few weeks ago, I sent Jewish New Year greetings by email to another colleague in St. Petersburg. I wrote to him in Russian, but he responded in Hebrew — which surprised me, since we usually corresponded in Russian. But it dawned on me as I read on that his choice of language was intentional. The chances that the Russian security services would bother to scan Hebrew-language email messages were lower. “All my hopes for the future of my beloved country have been crushed,” he wrote. Then he quoted a poem by Chaim Nachman Bialik: “Now my well is like a wound; it only drips sometimes. And my heart smokes in secret, rolled in dust and blood.” That sums up the mood of many. There is a war going on in Ukraine. And Jews face difficulties there as well. But friends tell me that the line in front of the Israeli Consulate is much longer in Moscow than in Kiev.
David E. Fishman is professor of Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He directs JTS’s program in the former Soviet Union, Project Judaica.
© The Forward

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Ireland: Call for hate crime legislation

Rights groups have renewed calls for hate crime legislation after only 47 incidents were recorded in the first half of the year.

12/10/2014- Officially, the number of racist, homophobic and anti-semitic cases up to the end of June is slightly below the previous two years which saw 111 reports for the whole of 2013 and 118 in 2012. Campaigners claim Ireland is the only western democracy not to specifically classify hate crime, leaving a massive gap between the records and the reality for minority groups. Based on Garda data, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said there were 40 racially motivated incidents in the first half of the year, six homophobic and one anti-semitic. Most cases involved minor assaults or public order offences. Last year there were more than 100 crimes classed by gardai as hate motivated - 92 racist incidents, 17 homophobic and two anti-semitic.

Jennifer Schweppe, University of Limerick law lecturer, said hate crime legislation should cover the nine areas already set down in the state's equality laws, including disability. "If we had hate crime legislation, then there would be a reason to record the hate motivation," she said. "Ireland is outstanding as being the only western democracy without hate crime legislation. We are very far behind. Even if you take our nearest neighbours - we are 16 years behind Britain and in Northern Ireland it was introduced in 2004, so there's a huge gap."

The CSO data shows racially motivated crime peaked in 2007 when 215 incidents were put on the Garda Pulse system, while the peak for anti-semitism was 2010 when 13 instances were recorded. Homophobia peaked in 2009 with 36 offences, according to the records, with subsequent years showing 14 incidents in 2010, 21 in 2011 and 18 in 2013. Among the heavily publicised recent hate crimes was the targeting of then justice minister Alan Shatter last April when a photograph of Nazi soldiers and white powder, which turned out to be physically harmless, was sent to his south Dublin home. He was also subject to anti-semitic abuse on posters in Limerick last year.

The Irish Integration Centre reported earlier this year, based on studies of hate crime statistics, that people are 22 times more likely to report racist incidents in England and Wales than in Ireland. The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) is planning to further develop this by launching an online homophobic crime recording system in December. The group's policy development officer Craig Dwyer said: "We have statistics to go on but anecdotally and from research we would echo concerns that there is a massive under-reporting. We know a lot more goes on than is suggested by the Pulse statistics." Mr Dwyer said in Glen's experience crimes motivated by homophobia are not always recorded as such and noted that people who are victims of transphobia crimes cannot have the incidents properly recorded on Pulse. There are only three classifications on the system.

A Garda spokesman said the force regards racist or hate crime as a strategic importance. "The Garda Racial Intercultural and Diversity Office strives to ensure that minority communities can report any form of racist incident to the gardai in the confidence that it will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly," he said. Transgender Equality Network Ireland (Teni) is also planning to expand its own reporting system which has previously identified half of victims of transphobic or homophobic incidents did not go to police. A report from the University of Limerick last month called for four new offences aggravated by hostility to be enshrined in law: assault, harassment, criminal damage and public order. Ms Schweppe added: "Evidence from abroad tells us that there is a link between hate incidents occurring, and their escalation into hate crime. If the Gardai can properly track incidents, they can deal with them appropriately and try to prevent hate crimes occurring."
© The Irish Independent

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Germany: Mosque set on fire in Bad Salzuflen, raising concerns about Islamophobia

11/10/2014- A Mosque in the German town of Bad Salzuflen was set on fire on Saturday, raising again concerns about a rise in Islamophobia and racism. The mosque was found on the entrance floor of a building, out of which the fire department has reportedly saved nine people. Three of the rescued were children, the sources said.
Suspected arson attacks on mosques attended by Turks in Germany raises concerns about a rise in Islamophobia and racism. In Germany alone 81 attacks targeting mosques have been carried out since 2012.
© Daily Sabah

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Headlines 10 October, 2014

UK: Help us find out why some hate crime victims suffer in silence - Camden Council

Residents can help us find out why hate crimes in Camden sometimes go unreported by taking part in our borough-wide survey.

10/10/2014- As part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week (11 to 18 October), Camden Council is asking you to tell us more about hate crime in Camden – including your own experiences and why you think some victims stay silent. We want as many residents as possible to tell us whether they are aware of hate crimes or if they have been targeted themselves. This could have been because of their actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity - anyone can be a victim.

Things that people can suffer as a result of hate crime include:
physical attacks
verbal abuse
domestic abuse
harassment and bullying
damage to property. 

The results of our survey will be published in time for a hate crime conference we are organising for professionals from a wide range of organisations to discuss best practice and the barriers to reporting.

Over the past four years, hate crime reports in Camden have dropped by 35%. There were 633 incidents in the borough from April 2010 to March 2011 and 410 from April 2013 to March 2014. However, there are concerns nationally that about 43% of hate crime goes unreported (Crime Survey for England and Wales). Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Hate crime is a priority for Camden. By taking part in this survey, you will help us to get a better picture of hate crime in the borough and how we can work together to ensure every resident feels safe and confident in reporting hate crime incidents. “We do not tolerate hate crime but we recognise more needs to be done to encourage victims to come forward.” Working with community organisations, projects are already underway in Camden to improve the way we tackle hate crime.

Camden Community Safety Partnership has launched a new reporting scheme, which offers people who have experienced a hate crime the chance to report it via a community organisation that they trust. The local organisations involved are Camden LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Forum, Camden People First, Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre and Queen’s Crescent Community Association. Referrals through the scheme are sent directly to the Police Community Safety Unit. Camden LGBT Forum and CLASP (Camden LGBT Advice and Safety Project) are examples of current good practice. Camden LGBT Forum raises awareness of LGBT hate crime through casework, youth workshops and training. CLASP has encouraged over 100 organisations to carry a window sticker to indicate they are a point of safety for people who are attacked or abused in Camden.

If you would like to speak to someone about a hate crime, you can contact one of our partner organisations or call the Police on 999:


Camden LGBT Forum
camden: camdenlgbtforum.org.uk 
/ 020 7388 5720
Camden People First: camdenpeoplefirst.org.uk
 / 020 7388 2007
Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre: hopscotchawc.org.uk / 020 7388 8198
Queen’s Crescent Community Association: qcca.org.uk / 020 7267 6635
Camden Safety Net: camden.gov.uk/domesticviolence
 / 020 7974 3660

Visit CLASP clasp.camdenlgbtforum.org.uk to view a map of all the organisations that have agreed to help you if you are an LGBT person suffering abuse, harassment or attack on the streets in Camden.
For more information on National Hate Crime Awareness Week, visit stophateuk.org
To take part in the survey visit wearecamden.org
© Camden Town

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UK: How a homophopic gang attack tore one man's whole life apart

Stewart O’Callaghan, left with a punctured lung after six teens assaulted him, describes the emotional fall-out – how it destroyed his relationship, his career, and his hard-fought confidence as a gay man.

