ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive January 2015

Headlines 30 January, 2015

Headlines 23 January, 2015

Headlines 16 January, 2015

Headlines 9 January, 2015

Headlines 2 January, 2015

Headlines 30 January, 2015

Group records 255 anti-Jewish incidents in 2014, primarily online harassment and vandalism, compared to 137 in 2013

30/1/2015- The Forum Against Anti-Semitism recorded 255 incidents last year, compared to 137 in 2013, the watchdog group reported earlier this week. It was the highest figure recorded since 2008, surpassing the previous record year of 2009 by more than 22 percent, or 55 incidents. Similar increases have been recorded in Belgium and France during and following Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Of the 255 incidents documented in Austria, nine were physical attacks and 57 were cases of vandalism. Threats and insults that occurred on the street or in public spaces numbered 21 and cases online hate speech deemed by the watchdog to be of a criminal nature totaled in at 83. Around 9000 thousand Jews live in Austria.
© The Times of Israel

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France: 'Muslims Are First Victims of Terrorism' Admits French Minister

Anti-Muslims attacks have increased in France since the Charlie Hebdo attack.

28/1/2015- French foreign minister Laurent Fabius declared that Muslims were the first victims of terrorism during his first visit to a majority Muslim country since the Charlie Hebdo attack on Tuesday. He slammed “lies” and “abuses” spread in the name of a religion by extremists during a press conference held in Kuwait. “These people just want to destroy every one who does not think like them ... including Muslims,” adding that, “No one can kill in the name of a religion.” “When we, Kuwait and France, fight against terrorism, in reality we want to fight these people who are not only liars, but also assassins,” he explained. “We are protecting Muslims, because they are the first victims of terrorists. This is a fight we will absolutely win,” he asserted.

This represented the first visit by Fabius to a majority Muslim country since the attack on Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead, including a Muslim police officer. Two days later, another attack against a Kosher supermarket left four more victims. During that attack, Muslim employee Lassana Bathily hid several hostages in a cold room before escaping in order to provide crucial information to the police. Since the Charlie Hebdo attack, the National Observatory Against Islamophobia reported 128 anti-Muslim attacks in two weeks, about the same amount that took place in the entire year of 2014.
© Telesur TV

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UK: Nazi thug locked up after racist attack left businessman's ear almost severed

'Dangerous extremist' Richard Harris, 38, launched a savage attack on Zahoor Hussain in a Blackwood pub on day of Lee Rigby's funeral

29/1/2015- A Nazi thug was jailed after attacking an Asian man on the day of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s funeral. Richard Harris, 38, bottled the businessman while out drinking in Black-wood as the murdered soldier was buried. A court heard how he became enraged after spotting his victim chatting with “attractive white women” colleagues on a work trip.

'This is not your country'
Harris shouted at the young professional women: “What are you doing drinking with terrorists?” He then told British Asian businessman Zahoor Hussain: “You are all animals. This is not your country.” Harris grabbed Mr Hussain by the testicles and smashed a full beer bottle over his head – leaving his left ear nearly severed from his scalp and knocking him unconscious.

'Hitler's views are common sense'
The thug denied racially aggravated wounding following the attack at the Mornington Lodge pub in the town in July 2013. Harris told a trial he had Swastika tattoos, pictures of Hitler on his living room wall, and was a member of fascist “white pride” British Movement. He told the court: “Hitler’s views are common sense on a lot of things.” Newport Crown Court heard Harris had said there “needs to be more research done” into whether the Holocaust took place.

'Dangerous extremist'
Harris was found guilty of the Islamophobic attack, which left his victim with hearing problems and severe lacerations to his left ear and neck. Judge Jonathan Ferris branded Ferris a “dangerous extremist”. Judge Ferris told him: “You are a racist. “On your mobile phone was found racist images and cartoons.

'Capable of extreme violence'
“Another showed a black man being shot by a white man for impregnating a white woman. “A great deal of Nazi and fascist memorabilia was also discovered in your home. “You attacked the victim because he was of South Asian origin and he was socialising with a group of attractive white women – one of whom was pregnant. “You are a dangerous extre-mist who is capable of extreme violence.” Harris, of Pritchard Terrace, Blackwood, South Wales, was jailed for five years. Speaking after the case Superintendent Mark Warren-der, in charge of hate crime at Gwent Police, said: “This was a disgusting assault that has had life-changing effects for the victim. “The majority of people find his behaviour, which was fuelled by racism, abhorrent. There is no place for racism or any hate crime within our communities. “It is only right that the length of sentence reflects the racially aggravated element in this incident. “We’d like to pay tribute to the victim himself for his courage throughout. “I’d also like to thank the members of the community who were witnesses to this incident who were able to provide information that led to the arrest of Harris so quickly and also gave evidence at the trial.”
© Wales Online

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UK: Racism fears over vandalism to Shropshire shop

A shop owner claims his business has been targeted by racist yobs four times in the last 12 months.

28/1/2015- Abid Mustafan said it had cost him £250 to repair his window each time it had been vandalised. The 33-year-old said he had run the shop in Central Court, Bridgnorth, for five years but attacks had only started over the last year. “It happened again on Friday night and I’m getting sick of it now,” he said. “Each time it hap-pens it costs me £250 to replace the window, so that’s cost me £1,000 over the last 12 months. “I called the police on Saturday and no-one came out and I didn’t even get a crime reference number. No-one ever does anything to stop this from happening and I don’t know what to do to stop my businesses being attacked in this way.” Central Court is situated on the High Street in front Bridgnorth Town Hall. The courtyard houses a number cafes and small businesses including Mobile World, which unlocks and repairs mobile phones and laptops, as well as selling accessories.

Mr Mustafan, a father-of-one whose wife is due to give birth to a second child soon, said he had already been forced to move his family from Bridgnorth to Telford following racist abuse. He said since he had moved his shop was now being targeted on a regular basis. “I moved my family because of the abuse and I’m sure it’s racism that’s causing it because there’s no other reason why just my shop would keep being targeted,” he said. “I moved to Telford because of the abuse but now my shop is being targeted the police are doing little to stop it. “I have CCTV images and videos of the people who did it, which the police could use to catch who did it.” He added: “I just hope that something is done soon because I’m just trying to run a business.” West Mercia Police was unavailable for comment.
© The Shropsire Star

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Germany: 'Pure anti-Semitism' behind synagogue attack, says Wuppertal Jewish leader

Last summer, three Palestinians committed an arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal. Their trial is nearing its end, but the wounds within the Jewish commu-nity here remain. DW's Sven Pöhle went to the synagogue.

27/1/2015- "It was right here," Leonid Goldberg says, standing at the entrance of a sandstone synagogue in Wuppertal's Barmen district. "This is exactly where the fire started, where the objects were thrown." In his mid-50s and wearing a gray suit, Goldberg, the chairman of Wuppertal's Jewish cultural association, nods to security sitting behind glass at the entrance. In the middle of the night on July 29, 2014, Goldberg was contacted by a private security firm: Three men had thrown bottles full of diesel at the synagogue. "Thank God that nothing more can be seen of the attack," Goldberg says as he scratches his beard. The flames extinguished quickly, so the damage was manageable. "Following the attack, we had police here round the clock. Now, they are only here during the night."

'Matter of time'
Goldberg points to security cameras positioned left and right of the entrance and explains that all Jewish places of worship in Germany are well-secured. The front entrance is almost never used - only for big events. "When that is the case, security personnel are here." The security guard behind the glass waves us through. He must wait until the front doors are closed before allowing us entrance into the synagogue. After we're inside, Goldberg points to the windows - bulletproof from the outside, shatterproof on the inside. A connecting door leads to a cafe, kosher, says Goldberg, and public. Once inside the cafe, there is no handle on the door. You need a key to access the synagogue. We sit down at a large table in the back, and Goldberg lights a cigarette. Conversation can be heard emanating from the cafe's main room as a handful of people sit at the tables. A radio plays music, barely audible.

What did it feel like to witness the first day of the arson trial, on January 14? Goldberg shakes his head. He was present as the three suspects, from the West Bank, confessed and expressed remorse for what they had done. They explained they had committed their crime under the influence of alcohol, following a celebration at the end of Ramadan. They wanted to use the bottles of diesel to direct interest to what was going on in Gaza at the time, the Israeli offensive. They said they weren't aware that by throwing them they could burn the synagogue or injure other people. "That is just an excuse," Goldberg claimed, with furrowed brow. "If you ask me, it was pure anti-Semitism." There was enough public interest in the Israeli offensive in Gaza last summer, he went on. "There were more than enough signals last July. All demonstrations were against Israel - and not just against Israel, against Jews." Goldberg scratches his beard and sighs. "It was just a matter of time," he laments, "that this atmosphere would produce attacks against a Jewish house of worship."
Traces remain
Although the facade has long been cleaned by a team of specialists, the fire has left traces within Wuppertal's Jewish community - just like the assault on the kosher supermarket in connection with the Paris terror attacks at the beginning of January did, Goldberg says. "These fears are real. But they've been around for years, much longer than since the Paris attacks." Open enmity against Jewish people existed in German and European cities before both the Wuppertal arson and the Paris supermar-ket attacks, Goldberg says, noting that several thousand Jews left France for Israel last year alone. In his community, however, not a single member has left the country he says. That doesn't mean, however, that nobody has entertained the idea.

Many community members have expressed concern for their own security because they are Jewish. "For years now, our rabbis haven't worn their kippahs in public as they go through Wuppertal," Goldberg says. "Jews that do wear their kippah in public attempt to hide it by wearing a hat on top so that they don't have to hear insults from young Muslims, most of all." Why young Muslims? With a slightly annoyed voice, Goldberg claims their upbringing is to blame, as well as Turkish and Arab media. He says young Muslims have constant access to anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic coverage. As a result, anti-Semitism among young Muslims has grown strongly. Is the Shariah police evidence of this? Last autumn, news traveled around the world that Muslim men right there in Wuppertal were patrolling the streets, attempting to prohibit the public consumption of alcohol and stop people from gambling. Goldberg laughs, referring to the self-proclaimed patrollers as ridiculous. "Can you imagine a kosher poli-ce?"
© The Deutsche Welle.

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Last Free Member Russian Neo-Nazi Group 'Volkssturm' Gets 10 Years

25/1/2015- The last free member of violent Yekaterinburg-based neo-Nazi group "Volkssturm" has been hit with a 10-year prison sentence for at least 11 attacks, including two mur-ders, on ethnic minorities. Defendant Ilya Dorokhov's alleged crimes were committed in 2007, but police only managed to detain him in 2014 after he'd been placed on an interna-tional wanted list, the Sverdlovsk Regional Court said Monday in a statement detailing its ruling. "The court determined that the 26-year-old defendant was involved in seven attemp-ted murders, two murders and [a few] robberies. In total, Dorokhov participated in the commission of at least 11 'actions.' That is precisely what the participants in the extremist group called their attacks," the court said in its statement. "The victims were individuals with distinctly non-Slavic appearances." Dorokhov now faces 10 years in a maximum security prison, and he has also been ordered to pay 100,000 rubles ($1,500) to one of the victims for moral damages. The verdict has not yet entered into force, however, and Dorokhov may appeal.

Volkssturm carried out a series of attacks and robberies targeting ethnic minorities, often videotaping the violence and then uploading the footage to the Internet. Investigators offered evidence of at least three murders by members of the group, as well as eight attempted murders, the Kommersant newspaper reported. They are also believed to have carried out more than 20 attacks on migrant workers. The other 11 members of Dorokhov's group had already been convicted and sentenced prior to his sentencing Monday. The Yekaterinburg group was named after a battalion of the Third Reich set up in 1944 at the request of Adolf Hitler. Hitler's Volkssturm conscripted all males between the ages of 13 and 60 who were not already serving as part of an active military unit.
© The Moscow Times

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Headlines 23 January, 2015

Czech extremism report: Islamophobic group uses cyber-bullying

23/1/2015- The ultra-right scene in the Czech Republic has recently focused on "combating Islam". The most active group is the Czech Defense League (CZDL), represented by "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic" (IvÈRN) on the Facebook social networking site. Those are the findings of a report by the Czech Interior Ministry on the last quarter of 2014. A total of 51 actions were held during that time that were either convened directly by or involving the participation of politically extremist entities, 29 events on the ultra-right side of the spectrum and 22 on the ultra-left. Year-on-year a significant decline in the number of ultra-right actions was noted, as well as a slight decline in ultra-left ones. "The ultra-right scene continues to act in a comparatively fragmented, inconsistent way. Its long-term, frequently-mentioned crisis of financing, issues and personnel has created limits as to what its active entities can do. The scene has had long-term problems, not only in reaching the broader public through its actions and winning adherents, but also in convening and mobilizing its existing sympathizers," the report says. The Interior Ministry says this is exemplified by the comparatively low turnout for an assembly marking the 17 November holiday in Brno last year. Only 80 ultra-right participants attended that event.

Islamophobes use cyberbullying as a weapon
According to the report, the ultra-right scene has recently oriented itself more toward manifesting Islamophobia. The Czech Defense League (CZDL), represented by "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic" (IvÈRN) on the Facebook social networking site, is a group that has long profiled itself in this particular way. "A rising number of cases of the group cyber-bullying those opposed to it have been alleged," the report reads. The Workers Social Justice Party (Dìlnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and its youth organi-zation, Workers Youth (Dìlnická mládež - DM) are also mentioned in the context of Islamophobia. The DSSS has interpreted the Muslim community as a threat, not just from a security perspective, but from that of the demise of European culture and traditions. "The exploitation of that topic is linked to their closer collaboration with West European ultra-right entities in particular, as well as to their efforts to reach out to new followers," the ministry warns.

Nazi salute given at neo-Nazi concert in Brno
At the end of 2014 there were several neo-Nazi concerts in the Czech Republic. Approximately 80 people attended a concert in Brno on 16 November by the bands Squad 96, Karlos Band and the Slovak performer Reborn. Police had to address several audience members giving the Nazi salute there. Activists from the "Generace identity" (Generations of Identity) group organized a concert on 29 November at the Na Kopeèku restaurant in Ústí nad Labem, primarily for an audience who crossed the border from Germany to attend. The ad for the concert described it as taking place in "Central Germany". The German bands Blutzeugen and Confident of Victory performed there, who are infamous on the so-called White Power Music scene.

Left-wing extremists mobilize, support cheated employees
The ministry reports that the ultra-left and, by extension, the anarchist scene continues to mobilize. "A rather high turnout of around 300 people was noted at the ultra-left demon-stration on 17 November in Prague convened under the name 'Dignity, Housing, Income'," says the report. "Part of the anarchist scene has found an opportunity to apply itself by participating in activities and support for the Most District Solidarity Network (Mostecká solidární sí - MSS) and for Solis Praha. The aim of these entities is to draw attentoin to the alleged wrongdoing by employers against employees (e.g., alleged non-payment of wages)," says the report, noting an action against the Prague restaurant Øízkárna, where some employees were not being paid. MSS convened protests at the restaurant and police intervened against those participating. The ministry says these are activists, often from ultra-left environments, who do their best to present themselves as an alternative to both non-state and state institutions. "Demand for the 'services' of such entities has grown. It may be that this group is now testing a strategy against smaller businesses that could then be applied against a larger num-ber of businesses," the report says.

"Speaking hyperbolically, the fact that activities on behalf of working people who have been harmed are now being monitored by the autho-rities is a testament to their success," a participant in the action against the Øízkárna restaurant told news server Romea.cz. The ministerial report also called the occupation of the "Clinic" on 3 December in the Žižkov quarter of Prague an action by the extreme left. "During December there were actions expressing solidarity and support for the Clinic initiative, and not just in Prague, after the allegedly brutal clearance of the building by the Police of the Czech Republic. A demonstration in Prague on 13 December was attended by roughly 700 people. The scandal also sparked discussion for a certain time on the possible full or partial legalization of squatting," says the report, warning that there was an attempt to set a police vehicle on fire in connection with the Clinic. "The 'Anarchist Solidarity Action' took responsibility for that deed and its performance sparked a postive respon-se from radical activists in particular. The Clinic initiative distanced itself from it," says the report.
© Romea.

