Headlines 31 July, 2015
Belgium: Number of Islamophobic incidents almost doubles in 14 years
In 2014, 185 Islamophobic incidents were reported in the country, the CCIB (Belgium’s pro-Islamist group and anti-Islamophobia association) announced in its first annual report on Friday.
31/7/2015- The phenomenon is steadily rising, having increased by 94% since 2011, the association makes clear, basing its comments on figures issued by the CIEC (Belgium’s anti-discrimination and equal opportunities commission). Last year the CIEC opened 260 new cases of Islamophobic discrimination and expressions of hatred against Muslims. Among these, 55 were clearly identified as criminal offences or inciting racial hatred, in breach of relevant legislation, the CIEC reported last March. Of the remaining 205, 130 related to Islamophobia, without however constituting a criminal offence, adds the CCIB, which has requested that the CIEC provide further clarification. Le CIEC defines Islamophobia as “hatred of Islam and Muslims or suspected Muslims,” and not simply the fear of Islam, its website says.
In 2014, 185 cases of islamophobia were reported in Belgium, compared to 95 in 2011, 115 in 2012 and 139 in 2013, pointed out the CCIB. “In Belgium from 2011 to 2013, there were at least two Islamophobic incidents every week, of which at least one was clearly a breach of anti-discrimination legislation. In 2014 there were at least three Islamophobic incidents a week, an average of one every 2 days” highlights the NPO which was set up almost a year ago. Yet “the authorities are not aware of the scale of the phenomenon and its impact on social cohesion and civil liberties,” it believes. The association is calling for governments to officially recognise hatred of Islam as an attack on human rights, to provide accurate figures, and to rule against the ban on headscarves within universities.
© The Brussels Times
Northern Ireland: Increase in racist attacks as sectarian hate crimes fall
31/7/2015- There has been an increase in racist and homophobic attacks in Northern Ireland at the same time that sectarian hate crimes are falling, new figures have revealed. However, the update comes as the Alliance Party has challenged the PSNI definition of hate crime after it emerged the burning of election posters does not come into that category. Sectarianism remains the biggest motivation for hate crimes which come before the Northern Ireland courts, according to Public Prosecution Service (PPS) figures. There has been a 15.8 per cent decrease in the number of sectarian crimes being prosecuted, falling to 213 from 253 cases in 2013-14. New PPS statistics show almost 95 per cent of "the most serious hate crime prosecutions" during 2014/15 resulted in a conviction in the Crown Court - compared with a convic-tion rate of 86.4 per cent last year.
The service made decisions about 807 individuals over hate crime, 59 per cent of which resulted in prosecution or "diversion from the courts". More serious "aggravated" cases, saw a decline in conviction rate in the crown court from 94 per cent last year to 86.8 per cent and of the 46 defendants convicted there, 13 received an "enhanced sentence". Police referred 549 individuals whose hate crimes had an added element of "hostility", 62 per cent of which were prosecuted or listed for "diversion from the courts" The conviction rate in magistrates and youth courts was 68.7 per cent, an five per cent increase, with 195 people convicted and 40 receiving an enhanced sentence.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory said his department's work is "producing results" and the conviction rates are "reassuring". "We are listening to the victims of hate crime, and those who work with them, about the impact that such offences have on the lives of individuals," he said. But, there are calls for a reassessment of the definition of `hate crime' by police. Alliance Belfast councillor Michael Long called for clarification after being told by police the burning of election posters is not considered a hate crime, "despite legislation stating the opposite". In recording hate crime, the PSNI adopt the definition recommended by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, as "any crime, which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person".
However, Mr Long said "the PSNI's own website (states) `incidents committed against a person or property on the grounds of someone's political opinion' was". "While this confusion remains, there appears to be no appetite from the PSNI to tackle the issue of burning images on bonfires". "Alliance has no issue with people celebrating their culture in a respectful manner, but the adding of election posters, as well as national flags, to a number of bonfires year on year removes any semblance of tolerance."
© The Irish News
Northern Ireland: Judges in crack down on hate crime
More than 50 criminals convicted of hate crimes last year had their sentences increased by a judge due to the seriousness of the offence.
31/7/2015- As recorded hate crime across Northern Ireland continues to rise, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has revealed that judges used enhanced sentencing powers to increase sentences in 53 cases where the offender was proven to have been motivated wholly by racial, religious or sexual hostility. Throughout 2013/14 the PPS prosecuted 403 people for a hate crime out of 807 people referred for prosecution, according to the PPS statistical bulletin on hate crime. The majority of those defendants (383) were dealt with in the Magistrates and Youth Courts. Convictions were secured in 67% of cases. A total of 36 suspects were dealt with in the Crown Court, where the conviction rate was 94%. Director of the PPS Barra McGrory said the statistics show that the work being carried out by the PPS and the criminal justice system in tackling hate crime is producing results.
"We are listening to the victims of hate crime, and those who work with them, about the impact that such offences have on the lives of individuals," he said. Mr McGrory added: "The conviction rates being recorded are very reassuring. They show that the information we receive from the police, and the files we prepare, build a strong case for prosecution and that helps send out a message that hate crime will be dealt with in the strongest possible terms." However, the QC admitted that "there is still work to be done". There has been concern over the rise in hate crime, particularly race hate crime, across Northern Ireland. A racist hate crime was reported every three hours on a typical day in the province last year. The number of incidents increased by a third, with assaults and threats to kill among the offences.
Compared with the previous year, there were increases across all but one of the six hate incident types recorded in 2014/15 - racist incidents increased by 374 from 982 to 1,356 and racist crimes increased by 230 from 691 to 921. This year's Northern Ireland Policing Plan aims to boost reporting of hate crime by 3%, so this figure is likely to increase next year, police have said. The Polish Government recently expressed concern at an upsurge in racist attacks against citizens living in Northern Ireland. Honorary consul Jerome Mullen accused Stormont's political leaders of not doing enough to tackle the problem. In Belfast alone, racist hate crime doubled last year, with six attacks reported every week across the city. More than 300 racist attacks were reported during that time. Several families were forced to flee, while others were left prisoners in their own homes, afraid to open the door.
© The Belfast Telegraph
UK: Police Make Arrest in Attack Outside North London Synagogue
Police in London arrested a man suspected of accosting an Orthodox Jew outside his synagogue in what witnesses said was an anti-Semitic hate crime.
31/7/2015- According to Shomrim, a Jewish community volunteer security service, the attacker pushed his victim before shouting racial slurs in a seemingly unprovoked incident outside a shul in Stamford Hill, north-east London, on Thursday night, the Jewish Chronicle of London reported. Shomrim volunteers alerted police, who arrested the man.Separately, more than 2,000 people signed a petition asking police to protect Liverpool’s Jewish community from a neo-Nazi rally planned in the city.
The White Man March, organized by far-right group National Action, is due to take place in the city center on August 15, The Chronicle reported Wednesday. The petition was launched by Merseyside Jewish Representative Council, which noted that the previous White Man March, held four months ago in Newcastle, attracted around 100 extremists and included the burning and shredding of Israeli flags. “This march is a major concern for us and we believe it is calculated to incite racial hatred and public disorder,” Howard Winik, the council’s vice-chairman, said. “We are calling urgently on the Chief Constable to exercise his powers to protect the local community and to send out a clear message that this kind of activity crosses a line and cannot be tolerated.”
Mark Gardner, director of communications at the Community Security Trust, the British Jewish security umbrella, told the Chronicle that since the rally will not be near any Jewish locations, there is little more the police could do. Earlier this month, police cited public safety in moving a rally by neo-Nazis planned in the London suburb of Golders Green, where a large Jewish community lives.
© JTA News
Britain sees sharp rise in anti-semitic hate crimes
The number of anti-semitic incidents in the UK has risen sharply in the last year, a report has found.
30/7/2015- Between January and June of this year, 473 anti-semitic incidents took place, including two which were classified as involving “extreme violence”. This represents an increase of 53 per cent from the same period in 2014. The report was released by Jewish community group Community Security Trust (CST). Jonathan Sacerdoti, Director of Communications for Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, told The Independent: “Anti-semitism runs counter to British values. We must all work to combat the rise in anti-semitic incidents so that Jewish people continue to feel safe. “Those who experience this racism must not suffer in silence, and should report what happens to them. They need to know they are not alone, and demand protection under the law.”
Elliot Steinberg, Programme Manager at the Council for Jews and Christians, told The Independent: "Anti-semitism is not and cannot be a concern solely for the Jewish community, but for society in general. When communities feel under threat there can be a tendency to become defensive, turn inwards and focus on how we relate within ourselves, but this can also do more damage. "As with any relationship, face to face engagement is one of the key ways to build trust and challenge generalisations and stereotypes. So we need to be encouraging Jewish groups to invite people in, and encouraging people to reach out to their local Synagogue or Jewish cultural centre and learn more about Judaism and Jews living in Britain today."
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I know that many Jewish people in this country are concerned about safety in their community, and we are listening.” It is estimated that there are approximately 260,000 Jews in the UK.
© The Independent
Switzerland: Neo-Nazis attack Orthodox Jewish man on Zurich street
A group of some 20 men making the Hitler salute and shouting anti-Semitic slogans assaulted an Orthodox Jewish man in Zurich.
30/7/2015- The July 4 incident on a main street in the Swiss city’s Wiedikon district was only reported recently in the national media in Switzerland following the completion of an initial investigation into the case, the Tele Zurich reported Sunday. Two leaders of the group spat in the victim’s face and pushed him before police, alerted by passers-by, intervened, according to the Sonntags Zeitung daily. The officers asked the men to leave the victim alone, according to the Zeitung. The unnamed victim, who is in his 40s, was on his way home from a local synagogue when the attack happened, the daily reported. Police would offer no further information, citing an ongoing investigation. Switzerland’s Federation of Jewish Communities said in a statement that the incident was “highly unusual and frightening.” The alleged leader of the neo-Nazi gang has been referred to in the Swiss press as Kevin G., 27, from Hombrechtikon, a village in the Zurich Oberland area. He is a singer with the far-right rock band Amok. Herbert Winter, president of the Jewish federation, said the incident was disconcerting because it risks worsening already prevalent fears. “There are parents who instruct their children not to wear a kippah or hide it under a baseball cap on their way to school,” Winter told the Blick daily.
© JTA News
Germany: Politician's car blown up in far-right heartland
The car of a left-wing politician was blown up early on Monday morning in an east German town that has been the scene of fierce anti-refugee protests, with the politician claiming he is "top of the hit list" for the far-right.
27/7/2015- Michael Richter, chair of the Linke (Left Party) in Freital on the outskirts of Dresden, told news site MOPO24 he believed the far-right were behind the attack. “I have organized the pro-asylum seeker events in the town,” he said. “I'm right at the top of the hit list.” So far there is no concrete evidence linking far-right groups to the crime, with police only confirming the explosion took place at around 12.45am on Monday morning. Officials are currently investigating the crime scene. Richter, who had already received several death threats before the attack, was awoken in the night by the explosion in front of his house. The blast was strong enough to damage cars several meters away from Richter's Volkswagen Polo.
