ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive May 2015

Headlines 22 May, 2015

Headlines 15 May, 2015

Headlines 8 May, 2015

Headlines 22 May, 2015

UK: Victims of disability hate crime are still being let down, report claims

Police, prosecutors and probation service have not complied fully with changes ordered in 2013 investigation, inspectors find

21/5/2015- Victims of disability hate crimes are being failed by police, prosecutors and the probation service, according to a report by inspectors. Despite earlier recommenda-tions on improving the way criminal justice agencies help those targeted and attempts to drive up the reporting of incidents, it found that insufficient progress has been made. The combined report by HM inspectorates of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), police and probation is a follow-up to a 2013 investigation. It said none of these services have complied fully with changes ordered by an earlier inquiry. Disability hate crime has been the subject of heightened concern following high-profile cases such as that of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick in 2007 after Leicestershire police failed to investigate the years of torment they endured.

The report said: “Although this follow-up report has identified some examples of good practice relating to awareness raising at a national level, neither the police nor the CPS has succeeded in significantly improving performance at an operational level.” The National Offender Management Service has provided direction by issuing guidance to probation trusts and frontline staff, it noted, but disability hate crime is still “not dealt with effectively overall by the probation service”. Among the examples of problems the report high-lighted was the case of a man with learning disabilities who was repeatedly threatened at knifepoint and robbed of his disability allowance. The case had been passed backwards and forwards between two police departments without either “taking any action to safeguard the victim or apprehend the offender”.

In another incident, officers detained a care worker in a residential home for people with severe learning disabilities who allegedly assaulted a resident, but other residents had not been approached to check whether they had also been victims of the care worker. Crime recording practices were also found to be unreliable. In one force, a disability hate crime was reported when a brick was thrown through the window of a house belonging to a woman with mental health problems while she was in a psychiatric hospital. When the same thing happened two weeks later, it was not recorded as a disability hate crime and no link was made to the previous incident. The report said: “The 2013 review highlighted that disability hate crime is a complex area with a number of unique features. It called for a new impetus that focused on improving awareness of disability hate crime, increasing the reporting of disability hate crime and embedding disability hate crime processes within the routine working practices of police, CPS and probation staff.

“The seven recommendations, if implemented effectively, would have made a substantial contribution to achieving these overarching aims. This follow-up reveals that there has been insufficient progress made against the recommendations. An opportunity to achieve improvements in the criminal justice system for all members of society has not yet been taken.” HM Crown Prosecution Service inspectorate chief inspector, Kevin McGinty, said: “The report’s conclusions show that although the three criminal justice agencies have undertaken some initiatives to improve the way they deal with disability hate crime, the overall performance, acknowledged by all agencies, is still disappointing.” Drusilla Sharpling, an inspector at HM inspectorate of constabulary, said: “There has been work nationally to drive up reporting levels of disability hate crime and improve standards of service to victims but progress continues to depend on how well this is implemented locally. We did find some good practice, but criminal justice agencies did not consistently recognise disability hate crime and respond effectively.”

HM inspectorate of probation chief inspector, Paul Wilson, said: “We were pleased to see that the quality of information supplied by the CPS to probation officers writing court reports was good. This means that the nature of the hate crime can be taken into account by sentencers. Despite this, work with the small numbers of perpetrators of disability hate crime had not improved since the original inspection.” Responding to the report, Peter Lewis, the chief executive of the CPS, David Tucker, the crime and criminal justice lead at the College of Policing, and chief constable Simon Cole, the National Police Chiefs Council lead for disability, said they were disappointed by the progress.

In a joint statement, they said: “Disability hate crime is an appalling type of offending. It can have a huge impact on individual lives and undermine trust in society ... We must continue to improve our response. “It’s disappointing that the measures put in place to build confidence among those who experience disability hate crime has not led to a significant increase in reporting. While reporting rates in England and Wales are higher than in other countries, we recognise that there is a need to make further progress. “The College of Policing has published comprehensive guidance and in 2014 the CPS launched a new disability hate crime action plan. Better training aims to increase awareness among officers and staff throughout the criminal justice system.”
© The Guardian

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UK: Taxi driver racially abused and punched by passer-by in Birkenhead

Police release CCTV images in bid to trace attacker.

20/5/2015- Detectives have released CCTV images of a man they would like to speak with following an incident in Birkenhead in which a taxi driver was racially abused and pun-ched by a passer-by. A man approached a stationary ‘private hire’ car on Salisbury Street, Birkenhead. The driver of the car, believing the man was about to ask for a lift, wound his window down to speak to him. The man bent down to look at the driver before racially abusing him and threatening to ‘slap’ him. Without provocation, he then punched the driver a number of times about the head and body before he was able to drive away to safety. The driver was left shaken and extremely distressed by the ordeal. The incident happened at around 2.10am on Saturday, March 7 but police have only just released CCTV images.

Detectives believe the man pictured may be able to help them with their enquiries and would urge him or anyone who recognises him to contact the police. Detective Constable Polly O’Brien said: “We are dedicated to stamping out racism and any other type of hate crime on Merseyside. Specialist officers from our dedicated hate crime investigation team, SIGMA, are investigating this incident. “This was a completely unprovoked attack on a man just trying to do his job. I’m sure the public would agree, this kind of behaviour is clearly unacceptable and I would appeal to anyone with any information about this incident, or anyone who recognises the man pictured, to get in contact so we can take positive action.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Wirral SIGMA Hate Crime Unit on 0151 777 2884, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
© The Liverpool Echo

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USA: Woman Gets 24 Years in Jail for Pushing Man Onto Subway Tracks

21/5/2015- A woman who admitted to shoving a Hindu man off a New York City subway platform to his death in an attack motivated by religious animus has been entenced to 24 years in prison. Erika Menendez was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to manslaughter for killing Sunando Sen in December 2012 in Queens. According to the complaint, the 33-year-old Queens woman was seen talking to herself and pacing back and forth on a No. 7 train platform at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard. As the train entered the station, the complaint says Menendez approached Sen from behind and shoved him onto the tracks. Sen was struck by the train and died of multiple blunt force trauma. Menendez told police she did it because she has hated Muslims and Hindus since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown called the killing "every subway commuter's worst nightmare."
© NBC New York

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IDAHOT: Five reasons why we still need it

These incidents prove we still have a long way to go

17/5/2015- Today international day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia is being celebrated across the world to mark how far many societies have come to empower people of all sexualities and genders. But on days like this it is also worth reminding ourselves how much further society has to go until the LGBTIQ community is treated equally in society.