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Kippah-wearing Swedish reporter assaulted in Malmo

23/1/2015- A Swedish reporter who walked around Malmo while wearing a kippah to test attitudes toward Jews was hit once and cursed at by passersby before he fled for fear of serious violence. Sveriges Television on Wednesday aired secretly recorded footage from Petter Ljunggren’s walk through Malmo, which documented some of the incidents that occurred within the space a few hours. In one scene, Ljunggren — who, in addition to wearing a kippah was also wearing Star of David pendant — was filmed sitting at a café in central Malmo reading a newspaper, as several passersby hurled anti-Semitic insults at him. Elsewhere, one person hit his arm, the reporter said on camera, though this was not recorded. One of the people who cursed Ljunggren called him a “Jewish devil,” “Jewish shit” and another told him to “get out.” One person on a scooter approached Ljunggren to warn him to leave for his own safety. In the heavily Muslim Rosengard neighborhood, Ljunggren was surrounded by a dozen men who shouted anti-Semitic slogans as eggs were hurled at his direction from apartments overhead. He then fled the area.

The experiment was part of a 58-minute documentary titled “Jew-hatred in Malmo.” The walk was a repeat of a similar experiment conducted in 2013 by journalist Patrick Riley, though Riley reported that he received only strange looks and drew giggles from onlookers when he walked by wearing a kippah. Dozens of anti-Semitic incidents are recorded annually in Malmo, a city where first- and second- generation immigrants from the Middle East make up one third of a population of roughly 300,000. Several hundred Jews live there. Fred Kahn, a leader of the local Jewish community, told JTA that most incidents are perpetrated by Muslims or Arabs. Hanna Thome, a municipal councilor for culture and anti-discrimination, told the Expressen daily that she was shocked by the events documented by Ljunggren. “There is much more to do, and both the municipality and the police have a great responsibility. But I also want to emphasize that there is great solidarity in the city,” she said in reference to several so-called kippah walks, where Jews and non-Jews marched through Malmo’s street while wearing yarmulkes to protest against anti-Semitism.
© JTA News

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Islamophobia body observes sharp rise in anti-Muslim incidents in France

France has seen almost as many anti-Muslim acts since the Paris attacks earlier this month as in all of 2014, a French Muslim body says. The figures could be higher as they do not include incidents recorded in Paris.

23/1/2015- There were 128 anti-Muslim actions or threats between 7-20 January in France - not including the densely populated Paris region - compared to 133 in all of last year, including Paris, according to an internal study released on Friday by the French Council of the Muslim Religion. Police in Paris are yet to release their own figures. The 128 anti-Muslim incidents are made up of 33 acts against mosques, and 95 threats reported to authorities, the Council said. According to its own figures, the incidents in 2014 represented a drop of 41 percent from 2013.

January 7 was the day brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who have been linked to al Qaeda, burst into the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 12. They were themselves killed days later by French security forces following a siege. A third gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a policewoman and four hostages in a Jewish kocher supermarket in Paris, himself also killed later on in a police raid. In total, the days of attacks left 20 people dead, including the three gunman.

Charlie Hebdo last week published a 'survivors' edition' following the attacks, featuring a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover. The French government deployed thousands of troops to protect key sites - including mosques and synagogues - since the attacks. On Friday, a burial took place for the super-market gunman Amedy Coulibaly. According to news agency AFP, Coulibaly was buried in the Muslim section of the Thiais cemetery in the Paris region. It was also reported that his family had requested he be buried in his country of origin, Mali, but the government there refused. The Kouachi brothers were  buried last weekend in unmarked graves.
© The Deutsche Welle.

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Social media must curb hate speech, says France

France is calling for the international regulation of social networks in order to crack down on “racist and anti-Semitic propaganda,” a senior minister said on Thursday at the UN’s first-ever summit on tackling anti-Semitism.

23/1/2015- “There are hate videos [online], calls for death, propaganda that have not been responded to, and we need to respond,” Harlem Désir, France’s State Secretary for European Affairs, told reporters on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting. “[Those who propagate] terrorism, religious fanaticism, jihadism and radical Islam use the Internet enormously,” he said." We must limit the dissemination of these messages.” Désir lambasted social networks for what he described as a failure to take responsibility for “racist or anti-Semitic” content published on their platforms, citing Facebook and Twitter as examples. “We want to be clear with what we have seen – that those networks are used to promote violence, discrimination, and hatred.

The answer from these companies has been to say that ‘we are not responsible for what is said’.” In response, France wants to create a legal framework that would “place the responsibility on those who are passing the message, even if they are not deciding the message,” he said. Désir spoke alongside his German counterpart Michael Roth, two weeks after four Jewish shoppers were shot dead in a kosher supermarket as part of a three-day assault by Islamist terrorists in and around the French capital. The call for stricter online regulations comes as part of a wider programme to heighten security and increase surveillance, as France reels from its worst terror attacks in decades.

‘Difficult’ issue of freedom of expression
Désir was keen to stress that the proposed law would not target freedom of expression, a principle for which some four million people in France marched in support after the ter-ror attacks, which began on the morning of January 7 with the massacre of “blasphemous” cartoonists at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. “It’s very difficult because we are pro-foundly attached to the principle of freedom of expression,” he said. “There needs to be a clear distinction between freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right, and the liberty to incite hate, discrimination, and death.” Comparing hate speech with the dissemination of child pornography, he called for a consensual international effort to curtail it. “This can’t be done country by country,” he said, adding that the European Union member heads of state would address the issue on February 12. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, described Désir’s plan as an “interesting proposal” that would require consulting both the general public and the private sector. “We’re very alert to the extent to which social media platforms are being exploited by violent extremists across the board, including by al Qaeda and Islamic State,” Power said, also stressing the impor-tance of protecting freedom of speech.

Islamophobia too?
Responding to questions by FRANCE 24, Désir said the rise in anti-Semitism had been partly fuelled by the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Territories. “We don’t want this conflict to be a pretext used by a new anti-Semitism to promote the hatred of Jews,” he said. “You have the right to disagree with the policy of either government. But you don’t have the right to promote discrimination, hatred or violence,” he reiterated. France has long been criticised for failing to address Islamophobia as seriously as anti-Semitism, a critique exacerbated by a spike in Islamophobic incidents following the Paris attacks. Désir insisted that members of the two faiths were treated equally across the continent. “The common basis across Europe is that you can and you are condemned if you promote hatred against Muslims the same way you are if promote hatred against Jews. There is the same condemnation for an attack on a mosque as there is for an attack on a synagogue,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the UN, Abdullah al-Mouallimi, stressed the relationship between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. “We have witnessed with gro-wing concern the increase in hate crimes around the world, and we are very concerned because some arbitrarily reject their responsibilities in this regard,” al-Mouallimi said on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation. “Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and all crimes that are based on religious hate are inextricably linked, they’re inse-parable.” Bernard Henri-Lévy, a controversial French philosopher who is ridiculed in France as much as he is respected, opened the summit on Thursday with an impassioned address, describing anti-Semitism as “the mother of all hates”. Lévy said that "faulting the Jews is once again becoming the rallying cry of a new order of assassins, unless it is the same but cloaked in new habits”.
© France 24.

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France hands out first fines for anti-gay tweets

Three French Twitter users were fined this week for sending tweets that included homophobic hashtags. It's the first time a French court has handed out convictions for homophobic abuse on Twitter.

21/1/2015- The convictions date back to offences committed in 2013 when several homophobic hashtags appeared on Twitter in France, including "Gays must die because...", (#Lesgaysdoiventdisparaîtrecar). The three who were convicted in the Paris court this week posted tweets using the hashtag "let’s burn the gays on..." (#brûlonslesgayssurdu). The case against the three had been brought by French charity Comité Idaho, which organizes the International Day Against Homophobia in France. It had filed a complaint against the users for inciting hatred and violence on the basis of sexual orientation. The punishments handed down however were fairly light - one was fined €300 while the other two were forced to pay €500 - given the maximum punishment is up to a year in prison and a €45,000 fine. Although all three were forced to pay the same amount to Comité Idaho, which welcomed the ruling this week.

“It’s a significant victory,” Alexandre Marcel, president of the Comité Idaho, told The Local. “But it’s a small amount to pay for calling for the death of homosexuals.” Gay rights groups in France regularly report homophobic hashtags, which Twitter then removes from trending topics to make them less visible. But in August 2013 the hashtag #lesgaysdoiventdisparaîtrecar (Gays must die because), was displayed at the top of the list, and wasn't immediately taken down. France's then government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem was forced to step in and took to Twitter herself to denounce the trend. “I condemn homophobic tweets. Our work with Twitter and groups against homophobia is essential,” she said at the time. Wednesday's court ruling was also welcomed by "SOS Homophobie", which reports on homophobic tweets.

“We’re positive that this will send out the message that the Internet is not a place with no rules where you can do whatever you want,” Yohann Roszewitch, president of the association told The Local. Last year the anti-homophobia association released a report revealing that the number of homophobic acts in France had increased by 78 percent in 2013, the year in which gay marriage was legalized. According to the association the huge surge in the number of homophobic incidents was without doubt linked to the bitter row over the legalization of gay marriage, which divided France and led to mass demonstrations that frequently ended in violent clashes between police and extremists.

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has been embroiled in controversy in France surrounding hateful messages. In July 2013, The Local reported how the website was forced by a French court’s ruling to hand over information identifying Twitter users who had published anti-Semitic comments, including under the term #UnBonJuif (A good Jew). Speaking after the court’s decision, lawyer Philippe Schmidt told The Local that remarks made on Twitter should be treated the same as if they were made in any public forum.
© The Local - France

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Muslim Father Stabbed To Death In France

17/1/2015- In one of the most horrible Islamophobic attacks following Paris shooting spree, a Muslim father was stabbed to death in his own home in southern France by a neighbor who claimed to be avenging Charlie Hebdo. “The Islamophobic aspect will be investigated when we interview this boy who claims to have heard voices," police spokesman told Agence France Press (AFP) on Friday, January 16. Shouting "I am your god, I am your Islam", a 28-year-old assailant repeatedly stabbed his Moroccan neighbor after breaking into the victim's home, according to the National Observatory Against Islamophobia. The 47-year-old victim, Mohamed El Makouli, who was stabbed 17 times, was disarmed during the attack that happened in his house in the picturesque village of Beaucet near Avignon just after midnight on Wednesday. His wife, 31, has also suffered wounds to her hands and couldn't save him, fleeing the scene to call the police for help.

According to the prosecutors, the attacker has been charged with "murder, attempted murder and possession of drugs", before being committed to a psychiatric hospital in nearby Montfavet. Condemning the bloody attack, the president of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, Abdallah Zekri, said that that the victim's partner was very clear about what the man shouted, "she is sure of what he (the attacker) said." Meanwhile, the regional Muslim council said it will be waiting for "the conclusions of the enquiry", expressing fears that the anti-Muslim sentiment would increase after Paris attacks. France has witnessed a blood-soaked week after a series of terror attacks that left 17 killed in the capital. In less than a week, the French Muslim community has been hit by more than 50 hate incidents, according o the Central Council of Muslims in France (CCIF).

Among the 54 anti-Muslim incidents, there have been 21 reports of shootings and grenade throwing at Islamic buildings, as well as 33 cases of threats and insults. Seeing the Charlie Hebdo attack as a betrayal of Islamic faith, leaders from Muslim countries and organizations have joined worldwide condemnation of the attack, saying the attackers should not be associated with Islam. In the wake of several anti-Muslims attacks, Justice Minister Christiane vowed to toughen laws against racism and anti-Semitism, along with blocking hate websites that promotes prejudice. Showing solidarity with the Muslim community after the recent Islamophobic attacks, French President Francois Hollande said that attacks against Muslims are “also attacks against the Republic”. A similar support was expressed by the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who stressed that Islam has its” full place in France”.
© On Islam

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Italian neo-Nazis convicted of anti-Semitic acts

Six sentenced to terms of 8-18 months; two men who attempted to reconstitute the Fascist Party among those arrested

21/1/2015- Two leaders of Militia were among six members of the Italian neo-Nazi group convicted for racist and anti-Semitic activities. A Rome court convicted the men on Tues-day. They were sentenced to prison terms of eight to 18 months. Among those charged were Maurizio Boccacci and Stefano Schiavulli, who were directly responsible for many hate incidents against Jewish targets. They also attempted to reconstitute the Fascist Party. Militia recently had publicly marked the anniversary of the death of Erich Priebke, an SS captain convicted of war crimes for participating in the massacre at the Ardeatine caves in Rome on March 24,1944. Priebke died in October 2013. During a hearing last March, Schiavulli also threatened Rome Jewish community leader Riccardo Pacifici. Last August, Militia called for a boycott of Jewish-owned stores through a massive poster campaign.
© JTA News

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New study reveals rise of anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Europe

 A newly published study titled White Papers of Hatereveals the concerning rise of racism, xenophobia, and radical nationalist movements in 19 European countries, including in France, where four Jews were killed recently in the terror attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris.

21/1/2015- The 1,000-page study documents incidents of anti-Semitism and hate-crimes against other religious minorities, as well as immigrants. It focuses on incidents that took place between 2012 and 2013. The data shows that compared to 2012, the level of radical nationalism in France has increased significantly. France is currently ranked ninth in Europe for its level of xenophobia, according to the study. “The Charlie Hebdo tragedy reminds the world that we cannot wait to acknowledge radicalism and xenophobia, wherever it rears its head,” said Dr. Valery Engel, first vice president of the World Without Nazism organization. “The White Papers of Hate was created to track manifestations of hate so leaders can understand and properly respond to this escalating problem. We cannot wait for the next Charlie Hebdo, the next synagogue bombing or the next hate-fueled attack.”

The study also shows that in Russia, 18 percent of violent crimes result in homicide. Russia places 10th in the study's rankings on levels of radical nationalism. As of 2013, about half of the Russian population in major cities acknowledged support for slogans such as “Russia for Russians.” “Ultra-nationalism is growing, especially among youth who are drawn to ‘country first’ slogans, and yet, the international community tends to ignore the problem,” said Richard Brodsky, a former New York state assemblyman and a senior fellow of the Demos public policy organization.

“European countries need to take a unified approach to ensuring the rights of ethnic minorities and protecting all their citizens from harassment and racial discrimination," Brodsky said. "White Papers of Hate reminds us we cannot make the mistake of assuming ultra-nationalism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism have been eradicated from Europe. By tracking and calling attention to these movements and stop thinking of them as isolated incidents, we are warning leaders—from the Putin in Moscow to Cameron in London that the world is watching; we will not allow Europe’s troubled past to reappear in the 21st century.”
© jns

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UK: Hate attacks on Jews soared 94% last year, police figures show

Hate crimes against Jews increased to almost 300 incidents in London while crimes against Muslims dipped slightly, Scotland Yard data indicates.

21/1/2015- The number of hate crimes against Jews nearly doubled last year, according to latest police statistics. Figures from the Metropolitan Police, released amid growing concern over anti-Semitic attacks in the wake of the Paris terrorist atrocities, showed there were 297 hate crimes against Jewish people in the year to August. The figure was up from 153 in the previous 12 months, a rise of 94 per cent. In the same period the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the capital dipped slightly from 518 to 495 last year, a four per cent fall. Last week police announced they were stepping up patrols in areas with large Jewish populations.

Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of Scotland Yard, said officers would liaise with Jewish community leaders in light of “continu-ing anti-Semitic rhetoric from extremists”. A review of overall security measures is also looking at the safety of other minority communities including Muslims, and at how to pro-tect police officers who might be deliberately targeted by Islamist extremists, he said. A Scotland Yard spokesman refused to comment on whether the review of officers' security would lead to more police routinely carrying guns on the streets of Britain. However, it is understood more officers may be equipped with Taser stun guns.

Mr Rowley said last week: “The global picture of terrorist activity does give us heightened concern about the risk to the Jewish community in the UK. “We are seeing continuing anti-Semitic rhetoric from extremists and attacks on this community in France and elsewhere. “In addition to our existing security measures, we are in dialogue with Jewish com-munity leaders about further actions that we will be taking, including more patrols in key areas.” David Cameron said the increased security was a “sensible precautionary mea-sure”, and added: “It is very important to that we speak up and stand up for these communities and give them the protection that they deserve.” Last week police in London launched an investigation after posters for a Holocaust memorial event were daubed with graffiti including the words "liars" and "killer".

The Metropolitan Police said the incidents, which took place at three locations in Stratford, in the east of the capital, were being treated as a "hate crime”. In the new figures, released by Scotland Yard under freedom of information laws, overall hate crime was up 12 per cent to 10,020 incidents in the year to August.
© The Telegraph

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UK: Hundreds expected to unite in Mold in stand against racism

The event in Daniel Owen Square comes after the vicious attack on 24-year-old dentist Sarandev Singh Bhambra in Tesco

20/1/2015- Hundreds of people are expected to meet in Mold on Thursday night in a “show of solidarity” against racism. The event has been organised by the Mold United Against Racism Facebook page, set up by Cambria Band member David Shinn, in response to the attack on 24-year-old Sarandev Singh Bhambra in the town’s Tesco last week. The young dentist was left with “life-changing injuries” as a result of the incident. More than 100 people have already signed up to take part in the event which will start in Daniel Owen Square at 6pm. Mr Shinn says people have been left “shocked and saddened” by the attack on Mr Bhambra and hopes the community will come together on Thursday to make a stand.

He said: “I, like the majority of the people in the area, was shocked and sickened that an attack like this had taken place. “A friend suggested that maybe we (the Cambria Band) should hold an event to show that our communities won’t be divided by this attack. “I took the initiative to organise the event as I felt it was a brilliant idea and that it would help bring our communities together in a positive way during these often bleak times. “We have over the years played for many different communities and groups across the length and breadth of Wales and find Wales to be very inclusive.” Members of the Sikh community in Wales say many are living in fear for their safety after the attack in Mold.

Delyn MP David Hanson said he will be attending the event. He added: “I’ve been in touch with the organisers of this event on Thursday and I will be attending. “My thoughts continue to be for the victim and his family and I hope events like this can help pull the community together.” Zack Davies, 25, of King Street in Mold, was charged with attemp-ted murder following the alleged machete and hammer attack at the store and will be asked to enter a plea in March. A provisional trial date has been fixed at Mold Crown Court on June 22.
© The Daily Post

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British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks

Records suggests 'significant' increase in incidents in schools with both parents and teachers reporting verbal and physical attacks against Muslim students

23/1/2015- Muslim pupils across Britain are suffering a backlash of bullying and abuse following the Charlie Hebdo massacre amid a broad rise in Islamophobia in schools which the Government is failing to tackle, campaigners have told The Independent. The sole UK charity monitoring anti-Muslim hate crime said it had recorded a “significant” increase in incidents in schools in the wake of the killings in Paris with both parents and teachers reporting verbal and physical attacks against Muslim students. In one case, a teenage Muslim pupil at a school in Oxfordshire was this week allegedly slapped and called a “terrorist” by classmates after a teacher raised the murders of 12 people at the French magazine in a classroom discussion and suggested Muslims should be “challenged” by the display of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The boy told his parents he did not wish to return to school.
Teachers unions and anti-racism groups told The Independent they have recorded an increase in Islamophobic incidents in schools with the 400,000 Muslim pupils in British schools increasingly likely to be taunted as “terrorists”, “paedophiles” or “immigrants”. The NASUWT, the teaching union, said the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment is causing “uncertainty and fear” in schools. Tell MAMA, which monitors anti-Muslim hate crime in Britain, said it had logged 112 reports of physical and verbal violence in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, including nine incidents which related specifically to schools in locations from West Yorkshire to East Sussex.
© The Independent

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UK: 'Islam must die' and swastikas daubed on University of Birmingham and nearby mosque

Police are believe the two incidents are linked and are investigating the case

19/1/2015- Vandals sprayed Islamophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti including “Islam must die” and large swastikas on the walls of a university campus and mosque in Birmingham. The offensive message were sprayed in black paint on the red brick wall of the University of Birmingham, in Edgbaston, student newspaper The Tab Birmingham reported. Police believe the incident is linked with another incident of Islamophobic graffiti that was daubed on Jalalabad Trust Mosque – less than a mile away from the campus in Selly Oak – as the graffiti appears to be similar, a spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed today. The graffiti, which has been removed from both sites, is thought to have been sprayed some time between Friday evening and yesterday morning. Police are now investigating the case and reviewing CCTV footage to catch the culprit. West Midlands Police urged witnesses who saw anyone spraying the words and the symbol associated with the Nazis on the side of the Psychology building to come forward.

Sergeant Pete Sandhu said: “Mindless hate of this kind has no place in 21st century Birmingham and work is underway to find the person responsible.” Second-year student Hannah Sharron wrote in an open letter to the vandals: “You will not force Jewish students off campus. You will not intimidate Muslim students. You will not disrespect the memories of every minority persecuted under the Nazi regime, for whom any adjective – vile, disgusting, horrible – seems too mild.” Fiyaz Mughal from organisation Tell MAMA UK (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) said of the graffiti: “This is appalling, where someone has the guts and chutzpah to place such a statement inferring that Islam must die on a university campus that has lots of Muslim students. “If that is the case, one can easily infer that this person wants Muslims to be killed and was trying to put themselves outside of hate speech.”
© The Independent

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UK: 'Surge in hate crime directed at Jews in Scotland'

The number of anti-semitic incidents in Scotland has soared by more than 300% in the last year, Jewish leaders have told the Sunday Herald.

18/1/2015- Speaking in the wake of the Paris attacks, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said it had recorded 50 anti-semitic incidents between July and September last year. The council's director, Ephraim Borowski, said it recorded just 12 during the duration of 2013 and 13 the previous year. Police patrols of UK Jewish ­communities have been stepped up after the Paris attacks in which 17 people, including four Jews, were killed by Islamist gunmen. Borowski said last year's incidents related to social media, graffiti and personal attacks. He described a report from a man who was wearing a skull cap on the train. He was asked: "Why do you like killing Palestinian children?" He also said a young woman living in university halls in ­Glasgow had a paper Menorah that was pinned to her door reshaped into a swastika. He added: "We also had three separate stories of children being taunted at school because they were told: 'You killed Christ'. "We've had people tell us they say they are going to church rather than synagogue. Another thing that's been reported to us is people hiding their identity. "People have told us they say they're not Israeli, but Turkish."

Borowski said: "Anti-semitism is a hate crime, and hate crime is hatred of a characteristic or group, so it makes every member of that group feel vulnerable and alienated." "The attack on the magazine in Paris, however evil [the killers may] have been, was because of what they were doing," he said, referring to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who were targeted. "The attack on the [Jewish] supermarket was about who they are. It makes people feel uneasy. That could easily have been their supermarket ... and they could have been the customers." Following the terror attacks, Police Scotland has urged communities in Scotland to "remain alert". Detective Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: "While there is no specific threat to Scottish communities we must not be complacent, as Scotland is not immune from the threat posed by terrorism. Dialogue is ongoing with community and faith leaders."

Last week, a YouGov survey led by the Campaign Against ­Antisemitism showed one in four Britons believed that Jews "chase money more than other people". A separate poll also revealed that more than half of all British Jews feel that anti-semitism has begun to echo the widespread anti-Jewish hatred of the 1930s. The regional breakdown suggested Scottish people hold less stereotypical views. A total of 12% of Scots questioned said they thought Jews "think they are better than other people", compared to 24% in London. Jonathan Sacerdoti, a journalist and spokesman for the campaign, said: "We aren't trying to accuse the nation of anti-semitism. We're hoping people might say, 'How can that be?' I think it's very easy to fall into a trap about having stereo­typical ideas about people you've never spoken to." Geoffrey Alderman, a ­writer for the Jewish ­Chronicle, said opposition to Israel had "morphed" into anti-semitism. He said: "In the wake of the Paris outrages the most ­important ­statement that was made by anyone was made by the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who reiterated a statement he had made a year or so ago that the line dividing anti-Zionism from anti-semitism has been crossed."

A report by the Scottish Government on Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland found the number of charges recorded by the Crown Office where conduct was derogatory towards Islam dropped from 80 in 2012/13 to 48 in 2013/14. There was also a decrease in the charges that referred to Judaism, from 27 in 2012/13 to nine in 2013/14. In 2013/14 587 charges with a ­religious aggravation were reported - a 15% drop compared to 2012/13 and a 35% decrease since 2011/12.
© The Herald Scotland

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UK: London mosques sent death threats after Paris attacks

Finsbury Park Mosque has received hate mail in emails and letters.

17/1/2015- Mosques in London have been sent death threats, hate mail and drawings of the Prophet Mohamed in the wake of the Paris attacks. Tell Mama, which records Islamopho-bic hate crime in Britain, said it had received reports of incidents at the East London Mosque, in Tower Hamlets, and Finsbury Park Mosque. Among the 15 emails and letters sent to the Finsbury Park Mosque were hand-drawn cartoons depicting the Prophet worshipping the devil. Mohammed Kozar, the general secretary, told Sky News that despite the spike in abuse there had been many messages of support. “Most of them are nasty drawings about our prophet and our books,” he added. “Some of them make death threats against our com-munity, so it's quite frightening for our community and our mosque.” Finsbury Park Mosque’s former links with radical preachers resurfaced after the Paris attacks as it was alleged that the Charlie Hebdo gunmen were followers of Djamel Beghal, a radical preacher based there in the late 1990s.

Cherif Kouachi, 32, was said to be radicalised by Beghal while they were both in prison on terror charges in France. Kouachi was jailed in 2008 for helping jihadi fighters go to Iraq, while Beghal had been convicted for conspiring to bomb the US embassy in Paris. He was alleged to be one of al-Qaeda’s top European recruiters, drawing in Richard Reid, the failed “shoe bomber”, Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the 9/11 plotters, and Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the four suicide bombers who blew themselves up on public transport in London on 7 July 2005. Reda Hassaine, who wrote a book about his work as an MI5 informant at the Finsbury Park Mosque, said Beghal had connections with Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada. Abu Hamza – who has one eye and no hands - once headed the mosque as its chief imam but was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month in New York on multiple terror charges.

The mosque’s new management, focusing on community work, anti-extremism and improving interfaith relationships, has earned it several awards. Mr Kozbar said he was “upset and very angry” that the association with past extremists continues despite the reforms. “People should realise that changes have taken place here from 2005 until now and the community feels it's not fair to always link the mosque in a such negative way to what's happening elsewhere,” he told Sky News. “It's not fair for them after the work they've done here; changing it from a hostile atmosphere to a cohesive atmosphere.” He said Beghal has not been linked to the mosque since his tenure started in 2005 – when the extre-mist started his prison sentence in France – but would not confirm or deny his involvement before that year. Fiyaz Mughal, director of Tell Mama, warned in a column for The Independent that there has been a rise in Islamaphobic abuse, particularly on social media.

Muslim women have told the group they have been abused since the Charlie Hebdo attack with comments like “I'm Charlie - you are not”. Mr Mughal said many Islamophic incidents stem from people associated with far-right groups, usually white men under the age of 40. “After the murder of Lee Rigby in 2013, the real impact of far right sympathisers was felt in the United Kingdom,” he wrote. “Since May 2013, over 50 mosques have been attacked.” Tell Mama is urging any mosques or Islamic groups receiving abuse to get in touch for assistance.
© The Independent

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UK: Newham Holocaust memorial day posters defaced

Posters advertising a Holocaust memorial event in east London have been daubed with graffiti including the words "liars" and "killer".

17/1/2015- The vandalism, which took place in Newham, is being listed as a "hate crime", Scotland Yard said. Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales described what had happened as "despicable". The graffiti, which is being treated as racially aggravated criminal damage, was found in four locations and has been removed, the council said. It was found at two locations in High Street, Stratford, one in West Ham Lane, near Stratford Park, and another on Balaam Street, Plaistow. The posters, which are on display at 43 sites across the borough, are advertising the council's Holocaust memorial day event on Tuesday 27 January at Stratford Town Hall. The council said police were checking the borough's CCTV footage to try and identify those responsible. Council officials will also be monitoring all advertising boards in case of further offences.

'Repulsed'
The vandalism was brought to the attention of Newham Council via social media. Resident James Tattle, who reported one of the incidents on Twitter, said he was "repulsed" by what he saw. "I was utterly repulsed, and saddened, to see one of the posters had been defaced," he said. "I couldn't believe that anyone would stoop so low as to scrawl that graffiti - not something I expect to see in London in 2015." The mayor said: "This despicable and cowardly hate crime is an assault on the values of decency and mutual respect which the vast majority of us share."
© BBC News

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N. Ireland: Graffiti hate attack at Pakistani home

Two Pakistani brothers have told UTV they've been left shocked and shaken after their house in west Belfast was sprayed with racist grafitti.

17/1/2015- 'F**k Allah' was written on the front of the property, just off the Blacks Road. The incident was reported to the PSNI on Saturday morning, who are treating it as a hate crime. Adil Sadar found the graffiti sprayed over the front of the house he shares with his brother, Asim. The siblings said they've never had any disputes with anyone in the area and cannot understand why their home was targeted. Asim Sadar, a local businessman, said this is not the first time he has been targeted. In the past, his car windows have been smashed in. He thinks those responsible are reacting to recent events throughout the world. "This is very unpleasant, it should not be happening," he said. Mr Sadar said that he knows the attack is not representative of the wider community. "I am living here and I know this is not from the community - this is just what is happening all over the world and what they are watching on the TV." Mr Sadar said that he hopes the police will find those responsible.

West Belfast Councillor Matt Garrett has condemned the graffiti attack, describing it as "despicable and cowardly attack". "Those responsible should hang their heads in shame. "This attack is in no way reflective of the great people who live along Blacks Road and surrounding communities. "I'm sure the overwhelming majority of people from this area are totally disgusted at this attack as I am." The Sinn Féin councillor continued: "I would appeal to anyone with even the smallest bit information to contact the PSNI. These people need to face the full weight of the law to send out a clear message that hate crime is completely unacceptable in our society." A PSNI spokesperson said: "Sometime overnight or this morning racist comments were painted on a house in the area. "We are treating this incident as a hate crime and would appeal to anyone with information to contact police at Musgrave on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111."
© UTV News

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Headlines 16 January, 2015

France sees dozens of anti-Muslim incidents

There have been over 50 anti-Muslim incidents reported in France since Islamic terrorists opened fire on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the Central Council of Muslims in France has revealed.

12/1/2015- The council, which monitors Islamophobic attacks in France, reported on Monday that there have already been scores of possible reprisal attacks on the country's Muslim community. Since Wednesday, when Islamic terrorists killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, over 50 anti-Muslim incidents have been reported. The incidents included 21 reports of shooting at Islamic buildings and the throwing of some form of grenades, and 33 threats, a spokesman for the monitoring body at the Central Council of Muslims in France said.

Such a reprisal was "predictable", said Samy Debah, the president of the president of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). "The reality of discrimination is catching up with us," he told The Local on Monday. "Muslims are scared. I'm scared for my mother, my sister. I live in a working class neighborhood and I would have never imagined that such things could happen." He added that France's security protection plans should be expanded to include Muslim places of worship and Muslim shops. "We don't feel like any measures are being taken to secure Muslim places of worship or to try to find the people responsible for these acts."