Freital has become synonymous in Germany with right-wing extremism in recent weeks due to anti-immigration protests which have taken place in the town. In June, 160 demonstrators tried for three days to prevent refugees from entering a hotel they are being housed in in the town. Spiegel reported that they were chanting “Criminal foreigners – out, out, out!”. In early July anti-refugee protesters took over a town hall meeting with angry locals claiming money was being wasted on asylum seekers. Freital is situated on the outskirts of Dresden which is the birthplace of the Pegida movement, a xenophobic organization which claims to be fighting against a Muslim take-over of the West. At its high point at the start of 2015, Pegida was bringing 20,000 people onto the streets for its weekly marches.
The association "Dresden without Nazis" said on its Facebook page that "Michael Richter, as one of the faces of the Organisation for Acceptance and Tolerance, has worked for months in Freital against the hegemony the Nazis have on the streets - We stand in solidarity with Richter."
Attacks on refugees in east Germany continue
Refugees suffered attacks in Brandenburg Dresden and Thuringia over the weekend, as a recent pattern of attacks on refugees and their housing in eastern Germany continued. A refugee family with two young daughters aged two and five awoke to a fire in their apartment in Brandenburg an der Havel on Saturday night. Someone had doused a newspaper in fire accelerant and thrown it at the family's front door. The 24-year-old mother first smelled something burning and woke her 27-year-old husband, who was able to put out the flames. Police said that the perpetrator must have come through the front entrance of the apartment building, which was open, and was able to escape undetected.
In Dresden, a group of 27 people attacked a refugee home with stones. Police were able to identify the suspects shortly after the attack. On Friday four Syrian asylum-seekers in the Thuringian town of Greiz were injured when, according to their account, a group of young men attacked them and started beating them up. Police arrested three people aged 18, 23 and 26. Officials said they did not rule out that the attack was motivated by xenophobia. A demonstration by the far-right National Democratic Party's (NPD) supporters also turned violent on Friday when protesters gathered to demonstrate against asylum-seekers.
State leader: send more refugees to the east
The Minister-President of the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, said in an interview on Sunday with newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he wants more refugees to be sent to less-populous regions in eastern Germany. Areas that take in more refugees could also receive some compensation, he suggested.
© The Local - Germany
Germany: Number of far-right killings since 1990 revised up
The number of murder cases with a far-right motive since 1990 is higher then previously thought, police data show. The Greens party requested a revision after the killings allegedly committed by the NSU came to light.
27/7/2015- Data released by Germany's Interior Ministry, based on findings from Germany's Federal Criminal Office (BKA) and its state counterparts (LKA) show there have been at least 15 more people murdered by right-wing perpetrators in the last 25 years than previously thought. Of the 745 cases that were re-examined, there were at least 15 more cases nationwide related to far-right violence, according to the report, which was released on Monday. In total, there were 69 far-right assaults that resulted in 75 deaths and 145 injuries since 1990. Nine of the 15 additional murder cases announced on Monday occurred in the eastern state of Brandenburg, which had already released state data at the end of June. The new analysis had been requested by the Greens party's parliamentary group after the 10 killings allegedly committed by the neo-Nazi terror cell National Socialist Underground (NSU) had come to light in 2011.
The Greens have complained about the methods used to collate the data. While Brandenburg made use of information obtained from family members and the general public, other states did not avail themselves of that option, distorting the findings, according to critics. Lawmaker Monika Lazar told the German daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung" that the government had "crashed into a wall with its eyes open" with regard to the review. Lazar also criticized the fact that the BKA's review solely focused on identifying cases with an extremist or terrorist background, which she says would exclude many cases with a far-right motive that did not go as far as being classed as "intending to disregard or do away with the constitution." The Interior Ministry pointed out that the Federal Criminal Office mainly collated data from the individual states and that the methods used in their reviews was up to them.
© The Deutsche Welle.
Germany: Is the Ugly German Back? Flames of Hate Haunt a Nation
24/7/2015- It's a Monday night in July and Samuel Osei is frightened to death. Two neo-Nazis have entered the concrete bloc apartment building where Osei is staying, on the edge of Greifswald, a city in eastern Germany. The two men are drunk and swearing. Osei, an asylum-seeker from Ghana, steps out on his balcony and tries to placate them. "I'm sorry," he calls out. But the right-wing extremists only grow more aggressive. They begin shouting. One of the two takes off his shirt and Osei recognizes a swastika on his chest. The men storm into the building and begin pounding on the door to Osei's apartment. They then go down to the basement and remove the fuses, cutting off the power. Osei cowers in his room in the dark. He calls a friend who in turn alerts the police. The attackers have already left by the time officers.
Osei chokes up when he talks about that evening a week and a half ago. Traces of the attack are still visible -- the door is dented and its peephole shattered. "These guys wanted to put an end to something," he says. Osei, who is 29, has been living in Germany for eight months. He's taking German lessons and earns his money by helping other refugees move. Osei likes Greifswald, which is located on the Baltic coast -- he especially likes the sea and the Old Town. He says most people in the city are friendly and helpful. At the same time, he's struggling with the animosity he has experienced at the hands of racists. One of the men involved in the attack had already cursed at him on the street. His mailbox at the apartment was also vandalized several times. The Ghanaian also has photos of the two attackers and has given a statement to the police. The state Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which is responsible for monitoring extremists, including neo-Nazis, in Germany, has also opened an investigation. "It was mental torture," Osei says.
Germany these days is a nation split in two. On the one side is a populace that is showing greater solidarity with refugees than ever seen before. Initiatives have been created across the country to assist asylum-seekers in their everyday lives. The other half of the country is extremely difficult to tolerate in some places. Racist violence is on the rise. The German Interior Ministry registered 173 instances of criminal right-wing offenses against accommodations for asylum-seekers during the first six months of this year, almost three times as many as during the same period the previous year. Between January and June of 2015, racists attacked facilities providing accommodations for asylum-seekers on an almost daily basis. It's a grim statistic, but the real figures may be even higher, because many refugees are afraid to report incidents to police. "We have to assume that further crimes will be committed against accommodations for asylum-seekers," says Holger Münch, the president of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office.
German President Joachim Gauck recently condemned the attacks as "disgusting." German Justice Minister Heiko Maas of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), spoke of an "attack on our society." But while these two German leaders are clearly worried about social stability in the country, other politicians seem to be fueling the tensions. Horst Seehofer, who heads the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), swaggers on about "mass abuse of the asylum system." It has long been a cliché in Germany that most xenophobic attacks take place in the states that were formerly part of East Germany. Attacks recently have indeed been increasing in the east, but they are also on the rise elsewhere. There have been arson attacks against asylum-seeker hostels in Bavaria and Rhineland-Palatinate in the west, as well as calls by neo-Nazis to attack immigrants. Some of the scenes evoke the pogroms against migrants that plagued Germany during the 1990s. It begs the question: Has the "ugly German" returned?
Meissen, Saxony: In the Heart of Hatred
There had already been indications something would happen. Three weeks before refugees were supposed to move into a rental building in the historic center of Meissen, a city in the eastern state of Saxony near Dresden, unknown perpetrators posted a note on the door. In German and, just to be safe, in English, they demanded that the new arrivals leave Meissen as soon as possible. Building owner Ingolf Brumm contacted the police, but they didn't see any need to look into the matter. A short time later, the building went up in flames. The arsonist used an accelerant and the fire spread quickly. The soot covered three floors of the building right up to the ceiling. A new floor now has to be laid, and doors need to be torn out and replaced. In total, the fire caused over €200,000 ($219,530) in damage. "This was an attack with a message," says Brumm.
The attack was far from an isolated incident in Saxony, where many similar crimes have been reported. The state has become a center for racist and right-wing extremist agitators. The xenophobic National Socialist Underground (NSU) terrorist cell responsible for killing nine immigrants, mostly Turks, between 2000 and 2006 found shelter and support in the city of Zwickau for years. The National Democratic Party (NPD), which has been described by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as "racist, anti-Semitic and revisionist," has been elected into the state parliament several times. The party lost the last election in the state, but just barely.
Part of the reason for the loss is attributable to the fact that the right-wing populists in the new Alternative for Germany party scored close to 10 percent in the vote. This past winter, thousands of supporters of the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) movement took to the streets of Dresden on Mondays in marches against Muslims and refugees. Now Saxony's racists are gathering on a regular basis in front of an asylum-seekers hostel in the nearby town of Freital. The protesters shout epithets like "foreigners get out!" or "lying press," a term used in an effort to manipulate public opinion against the press reporting on the xenophobic developments.
Saxony's state government has given the right-wing extremists free reign for years. It was only recently that state governor Stanislaw Tillich of Merkel's CDU finally brought himself to condemn the racist actions in the state parliament. In the past, his party had repeatedly sought to exploit the volatile atmosphere for its own political gain rather than take a stance against the hate-mongering. After the first Pegida protests, state Interior Minister Markus Ulbig even announced the deployment of special police units to combat criminal asylum-seekers. In Meissen, which is world famous for its porcelain, Merkel's CDU party has trouble distancing itself from right-wing populists. Pegida co-founder Thomas Tallacker even sat on the city council under the party's banner.
It took hate-mongering Facebook posts about "half-starved Ramadan Turks" and refugees he described as an "uneducated pack" for him to have to resign. He's still a member of the party today. Meanwhile, District Administrator Arndt Steinbach believes the party needs to maintain a dialogue with supporters of the NPD. He has also suggested that prisons could be used to house refugees. On a July night three weeks after the arson attack, around 400 followers of the "Homeland Protection" citizens' group gathered for a demonstration in front of Meissen's city hall. People from all walks of life were among the protesters -- pensioners, fathers with their children in tow and even a former member of the state parliament with the NPD. They waved German flags. A cloth banner read, "Meissen rejects asylum fraud and the failure of politics."
Stephane Simon from Leipzig gave a speech at the event. The activist is well-networked in the neo-Nazi scene and made appearances at the Pegida protests this winter. Now he talks of Germany's downfall. "The arsonists aren't the people who set the refugee hostel on fire," he says later in the evening. "The arsonists are the politicians who had it built." Andreas Zick, the head of the Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at the University of Bielefeld has been researching German prejudices against different groups for many years now. He's says that although there are fewer racists in Germany today than in the past, those that do exist have also become more radical. The feelings of support they experience at anti-asylum protests like the one in Freital serve to empower them to act.
The police and officials at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution so far have no proof that the arsonists and agitators are forming a nation-wide network. Investigators are operating on the assumption that the crimes against asylum accommodations are being committed by individuals and very small groups. But crossover with organized extremism is frequent.
