Headlines 26 December, 2014
Dutch Muslims concerned by mosque attacks
Dutch citizens joining ISIL and far-right rhetoric are cited as factors fueling assaults on Muslim houses of worship.
26/12/2014- An unidentified man wearing a hoodie placed fireworks in the window of the Selimiye Mosque in Enschede, a city in the Netherlands, on December 14. A few seconds later, the fireworks exploded, breaking the window. The motives of the perpetrator remain unclear - he has not yet been caught - but mosque board member Sezgin Akman said he suspects the attack was inspired by hatred of Islam. "Maybe someone wanted to tell us we are not welcome," he said, adding the mosque has received several threatening letters in the past. More than one-third of the Netherlands' 475 mosques have experienced at least one incident of vandalism, threatening letters, attempted arson, the placement of pigs' heads, or other aggressive actions in the past 10 years, according to research by Ineke van der Valk, author of the book Islamophobia and Discrimination. The Kuba Mosque, in the city of IJmuiden, said it has counted more than 40 such incidents since its founding in 1993. "Lines like 'go to hell, Muslims' on the wall, graffiti that con-tains Nazi symbols, pig heads on the doorstep, Molotov cocktails … A lot has happened,'' said Suleyman Celik, a board member of the Kuba Mosque.
"Two years ago, a female visitor who left the building was pelted with beer bottles by men driving by in a car. She broke her teeth and had to go to the hospital." On June 23, two men shouting racist slogans entered the Kuba Mosque after an argument outside. They threatened to kill those inside, and broke the nose of one of the mosque's board members. They were arrested two days later by police. Van der Valk has found that attacks on mosques happen more frequently in small rather than large cities, adding that "many of these attacks appear to be a response to national or international events, such as a terrorist attack or Dutch jihadists leaving to Syria to join terrorist groups". About 160 Dutch Muslims are believed to have joined armed groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), raising fears that they might carry out attacks in the Netherlands when they return. A few pro-ISIL demonstrations have even taken place in The Hague.
Far-right: 'Wrecked by immigration'
For their part, Dutch Muslims blame what they describe as biased media coverage of Muslims and far-right politicians such as Geert Wilders for inciting mosque attacks. In the past, Wilders' far-right Freedom Party (PVV) has compared the Quran, Islam's holy book, to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf; has called Islam a "fascist" religion, and has proposed raising taxes on headscarves. On November 26, Machiel de Graaf, one of the PVV's members of parliament, claimed that "Dutch schools are overwhelmed with a number of children who are named after Mohammed". "The Dutch unity, identity and culture are being wrecked by immigration and via wombs. Various Islamic leaders have said this, such as Qaddafi," de Graaf said during a debate about integration. However, the PVV denies its politicians' statements regarding Muslims and Islam incite aggression. "We are against all forms of violen-ce, violence against mosques included. We do not promote that,'' Michael Heemels, a party spokesman, told Al Jazeera on behalf of Geert Wilders. "But we do feel that it is ter-rible that more mosques are being built in this country. Mosques don't belong here." The PVV's website offers tips for Dutch citizens to prevent the construction of mosques in their neighbourhoods. Research by van der Valk shows that newly built mosques are attacked more often than older ones.
'We should be more open'
Mohamed Amezian, the chairman of a mosque in the southern city of Roosendaal, told Al Jazeera in 2010 a sheep's body was placed on the construction site where the mosque was to be built. Green paint on the fur read, "No Mosque." But Amezian said he thinks the attack was likely "an act of a loner". "After the mosque was opened, we talked to a lot of people in the neighbourhood. Some were against the building of it, perhaps because they were afraid that would decrease the value of their homes," Amezian said. "But soon after that, they invited their friends and family to come over to see how beautiful it is." Like many Muslims, Amezian said mosques have a responsibility to involve local, non-Muslim residents. That's why he organises football matches for children and barbeques for the whole neighbourhood. "I am not afraid of the people in this country, and I do not want people being afraid of me," he said. "As a Muslim and a Dutchman, I think we should be more open to each other."
In addition to "more openness from both sides", the police can also contribute to the prevention of violence against mosques, Ahmed Marcouch, a member of the House of Repre-sentatives for the Dutch Labour Party, told Al Jazeera. In the Netherlands, he said, vandalism or attacks on mosques are often registered as "insults" or "destruction of property", without mentioning the underlying motives. An umbrella organisation for the Netherlands' Jewish population has kept track of the number of anti-Semitic incidents since the 1980s. No similar counts have been made of anti-Muslim incidents in the country. Next year, though, that is set to change. In 2015, two groups - SPIOR (Foundation for Islamic Organisa-tions Rijnmond) and RADAR, an organisation opposing discrimination - plan to work together to monitor attacks and discrimination against Netherlands' Muslims. "It is important to register forms of Islamophobia," said Marcouch. "Islamophobia is a serious offense. If we make that clear, we also give a signal to the perpetrators: We do not accept this."
© Al Jazeera
Arsonist sets fire to Swedish mosque, injuring five
25/12/2014- An arsonist set fire to a mosque in the Swedish town of Eskilstuna on Thursday, injuring five people, police said, an incident which comes amid an intense debate over immigration. The immigration debate has pitted the far right, which wants to cut the number of asylum seekers allowed into Sweden by 90 percent, against mainstream parties intent on preserving the Nordic country's liberal policy. Between 15 and 20 people were in the mosque, located in the ground floor of a building in a mainly residential area, when the fire erupted. Local media footage showed smoke and flames billowing from the windows. "A witness saw somebody throw an object through the window of the building, which serves as a mosque, after which a violent fire began," police spokesman Lars Franzell said. The five injured people were taken to hospital for treatment of injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to lacerations. No suspect has been apprehended yet, Franzell added. Emergency services in Eskilstuna, central Sweden, were called to the scene of the fire shortly after 12:00 noon, and police are treating it as arson.
France: Paris Shop With Mezuzah Hit by Gunfire
Did Jewish Symbol Attract Anti-Semitic Attack?
26/12/2014- For the third time in a week, bullet holes were discovered at a Jewish establishment in the Paris area. The latest incident was discovered on Friday by the owner of a printing shop in the French capital’s 19th arrondissement, the BNVCA watchdog on anti-Semitism reported on its website. “After the attacks opon Jewish schools and synagogues have turned them into fortresses, now Jewish businesses are targeted,” wrote BNVCA founder Sammy Gholan. The shop’s owner, identified by BNVCA by the last letter of his last name, K, reported the holes he found at the entrance to his shop to the BNVCA after hearing reports of two similar incidents this week in Paris. On Dec. 24, a bullet was fired at a synagogue. The following day, unidentified individuals shot an air gun at a kosher restaurant. According to BNVCA, the assailants who fired at the print shop may have targeted it for the mezuzah affixed to its entrance.
© The Forward
France: Kosher restaurant in Paris attacked
Bullet holes discovered in window of Jewish eatery, days after shots fired at synagogue in French capital’s suburbs
25/12/2014- A kosher restaurant in Paris was fired on in an attack that is similar to one on a Paris synagogue days earlier. Bullet holes were discovered Wednesday in the window of the Al Haeche kosher restaurant located in the 19th district of northeastern Paris. The attack occurred Tuesday night, the JSSNews website reported. The bullet reportedly was fired from an air gun. An air gun is believed to have been used Monday night when a bullet crashed through a window of the David Ben Ichay Synagogue in Belleville, in the northeastern section of the French capital. The synagogue is located less than a mile from the restaurant. The Bureau for National Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, condemned the incident and described it as anti-Semitic because it was deliberately aimed at a kosher restaurant, according to JSSNews. “Regardless of the projectile, stone, lead ball or ball, the BNVCA considers the incident criminal and anti-Jewish,” Sammy Ghozlan, president of BNVCA, told JSSNews.
© JTA News
France: Bullet fired through Paris synagogue window
23/12/2014- A bullet fired from an air gun crashed through a window of a Paris synagogue’s office. The rabbi and his assistant were in the David Ben Ichay Synagogue in Belleville, in the northeastern section of the French capital, when the bullet was fired on Monday night. French police reportedly are searching for two suspects who were outside the synagogue about 10 minutes before the attack, the JSSNews website reported. Surveillance cameras did not provide much information on the incident, according to the website. It was unclear whether the shots originated from the street or a nearby building. The Bureau for National Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, condemned what it called the “anti-Semitic assault on a place of worship in Paris.” The watchdog group has made a public call for “everything to be done to identify and question the anti-Jewish criminals.”