While he said Muslims have been on the receiving end of positive messages of solidarity on social media, he added that "the national unity" on Sunday only lasted for the duration of the demonstration. France must act in a "firm" manner, he concluded.
© The Local - France

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This map shows every attack on French Muslims since Charlie Hebdo

10/1/2015- Since the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the country's Muslim community, despite universally and repeatedly condemning the attack, has come under a wave of misguided "reprisal" attacks. The attacks are being mapped by a respected British anti-Islamophobia group, Tell MAMA UK (MAMA stands for measuring anti-Muslim attacks). This map details the incidents since they began, mere hours after the Charlie Hebdo attack:

Attacks on French Muslims from January 6 to January 10 (Tell MAMA UK)

According to reports by AFP and others, the attacks have included:
# Three training grenades thrown at a mosque in Le Man; a bullet hole was also found in one of the mosque windows
# A bomb blast at a restaurant adjacent to and associated with a mosque in Villefranche-sur-Saone
# Gunshots fired at a mosque in Port-la-Nouvelle
# A boar's head and entrails were left outside an Islamic prayer center in Corsica with a note: "Next time it will be one of your heads."

The attacks have been relatively small-scale, especially compared to the Charlie Hebdo massacre and subsequent violence committed by its apparent culprits. The only serious harm so far came from a gang assaulting a 17-year-old of North African descent. But these incidents point to a long-worsening trend of hostility in France toward the country's Muslim minority, which makes up an estimated eight to 10 percent of the population, and a sense among French Muslims that they are not welcome. The apparent logic of the mosque attacks badly misunderstands the initial Charlie Hebdo attack: if it was carried out by al-Qaeda-linked extremists, as early reports suggest, then this is a group that has made fellow Muslims its primary victims.

Further, such attacks play directly into al-Qaeda's own logic and agenda, treating the act of few fringe extremists as representative of the non-extremist whole, and fomenting the idea of existential conflict between non-Muslims and Muslims where none actually exists. It's important to understand, though, that these attacks and the sentiment behind them did not come from nowhere. French attitudes toward Islam are, to say the least, complex — something evidenced at every stage of this story. The growth of France's Muslim popula-tion has led to deep concern about what that means for France's secular traditions. The government banned head scarves and other religious symbols from public schools in 2004. In 2014, they banned concealing one's face in public — a ban widely seen as targeting burqas and niqabs and suggesting that devout Muslim women were unwelcome in public life.

Of course, a ban on Muslim head coverings is nowhere near the same things as this spate of anti-Muslim violence, but both are rooted in a similar hostility toward Islam and Muslim immigrants in France, and contribute to the sense of siege among French Muslims.
© Vox

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UK: Lime Street transgender attack sees Wirral man locked up for 20 months

Transgender woman attacked outside Lime Street station

13/1/2014- A 20-year-old man who attacked a transgender woman in Lime Street on the day she was ‘out’ for the first time was locked up for 20 months. Ryan Kenny followed his victim on her way home from a support group meeting in Liverpool city centre last March. Liverpool Crown Court heard the 20-year-old and a friend approached the woman in Skelhorne Street, near Lime Street station, and Kenny shouted “hey girl”. But when his companion shouted “that’s a man”, drunken Kenny ran over and asked her if she was, to which she replied “no”. Paul Blasbery, prosecuting, said: “The next thing she knew her wig was being pulled off her head from behind. He hit her across the face with it. “The defendant was described as swiping her about 10 to 20 times with her wig. “He stood in front of her with his right fist clenched. She put her right arm out to protect herself and he said ‘do you want a dig?’ “She did not respond and he punched her on the left cheek, resulting in her stumbling backwards, before he punched her a second time.”

The court heard Kenny then stole her carrier bag which she had dropped, containing £30 to £40 of makeup. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, reported the incident to the police and Kenny was later arrested. During police interview he made no comment, except to say his friend had wound him up and to call him “a grass”. Kenny, from Bridge Street, Birkenhead, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and theft. e has 31 previous convictions for 42 offences dating back to 2007. John Bellam, defending, said his client was “extremely sorry” for what had happened and had been “considerably inebriated” when he carried out the attack “fuelled by alcohol”. He said: “He has expres-sed remorse, regret and shame. “He was out with his friend, they were looking for companionship from young ladies, and he shouted towards the young lady and wolf-whistled.

“It would appear he was teased by his friend who said this was a man and that appears to be a trigger factor, which has caused Mr Kenny to be embarrassed. “He said it made him look like a fool and rather than taking it out on his friend, who caused that situation you could say, he approached this young lady.” Mr Bellam added that Kenny said he thought the woman was going to hit him before he punched her. But Judge Brian Lewis said the defendant had initiated the incident, adding: “In the circumstances she would have been perfectly entitled to.” Sentencing Kenny to 16 months in a young offenders institution for the assault and four months for the theft, to be served consecutively, the judge said: “This was a quite disgraceful attack on a vulnerable victim. “She was targeted because she was transgender and the attack was completely unprovoked. “It was humiliating, degra-ding and persistent. “It was no excuse that somebody else said something that may have provoked you in some way. “This was completely unjustified.”

The victim suffered bruising to the left side of her face and cuts to the lip and told officers the attack took place for “no reason other than she was transgender”.
© The Liverpool Echo

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UK: Hate crime against disabled people in Cumbria has doubled

Reports of hate crime against disabled people more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to figures in a Cumbria police report.

12/1/2015- Hate crime overall increased by 25 per cent in that period from 226 to 304 incidents. The biggest rise was recorded in disability hate crime, which rose from 23 to 48 incidents. But a meeting of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (OPCC) executive board heard today that the statistics were welcomed by the force. According to a bi-monthly performance report: “The general rise reflects the work carried out by the constabulary, the OPCC and partner agencies, to encourage more people to come forward and report this type of incident/crime.” Cumbria’s deputy chief constable, Michelle Skeer, told the board the constabulary had made efforts to “build confidence across all diversity groups.” The report stated the force had developed a “safe places” scheme to explain where hate crimes could be reported, and has agreed to host a series of workshops on the issue. Representatives from the force attended the national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) conference in Norwich last November and have invested in “rainbow stickers” in its police stations to increase confidence. Temporary assistant chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary, Steve Johnson, told the board every hate crime reported was assigned to a senior detective.
© North-West Evening Mail

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UK: Ex-UKIP man and marine Ian Couch in pig's head insult to Cambridge mosque

12/1/2012- A former counter terrorism operative and UKIP candidate sent a "grossly offensive" message to a Cambridge mosque and posted anti-Islamic material on his Facebook page. And when police raided the home of Ian Couch, a former marine and member of the special forces, they found half a pig's head in his fridge, heard Cambridge Magistrates' Court. Now the 54-year-old, of Woollards Way, Great Shelford, faces a jail sentence after he admitted emailing the Omar Faruque mosque and posting a photograph of the pig's head on Facebook accompanied by religious slurs. Joe Bird, prosecuting, explained that on the evening of August 20 last year, Couch, who was then drunk, sent the email to the mosque after becoming angry at a news report on the beheading of US journalist James Foley.
© The Cambridge News

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Wuppertal synagogue arsonists stand trial in Germany

Three men have been brought before a court in Germany for allegedly trying to set fire to a synagogue in Wuppertal in July. The act has been seen as indicative of growing anti-Semitism.

14/1/2015- A 24-year-old Palestinian on trial in Germany has admitted to his involvement in the arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal in July 2014. He said that he was upset about the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and wanted to "make a statement" with the attack, he told the district court in Wuppertal on Wednesday. He added that he had not intended on setting fire to the synagogue or hurting anyone. He also said that he had been intoxicated at the time. After initially denying involvement in the case, he also fingered two other suspects as accomplices. All three men are on trial for attempted arson.

Attempted arson
Late on July 29, Molotov cocktails were thrown at the reception area of a synagogue (pictured) in Wuppertal. It was a synagogue that had been destroyed under the Nazis during the 1938 Kristallnacht and since rebuilt. One man was arrested, an 18-year-old Palestinian. Five weeks after the attack, two further suspects were arrested - an 18-year-old and a 24-year-old man, both Palestinian. That same evening, several hundred people participated in a rally outside the synagogue. Peter Jung, the mayor of Wuppertal, called for soli-darity with the Jewish community. Dieter Graumann, the President of the German Central Council of Jews at the time, condemned the attack, as did Germany's Central Council of Muslims, which also registered several attacks on mosques at the end of last year.

Growing trends of anti-Semitism
While the attack didn't cause any damage, it was indicative of growing anti-Semitism during the summer's six-week war in Gaza, which killed over 2,000 Palestinians and less than 70 Israelis and all but destroyed vast chunks of Gaza's infrastructure. During the war, which lasted until September, there was a wave of pro-Palestinian protests in Germany. Rights watchdog Amnesty International released multiple reports condemning Israel's conduct in the war, and accusing it of war crimes. During the armed conflict between Israel and the radical Islamists of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Protestant German news agency Evangelischer Pressedienst (epd) claims to have observed "an increase of attacks on Jewish institutions and cemeteries." The Central Council of Jews in Germany won't comment on those claims. But it points to the Berlin-based Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which has been documenting such cases on its website since 2001 - based on victims' accounts and on newspaper articles.

A study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on November 10 last year titled "The Changing Society: Right-wing Views in Germany 2012" showed that right-wing extremist views were spreading in Germany. It found that nine percent of Germans have adopted right-wing beliefs. This was an increase on the foundation's previous study conducted two years earlier. In mid-November, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a conference on anti-Semitism that "hatred of Jews" was in the rise in Germany and across Europe. He attributed this to spiraling violence in the Middle East.
© The Deutsche Welle.

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Germany asks Turkey to do more to seal its border

While Prime Minister Ahmet Davutošlu started his official visit to Germany on Monday, head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency Hans-Georg Maassen urged Turkey to do more to prevent foreign fighters crossing into Syria to join the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

12/1/2015- Speaking on a program on Germany's ARD television on Monday, Maassen said Turkey is a key country to prevent foreign fighters traveling back and forth between Syria and Europe, because about 90 percent of the extremists traveled to the region via Turkey. Maassen said preventing extremists crossing into Syria has been partly successful, but the number of extremists managing to get into Syria is still too high and Turkey needs to take further measures to prevent these crossings. On Monday, Prime Minister Davutošlu arrived in Berlin and met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two leaders held a press conference after their meeting. During the conference, Davutošlu was asked whether he believes that the Turkish government needs to take more measures against ISIL. Davutošlu said accusing Turkey of not doing much with regards to sealing the border is not fair, since Turkey has suffered more than others. He pointed out that there are about 2 million refugees finding safe haven in Turkey, saying, “We opened our borders to the children whose mothers and fathers have been killed in the hands of Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, not for terrorist crossings.”

Davutošlu also stressed that the border is 910 kilometers long and therefore difficult to protect, but Turkey is doing its best to prevent terrorist crossings. He also said that Turkey is in close intelligence cooperation with European countries and prevented about 7,000 people entering Turkey, as a result of this intelligence cooperation. Pointing out that only one day before the Paris terrorist attack there was one in Żstanbul in which a Turkish policeman was killed, Davutošlu said the European people have not showed their solidarity with Turkish people, but he had attended the march against terrorism in Paris on Sunday. The prime minister also expressed his displeasure about the European people easily asso-ciating Islam with terrorism and said he is against associating any religion or ethnicity with terrorism. Davutošlu was also asked about a woman named Hayat Boumeddiene, who is believed to be the partner of a man who killed a policewoman and four people at a Jewish grocery store last week in Paris.

Boumeddiene had entered Syria via Turkey on Jan. 8, one day after the Paris attack. Davutošlu said despite the fact that there was no intelligence given to Turkey from Europe about Boumeddiene, Turkish intelligence found out about this woman and provided information to France. He said Boumeddiene came to Turkey from Madrid and said that it's not reasonable to put the blame on Spain or Turkey about the incident. The prime minister also warned against xenophobic and Islamophobic attitudes in Europe and said that every-one should stand up against such things. German Chancellor Merkel told journalists that she discussed freedom of expression, press freedoms, counter-terrorism issues and develop-ments in Syria and Iraq with Davutošlu. She praised Turkey for providing a safe haven for Syrian refugees. Merkel was asked if Germans of Turkish origin and Muslims in general have any reason to worry about their place in German society. She firmly said that she is the chancellor of everyone in Germany who shows respect to law. She also said that it's important to hear from these people that they condemn terrorism as a tool. She added that Germany supports interfaith dialogue.

When asked about whether the future of the Schengen Agreement, which enables visa free travel among EU countries, is in danger or not after the Paris attacks, Merkel said there is no plan to abolish the Schengen Agreement. In the meantime, early on Sunday morning neo-Nazi groups in Germany attacked a mosque in Dormagen in the state of Northern Rhine-Westphalia and drew swastikas and wrote abusive words on its walls. This is the second attack on the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs' Süleymaniye mosque in three weeks. Along with swastika signs and Islamophobic graffiti on the wall, it was written, “Germany belongs to Germans.” Turkey's Consul-General to Dusseldorf Alatting Temur visited the mosque and condemned the attack on Sunday. The mosque was first attacked on Dec. 20 last year and local German authorities were asked to take necessary measures to pro-vide protection for the mosque. Despite asking for protection from the authorities, the second attack came on Sunday. The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs made a state-ment on Monday and said that such attacks created fear among Muslims in Germany. The German police launched an investigation about the attacks.
© Today's Zaman

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Attack on German newspaper raises tension before anti-Islam rally

* Two suspects held over arson attack on Hamburg daily * Islamists could also strike in Germany - interior minister * 18,000 show up at solidarity rally in Berlin (Adds mass rally in Berlin)

11/1/2015- A Hamburg daily that reprinted satirical cartoons from French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was hit by arsonists at the weekend, raising security concerns in Germany on the eve of a planned mass rally against Islam in the city of Dresden. Islamist militant attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher deli in Paris this week that killed 17 people have fuelled fears of similar assaults in other European countries and prompted a warning from German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. "I am very concerned about well-prepared perpetrators like those in Paris, Brussels, Australia or Canada," he told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag. There were about 260 people in Germany regarded as dangerous Islamists, he said. Bild am Sonntag said U.S. intelligence agencies had tapped conversations of senior Islamic State (IS) members in which they said the Paris attacks were the start of a series in Europe.

In Hamburg, two people were arrested after an incendiary device was thrown into a building of the Hamburger Morgenpost daily, setting some documents on fire, police said. The Morgenpost had reprinted cartoons from Charlie Hebdo in a show of solidarity with the French weekly known for its mocking broadsides against Islam and other religions, and with the principle of freedom of expression overall. The Hamburg newspaper said there were no people in the building at the time of the attack, and investigators were checking for any connection with the cartoons. While Chancellor Angela Merkel took part in the silent march in Paris, around 18,000 people attended a rally in front of the French embassy in Berlin, police said, with people holding up slogans like "JE SUIS CHARLIE" and "NO TO RACISM, NO TO PEGIDA".

The Paris attacks have also raised fears of a boost to anti-immigration movements such as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA). It holds weekly rallies in Dresden with around 18,000 people attending last Monday. However, that was dwarfed on Saturday by an anti-racism demonstration in the same east German city which attracted 35,000 people. Elsewhere, German police arrested a suspected supporter of the Islamic State (IS) insurgent group and raided his home in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The 24-year-old German is suspected of having joined IS during a stay in civil war-torn Syria from October 2013 until November 2014, a federal prosecutor's spokeswoman said. There were no indications that the man had concrete plans for an attack and there was also no connection to the Paris bloodshed, she added.

