Headlines 28 November, 2014
Netherlands: Outsiders not welcome in Moluccan area, house sprayed with grafitti
28/11/2014- A housing corporation in the eastern town of Hoogeveen has been forced to find a new home for a Dutch family after the local Moluccan population covered the house with graffiti saying they were not welcome. Housing corporation Domesta says it offered the home to a non-Moluccan family because no Moluccans wanted it, despite long-standing agreements that the neighbourhood retain its Moluccan character. Now angry locals have sprayed the property with texts stating ‘Moluccans only, Moluccan neighbourhood’. The local Moluccan community says there were Moluccans who were interested in the property and they had warned the housing association what would happen if outsiders were moved in. Hoogeveen’s acting mayor Anno Wietze Hiemstra told local media he understood the Moluccan position.
‘Our standpoint is that this is a Moluccan neighbourhood and must stay Moluccan,’ broadcaster Nos quotes him as saying. The housing corporation confirmed to local broadcaster RTV Drenthe the official agreement is that the houses be offered to Moluccan families. It will now find the Dutch family another home and made a formal police complaint about the vandalism. Specially built The first Moluccans moved to the neighbourhood in 1962, which was specially built for them at the time by the city council. The Moluccans were brought to the the Netherlands in the wake of the Indonesian independence wars, after the Netherlands could not guarantee them the free state they had promised in return for military support. Many were housed in camps when they first arrived, including the former Westerbork Nazi transit camp.
© The Dutch News
UK: EDL fanatic soldier jailed for two years for making potentially lethal nail bomb
Ryan McGee, 20, of Mellor Street, Eccles, was sentenced at the Old Bailey after admitting making explosives and possessing terrorist literature
28/11/2014- A ‘self-radicalised’ soldier who became an EDL fanatic while constructing a potentially lethal nail bomb in his bedroom has been jailed for two years. Ryan McGee, 20, constructed a homemade bomb packed with 181 metal screws, bits of glass and explosives inside a pickle jar which could have killed or maimed if detona-ted. The device sparked a bomb scare after police discovered it while searching his home on Mellor Street, Eccles, as part of an unconnected investigation in November last year. Experts say the powerful bomb was just a ‘simple step’ from completion. Officers also discovered an arsenal of guns and knives and extremist right-wing material in the first-floor bedroom, which was draped in English Defence League flags. Crucially, bomb-making manual The Anarchist Cookbook was also found.
McGee admitted that between May 31 2013 and November 29 2013 at Salford he possessed a document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. He has also pleaded guilty to a second charge that between September 1 2013 and September 3 2013 at Salford he made an explosive device. Jailing him, Recorder of London Brian Barker said: "The fact of the matter is any explosive device in the wrong hands could cause untold misery to anyone on the receiving end. "Sadly, we live in a violent age. Let's be quite clear that any experimentation by anybody with these kinds of weapons must lead to severe sentences. "What you have lost is your reputation and your future but I hope in due course you can make amends for that."
Police originally raided the property as they suspected brother Steven, 21, of possessing child abuse images. Steven was later given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offences Register after being found guilty of possessing indecent images of children. But following the discovery, Ryan - who was was serving in Paderborn, Germany, with 5th Battalion the Rifles - was detained at his barracks and returned to Britain. Private McGee, a former Salford City Academy pupil, told officers he was ‘just experimenting’ with the ingredients but was charged and later admitted making explosives and possession of a document for terrorist purposes. He joined the Army in 2012 and had shown an interest in far-right parties such as the British National Party and the EDL since his early teens.
Disgusting racist rants posted on social media and kept in a handwritten diary revealed his hatred of immigration and admiration for Adolf Hitler and other far-right leaders. In March 2013 he attended an EDL rally in Manchester city centre and regularly uploaded pictures of himself wearing or posing with EDL clothing and flags. His computer also contained footage of a neo-Nazi beheading in eastern Europe. The court was told McGee kept a diary called Ryan's Story Book, which was covered in Scooby Doo stickers and had pictures of birds on the front. But despite its innocent exterior the journal was filled with race hate and threats of violence against immigrants. One extract contained a vow to "drag every last immigrant into the fires of hell with me" and expressed anger over the "millions of immigrants flooding our streets".
The book was also filled with drawings of guns, machetes and knuckledusters as well as images of several paramilitary soldiers. It also contained references to right-wing groups such as the National Front, KKK and BNP, the court heard. He downloaded a number of extreme videos and his laptop had links to websites including gore videos, French Skinheads, Russian Racism, Handguns for sale UK and Germany, and YouTube videos of EDL marches against Muslims and Nazi youth. The prosecutor accepted he was not a terrorist and that he didn't intend to help a terrorist group. Defending, Antony Chinn QC said McGee had been an immature teenager at the time, as demonstrated by the Scooby Doo notebook. He said: "Although he accepts he made the device he never intended to put it to any violent purpose."
McGee, a fifth generation Army man, was "a bit of a loner" who was brought up with far-right views, he said. The bomb has been branded ‘viable’ by anti-terror offi-cers and only needed to be hooked up to an electric current to become useable. He had conducted internet searches on how to make detonators as well as experimen-ting with improvised booby traps. Detectives did not find evidence McGee was planning a specific attack or had identified a target. He remains a member of the armed forces but that is expected to be reviewed after his sentencing at the Old Bailey. Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit described McGee as a ‘self-radicalised’ individual who developed an unhealthy infatuation with explosives. He aid: “He was obsessed with guns and explosives and this had drawn him into the military.
“He was a self-radicalised individual who was in possession of some extremist right-wing material. “What he had produced was a completely viable device. If it had been connected to a power source it would have been ready to go. “By it’s very nature this device was extremely dangerous. “It had the capability of causing very serious injury to people, which ultimately means that it had the capability to kill people. “It’s very difficult to say how dangerous an item like that is. It clearly depends where it’s placed, the positioning of it and exactly how many people are around it. “Human beings are very fragile things and this bomb had the potential to do a lot of damage.” An Army spokesman said: "The MoD can confirm that a serving soldier pleaded guilty to one offence contrary to Section 58 (1) (b) of The Terrorism Act 2000 and one offence contrary to Section 4 (1) of The Explosive Substances Act 1883. "In line with normal procedure when a soldier is sentenced to imprisonment, an application will be made for his discharge from the Army. "The Army does not tolerate racist, inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour and operates a zero tolerance policy to all forms of harassment and discrimination."
Bomb-maker posted vile racist rants and pictures on Facebook
Bomb-making soldier Ryan McGee posted horrific racist rants on Facebook, appearing to call for violent action to be taken against immigrants. One post on the BNP’s Facebook page said: “American, Irish, you make out Nazism (sic) is so bad but in my opinion Hitler was the best immigration officer Europe ever seen and he didnt take no s*** and let them all in he took action!” In another thread he responded to members complaining about the effect of immigrants on their communities by posting: “Stop moaning then and do something!!” He ‘liked’ the EDL, the BNP and its leader Nick Griffin, and serial killer Raoul Moat on his own Facebook page. Other posts included one calling Nick Griffin a “f***ing legend” and another saying “We don’t need the European Union and we don’t need Europeans.” McGee also posted several pictures of himself in EDL clothing and stood next to EDL flags. One image even showed him dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume next to a Confederate flag - which is widely regarded as a pro-slavery symbol. The images were removed shortly after his arrest.
© The Manchester Evening News.
UK: Hampshire Police chief constable gives reassurances over recording of crime
Hampshire’s top police officer is reassuring residents that crime recording improvements are under way after the policing watchdog raised serious concerns.
27/11/2014- Chief Constable Andy Marsh spoke out as Zoe Billingham, the region’s HM Inspector of Constabulary, said the force’s approach to recording crime is not as accurate as it should be. As reported, a recent inspection of crime data revealed that of a sample of 127 incident records from calls to police, 112 should have been recorded as crimes – but only 67 were. But in a police efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy (PEEL) assessment released today, which looks at the force as a whole, Ms Billingham states there have been immediate steps to rectify the issue. The force provides a good service at lower than national average cost to the taxpayer, according to the HMIC report. Mr Marsh said: ‘HMIC have already recognised that we have got a strong plan in place to address the issues. We have a strong victim focus. ‘I’m actually pleased at the transparency and accountability that this report brings.’
The latest HMIC report states the force performed well overall in cutting crime and anti-social behaviour, providing value for money and a fair service that treats people properly. Ms Billingham said the force puts victims at the centre of policing. She added: ‘I have been encouraged by the force’s response to the financial challenges it has faced. It has achieved the required level of savings while protecting neighbourhood policing as far as possible and increasing the proportion of staff and officers in frontline crime fighting roles. ‘There is some room for improvement in ensuring a consistent quality through better supervision so that opportunities to gather the best evidence are not missed. Ms Billing-ham said there was a strong performance in many areas, but added: ‘I have serious concerns about its approach to crime recording, which is not as accurate as it should be, although the force has taken immediate steps to rectify this.’
The force has cut its workforce by 18 per cent since 2010 due to government spending cuts compared to 14 per cent nationally and is on course to save £80m by April 2017. Taxpay-er funding for policing in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is 44p per person, compared to the national average of 55p. Mr Masrh said: ‘Because we are a low cost force we have had to be more innovative around some of the things we have done to save money. This will mean that after 2016 we have got fewer places to go to save further money. Any further cuts will mean a reduction in the scope of what we do.’ Police and crme commissioner Simon Hayes said it is ‘reassuring’ that the report highlights areas where the force is performing well. He added: ‘This report does highlight the detrimental impact that further government cuts to policing will have on the Constabulary’s ability to maintain and improve their performance in the future.’ PEEL assessments have been introduced by HMIC for the first time as a way of inspecting police.
Reports of homophobic crimes fall in county
Reports of violent crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation have fallen in Hampshire – bucking the national trend. Hampshire police recorded 50 violent homophobic crimes from January to October, 57 last year and 80 in 2012. But figures reveal 17 forces recorded more violence against the person offences classed as homophobic between January and October than the whole of last year. Gay rights charities said it was encouraging that nationwide more people were reporting hate crime, but many victims felt ‘silenced’ by abuse. Richard Lane of gay rights charity Stonewall said: ‘Our campaigns aim to not just encourage individuals to report attacks, but for police to make people feel more at ease approaching them.’
© The Portsmouth News
UK police report huge rise in recorded anti-gay hate crime
There have been 300 violent homophobic attacks in London alone from January to October this year alone.
26/11/2014- Recorded instances of violent homophobic crimes have risen in the UK this year, according to new figures. Hundreds of assaults on gay and lesbian people have been reported to police in 2014, including more than 300 in London alone. Gay rights charities believe LGBTI people feel more encouraged to speak out if they have been victims of hate crime.