Earlier in the day, a motorist had rammed his vehicle into a crowd in western France shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is greatest.” On Sunday, in a similar attack, a driver in eastern France had shouted “This is in the name of the children of Palestine” while slamming into a Christmas market crowd. BNVCA said the attacks “are rooted in a misguided Palestinianism and visceral anti-Zionism. The BNVCA recommends that all those responsible for synagogues, Jewish schools and other institutions increase their vigilance and caution.“
© JTA News
France: My story: Muslim reporter threatened in Paris metro
By Hajer M'tiri
20/12/2014- I was sitting in the last car of the Paris metro, in one of the folding seats close to door. A number of other people were in the car, as well, though it wasn't packed. Two stations before my stop, a large man strode into the car. He was about 6-foot-three (1.90 meters), and he had a big belly and long brown hair. He was unshaven. He stared at me.
As a Muslim woman wearing the scarf, walking in the streets and taking public transportation in Paris means I often face people's stares. Sometimes I hear comments and whispers. I am a young reporter, just recently assigned to Paris, but I have quickly gotten used to it. Still, I was unprepared for what happened next. "P*** de musulmane," the man snarled, "F*** Muslims". Then there was silence. No one spoke a word. I was terrified.
Without thinking, I took my bags and went to stand in another part of the car. I could hear the beating of my heart. And I was trembling -- not just out of fear, but out of anger that I was not able to respond in any way. I am a small woman. The man was huge. And from the way he approached me, I felt certain that, had I answered back, I would not be writing these lines today. I took out my mobile and called a friend to try to calm down. The man continued to fix me with a threatening stare.
The train rattled on. The minutes felt like hours. But finally my stop came. I rushed out, turned, and used my phone to take the man's picture. He quickly covered his face, then flashed me the finger and started screaming. "F*** you, f*** Muslims," he shouted.
Somehow my courage returned. I found my voice again. "Rot in hell, you racist," I shouted. Then he tried to grab me. I jumped back and, thankfully, the doors of the carriage closed, with him inside and me out. I burst into tears.
This was no isolated incident. In France, 691 Islamophobic acts were recorded in 2013 by the French human rights watchdog Collective Against Islamophobia. And 640 of those acts targeted individuals rather than institutions. The overall increase from the previous year was a startling 47 percent. Things are getting worse, not better. The human rights group said 2013 was marked by increase in violent acts, and the assaults became more physical.
"During just the last eight months of 2013, 27 physical attacks were recorded," the group reported. And women were the primary targets, accounting for fully 78 percent of the victims of discrimination and aggression, the group said. Hijabi women -- those who wear the scarf, as I do -- are the primary targets for both discrimination and violent aggres-sion.
When I calmed down and had time to reflect, I realized that the scariest part of what happened to me not the behavior of the man in the metro. It was the silence of the others. They watched wordlessly as he insulted me, harassed me and threatened me.
But on this dark day, a ray of light shone through. While I wept and shook as the train pulled away, an elderly French woman approached me. She held my hand. "Don't cry my dear, don't cry," she said. "He is just sick. He is sexist. You are a woman and above all Muslim. He is jealous. Be strong and don't cry." And that is what I am going to do - be strong. I will hold my head high. For I know that, despite it all, wonderful adventures still await me here in the city of lights.
© Daily Sabah
Greece: Vandals strike Jewish cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in the Greek town of Larissa was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti signed by “Larissa Skins” on December 23rd.
24/12/2014- Following this act of vandalism, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the WJC affiliated umbrella organization of Greece’s 5,000-strong community, issued the following statement: “The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the Jewish Community of Larissa, and Greek Jewry express their sorrow and indignation and strongly condemn the desecration of the Jewish cemetery of Larissa with swastikas, threats such as “six million more” and anti-Semitic phrases similar to those used by the Nazi to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The desecration of a cemetery, which is a holy place for all religions, is not only an insult to the memory of our dead brothers, but also an insult to the culture of our country and the city of Larissa,” the statement says.
The organization called upon the Judiciary, and Municipal and State authorities to take all the necessary measures to apprehend and punish those responsible and also to protect the Jewish holy places in the country, in order to avoid repetition of such phenomena. “We also expect the representatives of the State and the Civil Society, to come forward and express a strong and determined condemnation of this specific act as well as of any act of anti-Semitism, which is not only a threat to Jews, but also a threat to our democracy,” the organization stated.
The desecration of the Larissa cemetery comes after the Holocaust Monument in Athens was vandalized with graffiti signed by the extreme nationalist and anti-Semitic organization “Unaligned Meander Nationalists” at the end of October this year. This organization –which describes itself as a hard-core radical and nationalist organization, different from the “moderate nationalists” of Golden Dawn – is also responsible for the desecration of the Holocaust Monument in the island of Rhodes in October 2012.
© World Jewish Congress
UK: Security stepped up in north London after swastika daubings
22/12/2014- Security patrols have been stepped up in an area of north London after three separate swastikas daubings over the past week. A house and a primary school were the target of the attacks in Stoke Newington. Volunteer community security group Shomrim said it had increased the number of their patrols after reporting the incidents to local police. Shomrim supervisor Chaim Hochhauser said the first swastika was found on the wall of a house a few days ago. The second was daubed on the entrance of Jubilee Primary, a non-Jewish school, and on a box near the entrance. It was reported to Shomrim on Thursday. Today, swastikas were found daubed on the same school’s notice board. “The one from today looks similar to the one on the school entrance,” said Mr Hochhauser. “We are doing five patrols every day, rather than just two, to reassure the community. And we will carry on until the person is caught.” Stoke Newington is close to Stamford Hill where there is a large strictly Orthodox community.
© The Jewish Chronicle
German mosque vandalized with swastikas and racist graffiti
A half-built mosque in the northwestern German town of Dormagen has been spray painted with swastikas and racist slogans. The act of vandalism comes as anti-Islamic demonstrations continue to grow across Germany.
21/12/2014- The perpetrators are reported to have entered the building site late Saturday/early Sunday morning. As well as the symbol associated with the Nazis, the vandals also wrote slurs such as "off with you to the concentration camp!" The attack on the mosque has coincided with the rise of the controversial "anti-Islamization" PEGIDA movement in Germany. The group has been holding demonstrations in cities throughout the country for the past 10 weeks. Head of Neuss district police, Hans-Jürgen Petrauschke said he was horrified by the racially motivated crime. There is "no place for the spread of xenophobia or the glorification of the Nazi past" in the Rhein-Kreis Neuss area," he told reporters. State security from Düsseldorf have begun an investigation into the crime and have also announced an reward of 1,500 euros ($1,833) for information leading to the arrest of the vandals.
Generally, anti-Islamic sentiment has become far more vocal in Germany in recent weeks. Last Monday, in the eastern German city of Dresden, PEGIDA, which loosely translates as "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West," held their largest demonstration to date, with over 15,000 people taking to the streets in protest. Some observers fear that the protests are a sign that xenophobia is becoming increasingly socially acceptable in the country. Earlier this month, three buildings in the southern German state of Bavaria, which were intended to be used as accommodation for refugees were severely damaged by fire in a suspected arson attack. Racist graffiti was also found on a nearby building, bolstering suspicions that the blazes were deliberately set.
© The Deutsche Welle.
Muslim woman attacked by German racists
A 29 year old woman was verbally and physically attacked with local association saying it is the result of widespread hate caused by political movement Pegida.
20/12/2014- A 29 year old Muslim women was hit by a car and at the same reportedly was sworn at using anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim words at her in the German city of Braunsch-weigh where numerous racist Germans reside in the town of Gliesmaro. According to a report in the 'Braunschweigter Zeitung' a police statement said that the attack was racist and xenophobic, whereby a car of racists had verbally abused the Syrian Muslim woman and then hit her in the knees with their car. They then left their car and physically attacked her, holding her by her collar Surrounding witnesses shouted at them, assisted the women and the racists escaped by car. The Braunschweig Association harshly condemned the attack, saying it was a result of those who are aligned with Pegida, the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamicization of the Occident inciting hate and Islamophobia amongst the public. The Association said that they will not allow Islamophobia and incitement against refugees to have a place in society.