As with other west European countries, Germany is struggling to stop the radicalisation of disaffected young Muslims, some of whom want to become jihadist insurgents in Syria or Iraq.
© Reuters

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Asylum Seeker Murdered Amid Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Across Germany

Germany's recent upsurge in anti-Islam sentiment appears to have taken a dark new turn, as a 20-year old asylum seeker was murdered in Dresden this week.

15/1/2015- Khaled Idris Bahray, a Muslim originally from Eritrea, was found stabbed to death close to his home in southern Dresden on Tuesday morning. The previous night, an estimated 25,000 demonstrators from the far-right Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) group, which proclaims to oppose Islamic extremism, had marched through the center of the German city. Many have now linked the murder of the 20-year-old to the ongoing increase in racist attacks there. The Leubnitz-Neuostra dis-trict of southern Dresden is characterized by unwelcoming Communist-era tower blocks. On Monday evening, Bahray stepped out to buy some cigarettes from a local supermarket, and did not return. His roommates were not initially worried, assuming that he had gone to stay with other friends nearby. His body was found early on Tuesday morning by a neighbor, surrounded by blood and with visible wounds.

The police initially ruled out murder, but after an outcry from local media and the representatives of Germany's Eritrean community, they reconsidered, and an autopsy was orde-red. "Based on current findings, we conclude that the injury was caused by a stab from a knife. We conclude that it was no accident. It is murder," said Dresden Police President Dieter Kroll. An investigation into the murder has begun, and a call for inquiry into the initial denial of murder by the police has been launched in the German parliament, raised by members of the Green Party. Immediately following the incident, questions were raised regarding the increasing prevalence of anti-immigrant and anti-Islam sentiments in the city. Just days before the attack, neo-Nazi graffiti, including a swastika, was painted on the door of the flat in which Khaled was living, accompanied by the message "We'll get you all."
Many foreigners feel insecure on the streets of the city amid the upswing in attacks in Dresden. After a PEGIDA demonstration in December, a group of "foreign-looking youths" came under attack in a Dresden mall, with several injuries reported. An Eritrean speaker at a vigil held in memory of Khaled told the crowd: "We are afraid. Help us," before clai-ming that most asylum seekers in the city want to leave.  The rise in hostility towards refugees and migrants has been linked to the ongoing PEGIDA demonstrations, which began in October 2014 and have now risen to attendance levels estimated at 25,000 people. PEGIDA claims it is a citizen's movement against radical Islam and rejects claims of extremism, although many leading members are known to police as neo-Nazis and fascists, and their leader, Lutz Bachmann, is a convicted criminal, with offenses ranging from drug-smuggling to burglary and assault.

There is also a large crossover in membership between PEGIDA and the football hooligan group Hooligans Against Islamism (HoGeSa), members of which rampaged through Cologne in late 2014. Counter-demonstrations have been held in cities across Germany, with an estimated 100,000 rallying across the country, and Angela Merkel herself attending a protest in Berlin organized by the city's Muslim community. Dresden is known as one of the least-welcoming cities for foreigners in Germany. The city council includes two members of the NPD, Germany's far-right party, which has been widely accused of neo-Nazism, as well as five from Alternativ fur Deutschland (AfD), a right-wing anti-EU party. The city, which was flattened by Allied bombing in 1945, was for many years host to "commemoration" marches of Nazi sympathizers, which numbered 6,000 at their height, until they were halted by sustained anti-fascist blockades. Racist attacks are not unprecedented in the city — most notably with the case of Marwa El-Sherbini, whose murder in Dresden in July 2009 spar-ked international outrage.

The debate over asylum seekers has been at the forefront of German politics in recent years, particularly in the former East. National policy is to house refugees in detention cen-ters, often on the outskirts of cities, and extensively curtail the rights of refugees to move freely. The situation is exacerbated by the location of the detention centers, which are often in areas known to be hotbeds of neo-Nazi activity, such as Berlin's Marzahn district, which has also seen clashes between fascists, anti-fascists, and police in recent weeks.
© The Vice

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Headlines 9 January, 2015

Portugal: Lisbon mosque tagged with far-right graffitti

9/1/2015- Vandals tagged the main mosque in the Portuguese capital Lisbon with far-right graffiti the day after its imam condemned the Islamist terror attacks in Paris. The number "1143" was scrawled on the gate and the wall of the mosque overnight Thursday, which Portugese police said is generally used by neo-Nazi groups, according to media reports. The numbers "1143" reference the year a treaty was signed that gave Portugal independence. "It's a provocation," after the attack against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo which killed 12, "but we don't feel threatened," imam David Munir told Portuguese paper Publico. Police confirmed to AFP there was graffiti on the mosque, but declined to speculate on any far-right connection. The imam had just the day before called the Charlie Hebdo attack that left 12 dead, including some of the magazine's top cartoonists, an "act of barbarity" that "has nothing to do with Islam." Muslim places of worship in several French towns have been targeted since Wednesday's killings at Charlie Hebdo. The attacks, which have included shots being fired, have not harmed anyone.
© Expatica - Portugal

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Spain: Neo-Nazi faces 3 years jail over Metro attack

Prosecutors are pushing for a three-year prison term for a man who was filmed attacking a young Spaniard born in Mongolia on Barcelona's underground railway system in June 2014.

8/1/2015- The brutal attack received widespread media coverage after a video of the incident posted on YouTube went viral. That video shows a blond man standing over a young Asian man on a Barcelona metro train. The aggressor, whose face is pixellated, can be seen leaning towards his victim. He then throws several punches before shocked bystanders drag him away. The video, which has been seen over a million times was first posted on a Twitter account — now taken down — containing Nazi imagery and the slogan "Always a patriot, white Europe". The owner of that account tweeted he had not carried out the attack, but had merely filmed it with his mobile phone. "The Chinese guy insulted us and the Russian (attacker) made him shut up," the Twitter user wrote.

A social media campaign followed with people calling for the attacker to be identified and arrested. Police then went on to use the video on YouTube as an aid in their hunt for the man. Prosecutors in Catalonia have now accused the alleged attacker of hate crimes, and want him behind bars for three years. They are also pushing for a restraining order which would see the man not able to come within a kilometre of the victim for three years. Those prosecutors also want the attacker to pay his victim €9,000 ($10,700) for psychological damages caused, according to Spanish daily El País. The accused used Nazi symbols on social media networks and promoted violence against "Jews, gypsies, communists, homosexuals, immigrants and people of African descent" while promoting the superiority of the "Aryan race", prosecutors said. The trial is expected to take place in the coming months.
© The Local - Spain

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Ireland: Dublin youths accused of producing knives during racist dispute

Two Dublin youths have been accused of brandishing knives in an incident where a foreign national was allegedly subjected to racial abuse.

6/1/2015- The 17-year-old boys, who cannot be named because they are minors, have been charged with producing knives during the course of a dispute in which a male and a fe-male were attacked in Inchicore in Dublin on Monday afternoon. They were arrested for questioning and held overnight before being brought to appear before Judge John O'Connor at the Dublin Children's Court. Garda Steven Farrelly objected to bail being granted to the boy accused of producing the knife at the female due to the seriousness of the incident. He said it was alleged the boy and two others approached a female and also a man who is a non-Irish national and “began making racist taunts” which led to a verbal confrontation. It was alleged the teen took out a knife and held it close to the female, who was known to him, but there was no physical contact. Defence counsel Damian McKeone said the teen strongly denies he was carrying a knife. He also said the teenager would obey conditions if granted bail.

However, Judge O'Connor refused and remanded him in custody to appear again next week. It was alleged the co-accused struck the foreign national on his arm with a knife. It was also claimed that youth tried to slash a tyre on the man's car. That youth was granted bail with a list of strict conditions and ordered to appear again later this month. He was banned from associating with a group of youths, told to obey a curfew and to stay out of the Inchicore area otherwise he would be remanded in custody. He also has to sign on daily at his local garda station. The boys were accompanied to court by their mothers. A decision has yet to be made as to whether they will be tried in the juvenile court or in a circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. Both had no reply when charged.
© Sunday World

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40% of Dutch mosques have been attacked, daubed with racist graffiti

6/1/2015- Almost 40% of the Netherlands’ 475 mosques have had to deal with racist graffiti, smashed windows and other violent behaviour over the past 10 years, according to Amsterdam University researcher Ineke van der Valk. Many Dutch mosques have recently increased security following the spate of arson attacks in Sweden and a Dutch Facebook page calling for people to do the same here. Van der Valk says her research shows attacks on mosques have become structural and are influenced by national and international events. ‘There was an increase following the murder of television presenter Theo van Gogh and there is another peak now with the rise of terror group IS,’ she told the Volkskrant. A special organisation set up to facilitate contact between Dutch Muslims and the government has asked the justice ministry to draw up a formal risk assessment for the country’s mosques.
© The Dutch News

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Russia: Racism and Xenophobia in December 2014 and Prelim Review of 2014

6/1/2015- In December 2014, at least two people were targeted in acts of racist and neo-Nazi attacks, in Moscow and the Moscow region.

All in all, based on preliminary numbers, 19 people were killed in 25 regions of Russia in such attacks, while another 103 were injured. Additionally, two people were subjected to serious threats on their lives. Moscow was the leader in terms of such incidents, with eight killed and 28 injured. In Saint Petersburg, two people were killed in such attacks while 29 were injured. In the Krasnodar Krai, one person was killed while nine were injured. There were also many victims in the Moscow region (one killed, eight injured), the Novosibirsk region (nine injured), the Sakhalin region (two killed and six injured), and the Perm Krai (one killed and six injured).

Central Asians continue to represent the main targets of racist violence, with ten people killed and 17 injured this year; along with people from the Caucasus, with three killed and 13 injured; and people simply identified as “non-Slavic in appearance,” with three killed and 17 injured. There were also several groups we classified by different characteristics, no member of which was killed in racist attack: people with dark skin (10 injured), members of various religious groups (15 injured), members of youth and informal political groups (12 injured), members of the LGBT community (seven injured), homeless (two injured), Roma (three injured) and Jews (one injured). The numbers also include people attacked incidentally as witnesses of attacks who tried to interfere or just passersby (five injured). Neo-Nazi vandals defaced five objects this month, in the Volgograd, Novosibirsk and Tyumen regions, and the Republic of Tatarstan.

For 2014 as a whole, we recorded 53 acts of ideologically motivated vandalism in 35 regions of the country. The main objects targeted were religious objects (17 incidents), Orthodox churches (10), Jehovah’s Witnesses buildings (8), mosques and Muslim graves (7), Jewish objects (5), and government agency buildings (5). In December, ultra-right wing groups planned and held events in several Russian cities commemorating, in their own way, the riots on Manezh Square in December 2010. In Saint Petersburg, the event March Against Ethno-crime and Corruption brought together between 100 and 120 people. The event was organized by Dmitry Bobrov’s National-Socialist Initiative (NSI).

Two such events were to be held in Moscow. On December 12, at the 1905 Metro stop, about 40 people came together for a rally “For Russian power, for the liqui-dation of the oligarchy.” The meeting was attended by Great Russia leaders Andrey Savelyev, Yury Ekishev (of NOMP), and Nadezhda Kvachkova. Additionally, an action was planned for December 11 on the Manezh. The organizer, Russian Revival leader Alexander Amelin, was unable to get city permission for the action, and so decided to hold a series of pickets instead, which also failed: Amelin and others were detained when they went out of the Pushkinskaya Metro stop. In Ryazan, a December 11 event was also planned, this time by local members of the “Russians” group. Police ended up blocking the entrances to Victory Square, where the event was to be held, and detained 10 nationalist activists.

Ultra-right wing Russian activists continue to participate on both sides of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. On December 5, President Petro Poroshenko presented a Ukrainian passport to prominent Russian neo-Nazi Sergey (“Malyuta”) Korotkikh, who has been fighting with the Azov Battalion. Several other well-known Russian neo-Nazis fight in the Azov Battalion, among them Roman (“Zuhel”) Zheleznov, and Alexander (“the Romanian”) Parinov, a member of the BORN (Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists).

There was only one conviction for racist violence that considered the hate motive in December 2014. This was in the city of Kasimov, in the Ryazan region: three young people were convicted for attacking a Roma person. As such, for all of 2014, no fewer than 19 convictions on charges relating to racist violence have considered the acts as motivated by hatred. Forty-two people (five of them receiving suspended sentences without further sanctions) in 17 regions of the country were convicted. In terms of xenophobic propaganda, December 2014 saw 13 rulings in 12 regions of the country, against 14 individuals. Of these, seven were sentenced to prison (usually in connection with conviction on another crime), one was released due to a lapsed statute of limitations, one was sentenced to compulsory treatment, one was given a suspended sentence, and the rest were given sentences not involving the deprivation of liberty.

For all of 2014, 145 guilty verdicts were issued, against 148 individuals, for propaganda – either under Article 282 of the Criminal Code (incitement to hatred) or Article 280 (public calls to extremist activity) – in 53 regions of Russia. Thirteen of those convicted received suspended sentences and 21 were deprived of their liberty, but almost all were sentenced to various prison terms in connection with other crimes. Six trials this year properly applied the law on organization of extremist activities, or participation therein (Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code), sentencing 13 individuals total in Moscow and the republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. Those con-victed were the creators of the cells of Caucasus Emirate and at-Takfir va al-Hijra international groups, as well as the creators and participants in the nationalist organizations Spiritual-Ancestral Empire Rus, the Northern Brotherhood, and the Slavic Union (also known as Slavic Force, both of which are abbreviated as SS in Russian).

There were four rulings in total this year related to hate-motivated vandalism (Article 214.2), against six individuals in the Ivanov, Tula, and Chelyabinsk regions and the Khanty-Mansi autonomous okrug. In December 2014 the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated four times, on December 5, 12, 26 and 29. Entries 2522-2561 were added. In total, the List was updated 47 times this year, growing from 2180 to 2561 entries. As of December 28, 2014, there are 39 entries on the List that have been “nullified,” meaning the information has been excluded while the numbering remains. Five of those were removed as they were duplicates of other entries; meanwhile 34 were removed after the ruling deeming the material in question as extremist was canceled. Ninety-five entries reflect overlapping judgments (not including multiple entries regarding the same materials but with differing data), and two entries reflect rulings that had already been added to the list.

The Federal List of Extremist Organizations, which is published at the Ministry of Justice website, was updated with the additions of three organizations total in the year 2014. As of December 29, 2014, the List contains 36 organizations, whose operations are banned by court ruling, and the continuation of which are punishable under Article 282.2 (the organization of an extremist organization) of the Criminal Code.
© SOVA Center for Information and Analysis.

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Mosques Attacked in France Following Charlie Hebdo Attack

No reports of injuries

8/1/2015- Several French mosques were attacked following the killing of 12 people at the office of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, according to reports. Around 8pm local time on Wednesday, shots were fired in the direction of a Muslim prayer hall in Port-la-Nouvelle in southern France. Meanwhile Ouest-France reports that several percussion grenades were thrown into the courtyard of a mosque in Le Mans, west of Paris. Local media also reported an explosion near a mosque in the town of Ville-franche-sur-Saône in eastern France. The blast took place at 6am local time on Thursday at L’Imperial, a restaurant independently managed by people close to the mosque, where people attending the mosque often gather. There were no casualties reported. Le Progres quotes the town’s deputy mayor, Bernard Perrut, as saying he feared it was linked to Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo attack.
© Time Magazine..

