Headlines 16 October, 2015
Germany: Firefighter Accused of Arson at Syrian Refugees' Home
A firefighter who told authorities he was "scared" of refugees has been accused of setting a blaze in the attic of a house where Syrians were living.
14/10/2015- A pregnant woman was among seven who fled the burning dwelling following an arson attack in the western German town of Altena on Oct. 3. "One bystander said something like, 'just let it burn down' when the fire department arrived on scene," said 67-year old Christel Foerste, who helped the refugees escape from the flaming house. No injuries were reported. A 23-year-old later turned himself in while a 25-year-old local firefighter was later arrested in connection with the deliberate blaze. The latter said his motive was that "he was scared about refugees living in his neighborhood," prosecutor's office spokesman Bernd Maas told NBC News. Amid Europe's migrant crisis, Germany is expected to take in more than 1 million asylum seekers this year, Germany's vice-chancellor said Sunday. The country has already seen a sharp rise in attacks on refugee homes and officials have repeatedly warned about tensions emerging. Police say the fire alarm system had been disabled by the culprits.
However, the decision by prosecutors to charge the men with severe arson instead of attempted murder has drawn criticism. They were also released on bail, pending trial. Maas said that "under German law, we could not detect enough evidence for intentional homicide." The two men were also not charged with political hate crime, as prosecutors did not identify a connection with Germany's far-right scene or organized crime. "The main suspect is integrated into a normal, solid family in the town and has no criminal record," Maas added. But the decision to not pursue more serious charges was branded "absurd" by Green's party lawmaker Omid Nouripour. "If the prosecutor's office plays down such crimes, then there will soon be 'reasoning' for every infamous action," he told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
Dirk Wiese, a member of parliament from Germany's center-left Social Democrats (SPD), called the prosecutor's assessment "simply wrong." "Similar cases in the past have lead to attempted murder charges," Wiese told NBC News. The case has triggered intense debate in Germany and prosecutor's office spokesman Maas has even received a threatening email warning that his home would be burned. Following the incident, Christel Foerste and her husband Ruediger donated dishes, blankets and an old refrigerator to the Syrian refugees for their new home across town. "I do not understand at all why some people are so hostile," Foerste said. "I was simply shocked that someone would set a fire because these people could have easily suffocated in their sleep."
© NBC News
Belgium charges French comedian over racist remarks
15/10/2015- The Belga press agency reports that controversial French comedian Dieudonné has been charged with using anti-Semitic, discriminatory speech during a performance in Belgium and faces prison time of up to six months without parole should he be convicted. "His performance is full of so many defamatory, offensive expressions that it makes one want to vomit," said Damien Leboutte, the prosecutor in Liège, when reading the indictment. Leboutte is also seeking to fine the comedian EUR 5 000. The verdict is expected on 25 November. According to the Belgian authorities, Dieudonné, a 49-year-old whose full name is Dieudonné Mbala Mbala, committed his offense during a performance in March 2012 in Liège. His words allegedly incited racial intolerance and expressed negativistic, revisionist ideas. Belgian daily Le Soir reports, for example, that the comedian called Adolf Hitler a "good-hearted braggart". Dieudonné is the son of a Cameroonian man and a Frenchwoman and was actively against racism during the 1990s, when he became famous as part of a duo with the Jewish humorist Elie Semoun. Later, however, he began to spend time with representatives of the French ultra-right and doing solo performances featuring speech that primarily took heavy swipes at Jewish people. He has faced several prosecutions, his performances have been cancelled, and the doors of the mainstream media have gradually been closed to him.
New reports on combating racism and intolerance: AUSTRIA, CZECH REPUBLIC and ESTONIA
13/10/2015- The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published monitoring reports on Austria, the Czech Republic and Estonia, analysing recent developments and outstanding issues and providing recommendations to the authorities. Despite certain positive developments, ECRI notes, there are challenges ahead.
ECRI reports, among the main problems, antipathy towards migrants and online hate speech at worrying levels, despite integration policies and awareness raising.
Fifth report on Austria
ECRI expresses serious concern over the lack of progress in eradicating segregation of Roma children in schools and the prevalence of anti-Roma hate speech in political discourse.
Fifth report on the Czech Republic
Concerns remain, such as higher unemployment in regions which are predominantly Russian-speaking, or the unsatisfactory implementation of the new linguistic policy in the upper secondary school
Fifth report on Estonia
© The Council of Europe - ECRI.
Netherlands: Police question gang who attacked refugee centre with eggs, fireworks
12/10/2015- Eleven men aged 19 to 30 are being questioned in connection with the attack on a refugee centre in Woerden near Utrecht on Friday night, police said on Sunday. The men, dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, were part of a group of some 20 people who hurled eggs and fireworks at the centre and ripped down fences. Officials say it was the worst incident of anti-refugee violence in the country since the new wave of asylum seekers began arriving from Syria. Several locals from the town were involved in stopping the gang and helping police detain them, news agency ANP said. The centre, a converted sports hall, is being used to temporarily house 148 Syrians, of whom 51 are children. Woerden mayor Victor Molkenboer said the attack had had an ‘enormous impact’ on the refugees, many of whom had already gone through traumatic experiences. Prime minister Mark Rutte visited the centre on Saturday afternoon and met residents and officials. He described the gang’s action as ‘cowardly’ and ‘totally unacceptable’. ‘The people responsible for this must be severely punished,’ the prime minister said.
Police are now questioning the 11 men who were arrested and say they hope the information received so far will lead to the remaining members of the gang being
identified. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Dutch association of mayors has said councils need more security capacity at refugee centres and that the use of private security firms could be one option. ‘The security level needs to be increased,’ said Bernt Schneiders. ‘Refugees need a bed and board but they also need safety.’
© The Dutch News
France: Jewish academic assaulted near Paris following anti-Semitic threats
A French-Jewish university director who has been subjected to an anti-Semitic campaign of intimidation was assaulted outside his suburban Paris home.