10/10/2014- It was a beautiful, balmy summer's evening the night Stewart O'Callaghan lost everything. At 10.30pm on 20 July, 2013, he and his partner Matt left a close friend's house and started walking home down Hackney Road in London's East End. The trees were in full bloom. The heat was just beginning to dip, a breeze picking up as their arms collided and hands linked. A few streets away, the music festival Lovebox boomed and throbbed, throngs of partygoers spilling out into surrounding roads. For the first time, aged 26, Stewart was happy. After a childhood in Reigate, Surrey, with no money, no father, his mother on benefits and endless bullying for being gay, his early adulthood had scarcely been easier. At 20, he was diagnosed with high-functioning Asperger's: the end of the autism spectrum most likely to go unnoticed. He had learnt to manage it and had finally shaken off lingering internalised shame about his sexuality. He'd abandoned a PhD to pursue his passion – tattooing – with demand for his designs growing. And he was in love. That night, he says now, sitting astride a stool, everything felt perfect.

They turned off Hackney Road and left on to Goldsmith's Row: modern flats and a narrow pavement on one side, trees lining Haggerston Park with a wide pavement on the other. Leaves and branches obscured what little street lighting there was. They walked on, chatting intimately. Stewart and Matt, aged 29, had met in a bar the previous Christmas: instant connection, fleeting kiss, numbers exchanged. Matt had only been with women before. Stewart helped him come out, introducing him to the joys of modern gay life in the capital: freedom unimaginable to many, a minority in exuberance. Three days before their nighttime stroll, the Queen had signed into law the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. Stewart did not know that this magic was about to be interrupted, that a few minutes of savagery would gradually dismantle his life. How could he? We are never told this story. We hear only of violence, the act. Tales of homophobic hate crimes are reduced to three words: Gay Gets Beaten. Reports feature only the rock, never the ripples. He returns to that night.

"I noticed three kids loitering on the other side of the road – from their bodies and stature, I'd say mid-to-late teens. They weren't doing anything but I must have sensed something because I thought, 'Just keep walking'. Then I saw three more kids walking towards us. Suddenly the first three were coming up behind and that's when I knew: this is orchestrated and it's going to be serious." All six teenagers had hoods pulled up over their faces, which, with the darkness, masked their faces entirely. "As they approached I realised we were not going to escape, so I looked at one of them and said 'Don't' in a pleading voice. But they didn't stop. He shoulder-barged me and before I knew it one of them had punched Matt hard in the mouth, knocking him out the way so that it was just me, surrounded by six people." From his early experiences of being bullied, Stewart knew what to do now: protect vital organs.

"I knew I couldn't fight off six people and couldn't stay standing, giving them full access to my body, with the possibility of being knocked to the ground and my head hitting the curb. So I dropped down on to my elbows and knees." He climbs off the stall to demonstrate the position: head face-down, foetal, hands around crown. "They started kicking – my ribs, my back – again and again. Winding me. And then they started stamping. All six are on my back, stamping on me." When he rolled on to his left side, they started stamping on his right. "It was all done in total silence. Not a word uttered." They made no attempt to search his pockets or rob him. "They were out for a thrill, and we were two gay men being affectionate to each other: an easy target."

He did not know where Matt was, only discovering later that as they jumped on him, his boyfriend tried desperately to get into the circle, only to be pushed back. The ring on the hand that punched Matt had burst through his lip. "After a while I realised this situation couldn't carry on. I knew that it was only a matter of time before my chest collapsed, or one of them started stamping on my head and that that would kill me." Adrenaline surged. "I started to think clearly, that I'm not going to have a bunch of kids end my life on a road in the middle of Hackney. I wasn't ready to give up." "I brought my elbows up and knocked some of their legs out the way and scrambled through the gaps I made, running, shouting to Matt as best I could to let him know I was out the other side. He ran round and grabbed me, we started shouting for help, making as much noise as possible so people in their houses would hear us."

Spooked by the noise, the attackers ran in the opposite direction. Stewart and Matt kept up the commotion, hoping customers at the nearby Little Georgia restaurant would come and help. The diners carried on eating. Stewart dialled 999. The police arrived and stopped at the other end of the street. "So rather than the police come to us, we had to walk down the street we had just been attacked on," says Stewart. "Matt was bleeding so much he thought he'd lost his teeth." Stewart was having trouble breathing – he assumed he was still winded. "Then one of the officers asked, 'Well, why were you walking down that side of the road anyway?'. It felt like we were being blamed." Neither the police nor paramedics, in an estate car, offered to take them to A&E – Stewart assumed this was because the casualties from Lovebox would make the wait for an ambulance too long. Instead, they were told to walk to Homerton Hospital. It is nearly two miles away. There, while waiting to be seen, Stewart started feeling a bubbling sensation in the top of his chest, but all he could think about was Matt.

"I was scared for him – he'd only been out of the closet since Christmas and suddenly he's having to deal with this ugly side of being gay. I felt responsible, as if I'd pulled him into this world with its daily risk of street violence." Matt was sent to another hospital for his lip to be treated. Stewart was kept in overnight as he was still not breathing properly. He detached mentally. "I went into a kind of autopilot," he says. He was also preoccupied with another thought: the assailants would never be caught. As it was so dark, their faces were covered and their clothes had no markings, even giving descriptions to the police was impossible, let alone identifying them. "From day one of the case I knew I was f****d," he says, looking out of the window. The next morning, after several X-rays, the doctors had news. "My lung was punctured. It was at half capacity. It had detached from the top and crumpled in half." The hospital admitted him to try and save the lung and keep him alive.

"They put a hole in the side of your chest and go in with a wire, which feels horrible, and feed a thicker tube over that, both of which remain attached to a box beside you, which stops the air from remaining in the chest, helping to re-inflate the lung. They said if the tube became detached or if someone knocked it and it fell out I could die within minutes." He was put in intensive care. And then in the critical care ward. The man in the bed next to him, whom Stewart believed to be drunk and homeless, picked up the box. Stewart wrestled it off him, and asked to be moved. There were no other beds. For the next two weeks, he remained in hospital. Matt, recovering well from his burst lip, came every day and sat with him. But it was here that the first ripples began: the shame instilled by the bullies seeped back in.

"You construct a bubble around you, with people who make you feel safe, a life removed from homophobia, and then you find yourself on a hospital ward, vulnerable, surrounded by old straight men and their families and nurses who subtly reveal their attitudes towards you as a gay person – one of them stopped talking to me when she realised Matt was my boyfriend. Suddenly I felt I had to be discreet again. I felt threatened. I found myself covering up the [homoerotic] Tom of Finland tattoo on my calf. I found myself slipping into gender-neutral words like 'partner' around medical staff. The whole situation, after the attack, made me think, 'Maybe I should be that person who shuts up and isn't intimate with his boyfriend in case it makes others feel uncomfortable'."

In hospital, the police came and took a statement. "But they said, 'If you can't identify them there's not a lot we can do'. I don't even know if the statement I gave was coherent because I was on morphine." It would be weeks before Stewart spoke to the police again. "I phoned every day, I could never get through." He was offered an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual) liaison officer. "But I didn't want to be pigeon-holed, I wanted to be treated as the victim of a violent crime who happens to be gay, not palmed off. They didn't explain how that would affect how the case went, or what constitutes a hate crime – what that really means. I felt like they were saying, 'Do you want to play the gay card?'." Stewart was left unclear how the crime had been categorised. The Metropolitan Police confirm to me it was eventually recorded as a homophobic hate crime, but that no one was arrested or charged. They confirm, too, that there was a period of approximately three weeks in which Stewart was unable to reach the officers involved "partly due to annual leave". They add: "The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to tackling all forms of hate crime". The attackers remain at large.