Some of the UK's biggest police forces reported the following to Press Association:
Scotland Yard: 1,073 violent homophobic offences between January and October, up from 1,007 and 1,002 for the entirety of 2013 and 2012.
Greater Manchester Police: 278 violent homophobic crimes (Jan-Oct 2014), compared to 231 in 2013 and 269 in 2012.
Northern Ireland: 280 incidents (2013/2014), up from 245 (2012/13) and 200 in (2011/12).
South Wales Police: 162 violent homophobic crimes (Jan-Oct 2014), up from 132 in 2013 and 89 in 2012.
Avon and Somerset Police: 147 homophobic violent crimes (Jan-Oct 2014), up from 139 in 2013 and 106 in 2012.
West Midlands Police: 174 violent homophobic crimes between January and October, compared with 184 in 2013 and 165 in 2012.
Essex Police: 86 violent homophobic offences between January and October
West Yorkshire Police: 40 violent crimes due to a person's sexual orientation in 2014 so far.
Merseyside, Suffolk, South Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall, North Wales, Kent, Bedfordshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Durham, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire police forces also reported a rise in violent crimes which were homophobic or motivated by a person's sexual orientation.
'We believe that more and more victims and witnesses of homophobic attacks are building up the courage to speak to others and report these instances to the police,' Richard Lane, spokesman for Stonewall, said. 'Hate crime is a key area of our work at Stonewall and our campaigns aim to not just encourage individuals to report attacks, but also for the police to try and make people feel more at ease with approaching them. 'We know, in the past, many have been hesitant to report crimes to the police for fear of the consequen-ces.' Nick Antjoule, from LGBT anti-violence charity Galop, said: 'It's encouraging that more people feel able to talk to the police, though the vast majority of hate crime remains hidden. 'Each year the police record over 4,000 homophobic crimes, but that's dwarfed by the 39,000 homophobic crimes that happen every year in this country according to government estimates.'
© Gay Star News
UK: Trio jailed for racist and homophobic attacks
Three men have been jailed after being found guilty of a vicious homophobic assault and a racially motivated attack in Brighton.
25/11/2014- Bradley Brachman, 19, unemployed, of Egmont Road, Hove; Andrew Wilson, a painter, of Manor Hill, Brighton and Rhys Pryer, 19, unemployed, of Wilfrid Road, Brighton, were all found guilty of wounding with intent and actual bodily harm at Brighton Crown Court after an 11-day trial on October 23. Wilson was also found guilty of the theft of a mobile phone. They were all remanded in custody and appeared for sentencing on Friday (November 21) where they each received four years’ imprisonment for GBH and one year to run consecutively for ABH. Wilson also received six months for theft to run concurrently.
The men attacked the first victim, who was aged 40 at the time, just before 12 midnight on August 16, 2013. They set about him with bottles at the junction of Edward Street and Dorset Place, striking him several times around his head causing wounds that needed hospital treatment and which have resulted in permanent scarring. They then moved on to the bottom of St James’s Street where they hurled homophobic abuse at a 34-year-old man before punching him and chasing him across Old Steine to the bus stops near Pavilion Gardens where they continued the assault. He was taken to hospital where his wounds required stitching. During the assault, Wilson snatched the victim’s phone as he was trying to call police.
In summing up, His Honour Judge Anthony Niblett described the attacks as unprovoked and vicious. He said that the attacks were motivated by the strong eastern European accent of the first victim and the fact that the second man was gay. He agreed with a witness who said that if she hadn’t stopped and intervened in the first incident the man may well have been killed. In sentencing them, Judge Niblett said that he was satisfied that they targeted the first man due to him being eastern European and yet they had not attacked his English friend who was with him. Similarly, they attacked their second victim for no other reason than being gay.
The judge also formally commended the witness who was driving past when the first attack happened and called police. She intervened by shouting at the men to stop and if she had not, the attack would have continued and may even have resulted in the victim being killed. She was also able to provide crucial evidence to the police and the court and was awarded £300. Detective Constable Chris Bishop also received a formal commendation for the care that he had given to the victims and the “expert and thorough” investiga-tion that he had carried out.
© The Brighton and Hove News
Germany: Israeli Man Attacked in Berlin After Leaving Synagogue
An Israeli man visiting Berlin suffered a black eye and fractured fingers in a street attack.
25/11/2014- The Israeli, 22, said he was beaten and kicked Sunday evening after leaving synagogue by four men who spoke German with an Arabic accent, according to reports. “I have no doubt they attacked me because I looked Jewish or Israeli to them,” the victim told Ynet. He was not wearing anything that identified him as Jewish or Israeli, and the attackers did not rob him, according to reports. The attackers fled when passers-by intervened. The Israeli received ambulatory treatment in the hospital. He will return to Israel for more medical treatments for his injuries, according to Ynet. German police said they would investigate the incident and determine if there were nationalistic motives behind the attack. The victim told Ynet he was in Berlin because he was thinking of moving there to escape the economic situation in Israel. The attack would not deter him, he said.
© JTA News
Headlines 21 November, 2014
French far-right leader guilty of racial defamation
The 86-year old founder of France‘s far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was ordered to pay a 5,000-euro fine.
21/11/2014- French far-right National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was found guilty of racial defamation by a Paris appeals court on Thursday. Le Pen had compared the Roma to "birds that were born, by nature, to steal" when he gave a speech at the National Front's summer school in La Baule, western France, on Sep. 22, 2012. The appeals court upheld a decision from December last year that found Le Pen guilty of defamation. The 86-year-old founder of France‘s largest far-right party was ordered to pay a 5,000-euro fine. Le Pen will attempt to take his case to the Court of Cassation, according to his lawyer, Wallerand de Saint-Just. This is not the first time Le Pen, a convicted holocaust denier, has been found guilty for controversial and inflammatory statements on racial matters. Led by his daughter Marine Le Pen since 2011, the National Front won 25 percent of the vote in the European elections in May. The party currently holds 24 seats in the European Parliament.
© World Bulletin
Analysis of Czech, German and Hungarian trials of terrorist hate attacks
By Markus Pape
21/11/2014- In August of this year I reported that the trial of the alleged members of the international neo-Nazi network Blood & Honour here in the Czech Republic would begin in the fall. At the start of 2012 those defendants were charged with various crimes, including an arson attack on a building occupied by Romani families in the West Bohemian town of Aš. Due to procedural delays, however, the main hearing will not take place this fall. How is that possible, given that some of the defen-dants might face extraordinary sentencing on 18 counts of attempted murder and that according to the indictment, they also planned violent attacks on a church, on homeless people and on politicians?
Are we once again seeing the confirmation that anything is possible in the Czech Republic when it comes to cases of racist violence against Romani people? In the case of Jaroslav H. of Havíųov, for example, who became the victim of a frantic spree of nighttime violence by masked racists in various neigborhoods of that town, the criminal proceedings took four years before a verdict took effect. Of the 12 participants in that group attack, only four were ultimately convicted. They were given light punishments precisely because of the inordinate length of the trial. Let's take a look at similar cases that have been tried here in the past. We will also analyze current similar cases from abroad.
Four cases from various countries - one manual
A group of neo-Nazi murderers in Hungary perpetrated arson attacks on Romani family homes from a least 2007 to 2009 in various regions of the country. When the victims fled the burning buildings, the neo-Nazis shot them dead. A first-instance court in Budapest took two years and a total of 157 hearings to finally produce its verdict in the matter this year. Three of the four defendants were sentenced to life in prison, but the judge never filed his verdict within the time period required by law and is now facing disciplinary proceedings. It is unknown when a verdict that might take effect in this case will be on the horizon. Meanwhile in Germany, a group of neo-Nazis executed foreigners all over the country between 2000 and 2008 for what are not yet completely clear reasons.
A German police officer was one of their victims as well. Police did not track them down until the end of 2011, when two members of the group shot themselves after a bank robbery and the police officer's weapon and the pistol used to murder the foreigners were found left behind in their mobile home. The first-instance trial of their case has already been through more than 150 hearings, but a verdict is not expected until the end of next year. The judge is investigating in-depth and is doing his best to reveal the entire background to the crimes at issue. The main defendant in this case has already spent three years in custody. However, there are other such cases that have developed very differently.
During an arson attack in April 2009 in the Czech town of Vítkov (Opava district), masked neo-Nazis set a single-family home on fire with a seven-member family inside it. While the criminal proceedings of that case also lasted two years, the courts managed to close the case with a verdict that took effect during just one year. That verdict, which involved lengthy but suitable sentencing, has stood up to challenges before both the Supreme Court and, more recently, the Constitutional Court. It's just that the whole background of the crime was never revealed, nor were its ideological architects ever prosecuted. Now let's return to the ongoing Czech case with the working title of "Blood & Honour". Even though suspects were arrested shortly after allegedly committing the crime, the investigation of the case by the Organized Crime Detection Unit (Útvar pro odhalování organizovaného zločinu - ÚOOZ) has taken two years.
The indictment was filed by the Regional State Prosecutor in Plzeņ, but the court refused to handle the case on its own. The arson had been perpetrated by two members of the group in Aš (i.e., in a region that fell under the Plzeņ court's jurisdiction), but the court wanted the rest of the group to be delegated for prosecution to the Prague 4 District Court as per the permanent residency of the alleged head of the group. However, the Prague judge to whom the case was assigned disagreed with its delegation. He successfully filed a complaint with the High Court in Prague against the decision by the Municipal Court in Plzeņ to separate the defendants and it is once again being considered as a single case. Because of these antics, the main trial before the Regional Court in Plzeņ has been postponed twice. There is no new date set yet for the main hearing. Next February will mark three years since 18 people were almost burned to death at the hands of neo-Nazis. Their trial has not even begun.
The victims' perspective is dismal
What do the victims say to all this? By now they have nothing more to say. I recently visited some of them. After the arson attack they lost not only the roof over their heads, but all of their property, and local authorities placed the children of two of the families into children's homes, reportedly because their parents could no longer provide them with accommodation. Recently these parents managed to get the court to send their children home; for two years the families have been doing their best mainly to survive and stay together. They evidently are not bothering with the trial of "their" arsonists because they have long since stopped believing in justice.
In all four of these cases the main perpetrators proceeded according to the manual of the international group Blood & Honour: They thoroughly prepared for the crime, there was a high degree of secrecy about it before, during and after, the attack was targeted, their escape was also an attempt to make it impossible to rescue the victims, their escape route avoided roads with CCTV cameras, they have refused to testify in court, and they have risked lengthy punishments. An expert on this issue might expect that the Aš case would be given priority, given the high level of dangerousness of the crimes being prosecuted.