When Britain can’t support its LGBTIQ community
Police reported last year that homophobic attacks were on the rise in London, Greater Manchester, South Wales and Northern Ireland. In one such brutal attack, Robbie Kingsford was beaten up and verbally abused in south-west London. Meanwhile, in December a gay woman was allegedly asked to stop consoling her distraught partner in a London restaurant, and research in September revealed gay and lesbian police officers still feel they can't reveal their sexuality. It is a similarly story for LGBT teachers, one in four of whom feel the need to hide their sexual orientation in school. More than half of Union NASUWT's members said they had experienced homophobia, bi phobia or transphobia during their teaching career.


When healthcare providers are often unfriendly or discriminatory to LGBTIQ people
An account from a Bengali man has recently revealed the stigma and oppression of living as a gay man in a conservative society, as well as the unfriendly healthcare he receives. The man said in a first person account: "LGBT people are at a disproportionately higher risk of HIV and will continue to be so for as long as the stigma, taboos, shame and fear persist. "Young LGBT people, in Bangladesh and elsewhere, often do not have access to the information and resources they need to be able to engage in safe sex."


When gay rights activists risk detention by police for publishing a magazine
In January it was reported that gay rights activists in Uganda had risked death threats, threats of violence and detention by the police to publish a magazine which aimed to "share the realities of being gay" in the country. The magazine, called Bombastic, had been published by campaigners in Kampala in a bid share stories of members of the LGBTI community in the country, where homosexuality is still illegal – and the government has repeatedly tried to ban the "promotion of homosexuality". At the time, Jacqueline Kasha, a lesbian activist and the magazine's organiser, told The Independent how police had temporarily detained Bombastic volunteers in the eastern part of the country, while members of the clergy had also threatened her with court action. She said: "We are not journalists and I don't respect the media here in Uganda. "The media is furious with us because we are reclaiming our stories. We expect them to retaliate. We are always frightened, but nobody else is going to stand up for us; our community needs a face."

When homophobia still apparently occurs in institutions of education
Earlier this year it was reported that one in five gay students said they had experienced bullying or harassment in school at the hand of their teachers, according to research. The research also strongly suggested that poor sex education lessons are driving a rise in the number of young gay men contracting HIV. A college head at Oxford University has also warned this week that female students were suffering “excessively harassing and intimidating behaviour.”


When authorities respond to homosexual activity with aggression, or uphold it
The president of Gambia threatened to "slit the throats" of gay people living in the country earlier this week, in a speech about the nation's youth. President Yahya Jammeh made the chilling threat apparently in response to Western leaders who have criticised the nation's regressive attitude to homosexuality. Earlier this year Senator Vitaly Milonov, the architect of Russia’s anti-gay laws, threatened revenge on a lesbian pair who captured him in the background of a kiss selfie by shutting down a gay club “as a joke.” The notoriously homophobic politician said: “This shows that these people are not of a normal sexual orientation, but that their sexual deviance shows in all aspects of their lives. I didn’t understand what they are doing but they have a nice sense of humor.”

© The Independent

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French watchdog condemns anti-Semitic assault against Jewish woman in Paris suburb

The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), a watchdog monitoring anti-Semitic incidents in France, has condemned a violent anti-Semitic assault against a Jewish woman last Wednesday in Sarcelles, a Paris suburb.

16/5/2015- The incident occurred around 6 pm when the Jewish woman and her child were sitting on a bench next to children of three young women of African origin who were playing with a ball. The ball then struck the boy’s head. The Jewish woman identified only by the initials L.D reminded the children that ball games are not allowed on the site as appears to be specified. A fight then broke out between the mother and the three young women who violently assaulted her and shouted “Hitler did not finish his work” and “you're a dirty race”, the watchdog said. The victim filed a complaint with local police shortly after the assault. Because the attack was so violent, it was recommended that the woman take a 15-day furlough from work to recuperate, said the BNVCA.

Sarcelles has a large Jewish community. Last summer, violent attacks against local synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses took place in the midst of Israel’s operation against Hamas in Gaza. ''We demand that the police investigation clarifies the facts and that the justice punishes severely any anti-Semitic violence, '' said the BNCA who decided to support the victim and and file a complaint. The BNVCA noted that more and more often a banal incident degenerates into an anti-Semitic attack. ‘’Anti-Jewish speech as anti-Jewish acts have been liberated in particular among citizens belonging to communities who suffered from racism or discrimination,’’ said the BNCVA, urging the authorities to make a distinction between anti-Semitism and racism.
© EJP News

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Ireland: Study reveals extent of homophobic bullying in primary schools

A new study into homophobic bullying in primary schools, has found that one in 10 principals have to deal with homophobic behaviour on a weekly or monthly basis.

17/5/2015- More than half (57%) of principals surveyed said that they were aware of homophobic bullying or name calling in their schools. The results are being released as part of International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Director of the Anti-Bullying Centre DCU, Dr James O'Higgins-Norman, said that bullying can have a profoundly negative effect on young LGBT people. "It tells them that there is not a place for them in society," he said. "It tells them that expressing their sexuality and coming out and being part of mainstream culture is not something that's going to be easy, and it confines them again to a level of doubt, and a struggle with their identity that really wouldn't have to happen if there was greater acceptance and education in our schools."
© The Irish Examiner

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Headlines 15 May, 2015

Vienna’s Sigmund Freud Museum, a Jewish French cemetery and a Polish watchdog on anti-Semitism all were hit by vandalism in recent days.

15/5/2015- In France on Sunday night at least six tombstones were smashed at a Jewish cemetery in Lille, northern France’s largest city, according to a report sent out Thursday by France’s National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. Vandals also poured paint on the gravestones.

In Vienna, vandals earlier this month smashed three of the Freud museum’s display windows, the Israel-based Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism reported on Tuesday. The works targeted are by the Austrian sculptor Peter Kogler, whose creations, fine wire nets with illumination fittings, were inspired by Freud’s discoveries about the unconscious. Near one of the vandalized displays, an expletive directed at “Lamech Sigi” and the word “sect” were scrawled in blue marker. The combination of the name of a biblical figure, Lamech, Noah’s father; the diminutive of “Sigmund”; and the reference to a sect suggested that the vandalism was an anti-Semitic act, the Forum said.