12/10/2015- Samuel Mayol, the director of the Technical University Institution, or IUT, was attacked on the evening of Oct. 9 while walking his dog in Saint-Denis, the Tribune Juive weekly reported. His assailant fled the scene and has not been identified. The assailant bashed Mayol’s head against a wall three times, causing a concussion and multiple lacerations. He said his attacker told him: “We are going to bump you,” which in French slang means to kill. Mayol, who was speaking to a friend on his cellphone when the attack occurred, filed a criminal complaint for assault. Police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime. According to the French daily Le Figaro, the anti-Semitic intimidation against Mayol began at his workplace in February when he received anonymous threats on his life. In May, a Star of David was painted on the doors of the office of a member of the IUT faculty, and five of Mayol’s colleagues received text massages reading “You too will fall. You work for Jews.”
Separately, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo last week became the first European mayor to sign the American Jewish Committee’s “Statement on Anti-Semitism by Mayor and Municipal Leaders,” in which she pledged to pursue a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism and make the physical security of Jewish communities a priority. Hidalgo is the only European mayor to have signed the statement, which has dozens of cosignatories in the United States including New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and his Los Angeles counterpart, Eric Garcetti, who is Jewish.
© JTA News
Greece: Mosque in Western Thrace vandalized
12/10/2015- A mosque in Greece’s Western Thrace region has been attacked by vandals, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent. The Yeni mosque in Komotini, a town of 50,000 people, including many Muslims, was attacked Friday night and the doors to the building were daubed with the words “Turks out”. Local police were unavailable for comment Sunday. According to the group Islamophobia Watch, Greece has seen a rise in attacks on Muslims and Jews in recent years, coinciding with the rise of the far-right Golden Dawn party, which entered parliament in 2012. In April, a fire at Komotini’s largest mosque damaged the entrance and roof. Local media reported that arson was suspected. In October last year, attackers placed a severed pig’s head outside an Islamic studies center in Athens and painted anti-Muslim slogans on the building. Western Thrace has a significant Muslim community. It was a part of Ottoman Empire before coming under Bulgarian and then Greek control around the time of World War I.
© The Muslim News
UK: Reported hate crimes rise by almost a fifth
Home Office figures show more than 52,000 offences were reported to police in England and Wales in 2014-15, an 18% increase on the previous year
13/10/2015- The number of hate crimes reported to police has jumped by nearly a fifth, figures show. There were 52,528 such offences recorded by forces in England and Wales in 2014-15 – an increase of 18% compared with the previous year, according to Home Office data. More than 80% were classed as race hate crimes, with others involving religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender victims. The actual scale of hate crimes is likely to be higher than the number drawn from police records. Officials calculated that, based on combined data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales between 2012-13 and 2014-15, there were an estimated 222,000 hate crimes each year. The latest figures follow a trend in 2013-14, when offences involving religious hatred soared by 45% and race hate crime by 4% after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.
A report published alongside the data pointed to improved recording of crime over the past year, particularly for offences involving violence. It added: “Together with a greater awareness of hate crime, and improved willingness of victims to come forward, this is likely to be a factor in the increase in hate crimes recorded by the police in 2014-15 compared with the previous year.” David Cameron has also announced that anti-Muslim hate crimes are to be recorded as a separate category for the first time. Statisticians found that, contrary to reports, there was no “clear spike” in offences around the times of the independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham in August last year, or the Charlie Hebdo terrorist shooting in Paris in January.
A hate crime is defined as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”. There were increases in reported offences for all five of the monitored hate crime strands between 2013-14 and 2014-15. Police recorded 42,930 race hate crimes – an increase of 15% on the previous year. Offences linked to victims’ religion increased by 43% on 2013-14 to 3,254, while the number has more than doubled in the past three years. Hate crimes involving sexual orientation (5,597), disability (2,508) and transgender identity (605) saw annual rises of 22%, 25% and 9% respectively.
An analysis of hate crimes logged by 22 police forces found that 59% were public order offences while three in 10 involved violence, of which 30% led to injury. Despite the rise in hate crimes recorded by police, the crime survey shows a “statistically significant” fall of 28% between 2007-09 and 2012-15. Based on data from the 2012-13 to 2014-15 survey, it was estimated that there were an average of 106,000 incidents of racially motivated crime a year, while 38,000 involved religion. The poll also indicated that Muslims were more likely to be targeted in religiously motivated crimes.
Karen Bradley, minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, said: “Crimes motivated by hatred or hostility towards someone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender-identity or because they are disabled are absolutely abhorrent and this Government will do everything to eradicate them. “The increase in recorded hate crime shows that more victims have the confidence to come forward and that the police are improving the way they identify and record hate crimes. We welcome this.” Asst Ch Con Mark Hamilton, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for hate crime, said it “damages society and undermines the diversity and tolerance we should instead be celebrating”. He added: “The police are working hard to reduce its impact by listening to victims and supporting the most vulnerable, however, it is also vital that communities and partner agencies come together to challenge hatred wherever they see it.”
© The Guardian
UK: Number of racist crimes in Northamptonshire up by eight per cent
The number of racist crime incidents has gone up by eight per cent in Northamptonshire in the past year, according to latest figures released by the Home Office.
13/10/2015- The data shows there were 953 racist incidents reported to the county’s police force in the last year, up from 867 in 2013/14. Figures for the amount of hate crime in the county showed there were 409 incidents where race was the motivating factor and 15 where religion was the main cause. There were 63 incidents where disability was the motivating factor and 41 incidents of attacks on people due to their sexual orientation. There were also six incidents where a transgender person was the victim of a crime. To mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week, the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council has organised as series of events in Northampton-shire. The organisation will be holding an event outside All Saints Church in Northampton on Friday at 7pm. A similar event will be held in Wellingborough Town centre on Saturday at 7pm. Both events will focus on all hate crime, but will highlight racist and religious hate crime.
© Northhamshire Telegraph
UK: More people are seeking help after homophobic hate crimes
An LGBT anti-violence charity has reported that far more people are now seeking help for hate crimes.