© World Bulletin
Headlines 19 December, 2014
Ireland: 51% rise in reports of racism during 2014
217 incidents reported to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
18/12/2014- The number of racist incidents reported to the Immigrant Council of Ireland increased by 51% during 2014 according to preliminary figures published today (Thursday, 18th December, 2014). The Council received 217 reports since the start of the year, an increase from 144 during 2013. Verbal abuse remains the most common form of racism accounting for 38% of reports while the workplace emerged as the location where most incidents occur at 21%. The Immigrant Council has also expressed grave concern that more than one-in-ten incidents involve physical violence.
The breakdown of figures is:
Types of racism:(Note some incidents involved a number of forms of racism)
38% - verbal harassment (115 instances)
15% - discrimination (47 instances)
10% - physical violence (29 instances)
9% - written harassment (27 instances)
9% - social exclusion (28 instances)
6% - property damage (19 instances)
5% - racist graffiti (16 instances)
5% - threats of physical violence (16 instances)
3% - other (9 instances)
21% - at work (45 instances)
17% - in home and local communities (37 instances)
13% - while accessing government or community services (29 instances)
13% - while traveling on public transport (28 instances)
10% - on the street (21 instances)
8% - in an educational institution (18 instances)
8% - on the internet (18 instances)
6% - other (12 instances)
4% - in a place of leisure (9 instances)
Victim’s ethnic background:
36% - African (78 instances)
19% - Immigrants (42 instances)
13% - Eastern European (28 instances)
8% - Indian and sub continental (17 instances)
4.5% - Asian (9 instances)
4% - Muslim (8 instance)
3.5% - White European (8 instances)
3% - White Irish (7 instances)
2% - Irish African (4 instances)
2% - Roma (4 instance)
2% - Jewish (4 instances)
1% - South American (3 instances)
1% - Other (3 instance)
1% - South East Asian (2 instances)
76% - adults (192 instances) 23% - under 18s (58 instances) 1% - unspecified (3 instance)
56% - male (141 instances) 44% - female (112 instances)
Classes of offences:
54% - incidents (118 instances) 28% - persistent harassment (60 instances) 18% - aggravated harassment (39 incidents)
Commenting on the preliminary figures, Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland added:
“This is the second successive year that we have seen a substantial rise in incidents reported to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is unacceptable that people are facing discrimi-nation and abuse in their place of work, while at home they must lie awake in bed at night fearing a brick through the window. It is again worth noting that 10% of the cases reported to us involve physical violence, with people being punched, kicked and assaulted. These figures will require further analysis and must form part of a national discussion on the issues involved. The Immigrant Council of Ireland is campaigning for Government to review the way incidents are recorded and for re-assurance to be given to victims that they can come forward confident that their complaints will be acted upon.
In 2015 we will be undertaking a number of initiatives. In collaboration with partners in public transport we will seek to extend an awareness campaign on buses, trams and trains in the Greater Dublin Area to other parts of the country. We will also focus on exploring opportunities to engage private transport operators in the bus and taxi sectors and we are delighted to work in partnership with the Equality Authority on this important piece of work. The year will also be marked by a new project on Islamophobia with the support of the Open Society Foundations. The fact that racism exists in Ireland has now been established beyond any doubt, it is time now to look at how the Government, Gardaí and all public bodies respond to incidents – and we look forward to being part of that process."
© The Immigrant Council of Ireland
A gay couple in Madrid were attacked by a group for “Neo-Nazis” on Friday, and one of them hospitalised.
15/12/2014- Aged 17 and 23, the couple were attacked by nine men and one woman who were all dressed in black Neo-Nazi clothing, reports the Huffington Post Spain. They were sat on a bench in Madrid’s Temple of Debod with a friend when they were attacked. The friend was not injured in the fray. Saying they were “afraid” to speak openly about the attack, the couple said they wanted to remain anonymous. One of the pair was hospitalised for several hours with bruising to the neck. Protesters last week held a gay kiss-in at a Burger King in Madrid after a gay couple were kicked out for kissing.
© Pink News
Russia 'ignoring' anti-gay attacks
Russia's authorities have failed to prevent an increase in homophobic attacks, Human Rights Watch has warned.
15/12/2014- The US-based body said Russia's leadership had reacted to violence and anti-gay rhetoric with silence, and it accused some officials of hate speech. A 2013 law banning gay "propaganda" had led to more attacks, it said. Politician Vitaly Milonov, who authored the first version of the law, told the BBC people found homo-sexual acts "uncomfortable". The rules ban people from providing information about homosexuality to people under 18.
Analysis, by Sarah Rainsford, BBC News, St Petersburg
It was never easy, being gay in Russia, but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups say life now is even tougher. Since "promoting non-traditional lifestyles" was made illegal, they report an increase in harassment, abuse and even physical attacks. One activist in St Petersburg told the BBC that the new law sent a signal that gay people were second-class citizens, and so gave others a green light to discriminate and even harm. One LGBT support group cited by Human Rights Watch docu-mented more than 300 homophobic attacks last year, over 10 times more than before the gay propaganda law. Fifty per cent of those it interviewed reported psycho-logical abuse. The law's supporters cloak themselves in talk of Russia's Christian roots and conservative, "traditional" values - all increasingly popular here - and often refer to homosexuality as a kind of "perverted" Western import. So far only a handful of people have been prosecuted under the new law, but activists believe that fear is driving Russians back into the closet or, increasingly, to seek a new, freer life abroad.
'Lack of will'
Human Rights Watch detailed testimonies from cities across Russia, with reports of beatings, abductions and public attacks. Tanya Cooper, a Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the authorities were deliberately ignoring such crimes. She added: "Russian law enforcement agencies have the tools to prosecute homophobic violence, but they lack the will to do so." Mr Milonov, a local councillor who first introduced changes to the law in St Petersburg, said: "I want to protect my kids and my family from this dirt going from the homosexuals. "They can do whatever they want in their homes, in the special garbage places called 'gay nightclubs', they can kill themselves with their viruses as fast as possible, but they're not going to do it on the streets because it's not polite and it's uncomfortable for the people." Mr Milonov's local measure inspired a national law which was rolled out after approval by the Duma in June last year.
© BBC News
Headlines 12 December, 2014
Germany: Suspected neo-Nazi fire attack on asylum home
Three buildings that were set to house refugees in Bavaria were burned down early Friday morning after the unknown perpetrators painted swastikas on one of the properties.
12/12/2014- Investigators on the scene say signs point to arson as the cause of the fire. The buildings – one an empty house with a shed and the other one a former restaurant – had recently been renovated by local governments to house refugees in the Nuremberg suburb of Vorra. According to the police press release, the houses are now uninhabitable and the damage is estimated to be around €700,000. On Thursday night, a neighbour noticed the fire break out in the restaurant. As firefighters were setting up, they got the call that the house with the shed was also on fire. Crews were able to contain the fires to stop damage to neighbouring houses. As investigators began their work, they noticed swastikas and other right-wing extremist writings on the wall. Around 150 first responders form the area were on the scene.
© The Local - Germany
German prosecutors re-open probe into deadly 1980 Okoberfest attack
German prosecutors have announced that they are reopening an investigation into a deadly far-right attack on Munich's Oktoberfest more than three decades ago. This came after a new witness surfaced.
11/12/2014- The federal prosecutors' office in Karlsruhe announced on Thursday that it had reopened an investigation into the 1980 bombing of the popular beer festival (memorial pictured above) that left 13 people dead and around 200 others injured. A statement posted on the office's website said Chief Prosecutor Harald Range had decided to reopen the case after a previously unknown witness had emerged. The statement said prosecutors would not limit themselves to the evidence provided by the female witness, but would "pursue all leads … new and comprehensively." The original investigation found that 21-year-old Gundolf Köhler, a university student who was a former member of a far-right group, was the person who deposited the bomb in a rubbish bin at the main entrance to the Oktoberfest grounds. Köhler was among those killed when the bomb went off shortly after he placed it in the bin. Investigators also looked into possible accomplices in extreme right circles but were unable to uncover enough concrete evidence to bring charges against any suspects. Prosecutors believe the new witness may be able to shed light on the identities of possible accomplices. The original investigation into what was the Federal Republic of Germany's worst single far-right terror attack was closed in November 1982. Over the years, representatives of victims and some politicians have publicly cast doubt on the idea that the bomber could have acted alone.