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France: Paris-area synagogue set ablaze

6/1/2015- Unidentified individuals started a fire inside a synagogue near Paris and drew a swastika on its wall. The signs of the fire were found in the main hall of the synagogue in the Garges suburb on Jan. 1, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance against anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. Little damage was reported. Police were looking into the case, the report said. In Garges last month, several assailants attacked a young Jewish man at a public park while he was walking his dog. During the Dec. 16 attack, one of the three assailants said they would kill him like Ilan Halimi was killed after being beaten. Halimi, a 26-year-old phone salesman from the Paris area, was abducted and tortured to death for over three weeks by a gang of criminals who targeted him because he was Jewish. Police arrested one of the suspected assailants in the Dec. 16 assault, Le Parisien reported.
© JTA News

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France: Kosher restaurant window fired on in Paris

5/1/2015- Bullet holes were discovered in the window of a kosher restaurant in Paris. Friday’s attack on the Grill House in the French capital’s 19th arrondissement, or district, follows three similar attacks that occurred during the last week of December. The latest incident is believed to have been perpetrated by the same person using an air gun, JSS News reported. Police have launched an investigation. The December incidents affected a Jewish-owned printing shop, a kosher restaurant and a synago-gue.
© JTA News

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German: Assaulted Jewish man says his case must not become cause for anti-Muslim feeling

Shahak Shapira, badly beaten by a group of Muslim youths, urges that what happened must not be used to incite hatred against Islam

7/1/2015- A Jewish man who was badly beaten by a group of Muslim youths on the Berlin U-Bahn has come forward to say he does not want what happened to him to be used to incite anti-Muslim feeling. Shahak Shapira, a 26-year-old Israeli citizen resident in Germany, was attacked when he tried to film a group of Muslim youths singing an anti-Semitic song in the early hours of New Year’s Day. “The incident must not be abused to incite hatred against Muslims,” Mr Shapira said in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. “I have already noticed how some are trying to exploit it. My attackers could just as easily have be neo-Nazis and beaten an Arab.” Mr Shapira, who has lived in Germany for 12 years, was travelling with a group of friends in a packed U-Bahn carriage when a group of young men started singing an anti-Semitic song, and cursing Jews and Israel. When two people sitting next to the group asked them to stop, the youths threatened them and spat at them, Mr Shapira said.

He started to film the incident on his mobile phone, but when he tried to get off the train at Friedrichstrasse station, in central Berlin, the group followed him and demanded that he delete the footage. When he refused, they attacked him, punching and kicking him. He was pulled back onto the safety of the train by his friends. Mr Shapira said his attackers were speaking a language that sounded like Arabic or Turkish. He told them he was Israeli, but believes they may not have heard him. Several of Mr Shapira’s family were murde-red by the Nazis, and his grandfather, Amitzur Shapira, an athletics coach, was among those killed in the 1972 attack on the Munich Olympics by the Palestinian group Black Sep-tember. There was a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany last year, including attacks on Jewish people on the streets of Berlin. But Mr Shapira told reporters he was more concerned by the recent anti-Muslim protests that have been gripping Germany than by the country’s neo-Nazi scene. “The educated people, people from the bourgeoisie, who mingle with the Nazis at the anti-Muslim demonstrations are dangerous,” he said. “They are tolerant of the intolerant.”
© The Telegraph

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Germany: Israeli attacked in Berlin by men singing anti-Semitic songs

5/1/2015- A Jewish Israeli man was beaten by seven men on a Berlin subway in a New Year's Eve attack for filming an anti-Semitic song they were singing and then refusing to delete the video, according to local media reports. German news outlet Tagesspiegel reported that the attack against the 26-year-old took place after he asked the men to stop singing the song, prompting one of the men to spit at the Israeli commuter. The Jewish man was then asked to delete the footage of the song, which he refused to do. The men then proceeded to beat and kick the man. The unnamed Jewish man suffered minor injuries, according to the report, and police are investigating the incident.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that European Jews are fleeing to Israel in record numbers amid growing anti-Semitism on the continent. According to the non-profit organisation Jewish Agency for Israel, there was a 32% rise in overall immigration to Israel in 2014 in comparison to the year before. It's the highest rate since 2002. Immigration to Israel from Western Europe saw an increase of 88% with 8,640 people arriving in 2014.
© The Associated Press

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Germany:Turks targeted in racist graffiti on school walls

Racist insults targeting Turks have been found on the walls of a primary school, a high school and a public square in the German town of Dormagen, the private Došan news agency reported on Sunday.

4/1/2015- The insults, besides which swastikas were also drawn, contained comments such as "Turks cannot be German," "Turks will be killed" and "Turks are pigs." Dorma-gen police said that a criminal investigation had been launched to identify those responsible. Police are also searching for a connection between the incident and an at-tack on a Dormagen mosque on Dec. 21, 2014. In a related development, an anti-Islam group called Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) is planning a rally in Cologne on Monday. Pegida received huge levels of support in its recent anti-Islam demonstrations in Germany. On the same day, another rally in Cologne will be held by anti-racism groups to protest Pegida. Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Metin Külünk will attend the anti-racism march.
© Today's Zaman

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German protesters from anti-Islamic 'Pegida' movement attack migrant youths

Group is anticipating at least 20,000 attendees at its ninth mass protest rally on Monday.

4/1/2015- As Germany prepares for further mass street demonstrations by the controversial anti-Islam protest movement “Pegida”, disturbing evidence has emerged linking the group’s supporters to a brutal knife and club attack on migrant youths. Pegida, whose initials stand for “Patriotic Europeans against Islamisation of the Occident”, is anticipating at least 20,000 attendees at its ninth mass protest rally in the eastern city of Dresden and other German provincial capitals, including Cologne, on Monday. Dresden police said on Sunday that they were investigating an incident which was said to have taken place immediately after a 17,500-strong Pegida rally in the city on 22 December. Berlin’s leftist Taz newspaper said that shortly after the protest, a group of some 50 masked and armed Pegida supporters stormed the city’s Galeria shopping mall and attacked a group of 30 migrant youths. “The attack was applauded by normal bystanders,” Danilo Starosta, a spokesman for Dresden’s Cultural Affairs Office, told the newspaper.
© The Independent

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Sweden: Accident could have caused Eskilstuna mosque fire

Swedish police cannot rule out the possibility that an accident rather than arson was the cause of a fire at a mosque on Christmas Day - one of three fires at mosques across the country in the space of a week.

5/1/2015- Five people were injured in the fire which was the first and most serious in a spate of mosque fires that have been widely blamed on growing anti-immi-gration sentiment in Sweden. Rumours had earlier circulated that an object had been thrown into the mosque in the city of Eskilstuna, west of the capital Stockholm, but police have been unable to find witnesses. Swedish network TV4, meanwhile, on Monday cited unnamed police sources saying that an accident was in fact the cause of the fire. "There are a thousand ways to start a fire. At the moment, we do not know," Eskilstuna police spokesperson Lars Franzell told AFP, adding that police were awaiting a forensic report due in late January. "We cannot dismiss suspicions that a crime was committed," he added.

Police have said they suspect arsonists were behind two subsequent mosque fires, in the southern town of Eslöv and in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, which occurred within a week of the Eskilstuna blaze. The fires sparked protests in several cities and condemnations by political and religious leaders. According to the anti-racism magazine Expo, there have been at least a dozen confirmed attacks on mosques in Sweden over the past year. Many in Sweden see the incidents as a reflection of growing Islamophobia amid concern that mass immigration is fuelling the rise of the populist far right in the traditionally tolerant Nordic country which is expected to receive a record 100,000 asylum applications this year. In December the country's political landscape was altered after the Sweden Democrats, a far right anti-immi-gration party, helped strike down the minority government's budget.
© The Local - Sweden

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Northern Ireland: Black man driven out of Belfast home after racist attack

A 65-year-old African man, whose home in Belfast was pelted with paint in a racist attack, says he no longer feels safe in his own house.

6/1/2015- Adu Kyeremateng, from Ghana, said he feels “threatened” and wants “to get out” following what the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are calling a hate crime. He said he no longer feels safe in his home, at Townsend Terrace in the loyalist Shankill area. The former security guard, who lives alone, woke on Sunday morning to the strong smell of paint. He found thick white paint coating his front door, both front windows and his driveway. He told the Belfast Telegraph, “I felt very bad, very frightened, and very scared. "I have to go to the Housing Executive to tell them I can't live in an environment of fear. "I feel that my life has been threatened here, and I want to get out." It could take the authorities weeks to find Kyeremateng somewhere new to live, but he said he has nowhere else to go. "I am on my own. Where can I go? There's nowhere to move to," he said. "I can't go to a hotel because that costs money. It's scary, but what can I do?”, said Kyeremateng.

"Maybe this night they are coming with guns? I don't know.” Speaking the Guardian, Kyeremateng said: “I can’t go on like that. I haven’t done anything to anybody and I don’t have conflict with anybody. I have a right to live in peace without being threatened by anybody so I’m going to see houses I could live in tomorrow. I just don’t want to risk it.” He told the newspaper that he had done nothing to single himself out for this attack. He said “I live here peacefully. “I don’t see why people would do such a thing in the 21st century. People must have the right to live anywhere they want, and people have the right to live in peace without resistance from others.” Brian Kingston, from the Democratic Unionist Party, said Kyeremateng should stay in his house. He said, “If he left, those responsible would feel they got what they no doubt wanted. Adu should be able to live there where he is.

“We are not living in a lawless anarchy where people could do this and not be brought to justice. The message must go out strongly that this sort of action will be punished." Kyeremateng, who has lived in Belfast for eight years, said this was not the first time he was made a target due to his race. He told the Belfast Telegraph, “In October, a guy confronted me in the street and asked what I was doing here. He told me he hoped I wouldn't be here for long. "That time was very bad, but this is worse. It's horrifying. "I don't know why a pensioner would be subjected to this treatment." According to the police the number racist attacks in Northern Ireland is on the rise. They also noted that most of these attacks are taking place in loyalist areas. In June 2014 the annual benchmark report on human rights and racial equality, carried out by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, revealed that there were 982 racist incidents during the period 2013 to 2014, compared with 750 incidents during the previous period.
© Irish Central

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UK: Northwood Station homophobic abuse victim: 'I cried myself to sleep that night'

A man who suffered a "prolonged verbal tirade" of homophobic abuse in Northwood said he "cried himself to sleep" on the night of the abuse.

9/1/2015- British Transport Police want to speak to a woman after a 23-year-old man was abused as a Metropolitan line train pulled into Northwood Station, in Green Lane, on November 14. But the man, who asked not to be named, told the Watford Observer: "For me personally, this has brought up a lot of things from my past, which I do not think the woman realised. "It made me feel horrified and I cried myself to sleep that night. "When stuff like this happens, you question whether you should hide who you are. That is why this incident got to me. "I should not have to hide who I am. I should be able to be who I am without abuse being thrown at me." At the time of the abuse, the 23-year-old was on the phone to a friend on the way from work in London. He added: "I am used to getting abused while walking in the streets of London while holding hands with another guy. "But I was just on the phone to my friend; I was not saying anything to do with my sexuality."

PC Natalie Fairhurst, who is leading the investigation into the abuse, said a woman "followed the victim off the train, haranguing him all the way to the station exit." "As the train approached Northwood, a woman opposite the man began shouting foul-mouthed homophobic abuse at him. "This abuse was entirely unprovoked and completely unacceptable." The 23 year-old added that one person had come up to him at Northwood station and said: "Do not bother, she will not get it. "When I confronted her, I was angry and really upset after-wards. "When I got home and processed what had happened, I got really upset. It brought back a lot of the stuff from the abuse I have had in the past."
© The Watford Observer

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British Councillor Suspended Over Auschwitz-Related Tweet

Labour councillor in Nottingham suspended after re-tweeting an image of the Auschwitz train tracks with a political slogan.

7/1/2015- A Labour councillor in the British city of Nottingham has been suspended from the party after re-tweeting an image of the train tracks in the Auschwitz camp, with the political slogan: “Let’s stay on the road to a stronger economy”, the Jewish News website reported on Tuesday. A party spokesman told the website that the councillor, Rosemary Healy, had been suspended with immediate effect, and while Healy was quick to apologize, opposition politicians launched a withering condemnation. “Sadly it is indicative of a nasty streak developing in the party. Trivializing the Holocaust in this way is wholly unacceptable.” said Mike Freer, Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green. Harlow MP Robert Halfon tweeted that it was a “shocking and tragic trivialization of real evil by a Labour councillor”. The mocked-up poster in question carries the Conservative logo with the line: “More people on zero hours, more tax cuts for the rich, no more NHS.”

Website rightofcentre.co.uk broke the news that Healy, who has represented Mapperley on the Nottingham City Council since 2011, shared the image on Twitter on Monday, and local Conservative politicians reacted angrily. “[She] presumably believed it to be funny,” said Conservative Councillor Georgina Culley, according to the Jewish News. “It is not in any way funny… Councillor Healy and her party should be ashamed.” Healy, who is the Executive Assistant for Community Protection, later tweeted: “Profound apologies for that retweet which was a genuine mistake and would never have retweeted it had I recognized it for what it was.” The incident comes at a time of increased anti-Semitism in Europe in general and specifically in Britain. Recent statistics show that hate crimes against Jews have risen 383% worldwide since 2013, including a 436% hate crime hike in Europe.

The anti-Semitism in Britain took a turn for the worse during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer, with thousands taking part in anti-Israel protests. Those demonstrations have included pro-Palestinian Arab rioters vandalizing a Birmingham Tesco store out of rage over a refusal to boycott Israeli products. In a similar incident, hundreds of demonstrators rioted outside the Kedem store in Manchester, in a series of clashes which culminated in dozens of death threats being hurled at the store's owners. Recently, Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, said that he was deeply troubled by the anti-Semitism in Europe in general, and in Britain in particular, adding that “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months.” Britain last week unveiled a raft of tough new laws to tackle the growing anti-Semitism.
© Arutz Sheva

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UK: Police hunt 'fat' man after taxi driver racially abused in Tonbridge

6/1/2015- A sandals, shorts and winter-hat wearing 'fat' man is being hunted by police after a taxi driver was assaulted and racially abused while waiting for a customer in Tonbridge on Christmas Day. The victim was sitting in his taxi when a man walked past and knocked into his wing mirror. When he got out to speak to the man, he was racially abused and punched to the ground. The incident happened in Elmshurst Gardens between 6.45pm and 7pm on Christmas Day. The suspect is described as being a ‘fat’ white man, aged 50-60 and wearing glasses, shorts, sandals and a winter hat. A woman was also with him at the time. PC Simon Winder said: "Kent Police takes hate crime very seriously and I am keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed this assault. "The suspect would have stood out as he was wearing shorts and sandals despite the cold weather, so I’m hopeful somebody would have remembered seeing him before, during or after the attack." Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Winder on 01732 379321 quoting crime reference YY/26261/14. Alternatively call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
© The Kent and Sussex Courier

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British Chinese people say racism against them is 'ignored'

British Chinese people and community leaders have been telling Newsbeat that racism against them isn't taken seriously enough.

6/1/2015- Michael Wilkes from the British Chinese Project says people regularly contact the community group about physical and verbal abuse. "We've been getting calls and emails about racist incidents from right across the UK," he says. "There's a lack of knowledge about the words Chinese people find offensive." "The community is widely dispersed across the country which means many Chinese people are very isolated, will stand out a lot more and be a lot more vulnerable," he adds. The last census showed 0.7% of the population were Chinese in England and Wales - that's 392,700 people. Michael claims a lot of racist attacks go unreported, because of widespread mistrust in the police. He also believes there are cultural reasons for it: "Essentially Chinese people don't like to worry other people." "There's a mindset within the Chi-nese community that we need to keep our business within ourselves, within our own family unit." "I'm saying to young British Chinese people now that we can speak out. It's our responsibility - when you're being prejudiced against, you've got to speak up," he says.

Sara, who didn't want us to use her real name or to be identified, is 24 and describes herself as British-born Chinese. She says there's a double standard when it comes to people using the word "chink". "It's just become such a norm that the N-word or the P-word aren't allowed but people feel they can use the C-word," she says. "But I feel I die a little inside when some people say it. "A lot of Chinese parenting traditionally had 'tough love' and we tend to divert a lot of negatives away and use that energy to drive us forward - but it doesn't mean we're not still hurt by the abuse." She grew up in a coastal town in the north-east of England where there were just a handful of Chinese families. Her family ran a takeaway. "Every night it would sound as if it was raining and it would be people throwing loads of chunks of rocks," she says. "We'd have windows smashed, they'd literally rip the tarmac off the roads and throw it at us, they'd shout at us, maybe spit."