13/10/2015- The news comes from the National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership of 52 organisations across the UK, as it marks National Hate Crime Awareness Week. Hate crime charity Galop has reported a surge in cases – with the number of those seeking help doubling over the course of this year. 106 people sought help from Galop for anti-LGBT hate crimes from June-August, up from 52 in March-May. The partnership notes that “other LGBT groups across the country have also reported a large increase in those reporting experiences of hate crimes”. Nik Noone, Chief Executive of Galop, said: “We’ve seen the number of people getting in touch with our hate crime advocacy service more than double in recent months. “Though one person facing hate crime is one too many, we see this rise in people getting in touch as a cause for optimism and are proud of our part in helping empower people to speak up about their experiences and access assistance.”
Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of the LGBT Consortium, said: “From what our members are telling us, it seems that this picture is being mirrored across other parts of the UK. “The message is getting out that LGBT people don’t have to put up with being targeted. We know, however, that service provision is patchy across the UK and so not everyone can access the help they need, particularly in rural communities. “It’s important that these crimes are reported so that the police have a clear picture and can tackle the issue. There are a number of ways in which people can do that anonymously, if they don’t feel able to approach the police directly, for whatever reason.”
Evelyn Asante–Mensah, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner, said: “We know that there are thousands of unreported hate crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity every year. “Whilst it is encouraging to hear more people are coming forward for help, all LGBT people experiencing hate crime should feel empowered to report it.”
© Pink News
UK: Anti-Muslim hate crimes to be recorded separately: David Cameron
13/10/2015- Anti-Muslim hate crimes are to be recorded as a separate category for the first recorded as a separate category for the first time by police in England and Wales, British Prime Minister David Cameron said today. "We all have a role to play in confronting extremism. That's why I have invited important Muslim and non-Muslim figures to join the new Community Engagement Forum, so I can hear directly about their work in our communities, the challenges they face and so that they can be part of our One Nation strategy to defeat it," Cameron said. "I want to build a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremists and the poison they peddle. I want British Muslims to know we will back them to stand against those who spread hate and to counter the narrative which says Muslims do not feel British. "And I want police to take more action against those who persecute others simply because of their religion," he added. The Metropolitan Police already records Islamophobic crime.
The move brings Islamophobia in line with anti-Semitic attacks targeting Jews, which have been recorded separately for years in the country. The announcement came as hate crimes, or offences based on prejudice over personal characteristics, registered an 18 per cent rise in England and Wales in 2014-15. According to the latest UK Home Office figures, police recorded 52,528 hate crimes in 2014-15, up from 44,471 in 2013-14. More than 80 per cent were categorised as race hate crimes, with others involving religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender victims. "Hate crime has no place in Britain and I am determined to make further progress to ensure we can eradicate this deplorable act." UK Home Secretary Theresa May said. "Working with police to provide a breakdown in religious- based hate crime data will help forces to build community trust, target their resources and enable the public to hold them to account," Theresea said.
The announcement coincided with a new report released in the Parliament to find out the extent of Islamophobia in the country. Among the most shocking was an account of a Muslim woman who was showered in alcohol in a violent attack on a train as other passengers silently watched on, the Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) report said. Imran Awan, a criminologist from Birmingham City University and co-author of the report, said: "This research reveals worrying levels of fear and intimidation experienced by many Muslims, compounded by a lack of support from the wider public when facing physical threats in the real world and an absence of tough action from social media platforms at the abuse people are receiving online." "Participants argued that anti-Muslim hate must be challenged from within Muslim communities - too often reluctant to report abuse or attacks - and that the public should intervene and assist victims of anti-Muslim hate where possible," he said.
© The Economic Times
Britons are 'failing to support Muslim victims of hate crime'
Survey finds many British Muslims targeted because of their faith are left feeling trapped after suffering abuse.
12/10/2015- Muslim victims of hate crimes often receive no support from their fellow citizens and are left feeling reluctant to report attacks as a result, according to a new study. An in-depth survey of the experiences of British Muslims targeted because of their faith found that many are left feeling trapped after suffering verbal or physical abuse. They also discover that few people are willing to intervene or lend support in their defence. Researchers cited one incident where a woman wearing a headscarf was assaulted by a group of men while travelling on a busy train, having alcohol poured over her clothing to chants of “We are racist, we are racist and we love it”, and no one in the carriage intervened. Another interviewee claimed he asked for police to be called after receiving death threats on a bus but the driver refused to intervene. A Muslim midwife resigned from her job after suffering abuse from patients which left her feeling “a lot people hate me”.
The study by academics at Birmingham City University and Nottingham Trent University, commissioned by the charity Tell Mama, said many interviewees now consi-dered receiving abuse in the street or online to be “normal” and live in fear of “trolling” on social media turning into attacks in real life. Campaigners said there was a need for improvements to the way online abuse is reported with too little importance being given by social media companies to attacks that do not contain threats of violence. Based on interviews with 20 Muslims from varied backgrounds, including “white” converts, the researchers found that attacks tended to be focused on those easily identified as Muslims, in particular women wearing headscarves. As a result, some Muslims are changing their appearance, removing the hijab or shaving off beards, to become less “visible” and lower the risk of attacks.
Imran Awan, deputy director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University, said: “Worrying levels of fear and intimidation are being experien-ced by many Muslims, compounded by a lack of support from the wider public when facing physical threats in the real world and an absence of tough action from social media platforms.” Attacks on British Muslims tend to spike in the wake of terrorist incidents around the world with 548 incidents recorded last year. There was a particularly strong backlash in 2013 following the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby when assaults, both online and physical, leapt to 738 incidents.
© The Independent
UK: New group set up to tackle hate crimes
10/10/2015- Hate crime is being tackled under a new initiative, police have revealed. Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, is launching the Hate Crime Action Group on Wednesday. Working with a range of agencies he hopes it will increase awareness of the type of crime. He said: ‘As part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Hate Crime Action Group, I intend to work in partnership to send out a strong message that committing a crime against someone because of their disability, gender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation is a disgraceful act and a crime that is unacceptable here in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. ‘We know hate crime is under-reported and I want to encourage victims to come forward and report their experience to the police. We know hate crime is prevalent in society and I want victims to have the confidence to come forward and tell us what has happened to them and to feel confident that something will be done about it.’ He is due to launch the group at the All Inclusive Empowerment Fayre in Portsmouth.
© The Portsmouth News
Headlines 9 October, 2015
Bosnia: Returnee Homes Ravaged as Tensions Rise
Recent savage attack on Bosniak returnees' homes in a village in southern Bosnia forms part of a disturbing trend in the divided country.