Out of hospital, Stewart's relationship started unravelling. Matt, physically recovered, and coping better, was able to go back to work and carry on. But Stewart suffered daily with his collapsed lung. An operation to restore it was cancelled. "The surgeon said to me, 'It's not as though someone's going to kick you again'." For months he remained exhausted, breathless, losing clients from being off work, whole days spent in bed. What should have still been the honeymoon period of their relationship became like a troubled retirement. "I loved Matt but I felt such a drain on him and so dehumanised by everything. He said he wanted everything back to how things were before the attack and I'd be there with my damaged lung saying, 'I don't know what I can do about that'. The last thing I could think about was being young and free and fun." Anxiety was also setting in. Stewart became depressed, "a recluse", refusing to go out.

"I was terrified to walk around. It was one of the reasons I stopped going to clubs – I was scared of having to walk home." Because Stewart has multiple tattoos – even on his hands – he feared they would make him more recognisable if his attackers saw him again. In public, he ensured his hands were always in his pockets. He didn't wear the jacket he had on that night for months. In November, Stewart and Matt went to Berlin for Matt's birthday. "On the plane I felt my lung pop, but I didn't tell Matt, I didn't want to scare him and I felt like he resented me already, like, 'Why aren't things fun any more?'." As the plane descended, Stewart lost consciousness. The same thing happened on the way back to London. Finally, in April, he went in for surgery to restore and reattach the lung. It was cancelled at the hospital. He lost more clients, and more money. He went in again for surgery a month later.

"It's an open-chest surgery – they pull your rib cage apart. They pull the lung out, inspect it, and then put it back in and blow it up like a balloon so it sticks." The operation, although successful, left him with three cracked ribs. He needed help even sitting up in bed. It left him with scars on his chest and side and back. He lifts his T-shirt slowly to show me. "I became so ashamed of my body and so repulsed by my health I didn't want him to see it. Because I'd been opened up my body felt like a carcass, like it was just a piece of evidence, testament to what happened. I didn't just feel like a burden but was physically becoming one. By this point we're already falling out of love with each other..." Stewart stops and, for the first time, breaks down. Tears spill down his face. His shoulders crumple. In May, 10 months after the attack, they broke up. "Everything became so practical – the next hospital visit or whatever – and so hazardous that it throttled the love out of the relationship. We'd been kicked to death." Matt did not want to take part in this article. Stewart hasn't been with anyone else since. He doesn't want anyone to see his scars, or, worse, ask about them.

"My dreams of marrying someone I loved suddenly got put by the wayside. Instead, I was back to being scared to walk down the street. I felt like all the progress I'd made as a gay man was a mockery of itself. I was having to pretend that everything was OK, and as much as everyone knows you're not, no one wants to hear it after a year. It's old news." Stewart's relationship with his family broke down, too. "It took my mum a week and a half to visit me in hospital. Two days before my operation, when I phoned, they were too busy to speak. They said they would try and phone later. When they did come, they were late because they went via McDonald's. I thought, 'Get away from my bed. I don't want anything to do with this'."

Stewart still struggles physically. Although back to work at the tattoo parlour, he still can't lift heavy objects, he still gets tired, his lung still doesn't feel normal. "Every time I run or jump off a step I can feel the difference in my chest. I feel repulsed by the scars." And he is left with a strong impression about those who were meant to help him. "Because it was a physical attack and on a gay man, there was a distinct lack of sympathy from a lot of people, the police, medical professionals. I lost so much – weight, health, mental stability, pride, my partner, all the securities I had built brick by brick I lost because of kids having a few moments of fun. I'm left with a demolished life, starting again. I could have easily died that night. Because things are more open and permissive now, with gay marriage, the general public thinks gays are having the time of their lives. Some days I want to stand in the street handing out leaflets saying what it's really like being a gay person."

In London alone, in the period 2012-2013, there were 1,008 homophobic hate crimes reported to the police, a quarter of those nationally, and a reduction of 20 per cent from the previous year. But is that because people are becoming less inclined to report such attacks? Galop, the anti-hate crime charity, says "most" anti-gay attacks go unreported. I ask on social media for gay people to describe their experiences of police reactions to their attacks. The response is wildly mixed. "Hammersmith police were really good," says a Londoner. "I've been attacked twice," replies another. "Both times police showed incredible inability. I told a policewoman about the homophobic verbal abuse. She asked if I was gay. I said that they perceived me as gay. When I called a few days later, the case had been closed. The reason – it wasn't a homophobic attack." "Brighton police have been disgusting towards my complaint," adds another. "Made me feel like I was wasting their time. They couldn't give a f***."

Ben Cooper, a Labour councillor, emails to say he has made a complaint to Devon and Cornwall police about the way they handled a homophobic attack on him last month that left him unconscious. His attacker, he says, was "let off by writing a letter apologising to me for 'bad judgment'." His MP, Sarah Wollaston, is taking up the case. Before I go, I tell Stewart that to my eyes, his scars are not repulsive, not at all. I want to tell him that it will get better, that I know it will from experience, but I know he has to discover this for himself. He looks down at his chest where two of the scars lie beneath his T-shirt, and says something quietly that all victims of hate crimes will understand. "Even when it fades it will be there for ever".
© The Independent

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UK: Anti-Semitic crime rate in Hackney second highest in London

Jewish charity CST says this Summer saw ‘significant increase’ in anti-Semitic incidents across London

10/10/2014- Hackney has witnessed the second highest rise in anti-Semitic crime across London this year, police figures show. A total of 33 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the borough between April and August this year – a sharp increase from the 12 cases in the same period last year. The only London borough to top Hackney was Barnet, where reports of anti-Semitic crime have almost trebled, increasing from 14 cases to 40 this year. The statistics reflect a surge of anti-Semitic crime across London, with 166 incidents reported in the capital between April and August compared to 62 last year. The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity established in 1994 to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community in the UK, told the Hackney Citizen there had been a “significant increase in antisemitism” over the Summer. A CST spokesperson said: “There was a significant increase in antisemitism this summer, so these statistics are sadly no surprise given the size and visibility of Hackney’s Jewish community. Those who suffer such attacks should report them to police, CST or local support groups.”

Shomrim, the Jewish neighbourhood watch group, emphasised that the actual figure of anti-Semitic crimes in the borough is likely far higher than the police figures show – as many victims may avoid reporting incidents. A Shomrim spokesperson said: “Hate crime of any kind is unacceptable, and it is of great concern when there is a spike of these incidents.” “Under-reporting is still an issue that Shomrim members regularly encounter, more so, with victims of hate crime. Victims who experience such crime may feel humiliated and too embarrassed to complain. Superintendent Andy Walker, from Hackney Police said: “We take all hate crime, including anti- semitic offences, very seriously and every incident that is reported to us is investigated by detectives from our specialist Community Safety Unit. We also work closely with community organisations such as the Shomrim to drive down this particular type of crime.”
© The Hackney Citizen

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UK: Londoner who Screamed 'Burn the Jews' on a Bus Found Guilty

Ian Campbell pleads guilty for shouting 'I hate the Jews, burn them' on bus filled with Jewish schoolchildren in anti-Semitic attack.