© The Deutsche Welle.
UK: Pensioner locked up for gypsy slur
IAN MacGregor had never been in trouble with the law before but 71-year-old was hauled into court after his neighbours overheard his comment.
12/12/2014- A pensioner was taken from his home, locked in a police cell overnight and charged with a “hate crime” after he was overheard using the word “tinks” in his own garden. Retired Ian MacGregor, who has never been in trouble before and has no criminal record, was left visibly shaken after he was forced to appear in court on his 71st birthday. The treatment of the pensioner, who was not reported to the police until two days after the comment was made, has been condemned as totally disproportionate by politicians. MacGregor - who described the prosecution as a “piece of nonsense” - admitted saying “that’s the tinks got the shed up” and was admonished at Perth Sheriff Court.
The court was told he was taken from his home by police officers after neighbour Kelly Byrne – who was fined £100 after breaking a tagging order to appear on the Trisha TV show in 2006 – reported the comment. Kelly Byrne and her partner Sandy McDonald, who also has a number of convictions, claimed they were offended by the comment because they believed it referred to them. However, they only reported it two days later. Mid-Scotland and Fife Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser branded the police decision to lock up the shocked pensioner as heavy handed and unnecessary. He said: “You have to ask the question whether the police response was proportionate in all the circumstances of the case? “To take an elderly gentleman out of his own home and make him spend a night in police cells does not appear to be in line with the nature of the offence he was accused of committing.
“Perhaps in future the police and prosecutors need to consider the circumstances more carefully before they rush into taking such severe action. To make this poor man spend a night in police cells is completely out of proportion.” Mr MacGregor, from Kenmore, Perthshire, admitted making comments of a racial nature towards Ms Byrne and Mr McDonald on December 8. Fiscal depute Tina Dickie said: “The incident happened in the back gardens. Mr McDonald describes himself as a man of the travelling community. “They were in the garden erecting a shed. The accused exited the rear door of his property and entered his own shed. As he exited the shed he said in a loud voice ‘that’s the tinks got the shed up'. “The witnesses heard this and perceived it to be a racially motivated comment.”
Solicitor Pauline Cullerton, defending, said: “My client finds himself in court on his 71st birthday. He has stayed in the property 46 years and never had trouble with the neighbours before. “He said he made this comment to himself as he went in the back door. He must have said it reasonably loud as the neighbours were 20 feet from him. It wasn’t said directly at them.” Sheriff Christopher Shead said: “In the unusual set of circumstances, bearing in mind he comes before the court with no previous record at 71 and has been kept in custody, I will admonish him.” Outside court, former plant operator Mr MacGregor said: “The whole thing has just been a shock. I have never been in trouble in my life before. It is ridiculous that I got kept in a cell. “I’m not going to deny I said it. You can’t say anything nowadays without someone taking offence. Those people are criminals but they know the system.”
His wife Barbara, 67, said: “We were just having a quiet drink in the house when the police came in. The officers were nice and told us that they wouldn’t have done anything about it five or six years ago. “They took him away and kept him in the police cells with the real criminals. I never slept a wink. This whole thing has been a piece of nonsense. “We have lived in that house nearly 50 years and never had a problem with anyone before.”
© The Daily Record
A ‘Christmas’ leaflet has been distributed across Cambridge claiming that homosexuals are “like vampires”.
10/12/2014- The leaflet was distributed in the city this week, in the latest in a spate of similar incidents in Cambridge and across the country. It claims: “Christmas is the invasion by God into the world He created out of pure love; which through man’s evil has become a polluted landscape of de-humanized people, debasing themselves with their false gods and fetishes. “Homosexuals, like vampires in their insatiable lust, prey upon youth, as they conspire to create more of their own kind, meanwhile busy abusing each other’s anuses and worshiping (sic) their own and each others’ penises in a festival of authentic Satanism. “This corruption of youth cries to heaven for vengeance. “While the pale, pathetic world of lesbianism de-feminises women and makes demonic mockery of true womanhood, embodied in the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Gay and Lesbian homo-fascists scheme their eval design of indoctrinating and corrupting young children with the big lie that depravity is “diversity”. “This too cries out to heaven for vengeance. The increasing army of the deranged’ transgenderists, transvestites, ‘queer-folk’, ‘indeterminates’, ‘polyamorists’ and ‘asexuals'; forming the advanced guard of the Antichrist, like unleashed denizens of hell.”
Leaflets distributed in the city in October claimed that AIDS is God’s punishment for gays, homosexuality is linked to paedophilia, and that transgender people should be exorcised. However, Cambridge Police has previously declined to take action to stop the anti-gay leaflets – claiming they are covered by freedom of speech laws and are not a crime. A spokesperson said last month: “Whilst it is acknowledged that many recipients will be offended by the leaflet’s content, Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights gives individuals the right to Freedom of Expression – the right to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideals without interference by public authority. This includes opinions which may offend, irritate, shock or disturb. “While the material being distributed earlier this week will in many cases offend, irritate, shock or disturb, the content, context and actions of the male concerned fall short of any criminality at this time.” A man was arrested in Brighton in connection with the distribution of homophobic leaflets last month.
© Pink News
Ilford North MP Lee Scott has spoken out about the anti-Semitic abuse he has received – including being branded a “dirty Jew”.
10/12/2014- The Conservative politician told a parliamentary debate on anti-Semitism yesterday (Tuesday) he had recently received a phone call in which he was subjected to the abuse – also being told he should be “stoned to death”. Mr Scott also said hate crimes were under reported, in some cases due to fear. He said: “I myself, who do report things, only the other week got a phone call calling me a dirty Jew and saying I should be stoned to death.” Fellow Conservative MP Guto Bebb (Aberconwy) also said he had been called a “Jew lover”. The Welsh MP said: “I have grown a very thick skin since becoming an MP but even I was quite shocked this summer to be accused on social media of being a ‘Jew lover’. “Now, my wife, as far as I know, is a Welsh Protestant and I have not been unfaithful so therefore I would hope that attack is not literally correct.” He also said MPs had a responsi-bility to challenge social media companies for their lack of action. Garron Helm, from Litherland, north of Liverpool, was handed a four-week custodial sentence at Merseyside Magis-trates’ Court in October for sending an anti-Semitic tweet to Labour MP Luciana Berger. MPs had previously been told the abuse against the Liverpool Wavertree MP continued via Twitter on a “violent and daily basis”. In September Mr Scott joined fellow London MPs to discuss how to tackle the rising threat of anti-Semitism with home secretary Theresa May.
© The Ilford Recorder
Austria: Muslim woman attacked at Vienna bank
A 60-year-old Muslim woman was seriously injured after being attacked at a bank in Vienna, in an incident which appears to have been motivated by Islamophobia.
9/12/2014- Pensioner Selver S. was waiting in a queue to collect her pension at a Bawag bank branch in Schönbrunner Strasse (Meidling) when a man approached her, insulted her and repeatedly shoved her, knocking her to the floor. She was taken to hospital, suffering a spinal injury. A 40-year-old man was arrested outside the bank shortly afterwards. Her son Engin told the Heute newspaper that she suffered a lumbar fracture and had to spend seven days in Hanusch hospital. She had to have an operation on her spine and is now being cared for at home by her son. There have been several incidents where women wearing head scarves have been insulted and attacked in Vienna recently, which comes after frequent stories in the press about young Muslims being radicalized and travelling to Syria to fight alongside Isis.
© The Local - Austria
Trans people in EU face widespread violence, discrimination-report
Transgender people in the European Union (EU) face serious violence and discrimination,and EU institutions, as well as member states, should develop policies to protect them, according to a report published on Tuesday.