Why is that not possible in the Czech Republic? Several years ago journalists asked then-State Prosecutor Renata Vesecká to respond to my claim that the successful publicizing of a case increases the rapidity of its criminal prosecution, and her response back then was: "That is the case." Today no one here is interested anymore in the murderous attack on Romani families in Aš that took place the year before last because the media have not reported on it for a whole two years. Where there is no media attention, there is no justice.
Parliament report: 88 pct of German mosque attacks unsolved
A report released by Parliament's Human Rights Commission following the burning of three mosques in Germany in August has reached interesting conclusions in its study of Islamophobia in Germany, revealing that the vast majority of perpetrators of such crimes have gone unpunished.
20/11/2014- Human Rights Commission President Ayhan Sefer Üstün reported on the comprehensive research carried out in Germany. The parliamentary report states that of the 297 attacks on mosques from 2001 to the present day, 244 (88 percent) of the crimes' suspects or perpetrators have not been captured. According to the report, "A large portion of these attacks on mosques remain unpunished ... opening the way for fear, worry and insecurity among members of the Muslim population." The Human Rights Commission, which has previously done research and prepared important reports on the problems of Turks residing in various European countries, decided to carry out the most recent research about attacks on mosques after three mosques were attacked on Aug. 11 and 19 in the German cities of Berlin and Bielefeld.
The commission, preparing its report with the help of the Turkish community and in the light of meetings with officials of the German government, found shocking evidence in its inquiry into the mosque attacks in. The report cites figures published by the German government, noting that in the 13-year period from 2001 to 2014 there were 297 attacks on Muslim places of worship. It further notes that in 88 percent of these cases, those alleged to have performed the crime were not arrested. According to the same data, while the monthly average until 2011 was one or two attacks, in more recent years this rate has risen to three a month. While many of the crimes did not receive significant media attention, the report states that the number of attacks has steadily increased. The report also notes that the number of suspects who have been detained by the police but then found to be innocent after investigation has also increased.
Racism and Islamophobia have returned to Europe
The following information was also outlined in the report: "In Germany in the year 2012, of the 67 attacks on people of Turkish origin, 33 had Islamic people or institutions as their target. ... In the first nine months of 2014, of the 25 attacks carried out, 14 had religious motives and 10 were attacks on mosques." The report continued: "…Germany and also all of Europe have entered a state of xenophobia and racism. Attacks on mosques have increased significantly in recent years. The attacks carried out on three mosques, two in Berlin and one in Bielefeld, which constitute the main factor in the commission's investigation, targeted the freedom of the rights to life, belief and worship. "Because of the [German] authorities' declaration that excluded the possibility of racist or xenophobic motives behind the burning of the Berlin Mevlana Mosque, as a result of media reports that portrayed the events as unimportant and due the hesitant behavior of politicians, the door has been opened for the Turkish community to feel that it is not being protected. "When faced with this situation, [the commission has observed] that effective deterrents have not been implemented and that police efforts to apprehend perpetrators have been insufficient. Racism and xenophobia are not matters that can be controlled by police measures alone. The education system, the systems of the state, the media and civil society should take action in the struggle against racism."
© Todays Zaman
Germany: 2014 sees jump in refugee home attacks
Federal investigators said on Sunday that attacks against refugee housing had increased dramatically in 2014, but refugee organizations warned against panic.
17/11/2014- Police recorded 86 separate incidents, from graffitied swastikas to broken windows and arson attempts, between January and September. As many attacks were recorded in the first nine months of the year as in 2012 and 2013 put together, federal criminal investigators (BKA) told Spiegel. And there were over 200 demon-strations against refugees in the first 10 months of the year, refugee organizations Pro Asyl and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation reported. “You have to put it the numbers in context,” a Pro Asyl spokesman told The Local, saying that the increasing numbers of people arriving from conflict zones was bringing them into contact with parts of Germany where they might not have been seen before.
“There are a lot more places where refugees are being accommodated in Germany. Often in places where there are existing far-right structures.” The other side of the coin was just as important to remember, he argued. “A lot more people are prepared to help than I've seen over the last 25 or 30 years, it's nothing like the 1990s. “There is only very limited support for the far-right extremists... there's a broad consensus about this issue (of welcoming refugees), even if there are administrative problems when they first arrive.” Germany's asylum system has been plagued by problems as the number of people arriving from Iraq and Syria has increased in 2014, with many refugees living in temporary accommodation. An Interior Ministry spokesman told Spiegel they were closely monitoring the number of attacks.
© The Local - Germany
USA: Muslim cemetery vandalized; Bosnian refugees fear hate crime
20/11/2014- The Bosnian community in Western Washington was shocked to find headstones and memorials destroyed at their Snohomish County cemetery. The refugees who escaped bloody violence in their home country now fear hate has driven vandals to target the place where their loved ones are laid to rest. “They’ve died in peace, they can’t rest in peace,” said Meliha Babic, “This is unacceptable for any place to have your headstones turned over and your grave site vandalized.” For the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington State, the Bear Creek Cemetery near Maltby is their final resting place. Babic’s mother and uncle’s bodies are buried at the cemetery. She said her uncle’s headstone was toppled and smashed some time after the weekend. “He came here to escape that, to start a new life and to live in a safe area, and now look what’s happening,” she said. But it’s what wasn’t damaged that has this immigrant community worried they have been targeted because of their faith. “We have two parts of the cemetery, one Christian, one Muslim,” Babic said. “It seems like all of the damage was in the newer part where the Muslim Bosniaks were buried.” The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said there’s not enough evidence to show hate is the motivation – but the immigrants believe the vandal’s intent is clear. “My first gut reaction is that this was a hate crime,” said Babic. The property’s owners are considering installing surveillance cameras at the cemetery to catch the vandals if they return.
© Q13 Fox News
Ukraine: Babi Yar Holocaust memorial defaced with swastikas
For second time in two months, site in Kiev desecrated with graffiti.
17/11/2014- The Holocaust memorial at Babi Yar in Kiev was discovered defaced by graffiti swastikas on Monday, the second time in less than two months that the site has been desecrated. Anna Lenchovska, executive director of the Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine, discovered the Nazi symbol spray-painted on two stones flanking the memorial’s giant menorah when leading a tour of schoolchildren at the site, where more than 33,000 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. “I was with a group of school youngsters. I approached and said that it is very often vandalized and then I saw it myself. I think almost every year it happens, unfortunately.”
Babi Yar had previously been desecrated in September, only days before Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko paid a state visit to the site, declaring that “Ukraine will never allow recovery of fascism, persecution along ethnic, language, religious or other lines.” Russia has consistently leveled accusations of anti-Semitism against the Ukrainian government, claims which both officials and Jewish leaders deny. An attempted firebombing of a Kiev synagogue prior to Rosh Hashana and a series of anti-Semitic incidents, including the stabbing of a Kollel student last year, raised fears of increased anti-Jewish attitudes, but the subsequent electoral failures of the far Right have largely mitigated the concerns of members of the Jewish community, many Ukrainian Jews have said.
Local Jewish leaders like Josef Zissels of the Va’ad of Ukraine have compared their country favorably to Western European countries like Belgium and France, where attacks against Jewish targets and street harassment are much more common. “Ukraine lacks... important factors, which define the current significant manifestations of anti-Semitism in Western Europe,” such as a large Muslim immigrant population and “the anti-Israeli rhetoric that has been fashionable in the last dozen years among the left wing intellectuals,” Zissels has written.
© The Jerusalem Post
Ukraine: Graffiti Death Threats at Jewish School in Kharkov
Antisemitic graffiti was found on a Jewish school in Kharkov, Ukraine. Hate slogans included 'Kill the Jews,' and 'Heil Happy Holocaust.'
16/11/2014- Jewish students in Kharkov, Ukraine were shocked to discover serious antisemitic graffiti sprayed across their school building Thursday. The graffiti included the slogans "Kill the Jews," and "Heil Happy Holocaust," as well as crossed out images of Stars of David and swastikas. Educators were quick to call the local police, who arrived immediately and conducted tests and other trace search operations. Kharkov's Chief Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz responded to the disturbing incident: "We cannot point to who did this. At such a sensitive time it is difficult to know who is behind this act." The Rabbi continued, "Our response should always be spreading more light than darkness - the continued study of Jewish values in the school, and all schools across the country will bring security and faith. With the help of God, we will make it through this period as well."
Last week, Russian media accused Ukraine of preventing media from reporting on growing antisemitism in the Jewish communities in Ukraine. Moscow has been accusing Kiev of increased antisemitism in the country for months. Antisemitic incidents in the past year have included stabbings, graffiti, attacks on Jewish-owned businesses, and the firebombing of cars and synagogues. According to the Russians, Odessa recently saw a string of severe antisemitic incidents, but Ukrainian media censored the news so as to "not tell the truth that Neo-Nazis and the extreme right are acting out in Ukraine in whatever manner they please." The Jewish community in Odessa, however, has said that Russia's spin has no connection to reality, and if there were antisemitic incidents in Odessa, it would be impossible to prevent the publication of such information. They also stressed that antisemitism rates have decreased significantly since the new government came to power.
Additionally, despite Russian officials' insistence that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Ukraine, local Jewish leaders have shrugged off the "overhyped" claims saying that life for Ukrainian Jewry is actually "safer and easier" than in the West. Ukraine's Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (VAAD) has also stepped up its public campaign to dismiss rumors of rampant antisemitism in Ukraine, claiming it is a "political tool" being wielded by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify Moscow's support for Ukrainian rebel forces. Kiev seems to agree. They have previously come out against Russia, accusing them of being the agents behind antisemitic activity in Ukraine, in order to prove that the new government is not doing enough to eradicate anti-Semitism and thus to legitimize their presence in Ukraine.
© Arutz Sheva
Belgium: European Jews urge more protection after Antwerp stabbing
Jewish group calls for meetings with EU officials to discuss worsening anti-Semitism
16/11/2014- Following Saturday's stabbing of an ultra-Orthodox Jews in Antwerp, Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, called on European authorities to step up efforts to protect Jewish communities that are being targeted by Islamists and other parties. “There is a war against the Jews on the internet and on the streets. Until there is a crackdown on incitement to hatred and anti-Semitism, then more people will believe that these types of attacks are legitimate,” Kantor said. And Rabbi Menachem Margolin of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, said his group will set meetings with EU officials to discuss “the severity of the situation and ways to combat such phenomena at their core, through education.”