9/10/2015- The recent ransacking of four houses belonging to Bosniak [Bosnian Muslim] returnees in Drljajice, a remote hamlet in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, reaffirms concerns that ethnic tensions are worsening in the troubled country. When the Bosniak families, who only occasionally live in this village in a Croat-dominated region, came to their homes last weekend, they found them devastated. The extent of the damage was severe a week later. All the windows were broken, the roofs lifted off and most of the furniture upturned and scattered all over the place. "This reminded me of the war," said one of the residents, a woman who refused to give her name for fears of reprisal from the local "hooligans".
Graffiti sprayed on one of the houses - a capital letter"U" with the cross above it, the sign of the Croatian pro-Nazi Ustasha movement in World War II, clearly pointed to an ethnic motivation. Police said they were still investigating the incident, but locals said they had little hope that the perpetrators will ever be brought to justice. "The only thing I can tell you is that this wasn't done by ISIS but by vandals,” Camil Maslesa, a resident in his sixties, said. "This is the fourth time this has happened [over the last year]. We have reported it to the police twice before, but no perpetrators were discovered. This is the third time police were coming, and really, enough is enough!"
Maslesa said none of their belongings were stolen, which made it clear that the purpose of this attack was to scare them away. "Their motivation wasn't burglary, to take some stuff away, they just came to destroy our property," he told BIRN. "They came to scare us. I would even prefer to see some of the stuff was stolen because then it wouldn't be bad as it is now," Enis, another local resident in his twenties, said. "This sends me a message that I am not welcome here." Residents of the exclusively Bosniak village already fled their homes once, at the beginning of the 1992-5 war. When the war ended, some of them returned to their homes and rebuilt them. They come here occasionally, to work their fields or during the holidays. In a gesture of public support to the victims, local government officials visited the village on Wednesday and condemned the attack.
"The municipality of Citluk does not need this. Nobody needs this," Ivo Jerkic, head of Citluk municipality, said while surveying the damage. "Police were on the crime scene. The Interior Ministry is working on this case. We will do everything necessary to find the perpetrators," said Sladjan Bevanda, interior minister for the Herzego-vina Neretva Canton. But he warned that this was not the first time that returnees' property had been targeted, noting that some months ago several houses belonging to Croat returnees were wrecked in the village of Grabovica, which is located in a mainly Bosniak region. Bosnia has seen even worse incidents in recent months, including several physical attacks on returnees. Most took place in the northwest of the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska, in and around the town of Prijedor, where many Bosniaks and a few Croats have returned since the war.
Another attack took place in the nearby Croat-dominated municipality of Tomislavgrad two months ago, when Bosnian Croat hooligans attacked a Bosniak neighbourhood. Local and international officials told BIRN that the number of ethnic incidents registered over this summer exceeded the total number of such incidents noted in several years. They said the rise in incidents testified to a dangerous increase in ethnic tensions, caused by radical political rhetoric, as well as Bosnia's prolonged political, economic and social crisis. "We believed that things like that were behind us, that this was the distant past. But it wasn't," Kemal Isakovic, head of the Herzegovina Neretva Canton Department for Refugees, said. "Now we all have to help this people to repair the damage – the municipality, the department and the Federation [entity] ministry for refugees and displaced persons."
© Balkan Insight
Greek right-wing extremists to refugee boats attacked
10/10/2015- Five hooded men are said to have attacked four overcrowded with refugees inflatables off the island of Lesbos. They would have destroyed the outboard motors of inflatable boats and were then disappeared with their speedboat. The attackers were said to be Greek right-wing extremists. As the news portal “lesvosnews.net” and other media on the island on Saturday further reported that refugee boats drove several hours leaderless in the sea between Turkey and the Greek island of Lesbos. The incident had happened on Friday. All migrants are doing well, most were fishermen taken and other helpers in tow and was brought to safety. On Lesbos and other islands of the Eastern Aegean more than 400,000 migrants from Turkey have arrived in recent months. In their majority they come from Syria and Afghanistan.
Hotspots are scheduled to start operation
Meanwhile, expected to be operational, the first so-called hotspot for registration of refugees in Greece in the coming days on the island of Lesbos. This was announced by EU Interior Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos after political talks on Saturday in Athens. In addition to Greece and Turkey work out an action plan to deal with the refugee crisis in the Aegean Sea in the coming weeks, Avramopoulos said. Last saved the Greek coast guard there within 24 hours more than 1,100 boat people. The EU wants to distribute a total of 160 000 refugees from the most heavily affected countries Greece and Italy to other States. The first migrants were taken on Friday from Italy to Sweden.
The importance of hotspots also highlighted the Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn forth, accompanied Avramopoulos. “We need to know who is knocking at our door,” Asselborn said. If the EU’s external borders are not secured, then will “the Schengen Agreement collapse within weeks”, he added. When the first refugees from Greece are placed in other EU countries, at first remained unclear. Over the weekend, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres Significantly increased numbers of refugees wanted to do on Lesbos a picture of the situation. In recent days, the number of refugees was due the good weather that prevailed in the region, increased significantly. However, the weather bureau warned on Saturday in front of a sudden deterioration in the coming hours with strong winds throughout the Aegean.
© Archy World
UK: Man has tooth knocked out in homophobic attack
6/10/2015- A 36-year-old male has been assaulted in what is believed to be a homophobic hate crime in Redcar. The victim was walking along the footpath on the opposite road to the cemetery near to the junction of Victoria Avenue at around 3:20am on Friday October 2. He heard a male shouting threatening and homophobic comments towards him. The victim believed that they were being shouted by a male from a vehicle, however, this is unclear as the victim did not look up and carried on walking. A few seconds later, the victim was punched in the head from behind, causing him to fall to the ground where he was then punched and kicked in the head and upper body. As a result of the attack the victim sustained swelling and grazing around his face and nose and he lost a tooth. He received treatment at the Redcar Primary Care Hospital.
Incidents such as these are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Attacking someone else is absolutely unacceptable, but to attack someone simply due to their sexuality is abhorrent. I'd encourage anyone who may have witnessed the incident or anyone who may know the identity of the person responsible to please contact police."