9/12/2014- The report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(FRA) said that trans people are frequently discriminated against in key aspects of life such as employment, education and healthcare services. "Everyone has the right to be themselves. However, in reality many trans people live in fear as society is often intolerant and ignorant of trans people and their needs," Morten Kjaerum, director of FRA, said in a statement. "Our research shows that trans people live noticeably better lives where Member States are aware of the problems and have developed policies to protect and support them." The report uses data from a 2012 survey on the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the EU, and analyses the "lived reality" of over 6,000 self-declared trans respondents. Violence and hate crimes emerged as the most worrying result of the survey. One in two trans persons said they were physically attacked, threatened or insulted in the year before they took the survey, an incidence twice as high as that for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) respondents. Over two in five of those respondents who said they were victims of violence indicated that such incidents happened three or more times during the year before the survey. Perpetrators were mostly groups of male individuals unknown to the victim.
Fifty-four percent of trans respondents felt personally discriminated against or harassed because of their being transgender, the study showed. Discrination was felt more strongly by young respondents not in paid work or from a low income stratum. The area in which trans persons felt the strongest discrimination was employment, particularly during the search for a job. One in three respondents said they felt discriminated against when looking for a job, more than twice the percentage of LGB respondents to the same point. Around one in five respondents indicated they felt discriminated against by personnel when accessing health services. Data from the survey showed that many trans people live in hiding or avoid expressing their identity for fear of violence, harassment or discrimination, even within the privacy of their own home. Despite existing legal provisions and policies protecting the rights of trans people in the EU, the report argues that Union-wide action as well as national responses should be strengthened to address gender identity and gender expression. "Ultimately, as trans respondents noted, they are citizens who feel that they are not allowed to be themselves," said the report.
Russia: Racism and Xenophobia in November 2014
The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for the month of November 2014. The review is based on material gathered by Sova Center in the course of our daily monitoring.
6/12/2014- In November, one person fell victim to racist and neo-Nazi violence. In Moscow, near Metro stop Sviblovo, a woman dressed in Islamic clothes was suddenly and without a visible cause attacked by a young man with a knife who stabbed her a few times in the stomach. Since the beginning of the year, our monitoring shows that no fewer than 19 people have been killed in such incidents across Russia, with 97 more injured, while two people have received a serious threat against their life. Racist violence has been recorded in 24 regions of Russia so far this year.
November saw no fewer than eight acts of neo-Nazi vandalism. As such, since the beginning of the year, we have recorded no fewer than 48 acts of ideologically motivated vandalism, in 32 regions of Russia. Traditionally, the Russian March of November 4 turned out to be the main public event of the autumn organized by the ultra-right. The Day of National Unity was marked this year by three mass events: the official rally-concert We Are United and two rival ultranationalist actions, both called “Russian Marches.” One of the nationalist processions took place in Lyublino, the other marched from the Oktyabrskoye Polye Metro stop to the Shchukinskaya stop. The coordination of the actions, along with their preparation, was marked by difficulties and conflicts, primarily due to factionalization within the far-right community over support or opposition to Novorossiya. Sova staff observed about 1,800 people present at the Lyublino march, the Russian March for Novorossiya at the Oktyabrskoye Polye Metro stop brought out about 1,200 people.
Several marches took place on November 4 in Saint-Petersburg. Those were the Patriotic March, a rally For Slavic Union, an unauthorized Russian Walk along the Nevsky Prospect and some pickets held in support of Russian March which had not been sanctioned. Actions under the badge of Russian March were held in no fewer than 36 towns and cities. In many cases nationalists split over the Novorossiya issue and held separate actions. Thus, for the first time in years the number of marchers reduced in almost all the cities, inclu-ding the capital, and so did the number of cities where the Russian March somehow took place. Of the other public actions held by nationalists in the period under review we should only mention a rally in memory of Alexander Dudin, the ultra-right activist killed in the fight with anti-fascists two years ago in Ryazan. In spite of a widespread announcement, only 30 people gathered in Ryazan on November 14. The rally was organized by the Ryazan branch of the Russians association. The leader of the branch Alexander Samokhin was detained by the local police.
We are aware of at least four November 2014 verdicts on racist violence charges that took a hate motive into account – in Archangelsk, Vladimir, Tomsk and Perm regions. Seven people were convicted. We should note the verdict against Russian nationalist Alexey Voyevodin convicted for beating a young man to death (Voyevodin had been earlier senten-ced to life imprisonment). We have recorded no fewer than 18 verdicts on racist violence charges, taking into account the hate motive. These trials say 39 people convicted in 16 regions of the country. We are aware of only one verdict for xenophobic vandalism this month. In Ivanovo a vandal aged 24 was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for making insulting inscriptions on the central mosque and placing a pig’s head on its fence in June 2013. Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded three such rulings, against four people – in the Ivanovo and Tula regions, and in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region.
This month 15 people were convicted, in as many rulings, on xenophobic propaganda charges in 15 regions of Russia. Nikolay Babushkin from Norilsk, National Union of Russia co-ordinator and administrator of VKontakte social network group Russian March-2013, received a suspended sentence of one year of corrective labor for putting xenophobic materials on the social network page. Oleg Gonchar, head of public organization South Siberia Cossack Circuit PR service, was fined 120 thousand rubles for publications in VKontakte. This year has seen a total of 130 rulings for racist propaganda, against 132 people in 51 regions. The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated seven times – on November 6, 25, 26 and 28. Entries 2499-2521 were added. Materials added include Islamist militant videos and a whole series of Nazi-Skinheads’ videos from VKontakte as well as videos with speech-es by Kirill Barabash and Valery Parfyonov of For Responsible Authority initiative group and a book entitled The Dead Water. Public Security Concept.
© SOVA Center for Information and Analysis.
Headlines 5 December, 2014
The male victim of a brutal break-in at a suburban Paris apartment said the assailants told him they targeted the Jewish couple living there because they believed that Jews always have some money.
4/12/2014- Three men are in custody for the armed attack on Sunday in Creteil. Prosecutors said they chose their victims — the man is 21 and his girlfriend is 19 — because they were sure they had money since they are Jewish. One suspect allegedly raped the woman while another guarded her boyfriend inside the apartment. A third culprit went out to withdraw the couple’s money from a cash machine while the other two stayed behind. The male victim, identified by the Le Monde newspaper only as Jonathan, told the BFM television network on Wednesday that the attackers interrogated him about the family’s revenues from a clothes shop that the kidnappers thought the family owned. In reality, Jonathan’s younger brother was a salesman there. Told that, the assailants still interrogated the man about Jews and his family’s money. “They started talking to me about my father, and the car he owns. They threw me,” Jonathan said. “We have already watched you, it is not for nothing,” the men said, according to Jonathan. “Anyway, Jews, you have money at home, you do not put it in the bank.”
On Wednesday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement that “the anti-Semitic nature of this attack seems confirmed.” Shimon Samuels, director for interna-tional relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, commended Cazeneuve’s “acknowledgement of [the crime as being] ‘anti-Semitic’ and the police rapid arrests.” On Thursday, French Prime Minister Manuel Vals in a statement on Twitter said that the attack shows the need to combat anti-Semitism. “The horror in Creteil is a vile demonstration of how the fight against anti-Semitism is a daily battle,” Vals wrote. “I relay my support for the family.”
© JTA News
France: Was Paris Home Invasion Rape a Hate Crime?
Police Say Intruders Knew Targeted Couple Was Jewish
2/12/2014- French police arrested two men who are suspected of racially motivated violence against a Jewish couple near Paris. The assault occurred Monday in the suburb of Creteil, the Le Parisien daily reported Tuesday. Three men carrying weapons forced their way into an apartment where the parents of one of the victims live. Police do not have the third suspect in custody. The alleged assailants separated the two victims, a 19-year-old Jewish woman and her 21-year-old Jewish partner. One suspect raped the woman while another guarded her partner and a third withdrew money from a cash machine. The assailants spent approximately one hour inside the house. Before the rape, the men demanded the couple hand over their credit cards and codes, the couple told police. Citing testimony of one of the two victims, Le Parisien reported that the suspects told the couple that they shouldn’t try to pretend they don’t have money because they knew the victims were Jewish.
An unnamed law enforcement source told the paper that “it is too early to tell if the victims were selected because they are Jewish.” The men were carrying handguns and a short-barreled rifle, possibly homemade, according to the newspaper. “Unfortunately, it appears that it is ‘open season’ on Jews in France following so many recent violent attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions going all the way back to the brutal torture and murder of Ilan Halimi,” European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor said in a statement about the attack, referring to the 2006 torture and murder of a Jewish phone salesman. Kantor urged the French government to place the fight against anti-Semitic crimes at “the forefront of its agenda.”