The victim, identified as Yehosha Malik, 31, sustained injuries classified as moderate on Saturday morning in the capital of Belgium’s Flemish Region. He was released from hospital later in the day. In an interview with Hadrei Haredim, a Hebrew-language news site, Malik said he felt a jab to his neck “and saw a young man eagerly trying to stab again. Malik, an Orthodox Jew, was on his way to synagogue in the city’s center, where a population of roughly 16,000 Orthodox Jews resides. According to Malik’s account, the attacker fled because another Orthodox Jew who witnessed the assault confronted the attacker. “Seeing as the victim had no commercial activities, there is very real chance we are dealing with an act of pure anti-Semitism," the region’s Forum of Jewish Organization wrote in a statement.
“The Forum, as representative of the Jewish community, is confidence that the police services will employ every resource at their disposal to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the statement read. Jewish communities across the world have noted an increase in anti-Semitic incidents since this summer's war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi of the Netherlands, who has experienced over the years several anti-Semitic attacks, told Israeli news site Ynet in an interview published Friday, that "anti-Semitic incidents occur on a daily basis." "There were Jews in Holland before and after the Holocaust, but what is happening today reminds many of them of the situation before World War II. I am very careful not to make such comparisons, but on the other hand, I am against turning a blind eye," he told Ynet.
US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, urged European leaders at a conference on anti-Semitism in Berlin on Thursday to appoint high-level envoys to focus on anti-Semitism and impose tougher measures against hate-crimes without trampling over the basic democratic right of free speech. “[A] Europe where anyone feels afraid or endangered because of the actions, beliefs or speech of a neighbor is a Europe where everyone’s rights are at risk,” Power said, adding that “robust steps must be taken." Power also wondered why fewer countries were attending than at the first OSCE anti-Semitism conference 10 years ago. "Make no mistake - we have a problem," she said.
Last May, Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche killed four people at Brussels' Jewish Museum. Nemmouche, 29, of Algerian origin, spent more than a year fighting with Islamic extremists in Syria, and was charged with "murder in a terrorist context" after an Israeli couple, a French woman and a Belgian were shot dead at the museum in central Brussels. The shooting -- the first such attack in Brussels in three decades -- raised fears of a resurgence of anti-Semitic violence in Europe.
© i24 News
16/11/2014- As it stands there is no reference to disability hate crime in Irish legislation. Disability campaigner and hate crime researcher, Frank Larkin, has presented his studies in the EU and is calling on the Irish Government to make disability hate crime an offence. He says the legislation could very easily be changed but instead the legislators are “sitting on their hands“. Larkin says, “There are no specific legal definitions of what disability hate crime is. “There would also appear to be no real willingness on the part of the Government to address the rise in this type of crime and no urgency to put in place such legislation that would guard against it.” A Justice Department spokesperson said, “Disability hate crime is part of the overall issue that is being considered in the examination initiated by the Minister of State.
Minister of State, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, chaired a round-table discussion on legislating for hate crime in Ireland last month. The Labour TD said, The 1989 Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act is not fit for purpose. We need to strive to live in a Republic free from hate crime and prejudicial targeting because of one’s ethnic back-ground, sexual orientation, gender or disability. The Justice Department said the outcome of the meeting was that “Limerick Hate and Hostility Research Group agreed to conduct further research with a view to identifying practical solutions which can be brought to government in the form of legislative proposals.”
However, it failed to specifically address disability hate crime when asked. A disability seminar organised by Bluebird Care, will discuss the issue in Ennis in Clare on Wednesday November 19. Operations Director with Bluebird Care, Eddie O’Toole said, “13% of Ireland’s population has a disability and we are cognizant of the needs of people who live with intellectual, sensory or physical disabilities.”
© The Journal Ireland
UK: You've got hate mail: how Islamophobia takes root online
By Imran Awan, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University
21/11/2014- In late 2013 I was invited to present evidence, as part of my submission regarding online anti-Muslim hate, at the House of Commons. I attempted to show how hate groups on the internet were using this space to intimidate, cause fear and make direct threats against Muslim communities – particularly after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year. The majority of incidents of Muslim hate crime (74%) reported to the organisation Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) are online. In London alone, hate crimes against Muslims rose by 65% over the past 12 months, according to the Metropolitan Police and anti-Islam hate crimes have also increased from 344 to 570 in the past year. Before the Woolwich incident there was an average of 28 anti-Muslim hate crimes per month (in April 2013, there were 22 anti-Muslim hate crimes in London alone) but in May, when Rigby was murdered, that number soared to 109. Between May 2013 and February 2014, there were 734 reported cases of anti-Islamic abuse – and of these, 599 were incidents of online abuse and threats, while the others were “offline” attacks such as violence, threats and assaults.
A breakdown of the statistics shows these tend to be mainly from male perpetrators and are marginally more likely to be directed at women. After I made my presentation I, too, became a target in numerous online forums and anti-Muslim hate blogs which attempted to demonise what I had to say and, in some cases, threaten me with violence. Most of those forums were taken down as soon as I reported them.
It’s become easy to indulge in racist hate-crimes online and many people take advantage of the anonymity to do so. I examined anti-Muslim hate on social media sites such as Twitter and found that the demonisation and dehumanisation of Muslim communities is becoming increasingly commonplace. My study involved the use of three separate hashtags, namely #Muslim, #Islam and #Woolwich – which allowed me to examine how Muslims were being viewed before and after Woolwich. The most common reappearing words were: “Muslim pigs” (in 9% of posts), “Muzrats” (14%), “Muslim Paedos” (30%), “Muslim terrorists” (22%), “Muslim scum” (15%) and “Pisslam” (10%). These messages are then taken up by virtual communities who are quick to amplify their actions by creating webpages, blogs and forums of hate. Online anti-Muslim hate therefore intensifies, as has been shown after the Rotherham abuse scandal in the UK, the beheading of journalists James Foley, Steven Sotloff and the humanitarian workers David Haines and Alan Henning by the Islamic State and the Woolwich attacks in 2013.
The organisation Faith Matters has also conducted research, following the Rotherham abuse scandal, analysing Facebook conversations from Britain First posts on August 26 2014 using the Facebook Graph API. They found some common reappearing words which included: Scum (207 times); Asian (97); deport (48); Paki (58); gangs (27) and paedo/pedo (25). A number of the comments and posts were from people with direct links to organisations such as Britain First, the English Brotherhood and the English Defence League.
Abuse is not a human right
Clearly, hate on the internet can have direct and indirect effect for victims and communities being targeted. In one sense, it can be used to harass and intimidate victims and on the other hand, it can also be used for opportunistic crimes. Few of us will forget the moment when Salma Yaqoob appeared on BBC Question Time and tweeted the following comments to her followers: “Apart from this threat to cut my throat by #EDL supporter (!) overwhelmed by warm response to what I said on #bbcqt.” The internet is a powerful tool by which people can be influenced to act in a certain way and manner. This is particularly strong when considering hate speech that aims to threaten and incite violence. This also links into the convergence of emotional distress caused by hate online, the nature of intimidation and harassment and the prejudice that seeks to defame groups through speech intending to injure and intimidate. Some sites who have been relatively successful here include BareNakedIslam and IslamExposed which has a daily forum and chatroom about issues to do with Muslims and Islam and has a strong anti-Muslim tone which begins with initial discussion about a particular issue – such as banning Halal meat – and then turns into strong and provocative language.
Most of this anti-Muslim hate speech hides behind a fake banner of English patriotism, but is instead used to demonise and dehumanise Muslim communities. It goes without saying that the internet is just a digital realisation of the world itself – all shades of opinion are represented, including those Muslims whose hatred of the West prompts them to preach jihad and contempt for “dirty kuffar” Clearly, freedom of speech is a fundamental right that everyone should enjoy, but when that converges with incitement, harassment, threats of violence and cyber-bullying then we as a society must act before it’s too late. There is an urgent need to provide advice for those who are suffering online abuse. It is also important to keep monitoring sites where this sort of thing regularly crops up; this can help inform not only policy but also help us get a better understanding of the relationships forming online. This would require in detail an examination of the various websites, blogs and social networking sites by monitoring the various URLs of those sites regarded as having links to anti-Muslim hate.
It is also important that we begin a process of consultation with victims of online anti-Muslim abuse – and reformed offenders – who could work together highlighting the issues they think are important when examining online Islamophobia. The internet offers an easy and accessible way of reporting online abuse, but an often difficult relationship between the police and Muslim communities in some areas means much more could be done. This could have a positive impact on the overall reporting of online abuse. The improved rate of prosecutions which might culminate as a result could also help identify the issues around online anti-Muslim abuse.
© The Conversation
A rugby player who was promoting his LGBT rugby team was attacked on Manchester’s Canal Street, and police ar treating the incident as a hate crime.
21/11/2014- The 24-year-old man was approached by a group of men and punched in the face. Police have appealed for information about the attack which took place at around 9pm on 1 November. Police released a CCTV image of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the attack. Detective Constablt Louise Kelly told ITV News: “He was approached by a group of about four men who shouted homophobic abuse at him and one of them punched him in the face. The victim was treated in hospital for a broken jaw. Officers have released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to in connection with the attack. “We believe this to be a homophobic attack and I want to make it clear that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated on our streets. “The victim was merely promoting his rugby team, but was subjected to an attack, during which he suffered a broken jaw and has had a metal plate inserted into his face. “I want to reassure local businesses and residents, who live, reside or socialise in the gay village that we are treating this extremely seriously.
Anyone with information related to the attack should contact police by calling 101.
© Pink News.
UK: Homophobic assault against Oxford students
20/11/2014- Two Oxford students were attacked in the early hours of Saturday morning in what has been described as a homophobic assault. The students, both male and aged 19, were attacked by two men at around 3.30am on Parks Road, near Keble College. Neither was seriously injured, although one suffered significant cuts and bruises. The men allegedly shouted “faggot” and other homophobic abuse, before kicking and punching the students. Thames Valley Police are currently investigating the incident, with spokesperson Lucy Billen confirming: “between 03.30 and 03.45 on 15th November, two men shouted homophobic abuse at two other men and attempted to trip one of them up. We are investiga-ting a potential breach of the Public Order Act”. In a general statement on its website, the police force claim to take reports of homophobic and transphobic hate crime “very seriously”.
One of the assaulted students said: “I was quite shaken up about it at the time, and I felt a bit rubbish about it the next day. I’m going to be a bit more wary of other people when I’m out and about late at night”. The Keble student went on to describe the response of Thames Valley Police as “great”, commenting: “Within 15 minutes of the incident being reported, two police officers were at my door to check on me and the details”. The officers assured the student that he was right to contact the police, describing the incident as a “hate crime”. The students were returning home from a nightclub when they were confronted by the men. Anna Bazley, Welfare Officer for Oxford University’s LGBTQ Society, commented: “Whilst incidents like these are thankfully incredibly rare, they serve as distressing reminders that homophobia is still a presence within society and even within the University.”