Halle: Everyday Terror
Egged on by local residents, neo-Nazis in Silberhöhe, a neighborhood in Halle, a city in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, have been hunting down Roma for a year now, say officials at the state branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. They claim perpetrators have attacked the migrants with knives and stun guns. Hundreds of Halle residents have joined the Facebook page "Residents of Silberhöhe Are Defending Themselves." Several dozen right-wing extremists are meeting under the banner the "Halle/Saale Brigade." The group is planning protests against refugees and also maintains ties with right-wing extremist groups. The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe has now issued an order for the Halle/Saale Brigade to be placed under observation. The brigade is also under the sights of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. One investigator warns that no one can say which "group dynamic processes" are currently being unleashed in Germany. The investigator notes that the NSU also got its start with propaganda offenses and fake bombs.
Cheikna Hamala Fadiga has been forced to come up with his own rules for daily life in Halle. The first one is: "Fear is good. It protects you." Fear is ever present when the immigrant from Mali in West Africa walks through the city center. "Am I safe here?" the 23-year-old asks. He avoids certain areas, like Silberhöhe and the football stadium. The second rule is: "When they call you the n-word and ask, 'What are you doing here?' you raise your voice. Clear and loud." Fadiga then addresses them with, "Are you talking to me?" And that's the third rule: "You have to have fear, but you can never show it -- otherwise they've won." Fadiga has lived in Halle for the past three years. He came as a refugee. Two years ago, a group of young men mobbed him at the city's train station. Following his own rules, he raised his voice so that other people passing by would hear. "Do you mean me?" he asked. Fadiga says they punched him in the face before he ran away, bleeding. He left his bicycle behind and they kicked it until it was destroyed.
Fadiga is sitting in the forecourt of the local university. The sun is shining and students can be seen playing guitars. Fadiga would like to go to college one day, but right now he is catching up and completing high school. A few months ago, he met with Reiner Hasloff, the governor of Saxony-Anhalt. The CDU politician spoke of immigration as an opportunity, Fadiga recalls, and about a welcoming culture. The latter term is being bandied about frequently in Germany these days as the number of immigrants and refugees increases. "But who can speak of a welcoming culture when we're afraid for our safety."
Mengerskirchen: Islam the Bogeyman
The anti-asylum agitators want to spread fear, foment unrest and delay the refugees' move-in dates. In their propaganda, they make use of sentiment against blacks, Roma and Muslims. Muslim asylum-seekers are accused of being associated with the Islamic State terror organization, even though many of them fled from precisely that group. Muslims were also the target of a July 1 attack in Mengerskirchen, in the central German state of Hessen. It was first noticed by newspaper deliveryman Hans-Werner Marek in the early morning, in front of a single-family home. There, Marek found half a pig head on some stairs and other pig remains spread around the building. Fifteen refugees were scheduled to move into the house. The words "go home" were written in red paint on the wall. "I was really ashamed to be German," Marek says.
Three weeks later, owner Franz Lugert welcomed the home's first residents, a Syrian-Palestinian family with five-year-old twins and a baby. Lugert didn't tell them about the attack because he didn't want to scare them. Local activists and politicians who advocate for refugees also become targets of harassment. Right-wing groups like the "Dritte Weg," or Third Way, try to disrupt asylum-related town hall meetings. A few days ago, there was an escalation at a discussion forum in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region, to which the president of the German Association of Cities, Eva Lohse, a lawmaker with the Christian Democrats, had been invited. Before the event began, the police reported that Dritte Weg cadres had handed out flyers protesting the "refugee hostels." Participants claim the event itself was then torpedoed by members of the extreme right, who let loose boos, laughter and insults. Refugees were vilified as criminals, their supporters screamed down. "I've never experienced anything like that," says Lohse.
Many right-wing groups use the Internet to whip up antipathy. Facebook pages like "German patriotic resistance" or "Freital resists" are used to spread inhuman hate. Christiane Schneider, leader of the political extremism department of the public youth protection watchdog jugendschutz.net, says the number of Internet pages with racist content has grown drastically in the past few months. "There is a country-wide network of these kinds of pages," Schneider says. Many of them exist on the "thin line between legal expression of opinion and incitement of the people." The racism is also frequently overt. A shaved-headed man from the Allgäu, in southern Germany, rants on Facebook: "Because the shitty pack of Jews and Muslim slobber are taking more and more away from us, it is we who have no future in our country. It's time to take up arms or whatever weapons you can get your hands on. Use them and defend yourselves. We need to annihilate the maggots!"
A man from Waldenburg in Saxony writes: "HEY YOU PARASITE ... I'll be in Freital next Sunday ... I'll get you, you deviant swine!!!! If the police won't act, I'LL act. I'll get you, you swine." And a woman argues: "According to the media, refugees are to be housed in Buchenwald ... all they have to do is turn the gas back on." Many of them posted their hateful tirades openly onto the Web with their full names, says youth protection worker Schneider. "The whole thing has reached a kind of degree of normality."
Tegernsee: Middle Class Protest
Racism isn't limited to the neo-Nazi scene, to the prefab estates of the former East or to people with little education. There is also resentment against the refugees in the middle class, among the wealthy and the very wealthy. The inhabitants of Tegernsee, in the Bavarian region of Oberbayern, are largely upper middle class. Businesspeople, lawyers and doctors live here, amidst turquoise-blue water and green mountains. Some local citizens regularly met in the Waakirchen community gymnasium to bowl, often multiple times per month. The bowlers allowed the tenant of the Kegelstüberl, Stefan Heufelder, to earn decent income. But since the authorities began housing 21 refugees in the basement of the gymnasium in late April, the customers have stayed away.
Instead, Heufelder got calls from upset customers. They complained that they didn't want to stand shoulder to shoulder with "blacks" at the urinal, or run into them during their smoke breaks at the tavern. Heufelder was horrified by his customers' reactions. "These are people from well-to-do circles," he says. "You wouldn't expect something like that." Rumors are spreading locally: The refugee applicants from Syria, Eritrea, Mali and Senegal are reportedly bringing in disease. The parents of primary-school children asked the community to separate the school's yard from the gymnasium with a fence and privacy screen, purportedly to protect the privacy of the refugees in the basement. Waakirchen's mayor, Sepp Hartl, tried to defuse the anger. "The refugees may have differently colored skin, but they are people with a heart and soul," he told the public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. Now he's receiving threatening letters.
Because Hartl wants to set up containers for refugees in the town, people protested a meeting he attended in May. Owners are afraid that homes in the area will lose value. According to Bielefeld conflict researcher Andreas Zick, German politicians and society are too tolerant of anti-refugee sentiment. He argues that the state has pushed back sexism and homophobia, but too little has been done to combat stereotypes about asylum-seekers. Members of the educated classes, of all people, tend to view refugees as economically worthless, Zick says. Only a small number of people with anti-refugee sentiments have ever come into contact with refugees. They know very little about the experiences of those looking for safe haven, or about their often extremely perilous odyssey to Germany. That ignorance makes it easier for them to demonize refugees as dangerous.
Hilda: Refugee Stigma
The worst, Osman says, is the waiting. "The waiting makes us sick." For seven months, Osman, a 32-year-old IT expert from Syria, has been living in a refugee shelter in Hilden, a suburb of Düsseldorf. He shares a small room with three other men, and can't wait for the authorities to make a decision about his refugee status. Individual communities like nearby Leverkusen or Wuppertal house the majority of their refugees in apartments. But the authorities usually place them in so-called collective housing -- in schools, gymnasiums or containers at the edge of the city. The refugees often feel isolated from society in the camps. The people living in Hilden's shelters claim they were bullied by employees of the immigration office. A female refugee says helpers from the city were banned from donating a washing machine. The office disputes this.
Osman speaks perfect English. He would like to work and make money for his family, which has been stuck in Lebanon ever since they fled from Syria. But the law makes it more difficult for refugees to search for work. Although asylum-seekers are allowed to find a job three months after they arrive, in most cases employers need to prove that they couldn't find any qualified German or EU applicants before they can hire an asylum-seeker. Politicians ask Germans to have more solidarity with migrants, but the country's public institutions themselves play a role in the establishment of racist fears. People of color are more often stopped at train stations and in trains. The United Nations has described this practice as a form of "racial profiling."
In early July, just a few days after the refugee home in Meissen caught fire, the federal parliament, the Bundestag, agreed to toughen Germany's refugee law. In the future, refugees coming to Germany with the help of smugglers and those circumventing border controls could lose their passport, and asylum-seekers making false statements to authorities could be arrested. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière of the CDU said that the tough approach to the new arrivals is necessary in order to secure public "approval for immigration and the entry of people in need of protection in Germany," as if Germans were somehow more likely to approve of asylum policies if some of the refugees were detained.
Remchingen: The End of an Illusion
The frame of the roof truss is visible from afar, the black beams rising up like a memorial in the blue summer sky. From close up, visitors can spot evidence of the fire's power -- broken roof tiles on the ground, soot covering the facade above the window openings. Refugees were supposed to move into the building in Remchingen, near Karlsruhe, shortly. The people responsible have yet to be caught -- it remains unclear what caused the fire, but the Karlsruhe Criminal Police believe it was likely arson. The fire, which took place in the night of the Saturday before last, didn't merely destroy the building, it also destroyed an illusion: that right-wing attacks take place in the former East, not in West German neighborhoods.
The state government of Baden-Württemberg had done lots of things right when it came to refugee policy. The state has an Integration Ministry at its disposal and State Governor Winfried Kretschmann, a member of the Green Party, organizes refugee summits that bring together representatives from society and the municipalities, with the goal of strengthening solidarity. But that only makes the shock about the Remchingen fire bigger. Kretschmann describes it as a "vile arson attack." The district administrator says, "We are ashamed that something like that could happen here." Remchingen's mayor, Luca Prayon, sits perplexed in his office a few days after the event. He looks exhausted. What went wrong?
Prayon talks about the things that are going well in his community. A week before the fire, locals and refugees celebrated a farm festival together. This Sunday, the local council has invited people to join a rally for a "cosmopolitan and pluralistic county." There is also to be a minute of silence. But it was likely no coincidence that the fire took place in Remchingen. The region has been considered a right-wing hotspot for years. Homeowners who wanted to sell their buildings to the community so they could be used as refugee homes received threatening letters. Shortly after the fire, the members of Die Rechte Enzkreis, a right-wing group, put flyers in mailboxes. "Fraud has many faces," they said. And "why the expensive integration courses?" In a neighboring community, people formed an anti-refugee initiative hoping to use a public petition to block the opening of a refugee hostel. It didn't take long for them to find the supporters they needed for the petition.
© The Spiegel
Headlines 24 July, 2015
Ukraine: Gay couple kicked and pepper sprayed by far-right mob in Kiev
Zoryan Kis and Tymur Levchuk were attacked by group of 15-20 young men after deciding to test people’s reactions to them holding hands.