© JTA News
UK: Crime warning on social media abuse
People who use social media to "peddle hate or abuse" will not escape justice by hiding behind their computers or phones, Scotland's top law chief has warned amid new guidelines on whether messages posted online constitute a crime.
4/12/2014- The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (COPFS) said it wants to reassure the public that it takes such offences as seriously as crimes committed in person. It has set out four categories of behaviour, including "grossly offensive, indecent or obscene" comments. However it said there is no danger to freedom of speech, and stressed that people will not be prosecuted for satirical comments, offensive humour or provocative statements. Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC said: "The rule of thumb is simple - if it would be illegal to say it on the street, it is illegal to say it online. "Those who use the internet to peddle hate or abuse, to harass, to blackmail, or any other number of crimes, need to know that they cannot evade justice simply by hiding behind their computers or mobile phones. "I hope this serves as a wake-up call to them. "As prosecutors we will continue to do all in our power to bring those who commit these crimes to justice, and I would encourage anyone who thinks they have been victim of such a crime to report it to the police."
The Crown Office said it has chosen to publish its guidance to ensure there is absolute clarity both in terms of its approach and the difference between criminal and non-criminal communications. It said it will take a "robust approach" to communications posted via social media if they are criminal in content, in the same way as such communications would be handled if they were said or published in the non-virtual world. The four categories of communication which prosecutors will consider are those which:
@ Specifically target an individual or group of individuals, in particular communications which are considered to be hate crime, domestic abuse, or stalking;
@ May constitute credible threats of violence to the person, damage to property or incite public disorder;
@ May amount to a breach of a court order or contravene legislation making it a criminal offence to release or publish information relating to proceedings;
@ Do not fall into categories 1,2 or 3 but are nonetheless considered to be grossly offensive, indecent or obscene or involve the communication of false information about an individual or group of individuals which results in adverse consequences for that individual or group of individuals.
In an interview on BBC Radio Scotland, the Lord Advocate was asked how "grossly offensive" could be defined when it could be seen as relative. He replied: "The guidance sets out that it would not include, for example, humour, satirical comment, which is part of the democratic debate, so there's guidance to prosecutors as to what's not included. "It doesn't include offensive comment because we recognise that, in a democratic society, with use of social media you can have offensive comment which wouldn't be criminal but it's really the category above the high bar grossly offensive which has a significant effect on the recipient of the comment. "We've all seen on the media reports of what you described, internet trolls, where this kind of comment, grossly offensive comment, is sent out to directly wound and has quite a significant effect." He added: "There's very detailed guidance of all the factors that prosecutors will take into account when they assess whether or not to raise criminal proceedings in relation to grossly offensive comments posted on social media."
© The Herald Scotland
UK: CCTV shows man and woman wanted over homophobic attack on tram
Police wish to talk with the pair about an attack on Jean Claude Manseau who was assaulted after travelling with his friend on the tram from Bury
2/12/2014- Police have issued CCTV images of two people after a man was beaten unconscious in a homophobic attack in Piccadilly Gardens. Jean Claude Manseau, 25, was assaulted after travelling with his mate Jake Heaton on the Metrolink from Bury to Manchester. As the pair sang show tunes on board, a man started hurling anti-gay taunts at them, then fol-lowed them off the tram at Market Street. The friends started walking towards Canal Street but the passenger approached them in Piccadilly Gardens, followed by between 10 and 20 people. Jean Claude was then punched and kicked until he lost consciousness and the group fled the scene. The shocking attack came at around 1am on Saturday, November 1. Det Con Tim Greenwood, of GMP’s City Centre division, said “We are treating this as a homophobic assault, as the men made homophobic comments to the victim as they attacked him. The attack was totally unprovoked and the message is clear: we simply will not tolerate it.
“The victim was badly beaten and had to have stitches to his face, as a result of this vicious attack. "He was understandably very distressed by what happened and specially trained officers have supported him. "We want to speak to the man and woman pictured in the CCTV images who may have vital information that would assist us with the investigation.” Following the attack hundreds of people took part in a mass singalong on the Metrolink led by the Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus in a show of defiance against homophobia.
If you have any information about the incident please call police on 0161 856 3229 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
© The Manchester Evening News.
UK: Hate crimes surge in London 'fuelled in part by Israel's invasion of Gaza'
Hate crime in London surged in the last year driven in part by international events such as Syria and the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
2/12/2014- A new report shows that overall the number of hate crimes in the capital rose by more than 20 per cent in the last 12 months to October. There were significant increases in attacks motivated by racism, religion and homophobia, according to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. Police believe the rise is due mainly to more people being willing to come forward to report incidents rather than a genuine increase in crime. However, a surge in faith related offences - up by 23 per cent to a total of 1,048 offences - was driven in part by the impact of national and international events, the study says. A record number of faith hate offences was recorded in July this year, 95 per cent of which were anti-Semitic incidents following Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
The report also highlights the spike in anti-Muslim incidents following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby last year. The new figures show a worrying increase in violent hate crime offences up 21 per cent to a total of 11,400 crimes in the last 12 months. Homophobic crime is also rising, with a monthly increase of 21.5 per cent since March 2014 - to an average of 100 cases a month. In June there was a record 175 cases of homophobic crime reported to the Met, though community groups believe this is due to more people coming forward. Transgender hate crime has grown by 86.2 per cent - from 58 to 108 cases - and there are increases in disability hate crime, up 12.5 per cent, and racist and religious crime, up by nearly 20 per cent.The figures are revealed in a report published today on the Mayor’s new strategy to reduce hate crime in London.
The report underlines how hate crime is hugely under-reported, either because people did not believe it will be investigated by police or a fear of reprisals. Only around 43 per cent of offences are thought to be reported to police while the problem is even greater in new migrant communities such as Roma gypsies. The study also underlined the growing problem of online hate crime. Tell MAMA, the national Muslim hate crime support service, reported that 80 per cent of the reports it now receives are about online offences. The Mayor’s plan includes launching a smartphone app to allow minority communities to report hate crimes more easily with a pilot scheme in 2015. Police will also develop a hate crime “hotspot” map to identify the top ten areas in London which record the most hate crime offences. The report says the map will allow police to focus resources better on problem areas and help reassure local communities. It also calls for better training for CPS, police and court staff after many victims told of being failed by the justice process.
Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh said: “London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and one of the safest with crime falling across the capital. “However, far too often people become targets of hate simply because of who they are or what they look like. The Mayor and I are committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms, online and in person. “This strategy, supported by the Met, the criminal justice system and partners across the board sets out how we plan to do just that and ensure that everyone in London is free to live without fear.” The report says the percentage of hate crimes solved by police is high compared to other offences but the figures show the rate is falling. Most hate crime victims are male, aged between 20 and 49, while most offenders are male and aged between 20 and 29. Around 45 per cent of offenders are white British. The report says the Met now records more hate crime than not only any other police service in the UK, but than any other country.
© The London Evening Standard.
UK: Police apology in burned turban case
Police have apologised after a woman who tore off a Sikh taxi driver's turban and burned it in front of him, was given a caution.
2/12/2014- After an eight-month campaign by the Sikh community in Bristol and later by the charity Sari, the case was heard in court and led to a conviction. Avon and Somerset police admitted they should have charged the offender rather than hand out a police caution. The victim has called for assurances that police take hate crime seriously. The victim, who does not wish to be identified, said: "This attack has affected the whole of my family, the children are very, very scared, my wife is afraid to let me go out of the house, thinking that I am going to be attacked again."
The attack happened in September 2013 in Bishopsworth when a group of women wanted a free cab ride home to Swindon as they did not have enough money. But when asked to leave the cab they refused and attacked the driver, racially abusing him before ripping off his turban and burning it. Interim director of Sari, Alex Raikes, said: "They [the police] didn't appreciate that it is like an attack on a person, for a Sikh it is very similar to a serious sexual offence, it's horrendous, it's a massive impact." Two arrests were made but the police officer settled on a caution to one of the offenders. Ch Supt Jon Reilly, Area Commander for Bristol, said: "The officer made a judgement call that a caution was the appro-priate disposal which is a form of sanction, but actually that judgement was wrong and it should have been put before court." He said the subsequent delay was due to rescinding the caution and waiting for the case to be heard in court. The defendant pleaded guilty to a public order offence on 21 November at Bristol Magistrates' Court.