In the Polish town of in Tarnow near Krakow, vandals broke an ornate mezuzah off the doorframe of the newly-opened office of the Antyschematy 2 nonprofit group, which combats anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. Tomasz Malec, the foundation’s president, told Gazeta Krakowska he believed the attack was a hate crime.
© JTA News

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Sweden's third-largest city is not a welcoming place for Jews

It's not just the residents of Malmo who make the city an uncomfortable place to live. It's the city itself.
By Nima Gholam Ali Pour


13/5/2015- Sweden's third-largest city has repeatedly been criticized for high levels of anti-Semitism, with the Simon Wiesenthal Center saying earlier this year that virtually nothing has changed since it placed a travel advisory on the city of Malmo in 2010 “for failing to act against serial harassment of the city’s Rabbi and other Jews and Jewish institutions.” In July a man was beaten for displaying an Israeli flag in his window. In August a glass bottle was hurled at a Malmo rabbi and three windows of the city's main synagogue were smashed. More recently, Swedish public television aired a documentary showing that Jews wearing identifiable Jewish symbols like kippot could no longer walk on the streets of Malmo without being intimidated. That was no surprise for Malmo's Jews, many of whom have already begun to leave the city where several dozen anti-Semitic incidents occur every year.

But it’s not just residents of Malmo, which has a large immigrant Muslim population, who are making the city an unwelcoming place for Jews. It's also the city itself. For a week in March, the city allowed parts of Israeli Apartheid Week to be held in a building owned and administered by the municipality, at no charge. It thus provided municipal support to the organization Isolate Israel, which inspected Swedish businesses for the week and urged them to remove Israeli products from their stores as part of its campaign advocating a boycott of Israeli goods.

This isn’t the first time the city has shown it is taking foreign policy into its own hands in its efforts to demonize Israel. In March 2009, not long after the Israel-Gaza war that winter, the city council of Malmo – where Sweden and Israel were scheduled to play tennis as part of the Davis Cup – decided the match would have to be played before empty stands. At the time, the mayor said he would have preferred if the game were not played at all and the deputy chairman of the city committee that reached the decision was quoted as saying he sees the empty stadium as a protest against what he considers genocide in Gaza.

That's not all. Malmo city council member Adrian Kaba has blamed a "Jewish-European extreme right-wing conspiracy" for the actions of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian man who killed 77 people in two attacks in Norway in July 2011 and has posted links to articles claiming that the Mossad is behind the Islamic State group. Yet he remains in office. When the Eurovision Song Contest was to be held in Malmo in 2013, the chairman of its municipal cultural committee, Daniel Sestrajcic, urged Israeli contestant Moran Mazor to go home and not come back until “Palestine was free.” He made no such demands of singers from Russia or Belarus, the country that has come to be known as Europe's last dictatorship. The fact that the city of Malmo has allowed the BDS movement to use municipal facilities is just one of the most recent in a long line of events demonstrating the absurd reality that Sweden’s third-largest city has adopted a foreign policy that is hostile to the State of Israel.
Nima Gholam Ali Pour is the spokesperson for Perspective On Israel, a Swedish organization that aims to counteract the negative image of Israel in Swedish politics and media.
© Haaretz

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Northern Ireland: Racist attack leaves two Eastern European men injured

Two men from Eastern Europe have been injured in what police are treating as a hate crime in east Belfast.

13/5/2015- It happened on the Tuesday evening in the Connswater Link area. The two men were attacked by a group of male youths at around 10.40pm as they walked along the street. One of the men suffered facial injuries whilst the other was treated for a cut to his hand. The group of youths made off on foot in the direction of the Newtownards Road, following the assault. Inspector Keith Hutchinson has appealed for anyone who was in the area and who may have witnessed this incident or anyone who has any information to help police with their enquiries to contact officers in Strandtown on 101. Information can also be given anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
© The Belfast Telegraph

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UK: Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Soar as Far-Right Sentiment Grows

More than 47,000 hate crimes were recorded between 2012 and 2014.

15/5/2015- Hate crimes against Muslims in Britain have spiked in the last three years, police documents reveal. Figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests show that racially or religiously aggravated harassment crimes surged from 15,249 to 17,605 between 2012 and 2014. More than 47,000 hate crimes were recorded over the same time period. One example occurred in August 2014, when a 42-year-old man hung swastikas and Ku Klux Klan symbols over the site where a mosque was going to be built, writing the words “Burn in hell” over flags. Other incidents involved football fans tearing pages from the Koran to make confetti. “With racist bullying in schools attributed to Islamophobia on the rise according to ChildLine, job discrimination against Muslims commonplace and regular attacks against Muslims ... there is a serious concern that needs to be both acknowledged and tackled,” said Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.

A spokesperson for the Church of England also condemned the attacks, saying, “Any rise in racially and religiously aggravated offences is a matter of deep concern and regret.” Although the statistics already appear worryingly high, it is believed that the actual number of incidents could be much higher as victims often fail to come forward. Warwickshire Police described these types of crimes as unreported. “There’s still a lot of work to be done and we will be launching a major new campaign in the next few months aimed at further increasing reporting of hate crime,” a spokesperson said. Far-right anti-immigration party UKIP secured one seat in this month’s election, but nearly 3.9 million votes, demonstrating a growth in xenophobic and far-right sentiment in Britain.
© Telesur TV

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UK: Britain First leader sparks police hate crime warning

Paul Golding told Dudley rally that burying dead animal at proposed site would scupper plans.

10/5/2015- A police chief has warned hate crimes will be “relentlessly” pursued after a far-right leader threatened to bury a pig at a mosque construction site in Dudley. Paul Golding told a Britain First rally in the town on Saturday that he is prepared to go to prison in a bid to stop the place of worship being built. Another speaker also made remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, which were recorded and reported by anti-fascist activists in the crowd. A Muslim community leader later said the inflammatory comments came against a backdrop of hate crimes and had been reported to the police. West Midlands Police has now confirmed that the speeches, on the steps of Dudley Council House, had been “closely monitored”.

Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson said: “We are aware that some people may have taken offence to comments made during speeches at Saturday’s peaceful protest in Dudley and understand the impact of these type of threats. “The event was closely monitored throughout by police officers and no crimes were committed or arrests made. There is a clear distinction between freedom of speech and a criminal act. “Members of the public should be under no illusion that when words become criminal actions, West Midlands Police will use every available power to relentlessly pursue offenders. “The force has a strong history of taking action against perpetrators of hate crime.”