– PC Nicholas Chew, Cleveland Police
Police are appealing for anyone with information or anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call the non-emergency 101 number, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
Northern Ireland: Trans Woman Bombed
6/10/2015- A transgender woman in Northern Ireland was the target of a bombing because of her gender identity. Rachel Keys, a 27-year-old living in Derry/Londonderry, was asleep Saturday night when a pipe bomb left on her windowsill exploded, spraying her with glass. Keys and her neighbors were evacuated to a community center, where they spent the night. Keys pointed out that this isn’t just a crime against her, but that it affects her community: “One of my neighbours is epileptic and I was really worried about her not being able to get her medication. Another neighbour has a child who is autistic, another is a pensioner. It was awful for them. Just awful.” Keys and the police are clear that the bombing was motivated by Keys’ gender identity, with the police stating that they are treating it “as a sectarian hate crime.” Northern Ireland has been the site of ongoing conflict between Protestant and Catholic citizens based on political and religious concerns. Thankfully, no one was hurt in this bombing.
© Pink News
Finland: Asylum seeker quarters vandalised with swastikas, "white power" graffiti
Asylum seekers preparing to take up accommodation at a reception centre in Kouvola were confronted with swastikas and text declaring "white power" on the doors of the converted apartment block. Property owners say they are considering filing a criminal complaint.
5/10/2015- Last week refugees looking to move into emergency accommodation in an apartment block in Kuusankoski, Kouvola found that the building had been vandalised. The new occupants discovered that someone had spray-painted swastikas and words such as "white power" throughout the property. "The walls of buildings near the apartment building had been spray-painted with swastikas and different phrases, like 'white power'," said reception centre director Satu Kurri. Apart from nearby properties the graffiti had been sprayed on the doors and windows of apartments in the building converted into emergency housing for refugees. Kurri said that the graffiti on the neighbouring buildings had appeared some time ago, before the establishment of asylum seeker accommodation.
Men unfazed, women and children scared
The facility director said that officials had spoken with the refugees following the discovery, much in the same way that occupants at another Kouvola reception centre had received counseling following a recent fire bomb attack. "We have told them that some Finns want to express their opinions in this way and stressed that not all Finns are like this," she explained. The asylum seekers have had mixed reactions to the graffiti, Kurri noted. "It doesn’t feel good to them. The men haven’t been fazed, since they’ve been in conflict situations and experienced so much already. Naturally the women and children have been scared," she added.
Building owner considering criminal report
Officials have not yet covered the graffiti, and the owners of the property, Kouvola Apartments, are considering filing a criminal report. "Some of the phrases have been such that a criminal report should be lodged," Kurri remarked. The area around the building is currently being patrolled by guards. Kurri said that people who oppose asylum seekers entering Finland should find other ways to express themselves. "it’s quite insane that they are blaming these people for how their tax money is being spent. In my opinion it’s an abuse of taxpayers' money to be forced to hire guards when this kind of thing happens," she concluded.
© YLE News.
Magistrate rejects far-rightist Norman Lowell's argument in court against 2006 MaltaToday article that had blamed his adherents for an arson attack on the house of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
5/10/2015- A court of magistrates today threw out a libel case filed by far-rightist Norman Lowell against MaltaToday, over three newspaper reports that insinuated that his followers had been behind a spate of arson attacks on journalists and charities. Lowell had claimed that three articles carried in MaltaToday on 16 May 2006 had been based on untruths and were written with the intention to damage him, against the principles of freedom of expression and opinion. The night before the publication of the articles, Lowell had held a barbeque at Dwejra, not far from the residence of blogger and columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia, at the time a critic of Lowell, who she described as a “neo-Nazi and a fascist”. That same night, the columnist’s home had been the target of an arson attack.
It was the latest in a series of similar attacks on critics of Lowell’s extremist beliefs, with previous victims including priest Pierre Grech Marguerat and lawyer Katrine Camilleri from the Jesuit Refugee Service. MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan was also the victim of an arson attack by extremists. A few hours after the arson attack on Caruana Galizia’s house, Lowell had posted an entry on far-right internet forum Viva Malta which read “Yes, indeed, I have drunk to the dregs and toasted the heroes in my own incorrigible ways.” The court noted that Lowell had never contested the assertion that he embraced anti-immigrant views and quoted various distasteful comments on the issue which the plaintiff had posted online.
“The complainant, as a leader of an organisation known as Imperium Europa, has harsh and hardline views on the immigration issue and whoever is involved in the defence of immigrant rights and therefore, by right, these views certainly evoke a similarly harsh reaction against him and his organisation,” it said. Lowell had originally filed the libel case against Balzan, MaltaToday editor Matthew Vella and journalist Kurt Sansone. However, proceedings against the latter were withdrawn after Sansone, now employed with the Times of Malta, had made an apology. Balzan and Vella had argued that the articles were justified by the right to freely report facts of a social and political nature, particularly in view of the “essentially racist” politics of the plaintiff and the importance of the right to “fair comment” in a democratic society.
Magistrate Francesco Depasquale, citing several local and European Court cases, held that, in view of Lowell’s extremist outpourings,the articles were not libellous but factual. As a political person, Lowell was subject to higher levels of public scrutiny and criticism, added the magistrate. In throwing out the libel suit, the court noted that Lowell’s behaviour and comments he had made on broadcast media were “not in any way acceptable in a democratic society, where diversity and multiculturalism form the foundations of Maltese society, as shown by the very language we speak.”
© Malta Today
EU states urged to probe hate crimes, racism
European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has urged all EU member states to prosecute and investigate racism and hate crimes.
3/10/2015- "[The] Internet knows no borders; we clearly need better and [more] serious recording of hate crimes," Jourova said in Brussels on Thursday, the second day of a seminar on anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred. "It is unacceptable to hear that when a victim reports an assault, their case is dropped; how can we expect victims to trust in police forces?" she asked. Jourova’s comments are part of European Commission’s framework which wants EU member states to penalize hate speech, as verbal and physical violence against Muslims continues to rise in Europe. A Eurobarometer public opinion survey reported on Thursday that Muslims suffer from the lowest levels of social acceptance among all religious groups. The EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews also showed a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe, with 73 percent of respondents saying they felt anti-Semitism online has become worse over the last five years.