Bazley, a third-year student at St Peter’s College, went on to assure students that “the LGBTQ Society welfare team strives to make sure all queer students at Oxford feel as safe and comfortable as possible”, urging students to report incidents of bullying or harassment with relevant college or university authorities. The society’s president Otamere Tam Guobadia also condemned the attack, criticising the “wider context of a society that endorses the violence and punishments visited upon bodies that are ‘queer’”. In May 2014, two Oxford students were assaulted by three men on Hythe Bridge Street, with the attackers repeatedly addressing the students as “fags”. Homophobic and transphobic assaults in Oxford are generally rare. An active member of Oxford’s LGBTQ community described the attack as “disgusting”, stating: “This pathetic and cowardly assault is an attack on Oxford’s entire queer community. We have the right to walk around our own city without being attacked, and we will absolutely not be silenced by these reprehensible homopho-bes.”
According to Home Office figures, 5,000 homophobic and transphobic hate crimes were recorded in the UK in 2013, with gay rights charity Stonewall reporting that 1 in 6 gay and lesbian youths have been the victim of hate crime in the last three years. Thames Valley Police are requesting any information from witnesses to the incident, and can be contac-ted by calling 101.
© The Oxford Student
UK: Erick Maina death: Probe into racist graffiti in Maghull
An investigation has been launched after a black teenager was found dead hours before racist graffiti about him appeared near his school.
17/11/2014- Erick Maina who was a pupil at Maricourt Catholic High School in Maghull, was found in Fazakerley, Liverpool, on Saturday morning. Racist comments about the 15-year-old are being investigated by police. Two males, aged 17 and 18, have been arrested on suspicion of causing racially aggravated criminal damage. The school's head teacher Brendan McLoughlin paid tribute to the "bright and intelligent" pupil. He said: "Erick was a popular and well-liked pupil at the school. He represen-ted his peers as form captain and was a member of the school council. "He was a bright and intelligent young man, always polite and co-operative. "Our prayers and thoughts go to Erick's family to whom we send our deepest sympathy." The cause of the boy's death has not yet been revealed and detectives are investigating on behalf of the Sefton coroner. Merseyside Police said the graffiti appeared close to the school and also at nearby Balls Wood Park. Mr McLoughlin declined to comment on the graffiti.
© BBC News
UK: Fury as council paints patch over racist graffiti
Selly Oak mum says black patch has singled property out - and abuse scratched into woodwork can still be read
16/11/2014- A mum has slated council handymen for simply painting a black square over vile racist graffiti scrawled on her flat door. The word “n****r”, carved in the woodwork, can still clearly be seen through the botched cover-up coat. Victim Leona Jarvis, from Selly Oak, last night accused Birmingham City Council of making mat-ters worse. “I think it’s disgraceful, disgusting,” said the 26-year-old student and single mother. They’ve just drawn people’s attention to the word.” But a spokesman for the city council stressed the paint job was a temporary measure and full repair work will be carried out shortly. Workers had acted as soon as they were made aware of the incident. Leona discovered the abuse on the green door of her Courtway House flat on Monday, November 2, and immediately contacted police. It’s not the first time Leona, who shares her home with three-year-old son Tamari, has encountered race hate. She told The Mercury abuse was hurled at her during a shopping trip. The latest incident has left her shaken, however. “I don’t fear for my life, but I’m on edge.
It was Halloween on the Friday and I didn’t leave my flat over the weekend, so I can’t be sure when the damage was caused. A police officer told me kids may have done it. I suffer from depression and this hasn’t helped.” But Leona’s shock turned to anger when she saw the repair work car-ried out by council officials. She said: “If nothing else, it looks unsightly. But it singles my property out.” Despite her experience, Leona wants to stay in the council block, her home for the last three years. A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed officers were alerted to the vandalism at 8.50am on November 3. She added: “We take reports of hate crime very seriously and would urge anyone with information to contact us on 101.” The council spokesman added: “Birmingham City Council takes hate crime extremely seriously and in this case the immediate response was to paint over the graffiti as a temporary measure. “We understand how distressing this incident must have been and will return to the property shortly to carry out more permanent repairs.” Because of the serious nature of the incident, a member of the council’s anti-social behaviour team will also visit.
© The Birmingham Mail.
Headlines 14 November, 2014
Anti-Muslim crimes up in UK after rise of ISIL
Tell Mama says recent events in the UK and internationally have resulted in a sharp increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes
14/11/2014- The rise of the ISIL has resulted in an increase in anti-Muslim hate crime in London, according to a monitoring group. Fiyaz Mighal of Tell Mama, a charity which docu-ments crimes or acts against Muslims in the U.K. based on religious, racial or ethnic hatred, told the Anadolu agency that Muslims were being abused both on and offline following the release of videos showing beheadings carried out by ISIL. Mighal said: "Cases of verbal abuse against Muslims suggests that perceptions about ISIL motivate anti-Muslim hatred nationally and in London. "We've had cases of women being abused on the way to the shops, with people shouting at them: 'Why don't we chop your head off?'" In another case, he said perpetrators shouted at a Muslim woman: "Oh, your head will be much better on the floor." The organization also analyzed figures, obtained in a freedom of information request from the Metropolitan police, from 2012 to 2014 and found that there had been an overall increase.
Mughal said that, although the police were attempting to show that hate crimes were coming down following the murder of Lee Rigby, a British soldier who was hacked to death near his barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, in May last year leading to a dramatic rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes, Tell Mama's research showed they had increased overall. Tell Mama said that, according to figures released by the Metropolitan police, there had been an average of 28 anti-Muslim hate crimes per month in the year before the killing, from April 2012 to April 2013. But anti-Muslim hate crimes rose by 66 percent the year after, between March 2013 and March 2014. Tell Mama said that, with the so-called Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham (which revolved around allegations of a "jihadist plot" to take over education in U.K. schools), the Gaza-Israel conflict and the activities of ISIL in northern Iraq all being in the headlines, attacks against Muslims had risen. The anti-Muslim discourse worsened in late 2014 following reports of child abuse in Rotherham, in which more than 1,400 children were sexually abused over a 16-year period by gangs of pedophiles after police and council bosses who turned a blind eye to the attacks through fear of being labelled racist, according to a report by Professor Alexis Jay, the former chief inspector of social work in Scotland.
Mughal said: "The issue very quickly was turned into a Muslim issue by the far-right and others seeking to capitalize on the events. "It is clear that anti-Muslim hate did not simply taper off and fall back to a low level after 2014. Instead, it got worse," he said. The highest number of reports came from the London borough of Tower Hamlets, which has a large Muslim population and a Muslim mayor. A report by Birmingham City University on online hatred towards Muslims after the murder of Lee Rigby, said in July the problem had be-come "rampant". A Teeside University investigation released the same month revealed Muslim women were increasingly becoming the targets of anti-Muslim hate crimes. U.K. Muslims makes up 4.8 percent of the country's population and number around 2.7 million.
© World Bulletin
UK: I won't let anti-Semitic thugs win', says Salford rabbi
Rabbi Arnold Saunders, of Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Synagogue, speaks out as the extent of anti-Semitic incidents in the city is revealed.
13/11/2014- A rabbi has told of how he has been physically attacked and verbally abused by anti-Semitic thugs. Rabbi Arnold Saunders has spoken out as new figures reveal the extent of anti-Semitic incidents in the city. Rabbi Saunders said he was punched in the face outside his synagogue by a man who then ran away. On another occasion a teenage boy walked up to him and yelled in his face. And, while driving in Salford, he was shocked to see a man wearing a football shirt bearing an anti-Semitic slogan referring to the gas chambers during the Holocaust. Rabbi Saunders, of the Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Synagogue, has also been pelted with eggs and has witnessed abuse aimed at other members of the Jewish community. He is urging people to report all incidents of violence, abuse, vandalism and assaults. He said: “Even if you’re not going to get the perpetrator, it’s still important that the police can log the incident. “I was threatened by someone who said ‘I’m going to kill you’. But I thought ‘I’m not going to let you win’.”
Data collected by the Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain and works to protect Jewish people, reveals that Salford has seen the highest number of anti-Semitic attacks in Greater Manchester in the first half of the year. Of 98 incidents that occurred between January and June, 43 were in Salford. There were four assaults, seven incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property, one threat and 31 incidents of abusive behaviour. Salford has the second highest Jewish population in Greater Manchester after Bury. In the 2011 Census 7,687 people in Salford said they were Jewish. Superintendent Stuart Barton, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We, and our partner agencies in Salford, do a lot of work to engage with our local communities with the aim to reduce hate crime. I believe our existing strong relationship with our neighbourhoods is going from strength to strength with dedicated staff patrolling the areas and developing those ties.”
Mark Gardner of the CST said: “Salford is home to a relatively large and visible Jewish community, that is thriving and happy. "Unfortunately, however, it does suffer on occasion from criminal and anti-social behaviour that often has a racist anti-Semitic element to it.”
© The Manchester Evening News.
One in 20 Brits has suffered religious hate crime
One in 20 people living in Britain has been the victim of a religious hate crime in the last 12 months, according to a new poll this month.
12/11/2014- Opinium Research surveyed more than 2,000 people and asked if they had been the victim of any type of hate crime, including verbal abuse, harassment, damage to property and different types of prejudice. Overall, 5 per cent had experienced religious hate crime, but that figure rose to 15 per cent in the North East and 11 per cent, more than one in ten, in London. Both are areas populated by large numbers of Muslims. The lowest figure for religious hate crime were in Yorkshire and Humberside, and in Wales. Northern Ireland was just below the average, with 4 per cent of people having experienced a religious hate crime. More people suffered hate crime in relation to prejudice around disability and race than religion. An average 6 per cent reported a disability hate crime, but that figure rose to 17 per cent, nearly one in five, again in the North East, and 12 per cent, more than one in ten, in London. Racial hate crimes similarly peaked in the North East, and then London.
The level for homophobic and sexist hate crimes were the same as religion, experienced by one in 20. Again, the highest rate was in the North East with London running a close second. Of those suffering racial hate crimes, most reported that it took the form of bullying, verbal abuse and internet trolling. But surprisingly large numbers also received hate mail and suffered damage to property and harassment. Religious hate crime mainly took the form of harassment, physical assault and internet abuse, but there were also significant amounts of domestic abuse, verbal abuse, hate mail, vandalism and bullying. Incidents were most frequent against young men and women aged 18-34, and nearly half reported the incidents. However, more than four out of ten did not intend to go to the police.