Kicked unconscious
She says she regularly reported the racist abuse her family experienced to the police. There have been court cases but no-one has ever been convicted. "We'd go to court, testify, but nothing would ever come of it," she says. "It got to the point where we started losing faith in the police. "We never had a life outside school because we daren't go outside." Sara says every member of her family has been physically assaulted for being Chinese. She cries as she tells us the worst moment - her mum, kicked unconscious on the doorstep of their home by a group of young men. "My mum - she's so strong, she just said, 'That's just the way it is.' "As a child you think your parents are the world, they have the control, they can protect you - but when you are 13 and you see your mum kicked to the ground, I guess that perception of the world started falling apart quite quickly for me." You can hear more of Sara's story here.

It seems her experiences are not uncommon. Police reports and research into workplaces involving Chinese people suggest takeaways are the most likely outlets where racist attacks happen. In October 2014, Chinese takeaway owner Jie Yu was stabbed during what police have described as a racially-aggravated attack in Edinburgh. Three men have been charged with attempted murder and have been remanded in custody. Simon Hu, a manager at Chinese restaurants in Wigan and Liverpool, tells Newsbeat it is also common for takeaways to be vandalised. "I think it's generally due to the young population," he says. Although the place he's currently working at hasn't been attacked he says he's been targeted in the past. "I have been in situations myself where I have been called names," he says.

Ronny, 25, grew up in the north east of England and says he was one of 10 or 15 Chinese people in his town at the time. He describes his experiences growing up as "quite suppressive and humiliating". "The first few friends that I made gave me the nickname 'chink' and I was called that for a good five years." As a teenager he says he experienced racist taunts every single day and one brutal physical attack. "On my 18th birthday, at the station, three middle aged men came up to me and said, 'Oi chink, what are you staring at' before they beat me up." When he left for university in a large city he thought he'd left racism behind but when he started work in the same region, he experienced it from a colleague. "I felt like I'd taken two steps back", he says. "I feel like I will never really escape from racism." "I get the occasional verbal abuse on the street - you get 'hey look its Jackie Chan' and they make Chinese sounds at me." "I've definitely become more cynical towards other people," he says. "I still feel the air of intimidation and suppression. I still get that negative feeling around me wherever I go."

Research published last year by the British Chinese Project suggests there's a general belief in the Chinese community that reporting crime is futile, with almost half of 520 survey respondents stating they "did not trust the police to deal effectively with their case". The Association of Chief Police Officers spokesman on hate crime, Superintendent Paul Giannasi, says: "Police forces across the UK are working hard to tackle racism, support victims and bring offenders to justice. "Many types of hate crime are still significantly under-reported. "We can only respond to hate crime effectively and continue to improve our approach as a service if we know about it."

Overlooked
Professor Gary Craig from Durham University has carried out research about the Chinese population in the UK and worries the situation is getting worse. A study he worked on in 2009 with the charity, The Monitoring Group, suggested British Chinese people experience "perhaps even higher levels of racial violence or harassment than those experienced by any other minority group" but that the true extent to their victimisation is often overlooked because victims were unwilling to report it. He says: "It's a reasonable assumption, based on my more recent study [out later this month], that the situation has deteriorated since then." Even if all incidents were reported to police, official crime figures put Chinese people in a group that includes "other" ethnicities, so don't provide a clear picture. In recent weeks, the use of the word "chink" has hit the headlines.

Wigan owner Dave Whelan was fined £50,000 by the FA and suspended for six weeks after using the term in an interview and UKIP's Kerry Smith resigned as an election candidate after reports he used similar language. Party leader Nigel Farage has since said "a lot of people" use the word.
© BBC News

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UK: Disabled people targeted in 54 hate crime offences

More than 50 of the North-east’s most vulnerable people have been the victims of “disability hate crime”, the Evening Express can reveal today.

3/1/2015- A total of 54 offences – branded “hideous” by social work leaders – were committed over the last five years. There are concerns that more victims could be out there, with police urging anyone targeted to come forward amid fears some crimes weren’t being reported. Inspector Jim Hume of the Police Scotland Aberdeen Division said: “There is no place for discrimination or verbal abuse against individuals based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race or religion.” Insp Hume added: “Reports of disability hate crime in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray are relatively low. “However, it is believed to be an under-reported matter.”
Councillor Jim Kiddie, a member of the Disability Advisory Group, said: “One crime is too many. This is not to be tolerated.”
© The Evening Express

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Headlines 2 January, 2015

Sweden: Uppsala mosque hit by firebomb attack

A mosque in Uppsala in eastern Sweden was hit in an arson attack on Thursday, the third attack in the country in the past two weeks.

1/1/2015- "This is not Sweden, and this is not the Swedish way," Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said in response to the attacks. The new year began in the same way as last year when swastikas were daubed on the main Stockholm mosque. "My feeling is that this is a planned hate crime intended to intimidate a portion of the population. It is an attack on religious freedom, an attack on the whole of society and I have no option but to classify it as an act of terrorism," said Omar Mustafa, president of the Islamic Association of Swe-den. Stefan Löfven condemned the incident and urged influential figures and the general public to take a stand. "The most important thing now is that everyone distances themsel-ves from this. I would also like to commend those who have gone out in support. In Sweden there should be no need to be afraid of practicing religion," he said. The Prime Mini-ster added that the latest attack could be regarded as an indication that Sweden is becoming less tolerant, although recent surveys have indicated the opposite. "There could be something going on, something we have to be very vigilant for."

Police were called to the mosque in Uppsala at 5.30am on New Year's day after someone threw a Molotov cocktail against the building, starting a fire. Racist graffiti had also been daubed on one of the building's walls. Omar Mustafa meanwhile directed criticism towards the government. "It's a serious situation. The government must take action." Sweden's Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman called for a closer dialogue between the government, the police and Muslim communities in order to overcome the low propensity to report crimes among Muslims in Sweden. "We have to bridge this gulf in confidence and create models for systematic safety where the reporting of crimes is a part of it. In that respect, I think that synagogues and Jewish communities have come further." Rallies have been planned in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö on Friday. "It's important to remem-ber that every time there's been an attack the mosque it has then been treated to a love bomb where people have shown support and sympathy. Most of the population are stron-gly against this type of attack, and tomorrow we will gather these positive forces," Omar Mustafa said.
© The Local - Sweden

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Fire damages Swedish mosque in second suspected arson attack

29/12/2014- Fire ripped through a Swedish mosque early on Monday in the second suspected arson attack on a Muslim centre in four days in a country caught up in a fierce debate on immigration. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in the southern town of Eslov and no one was injured, local media reported. "We ... are working under the assumption it is arson," police officer Marie Keismar told the TT news agency. Five people were injured when fire broke out in another mosque in the Swedish town of Eskilstuna on Christmas day. Polls have shown the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats winning over voters from the centre right and centre left. The party, Sweden's third biggest, wants to cut the number of asylum seekers getting in by 90 percent. Other more mainstream parties have promised to preserve the Nordic state's traditio-nally liberal stance.
© Reuters

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German extremists stab Turkish business owner

2/1/2015- Turkish business owner, Ibrahim Kural was stabbed in the arm by a group of far-right extremists during New Year's Eve in the southwestern German city of Pforzheim. Karlsruhe Police Department told reporters that the incident was committed by two brothers, who were carrying knives and a gas pistol. The assailants were captured and released in the same night after interrogation and a third suspect in the incident escaped, police said. Kural, the owner of Ala Turca Kebab House, said that the incident occurred when he and his family gathered at the restaurant to celebrate Christmas Eve and four assailants wanted to enter the restaurant even though it was closed. After Kural refused to let them in, the assailants yelled racist slurs and demolished the restaurant's windows, stabbed the owner in the arm and ran away. Kural was taken to a hospital after the assault and now is in good condition. Germany witnesses an increase in suspicion and negative feelings towards Muslims and immigrants in recent months as far right and populist groups sought to benefit from a growing fear of Islam and Muslims.
© The Daily Sabah

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Czech Police shelve case of death threats against Roma

30/12/2014- Drahomír Radek Horváth, a Romani social services staffer for a human rights organization, was in a Dģčín restaurant with friends at the end of November when they became the target of vulgar racist abuse and death threats. Horváth did not allow himself to be provoked and reported the entire incident to police. After less than a month, the police have now shelved the case, saying facts have not been discovered to justify the suspicion that a particular individual had committed the infraction. "What are you dirty gypsies doing here?! Get out of here right now, this place is only for whites! Black gypsies have no business in a Czech pub! Get out of here, you black mugs, or I'll kill you all," a non-Romani customer in the Sport-bar shouted at Horváth and his friends. "The pub was full of people, but a slim, small waitress was the only person to stand up for me and shout down the racist assailant. It was a sad thing, and also traumatizing. I did achieve my personal goal of not letting myself be provoked, but I was not satisfied," Horváth told news server Romea.cz at the time.

Horváth filed a criminal report against the racist. "Understandably I reported the matter to the Police of the Czech Republic and wrote up my testimony. In my opinion, the assailant's behavior meets the definition of at least three provisions of the Criminal Code," Horváth said. Even though the name of the racist was provided to the police, they have now shelved the case. "In response to your request for a communication in the matter of the misdemeanor against civil coexistece per Section 49/1 c), e) of Act No. 200/1990 Coll, on misdemeanors, which you reported on 23 November 2014 at 06:35 to the Dģčín Regional Department, OOP Dģčín – mģsto, Kaštanová 301/2, 405 58 Dģčín, we inform you that on 20 December 2014 your report has been postponed in accordance with section 58 paragraph 3 letter b) of Act No. 200/1990 Coll, on misdemeanors, as amended, because facts have not been discovered within one month of the report to justify the suspicion that a particular individual committed this infraction," reads the communication, which Horváth has provided to news server Romea.cz.

"Foolishly, I was under the impression that the law prevails in this country and that justice can be achieved through the official route. Now I am exceedingly disgusted with the work of the Police of the Czech Republic in Dģčín, and even though I will ask the State Prosecutor to review this matter, I am a skeptic when it comes to this case. However, it would be a great error to assume that I am drowning in depression or that I will be weeping over the fact that my actions were in vain. Not at all - next time I will behave differently in such a situation," Horváth told news server Romea.cz.
© Romea.

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'Neo-Nazis are Raising Their Heads' in Greece

After the desecration of Larissa's Jewish cemetery, Rabbi Mordechai Frizis warns it is a 'sad symptom of what could happen in Greece.'

29/12/2014- The Larissa Jewish cemetery was desecrated last Tuesday in the latest incident in a long string of anti-Semitic vandalism in Greece. Larissa, a major city located in central Greece, is home to Greece's third largest Jewish community. The graffiti found on the Jewish cemetery in the city was signed by a group called the "Larissa Skins." The vandals sprayed swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols and slogans. Several Jews from the community who came to visit the Jewish cemetery found "another six million" inscri-bed on the cemetery's gates. Vandals also sprayed the symbol of Nazi SS troops and the word "Jew." Jewish communities in the country quickly condemned the incident in Larissa. "Anti-Semitism is not only a threat to Jews, but a threat to our whole democracy," the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece said in a statement. The organization then called on Municipal and State authorities to condemn the act and take all necessary steps to apprehend and punish those responsible.

Former rabbi of Salonika, Rabbi Mordechai Frizis, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the event and the anti-Semitic wave plaguing Greece, which in Frizis' opinion is likely only to increase. "These are sad symptoms of what is taking place in Greece with regard to local Jewish history," Frizis said, adding that "what is happening in Greece is painful. The neo-Nazis are raising their heads." "In the most recent case neo-Nazis desecrated the Jewish cemetery in Larissa, near [my former] community of Salonika. They painted swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans such as 'Jews Out,'" Frizis described. "But it is not the only case in recent time," the rabbi continued. "Last month, a monument erected in memory of the anci-ent Jewish cemetery in the city of Salonika was vandalized when leftist radicals spray-painted on it 'Release Palestine.'" Other recent incidents include October's desecration of the Athens Holocaust Monument, which was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti by the ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi group, Unaligned Meander Nationalists.

The same group vandalized the Holocaust Monument on the island of Rhodes in October 2012. "Greece of today is broken by poverty and the difficult social problems are gradually becoming more extreme," Frizis noted. "Recently, there has been talk of early elections. The leading parties in the polls are the radical-left Syriza Party, which is also extremely anti-Israel, and the extreme-right neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party." "You can take this as a sad sign of what might happen in Greece with regard to Jewish history and tolerance," Frizis concluded.
© Arutz Sheva

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Report: Anti-Semitism leads in hate speech in Turkish media

29/12/2014- The Jewish demographic was targeted 130 times in Turkish newspapers between May and August 2014, according to the “Monitoring Hate Speech in the Media” report released on Monday by the Hrant Dink Foundation. The report found that 32 national, religious and ethnic identities were victims of hate speech in articles written by the Turkish press; the report also found that Jews and Armenians made up 50.4 percent of the targets of hate speech. In addition to the Jewish and Armenian peoples, Greeks, Kurds and Syrian refugees also made up a large part of those who were attacked by the Turkish press. The report recorded 130 incidents of hate speech against Jews, 60 against Armenians, 25 against Christians, 21 against Greeks, and 18 counts of hate speech against Kurds.

The section of the report concerning the press during the Israeli government's attacks on Palestine in July, which was prepared by lawyer and journalist Rita Ender, showed an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric in national Turkish newspapers. Several articles did not differentiate the specific differences between Zionists, the State of Israel, Israelis and Jews, and instead used the broad, over-arching term “Jews” to refer to all the groups mentioned. Furthermore, the report noted that some of the columnists that criticized the State of Israel's attacks against the Palestinians compared its actions to those of Hitler and the Holocaust. Women and the LBGT commu-nity were also targets of hate speech, with the LGBT community being targeted 31 times by the press and women 19 times.

The leading newspaper that engaged in hate speech were the Yeni Akit, Milli, Milat, Ortadošu, Yeni Çaš and Sabah dailies. When compared to actual news articles, newspaper columns were observed to use the most hate speech. The 89-page report, available online as a PDF, features a chart of the articles that include hate speech, providing the date, newspaper, type (column or news article), writer, headline, targeted group and degree of offense. The chart has links to separate PDF documents which include the news articles in question.
© Today's Zaman

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UK: Man punched in the throat in homophobic attack

A man has been assaulted in the East Midlands town of Corby in a violent homophobic attack.

2/1/2015- The victim was in the Rubix nightclub in Corby at around 2am on Sunday 28 December. He was approached by a stranger who spat in the man’s face and hurled homophobic abuse at him. After leaving, the suspect returned, punched him in the throat, made more homophobic remarks and left. Police say the man was white, around 5’4″, spoke with a foreign accent and was wearing jeans and a black leather jacket. Anyone with information should call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
© Pink News

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UK: Working Definition of Anti-Muslim Prejudice

Anti-Muslim prejudice or hatred is a certain perception of Muslims, which may be expressed as hatred or outward hostility towards Muslims. Hatred may take the form of anti-Muslim rhetoric and physical manifestations that are targeted towards Muslims or non-Muslim individuals considered to be sympathetic to Muslims and/or their property, towards Muslim community institutions, their career progression and religious and other related social institutions.”