The former BNP councillor’s threat follows four severed pig heads being dumped on the doorstep of a new community centre in Solihull last month. Protesters claim the building is being used as an unauthorised mosque. West Midlands Police is investigating and has CCTV of a suspect. Mr Golding claimed that the act of leaving a pig on the building site would desecrate the ground and mean the work could not go ahead “against the rules of the Koran”. But Muslim leaders responding to similar attacks around the world have pointed out this is a misconception which does not stop new mosques being built. Amjid Raza, of Dudley Central Mosque, said: “We heard the same thing in November – that they were going to bury pig heads on the mosque site. “The police are aware of it as complaints have been made. “I haven't listened to all of the speech at the rally but comments were made about the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and these have been reported to the police.”

The rally brought Dudley town centre to a virtual standstill as around 150 flag-waving Britain First supporters took part in the march to the council offices. Far-right groups want to the stop the building of a new mosque, which has been granted planning permission on a site away from the existing place of worship.
© The Birmingham Mail.

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Poland: Vandalism destroys monument to Jewish community killed in Holocaust

An act of vandalism destroyed a monument commemorating a Polish Jewish community.

10/5/2015- Police are investigating last week’s incident at the Jewish cemetery in Rajgrod, a town of some 1,7000 in northeastern Poland. The cemetery does not have security monitoring. The monument was unveiled last September by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland and Israeli Avi Tzur, whose ancestors came from Rajgrod. The town’s Jewish population was liquidated in 1942. “This type of damage is seen as a despicable attack on Holocaust victims and their families involved in a project of commemoration,” said Monika Krawczyk, director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland. “The Foundation calls on the Polish authorities to immediately take measures to repair the damage, arrest the perpetrators, and provide care for other such sites throughout Poland.”
Polish Jewish activist Piotr Kadlcik said it was hard to call this an ordinary act of vandalism. “The destruction of a massive monument located away from the city requires careful planning,” he told JTA. Jews lived in Rajgrod from the 16th century through World War II. In 1857, some 1,569 Jews lived in Rajgrod, making up 90 percent of the town’s entire population.
© JTA News

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Headlines 8 May, 2015

Hungary: Court Upholds Life Sentences For Murderers Killing Six Roma In 2008-'09

8/5/2015- The Municipal Court of Budapest has upheld a previous judgement sentencing three men who committed a racially motivated killing spree against Roma people to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The fourth member of the gang also had his 13-year sentence upheld by the court. The case could continue further at the Curia, Hungary’s Supreme Court, which will issue a final, unappealable judgement, after it was claimed by the court today that the three defendants sentenced to life imprisonment may still exploit a further possibility of appeal.

Brothers István and Árpád Kiss, together with Zsolt Pető, committed attacks against houses inhabited by Roma families in nine villages across Hungary in 2008 and 2009, which saw six people – including a child – killed and five others seriously injured. The men fired a total of 78 shots and threw eleven Molotov cocktails, endangering the physical integrity of a total of fifty-five people. Their accomplice István Csontos took part in the two final attacks as a driver. The neo-Nazi gang carried out the attacks in nine remote villages in eastern Hungary between 21 July 2008 and 3 August 2009.

A court of first instance handed full-life sentences, the most serious punishment under Hungarian law, to the Kiss brothers and Zsolt Pető on 6 August 2013. Csontos was given a 13-year prison sentence for his role in the crimes. However, the defendants appealed the first-instance ruling, claiming that procedural irregularities diverted the cause of justice.
© Hungary Today

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Austria: Child abuse images deface Nazi Mauthausen camp website

Hackers have put child abuse images on the memorial website of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, 70 years after the Nazis' WW2 defeat.

8/5/2015- The website was quickly deactivated by the company managing it, a message on it reads. The Austrian interior ministry is investigating the attack. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner called it a "criminal, sick attack and deeply abhorrent". The Nazis killed more than 100,000 people at Mauthausen in 1938-1945. The camp - one of the most notorious and biggest in the Third Reich - was liberated by US troops in May 1945. On Sunday there will be commemorations of the liberation at Maut-hausen. The exact death toll is not known. Inmates, many of them Jews, were starved, tortured or gassed to death. Others died of exhaustion through hard labour. Many Soviet prisoners-of-war and Spanish Republicans were also among the victims. Many sub-camps were also set up near the main camp. Austrian officials suspect that far-right extremists may have carried out the attack, as such extremists have hacked several websites in recent months, Austria's Der Standard news website reports. The head of Austria's Mauthausen Committee - a group promoting human rights and democracy - condemned the hack. Willi Mernyi said it was "obnoxious and reveals the mindset of the hackers".
© BBC News

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Racist crime in the EU: increasing, under-reported, destroying lives. Until when?

Civil society organisations across the EU report an increase in racist crimes in 2013, in particular against Black and Asian ethnic minorities, Roma, Jews and Muslims – or those perceived as such, according to the European Network Against Racism’s latest Shadow Report on racist crime in Europe, covering 26 European countries. A total of 47,210 racist crimes were officially recorded, but this is only the tip of the iceberg, as many EU Member States do not properly record and report racially motivated crimes.

6/5/2015- There was an increase in anti-Semitic (Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden) and Islamophobic (France, England and Wales) crimes in some countries, and these crimes increasingly take the form of online incitement to hatred and/or violence. There were cases of violence, abuse or incitement to violence against Roma in almost all EU Member States, and in particular those with a large Roma population. In many EU countries, including Estonia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the most violent physical attacks reported are perpetrated against Black and Asian people. In Sweden for example, 980 crimes with an Afrophobic motive were recorded. In addition, crimes perpetrated by members of far-right groups are over-represented (49%) in racist crimes and complaints linked to political groups.

In some countries there is no official or systematic data collection of racially motivated crimes; and in others, information about the racial, ethnic or religious background of the victims is not disaggregated. Only one third of EU countries have recorded and published information on racist crimes for 2013. In addition, because many feel ashamed, do not trust the police or think their testimony will not change anything, victims often do not come forward to report racist crimes.