© The Turkish Weekly
Headlines 2 October, 2015
Hungary's minorities bear brunt of anti-migrant rhetoric
1/10/2015- Hungary's government has launched an all-out campaign against migrants, but the people who feel like they are the real targets already live there: members of the country's Roma and Muslim minorities. "I wish the government would think more carefully before starting campaigns like this," said Robert Sulek, president of Hungary's Islamic Community. "It's our wives who get spat on and have their veils ripped off in the street." Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has divided opinion across Europe by shutting his country's borders to the throngs of weary refugees seeking to cross through on their way to Northern Europe. More than 240,000 migrants have passed through Hungary this year so far, nearly all seeking sanctuary in the rich countries of western Europe from war and poverty in the Middle East.
Orban's government has built a fence along its border with Serbia and introduced fast-track asylum procedures to prevent migrants and refugees entering the country. But the refugees mostly pass through without staying. Meanwhile, Hungary is home to around 30,000 Muslims, most of whom arrived after World War Two, and to 800,000 Roma, or gypsies, present in this part of Europe since the Middle Ages. Both groups say they have felt the force of a government campaign of xenophobia. "We often experience the kind of exclusion that migrants feel," said Gabor Varady, a taut and driven boxing trainer who heads the Roma advisory council in the northern industrial city of Miskolc, which has Hungary's largest Roma population after the capital Budapest. "You hear ever stronger statements about gypsies, about migrants, things you would never have heard 20 or 25 years ago," he said.
Orban's defenders say the government was left with no choice but to curb the flow of migrants passing through on their way to Germany and other wealthy countries further north. Hungary has been the main overland entry point into Europe's border-free Schengen zone, and European law demands the border be protected. But critics say the government has taken the campaign much further, seeking to outflank extreme right wing nationalists by stoking dangerous ethnic rage. Earlier this month, the country's only Roma town mayor resigned from Orban's Fidesz party after the right-wing prime minister gave a speech drawing a comparison between the migrants and the Roma. "It's a historical fact that Hungary must live with a few hundred thousand Roma," Orban told Hungarian ambassadors at a Budapest conference. "We can't ask anybody else to live with a large number of Roma."
Weeks before, the justice minister said Hungary was not in a position to take in migrants since its hands were already full dealing with its Roma population. Bela Lakatos, the Roma mayor of Acs, a town of 7,000, said Orban's speech made him feel like a "second-class citizen". "Gypsies and refugees are so closely linked in the public mind that it takes just a few moments to put the two together," he told Reuters in an interview. The government openly conflates immigration with terrorism, as in a leaflet sent by the government to every household in the country early this year. It contained a questionnaire soliciting citizens' views for a "National Consultation on Immigration and Terrorism." Sent out weeks after staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo were killed in Paris by Islamist gunmen, it opened by asking: "How important is the spread of terrorism (the French massacre, ISIS's horrifying acts) in your life?" That was followed by a lengthy poster campaign, nominally targeted at migrants but unintelligible to almost all of them since it was written in Hungarian. "If you come to Hungary, you can't take Hungarians' jobs," read one poster.
Some social scientists said the campaign appeared tailor-made to trigger negative associations in people's minds, not only toward newcomers but toward all minorities. "Roma and migration shouldn't be linked in any straightforward way," said Simon Rippon, a political scientist at Budapest's Central European University. "No more than there's a link between immigration and terrorism." Muslims and Roma say they sense the change in mood. "I hardly dare go out on to the street in my hijab since the immigration madness started," said a 40-year-old Muslim convert, who asked not to be identified for fear of becoming a target. "My car tires have been slashed, and when I told the police they told me not to attract attention by wearing my black headscarf," she said.
Despite being part of the Ottoman Empire for nearly two centuries, Hungary does not have an indigenous Muslim community. But, since World War Two, Muslims, primarily from the Arab world, have arrived in growing numbers. From the sixties onwards, many came from across the Middle East and Africa to study. Some stayed, like Fahmi Al Maktari, a cardiologist from Yemen at a hospital in Salgotarjan, a small city in the North. "There has been an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment," he said, though as a well-known doctor in a small town he and his family experienced little of it directly. The transition from Communism to a market economy brought insecurity and inequality, which has helped fuel xenophobia.
Orban's Fidesz party is under pressure on its right flank from the far-right Jobbik party, which explicitly blames Roma for crime and insecurity. Since the start of Orban's migration campaign, Fidesz has gained in the polls at the expense of the far right. Hungary's Roma suffer from higher poverty rates, lower education levels and lower life expectancies than the overall population. In the "numbered streets", a Roma district in the shadow of a long-shuttered steel plant in Miskolc, half the houses are empty, their roofs open to the sky and windows looking on piles of accumulated detritus.
Some of them have become migrants themselves. In 2011, 4,500 mainly Roma Hungarian citizens applied for asylum in Canada. While few had their applications accepted, returning Roma still reminisce about the quality of their life there. "Here, I could never get a job. There, I insulated buildings and earned 4,000 Canadian dollars a month," said Attila Horvath, a 54-year old in Miskolc who was sent home to Hungary in 2013. Livia Jaroka, an ally of Orban who in 2004 became the first female Roma member of the European Parliament, representing his party, acknowledged that some remarks by government members were "easily misunderstood". But she said Hungary under Orban was facing up to the issue of combating social exclusion among minorities. Hungary's experience dealing with its own poor, including the Roma, had helped shape Orban's view that migration was not the answer. "It's not normal that people should need to leave their country to be happy," said Jaroka, an anthropologist who left the parliament last year to focus on anti-poverty policy. "Roma and non-Roma poor shouldn't be imposed on other countries."
Familiarity with the challenges faced by Hungary's Roma was one of the reasons Orban was concerned about migration, recognizing it would take time and effort to integrate new arrivals in Europe, Jaroka added. In Budapest's Jozsefvaros market, just a few hundred meters from the Keleti railway station that until recently thronged with thousands of migrants pausing on their journey westwards, a vibrant multicultural society is taking shape. At thousands of stalls and shops, Chinese, Arab, Afghan and Turkish traders hawk their wares and do deals. The market is a major distribution point for budget goods destined for poorer countries to Hungary's south and east. Some of the market's Muslim traders pause five times a day to pray in one of the market's three mosques - Arab, Turkish and Afghan - and many lent a hand to starving and exhausted Syrian refugees as they passed through.