10/10/2014- The 42-year-old Briton who spewed anti-Semitic curses on September 16 on a London bus filled with Jewish schoolchildren was found guilty of his crimes on Thursday. The man, Ian Campbell of Bowes Road, N11, was arrested in late September and charged with "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior to cause harassment, alarm or distress" on the 102 bus in the predominantly Jewish Golder's Green neighborhood.  Campbell allegedly shouted "I hate the Jews, burn them. I’m going to burn this bus," and said the traffic was "the Jews’ fault." He also reportedly said "get the Jews off the bus, all they do is (expletive) us."  At the Hendon Magistrates Court on Thursday morning Campbell pleaded guilty to his charges, and was put on bail until October 31 when he will be sentenced following a mental health assessment. Rosa Doherty (27), a journalist for the Jewish Chronicle, was traveling on the 102 bus and witnessed the incident first hand. After Campbell boarded the bus and shouted "get the Jews off the bus...I hate the Jews," she says he got off.

Despite Doherty's complaints to the driver, she reports that he allowed Campbell to reboard the bus moments later, where he apparently continued his anti-Semitic tirade. Doherty reports that she also called the authorities at 999, but was told that the remarks were "not abuse - only anti-social behavior." Authorities later gave her apologies and promises to investigate the incident. Anti-Semitism has been on a steep rise in the UK, with thousands taking part in anti-Israel protests during Operation Protective Edge. Those demonstrations have included pro-Palestinian rioters vandalizing a Birmingham Tesco store out of rage over a refusal to boycott Israeli products. In a similar incident, hundreds of demonstrators rioted outside the Kedem store in Manchester, in a series of clashes which culminated in dozens of death threats being hurled at the store's owners. Recent statistics show that hate crimes against Jews have risen 383% worldwide since 2013, including a 436% hate crime hike in Europe.
© Arutz Sheva

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UK: Disabled Hate Crime Going Unreported In Thames Valley

9/10/2014- 100 reports of disabled hate crime in 2013 don't show how big the problem is, according to Buckinghamshire's police force. Thames Valley Police have told us that people with disabilities are too scared to report crimes against them at the moment. Inspector James Willis told us so-called 'mate crime' might be why they're so afraid: "We had a case fairly recently where somebody with learning difficulties who was befriended by individuals, who then thought it was funny to put chewing gum in her hair and make her drink from a bottle on which they'd wiped used toilet paper. "We also had a blind person who was subjected to persistant anti-social behaviour from a neighbour." Throughout October, Thames Valley Police is raising awareness about disability hate crime and encouraging victims, friends, family and support workers to report any incident where they believe they, or another person is being targeted because of their disability.

Disability hate crime is any crime or incident whereby the victim believes that they have been targeted because they have a disability. These incidents can include, but isn’t limited to name calling, verbal abuse, criminal damage or doing anything to make the victim feel unsafe. Inspector Willis added: “Thames Valley Police will not tolerate any hate crime or incident and police are able to intervene in these incidents but it is important that the incidents are reported in the first place. “I want to encourage anyone who may be suffering as a victim or who may be witnessing this type of crime to please report it to police as soon as possible by calling 101.” If a victim or witness feels unable to report the crime to police for whatever reason, they can contact independent charities such as Stop Hate UK and True Vision in confidence.

There is more information about disability hate crime, how to spot the signs someone may be a victim, how to report disability hate crime and how to obtain support for victims and witnesses on the Thames Valley Police website.
© Mix 96

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UK: New powers for victims of hate crime and anti-social behaviour

Victims of hate crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) have new powers to trigger case reviews if they feel the authorities are not taking them seriously.

8/10/2014- From this week, anyone who feels that a hate crime or ASB incident is badly handled can use the ‘community trigger’ to spark a review of the case. All agencies involved must then report back within 10 working days. Marc Turczanski, hate crime officer for Hastings Voluntary Action, welcomed the changes, but said it was too early to say how effective the community trigger would be. “It’s not a bad thing to make more accountability, but a lot depends on how well it is communicated and managed,” he said. “We won’t know how successful this measure is till further down the line.” Reports of hate crimes in Hastings have nearly doubled in the past year, with 56 offences being reported compared to 37 the year before. Police say this jump is not a concern, as new initiatives have lead to more victims speaking out: “we believe that these crimes were being vastly under-reported in the past,” said chief inspector Paul Phelps, Hastings District policing commander.

Hastings Borough Councillors (HBC) voted unanimously to adopt the new measure in a cabinet meeting on Monday (October 6). National legislation - the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime, and Policing Act 2014 - says community triggers must be adopted by all local authorities by October 20. Anyone can use the trigger, but there is a threshold. An individual must have made three complaints about ASB or hate crime within a six month period before a review can begin. These complaints can be to any relevant agency - police, clinical commissioning group, or local authority, for example. Paris Nolan, a committee member of the Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance and co-leader of that organisation’s Trans Sub-Group, was surprised by the three-complaint threshold, saying that any one serious incident should be enough to spark a review if necessary.

Speaking more broadly about hate crime in Hastings, Paris said: “In the trans group we experience it more than our gay group now. We stand out more. And Hastings has quite a lot of transient people on holiday who may have been drinking. You do get abuse but to be honest it’s not too bad. It’s unpleasant when it happens, but is usually dealt with well by the police.” Chief inspector Phelps said: “Anti-social behaviour isn’t a major problem in Hastings and this is in no small way down to the way it is dealt by a number of agencies who meet weekly to tackle the issue. “Not everyone is comfortable reporting hate crime to the police for a variety of reasons. We are working hard to increase trust and confidence of victims and to make it easier for them to report directly to us.”
© The Hastings Observer

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Northern Ireland: Facebook: A Breeding Ground For Racism (opinion)

In the past twelve months racist attacks in Northern Ireland have increased by 50%.

6/10/2014- In the early hours of Sunday morning yet another home was attacked in South Belfast – an attack that the PSNI described as a hate crime’. A bottle was thrown and smashed the living room window of a house owned by a Bangladeshi family on Ulsterville Avenue and a car owned by a Kuwaiti family was set alight. The attacks have been widely condemned by politicians from across the political spectrum. Where do the attitudes that provoke these hate crimes originate and why are racist attitudes seemingly on the increase? A few hours before the latest attack a Facebook user in South Belfast posted this video. The video has been viewed more than 10,000 times and numerous comments have been posted in support of the man responsible.

The Facebook user subsequently attempted to defend his actions seemingly oblivious to the fact that – regardless of the circumstances – verbally and racially abusing a fellow human being in broad daylight would be regarded by most as unacceptable. The true nature of his motivations are perhaps best summed up by one of his own comments on the original video thread. On Saturday 4th October Shankill Leisure Centre permitted the use of a hall to celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the most important festivals in the Islamic calendar. The loyalist Facebook page Protestant Unionist Loyalist News TV picked up on the news with predictable results: A torrent of racist commentary followed the original post – all unchallenged by the administrators of the page.

An even more sinister Facebook page has seen significant growth in recent days. The subtly named N.I. Resistance Against Islam so far has 735 followers and users have posted a selection of choice comments. Stung by criticism the page administrators have banned anyone who dares to challenge their racist mindset and have set up a closed group where no doubt the select few who share their warped views can interact in private (the administrators of the page are visible on some browsers). In all cases the posts and pages responsible have been reported to Facebook and complainants have received the stock response that such activity does not contravene “community standards.”
Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition”. However Facebook adds the caveat that “because of the diversity of our community, it’s possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked”. So in effect Facebook and not civil society is the final arbiter of what is or is not ‘hate speech’.