The investigation and prosecution of racist crimes is also problematic. Although most EU Member States recognise racially motived crimes in their legislation, narrow definitions of what constitutes racially motivated crime can result in incidents not being recorded, investigated or prosecuted properly. In the Czech Republic and Italy, an estimated 40-60% of reported racist crimes are not fully investigated by police. Under-qualification of racist crimes takes place throughout the justice system, from police reporting to court judgements.

“Racist crime is one of the worst implications of racism, a threat to people’s lives on the sole basis of their real or perceived race, ethnic origin or religion, and it should not go unpunished”, said ENAR Chair Sarah Isal. “Real political will is required to ensure better reporting, recording and sanctioning of racist crimes. EU Member States must step up their efforts in this area.”
Racist crime in Europe ENAR Shadow Report 2013 - 2014   Read the Key Findings

© EUropean Network Against Racism
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Denmark: Anti-Semetic vandalism of Copenhagen church

Anna Church in the Copenhagen district of Nørrebro was vandalized Sunday in an apparent act of anti-Semitism.

4/5/2015- Anna Church hosted Bent Melchior, Denmark’s former chief rabbi, for a Sunday talk related to the 70th anniversary of Denmark’s liberation from Nazi Germany. Prior to the event, unknown perpetrators painted the phrases “Free Gaza” and “Close the KZ camps” on the church’s main door and threw bricks through some of its windows. “Not to be immodest, but I must admit that this was meant for me. I’m sad to see that there are such idiots out there and I am sorry that I was cause of something like this,” Melchior told Politiken. Copenhagen Police said that it is treating the vandalism as “politically motivated”.

Denmark’s small Jewish community – estimated at no more than 8,000 people – has been on edge since gunman Omar El-Hussein shot and killed a Jewish volunteer security guard outside of a Copenhagen synagogue in one of two February 14-15 shootings that rocked the nation. Last month, a Jewish store in Copenhagen had a window broken and an anti-Semitic slur scrawled on its wall. Even prior to the attack, Denmark’s Jews reported that anti-Semitic acts were on the rise. In January, following the killing of four Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris, the Jewish Community of Denmark called for police protection at the synagogue and its Jewish school.

Back in 2012 Israeli ambassador Arthur Avnon advised visiting Israelis against obvious displays of their religion or speaking Hebrew in public. A Jewish community organization had also urged parents with children in the Jewish school in Copenhagen to take extra precautions. And last summer's bitter fighting between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip brought a flurry of anti-Semitic acts, ranging from insults to physical assault. Authorities reported 29 such acts in six weeks from July to mid-August, more than throughout all of 2009. Political leaders responded by organizing a "Kippah march" through central Copenhagen and Nørrebro, home to many Middle Eastern immigrants, which passed off peaceful-ly. But less than a week later the Jewish school Carolineskolen was daubed in anti-Semitic graffiti and its windows smashed.
© The Local - Denmark

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Czech Rep: Report: Last year saw rise in anti-Semitic incidents

4/5/2015- The number of anti-Semitic attacks in the form of verbal attacks, harassment and threats rose in the Czech Republic in 2014, mainly on the Internet, while there were quite few physical attacks, the Prague Jewish Community says in its annual report and adds that most Czechs do not share anti-Semitic views. The Czech Republic ranks among the countries where anti-Semitism is not significantly present either in the majority society or among politicians, says the report the Jewish community released to CTK Monday. The number of physical attacks on Jewish targets, persons or property remains almost unchanged compared with the previous years, the report showed.

# In 2014, the Jewish community registered one physical attack on a person, the same number as in 2013.
# Five attacks on property were registered, which is two more than in 2013. Most of them were the defacing of graves at Jewish cemeteries.
# "The number of registered incidents such as verbal attacks, hate e-mails and threats addressed to people of Jewish origin has risen sharply, almost four times," the report says.
# The number of anti-Semitic attacks on the Internet rose by 20 percent against 2013. This trend has continued for four years now, according to the report.
# "In 2014, there was also an increase in the number of so called new anti-Semitism aimed against the State of Israel," the Jewish Community writes.

That is why manifestations of anti-Semitism were more intensive during the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. Some groups view Czech Jews as envoys of Israel and blame them for Israel's political decisions, the report says. In 2014, the Jewish Community registered 28 cases of harassment and nine cases of threats, compared with six and three in the preceding year, respectively. The total number of these incidents was four times higher in 2014.

Like in 2013, anti-Semitism in 2014 was not a matter of right-wing extremists only, but it was also spread by leftist groups and individuals without any obvious links to extremist groups. "This may be because anti-Semitism targeting the State of Israel is a form of anti-Semitism that is more accepted in society," said Petra Koutska Schwarzova, from the Prague Jewish Community. Unlike abroad, anti-Semitism in the Czech Republic has not taken violent forms for the time being, the report says. Although the number of physical attacks is low in the country, a terrorist attack by radical individuals is the biggest threat to the local Jewish community, it says. "Examples of such attacks abroad show that security measures in the vicinity of sensitive places, such as Jewish buildings, must not be underestimated," Koutska Schwarzova said.
© The Prague Daily Monitor

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Northern Ireland: Victims of anti-gay hate crime attack may leave Belfast home

A couple targeted by a paint bomb in what they believe was a homophobic attack in west Belfast are considering quitting their home.

4/5/2015- The house at Roden Street was damaged between 9pm on Friday and 2.30am on Saturday. One of the victims said she was very frightened and is now considering leaving her home. She said she and her partner discovered the damage when they arrived home after a night out. Police, who said a window was damaged in the attack, confirmed they were investigating a hate crime. The house was empty at the time. Inspector James Murphy said: "Police are treating this as a hate crime and I appeal to anyone with any informa-tion relating to this incident to please contact officers at Woodbourne police station on the non-emergency number 101, or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111." West Belfast SDLP councillor Tim Attwood condemned the incident, saying intimidation and homophobia had no place in the local area. He said: "This deplorable incident must be condemned in the strongest terms by all aspects of society. "There must be no ambiguity that homophobia and attempted intimidation have no place in west Belfast. As a society we must act to protect all vulnerable communities from such intolerance and I encourage anyone who may have information about the attack to contact the PSNI."
© The Belfast Telegraph

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UK: Worrying attack on journalist in Bradford, says OSCE representative