© Christian Today
Netherlands: Gay bar owner beaten up in hate crime
11/11/2014- The co-owner of a gay bar was beaten up by a man shouting slurs at him Monday night as he closed his cafe. Rocco Wort, 22, told police the man screamed “filthy cancerous fag,” and “fuck off,” before punching Wort in the face. Police are holding a 51-year-old man from Haarlem in custody. He was still being questioned about the suspected hate crime late Tuesday morning. The incident happened at about 5 a.m. Tuesday morning outside Wilsons by R&R, on a quiet street in Haarlem, Noord Holland. Initially, he thought it was a newspaper deliveryman he was friendly with, the victim told broadcaster RTV NH. After he said hello to the man he thought was his friend, the offender attacked, flattening Wort on the pavement. Wort says he staggered to his feet before being punched again. “Then I took off running, but he was doggedly chasing me,” Wort said. “I don’t think he was finished with me.” He outran his assailant and arrived safely in his house. After telling his boyfriend the story, they called police. Wort and his boyfriend took over the cafe in August when it fell into bankruptcy. “My boyfriend and I have worked so hard recently to keep the bar open, then this happens. But, he said, “I’ll be back in the cafe later.”
© The NL Times
Georgia: Transwoman killed and flat set on fire in Tbilisi
A young transgender person was killed in her apartment last night on Pekini street, Tbilisi. The victim’s apartment was set on fire, apparently in order to destroy the evidence.
11/11/2014- Local media report that the victim was a 23 year old transwoman, who has appeared on several TV talk shows advocating sexual minority rights. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has not issued any official statement confirming or denying this so far. “Around midnight, my neighbor called me. I came out of my apartment, and everything was on fire. But before that, there was no fight and no noise. I was told that the victim was killed and then burned. The door to the apartment were locked and could not be opened. It seems that someone with a key was in the apartment,” one of the victim’s neighbors told Interpressnews. Not clear if it was a hate crime. The police have begun investigating it as a premeditated murder without aggravating circumstance. The Criminal Code of Georgia lists intolerance towards one’s sexual orientation or gender identity as aggravating factors for any committed crime, and such hate crimes are to be punished harder.
The organization Identoba, which works with LGBT rights, called on the MIA to make clear whether this was a hate crime or not. The group stressed in a statement that the police are not qualified to solve homophobic crimes and investigate them as crimes without aggravating circumstances. Identoba also asked to protect the privacy of the victim, and accused the media of not being interested in the horrific nature of the crime itself, but instead indulging in the victim’s orientation and gender identity. “Each human life is precious regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Sexual minorities not welcome in Tbilisi
In 2013, just after the May 17th events, CRRC Georgia conducted a survey asking Tbilisi residents their opinion regarding the clash between LGBT rights activists and people sharing anti-homosexual sentiments. They talked to 542 Georgian-speaking adults, and the results showed that half of them would justify physical violence if it is directed toward people and groups who endanger national values. In addition, half of Tbilisi residents believe that the rights of sexual minorities should never be respected and almost a third of the Tbilisi population think that sexual minorities should not have the same rights as everyone else. At the same time, almost half of the respondents believe that it is possible for homosex-uals to change their sexual orientation. Also, almost a third of the Tbilisi population don’t want to life nextdoor to someone belonging to a sexual minority.
© Democracy & Freedom Watch
Motorists threaten Dutch chief rabbi
Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs filed a complaint with police against two men whom he said tried to intimidate him at a gas station.
10/11/2014- Jacobs, chief rabbi of the Interprovincial Rabbinate for The Netherlands, filed the complaint last week after two men on Nov. 5 drove a BMW car in his direction in a sudden manner that Jacobs said was meant to intimidate him. “I was putting in fuel and noticed two men, who had a Middle Eastern appearance, watching me from their car near-by,” Jacobs told JTA. “When I walked past their car to pay, they started the car and lunged in my direction, laughing. It was clear that they had waited to do this with the intention of at least scaring me, if not worse.” Jacobs dresses in haredi Orthodox garb, making him identifiable as Jewish. Jacobs’ home was targeted several times in recent years by indivi-duals who threw stones at its windows. The last attack happened during Israel’s conflict this summer with Hamas in Gaza and prompted police to install security cameras around Jacobs’ home, located 30 miles east of Amsterdam. “The current government is very clear in speaking against antisemi-tism and this is a good thing,” Jacobs said. “And while panic over antisemitism is not called for, we must recognize that there is growing anti-Semitism and report each incident because this is how we can combat the phenomenon.”
© JTA News
France: In Paris, Jewish teen mobbed, attempted arson at kosher eatery
10/11/2014- Hours after the attempted arson of a Paris kosher restaurant, a group of French teenagers assaulted a Jewish adolescent outside a school. The assault happened Thursday in the 3rd arrondissement, or district, 500 yards north of Bastille, in front of the private high school Progress, which has a large number of Jewish students. The victim, who was wearing a kipah, was standing in front of the school with some friends when a group of approximately 15 youths of African descent ages 16-19 assaulted him, according to a report of the incident by the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. They beat the victim, who was not named, with their fists and elbows before fleeing the scene. He received medical attention and was given two days sick leave to recover from the assault, BNVCA reported.
Less than 12 hours earlier, unidentified vandals had tried to burn down the Zekai sushi restaurant in the 17th arrondissement located 4 miles west of the school. The cases reportedly are unrelated. The vandals hurled stones at the restaurant’s armored glass door late at night but failed to punch a hole through it, the news website of the Tribune Juive newspaper reported. They also tried to set off a firebomb before fleeing, according to BNVCA. BNVCA, a nongovernmental watchdog, said the restaurant – an upscale eatery situated in a chic neighborhood near the Arc de Triomphe – has been targeted in the past by passers-by who shouted “Dirty Jews” into the restaurant before fleeing. The restaurant displays a kosher certificate on its front door. Both incidents were reported to the police, BNVCA said.
© JTA News
Poland: Police arrest man in Warsaw for alleged anti-Semitic assault
9/11/2014- Police in Warsaw arrested the alleged perpetrator of an assault on a 78-year-old man while shouting anti-Semitic slurs. The suspect, identified in Polish media as a 30-year-old man named Pawel L., allegedly struck the victim outside a store on Friday, causing him injuries that required hospitalization. Police found Pawel being subdued by passers-by who intervened after witnessing the attack, according to the news website fakt.pl. The report did not say whether the victim was Jewish, but prosecutors intend to charge Pawel with perpetrating a hate crime along with assault. Pawel was taken into custody immediately at the scene. If convicted, he could face a jail term of up to 10 years.
© JTA News
German Muslims, Jews speak out against racism, discrimination
Representatives of different religions and faiths living in Berlin's Kreuzberg, a neighborhood with a large number of immigrant residents, have made calls to raise awareness in German society about recent anti-religious and anti-Semitic acts in the city in order to influence policies and fight discrimination and racism, which continue to be huge problems in Germany.
9/11/2014- Late on Friday members of Berlin's Jewish and Muslim communities came together in front of Berlin's Mevlana Mosque in Kreuzberg, sometimes referred to as “Little Istanbul.” The groups gathered together to replace two “stumbling stones” commemorating Moritz and Julia Katz, whose family endured terrific hardship when they lost two of their children in the Holocaust. The couple lived in the building currently housing the mosque before fleeing to Palestine in 1939. The stumbling stones commemorating Moritz and Julia Katz were torn out in an attack in April, 2014, mere hours after the stones were installed there, a move that raised concerns in German society and among the immigrant communities living in Berlin. In a separate incident following the removal of the stumbling stones, a group attacked and set fire to the Mevlana Mosque.
The joint action was organized to remember and bring attention to the two separate anti-religious acts in a very unique ceremony by bringing members of the Muslim and Jewish minorities together at a time when intense clashes have been taking place between Palestinians and Israelis over the al-Aqsa mosque in al-Quds, also known as Jerusalem. The event was organized by the Kreuzberg Museum, the Kreuzberg Initiative against Anti-Semitism (KIGA) and Berlin's Turkish community. Addressing the crowd in front of the mosque, Stephan Kramer, the secretary-general of the General Council of Jews in Germany, drew a parallel between the “Crystal Night” in 1938 and the atmosphere the Jewish community has been facing even before the Gaza crisis erupted. Kramer pointed out that the Muslim community in Germany also faces real manifestations of anti-Islamic sentiment, the attacks on mosques across Germany being just one example.
Before the attack on the Mevlana Mosque in Berlin, the Süleymaniye Mosque in Germany's Bielefeld was also set on fire. In February, the Cologne Central Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Germany, was also attacked. Apart from these three recent incidents, 78 attacks targeting mosques have been carried out in Germany alone since 2012, and 219 attacks were carried out between 2001 and 2012. Although incidents involving arson remain rare, hate crimes and hate speech against Muslim communities have become widespread across Europe. “Discrimination has already become a part our daily life,” Kramer said, adding that unfortunately it doesn't receive enough attention in politics. He urged religious and ethnic minorities of Germany, including Muslims and Jews to be in dialogue with each other and act together on common goals.
Mentioning the conflicts in the Middle East and their effects in Europe, Kramer also underlined the need for joint awareness programs and projects, which he thinks are important in finding balance in German society and acting together. “If synagogues and mosques are burned, it is inevitable to be next to each other together on the street,” Kramer said. Speaking about the Holocaust and the recent attacks on mosques in Germany, Bekir Yżlmaz, head of the Turkish Community of Berlin, has under-lined the importance of cooperative movements involving not only Muslim and Jewish groups but also other communities of Germany as well. “It is important to get together and raise our voice against the extremists. What they are targeting has no determined identity. What happened yesterday [to Jews] might happen to us today and to others tomorrow,” Yżlmaz said, emphasizing the necessity of coexistence in German society.
© Today's Zaman
Sweden: Parents racially abuse 11-year-old handball player
An eleven-year-old handball player was called a "negro bastard" and told to go back "home" to Africa by parents of the opposing team at a youth tournament in Eslöv last weekend, according to a police report.
8/11/2014- The incident occurred when the boy's team IFK Skovde met the home team Eslöv in the Skadevi Cup youth tournament last week. The matter was reported to the police by the young boy's parents and the incident has been classified as a suspected hate crime, according to the broadcaster Sveriges Radio. According to the report the source of the racist abuse was the parents of the opposing team. The police report is supported by the boy's club IFK Skovde and the incident has furthermore been reported to the Skåne handball federation. Eslövs HF's chairman Ingemar Jeppsson has responded that his club also takes a dim view on the incident. "We're trying to bring clarity to it. Apparently it was one of our parents who expressed himself like this. And if this is the case... There is absolutely nothing we in the club can accept," he said to the local gt.se news website.