In a society that is already riddled with sectarianism and where there is clear evidence that Facebook has been used to stir up sectarian tension in the past, is it not incumbent on the organisation to act swiftly and remove posts that would be viewed as ‘hate speech’ in every day society? There are those that would argue that such action would be a form of censorship and an attack on free speech but surely social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter have a social responsibility to prevent the spread of dangerous views that can lead to attacks such as this in August 2014?
© Slugger O'Toole

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5/10/2014- Like many victims of hate crimes against British Muslims, Asma Sheikh never reported what happened to her to the police. It was the summer of 2013, and anti-Muslim sentiment was at a high following the violent killing of British Army soldier Lee Rigby, who was stabbed to death in a London street by two Islamic extremists. The murder saw dozens of apparent reprisals against innocent UK Muslims, including acts of vandalism and women having their veils ripped off. In the week following the killing, there were seven Islamophobic offences recorded per day in London, compared with the average of one a day. Sheikh, 35, was one of the victims. Shortly after Rigby’s murder, she was walking to her car when she noticed that all four tires had been slashed.

“It was no coincidence. There was a note on the windscreen saying ‘go back home’,” said the mother-of-two from northwest London. “There was a lot of hate going on at that time, a lot of name-calling.” Sheikh, whose mother runs a shop in Kilburn selling traditional Islamic dress, says that most of her Muslim friends have fallen victim to some kind of hate crime. “Nearly everyone has faced something, whether it was just name-calling or whether someone pulled their hijab off,” she said. Sheikh said her son attends an Islamic school, and once had his uniform ripped by an assailant on a commuter train, while one of her friends had her veil torn off. “After that day, she didn’t come out of her house for about a month. And when she did, she didn’t wear her veil,” Sheikh said.

Hate crimes
Sheikh is not alone as a victim of UK hate crime. And nor is she alone in not having reported it to the police. “I thought it would be investigated further, police would come down, and matters would get worse. The community would know that I called the police, and things would get nastier,” she told Al Arabiya News. Such a reluc-tance to report incidents is seen as a factor in an emerging row between London’s police service and community groups over trends in Islamophobic crime. According to a BBC report this week, hate crimes against Muslims in London have “risen by 65 percent” in the last 12 months. The BBC cited figures from the Metropolitan Police. But when contacted by Al Arabiya, London’s police service disputed this, saying the BBC did not cite its latest statistics, and that the report did not reflect the trend on the ground.

The number of hate crimes against Muslims has in fact declined by 5.9 percent in the last year, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said. Harassment makes up the majority of the hate crimes against Muslims, but offences also include criminal damage and graffiti, police said. “Our most recent set of figures show a fall in Islamophobic crime from 512 offences in the year to August 2013 to 482 in the year to August 2014,” the spokesperson told Al Arabiya News. The police service said the numbers used by the BBC refer to the last two financial years, rather than the year-to-date as stated by the BBC. But the BBC stood by its coverage, saying that it had used figures supplied by the Metropolitan Police late last month.

‘Politicizing’ the issue
Despite the assertion by the Metropolitan Police that Islamophobic attacks are on the decline, several experts said the opposite is true. Fiyaz Mughal, director of the Islamophobia monitoring group Tell MAMA, said that the police statistics do not reflect the trend on the ground. While he said a 65 percent increase would be on the high side, Mughal estimates that hate crimes against Muslims have increased by about a third in the last 12 months. “Over the past two years, Muslim communities have told us that they feel anti-Muslim incidents have got worse. And that’s a fact, there’s no getting away from it,” he said. While the Metropolitan Police statistics may be technically accurate, they do not account for unreported crimes. And the figures are skewed because of the spike in attacks last year after the murder of Lee Rigby, Mughal said.

“The Met can say ‘Islamophobic crimes are dropping’ – but it’s dropping from a point that was significantly high last year after the murder of Lee Rigby. That’s what they’re not telling you,” he said. “They’re comparing it to a peak. They’re so cheeky… For their own political reasons, they’re saying it’s going down. It’s not factually incorrect, but it doesn’t show us the wider picture.” The Metropolitan Police did not specifically respond to that allegation. It did say however that it “takes all hate crime seriously and would urge London’s Muslim communities to come forward and report hate crime when it happens.”

Reluctance to report
Other spikes in anti-Muslim sentiment followed this year’s revelations of sexual abuse against children in Rotherham, England, as well as international events such as the beheadings by the violent extremist group Isis, community groups say. “Islamophobia is there, and unfortunately it affects people’s lives on a daily basis. It really shows itself where there is a national or international incident,” Mughal said. But a reluctance to report hate crimes to the police – especially among women such as Asma Sheikh – is a “major problem”, Mughal added. “A lot of women say ‘we don’t need the hassle, it will affect my family’,” he said.

Talha Ahmad, chair of the membership committee at the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), agreed that the official numbers on Islamophobic attacks are lower than the reality. “Many people are not reporting crimes,” he said. “One of the issues is a lack of confidence that anything will happen. There’s an ongoing issue with trust in the police force.” Not all police forces in the UK record Islamophobic attacks as a separate category, as the Metropolitan Police does. Ahmad urged the government to make this compulsory across all forces. “The government should also invest in a strategy and campaign to encourage people to report these crimes,” he added.

Ahmad blamed media coverage of Muslims as being a major factor behind the claimed rise in hate crimes. “Much of the coverage is very negative and some of it could be viewed as the demonization of an entire community. And once a community is demonized, it becomes a very easy target,” he said. “We have seen mosques coming under attack after Rotherham. And we are seeing a rise in attacks after Isis… The perception is that incidents against Muslims have increased.”

‘Too fearful to speak’
Standing outside her mother’s abaya shop on Kilburn High Road in London, Asma Sheikh says she is certain that Islamophobia is on the rise. Despite the street being thronged by people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, including many women wearing the hijab and other forms of Islamic dress, Sheikh says she believes the rise to be even greater than the 65 percent cited by the BBC. That’s partly due to a reluctance to report such incidents, Sheikh said: “Off the top of my head, I know 100 people who are too fearful to say anything,” she said. Sheikh said she too has noticed an increase in hate crimes when there is a national or international incident involving Muslims.

“It yo-yos. When something happens, it becomes more heated. And suddenly Muslims say, ‘we have to be careful – don’t go out after Maghrib, the last prayer… Don’t go through Richmond, don’t go through Camden’. It’s depressing,” she said. “The media has a big part in all of this… It needs to be shown that it’s not all about war. There are some [Muslims] out there that just want peace.” Despite her concerns, Sheikh has anything but a fearful demeanor. She is something of a character on Kilburn High Road, chatting confidently to passers-by and a local café owner like old friends. Sheikh may not have reported the crime against her to police – but is determined not to keep quiet now. “Unless there’s a change in the way the media portrays us, it will continue. People like me need to be heard,” she said. “Somebody’s got to speak out.”
© Al Arabiya

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Dutch prosecutors summon far-right leader over alleged racist remarks

9/10/2014- Dutch authorities moved closer toward prosecuting far-right politician Geert Wilders on Thursday, naming him as a suspect and summoning him for interrogation over alleged racist remarks he made in March. Wilders will be questioned on suspicion of insulting a group on the basis of race and inciting discrimination and hatred, prosecutors said in a statement. If convicted, he could face up to a year in prison or a fine of up to 7,400 euros ($9,400). Wilders, whose controversial brand of anti-immigration, anti-Muslim populism has propelled his Freedom Party to second place in opinion polls, provoked widespread condemnation when he called for "fewer Moroccans" at a campaign rally in March. Interrogating a suspect is the final step in the process of bringing charges, prosecutors said. A spokeswoman stressed no decision had yet been taken about charging Wilders but said there was a "significant chance" he would end up in court.