7/5/2015- OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatoviæ today said the attack on politico.eu journalist Ben Judah while he was working on a story in Bradford, United Kingdom, is worrying. Judah was attacked Tuesday by a group of 10 men, punched in the face, threatened and subjected to anti-Semitic abuse. He was forced to delete photos he took as part of his story. He reported the attack to the police. “I trust the authorities will swiftly investigate it. It is essential that the attackers are brought to justice,” said Mijatoviæ, adding that she will follow the progress of the investigation.
© OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

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UK: A Jew in Bradford

How Britain’s Muslim North became George Galloway country.
By Ben Judah

6/5/2015- Welcome to Gallowayland. This is what I think as I drive into Bradford. In two hour’s time I will be punched in the head. The squinty moon-face of one of Britain’s most ferocious orators glares from the street posters, capped by a black fedora. George Galloway has turned the constituency of Bradford West into his own world, catapulting into parliament as a Muslim-grievance politician from Britain’s most Islamic city. Galloway, a former Labour Party MP, has got his seat by using anti-Zionist rhetoric, whilst suing critics who say he is anti-Semitic. His political genius is to have twigged that Bradford’s multiculturalism is a mirage: He now plays the city’s Pakistani clan politics, of family controlled votes, for power.

British civility has collapsed in Bradford’s elections. The Labour Party is reported to have struggled to choose a candidate without the acquiescence of the Kashmiri clan dominating its local branch, and supporters of its eventual candidate Naz Shah have received menacing threats — like the dead crow, its mouth stuffed with grass, she found on her doorstep. Bradford has also earned a reputation in Britain as unfriendly to Jews — a place where a journalist who walked the streets in a skullcap in March was almost immediately abused. Galloway, who heads something called the Respect Party, has declared the city “an Israel-free zone.”

I drive through Gallowayland.
The leader of the Respect Party calls Bradford “the city of gold,” and has been going around the city in an old Rolls Royce, or an open-top double-decker bus fluttering with Pakistani and Palestinian flags. I drive around shuttered industrial yards, cramped terraces of rising damp, and boarded-up pubs, their roofs sprouting with plants. Respect has told me they are holding a “rally” in the community hall of St. Martin’s Church that I may attend as a journalist. I walk into the hall. Those present are almost entirely Asian men — Pakistanis, almost to a man. I inform them I am a POLITICO journalist, and am amicably greeted by a large man in a black suit and sunglasses. The vibe instantly begins to heat. I drift about for a moment and am approached by Alyas Karmani, a bearded imam in a tweed jacket. He informs me he is a former head of Respect group in the council, which now works closely with Respect.

A white woman in thick lipstick, a press officer for Respect, comes up to me: “Who are you, I recognize your face?” I tell her my full name, Ben Judah. Her face sours: “Ben Judah, the Tablet.” A few months ago I had reported from the city for a Jewish online publication, and had been critical of Galloway’s anti-Zionist rhetoric. I reported that he has inflamed a hissing conspiracy theory where Jews were blamed for 9/11, for all wars all over the world, and were seen as the new Nazis. The woman from Respect does not approve. I inform her that Respect’s Bradford HQ has given me the address and told me I can come. She then disappears, makes calls, and talks to several of the Asian men at the doorway. She returns saying I have to leave.

I try to explain I am a journalist and this risks looking bad for a party that is frequently accused of inciting anti-Semitism and intimidating journalists. Karmani says he is not opposed to my presence, but that this is “his event,” pointing to a man in the entrance hall. The men there have suddenly become highly aggressive. “Get out, get out,” they shout. The press officer — whose name I miss — says she has called Bradford HQ and they now “know who I am”: I must leave immediately.

I walk out and onto the sidewalk, and take a picture of the Respect activists and the seven Asian men milling about outside the Church. They have come to see Gallo-way: The event is described on social media as a rally for supporters. A burly Asian man in a black suit and sunglasses rushes up and grabs me round the neck, pinning me to a low perimeter wall. “Get out, you fucking Jew,” he shouts. I am being throttled as around ten Asian men surround me. My teeth chatter as a man in a tracksuit punches me in the head. “Delete, delete,” they shout at me, “delete the photos.” An older man in a shiny crooner’s suit is shouting. “Let’s call the police. Let’s get him arrested.” I fumble to delete the pictures and repeat over and over: “You’re frightening me. Please let me go.” The older man gestures for me to be released. I look back at the Respect officials: but they look away.

I immediately drive out of Gallowayland. The Respect battle-bus hurtles past me, Palestinian and Pakistani flags fluttering. I have just missed him. The car turns around filthy, dismal streets, where abandoned mills and factory chimneys loom, like Obelisks from an ancient time. As I stand outside the first Tesco Express outside Galloway-land, crushing a packet of frozen peas into the bruise on my face, my nerves jangle. The shouts of — “let’s arrest him” — have chilled me. Arrest me for what? How? An hour later I am in prosperous Leeds. A woman walks past me, holding an inflatable sex doll. I walk in the sun, as beautiful men hold hands and glide in and out of tapas bars. House music throbs into the street: the mills have been converted into luxury flats and open-plan offices. I slip into a café and go online, trying to identify the men who attacked me. I find one of the men, who was calling for me to be arrested, making a Churchill “V-Sign” in a selfie with George Galloway.

There is no doubt in my mind: These men were Respect supporters. This takes me by surprise. My first meeting with Respect, an hour earlier, was in fact quite amicable. Here’s how it went. I park the car outside Galloway’s constituency office and scribble down what I can see. The garish green and red color scheme in the Respect window, Galloway’s half-smile in the hoardings, and outside the Polish migrant shop opposite, a Romanian Roma in a white headscarf, hawking a fake gold ring. Above her and the shop is a strange, faded sign: Curioser & Curioser — what Alice cried as she slipped into Wonderland. Men are coming in out of Galloway’s HQ.

I wander into a yard and up a flight of stairs. This is Galloway’s back of house: bare redbrick walls that are not a fashion statement; nasty felt flooring; men sitting, looking exhausted and bored; and bargain basement office tables. The room stinks of onions. This is where I meet Ron McKay. He is Galloway’s close aide and “best friend” for 38 years. He is said to wield a lot of influence in Respect. He is from Glasgow, and has a puffy face. I introduce myself as a POLITICO journalist and with his agreement begin recording the interview on my iPhone. “It’s been a brutal, a brutal election campaign, and no doubt it will get worse,” he says, “It’s different, Bradford. This Bradford West election is different from any other election we’ve had.” He soothes his brow, complaining he is tired.