© BBC News
Jewish student badly beaten outside yeshiva in Russia
Victim hospitalized after attackers apparently use brass knuckles to beat him; no arrests reported
3/12/2014- A Jewish student was badly beaten near Moscow early Tuesday in what appeared to be an anti-Semitic attack, a Jewish community official said. Shlomo Romanovsky, a Belarus native, was attacked by three unidentified men outside the Torat Chaim Yeshiva in the Ramensky District of the Moscow Region, a member of the Russian Jewish Congress told Russian news agency Interfax Wednesday. According to the source, the victim said his attackers, who spoke to each other in a non-Russian language, did not make any demands before assaulting him, and left without taking anything from him. He added that Romanovsky’s head injuries indicate the men used brass knuckles to beat him. The stu-dent was transferred to a local hospital for treatment. Police visited the victim in the hospital, though he was unable to speak due to the injuries he sustained, Interfax reported. No arrests were reported in connection to the attack.
The attack occurred 20 meters (65 feet) from the entrance to the yeshiva, where Romanovsky was studying. “Shlomo crawled to the yeshiva, where an ambulance was called for him,” the Jewish Congress source told Interfax. This was the first anti-Jewish assault to take place this year in the area of the Russian capital, according to the Russian Jewish Congress, though anti-Semitic acts are reportedly on the rise. The Congress promised to “provide all necessary assistance to the victim,” and added he will be visited by the organization’s president, Yury Kanner. Growing nationalism in Russia under President Vladimir Putin has reportedly given rise to public xenophobic sentiment, including anti-Semitic attitudes, displayed in public rhetoric and political statements, according to the Russian Jewish Congress, which noted a pike in incidents in 2013. In February, a member of Putin’s United Russia party was accused of anti-Semitism after calling his political opponents “Jews, mired in opposition,” who are conspiring to destroy the country.
Founded in 1989, the Torat Chaim Yeshiva is the largest Jewish educational religious institution in Russia. It was established in response to anti-religious Soviet Union policies, in an attempt to fill the gap of traditional Jewish education.
© The Times of Israel
Russia: Neo-Nazi gang connected to Kremlin murdered anti-Fascists, immigrants and judges
The Moscow Regional Court has been the venue recently for a closely watched trial in the BORN (Bojové organizace ruských nacionalistù - Combat Organization of Russian Nationa-lists) case. Members of the group have been charged with murdering several anti-Fascists, attorneys, immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, a journalist and judges.
1/12/2014- The trial is taking place in a tense atmosphere, with increased incidents of violent racist crimes and immigrant criminal activity on the one hand and the Kremlin nervously following the testimonies of the defendants on the other, as they are claiming they were paid by the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin and that their criminal plans were ideologically blessed by him. Members of the gang murdered Federal Judge Eduard Chuvashov; anti-Fascist activists Ivan Khutorsky and Ilya Djaparidze; a member of an organization of Caucasian radican nationals called the Black Cranes, Rasul Khlaliov; world champion in That boxing Muslim Abdullayev; taxi driver Soso Khachikyan; and worker Salakhedin Azizov.
Jobs from the Kremlin
BORN members Maxim Baklagin, Mikhail Volkov, Vyacheslav Isayev a Nikita Tikhonov have confessed to the murders. On 19 November one of the key hearings in the trial took place during which one of the neo-Nazi bosses, Tikhonov, confessed to murdering the famous attorney Stanislav Merkelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were shot dead in broad daylight on a busy street in the center of the Russian capital. Tikhonov also confessed to being the main ideologue of the neo-Nazi gang. His wife, who participated in the murders, gave shocking testimony about the connection of the gang to Vladislav Surkov, one of Putin's closest co-workers. "I am one of the founders and organizers of BORN," Tikhonov testified. "Our organization was founded in 2007, when I met with my friend Ilya Goryachev. At that time a warrant had been issued for my arrest and I was in hiding."
Tikhonov, a graduate in history at Moscow State University who worked at an advertising and PR agency as a copywriter, was sought on suspicion of having murdered the anti-Fascist Alexander Ryukhin. A group of neo-Nazis stabbed Ryukhin to death near the Domodyedovska metro station in Moscow. Ilya Goryachev's reputation was that he had good contacts in Putin's administration and participated in regular consultations at the Kremlin on the topic of nationalist movements. He had been in hiding in Serbia, where he was arrested and extradited to Russia. "Goryachev told me that he was well-known in the Kremlin and said he might have some jobs for me. These were murders for hire that were in the interests of highly-placed people. He turned to me because he knew I have a wide circle of acquaintances among the football hooligans and neo-Nazis who are prepared to murder in the name of a higher ideal," Tikhonov told the court.
First, according to Tikhonov, there was a discussion of murdering members of the opposition National Bolshevik Party and members of the United Civil Front, led by Garry Kasparov, who were thorns in the side of the Kremlin. However, Tikhonov claimed to have refused to commit those murders because he did not consider opposition activists and politicians to be the enemy.
"Execution" of an anti-Fascist
"I told Tikhonov that Russian anti-Fascists, anarchists and other left-wing radicals were getting money from their European partner organizations to establish 'a new type of political party'. The coordinator of those transactions was supposed to be Stanislav Merkelov, an anti-Fascist who made his living as an attorney. The political party was going to reject nationalism and Stalinism and had a basic aim of fighting for amnesty for illegal immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, whom it was going to provide with legal aid to help get residence permits and visas in Russia. In addition, they were supposed to combat homophobia, neo-Nazism and Orthodox fundamentalism. The new party was allegedly going to hold hard rock and punk concerts where they planned to recruit new members. If something were to happen to Merkelov, those in the President's administration would be in our debt and would reward us," Goryachev told the court.
Several months later, Tikhonov turned up with a list of persons designated for assassination, their addresses and their photographs. At the start of October 2008, Tikhonov and Volkov went to the home of one of the men in the list, anti-Fascist Fedor Filatov, at 10 AM and laid in wait for him outside. Tikhonov had a knife and Volkov was wearing brass knuckles. Both were masked and wearing wigs in the style of the haircuts of the band The Beatles. Filatov came out of his front door with his motorcycle helmet in his hand. Tikhonov lunged at him and punched him several times in the head with the brass knuckles. Volkov then stabbed him with the knife. They left him lying on the sidewalk and fled. Tikhonov returned to his home and Volkov went to his place of work. The next day they learned from the internet that Filatov had actually died.
In court Tikhonov confirmed Goryachev's testimony regarding the murder. He added that shortly thereafter he met with Goryachev again, who praised him for the murder but also let him know that there was a need to create more of a media stir. "He tasked me with inventing a name for a group and organizing the dissemination of press releases explaining its neo-Nazi ideology and a warning to anti-Fascists," Tikhonov told the court. "Goryachev gave me a list of e-mail addresses and taught me how to send messages from a phone so police could not determined where they had come from."
Revenge for a dead schoolgirl
Several days later, Tikhonov sent out his first declaration in the name of BORN, the Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists. It was an immediate response to the rape and murder of 15-year-old Russian schoolgirl Anna Byesnova by a citizen of Uzbekistan working in Moscow as a gastarbeiter who was eventually sentenced to 23 years in prison. Korshu-nov and Tikhonov wanted to first take revenge for this horrible deed by murdering some of the friends or relatives of the Uzbek murderer. Ultimately, however, they never managed to track him down, so instead they murdered a randomly chosen gastarbeiter "of Central Asian appearance," the worker Salakhedin Azizov.
In 2009 the neo-Nazi Maxim Baklagin joined the group. He did so shortly after Tikhonov murdered the attorney Merkelov and the journalist Baburova. That scandalous double mur-der sparked such a panic and response that Goryachev allegedly said to Tikhonov: "The people up top don't want us to murder any more anti-Fascists because it could be counter-productive and spark chaos in the country." However, the members of BORN had acquired a taste for their new mission and did not intend to ignore any other potential victims. Their next one was the anti-Fascist Ilya Djaparidze. Tikhonov shot him at close range with a taser and Baklagin then stabbed him with a knife. The BORN action was revenge against an aggressive, violent gang of Caucasian nationalists called the Black Cranes who engaged in attacks against small groups of Russian radical nationalists from among the ranks of football rowdies. One of their members, Rasul Khalilov, was shot dead by Volkov. Tikhonov sent a report to all the main Russian media outlets in which BORN took responsibility for the murder and declared war on "everyone who is not Slavic." The last victim of the BORN neo-Nazis before the group was apprehended and arrested at the end of 2009 was anti-Fascist activist Ivan Khutorsky.