23/7/2015- A gay couple in Kiev have replicated a viral video filmed earlier this month in Moscow to test how Ukrainians would react to two men holding hands. In the original video, which was inspired by the supreme court’s decision in late June to legalise gay marriage in the US, two men from the prank-loving YouTube channel ChebuRussia TV walked around downtown Moscow holding hands. Zoryan Kis and Tymur Levchuk adopted the same format in their video for Bird in Flight magazine, but had a generally more positive experience in the Ukrainian capital. Most passersby simply went about their business, although some stopped and stared. One group of giggling girls joked they should kiss each other and took a photo of the pair on a smartphone. The couple then decided “to be a little more provocative”, and Levchuk sat on Kis’s lap on a bench on Khreshchatyk street, downtown Kiev’s main thoroughfare, with a bouquet of flowers. They were approached by a group of between 10 and 15 young men with far-right views, Kis said, who told them they had mistaken Ukraine for the US and asked if they were “patriots”.
After a nearby police patrol moved on, the young men pepper-sprayed Kis and Levchuk and three of them kicked the couple before bystanders intervened and the attackers ran off. Kis told the Guardian that although violence against LGBT people has always existed in Ukraine, the video showed most Ukrainians are tolerant and the main cause of the problem is a small, aggressive far-right minority. He said he hoped it would raise awareness of discrimination and encourage the president, Petro Poroshenko, to include protections for LGBT people in the new constitution that is being drafted. Referring to conservative policies in Russia, including a law against so-called gay propaganda, he said: “Ukraine has definitely made some progress, and the fact that there isn’t state homophobia in Ukraine is probably the reason why ordinary people weren’t aggressive towards us. But if Ukraine wants to move on and get closer to Europe, the government must act to protect us from people like those attackers.”
The Ukrainian far-right has grown in influence after playing a key role in the Euromaidan demonstrations that brought the current pro-Western government to power, and in the conflict with Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. Earlier this month, a shootout involving the ultra-nationalist militia Right Sector left two dead in western Ukraine and led to a standoff with the authorities. Right Sector’s leader, Dmytro Yarosh, called for a referendum to impeach Poroshenko as supporters rallied in the capital on Tuesday. Maxim Eristavi, a Kiev-based journalist and a member of the LGBT community, said the Mukacheve attack and the assault on Kis and Levchuk were the results of the government’s passive stance towards rightwing extremism. He said top officials failed to condemn an attack by dozens of assailants on a gay pride parade in the capital last month. Eristavi said: “There’s a culture of impunity among Ukrainian far-right extremists that is flourishing on the local governing and political elite’s inability to issue a condemnation of violent paramilitaries.”
© The Guardian
Hate crime in Ireland: Woman forced to hide in friend's attic
22/7/2015- Jane* has not slept for more than two weeks, has barely eaten, and still shakes from the trauma. She will not stay any longer in what her children call the “scary movie house” in west Dublin. Last Thursday, she took a four-hour bus journey to Donegal to bring her children to safety, while she now seeks refuge in a friend’s attic in Dublin. When two men came to her house in Clondalkin in the middle of the night, a week ago, and sprayed “Blacks Out” across her front window, she was left with no choice. “I thought it was horrible,” Jane, a single mother, tells the Irish Examiner. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I called the guards and they came and they stayed here for about two hours. I was so scared, so, so scared.” The graffiti attack came on the back of two incidents of having her car tyres slashed, both in the space of a fortnight.
Last Friday, two days after the graffiti attack, her tyres were slashed for a third time. Jane has gone to the council and the homelessness service, but said she was turned away by both. They say that, as she is in private rented accommodation, although on rent allowance, they cannot help her. “After that, I couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t know where I was going to bring the children,” Jane says. “I was driving around and around for ages. I was in a state. The boy was crying, I was crying. My girl said, ‘mommy, I am not going to that street’. “They said they were not going to ‘the horrible house’, ‘the scary movie house’. I didn’t know what to do. We had nowhere to go.” She reached out to a friend, staying there on Wednesday night. The next day, she brought her children to a friend in Donegal while she returned on Friday.
“It is very hard to be separated from my children, but I have no idea what is going to happen,” she says. Her son, aged 12, and her daughter, 8, were born in Ireland and are Irish citizens. Now they feel alien. “They do not feel part of Irish society anymore,” she says. Jane is exhausted from it all: “Since two weeks I am not sleeping, I don’t feel hungry, I am shaking when I think of it.” She pointed out, however, that she has many good neighbours. Local People Before Profit councillor Gino Kenny said the “distorted individuals” behind the attacks did not speak for the community. Both the gardaí in Clondalkin and South Dublin County Council said they are investigating Jane’s case. However, her story is just one of a rising number of racist attacks across the country, says Shane O’Curry, director of the European Network Against Racism Ireland.
He said statistics showed there were 137 racist hate crimes in 2014. He said they are not captured fully in Garda statistics which, he said, recorded 43 comparative racist crimes last year.
Some of the cases include:
# A young black African male who was assaulted by six people while walking through Dublin city centre in the early evening;
# A six-month pregnant woman kicked in the stomach by her neighbour;
# A man and his daughter whose home in Cork was subjected to an arson attack;
# A 10-year-old Muslim girl hit by a group of young people in a playground.
The highest number of reports come from south and north Dublin, followed by Cork. Mr O’Curry said his group’s experience from hosting workshops shows that between 60% and 70% of victims do not report incidents to gardaí. He said the lack of laws to tackle racism is part of the problem: “In Europe, Ireland stands alone in failing to provide statutory protections for victims of hate crime.”
*Jane is not her real name
© The Irish Examiner
Italian judge indicts 25 far-right suspects
20/7/2015- An Italian judge has indicted 25 suspected members of the extreme-right movement Stormfront on charges of racial hatred and making threats following posts on the group's website against migrants, Jews and officials. The news agency ANSA reported Monday that the indictment stems from posts on the group's website in 2011 and 2012. A judge in Rome set the opening date of the trial for Dec. 15. Among those targeted by the group were the anti-Mafia writer Roberto Saviano and Mayor Giusi Nicolini of the southern Sicilian island of Lampedusa, where thousands of migrants fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty in Africa have arrived in recent years seeking a new life in Europe.
© The Associated Press
In which countries is it illegal to perform the Nazi salute?
20/7/2015- The Nazi salute is short-hand for fascism, and in a number of countries performing it can see the perpetrator end up behind bars. Following The Sun's release over the weekend of footage from the 1930s in which the Queen is seen as a child giving the Nazi salute, here are the countries where making the infamous gesture is a criminal offence.
Germany and Austria
Laws against giving the Nazi salute or displaying Nazi symbols were passed shortly after the end of the Second World War. Giving the Nazi salute in Germany could result in a six-month prison sentence. In 2011 a 30-year-old Canadian tourist was arrested after he was photographed giving the Nazi salute outside the Reichstag, the German parliament building, in Berlin. He got off with a fine and several hours in police custody. In Austria, where the anti-Nazi Prohibition Act prohibits giving the Nazi salute, police in Vienna were strongly criticised for their slow response when members of the group Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) apparently gave the Nazi salute at a demonstration in February this year.
Slovakia and the Czech Republic
The Nazi salute is also banned in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia having been under Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Those convicted could face up to five years in jail, but the restrictions are harder to enforce. In order to secure a conviction the authorities must prove the person giving the salute had the intention of promo-ting an extremist ideology. In 2014 a change to the law in Slovakia meant the police can now pursue a lower order offence against those giving the Nazi salute, making it easier to secure a conviction, but resulting in a fine rather than a prison sentence.
Switzerland and Sweden
There are restrictions on giving the Nazi salute in Switzerland and Sweden, where giving the gesture is classified as a hate crime. But in 2014 the Swiss supreme court ruled that making the gesture did not break the country's anti-racism law if the person giving it was only expressing their own convictions. Making the gesture in a bid to promote racist ideology to others, though, is still a criminal offence. In most cases those convicted have been handed fines rather than sentenced to time in jail.
© The Independent
UK: Hunt For Man Who Tried To Pull Off Woman's Hijab
Police are trying to trace a man with a distinctive tattoo of a cross on his neck as part of a hate crime against a Muslim woman.
24/7/2015- Police investigating an attempt to pull off a woman's hijab on a train have released CCTV images of a man they want to speak to. Officers from the British Transport Police said the man also shouted abuse at the passenger travelling between Matlock and Derby on Saturday. He was ejected from the train at Ambergate station by a member of staff following the alleged hate crime at about 4.50pm. Investigating officer PC Joseph Jenkins said: "The victim was extremely distressed by this shocking incident, as I'm sure was everyone else who witnessed it. "Nobody should have to put up with such behaviour, and we are working extremely hard to find the person responsible. I am confident the man in the images we are issuing today can help with our enquiries." The man officers wish to trace has a distinctive tattoo of a cross on the back of his neck. Rob Greensmith, crime prevention manager from East Midlands Trains, added: "We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour and are taking this incident very seriously. "Everybody has the right to travel on our trains without fear of discrimination and we will be working closely with British Transport Police on their appeal."
© Sky News
UK: To combat disability hate crime, we must understand why people commit it
First-ever survey of the motivation behind disability hate crime reveals that it is often related to an idea of them as ‘benefit scroungers’ who get special perks.
22/7/2015- After the Equality and Human Rights Commission 2011 report on disability hate crime, Hidden in Plain Sight, the government agreed to publish perpetrator analysis. Yet despite repeated requests it has not. So the Disability Hate Crime Network, a voluntary group campaigning against the crime, carried out a small, online survey of 100 disabled people last month to ask them more about the perpetrators of hate crimes. We asked about the gender, race and age of the attackers, location of the incident, whether the attacker acted alone or in a group, and about perceived motivation. More than half of respondents (57%) said they were attacked on the street, and one-fifth on public transport. A quarter of incidents occurred at home. Other people were attacked in pubs and shops, with some mentioning social media. Perpetrators were overwhelmingly white.
Around half (49%) of all attacks were group based. Women were involved in most group attacks (men were more involved in lone attacks). One victim said they were: “Pushed from chair by women, verbally abused by both men and women. Usually older people.” Another reported: “Worst incident – an older white woman. Other-wise, mostly men.” Another said: “Young mother with child abused me in a shop car park.” In the Crown Prosecution Service Hate Crime Report 2013-214, women were convicted of 25% of disability hate crimes, but only between 13-15% of other forms of hate crime. Motivation varied widely, but 11 out of 60 comments on the incidents said attackers mentioned “benefits” or “scroungers”. “I was verbally abused as a scrounger whilst shopping ... using a mobility scooter,” said one respondent. “I was asked why I use a wheelchair sometimes, but sticks on other days. I tried to explain my condition varies from day to day. I was then told I was just fat and lazy and was doing it to get benefits,” said another.