How does the politics of Bradford work?
“It would take me much longer than I’ve got to explain biraderi politics in Bradford, clan-based politics, and people actually do deliver 20, 30, 50 votes. Through their extended families, what tends to happen is, the kind of head of the household, or the kind of head of the clan, makes a decision how they’ll vote. So if somebody, in I don’t know, Penge (South London) said I could deliver you 50 votes you would laugh. But here . . . it’s true. They deliver bundles of votes.”

There are only three of us in the cavernous room. Richard Thynne, a stubbly, younger aide, sits nodding. I notice a box of sausage rolls on his desk. “The Pakistanis here,” says McKay, “by and large almost to a man and woman are from Mirpur, Azad Kashmir (the part of Kashmir administered by Pakistan) — so there’s an extensive family network, links, clan-based networks. In a way that doesn’t really apply elsewhere, that I can think of, not even in East London, where there’s Bangladeshis and they all come from Sylhet. It’s not to the same extent as it is here.” I glance at stacks of pamphlets: Galloway in a black fedora and black shirt. Outside, the streets of Bradford are still, almost dead.

“You have to understand the politics at work,” says McKay, “the mosques are very important, and the way the community operates religiously through the mosques, because Bradford West (is) probably 60 percent Asian, maybe higher. Much more so than in the other constituencies in Bradford. The Asians are by and large in this — in three or four wards.” His tone is matter-of-fact anthropological. Kashmiris and Bangladeshis are two of Britain’s least successful migrant groups. But both are remarkably well organized politically — and have captured local Labour party machines, becoming the new bloc votes in the ethnic neighborhoods of London, Birmingham and Bradford. Galloway — who claims to be left-wing — thrives in Bradford’s biraderi clan-based politics.

His team does not hide its strategy.
“George is a hugely well-known politician who’s supported their causes, for 30 odd years, particularly Palestine,” says McKay, “Which is very close to this community’s heart, or the Muslim community’s heart. So he’s got a head start there, obviously. His record is very well known, in supporting causes that Muslims support against wars and imperialism. And there’s been a lot of house meetings and going to mosques.” This room is cold, shambolic and gloomy. I sit and listen to McKay. He sounds nothing like a left-wing crusader. “But to go back to the clan system,” says McKay, “What George and we did very successfully in the by-election is to some extent break that, through young people, and a kind of revolt of young people in being told who to vote for. It was huge, a tsunami of support, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

To take Bradford West in a by-election in 2012, Galloway beat the biraderi clan of Imran Hussein. This man is the scion of a Pakistani clan which dominated over the local branch of the Labour Party. Galloway both appealed to the smaller clans cut out of the spoils, and to younger people, repressed by clan voting. He offered them both worlds: fun, street politics — and Muslim grievance. Imran Hussein and his clan were defeated. McKay reflects, on the current election. “So far it’s not anything like it was in 2010.” McKay tells me Galloway has now reconciled with this clan at Kashmir Day in the Pakistani Consulate. Accompanied by his father, Imran Hussein embraced Galloway three times. McKay says the clan stills controls the Labour Party in Bradford West, and that this reconciliation was to stop Respect putting up a candidate in Bradford East, the neighboring seat where Hussein is trying to win election.

McKay says the so-called Labour clan is now barely campaigning in Bradford West. “They’ve got all their forces in Bradford East.” I ask McKay: do you think this is no longer democracy? “It is democracy as we know it. There’s still a secret ballot for those who aren’t filling in postal votes.” McKay estimates 20 percent of Bradford West votes by post. There is a noise: Behind me, three supporters have come in, two white and one sad-looing Asian boy in a keffiyeh. “Brother,” McKay greets them, like a Muslim. I tell him Jews say they are too frightened to come to Bradford because they are frightened of being attacked. “Rubbish,” says McKay, Galloway’s best friend. He gets up. Our friendly rapport is gone. As I look at McKay, I hear a Respect supporter answer my question in a mocking voice. “Some people are scared of spiders,” says a voice, “or open spaces, or closed spaces.” I turn to leave: with the address of the rally in St. Martin’s Church provided to me by McKay and another aide.

I drive south.
Wind turbines spin over bright yellow fields. There is something of a dreamland to England’s glowing rapeseed. As my face throbs, I think about Galloway. The man is a brand. He is a celebrity. He creates a buzz, a crowd, that pulls in votes, and then allows his clan allies, and hangers on, to get elected into Bradford City Council — where they can have influence over schools, housing, the police. This offer is how Galloway wins Bradford’s biraderi. My minds flicks backs to dozens of conversations. There is a common hysteria in working-class pubs. That Muslim communities are imposing: “Sharia Law.” I have heard this at its most acute where Galloway plays his politics: in East London, poor Birmingham, Rotherham, and of course, Bradford. “We’ve been colonized,” I remember a white electrician telling me on my last visit, “They’re imposing their Sharia”.

On one level, this is obviously ridiculous. Nowhere in the UK has the Islamic legal system replaced British law. But this is not what they mean. They mean illiberal minorities imposing their politics. I follow the road sign into the dusk: THE SOUTH.

POSTSCRIPT: On Tuesday morning, after I had returned to London, I wrote to both Galloway and Karmani, the head of Respect in the Bradford City Council, complai-ning about the manner in which I’d been treated at the Respect rally to which I’d been given prior access. I described the physical assault, as well as the abusive language that had been directed at me, and sought an explanation. Galloway responded via Ron McKay, a close aide whom I met (above), and did so in the following words: “This is quite clearly a stunt by you and a deliberate provocation and the timing of it confirms that this is a calculated attempt to smear me and affect my electoral prospects.

“This was not a public event but a rally for Respect. You were allowed into the grounds of the church where it was held and would have been allowed to report on the rally but there were several objections to you photographing attendees, particularly from women. You refused to stop taking photographs of people and were asked to leave. You refused. You were then ushered off the premises. . . .” (The full text of his response can be found here.)

Karmani’s response was as follows:
“Dear Ben on a personal level I am disgusted by the despicable way you have been treated and am sorry that you had to experience that. Racism in any form is never justified and should be condemned unreservedly. Just for your information I am doing an event in Newcastle on 22 May against anti-Semitism with a range of Jewish speakers including Jeremy Beecham and the Ann Frank Trust as I have been a vehement anti-racist for the last 35 years.” (Click here to see Karmani’s response.) Karmani subsequently phoned me. He said: “Whatever your writings or your views the event was a public event and you had every right to attend. You should not have been ejected. You should make a complaint to the police and I hope the complaint will be upheld as that is the only way to show those idiots.”