© The Local - Sweden
Ireland: Graffiti of racist slurs on school
Disgusting and threatening racist messages have been daubed on the walls of Balbriggan Educate Together School, prompting a local group of concerned residents to meet over how to prevent a repeat of the incident.
8/11/2014- It is the third such attack on the school and has shocked local residents who want to see the issue tackled. Local political activist, Garrett Mullan, potted the graffiti at the weekend, and immediately reported the incident to gardaí. He said: 'On highlighting this incident through contacts and social media, there was a very good response from locals disgusted with this vandalism. Parents, teachers, residents and local activists from Sinn Fein and Anti Austerity Alliance and others were quick to respond and showed that racism will not be tolerated in this area.' Mr Mullan who has worked with against racism in Balbriggan and elsewhere, said: 'Principal (of Balbriggan Educate Together), Fintan Mc Cutcheon was in contact also to advise that this is the third incident of racist graffiti at the school. 'Previously they pain-ted over the graffiti. 'He asked that we delay painting over until representatives of the school meet with Balbriggan Gardai.' Mr Mullan said: 'Incidents of racism require a robust approach. 'Anybody with information that might lead to conviction should contact the Gardai.' He concluded: 'Balbriggan is a multicultural community and we all must work hard to show that racism has no place in our community. 'Incidents like this can be the catalyst which lead to a community response to racism. 'We will await outcome of meeting with Gardai and will work with the school in responding.'
© The Irish Independent
Headlines 7 November, 2014
Portugal: Lisbon Jews Demand Protection After 'Ebola' Desecration
The Lisbon Jewish community is demanding extra protection after the desecration of a memorial to Jews murdered in massacre.
5/11/2014- The Lisbon Jewish community is demanding extra protection and quick police action to find the perpetrators of what they said was a hate crime, when unknown vandals drew the world “ebola” on a memorial to martyred victims of a massacre in Portugal in 1506. Besides increased patrols, community leaders called for the placing of security cameras at the memorial, considered one of the most prominent Jewish presences in the country. The 1506 massacre constituted the end of Jewish life in Portugal for hundreds of years – until, in fact, 2013, when a new synagogue and Jewish community center was opened in Lisbon. The center was build at the behest of the Shavei Israel organization to reach out to the several thousand Jews who live in Portugal – as well as to the hundreds of thousands who have traditi-ons of Jewish roots in their families, with many carrying on Jewish customs such as lighting Friday night candles, customs their ancestors hundreds of years ago to remind their descendants that although they were forcible converted to Christianity, they were still Jews.
The Jews of Portugal, like their Spanish neighbors, were expelled in 1492, but like in Spain, many Jews remained behind, “converting” to Christianity for public con-sumption while remaining Jews in their homes. These people, known as conversos, were the bane of the Church, which sought to stamp them out – setting up the Inquisition, which killed many former Jews accused of “backsliding” to Judaism. Church spies were everywhere, and Jews who were found carrying out Jewish customs – or not appearing Christian “enough” - were mercilessly executed by Church officials.
In Portugal, the Inquisition also thoroughly tracked down Jews, and in the Spring of 1506, Church spies discovered a group that had purchased what appeared to be supplies for Passover. The Jews were arrested, but released several days later – to the hands of a priest-incited mob, which called for their blood. Mobs marched through the streets, killing and murdering conversos, as well as Christians suspected of supporting them. At the end of the three day massacre some 4,000 conversos and “Old Christians” had been murdered, and there were no Jews – loyal or “backsliding” - to be found in the city, a situation that prevailed for hundreds of years, until the years before World War II, when European Jews, seeking to escape from the grip of the Nazis, tentatively took up residence in Portugal. The Jewish community commemorated the massacre in 2006, on the its 500th anniversary. The memorial was unveiled at that ceremony.
© Arutz Sheva
France: Arsonist in kosher Paris supermarket blaze gets 4 years in jail
5/11/2014- The four-year prison sentence given to the man who torched a kosher supermarket in suburban Paris “sent an important message,” the chief rabbi of France said. The Correctional Tribunal of Pontoise near Paris on Oct. 26 sentenced a 27-year-old ambulance driver for setting fire to the Naouri kosher supermarket in Sarcel-les, a heavily Jewish suburb of the French capital, on July 20. Identified in the French media as Abbas C., the driver was given a longer term than the 26 months sought by the prosecutor. “This sentence reflects the determination of the judiciary to fight anti-Semitic crimes,” Rabbi Haim Korsia, the chief rabbi of France, told JTA on Tuesday. Korsia added that the French government under President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls also was “vigilant and firm” in dealing with anti-Semitism.
Besides arson, Abbas C. was convicted of assaulting police officers, whom he pelted with stones, and the aggravated theft of a television set from a shop whose display window was smashed by rioters on the day of the fire. The riots had broken out in Sarcelles and elsewhere in Paris that month against Israel’s actions in Gaza during this summer’s 50-day operation against Hamas in the coastal strip. In some of the disturbances, Jewish individuals and Jewish-owned businesses were targeted, along with nine synagogues throughout France. Demonstrators in several of the riots turned against police officers, whom they targeted with stones, metal bars and other projec-tiles. Several of the culprits have been sentenced to jail time. The demonstrations took place despite a temporary ban on political protests about Israel.
© JTA News
Germany: American tourist wearing Star of David attacked in Cologne
4/11/2014- An American tourist was robbed and called a “Jewish bastard” by youths after he asked them for directions in the Cologne train station. Police are seeking witnesses to the incident, which took place at approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday. On the same weekend in Cologne, some 5,000 people reportedly participated in a major anti-Muslim demonstration, mostly of soccer hooligans, under the motto “Hooligans against Salafists.” Violence erupted during the demonstration, with 49 police officers slightly injured and property damage of about $25,000. In the incident involving the tourist, the unnamed 37-year-old said he was rushing to catch a train and asked a group of youths for directions to the proper track, according to local reports. Instead of assisting him, the youths — described as having shaved heads and wearing black, red and white T-shirts — pushed him to the ground and robbed him. Upon spying his Star of David pendant, they then called him a “Jewish bastard” before fleeing with his wallet and travel documents.
The victim reportedly was able to catch his train and reported the incident to police after arriving at his destination. In a statement issued Tuesday, Cologne lawmaker Volker Beck, Green Party representative to the Bundestag, said “nothing justifies anti-Semitic violence, whether in word or deed.” He and Hans Schwanitz, co-chair of the Green Party council in Cologne, expressed their “full solidarity with the victim.” At the anti-Muslim demonstration, the protesters included right-wing extremists, with some wearing black T-shirts featuring the slogan “HoGeSa,” which stands for Hooligans against Salafists, in red and white — resembling the description of the attackers in the anti-Semitic incident, Die Welt reported. Police have confirmed that the organizers of an anti-Salafist demonstration scheduled for Nov. 15 in Berlin have registered at least 10,000 participants, according to Die Welt, but doubted that so many would turn up.
© JTA News
Greece: Court must consider hate motive behind attack on Romani woman
3/11/2014- Any failure of a court in Messolonghi, western Greece, to consider the racist motive in the brutal attack on a Romani woman and her nephew will be a failure of justice, Amnesty International said ahead of the opening of the trial, on 4 November, of three men accused of causing serious bodily harm during an attack two years ago. In October 2012, Paraskevi Kokoni, and her nephew Kostas, who has a learning disability, were beaten by a group of local men in a violent attack while they were out shopping in the town of Etoliko, western Greece. Her 11-year-old son could only look on as they were punched, kicked and beaten with logs. Paraskevi told Amnesty International that she was singled out as a relative of a local Roma leader. The attack took place amongst a series of vicious racist raids on Roma families in the same town between August 2012 and January 2013.
“Justice for Paraskevi and her nephew has been slow in coming. It won’t be full if the court does not take into account the strong evidence of the racist motive behind the attack: something that the police conspicuously ignored during the investigation,” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia. “The court must fully recognize the hate intent behind the assault in considering this case – that will send a strong message that racism and discrimination will not be tolerated and will help protect Roma people across Greece from further attacks.” Hate crimes are a form of discrimination and justice requires that the hate motivation in such crimes be given full consideration by the courts. It is essential that the prosecution presents all the evidence to the court that this was part of a series of racially motivated attacks against Roma residents in Etoliko.
Paraskevi told Amnesty International that in October 2012 as they were passing the main square in Etoliko, a man sitting at a local café pointed at them identifying her as the sister-in-law of the local Roma leader. Then six or seven men ran out of the café towards them and attacked them. Before this attack there had been tension between Roma and non-Roma in the town and she had been the victim of one of a series of vicious racist raids on Roma homes by groups chanting anti-Roma slogans and threats in the same town. Attacks against Roma continued and many Roma people have fled their homes to escape the on-going intimidation and violence, during which houses were set on fire. ''I only hope that those who attacked me are convicted and punished for what they have done to me,'' Paraskevi told Amnesty International.
Legal provisions aimed at combating hate crimes have been in place in Greece for several years and, formally, they comply with provisions of European Union (EU) law requiring that racist or xenophobic motives be treated under the law and by the courts with appropriate gravity. However, investigators frequently fail to examine possible racist motives, and prosecutors rarely present such evidence in court. “The Greek criminal justice system is failing to take hate crimes seriously. This needs to change. Police, prosecutors and judges must be made aware of their obligations to investigate hate crimes diligently and ensure that they are punished,” said Fotis Filippou.
© Amnesty International.
African migrants in Russia describe 'hell on Earth'
First they spat angry words at Remy Bazie. Then they struck him in the face with an iron bar, knocking him unconscious.
2/11/2014- The men who jumped the Ivory Coast migrant at a crowded Moscow train station last November did not rob him. But they damaged his jaw to the degree that doctors had to install a metal plate to hold it in place. It took Bazie four months to raise the $3,600 to undergo surgery. "Most of the time I'm harassed, but this was the worst experience," Bazie, 28, said recently as he sat at a parish community center in Moscow where African migrants often seek refuge. His story is not uncommon, Russian civil and human rights leaders say. African migrants face widespread hostility and racism that usually go unpunished. According to the SOVA Center for Informa-tion and Analysis, a Moscow-based advocacy group and think tank, 177 acts of violence against blacks have been reported in Russia since 2010. But rights advocates said interviews with Africans living in the capital, as well as anecdotal evidence, indicate that a far higher number have been victims of racial attacks and experienced race-based harassment. Most, however, never report the assaults, the advocates said.