Jealousy of the perceived “perks” of disability, such as the adapted car, seemed to be a motivating factor in some attacks. Disabled people are also perceived as in the way. “On one occasion when I fell a man just stepped over me like I was vermin”, said a respondent. Another said: “There’s usually some kind of ‘useless’ part of the labelling..,a get out of the way, or why are you blocking everything up, or some such.” Space on buses came up as a common flashpoint: “The bus was quite full but a guy who had a pram wanted to sit with his partner and demanded I move. I said no and tried to explain my disability. He called me a ‘spas’ and a ‘mong’”. The network has shared the research with the CPS and the EHRC. But a longer piece of detailed research is overdue. Why are so many women involved? Why so many group attacks? If we can understand the motivation, perhaps we can start to develop a prevention strategy to combat this crime.
A more detailed summary of the research can be found at katharinequarmby.wordpress.com
© The Guardian
UK: Tackling hate crime in Northumberland through technology
Agencies in Northumberland are turning to technology to help make it easier to report and tackle hate crime in the county.
22/7/2015- And to help launch a new mobile phone app which raises awareness of this sometimes hidden crime, a conference is being held in Northumberland which will hear first-hand the impact hate crime can have. The app, developed for the Safer Northumberland Partnership and available for iPhone and Android phones, helps people understand how to deal with the traumatic effect of such crimes, why it happens, how to report it and where to seek help and support. Across Northumberland over the past year, there were 69 hate crimes – which can include people being targeted over race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. As hate crime is thought to be widely under-reported nationally, the app allows individuals to report instances wherever and whenever they feel safe.
The app will be officially launched at a special conference in County Hall tomorrow, when a variety of agencies will come together for a series of presentations on hate crime – including input from people in the county who have suffered hate crime themselves. The Safer Northumberland Partnership includes Northumberland County Council, Northumbria Police, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Probation Service and Northumberland Care Trust, as well as a variety of voluntary sector organisations. Liz Simpson, chairman of the Safer Northumberland Partnership, said: “While this county is one of the safest in the UK, we know there is still under-reporting of hate crime and we need to do all we can to make it easier for people to report incidents easily and quickly. “We want as many people as possible to be aware of this issue and the fact help is out there. There are a number of agencies doing great work to raise awareness and offer support and we want to bring them all together. If this app manages to save just one person from this despicable kind of crime, then it has to be worth it.
Detective Chief Inspector Deborah Alderson, from Northumbria Police, said: “While some hate crimes are obvious, not all are so easy to identify and some people can be victims of hate crime without even knowing, that’s why it’s so important that we raise awareness in what this is. “We need people to know that the police, and our partners, are here to help and nobody needs to feel like they have to suffer in silence. Anyone who has been subjected to behaviour that makes them feel upset, nervous or vulnerable or feel targeted because of their age, faith, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation or because they are transgender should report it to police straight away. “Anyone can report a hate crime, whether you are a victim, a family member, a carer or think you’ve witnessed a crime. The priority for us is to ensure that victims of hate incidents and crimes are supported and that appropriate actions are taken.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has long campaigned against hate crime. She said: “I support any initiative to tackle hate crime. No one should ever be victimised because they have a different faith, gender, sexuality, age or disability. “It’s incredibly important to me that anyone suffering from this appalling crime has the confidence to speak out and get help in whichever way is best for them and makes them feel most comfortable. As technology continues to evolve, people receive information in new ways such as via apps on phones. “This app gives people a wealth of information and support options to their own phone. I hope it goes a long way to bringing an end to this type of crime and gives people encouragement to speak out about it.” The app can be downloaded for Apple and Android phones by searching for Hate Crime 4 through the App Store or Google Play store.
© The Northcumberland Gazette
UK: Man fined following anti-Semitic harassment in Hackney
21/7/2015- A man has pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated harassment after abusing a Jewish man who told him to stop urinating in public besides playing children. Jakub Kawczynsk, a 34-year old builder, said “f***ing Jewish f***ers” when challenged by an Orthodox Hackney resident, during the 21 June incident involving neighbourhood watch group Shomrim. Kawczynsk was handed a £795 fine, including £200 compensation to the victim. Speaking after the hearing at Thames Magistrates, Sgt. Owen Pyle of Springfield Safer Neighbourhood Team said the behaviour was “unacceptable,” adding: “We simply will not stand for it.” Chaim Kahan from Stamford Hill’s Shomrim said: “Hate crime can have a profound and lasting effect on its victims. Such behaviour should not be tolerated. Everyone has the right to be safe and to feel safe within their communities.”
© Jewish News UK
UK: Islamic Network charity website called for the slaughter of gay people
Islamic Network, a Muslim charity, leant its name to articles calling for the murder of homosexuals and encouraging the killing of Muslims, an inquiry has found.
20/7/2015- An investigation by the Charity Commission has found posts on the Islamic Network's website "encouraged violence and denigrated particular faiths". The Charity Commission has said in a statement on its findings:"The charity's website had hosted historic material from 2004 that legitimised the killing of gay people and encouraged the killing of Muslims in certain circumstances." The investigation concluded it was inappropriate for the charity to host the information in its name on the website, although Islamic Network's current trustees had "acted quickly to take the website offline when the material in question came to their attention". The current heads of the charity were not in place when the information was published. The domain name which hosted the articles was inherited by the charity. The inquiry focused on two articles, one called "The prohibition of the blood of a Muslim and the reasons for shedding it" and the other "Homosexuality".
The former made reference to the circumstances when under an interpretation of Islamic law it was permissible to "spill the blood of a Muslim". The instances included adultery, murder and apostacy. The article "Homosexuality" claimed that homosexuality was a "perverted sexual behaviour", a "sick disease" and an "evil and filthy practice". It advocated that gay people should be "destroyed by fire", "executed by being thrown from a great height" and "stoned to death". Michelle Russell, director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: "Trustees carry ultimate responsibility for the operation and activities of the charity, including for the content of their charity's website and social media. "Trustees are responsible for ensuring steps are taken to remove clearly inappropriate content posted on their website straight away. In cases of illegality such as hate crime or terrorist-related material, they must report the matter to the police," she added.
Islamic Network's aims include increasing awareness of the tenets of the Islamic faith among Muslims and non-Muslims through educational media and seminars. The charity has said in a statement to IBTimes UK that "As previously stated this was an historical website we had inherited over a decade ago with thousands of articles which, like the ones in question, had been posted by unknown third parties overseas without our knowledge. "We accept we had not completed the process of reviewing the articles as quickly as we should have done. However as soon as we were made aware of the existence of those articles the trustees removed the website with immediate effect. "The trustees recognized these articles were offensive and hateful, and did not reflect our views and were against our own anti-extremism policies."
© The International Business Times - UK
UK: Police face racism probe after secret online FB page is discovered
Britain’s largest police force has launched an investigation into allegations that its officers used a “secret” Facebook group to air racist views about ethnic minorities.
19/7/2015- The Metropolitan Police is examining allegations that serving officers used a closed group on the social network to post racist comments about Gypsies and Travellers. Both groups are officially recognised as ethnic minorities, and discriminating against them is illegal. Police officers could be prosecuted if they are found to have broken the law, and will also face professional misconduct inquiries, Scotland Yard said. But the force was urged to launch a wider review amid claims that racism against both groups has become “endemic” and “part of police culture”. The Met was first alerted to the Facebook group in April after concerns were raised by one of its members. Named “I’ve Met the Met”, it has around 3,000 participants, and serves as an unofficial online forum for serving and retired officers, but is managed on an invite-only basis and cannot be viewed by the public.
Some of the comments were made during a discussion in March about the BBC Trust’s decision to clear Jeremy Clarkson and other Top Gear presenters of wrongdoing for their use of the word “pikey”, a derogatory term for Travellers. Others dated back further. “I never knew a pikey could be offended,” read one comment. “I thought they were devoid of all normal feelings and thoughts … just my opinion based on many years of dealing with these despicable people.” Another said: “There is not a small minority of criminals from the GT [Gypsy and Traveller] community – to all intents and purposes they all depend on crime.” The comments suggest that a “canteen culture of racism towards Gypsies and Travellers” exists within the Met, according to a formal complaint sent to Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe by the Traveller Movement charity at the end of last month.
It also claimed that some police forces “categorise Gypsies and Travellers as criminals”, and that entire operations were sometimes conducted based purely on “ethnic and family name profiling”. The allegations will come as a blow for the Met, which has been working to repair its reputation since Sir William Macpherson’s 1999 report into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence found that it was institutionally racist. In a statement, the force confirmed that officials at its internal watchdog, the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS), had been investigating comments made on the Facebook group for three months. It urged members of the public to come forward if they had concerns about the online behaviour of any officers. “We can confirm that concerns were raised in April 2015 with the DPS regarding comments made by some members of a group on Facebook,” it said. “The group administrators have set the privacy settings as ‘secret’ but we understand it to include former and serving MPS officers among its members.
“DPS is assessing the information to determine whether any serving MPS officer or staff may have committed any acts of misconduct and will also look to see if any criminal offences may have been committed. Should either be disclosed they will be fully investigated.” A spokesman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Government’s human rights watchdog, said it had received a similar complaint about the Facebook group and was “in discussion” with the Met over what action to take. If it believes there is enough evidence of wrongdoing, it has the power to order a full investigation into racism within the British police service.
Yvonne MacNamara, CEO of the Traveller Movement, said the Facebook comments were “shocking”. She added: “The fact that they are potentially made by serving and retired police officers gives us no confidence at all in the Metropolitan Police’s ability to both police these communities and to attract and protect its own staff who are from Gypsy and Traveller backgrounds. “We believe that the Met must set up an internal review to look into the all too common assumptions that all Gypsies and Travellers are criminals, and they do not deserve the same quality of service and policing as any other member of our society.” Jim Davies, chair of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association (GRTPA), said the allegations were a “sad indictment of the police service”, adding that racism against both groups was prevalent in forces across the country, not just in London.
“Racism towards Gypsies and Travellers is endemic and is part of police culture,” he said. “It has been allowed to fester and spread unchallenged for years and the effect on the lives of Gypsies and Travellers in the police service is disastrous. “Members of the GRTPA report having to endure this sort of behaviour on a regular basis, and in order to survive such a hostile environment develop coping mechanisms which include hiding their ethnicity to all but their most trusted friends.”
What the posts say:
# “I never knew a pikey could be offended. I thought they were devoid of all normal feelings and thoughts … just my opinion based on many years of dealing with these despicable people.”
# “I fucking hate Pikeys.”
# “The Policing Diversity book reliably informed us we should ‘remove your footwear when entering a travellers caravan …’
[Reply]: “Ha ha ha that’s only so they can nick them easier.”
# “Pikey is just a word used by many to refer to the low life gypsies in this world. Using it does not mean that you hate all gypsies. Same applies to the ‘n’ word, Paki etc etc”
# “If you don’t live in a caravan, claim dole, have four aliases, convictions for theft of scrap metal, and are an artisan driveway landscaper then sorry chap, you’re not proper Pikey no matter how many teas you’ve had from a baked bean can.”
© The Independent
Headlines 17 July, 2015
Northern Ireland: Newry: Family home attacked in series of 'hate crimes'
An attack on the home of a Traveller family is being treated as the latest in a series of hate crimes at their house in Newry, County Down.