On Tuesday, I reported the incident to the Community Security Trust, a Jewish community organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. On Wednesday, I reported the incident to the police.
© Politico

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UK: Anti Muslim Incidents, April 27 to 1 May 2015

Date           Description                                                                                                                                   On or Offline?  Location
27/04/2015 Visible Muslim woman pushed and verbally abused at London Underground station.                                 Offline            London
27/04/2015 Unopened mosque in Sunderland had windows smashed.                                                                      Offline            Sunderland
27/04/2015 Islamophobic tweet reported to Tell MAMA after a user called for 'ethnic cleansing' of Muslims in Britain. Online             London
28/04/2015 Muslim female contacted Tell MAMA to allege discrimination from her bank.                                          Offline            Cambridge
29/04/2015 An Islamophobic video that featured a man spitting on a copy of the Qur'an is reported to Tell MAMA.     Online             London
30/04/2015 Ukip candidate resigned from his role of school governor after an alleged Islamophobic Facebook post.  Online             Leeds
01/05/2015 Ukip supporter reported to Tell MAMA after tweeting about 'Muslim scum'.                                            Online             Southampton
© Tell MAMA

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A man who shouted racist abuse in Dungannon has been jailed for three months, a court has heard.

4/5/2015- Noel McLaughlin, 31, whose address is Clonmore Road in Dungannon, is a serving prisoner at HMP Magilligan and was due to be released on May 9. However, after being found guilty of disorderly behaviour, he will remain in prison for an extra three months. East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court heard how police were called to Tesco in Dungannon on the evening of April 26 by a 999 call. Police discovered the defendant drinking a bottle of wine and sporting a bleeding lip. The constables were told how an altercation had broken out in the shopping centre toilets after the defendant had called another man a “n****r”. At the scene, Mr McLaughlin had admitted using the word adding that as a response the injured party had “cracked me one”. When asked if he would like to make a formal complaint about the assault he initially declined and called the injured party an “oompa-loompa”.

Mr Blaine Nugent, defending, told the court that since the offence there had been a “deceleration of offending” on the part of his client. District Judge Bernadette Kelly said. “I am certifying this as a hate crime fuelled by racism. “This type of behaviour cannot be accepted in this society ... caused only by the accident of one’s birth ... and there is only one course of action,” she told the defendant and handed down a sentence of two months in prison. Judge Kelly further activated a suspended prison sentence of one month and ordered that it run consecutively to the first sentence “in hope of some sort of rehabilitation, but I doubt it” she added. Judge Kelly further imposed a £25 fine for a charge of breaching bail and also imposed a court offender’s levy of £25.
© The Tyrone Times

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UK: 'Isis Effect': Lincolnshire sees the biggest rise in reported hate crime

3/5/2015- Lincolnshire police has seen the biggest rise in the number of recorded hate crimes between 2012 and 2014 - known as the 'Isis Effect'. In figures obtained through a freedom of information request by the Sunday Times, Lincolnshire has seen a 67 per cent rise over that period, which is the highest in the country. The results show across the country there were 17,605 racially and religiously aggravated harassment crimes recorded by police in 2014 and this was up from 15,249 in 2012. The Sunday Times has reported that the rise in figures can be attributed to arrange of factors which include the emergence of the Islamic State, the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013, the military operation against Hamas in the Gaza strip last year, and the improvement of how the crimes are recorded.

In the eyes of the law a crime is racially or religiously aggravated if there is a hostility towards a victim which is based on a membership or on a perceived membership of a religious or racial group. The Sunday Times reported Lincolnshire Police said awareness campaigns had led to the increase of reporting these type of crimes. It was also reported that the charity, Stand Against Racism and Inequality, said the most common targets for this type of crime were Muslims and Sikhs who people thought were Muslims. The charity, the Community Security Trust, which supports the Jewish population said that anti-semitic crimes recorded in 2014 were double those in 2013.
© The Lincolnshire Echo

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French mayor attacked for counting schoolchildren with 'Muslim names'

Front National-backed Robert Ménard, mayor of Béziers, said his administration had used lists of pupils’ names to decide how many were Muslim

5/5/2015- A French mayor backed by the far-right Front National has been accused of racism after using the names of schoolchildren in his town to decide how many were Muslim. Under France’s strict secularism laws, the government does not keep statistics on people’s religion or ethnicity. But Robert Ménard, mayor of Béziers in the south of the country, said his administration had used lists of pupils’ names to decide how many were Muslim, and claimed the figure came to 64.6%. “Sorry to say this, but the mayor has, class by class, the names of the children,” he said on France 2 television on Tuesday night. “I know I don’t have the right to do it. Sorry to say it, but the first names tell us their religion. To say otherwise is to deny the evidence,” he added. His comments brought condemnation from the Socialist government, with the prime minister, Manuel Valls, tweeting: “Shame on the mayor”.

“The Republic does not make any distinction between its children,” Valls said. The education minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said she had called for a judicial investigation, saying Ménard’s statements were “profoundly anti-Republican”. “I am scandalised, sickened by these comments,” added Abdallah Zekri, head of the National Observatory Against Islamopho-bia. “Moreover, you can be called Mohammed without being a practising Muslim,” he added. However the town hall of Béziers denied on Wednesday that there was any list of children’s names or that any effort had been made to identify which were Muslim. “The town hall of Béziers does not have, and has never had, files on its children,” it said in a statement.
© The Guardian

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France: Memorial to Slain French Jewish Man Vandalized

French authorities say vandals have damaged a memorial plaque honoring a young French Jewish man tortured and killed in 2006.

3/5/2015- The incident targeting the monument to Ilan Halimi comes amid heightened religious tensions in France, after radical Islamic gunmen attacked a Paris kosher market and newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement Sunday that prosecutors have opened an investigation into the damage to the monument in the Paris suburb of Bagneux. Halimi's death stunned many in France, especially in the Jewish community, Europe's largest. Driven in part by anti-Semitism, a gang held him captive for weeks and tortured him, then left him naked and handcuffed near railroad tracks. The 23-year-old Halimi died en route to the hospital.
© The Associated Press

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