Tariq came to Hungary in the 1980s to study medicine. He stayed and now runs a mobile handset shop at the market. "I've been here 20 years, and the discrimination has got better and worse at times," he said in near-perfect Hungarian. "But I myself am from a Palestinian refugee family, and I've made a good life here."
Sweden's liberal reputation tarnished as race attacks rise
Perceived tolerant, amicable nature of Scandinavian nation fading as instances of discrimination and violence rise, according to UN study.
1/10/2015- Kyle James, a black New Yorker with a top job in banking, had been warned to expect problems in bars and nightclubs in Stockholm when he visited the city in July. But nothing prepared him for what happened when he entered a well-known bar with two black friends. After he had bought a drink, bouncers told him to leave; when he asked why, they dragged him outside, pepper-sprayed his eyes and pinned him to the ground. Police then handcuffed him and his friends. James, 32, was made to strip naked and spent the night without clothes in a cell. Laughing, police accused him of punching a bouncer, although there were many witnesses who said that he did not. “It was one of the most demeaning experiences of my life,” says James. “I always had the perception that people were forward-thinking and liberal in Scandinavia, but not even an animal should be treated in that way.” He tried to seek justice through the courts but after police dropped the case against him Swedish lawyers advised him not to press charges.
James’s experience may be more than an unfortunate but isolated incident, according to a recent report by the United Nations, which concludes that a rising level of racist violence and “Afrophobic” hate crimes in Sweden are “an extensive social problem”. “There continues to be a general Swedish self-perception of being a tolerant and humane society, which makes it difficult to accept that there could be structural and institutional racism faced by people of African descent,” says the report, which was presented to the UN human rights council on Monday. The country’s official philosophy of equality and respect for human rights “blinds” it to the racism faced by African-Swedes, it says. Hate crimes against the 200,000 or so black people of African origin in Sweden increased by more than 40% between 2008 and 2014, according to the National Crime Prevention Council, or BRÅ, with more than a fifth of incidents last year involving violence.
But broader attitudes to black people have also come under scrutiny after high-profile incidents, such as the occasion in 2012, when the then culture minister laughingly cut into the genital area of a cake depicting a stereotypical black woman connected to an artist’s grotesquely blacked-up face. Last month the mayor of Lidköping in central Sweden, a member of the ruling Social Democrat party, publicly defended the traditional name of “negroballs” to describe a popular chocolate cake. Swe-den’s official liberalism seems a paradox alongside high levels of discrimination, according to Tobias Hübinette, associate professor in intercultural studies at Karlstad University. “The welfare state takes care of you if you are inside the system, but access to the system is largely through work and partly through the residential market, which are highly segregated.”
Surveys suggest Swedish people’s attitudes are laudable, says Kitimbwa Sabuni of the National Association for African-Swedes. “But the problem is anti-racist values and practices are not the same thing. When it comes to anti-racist practices Sweden is so far behind.” While Sweden has done much to address its past connections to the Third Reich and race biology, it has not begun to debate its involvement in the slave trade and the dehumanising ideology that made that possible, says Christer Mattsson, acting director of the Segerstedt Institute, Sweden’s new anti-extremism unit at Gothenburg University. “When you are unaware that this was a part of your past you do not present any strategies for redeeming yourself,” Mattson said. However, Adam Cwejman, author of Well-meaning Racism: How Anti-racism Makes People Victims, questions the impact of racism and stereotyping on ethnic groups’ varying levels of achievement. “We have a strong public consensus that we are trying to root out derogatory attitudes,” he says. “It would be better if we admitted that Sweden is one of the most tolerant nations in the world.”
• This article was amended on 2 October 2015. An earlier version made a reference to “niggerballs”, which has been deleted. Both that term and “negroballs” are used and both are equally offensive. However, the latter is a more literal translation of the Swedish word.
© The Guardian
Major EU states report spike in anti-Semitic abuse
1/10/2015- Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in Europe, but lack of proper data and "gross under-reporting" make it hard to document the trend, an EU institute has said. The findings come in a report by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in Vienna, published on Wednesday (30 September). In France, the CNCDH, an official watchdog, recorded 851 incidents last year compared to 423 in 2013. It said 108 of them included physical violence, compared to 49 the year before. German police noted 1,596 "crimes with an anti-Semitic motive" compared to 1,275 in 2013. The Amadeu Antonio Foundation, a German NGO, recorded 173 incidents compared to 65. L’Osservatorio anti-semitismo, an Italian NGO, noted 86 incidents compared to 49. The Polish interior ministry recorded 39 incidents compared to 25. Spanish police recorded 24 compared to three in 2013.
The Community Security Trust, a UK charity, said there were 1,168 incidents last year compared to 535 the year before. Eighty of them were violent assaults, while the majority were "abusive behaviour". Belgian, Czech, and Dutch authorities and NGOs also marked sharp increases. The trend was less marked, but still on the rise in Austria, Denmark, Finland, and Greece. Hungary and Sweden were the only EU countries which noted a decreasing trend. The other 13 member states either recorded zero incidents (Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Slovenia) or had no official or unofficial data. But the FRA warned that the varying nature of the data available makes it impossible to compare levels of hate crime from EU state to state.
The "incidents" vary in gravity, from killings of Jewish people in Belgium, Denmark, and France by Islamist radicals, to desecration of Jewish graves by far-right groups in the Netherlands, or, more generally, posting of hate speech on the internet. The FRA report noted that perpetrators often link Israeli state actions to local Jewish communities in Europe. It said incidents "intensify in periods when conflict in the Middle East flares up". It also said sporting events act as flashpoints, noting, for instance, "a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse" on the internet in Spain after a basketball game in Madrid with Maccabi Electra, an Israeli team.