17/7/2015- Windows were broken and paint bombs were thrown at the property in Chequer Court, near the city centre, overnight. Police said they have made several arrests over this and other attacks at the house over the past fortnight. In the first attack on 4 July, a 29-year-old woman was assaulted. The next day, the house was hit with eggs twice.
Sinn Féin councillor Charlie Casey said: "There have been a number of attacks on this family home in recent days which is unacceptable." He added that the family has a number of young children who were "frightened and traumatised by this action". "These attacks must stop and I am calling on anyone with information on them to contact the PSNI before someone is seriously hurt," Mr Casey said. After the initial attack, a 30-year-old man and 21-year-old woman were arrested for affray and assault causing actual bodily harm. The pair were later released on bail pending further inquiries. The following day, Sunday 5 July, police were called back to the house twice, when eggs where thrown at the property shortly after midnight and again after 10:00 BST. Officers arrested two women aged 26 and 50 and a 24-year-old man on suspicion of various offences.
In the latest incidents within the past two days, police have arrested three women aged 21, 26 and 50 on suspicion of theft, criminal damage, threats to damage property and intimidating a witness. They have been released on bail pending further inquiries. A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and intimidating a witness and was later released on bail pending further inquiries. A 24-year-old man was charged with intimidating a witness and was due to appear before Newry Magistrates Court on Friday.
© BBC News
Germany: Attacks on refugee centers soar
17/7/2015- The latest in a string of attacks on buildings housing refugees in Germany occurred in the early hours of yesterday morning when a former hotel in the village of Reichertshofen, near Munich that was intended for 67 asylum seekers was gutted by fire. No one was staying in the building at the time. The incident - which followed a petition signed by 1,200 residents against housing new refugees - is just the latest in a worrying string of attacks on buildings intended to house those seeking asylum. Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, the Bundeskriminalamt, told Newsweek that there were 71 attacks on buildings housing refugees in the first three months of this year alone. That compares to 150 for the whole of 2014, 58 for 2013, and 24 for 2012. The German government expects the number of people seeking asylum to more than double this year to 450,000. This would be a record number for the country.
Andreas Hieronymus of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), says that from what he reads in the German media, these sorts of attacks on empty buildings are happening three or four times a week. "Everyday something is happening here in relation to asylum seekers homes", he says. He explains that reception centres in Hamburg, for instance, are now receiving 200-300 asylum seekers on a daily basis, and the local administration has run out of resources, resorting to providing tents and sports halls for housing, which is fuelling tensions. News of the latest attack followed reports that a Google map on the service's 'My Maps' feature that reveals the location of refugee centres around Germany has been circulated online by neo-Nazi groups. The map, titled "No refugee centre in my backyard", shows Germany covered in dots indicating refugee accommodation, despite it making no distinction between centres housing hundreds of refugees, or those just housing a few.
According to Deutsche Welle, the map, which gives out addresses of refugee centres as well as requesting users to provide more information, was produced by a German neo-Nazi group which goes by the name 'The Third Way'. Google confirmed to Newsweek that they have now removed the map from their service, explaining in a statement: "We're firm believers in access to information and freedom of expression. Where content is illegal or breaks our content policies or terms of service, including promotion of hatred or harm, we remove it from our products." Hieronymus thinks the map is a particularly ominous sign, and could have been used as a mobilisation tool, and a "new way of agitating". "It's worrying because [anyone] can look and find an asylum seeker home close to him or her, and think: can I make an arson attack or demolish it, or do something else to prevent asylum seekers coming to my area?' It gives people the opportunity to be active," he says.
Germany: Controversial map displaying refugee homes causes a stir
Activists fear an online map apparently created by a neo-Nazi group and which shows the locations of refugee homes and planned shelters across Germany could lead to more attacks against asylum seekers.
16/7/2015- Every red dot on the map represents a shelter for asylum seekers - and there are red dots all over Germany. A quick look at the online map, whose title translates roughly to "No refugee center in my backyard", suggests there is little space left in Germany that isn't already home to an asylum center or refugee shelter. Dots on the map are of equal size regardless of whether an address houses a single refugee or over a hundred. A click on a dot offers more information - often, it's a full address with a street name and number. Sometimes the extra information spells out how many refugees currently live at a shelter or details how many people will reside at a center currently under construction. The former British military base in Niederkrüchten, for example, is expected to house "up to 1,000 asylum seekers," the map said. In other instances, it's pointed out how refugees are "taking over" - a former medical clinic will be turned into a home for asylum seekers, just like a former school gym or a parish hall.
Map linked to neo-Nazi group
The creators of the map, which uses the Google Map service, have requested help filling in details about the refugee homes' locations and sizes from people willing to send addresses to an email address that appears to be affiliated with German neo-Nazi group "The Third Way." The group has published guidelines with the same title as the map and gives detailed information on how to prevent shelters for asylum seekers. The group also provides a guide on how to organize anti-asylum demonstrations, mobilize people against the construction of refugee accommodation and put pressure on local politicians so that the shelters are not built to avoid what the group calls the "flood of asylum seekers."
Stirring up hate
Activists have called on Google to delete the map, arguing that it stirs up hate and promotes violence against asylum seekers. Google is currently investigating the matter, Google Germany spokesperson Lena Heuermann told DW: "MyMaps is a neutral platform that [people] can use to publish geographical information. We will of course remove every map that violates our guidelines and we are currently reviewing if that is the case." Google was unable to comment on how many users had sent in requests to take down the map or when the map was first created. The map does not explicitly call on people to attack refugee homes. Instead it says it wants to prevent abuse of German asylum laws by people who do not require legal protection. Text accompanying the map says that just 2 percent of asylum requests are approved by German authorities.
Statistics from the German Interior Ministry for 2014, however, show that while 1.8 percent of applicants received asylum status, another 24 percent of people applying for shelter in Germany were recognized as refugees deserving protection. There, is, however little that can be done in terms of legal prosecution when it comes to the map, said Robert Lüdecke of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which works to eliminate neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism. The foundation is one of the groups that have urged Google to take down the map. "We realize, of course, that [deleting the map] is not the solution that will solve all problems, but it's important to send a message to operators such as Google to say that we don't tolerate such a thing," Lüdecke told DW.
Refugees at risk
Revealing the addresses posed a threat to asylum seekers, he added. That's also the case with shelters that have yet to be built or converted to housing. "As soon as I say this is going to be housing for asylum seekers, there is the fear and risk as we've seen in the past months and years that right-wing extremists mobilize early on to prevent such housing projects," he added. "This, unfortunately, seems to be a tactic that's working." Figures from Germany's Interior Ministry published last month show that 990 right-wing attacks took place in 2014, an increase of 24 percent compared to 2013. Of last year's violent incidents, 512 of the cases were xenophobic attacks. In the early hours of Thursday, a building in the southern German state of Bavaria that was slated to house refugees was set ablaze. Last weekend, a shelter in Saxony in Germany's east was shot at two nights in a row, bursting windows and scaring residents. "They don't just want to document addresses, they also want to visualize this 'wave' of asylum seekers they always talk about," Lüdecke said. "They don't just want to reach the potential violent criminals and racists, but also those who might voice their displeasure with refugees and tell them: 'Look, in every German state there are refugees now and it's time to act.' "I really fear that this map could provide a travel route for right-wing extremists," Lüdecke said.
© The Deutsche Welle.
Germany: Arsonists set another refugee facility on fire, shooting also reported
16/7/2015- Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that unidentified arsonists in Germany have set yet another building on fire that had been prepared to accommodate refugees. Last night arsonists attacked the still-empty complex in the Bavarian town of Reichertshofen. "We have not yet ruled out the possibility that the motivation was xenophobic," police spokesperson Hans-Peter Kammerer said. Several demonstrations had previously been held in the small town against the planned accommodations for refugees. The former guesthouse was turned into a residential hotel for refugees that was supposed to open in September. The arsonists set two entrances ablaze and the flames spread into a hall which has been completely destroyed. The damages are estimated at EUR 150 000 at least. In recent months several arson attacks on future residential hotels for refugees have been reported in several German states. Police are also investigating the case of a shooting at a residental hotel in the town of Böhlen near Leipzig in Saxony, which already hosts approximately 160 refugees. Unidentified assailants there fired weapons at the building two nights in a row last weekend. No one was physically injured by the incidents. The cladding of the building's facade was damaged.
Slovakia: Romani pharmacy student attacked, her father claims it was racism
16/7/2015- An unidentified assailant used a wooden stick to attack Tereza Berkyová, a young Romani woman who is a gifted violinist and pharmacy student, after she performed with a folklore ensemble at a festival last weekend in the town of Detva. Her father told the Slovak TV station Markíza that he believes the attack was racially motivated. The 20-year-old was hospitalized after the assault. "Her jaw is broken in two places," a physician at the hospital in the town of Martin told Markíza. The young woman has since undergone an operation. The attack took place as she was on the way to the restroom. Her father, Roman Berky, who is a famous violinist and teacher at an arts school, said the assailant apparently struck his daughter several blows to the head. "They say he had a shaved head and shouted something about refugees during the attack," he said. "In my opinion this had a racial subtext," Berky told Markíza. Mária Faltániová, spokesperson for the Banská Bystrica Police, confirmed that "Police in Detva have received a criminal report of suspected assault."
French Jewish family apparently targeted in home attack
A family that was assaulted and robbed in their suburban Paris home may have been targeted because they are Jewish, a watchdog group said.
15/7/2015- The report Wednesday by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, was about an aggravated robbery that occurred earlier in the day in Le Blanc-Mesnil. Three masked men of African descent armed with handguns sequestered the family, two parents and their daughter, according to BNVCA. One or more of the men also attacked the daughter, causing “serious injuries” that required hospitalization, the report said. The parents were injured as well and hospitalized. BNVCA said the perpetrators told the family they had targeted their home because they were Jewish and have money. The perpetrators stole 2,500 euros, about $2,740, in cash, a Mercedes car and keys to the family’s jewelry shop in Paris’ 10th arrondissement, or district. “This attack bears an uncanny resemblance to the attack committed recently in Creteil,” BNVCA wrote in reference to the rape and robbery committed in December in that Paris suburb against a Jewish couple by robbers who said they were targeted because they were Jews. “The cliche that Jews have money remains strong in people’s minds.”
© JTA News
France: Anti-Semitic attacks climbed 84% after kosher shop killings
The number of anti-Semitic attacks recorded in France during the first quarter of 2015 increased by 84 percent over the corresponding period last year, a watchdog group said.