"Living here in Russia is like living in hell on Earth," said Osman Kamara, 35, a Liberian who fled civil conflict in his homeland 10 years ago, only to fall victim to a skinhead attack in Moscow. "They don't like our color. Going out is a problem. Maybe if you go out, you might not return." Some Africans say that after arriving here, they heard the Russian word "obezyana" directed at them so often that they initially thought it meant "black person." It means "monkey." The situation has improved for blacks somewhat in recent years partly because members of extremist groups, such as skinheads and neo-Nazis, are being prosecuted more often and because the aggressors are targeting other minority groups, such as people from Central Asia and the Caucasus, rights activists said. The brutality Africans face is a far cry from the welcome they received during the Soviet era, when students from the continent were lured in large numbers by offers of a free education, particularly those from newly independent nations that were "building communism."
Thousands of Africans pursued degrees in the Soviet Union, in fields such as international law and animal husbandry. But with the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. in 1991, much of the funding dried up and most African students returned home, academics said. Today the African ranks are growing again, fueled by asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants. Many enter Russia illegally and fail to register with authorities, rights workers said. Some academics estimate Russia's African diaspora at just under 100,000, of which roughly one-third are believed to be undocumented. The remainder includes registered students, African embassy staff members and blacks who hold Russian citizenship.
Alexander Panov, a junior research fellow at the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said many of the undocumented migrated from Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 and 2012 amid political and civil unrest. Those nations, together with Angola, account for the largest number of African migrants in Russia, he said. "They are coming to Russia believing there will be a good job and this is a way of getting into Europe," said Penny Grenfell, racial task force coordinator for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, which provides medical and legal aid to Africans. "A lot of them think this is part of Europe. They think Russia has the same culture as Europe." Africans interviewed here said it was easy to "buy" a tourist visa to Russia as opposed to obtaining a visa of any kind to Western European nations, and many said they had mistakenly viewed Russia as a way station.
The migrants often end up stranded, with no official documents that would allow them to get decent jobs and little or no knowledge of the Russian language. The most common work they find is distributing fliers, advertisements and free magazines around subway stations, jobs that earn them less than $50 week. Most live up to 10 people to a room. Compounding these hardships is the unfettered racial abuse. John Steven Abumen, 39, a Nigerian who works part time as an English tutor, said he had been attacked three times in the 15 years he has lived in Russia. He has been stabbed in the arm, suffered a broken wrist and has a protruding lump on his upper chest, an eye injury and a dislocated knee that never healed properly. He walks with a limp but can't afford the surgery that doctors have recommended. A large welt on his shaved head is the result of being hit with an iron bar, he said. "I woke up in the hospital three days later, " Abumen recalled. "I was almost blinded. I still don't sleep properly now."
He said he reported two of the attacks to police, but no action was taken. "In Russia when you fight back, you are at fault," Abumen said as he flashed the small red canister of pepper spray he now carries for protection. "They told me, 'What are you doing in Russia? You're to blame.' " Sometimes law enforcement officials themsel-ves are the antagonists, said Agnes Blais, a volunteer with the Civic Assistance Committee, which offers legal and humanitarian aid to migrants, Africans "have lots of problems with police," she said. "They are threatened with arrest. And the police often take money from them." The committee took up Bazie's case and collected donations for his facial surgery. The group provided him with a lawyer and interpreter so he could file a grievance. His case is under investigation. Although the Russian press picked up his story, no one has been held accountable. Leaders of right-wing extremist groups deny that they instigate or condone the mistreatment of Africans.
"Africans … don't present a threat to the Russian population in terms of their numbers inside the country," said Dmitry Dyomushkin, who heads a nationalist coalition and blames skinheads for the attacks. "If they came here by the millions, then there would be cultural tensions." Fabrice Kanda fled the Democratic Republic of Congo after news stories he wrote charging fraud during the 2011 presidential election made him a wanted man there. A relative helped the 29-year-old journalist secure a plane ticket and visa to Russia. He left behind a wife and two small children. A year after he arrived in Russia, three men jumped him. They stole his guitar and his passport. Kanda filed a police report but was told that "it would be too difficult to find the guys," he said. The Russian government also denied his request for asylum.
"I thought I had escaped from death, that I can find a new life, but my suffering has only continued," Kanda said. Some migrants said they would willingly return home if they could afford the plane ticket, and if their lives there weren't at risk. But many others said they were ashamed to go home empty-handed, having left to seek their fortunes. Others, like Abumen, who came to Russia on a university exchange program, are reluctant to leave behind Russian wives, partners and children. "There is such pressure," said Blais. "They would rather live in hard conditions than go back without money."
This report was funded by a grant from the International Center for Journalists.
© The Los Angeles Times
UK: Police appeal for help after spate of homophobic attacks on Clapham Common
Police in the London borough of Lambeth have appealed for victims and witnesses to come forward, after three attacks on Clapham Common thought to be motiva-ted by homophobia.
7/11/2014- Between August and October this year, three suspected homophobic incidents took place in the Clapham Common area. Police have called for gay men who frequent Clapham Common to come forward with details of the incidents – just one of which was reported to the police. According to Lambeth’s Hate Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Healey, police were called to an incident in August in which a young man was threatened by a pair of men because of his sexuality. The pair tried to attack the victim, but he managed to escape and report the crime anonymously. PC David Brunton, LGBT Liaison Officer in Lambeth, said: “We have heard there have been a number of attacks on the LGBT community which has not been reported to Police. “We take homophobic crime incredibly seriously and would urge any victims to come forward to the Police, Lambeth Council or organisations like GALOP – who are a LGBT anti-violence and abuse charity.”
© Pink News
UK: Edinburgh Race hate crime hotspots revealed
Three race-based hate crimes take place in the Capital every day, new figures have revealed.
7/11/2014- A detailed police breakdown shows there were 1008 racially motivated incidents recorded across Edinburgh between April 2013 and February this year. Areas within the city centre have emerged as race crime hotspots, accounting for almost a quarter of the total figure, with 227 offences reported. City police chief Superintendent Matt Richards recently warned that officers were being “dragged into the city centre” every weekend to deal with cases of drunk revellers racially abusing Eastern European door staff. Increasingly diverse neighbourhoods in Sighthill and Gorgie saw 103 incidents over the 11-month period, with Liberton, Gilmerton, Leith and Forth also seeing a higher than average number of cases.
The News told recently how investment banker Neil Docherty, 43, from Linlithgow, was caught on camera racially abusing a 33-year-old woman, Fella Hammach, on board a Glasgow to Edinburgh train in August. Concerned equality campaigners have welcomed the fact that figures for the 2013-14 period were down slightly on totals recorded during the previous 12 months, but said crime rates were still “too high”. Foysol Choudhury, chair of the Edinburgh and Lothian Regional Equality Council (ELREC), said: “[These statistics show] that race is still the biggest issue when it comes to hate-related crime. “However, we must not forget that, unfortunately, hate crime extends beyond racial issues to all the protected characteristics.
“ELREC has done a considerable amount of work to promote awareness of hate crime in all areas, believing that the best way to tackle hate crime against all members of the protected characteristics is through increased interaction between peoples of different backgrounds which can lead to improved understanding of other cultu-res.” It is thought a significant number of racist assaults take place on public transport, with many going unreported because victims do not feel confident enough to come forward. Moves are now under way to agree a hate crime “transport charter”, which would see firms including Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams sign up to a code aimed at helping minorities speak out and ensuring staff are trained to prevent discrimination.
The proposed charter has been welcomed by Iain Stewart, general secretary of the Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association, who said the latest hate crime figures showed why it was needed. “We know there is greater under-reporting among protected groups and this initiative should encourage both witnesses and victims to speak out against any instances of hate crime be it verbal or physical abuse,” he said. “It would also give people reporting instances confidence that their report would be acted on.” A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland takes hate crimes very seriously and they are treated as a priority. We continue to do good work in this area.”
© The Edinburgh Evening News
Police are looking for two men who carried out a homophobic attack on Halloween – while dressed as fairies.
3/11/2014- The thugs, who were wearing pink tutus and fairy wings, carried out the homophobic attack in Surbiton, south-west London, early on Saturday morning. The pair hurled anti-gay abuse at their two victims, before punching them and kicking them in the head. A spokesperson for the Met told ITV: “At this early stage it is belie-ved that both victims were walking along Victoria Road when they passed a group of men and women. They were subjected to homophobic abuse by the men in the group. “The two victims walked away but when they reached the zebra crossing near Brighton Road the two men from the group who were both wearing pink tutus approached them. “They punched the 18-year-old victim. The 21-year-old victim was kicked and stamped upon. Passers by intervened to stop the attack.” Kingston police added that no arrests have been made, but the investigation is ongoing.
© Pink News
In Canada, Anti-Muslim Bullying On The Rise
1/11/2014- Reports of anti-Muslim harassment in Canada have risen, Muslim organizations say, after attacks last week in which two soldiers were killed by people authorities say were inspired by the militant group Islamic State. The National Council of Canadian Muslims said it has seen a tenfold increase in reports of harassment, including racial slurs on public buses, notes left on car windshields and bullying at schools. "There are some very positive signs that we’ve noticed in the form of calls of support and examples of people resisting bigotry," said Amy Awad, the group’s human rights coordinator. "But there has been a large increase in complaints, too." She said a normal volume of reports of anti-Muslim incidents nationwide is about five a week. "That has gone up about tenfold, with a real surge in the past few days," she said.
Worries about homegrown extremism have risen in Canada after a gunman shot a soldier and charged into the Parliament building in Ottawa on Oct. 22. Two days earlier, a man rammed two soldiers with his car near Montreal, killing one. Several Canadian Muslim groups quickly condemned the attacks, which came as Canada sent warplanes to take part in air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq. A handful of high-ranking politicians in Canada have also urged residents not to lash out against Muslims. Adil Charkaoui, coordinator of the Quebec Collective Against Islamophobia, said his group has received 30 complaints of harassment since last week. It marked the largest number of complaints the group has collected since a failed attempt earlier this year by the province's former government to enact a charter that would ban religious headgear such as Jewish kippas and Muslim hijabs in Quebec's public workforce, he said. "Since the end of the episode with the Charter of Values we have received very few complaints," said Charkaoui, a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen. "With these tragic events, it has all started again."
Imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of Muslims Against Violence in Calgary, said he has also received a flurry of recent complaints, but said they were minor. "Yes, there has been a backlash, but the overwhelming majority of Canadians are civilized and tolerant," he said. "We've seen a number of examples of that." In Cold Lake, Alber-ta, home to an air base that has deployed warplanes against Islamic State in Iraq, residents last week banded together to clean and repair a mosque that had been vandalized. After scrubbing away the spray-painted words "Go Home," the volunteers taped up a sign saying: "You are home." This week, an actor was punched in the face by a resident of Hamilton, Ontario, the hometown of the soldier killed in Ottawa, after he loudly harangued a Muslim at a bus stop during a social experiment designed to test Canadian tolerance. A YouTube video of the experiment has gone viral.