"I'm furious ... that I am being investigated by prosecutors and will probably end up in court," Wilders told journalists in parliament after learning of the summons. Prosecutors received over 6,400 complaints and several of his party's most prominent lawmakers resigned from the party after Wilders asked supporters at a rally in The Hague if they wanted "more or fewer Moroccans in this city?" The crowd chanted: "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" Wilders smiled and responded: "We'll take care of that." In a later interview with broadcaster RTL Z, he said "Moroccan scum" should leave the Netherlands. Moroccans were over-represented in crime statistics and in the number of people receiving social benefits, he argued. Wilders, who has lived for many years under 24-hour police protection after receiving death threats because of an anti-Islamic film he made, called the decision to interrogate him "incomprehensible". "I'm combative and angry. I said what millions of people feel," he told reporters. "It's a scandal that when the world is in flames, prosecutors choose to focus on a lawmaker who points out problems." Prosecutors should focus on the phenomenon of Dutch citizens going to fight in Syria, "more than three quarters of whom are Moroccans," he added.

Wilders has a history of statements that upset Muslims and Eastern European migrant workers. He was prosecuted for hate crimes and discrimination in 2007 for calling Islam a fascist ideology but acquitted four years later when a judge ruled that criticising a religion was not the same as racism. "This time the remarks were directly aimed at a certain population group - all Moroccans are put in the same box," said prosecution spokeswoman Nicolette Stoel. The Netherlands, which long prided itself on its liberalism, admitted millions of immigrant workers from Morocco and Turkey to fill jobs in an expanding economy after World War Two. But attitudes have hardened as growth has slowed and jobs have become scarce, propelling a string of anti-immigration politicians to the top of opinion polls over the past decade.
© Reuters

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Q&A: Wilders summoned as a suspect

9/10/2014- Press prosecutor Alexandra Oswald answers questions about the Geert Wilders case.

Geert Wilders has been invited for questioning by the Prosecution. Does this mean that you are planning to prosecute him?
It means that we want to question him as a suspect because we believe that he has made remarks which may constitute a criminal offence. The suspicion is such that prosecution stands to reason. At this time, the investigation has been concluded for the greater part and this interrogation is one of the last steps in the investigation. After that, the Prosecution will take the definitive decision whether or not to prosecute him.

What is Geert Wilders exactly suspected of?
Geert Wilders is suspected of insult based on race and of incitement to discrimination and hatred. This is based on remarks he made on 12 and 19 March 2014. First at a market in The Hague and after that on election night in a bar in The Hague. The Prosecution sees both similarities and differences between those remarks. At this time it is too early to go deeper into this matter.
How did the Prosecution come about this suspicion?

In total more than 6400 persons filed a police report and over 15,000 discrimination reports were filed as well. These were studied. In addition, an extensive legal analysis of the remarks was carried out, involving various experts. The resulting conclusion was that Geert Wilders’ remarks constitute a criminal offence. That is why we have decided to question him.

When do you expect to disclose whether or not Geert Wilders will be prosecuted?
The investigation is in its final stage. After the interrogation, it will be largely completed and the definitive decision concerning prosecution will be made. At this time I cannot give you an exact date.

Why is this case different from Samsom’s and Spekman’s case?
Geert Wilders’ remarks are directly related to a population group without a link to behaviour. So in that sense they differ from the remarks made by Diederik Samsom and Hans Spekman.
© The Public Prosecution Service

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Austria: Neo-Nazi Waves Knife Outside Vienna Synagogue

Biker shouts anti-Semitic curses while threatening with a knife outside the capital of Austria, birthplace of Hitler.

7/10/2014- The rampant anti-Semitism that has been ratcheting up worldwide spilled out in another incident targeting Jews this week, this time in the Austrian capital of Vienna. A neo-Nazi biker stopped in front of a synagogue where he began to shout out anti-Semitic epithets and curses while waving a knife, reports Kol Yisrael (Israel Radio) on Monday, in an incident shortly after Yom Kippur which occurred on Saturday. Police arrived to arrest the man, according to the report. It should be pointed out that the incident of neo-Nazism occurs in Austria, the birthplace of genocidal Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Austria has been the scene of shocking anti-Semitism, including one incident during Operation Protective Edge in late July when pro-Palestinian protesters physically attacked Israeli soccer players from the Maccabi Haifa team as they were playing a pre-season friendly match. The protesters, who were holding up Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags and were reportedly of Turkish origin, stormed the field as the game against the French soccer team Lille was going on. They proceeded to spit at, curse and kick the Israeli players. Some of the players retaliated, as a brawl erupted on the field - fortunately no one was injured in the clash. Anti-Semitism has been skyrocketing internationally in recent months, as evidenced in a recent survey that found incidents of anti-Semitism rose 383% worldwide in July compared to the previous year. In Europe, where Austria is located, that rise was even higher at 436%, with many arguing the climate of anti-Semitism has reached epidemic proportions.
© Arutz Sheva

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Spain's Catalonia region passes 'world's most pioneering laws against homophobia'

The person accused of homophobic acts will have to prove his or her innocence, rather than being presumed innocent until proven guilty as is usually the case.

4/10/2014- Spain's autonomous region of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital city, on Thursday passed a controversial law to protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGTB) from homophobic attacks. Calling it the 'world's most pioneering laws against homophobia', the state-run Catalan News Agency (ACN) reports that it includes fines for homophobic behavior at the work place and positive discrimination measures, such as having to prove one's innocence if accused of homophobia. 'This positive discrimination measure is already in place for other offenses, such as domestic violence against women, in instances when it is very difficult to prove,' the ACN report said. The new provisions will punish those who attack gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals with fines of up to €14,000 ($17,700).

The report says 80% of the Catalan Chamber has backed the new law and the only group who voted against the law was the conservative Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, while the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, split its votes. One of the most vocal defenders of the new law, Catalan Socialist Miquel Iceta said, 'I feel furious when someone appears to deny or play down the discrimination that we gays have suffered or run the risk of suffering.' 'They speak derisively of a gay lobby. But look at this room! This is not a group of people working undercover to achieve illegitimate goals. This is a group working to defend the rights of everyone.' Said Iceta who is one of the first Spanish politicians to come out as gay.

Spain is one of the more progressive countries in the world on gay rights. It legalized same-sex marriage in 2005 under the former Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The country is however seeing a rise in homophobic attacks yet only a fraction are reported to the authorities, according to gay rights groups. According to a study on hate crimes, the first of its kind, published by the government, it showed that out of the 1,172 hate crimes recorded in 2013, a majority (452) were based on the victim's sexual orientation, followed by race (381) and disabilities (290).

hate crimes

© Gay Star News
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Just Because a Hate Crime Occurs on Internet Doesn't Mean It's Not a Hate Crime (opinion)

Let's talk about nude photo leaks and other forms of online harassment as what they are: civil rights violations
By Danielle Citron

7/10/2014- Over the past few weeks, a prominent—and nearly all female— group of celebrities have had their personal accounts hacked, their private nude photos stolen and exposed for the world to see. Friday brought the fourth round of the aggressive, invasive, and criminal release of leaked photos. Whether the target is a famous person or just your average civilian, these anonymous cyber mobs and individual harassers interfere with individuals’ crucial life opportunities, including the ability to express oneself, work, attend school, and establish professional reputations. Such abuse should be understood for what it is: a civil rights violation. Our civil rights laws and tradition protect an individual’s right to pursue life’s crucial endeavors free from unjust discrimination. Those endeavors include the ability to make a living, to obtain an education, to engage in civic activities, and to express oneself—without the fear of bias-motivated threats, harassment, privacy invasions, and intimidation. Consider what media critic Anita Sarkeesian has been grappling with for the past two years. After Sarkeesian announced that she was raising money on Kickstarter to fund a documentary about sexism in video games, a cyber mob descended.