13/7/2015- The SPCJ security service of France’s Jewish communities released the figures Monday in a quarterly report that counted 508 anti-Semitic acts recorded between January and May. In the first four months of 2014, SPCJ recorded 276 incidents between January and May out of a total of 851 that year, making 2014 second only to the 974 incidents recorded in 2004 by the service. In all of 2013, SPCJ documented 423 incidents. The worst of the attacks this year occurred on Jan. 9, when an Islamist killed four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket. Of the anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the first quarter this year, 121, or 23 percent, were classified by SPCJ as violent. The proportion of violent attacks was slightly higher in the first quarter of 2014, with 27 percent of the total, or 76 attacks. Death threats accounted for 387 incidents out of the total in the first four months of 2015, slightly more than three-quarters of the incidents. In 2012, the slaying of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse by a jihadist spurred a spike in anti-Semitic incidents throughout France, possibly by those inspired by the attack to target Jews, SPCJ reported at the time. SPCJ documented more than 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the 10 days that followed the shooting.
© JTA News
UK: How is this Not Inflammatory? Posts on Britain First's Facebook Page
12/7/2015- How many times has the extremist group Britain First skirted right to the edge of the legal limit? How many times have its ‘supporters’ and those anti-Muslim bigots gone over the line and made assertions of violence against Islamic institutions. The link between extremist propaganda and violent ‘calls for action’ can be best summarised here:
Extremist group, Britain First post this article on their Facebook page. The resultant responses are akin to incitement and will be reported to the relevant police authority:
: “Never mind the noise,can you imagine the stench coming from it? the obvious solution is a bonfire.”
Jason Bailey, from Well, Somerset:
“It’s made of wood. Petrol + matches = no more noise.”
: “Napalm it.”
, (from London): “petrol station near by is there”
Grant Hawley, from Milton, Cambridgeshire: “50p on a box of matches. A sound investment.”
John and Vicky McNeil, who works in Senior Sales in Debenhams: “Torch it.”
Mark Whale said: “About time it was blown up (and lists lots of flames).”
Roy Holmes from Walthamstow: “Set it alight while they are all inside praying. B.b.q muslim!”
© Tell Mama
Headlines 10 July, 2015
France: 13-Year-Old Jewish Boy Beaten Outside His School in Paris
13-year-old Jewish boy from Paris beaten and robbed by six anti-Semites who called him "dirty Jew".
10/7/2015- A French watchdog is reporting that a 13-year-old Jewish boy from Paris was beaten and robbed outside his school by six men earlier this week. According to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, the anti-Semitic incident occurred on July 7 near the Gare du Nord train station in the French capital. The organization said that the boy, who was not named, was followed by six men of African descent as he exited his school while wearing a kippah. One of the men shouted, “Take that, dirty Jew”, while the group was hitting the boy. The boy’s cellular phone was stolen before the attackers fled the scene. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he received stitches to wounds on his head.
Vicious assaults against Jews in France have become a tragically common occurrence. In May, two Jewish residents of Paris were assaulted on a street in the city in the early afternoon by a gang of no less than 40 people. A week before that attack, a French Jew was beaten as he left a synagogue in Paris. A watershed incident occurred in January when the kosher Hypercacher supermarket was taken hostage by an Islamist terrorist who murdered four Jews before being eliminated by police. Nevertheless, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently released a study which found that the level of anti-Semitic attitudes among the general population in France showed a dramatic decline this year. The study found that the number of those expressing anti-Semitic attitudes in France plummeted from 37 percent in 2014 to 17 percent in 2015.
© Arutz Sheva
Manchester Police plea to Jewish community to report hate crimes in the region
Almost 60pc of incidents went unreported, according to a new survey
6/7/2015- Greater Manchester Police bosses are urging members of the Jewish community to report any hate crime. The call comes as a survey says the majority of anti-Semitic hate crimes and incidents towards Ultra Orthodox Jews are never logged. The research, carried out by website AntiSemitismWatch.com, concentrated on the ‘most visible’ sections of the UK Jewish community and found that 77pc of its respondents had witnessed or experienced Anti-Semitism in the last year. Yet almost 60pc of those incidents went unreported, according to the survey. The type of incidents included verbal assault, intimidation or harassment, physical assault and damage to property. Of those who had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism, 70pc said it was because they thought ‘nothing would happen or change’. The authors of the survey said it was ‘especially unfortunate’ because of those who had reported the matter to police or third-party organisation, 54pc said they were satisfied with the overall response.
GMP assistant chief constable Garry Shewan said tackling ‘this form of abhorrent abuse’ was a priority for the force. He said: “The under-reporting of anti-Semitic incidents and crimes is a problem we have been aware of for some time, and we have been working very hard to address it. “We know that over the past 12 to 18 months, events around the world have had a significant impact within our communities and has motivated a large number of these hate crimes. Just as importantly, we know that people’s perceptions of anti-Semitism are that it is escalating. “I have said many times that hate crimes threaten community cohesion and the only way to defeat anti-Semitism if it is reported to us. We can’t take action if we don’t know what is happening.
“If you have been subject to abuse, threats or criminality then you must report it so that we and our partner agencies can take the appropriate steps to deal with it. By doing this we can send a powerful message that hate crime will not be tolerated and we will do everything we can to stamp it out. “What these figures also show is that more than half of those people who do report anti-Semitism are satisfied with the police response, so my message to people who have suffered anti-Semitism to is please report it, because your complaints will be taken seriously.” More than 85pc of respondents to the survey said they thought anti-Semitism had increased in the last year.
As the daughter of Holocaust survivors I feel it’s important to say No to anti-Semitism and report it
Hannah Solomon, 35, an Orthodox Jew from Broughton, said: “My husband works in the centre of Manchester and he has been the victim of an anti-Semitic abuse because he wears a skull cap. “He reported it immediately and the response from the authorities was fantastic. “Yet I think a lot of people are put off by the follow-up statement and having the police come to your house. “Many people simply don’t want to revisit something that they are living through on a day-to-day basis. “The Orthodox Jewish community are used to minding their own business and having to step over that boundary and into a world they are not familiar with can be very daunting. “I’ve also experienced it myself and had Jew shouted at me in the street. “But as the daughter of Holocaust survivors I feel it’s important to say No to anti-Semitism and report it. “I do think anti-Semitism has got worse in the last 18 months.”
In 2014, anti-Semitic incidents soared by nearly 80 per cent in Greater Manchester. The Community Security Trust, which works to safeguard the Jewish community, received 309 reports of hate crime in 2014 - up from 173 the year before. Mark Gardner, spokesman for the Community Security Trust, said: “We know from other research about three quarters of all anti-Semitic incidents in Britain go unreported to anyone. “It may be that people feel there is no point or nothing can be done. “But it’s still important that we are told so we can understand and are getting a better picture of what’s going on out there.”
© The Manchester Evening News.
7/7/2015- A decade after the trauma of terrorism hit London on July 7 2005, the anti-Muslim backlash quickly took hold in London. The Met Police recorded 68 “faith hate” crimes in the three days that followed 7/7. Within three weeks, the number of anti-Muslim incidents in the capital hit 269 – a 573 per cent increase on the same period in 2004. In a national sense, the number of purported Islamophobic incidents hit 1,200. In a far-reaching report, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism on Xenophobia noted an early backlash ‘with reports of arson at a mosque in Leeds and a Sikh temple in Kent’. Compare that to the spike that followed Lee Rigby’s murder where 282 anti-Muslim incidents took place in the three months after his murder (contrast that with the 78 incidents that took place in the three months prior). That quarterly increase of 286 per cent.
A small but notable spike took place a week after the atrocities in Paris. The high figures reflect how certain individuals seek to divide communities in times of national grief and tension. That negative and hostile climate also encourages some to report in hate incidents. Yet, under-reporting of hate crimes remains a problem and in 2005, there was no Tell MAMA project, so that alarming spike might only tell half the story of this backlash.
Incidents on Public Transport
Throughout 2014 we recorded and verified 16 incidents on public transport. Worryingly, all five incidents of assault targeted Muslim women. In total, 15 cases involved a white perpetrator. A trend that suggests the bigotry is motivated by a racialised anti-Muslim sentiment. In one example, an individual simply reading the Quran and ‘dressing Islamically’ on the London Underground created a bigoted and hostile reaction, suggesting that the sentiment reflected a deeper and latent bigotry that manifested with time and without provocation.
The Spectre of Online Hate
The most recent Teesside analysis of our data found that roughly two-thirds of incidents took place online – a figure that reflects both the ease of reporting and the serious nature of the problem. With that in mind, it is worth remembering that the backlash against British Muslims also took place online. The infographic demonstra-tes how some used social media platforms as a means to call for mosque arson and violent reprisals. Sending individuals to prison for these online threats is rare; but it demonstrates that a person can still be jailed for these offences.
Public Opinion Polls
The polls cited in the infographic reflect a system of wider anxieties towards British Muslims. Quite often, polls offer a nuanced understanding of community relations; but sometimes worrying negativity, especially in the context of an imagined ‘civil war’ scenario. Many recognise that a majority of British Muslims share the same values and disdain for extremists who hijack religion for violent and unjustifiable ends. The danger is when these views calcify and harden. It is noteworthy that a majority felt split on Muslims and ‘British values’. Newspaper coverage (as evidenced in the infographic) helps us understand how these perceptions are formed.
Click here to download pdf of ‘Anti-Muslim Hate Ten Years After 7-7′
© Tell MAMA
Headlines 3 July, 2015
UK Hate Crimes: Foreign conflicts see surge in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks in London
2/7/2015- There has been a massive surge in hate crimes against London's Jewish and Muslim communities, according to figures released on 2 July by the Metropolitan Police. The Islamic State-inspired Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket shootings in Paris and Israel's attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014 were behind the rise, the Met said. The police said that total number of racist and religious hate crimes across London rose by almost 28% in 2014, from 9,965 reported incidents to 12,749.
Anti-Semitic crimes were up 138% from 208 to 495, with boroughs of Brent and Hackney experiencing the biggest increases. A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews – the community's umbrella body – told IBTimes UK: "While the UK is a good place to be Jewish, we cannot be complacent and these figures show us the challenge society needs to meet. We must do all we can to oppose all forms of hate crime, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other types of racism." Mark Gardner, the spokesman for the Community Security Trust, told IBTimes UK: "These figures will comes no surprise to London's Jewish community, especially with the surge in attacks we witnessed during Israel's Operation Protective Shield. "We need to find a way of preventing conflicts overseas from spilling over into our diverse communities."
The Met classified the number of Islamophobic crimes jumped by more than 47%, from 529 to 778, with the highest rises being in Merton, Islington, Southwark and Westminster. Tell Mama, which measures anti-Muslim attacks, most street attacks, from verbal abuse to actually physical harm, were on females by white males. Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Faith Matters, told the London Evening Standard that attacks included spitting, throwing objects at Muslim women in cars and mosque arson. He said: "There is a level of ignorance in this country, not many people will have spent some good quality time meeting a Muslim. It's imperative that communities understand each other, so go to your local church, mosque or synagogue open day, when there's community events — go to them."
Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer, the Met's head of community engagement, was reported in the Standard as saying: "What communities tell us is the ability to go about their normal business without being subjected to racist, Islamophobic or anti-Semitic behaviour is a key part to playing a full part in our society. "I don't see [abuse] as free speech. It's criminal and will be treated as such."