Culprits from the Kremlin enjoy impunity
The next day of the trial, Yevgeniya Khasis, Tikhonov's wife, testified; she had already been sentenced to 18 years in prison for aiding and abetting the murder of Baburova and Merkelov. She clarified information about the links between BORN and the administration of President Putin. "The highly-positioned man who led the neo-Nazis to the idea of establishing a criminal gang fighting against anti-Fascists and immigrants," was, according to her testimony, Leonidi Simunin, a functionary in the pro-Kremlin youth movement "The Locals". He was said to have been a subordinate to the first deputy of cabinet head Vladislav Surkov. "I am describing here in detail a chain of events in which these murders were merely the causal consequences of decisions taken by persons who never were charged [for ordering these assassinations] and probably never will be," Khasis told the court. She spoke of her husband emotionally as a naive, romantic, young skinhead who in the beginning was attracted more by political activity than by criminal acts.
In 2006 the couple established the nationalist, radical magazine Russian Image together "as a platform for attracting radical young nationalists." Then their acquaintance, Goryachev, established a movement of the same name. Russian Image became very popular among nationalist radical youth and those in the President's administration noticed it as well. "Back then it was Vladislav Surkov himself who was in charge of working with civil society at the Kremlin. He and Leonid Simunin should also bear responsibility for these murders, since they instigated them," Khasis testified. Surkov currently is Putin's adviser, while Simunin turned up out of the blue several months ago in Donetsk, Ukraine, where he is in the role of adviser to the Energy Minister of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk. The trial will continue to depose more witnesses and a final decision on the classification of the criminal activity of the BORN neo-Nazi group and the length of their sentences is expected by the end of the year.
In Northern Ireland, a Wave of Immigrants Is Met With Fists
29/11/2014- More than 16 years after the Good Friday peace deal brought real hope that Protestants and Roman Catholics could live together in relative harmony, Northern Ireland is being racked by another wave of violence. But this time it is not driven by the sectarian divide, but by animosity toward a fast-growing population of immigrants — adding one more challenge as Europe struggles to cope with the combination of intense economic strain and rapid demographic change. “This is a society that always prides itself on being very friendly, but it is becoming less and less welcoming, particularly to certain types of people,” said Jayne Olorunda, 36, whose father was Nigerian, and though she grew up in Northern Ireland said her color has always marked her as an outsider.
The expanding problem appears to be partly racial and partly directed at immigrants of all backgrounds at a time when open borders in the European Union have led more legal migrants to Britain and Ireland in search of work. At the same time, war and economic deprivation have driven waves of legal and illegal migrants toward Europe from Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The more recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and parts of Africa tell stories similar to those of people from China, India and Pakistan who have lived here for decades. Mohammed Khattack, a 24-year-old Pakistani who arrived in Belfast last year hoping to study humanities after three years in London, got a first warning one night in June when an empty wine bottle shattered the front window of his rented house in north Belfast. When he and his housemate, who is also from Pakistan, began cleaning up the next morning, small groups of neighbors had formed. But they had not come to help — they had come to gloat.
Then one of them began raining blows down on Mr. Khattack amid a tirade of racist slurs. “He was a big guy and he approached me, and at this point I called the police to report trespass as he was inside the gate,” Mr. Khattack said. “But he grabbed me in a headlock and began punching me and jumping on my legs. I managed to get into the house, but he followed me through the door until I got to the bathroom and there he continued to beat me.” Mr. Khattack was treated for severe bruising and spent months on crutches. He still walks with a limp. The police arrested a 57-year-old man, who was later released on bail. The police told Mr. Khattack that the man had since fled the area. The official figures and anecdotal evidence indicate that the severity and frequency of attacks in Northern Ireland have increased in recent years.
On average, almost three racial hate crimes a day are reported to the police. Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 43 percent increase in racially motivated offenses, 70 percent of them in Belfast. Immigrant groups assert — and the police concede — that the real figure is much higher, with many attacks going unrecorded because of fear of reprisals or a lack of faith in the justice system. According to a recent report by the Northern Ireland Commission for Ethnic Minorities, just 12 of 14,000 race-related crimes reported over the past five years ended in a successful prosecution. The police say paramilitary groups are cynically manipulating xenophobia to gain support in their communities by targeting migrants. In April, a senior police officer, Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr, said the rise in the number and severity of racial hate crimes in Protestant loyalist areas left “the unpleasant taste of a bit of ethnic cleansing.”
But Patrick Yu, the executive director of the Northern Ireland Commission for Ethnic Minorities, said it is simplistic to brand certain communities intrinsically racist. “Most of the available housing stock for private rental just happens to be in loyalist areas where there is already a wariness of outsiders and a feeling of being left behind by Catholics who they believe have benefited disproportionately from the Good Friday Agreement,” he said. “There is still huge deprivation in these areas, and I believe sectarianism and racism are two sides of the same coin — both need to be tackled.” Although less prevalent, attacks have also taken place in Catholic west Belfast. In June, hundreds of people marched in the area in support of a Nigerian man who was hospitalized after a racist assault. His attackers had also threatened to run over his 2-year-old daughter and burn down his home.
There is also concern that casual racism and willful ignorance are pervasive, evident in the flying of a Ku Klux Klan flag in loyalist east Belfast in July. Also that month, the Ulster Rugby team apologized for a picture in which three of its players were wearing black makeup and one had chains around his neck as if he were a slave. This summer, a fundamentalist Protestant preacher, James McConnell, drew widespread condemnation after telling his congregation that “Islam is heathen; Islam is satanic; Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell.” Anna Lo, the only ethnic minority representative in the Northern Ireland Assembly, recalls the night she heard the province’s first minister, Peter Robinson, speak in support of Mr. McConnell, saying “there wasn’t an ounce of hatred in his bones.” “I was screaming at the television,” she said in an interview. “I couldn’t believe these views.”
Mr. Robinson’s remarks prompted Ms. Lo to make an emotional appearance on a popular talk show in which she said she was considering leaving the country. Ms. Lo, who was born in Hong Kong, has lived in Northern Ireland since 1984. “What kind of place are we now living in?” she said. “I feel vulnerable that when I walk on the street I might be attacked.” Both men eventually apologized for their remarks. In Britain, immigrants make up roughly 12.4 percent of the population, compared with 1.8 percent in Northern Ireland. Still, the rate here is higher than the 0.8 percent in 2001, with the bulk of the immigrants coming from Poland after it joined the European Union in 2004.
Many immigrants say the abuse is tolerated for economic reasons: Workers here can expect to earn far more than in their home countries. Others cannot go back even if they wanted to. “I acknowledge that it is somewhat ironic that I seem to have swapped fear in my own country for another kind here,” said Suleiman Abdulahi, who fled Somalia after the outbreak of civil war there in 1991. The new wave of immigrants has certainly not brought safety in numbers. “It’s my home, but I don’t feel like a very welcome resident,” said Ms. Olorunda, whose broad accent is pure Northern Ireland. “When more people began to arrive I was excited at first,” she said, “but then the attacks began to move from verbal to physical and I began to think this isn’t a good thing, after all.”
Ms. Olorunda said she has endured a lifetime of racism and stays in Northern Ireland mainly to look after her mother, who she said never recovered from the loss of her husband. He died in 1980 when an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded on a train. In a twist that shows just how small this society can be, Ms. Olorunda’s mother, a nurse, met the badly disfigured man responsible for her husband’s death in a hospital some years later. She accepted his apology, even though she had been left alone to bring up three young daughters. Although born and raised here, Ms. Olorunda said she and her sister were thinking of joining their other sibling in London. “I love the people, the humor, the sense of space,” she said. “But my sister and I have always said we wouldn’t end up as two old ladies in Northern Ireland.”
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