Anonymous emails and tweets threatened rape.
In the past two weeks, Sarkeesian received received tweets and emails with graphic threats to her and her family. The tweets included her home address and her family’s home address. The cyber mob made clear that speaking out against inequality is fraught with personal risk and professional sabotage. Her attackers’ goal is to intimidate and silence her. Revenge porn victims face a variant on this theme. Their nude photos appear on porn sites next to their contact information and alleged interest in rape. Posts falsely claim that they sleep with their students and are available for sex for money. Their employers are e-mailed their nude photos, all for the effort of ensuring that they lose their jobs and cannot get new ones.

Understanding these attacks as civil rights violations is an important first step. My book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace  explores how existing criminal, tort, and civil rights law can help combat some of the abuse and how important reforms are needed to catch the law up with new modes of bigoted harassment. But law is a blunt instrument and can only do so much. Moral suasion, education, and voluntary efforts are essential too. Getting us to see online abuse as the new frontier for civil rights activism will help point society in the right direction.
Danielle Citron is the Lois K. Macht Research Professor & Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She is an Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford Center on Internet and Society and an Affiliate Fellow at the Yale Information Society Project. Her book, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, was recently published by Harvard University Press.­­­­
© Time

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Headlines 3 October, 2014

N-Ireland: Arsonists target Convoy Orange Hall

The blaze which seriously damaged Convoy Orange Hall, near Raphoe, in the early hours of Friday morning, has caused up to £100,000 in damage, it has been claimed.

3/10/2014- According to the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, the Gardai are currently working to establish the cause of the fire, but a spokesman said that early indications were that entry was forced. It is the latest in a spate of attacks on Orange property in the border counties. Last month, Newtowncunningham Orange Hall was gutted in a arson attack, while Carnagh Orange hall in south Armagh was the target of an attempted bomb attack last weekend. Press Officer for the City of Londonderry City Grand Lodge, Victor Wray, condemned the attack calling it “a hate crime against the minority Protestant population in the area”. “The hall was used as a cross-comminity facility and has been an integral part of the community there since the 1920s, used for cultural events, Christmas parties and all sides of the community for social and community events. It is hard to see this as anything other than a hate crime,” he said, adding: “I would estimate that as much as £100,000 in damage has been caused, but knowing the brethren of Raphoe as I do, they will rebuild”.

Extensively refurbished just over three years ago, Convoy Orange Hallwas built in the 1930s. It is predominantly used by members of Thiepval Memorial LOL 1005 and a local Apprentice Boys Club, as well as a facility for other community activities. Alan Laird, Convoy Worshipful Master, said members were devastated by the fire: “The Orange fraternity in Convoy is just aghast. We are in a complete state of shock. We enjoy fantastic community relations with our Roman Catholic neighbours and have no idea why our hall would be targeted in such a manner.” “The hall has served as a hub for a range of social activities for generations, and only recently hosted a 100th birthday party. Its immediate loss will be keenly felt but we are determined to see the hall restored again to its former glory,” he said.

Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Drew Nelson, said: “It would appear that this incident, although not yet confirmed, is a carbon copy of the recent arson attack at Newtowncunningham. If so, it is our belief such criminality will be roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Roman Catholic community in Donegal. “Attacks on Orange halls are an insidious form of sectarianism, which by the evidence of recent weeks, are being carried out by a small group of well organised people,” he said. The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has urged any witnesses to contact Gardai as a matter of urgency. There have been a total of 16 reported attacks on Orange property so far this year in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
© Londonderry Sentinel

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UK: Student threatened with knife and racially abused at sixth form centre

It happened in the grounds of Pendleton Sixth Form Centre in Salford yesterday afternoon and is being regarded by police as serious violent disorder and investigated as a hate crime.

2/10/2014- A sixth form college student has been suspended after a fellow learner was surrounded by racist thugs and threatened with a knife. The 19-year-old victim was targeted by a group of bike-riding youths while sat in his car outside Pendleton Sixth Form Centre in Salford. A knife was brandished and the victim was racially abused, say police. During the incident, some of the suspects threw their bikes against the victim’s car. The student then drove off fearing for his safety. As a result of the incident bosses at the college were alerted. A search was carried out of the bag of one second year, 17-year-old student who was excluded immediately. The complex - formerly Pendleton College - is part of Salford City College. It’s Performing Arts Department is renowned throughout the north west with students gaining places at top drama schools. It is understood the victim was black and it is alleged racial slurs were used during the attack. GMP are treating the incident as a hate crime. A spokeswoman for the college said: “A male student was found in possession of a knife. “The college takes a zero tolerance stance on this and he was immediately excluded.”

She said that a bag search had been carried out after two students had reported seeing the youth with a knife. She added: “We are looking after 5,500 young people at our college across the city, and their well-being is paramount. We believe the action taken by our staff was correct and shows that they are on the ball when it comes to student safety. In a statement, a GMP spokesman said: “Police were called by staff at Pendleton College following reports that a 19-year-old student had been surrounded by a number of people while he sat in his car. “A 17-year-old boy was later arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and possession of a bladed article in a public place. As part of the investigation, police recovered a large combat knife which staff at the college seized during a bag search. “He remains in custody for questioning. “Officers are now actively looking for anyone else who was involved in the incident and will be working closely with the college in the coming days regarding safety advice for pupils and to appeal for witnesses.”
© The Manchester Evening News.

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UK: Arrest made over 'gays are worthy of death' leaflet hate campaign

Local police have now agreed to work together in order to try and put a stop to the hellish campaign; Homophobic leaflets have been distributed all over the UK.

2/10/2014- A 53-year-old man from Northamptonshire is in police custody over the leaflets branding gay people 'worthy of death' in Chester earlier this week. The leaflets, distri-buted in several UK towns and cities about to host Pride events, describe homosexuality as 'not natural' and 'part of the same moral degradation as...pedophilia.' Some eyewitnes-ses of the person or people giving out the leaflets say they are being handed out dressed in a 'mysterious monk' outfit. It also asserts Pride events as being for the 'delight of demons', which follows a quote from the letter of St Paul to the Romans which talks of the 'wrath of God' being unleashed against 'all ungodliness and unrighteousness'. The leaflets have been dismissed as harmless by many local police forces across the UK. But the Bible passage from St Paul quoted in reference to Pride events ends 'they which practice such things are worthy of death'.

Cheshire Police confirmed the arrest of the 53-year-old man with GSN today, saying the man was arrested in the early hours of this morning (2 October) on suspicion of malicious communications. 'This follows an investigation into the distribution of leaflets in Chester which were perceived to be offensive,' a spokesperson added. 'Colleagues from Northamptonshire Police are working alongside officers from Cheshire following the arrest, and the man remains in police custody helping with their enquiries. 'Cheshire Consta-bulary takes hate crime seriously, and when a complaint is received we will investigate any reports made to us.' A fortnight ago, Stoke police

revealed


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revealed they had spoken to a 53-year old man in connection with similar leaflets distributed in the Fenton area. No further details have yet been released, and it is not clear whether the same individual was involved in both incidents – or whether this was also the individual responsible for one of the earliest incidents of homophobic leafleting

recorded this year


recorded this year, which took place in the Northampton area.