© The International Business Times - UK
UK: Muslim graves vandalized following Tunisia attack
Around ten Muslim graves have been damaged at a Nottingham cemetery; Nottingham City Council said it was treating the vandalism as a hate crime; Council leader Graham Chapman called it an 'irresponsible act of hatred'; It comes in the wake of the Tunisia terror attack which left 38 people dead
30/6/2015- The desecration of Muslim graves at a Nottingham cemetery is being treated as a hate crime in the wake of the Tunisia terror attack. Nottinghamshire Police have stepped up patrols at High Wood Cemetery in Bulwell and other sites after name plaques and decorative lights on Muslim plots were damaged overnight at the weekend. Nottingham City Council said it was treating the damage to at least ten plots as a hate crime. The council's deputy leader, Graham Chapman, said: 'We totally condemn what has taken place at High Wood Cemetery. 'This irresponsible act of hatred achieves absolutely nothing. 'We will be increasing security at the cemetery and, although we cannot guarantee solving this hate crime, the council will be working with the police to do our utmost to track down the perpetrators.'
Wasim Chaudry, whose mother-in-law's grave was desecrated just three weeks after her death, said he felt 'absolute disbelief' at the damage. The 41-year-old digital communica-tions officer, from Basford, Nottingham, said: 'They broke off the name plate but we got off lightly compared to some of the other graves. 'Some of the others had been trampled on. I just don't know what goes through people's minds. It's unbelievable.' Some of the graves damaged in the cemetery were non-Muslim but the main focus of vandalism was in the Muslim section, police said. Chief Superintendent Mark Holland said the incident was upsetting for the families affected. He said: 'Nottinghamshire Police has been liaising closely with the Muslim community in Nottinghamshire since the events in Tunisia and we have been in close contact following the reports of these events. 'I am sure everyone in Nottinghamshire will be united in their condemnation of these actions and we would urge anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact police immediately.' Anyone with information which could identify those responsible for the damage has been asked to call Nottinghamshire Police on 101.
© The Daily Mail.
UK: School and mosque evacuated after package found 'with wires coming out'
29/6/2015- A school and a mosque have been been evacuated after two suspicious devices with "wires coming out" were discovered this morning, it has been reported. Suitcases containing suspicious devices were discovered early this morning. A caretaker at St Sidwell’s Primary School spotted one case with ‘wires coming out’ shortly before 7am. A second package was discovered nearby shortly afterwards at King William Street car park. Police were called and the school, nearby homes, businesses and a mosque were evacuated. Explosives experts were called to the scene. Inspector Gareth Twigg from Devon and Cornwall Police told the Exeter Express and Echo: “We are aware of and have been dealing with two suspicious packages. One has been made safe by bomb disposal teams. "It wasn’t a controlled explosion, but they’ve got various tactics using air pressure and water pressure. We are in the process of making the second one safe at the moment. “Once that’s done we’ll still be keeping the cordons in place for some time while we complete some searches of the area to make sure it’s completely safe for people to return.” He added that searches of residential properties and businesses would continue this afternoon.
© The Independent
UK: 'F*** the Jews' scrawled outside Jewish primary school... hours before car is vandalised at synagogue
Sickening anti-Semitic graffiti was daubed on the gates of a north London Jewish primary school - the same day as an axeman smashed the windows of a car parked outside a nearby synagogue.
30/6/2015- The two incidents in Stamford Hill are not thought to be related, according to the Shomrim - the area's volunteer Jewish neighbourhood watch group. In the first, which happened yesterday at Simon Marks primary school in Cazenove Road, the words "f*** the Jews" were scrawled in black marker pen across an entrance sign. The graffiti was cleaned off before children arrived at the school, which teaches Jewish youngsters of various denominations and shares a playground with a nearby Muslim free school. "It's disturbing," Shomrim committee supervisor Chaim Hochhauser told the Standard. "They were nasty words. "It's being investigated at the moment - we're checking out CCTV but no one has been caught yet."
The second incident saw a man's car smashed in with an axe as he prayed at the Beth Hamedrash Skver Synagogue in nearby East Bank, a few minutes' walk from the primary school, just hours later. "He parked up his car and walked into the synagogue and he was there for quite a while. "He was notified by some witnesses that a guy with an axe had smashed up his windows." Mr Hochhauser said the vandal, who was allegedly caught on camera by a nearby Shomrim patrol car, did not seem to have been trying to steal the vehicle or anything inside. "He was walking up and down the road with an axe," he said. He added the incidents were unlikely to be connected despite their proximity, and would not be drawn on whether the car smash was thought to have been anti-Semitic in intention. But he urged residents: "Keep an eye open and look out. If you see anything, report it straightaway."
© The London Evening Standard.
UK: Neo-Nazi rally: man charged with inciting racial hatred
28/6/2015- A man has been charged with inciting racial hatred ahead of a neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green. Joshua Bonehill, of Hudson Road, Yeovil, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on Thursday. The 22-year-old is to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday. Far-right groups, including the New Dawn Party, will hold a demonstration against “Jewish privilege” on Saturday, July 4 – the Sabbath - in the Jewish area of Golders Green. Faith groups, MPs and members of the public have all vowed to take a standard against the "agressive" event. A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: "Officers continue to assess all information and intelligence available in relation to the proposed demonstration and speak with the organisers to ensure an appropriate policing response is in place. "We are aware of concerns in the local community about the negative impact this proposed demonstration may have on them. "We are working with residents to ensure that people can exercise their rights in a way that is lawful, while minimising this impact."
© The Times Series - Golders Green
Germany: Official report: Sharp rise in attacks on refugee centers
30/6/2015- Far-right crime in Germany soared 24 percent last year to the highest level in six years, with a "shameful" surge in attacks on refugee centres, an official report released Tuesday showed. As the number of asylum seekers in Germany has risen, so has aggression against them, an annual report on politically motivated crime by the domestic security watchdog, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, found. "Hatred and violence against refugees and asylum seekers in Germany are shameful," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said as he presented the findings for 2014. Europe's top economic power "has a responsibility to those who seek protection", he said. The report found that violent crimes motivated by right-wing extremism soared 24 percent last year to 990. Far-right attacks and xenophobic campaigns against refugee homes more than tripled during the same period to 170.
Europe is grappling with a large influx of people fleeing war and poverty in the world's crisis zones. Germany alone took in 200,000 asylum seekers last year and expects as many as 450,000 this year. The sharpest rise since the 1990s wars in the Balkans has been met with racist sentiment in parts of Germany, demonstrated in the rise of the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement in the eastern city of Dresden which peaked at 25,000 protesters early this year. As Germany has struggled to accommodate the newcomers, it has seen a spate of arson attacks against buildings set to house refugees, most recently overnight Sunday in the town of Meissen outside Dresden. In the nearby village of Freital, dozens of protesters have been rallying nightly against a refugee centre. De Maiziere on Tuesday thanked Germans "who tirelessly, often on a volunteer basis, help refugees and welcome them". "We need to address the fears and worries of a small part of the population, the political class must start a dialogue," he said. "But one thing is clear: there is no place for violence and hatred in our society. I condemn the rise in crimes against refugees and asylum seekers in the strongest terms."
Germany: Another xenophobic attack: Refugee center set ablaze
28/6/2015- Unidentified suspects set fire to an uninhabited center for asylum seekers in the eastern German town of Meissen, police said Sunday. The building was vacant at the time and a police spokesman said that the fire broke out shortly after midnight on the first floor. A police unit in Leipzig that is responsible for crimes by extremists is handling the investigation. A spokeswoman said that preliminary investigations showed the presence of fire accelerators at two locations in the center, but the fire broke out only in one area. It was also found that the building was broken into. The center is meant to house about 32 asylum seekers in Meissen, which is about 25 kilometers north-west of Dresden. Police were investigating whether right-wing extremists were behind the attack, as their presence was reported in the town the previous evening.
An anti-refugee "homeland security initiative" had called for a "spontaneous gathering" in Meissen on Saturday night. There were protests last week against asylum seekers in the town of Freital, outside Dresden, which the government said was "stoking xenophobia." Some 160 people gathered Wednesday at the entrance to a hotel-turned-refugee center in Freital, jeering and insulting new arrivals, including women and children. The former Hotel Leonardo is home to about 100 asylum seekers, with tensions between the refugees and residents growing for the past several weeks. Germany is facing an unprecedented influx of migrants - mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Serbia and Kosovo - and there have been several attacks on asylum shelters in recent months. About 40 per cent of the 186,000 migrants that registered in the European Union in the first quarter of 2015 are seeking asylum in Germany, according to Eurostat.
There has been a rise in arson attacks this year on asylum seekers' homes. Official data shows that there were 175 racially motivated attacks in Germany in 2014, compared to 58 the year before. In February, a 39-year-old German man set fire to an unoccupied building intended to house asylum seekers in Escheberg. He admitted to the crime and said he was protecting his family from the six Iraqi men that were supposed to take up residence there a day later. In April, six people were injured in a fire at an asylum seekers' home in the eastern city of Chemnitz, then home to 30 residents. Earlier that month, a refugee home in Hamburg was set ablaze. Located in an industrial part of the city, the complex of 16 industrial containers accommodated young refugees who had travelled unaccompanied to Germany. Another fire was set, also in April, at a home intended for asylum seekers in the town of Troeglitz. Troeglitz, in eastern Germany, hit the headlines earlier this year when residents staged protests against the planned asylum seekers' home, which was supposed to house 40 refugees.
N-Ireland: Muslim woman racially abused and assaulted by motorist as she walked along a road
Police said a woman got out of the vehicle before launching an attack on the victim
27/6/2015- A young Muslim woman was racially abused and assaulted as she was walking along a Portadown road, police have said. The victim was alone when the incident happened on Saturday afternoon. The perpetrator was said to be travelling in a white car. Police said a woman got out of the vehicle before launching an attack on the victim whose family have lived in the area for the past two decades. A PSNI officer said: "Earlier this afternoon, around 4.30pm, a young Muslim woman was walking alone along the Gilford Road in Portadown, just going about her own business. "A passing white car began to beep the horn at her and the female passenger started shouting racial abuse at her. "The car then stopped and the female passenger got out and assaulted her, using racist language throughout. "The victim was understandably distressed by this but thankfully reported the matter to police. "She is being supported by family, PSNI and other relevant agencies will be offering their support and services also. "We are treating this incident as hate crime - racially motivated.
"PSNI have a strong message - religious hate crime is unacceptable. Nobody deserves this. And nobody deserves to get away with it. "An active investigation is ongoing and a female is presently in custody in relation to the matter. "A number of passing cars are believed to have beeped their horns on seeing this incident. "We are urgently trying to identify any witnesses. "If you saw anything please contact us on 101 as soon as you can. "The victim of this hate crime comes from a family who have lived in the Craigavon area for the last 20 years. "Hate crime is unacceptable. To stop it, report it."
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