It should be noted that anti-Muslim prejudice can take the form of being targeted towards an individual, but also towards ‘Muslims’ or ‘Muslim communities,’ as a whole.It can also take place on-line and off-line (i.e. street based). For example, in the on-line social media world anti-Muslim prejudice may be targeted at victims to provoke, cause hostility and promote intolerance by means of harassment (stalking), abuse, incitement, threatening behaviour, bullying and intimidation of the person or persons, (whether they be Muslim or non-Muslim). (#Additional advice provided by Imran Awan, Birmingham City University) 

Other manifestations of anti-Muslim prejudice or hatred could take the form of insults or attacks against Islam,as a means of caricaturing,stereotyping, ‘pigeon-holing’, dehuma-nizing and promoting hate towards Muslims. These manifestations may also portray Muslims as being a homogenous community, unlike faith communities which have, for example, conservative and liberal religious interpretations and lifestyles. However, each case is specific and the context of the individual or organisation making such comments should be taken into account when making such a judgement. Context, past comments –whether overt and street based or on-line, will be factors that should help to assist in making the judgement. Other expressions may take the form of visual graphics, actions, stereotypical statements and alleged character traits that are based on negative perceptions of Muslims and sometimes of Islam itself.

Contemporary examples of anti-Muslim prejudice in public life, schools, universities, the media, religious spheres and through social media could include, though are not limited to:
@ Associating Muslims collectively to terrorism, extremism, terrorist attacks and murder.
@ Promoting rhetoric that states that social, political, economic and spiritual rights for Muslims should be less than members of other faith communities. This also includes stating
that Muslims should be collectively punished by a reduction of their civil rights and liberties, as though they bear the burden due the actions of a handful of individuals from Muslim communities.
@ Associating Muslims to terms that portray them as being dangerous, untruthful, deceitful, devious and untrustworthy, through to the association with organisms that cause death, decay and disease.
@ Linking Muslims with the take over of the United Kingdom or a global take over and to the ‘infiltration’ of institutions with a view to meeting these ‘hidden’ objectives.
@ Suggesting that Muslims are incapable of independent thought, that they are all driven primarily to spread Islam and that they are incapable of living with other faith communi-ties.
@ Portraying Muslim women primarily through pictures, graphics and photographs that show them as being oppressed, subjugated or dominated by men. Other caricatures might include pictures primarily framing Muslim women through wearing the burqa (the one piece black clothing which covers the head and body) or the niqab, (the face veil).

These hidden objectives, the narrative goes, are associated with implementing Shariah Law in the UK in the future. (In fact, such statements are reflective of the kinds of anti-Semitism perpetuated for centuries against European Jewish communities –that they ‘control’ the media and the banking systems and are seeking to undermine Christianity.)

So some people may be involved in:
@ Accusing Muslims collectively for being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Muslim person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Muslims who may-be reacting to perceived wrong-doing by a handful of Muslims.
@ Making dehumanizing and demonizing statements that are mendacious in nature and which promote myths that Muslims want to Islamicize the United Kingdom, Europe or the ‘West’or that they are collectively responsible for, involved in or vulnerable to grooming, just because of their faith background.
@ Denying the scope and the intentionality towards genocide which led to the targeted killings of Muslims in places like Bosnia and which took place at the hands of Serb parami-litary forces in the former Yugoslavia.
@ Making accusations which question the loyaltyof Muslims in the United Kingdom and which suggest that their loyalty belongs to other nations, rather thanthe UK.

This working definition of anti-Muslim prejudice is just that, a working definition. It is therefore liable to change over time as TELL MAMA embeds its programme of work across the English regions and into Wales. However, by providing a working definition and some clear examples of anti-Muslim prejudice, we wanted to inform and assure communities that we are not interested in individuals or groups parodying religion, nor are we, in any shape or form, attempting to curtail the freedom of speech that is part and parcel of our values in the UK. It is important to note that hate speech can not and should not be excused by describing it within the context of free speech when there are existing statutory laws that provide protection against hate statements and incitement.
© Tell Mama

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UK: Antisemitic graffiti attacks continue; vehicles targeted in Stoke Newington

Swastikas and slogans appear on Osbaldeston Road as graffiti attacks in Jewish community continue.

29/12/2014- Anti-Semitic slogans and swastika symbols were graffitied onto vehicles and houses in Stoke Newington last night, according to police. The graffiti appeared on up to 20 vehicles and was also scrawled on a window of a house on Osbaldeston Road, in Cazenove Ward. This follows two incidents earlier this month in which swastikas were scrawled on the main sign of Jubilee Primary School in Filey Avenue. Last month over 100 car tyres were slashed in the orthodox Jewish community in what the police described as “racially or religiously motivated” criminal damage. Barry Bard, Coordinator of Shomrim, the Jewish voluntary police force in Stamford Hill said the graffiti was being treated as a hate crime. He said: “Shomrim are committed to bring a stop to these senseless and mindless acts of vandalism, and are working closely with the Police investigation to assist in every possible way. “Similar swastikas have appeared in the same area over the past few weeks. Police are taking these incidents very seriously and are treating it as hate crime, I urge anyone with information to call 101″.

Hackney Police Inspector Jeoff Bull said: “We will not tolerate anti-Semitism or racism of any kind. We are doing our utmost to trace and bring to justice the suspects involved in this racist graffiti as well as reassure all of our communities”. Chair of Hackney police Independent Advisory Group Moishe Friedlander said: “We as a community are delighted with the rapid response and supportive nature of MPS Hackney officers in support of the community and investigation of this crime. Extra reassurance patrols will be forthcoming”. Hackney Police Tweeted: “There has been a series of anti-Semitic criminal damage to cars & houses in Osbaldeston Rd, N16. #GDCSU are investigating. We are working with the local community. Anybody who is an as yet unidentified victim or witness please call 101″.

Update 1 (31st December 2014, 4:07 pm):
Metropolitan Police sources have confirmed that a 32-year old male has been arrested under suspicion of racially motivated criminal damage and is currently held in custody. The investigation continues.

Update 2 (2nd January 2014, 2:11 pm):
Police have confirmed that a further 3 suspects were arrested on New Year’s Eve, also suspected of racially motivated criminal damage. All four suspects were released and are due to answer bail in early January.
Updates by The Jewish News UK
© The Hackney Citizen

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UK: Victim relives attack by Neo-Nazi health chief

A Chinese man who was pistol-whipped by a former NHS boss leading a violent double life says the attack still haunts him nearly two decades on.

29/12/2014- Tony Chan was left in a bloody heap after his scalp was lacerated in a vicious 15-minute assault at his flat in 1996. And he claims he will take the “paranoia and fear” he has suffered since the attack “to the grave”. The unprovoked assault happened after he answered his door to former NHS senior ­official Clive Winter and ­another man, who were pretending to be interested in buying some Star Wars models Mr Chan had advertised in a magazine. Winter, who had a secret fascination with neo-Nazism, struck him across the head with a replica handgun and kicked and punched him at the Stenhouse flat. Detectives investigating the case later found a collection of extremely violent videos in Winter’s office – one of which showed graphic scenes of skinheads beating up Chinese men.

Eighteen years after the traumatic incident, Mr Chan is now poised to give talks about the long-term effects of violence and racism. The father-of-one, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is keen to speak at churches and schools. He says suffering the attack at his flat in Whitson Road made him self-conscious about his race – and he claims that he often falls foul of racial prejudice in the Capital. “For many years, I have stayed at home, and got very anxious and paranoid,” the 43-year-old says. “There was a period in my life where I wanted to move to London because it was more multi-racial. “I have been racially abused on the bus and on the street. It still happens. Some people are just very nasty.” Edinburgh-born Mr Chan, who grew up in Musselburgh, says he believes “poverty and racism go hand in hand”. And he now wants to use his horrific experience to help people.

Winter, who lived in Comely Bank, was jailed for three years for the assault in 1998, but while he has served his time and moved on with his life, Mr Chan says he is still living with the life-long effects of what happened. At the time of Mr Chan’s attack, Winter was earning £47,000 a year as the third most senior official at Lothian health board. His conviction appalled colleagues, who recalled a mild-mannered and efficient board secretary, who was responsible for personnel, legal and health and safety affairs. They were unaware of his taste for violent videos and neo-Nazism. At his trial in February 1998, Mr Chan, then 26, told Edinburgh High Court that Winter “had the look of murder in his eyes, like he was possessed by something”.

The trial heard how Winter had recruited Paul Davidson and Leslie Malone, two health board junior managers in their early 20s, to help him carry out beatings. Both Davidson and Malone, who said they were afraid to speak out in case they lost their jobs, finally testified against him at his trial. Winter, who lived with his long-term male partner, claimed unsuccessfully that Malone and Davidson had conspired against him because he was gay. Winter, who had two other convictions for assault quashed on appeal, was later sacked by the Lothian health board. Mr Chan, a volunteer with Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council, ­believes his story can help encourage people to be more tolerant of each other.

Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, he says of the incident: “I thought they were going to kill me. I have flashbacks about the incident that day. One of the most horrible things is that I knocked on my neighbours’ doors, I dragged myself out to the phonebox, and nobody helped me. I was covered in blood, it was a nightmare.” He has had counsel-ling in an attempt to manage his PTSD, and is now considering hypnotherapy. “I have got a big insecurity about being Chinese. Everywhere I go, I’m unsure. I am very self-consci-ous. I do voluntary work, but I have just got no confidence,” he says.

Mr Chan, who now lives in the north-west of ­Edinburgh, says he does not want to be a burden to his family. He is supported by Mary, his wife of ten years, who is originally from Nigeria and works as a biomedical scientist at Sick Kids hospital. Their daughter Rebecca is nine. “I think I will take my paranoia and fear to the grave,” he adds. “When I wake up in the morning it’s a big battle. I have been ­depressed, suicidal,” he adds. “They just ­destroyed my life, destroyed my confidence. I play the lottery and hope I will win so that I can go to Hong Kong [where my family are from].”
© The Edinburgh Evening News

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UK: Tough new laws to combat the surge in anti-Semitic abuse in Britain

Ministers will today unleash a tough new crackdown to combat rising anti-Semitism in Britain following a surge of sickening attacks against the Jewish community.

29/12/2014- Jewish schools will be given funding for extra security while tough punishments for online hate crime are to be brought in under a “zero-tolerance” approach. Writing in the Daily Express, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today, warns that the “dark forces” of anti-Semitism have returned following an upsurge of antisemitic attacks this year. In July and August there were 543 incidents, more than the entire previous year, prompting an urgent rethink into how to tackle what Mr Pickles describes as an “ancient evil”. In a spate of shameful attacks Jews have been physically assaulted, their cemeteries desecrated, and the walls of their homes daubed with vile and offensive graffiti. One the attacks saw a brick hurled through the window of the Norwood Charity shop in Southgate, London. Mr Pickles says that new measures to stamp out antisemitism on university campuses will be introduced and pledged that all schoolchildren will be taught about the holocaust. He also vows to kick antisemitism out of football, insisting work is already underway to achieve this, and warns that supermarkets and local councils will be hauled over the coals for “irresponsible” behaviour.

A new government report published today by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) shows that significant progress has been made in tackling antisemi-tism in communities up and down the country. Levels of anti-Semitism in the UK are significantly lower than in other Western European countries, the report shows. But Mr Pickles said a sharp increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in the Summer meant there was a need for increased vigilance. He also said the public need to be reassured that those who commit hate crimes will be punished with the full force of the law. “The irrational hatred of Jews is like cancer,” he writes. “Once beaten it can come back. It lurks in the shadows, and in 2014 there has been a revolting relapse of this ancient evil. “Sadly Britain has not been immune. We share this shame. “Institutions that should have stood up to this thuggish behaviour did not. Like the Holborn branch of Sainsbury’s, clearing their shelves of kosher food to satisfy anti-Israeli yobs outside. This casual acceptance of antisemi-tism was outrageous.” He adds: “Even some councils have behaved irresponsibly. Like Tower Hamlets, engaging in their own municipal foreign policy by flying the Palestinian flag. These public bodies should be using their position of authority to actively reduce tensions, not stir them up. “ Mr Pickles added: “Anti-Semitism and hate crime are completely incompatible with traditional British values and totally unacceptable in our society.”

The number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the UK had hit record levels in July, according to the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity set up to protect Britain’s Jewish community. There were 302 incidents, compared to 59 in July 2013. There were a further 241 attacks in August. The charity described the rise in cases as a reaction to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The spate of attacks prompted David Cameron to speak out on the issue in parliament. He told MP’s: “Let me be clear, we must not tolerate this in our country. There can never be any excuse for anti-Semitism, and no disagreements on politics or policy should ever be allowed to justify racism, prejudice or extremism in any form.” The Government Action on Antisemitism report highlights how hate crime has spread to the internet. It also looks at ways Holocaust education and remembrance can be extended and how to address anti-Semitism internationally. Hate material on the internet has become a disturbing recent development, according to the DCLG. But the report points out that the creation of the Anti-Cyberhate Working Group has helped tackle online religious bigotry.
© The Express

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Austria: Pig's head hung on Mosque door in Vienna

In a barbaric affront to Muslim sensibilities, part of a pig's head and some pork tripe was attached to the door of a Mosque in Vienna's 21st district on Christmas day.
27/12/2014- The imam of the Kocatepe mosque spoke to the Andadolu press agency about the incident, condemning the vandalism as an "unacceptable" act. The head of the Turkish-Islamist Union in Vienna (ATIB), Fatih Karadaŗ, condemned the attack saying that "this is not an attack against Muslims but the whole of humanity. We, as Muslims, will preserve our calm and collective attitude." This is not the first incident of its type, as Austria's Muslim community has been attacked several times this year in similar hate crimes. An Imam Hatip school in Vienna that concentrates on religious education was also vandalized. A pig's head was left in front of the school's door during Ramadan in early October. And in August, a pig's head was impaled on a fence at a construction site for a new islamic school. It’s not known who left the pig’s head at the centre, but even if someone confesses there is little the police can do as nothing was damaged and therefore there are no criminal charges.

The Islamic Federation could make a complaint within civil jurisdiction. Muslims are forbidden from eating pork or touching pig carcasses, as they are considered unclean. The planned school has been unpopular in Austria, with Foreign and Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz saying the idea “is completely the wrong approach". Another mosque called Eyüp Sultan, located in the town of Telfs, was repeatedly vandalized with graffiti. In one of the more serious incidents, an elderly Muslim woman was attacked in a bank, apparently the victim of a hate crime motivated by religious intolerance. In September, a Muslim woman was attacked by another woman on a train, apparently because the former was wearing a headscarf. In August two elderly Muslim ladies wearing headscarves were attacked in Favoritenstraße. Police were reportedly slow to respond to this incident, and only began questioning suspects days after.

Austria's Islamic Religious Community Association said that Muslims often experience discrimination in Austria but that “it is not well documented”. Spokeswoman Carla Amina Baghajati said that the association plans to start collecting data on all religiously motivated incidents. However, she said she did not believe that the police lacked sensitivity to the issue.
© The Local - Austria

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Two headstones smashed at Dutch Jewish cemetery

28/12/2014- Two headstones were smashed at a Jewish cemetery in the southern Dutch city of Vlissingen. The vandalism was discovered last week. It was not immediately clear whether the incident was motivated by anti-Semitism, the news site jonet.nl reported on Dec. 25. One of the smashed headstones marked the grave of Joseph van Raalte, a director of the Royal Schelde shipyard, which built vessels for the Dutch Navy. Police are looking for suspects. Anti-Semitic incidents increased dramatically in the Netherlands during Israel’s summer operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The CIDI watchdog group registered 105 complaints during the two-month operation. By comparison, the organization registered 147 during the whole of 2013.

In one incident this summer, a firebomb was hurled at the Amsterdam home of a Jewish woman from Mexico who displayed an Israeli flag on her porch. The incidents are causing a growing number of Dutch Jews to avoid displaying Jewish symbols, according to Manfred Gerstenfeld, a scholar of anti-Semitism in Europe who grew up in the Netherlands. Earlier this week, the Jewish community of Heemstede near Haarlem inaugurated a new synagogue displaying few Jewish symbols on the building’s facade for security reasons, according to the Heemsteedse Courant daily.
© JTA News

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