In respect of the Stoke incident, a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service told us: 'Although an initial decision was made not to bring charges in relation to the allega-tions, the matter remains under review and no final decision has been made.' This appears to be a hardening of official response following Gay Star News revelations earlier this week the campaign of homophobic leafleting appeared to be more widespread than originally realised and targeted to coincide with local Pride events. The response by Preston police to similar leafletting in their area was that 'no offences have been committed'. They would therefore seek to identify and speak to those responsible, but indicated that further action was unlikely. Chester Pride will be taking place this weekend on 4 October in Grosvernor Park, where it will be addressed by trans activist Sarah Savage. LGBTI people in Chester are staying strong despite the hate campaign against them. Organizing committee member Kate Hutchinson told GSN: 'We are very happy that Chester police are dealing with this and appear to be taking the matter seriously. 'We will not let this negativity affect what is a very positive LGBT community in Chester . We look forward to seeing as many as possible at our event on Saturday.'
© Gay Star News
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UK: Hate crime on the rise in wake of child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham

Racial abuse and assaults are on the increase in Rotherham in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal which rocked the town.

2/10/2014- Police chiefs have revealed that the month before the publication of the damning report into the abuse of children by largely Pakistani men there were seven reports of racial harassment or racially aggravated assaults in Rotherham. Following Professor Alexis Jay’s revelation that 1,400 children were groomed, raped and sexually assaulted over 16 years while the authorities turned a blind eye there have been 26 hate crimes reported to South Yorkshire Police. The month before the publication of the report, which claimed police and council chiefs failed to act because of sensitivities around the ethnicity of offenders, there were seven hate crimes reported. Chief Inspector Richard Butterworth said extra police officers were patrolling the streets and speaking to community representatives to try to establish the extent of the problem.

He said hate crimes would not be tolerated by the force. “We have noticed a rise in respect of hate crimes since the Jay Report, which does concern us and we are taking positive action in respect of this,” he said. “The month prior to the report there were four incidents of racial harassment made, after the report there were 19. The month before the report there were three racially aggravated assault, since the report there have been seven. “In several of the cases people have been charged.” He said innocent members of the public were ‘enduring racial abuse in the street’ and said a taxi driver was attacked in Wath last weekend. “It is completely innocent people being targeted,” he said. “These are criminal offences - you just can’t shout abuse at innocent people who have nothing to do with the Jay Report. “We have stepped up patrols in some areas to give reassurance to people.” He urged victims to come forward and said support would be offered.
© The Star

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UK: Anti-Semitic crimes in Barnet treble

Anti-Semitic crimes have more than trebled in Barnet.

2/10/2014- A total of 46 crimes took place in the borough between April 1 and September 14, compared to 15 during the same period last year. Barnet has seen the largest increase in London this year, with more than a quarter of all anti-Semitic crimes in the capital taking place in the borough. Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said: "Whenever there is conflict in the Middle East there is a jump in anti-Semitism. These figures are worrying as they seem to accompany anti-Semitic undertones on attempts to boycott Israeli goods, have kosher food removed from supermarkets and support for terrorist organisations at recent demonstrations. “That is why I took a delegation of colleagues to see the Home Secretary to discuss the issue. She agreed that the anti-Semitism witnessed is abhorrent, and confirmed new guidance has been issued to police forces to tackle it."

A total of 182 anti-Semitic crimes have been reported in London since April, compared with 69 offences last year. Harassment constitutes for two-thirds of the crime figures. The majority of the remaining offences are for criminal damage, which has seen an increase to 31 crimes since April, compared with seven in 2013. There has also been one anti-Semitic sexual offence reported, compared to none last year. Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, said: “This increase in anti-Semitic crime in Barnet is shocking and unacceptable. “I was encouraged that police patrols were stepped up in various parts of the borough to provide reassurance to the Jewish community. I will continue to highlight my concerns on this problem and urge the police to do all they can to prevent anti-Semitic crime.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We will take positive action to investigate all hate crime, support victims and their families and bring perpetrators to justice. “If anyone feels that they are the victim of hate crime, including anti-Semitic abuse, we would urge all victims to come forward and report any incident or crime as soon as possible.”
© This is local London

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Austria: Teenager (15) convicted of Nazi offences

A 15-year-old boy from Salzburg has been convicted of Nazi offences, libel, and attempted coercion. The judge gave him a ten month sentence, and said he must serve two months of that in prison.

2/10/2014- When the boy was 14 he chose an image from Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds, which featured Nazi symbols including the swastika, as his profile picture on the social networking site Facebook. He also posted lyrics from former German neo-Nazi rock band Landser, and between December 2012 and January 2013 he regularly left comments on the social networking site which glorified Nazism. He got a swastika tattoo and posted photos of himself wearing typical ‘skinhead’ clothing. He also threatened a classmate of Somali origin with a knife. In court he confessed to the allegations and said that he now viewed his actions “with disgust”. He said he had wanted to impress friends and gradually fell into believing right-wing ideology, even though he knew it was illegal. He had not had an easy childhood, having had to endure several eye operations, change schools repeatedly as he was considered a ‘problem child’ and had been thrown out of home on several occasions. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty, but didn’t find the teenager guilty of an additional charge of assault. The 15-year-old has already served eight months of his sentence in pre-trial detention. Austria’s Prohibition Act aims to suppress any potential revival of Nazism.
© The Local - Austria

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Germany: Berlin: Anti-Semitic Attack on Tourist over Rosh Hashanah

Tourist insulted, robbed of Star of David necklace amid concerns of rising anti-Semitism in Germany.

1/10/2014- A 31 year-old tourist was attacked in Berlin last week, according to the Judisches Forum fur Demokratie und gegen Anti-Semitism (Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism), during the Rosh Hashanah holiday. At about 6:00 pm Thursday, the organization stated, an attacker shouted anti-Semitic insults at the tourist and mugged him, snatching the Star of David necklace he wore around his neck. The attack occurred in the Kreuzberg district, local De Welt added, in Gorlitz Park. Germany's national police have launched an investigation into the incident, it said.

Anti-Semitism throughout Europe reached record highs during the past few months as incitement and attacks against Jews - mostly led by Muslim the extremists, but also elements from the far-right and far-left - left Jewish communities throughout the continent in a state of shock. Germany's Jewish community in July, at the height of the fighting between Israel and terrorists in Gaza, condemned an "explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews" at pro-Palestinian rallies where some demonstrators chanted that Jews should be "gassed".

The spate of ugly incidents that deeply unsettled Germany's resurgent 200,000-strong Jewish community also saw a petrol bomb hurled at the facade of a synagogue in the western city of Wuppertal. Three people, described as "Palestinian" nationals, have been arrested in connection to that attack. Anti-Semitism has become so high recently that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with Jewish leaders, spearheaded a rally in a central Berlin square against Jew hatred earlier this month.
© Arutz Sheva

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Great Choral Synagogue targeted on Rosh Hashanah eve, no damage caused to historic building 

29/9/2014- Kiev’s oldest synagogue was the target of a firebomb that burst into flames outside the building. The firebombing at the Great Choral Synagogue on September 24, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, did not cause damage, according to the news website evreiskiy.kiev.ua, which belongs to the Jewish Kiev watchdog on anti-Semitism. Police suspect that an arsonist targeting the actual building hurled the firebomb — a glass bottle filled with a flammable substance. The operator of a restaurant that operates nearby reported a fire at the synagogue to police, according to the report. The synagogue, which is also known as the Podil Synagogue, was reconstructed in 1915. In a separate incident, a swastika was painted on the Holocaust memorial monument at Babi Yar in Kiev, where Nazi troops murdered more than 33,000 in September 1941. The Nazi symbol was discovered on the monument on September 23, the news channel 112 Ukraine reported.
© The Times of Israel

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