Constantinos Manolopoulos, the FRA’s head, warned of a "climate of intolerance" in Europe and called for "immediate and decisive action to combat extremist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic discourse and crimes". The EU agency, also on Wednesday, published a separate report on Combating Intolerance and Hate, timed to coincide with a European Commission "colloquium" on the issue in Brussels the same day. The report said there’s a "cacophony of racist and intolerant discourse" in Europe, which "influences mainstream politics at national, and more importantly at local level". It cited a 2008 survey - the latest one available - of 23,500 migrants and minorities in the EU. The survey showed that 37 percent of migrants had experienced "discrimination", but 80 percent didn't report incidents to police. Roma people (50%) reported the most abuse, followed by sub-Saharan Africans (41%), and north-Africans (36%).
© The EUobserver
On Rosh Hashana, assailants burned tires at Holocaust memorial.
30/9/2015- Repeated incidents of vandalism against the Holocaust memorial at Kiev’s Babi Yar ravine are political weapons aimed at the Ukrainian government and state, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk wrote World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer. The memorial, which commemorates the more than 33,000 Jews massacred at the site in September 1941, has been vandalized six times in 2015 alone. According to the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, while anti-Semitic violence has remained low compared to western Europe, vandalism spiked in Ukraine last year. According to Yatsenyuk’s letter that he wrote last week, there are “compelling evidences [sic]” that “we are facing well-planned and thoroughly prepared provocations” whose purpose is to “throw discredit upon Ukrainian authorities and to destabilize the internal political situation in Ukraine.”
Russia has repeatedly accused the Ukrainian government of being under the control of fascists and neo-Nazis while some Ukrainian Jewish leaders have countered by accusing Moscow of fomenting anti-Semitic incidents for its own propaganda. Recalling a meeting that he had held with Singer and Ukrainian Jewish leaders in Kiev last month, Yatsenyuk stressed that his government is firmly against anti-Semitism and stated that he had issued instructions that an “extremely comprehensive and impartial investigation of these shameful incidents” be carried out. As described by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, in the latest incident, which occurred on Rosh Hashana, “assailants put tires around the menorah [at Babi Yar], poured an inflammatory liquid over them and set them alight.”
Some Ukrainian Jewish leaders have accused Kiev of providing insufficient protection for Holocaust sites around the country. “To everyone’s outrage, public authorities and law enforcement agencies have not taken during this time... effective measures to prevent attacks on the landmark,” wrote Josef Zissels of the Vaad of Ukraine, Arkady Monastic of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, Igor Kuperberg of the Jewish Forum of Ukraine and Victoria Godik of the World Union of Jewish Students earlier this month.
In a separate statement, leaders of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, Jewish Forum of Ukraine, Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, Ukrainian Jewish Committee and other groups demanded “immediate and effective steps to prevent vandalism in the future along with the strengthening of criminal responsibility for vandalism and punishment of the organizers and executors of this crime.” “[The] almost no reaction of civil society and mass media, no feedback from authorities and law enforcement agencies in respect to the events in Babi Yar clearly indicates ignorance of the society in respect to the large-scale tragedy that happened to the Jews of Ukraine during the Holocaust, the groups asserted.
During their meeting last month, Singer and Yatsenyuk announced that “the Ukrainian government, the local Jewish community and the WJC should work together to host an international commemorative event on September 29, 2016, the 75th anniversary of the [Babi Yar] massacre.” “We have urged the Ukrainian government to address the situation concerning the repeated vandalism of the Babi Yar site,” Singer told the Post. “We don’t know who is behind these attacks, and what their motives could be, and we don’t want to speculate. However, we have full confidence that the Ukrainian authorities will ensure the protection of this important memorial and that they will bring the perpetrators of these despicable acts to justice. Whoever is behind this must be stopped, and adequate safeguards should be put in place without delay to prevent further such attacks.”
© The Jerusalem Post
Georgia: Two Nigerians beaten in Tbilisi, two suspects detained
Police in Georgia Sunday detained two Georgian for beating two Nigerians in Tbilisi.
29/9/2015- The attacked happened on September 19 when one Georgian citizen and his two Nigerian friends were walking on Rustaveli Avenue in the capital. They were attacked by two Georgians, who beat and insulted the two Nigerians and later disappeared, according to the Interior Ministry. After being detained, both attackers pleaded guilty, the ministry said. An investigation has been launched for conspiracy to commit hate crime based on race. On September 21, before the police responded to the incident, a video was posted on the Facebook page of the so-called group Georgian Ultras. It showed a group of people, who would call themselves Bergman, attacking foreigners in the street. The video was likely posted by them under the name “Bergman against niggers”. It was later deleted but re-uploaded by journalists. The group targets victims on the basis of race or ethnic background.
© Democracy & Freedom Watch
USA: Increased internet access led to a rise in racial hate crimes in the early 2000s
The incidence of racial hate crimes increased by 20 percent when a new broadband provider entered an area, according to new research from Carlson School of Management and NYU Stern
28/9/2015- New research from Carlson School of Management Professor Jason Chan and NYU Stern Professors Anindya Ghose and Robert Seamans finds that broadband availability increased the incidence of racial hate crimes committed by lone-wolf perpetrators in the United States during the period 2001-2008. The addition of a single broadband provider led to as much as a 20 percent rise in racial hate crimes in areas where racial tensions were especially high. Their study, the first of its kind to document the relationship between the Internet and hate crimes, sourced data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to FBI data, almost two-thirds of reported hate crimes arose from racial bias, making it by far the most typical form of bias-motivated crime in the U.S.
Using a large-scale data set from 2001-2008, the authors show:
@ An increase in the number of broadband providers led to an increase in racial hate crimes, particularly among lone-wolf perpetrators.
@ The addition of one broadband provider in every county in the U.S. would have caused 865 additional incidences of racially driven crimes on an annual basis.
@ Yet the Internet's impact on hate crime was not uniform and was predominantly present in areas with higher levels of racism, identified by the amount of racial segregation present and the proportion of racially charged search terms used.
@ Greater Internet access did not cause an increase in the formation of off-line hate groups. However, it may have enhanced the efficiency with which extremists could spread hate ideology and spur like-minded individuals to carry out lone-wolf attacks.
Furthermore, the authors consider the effectiveness of current Internet regulations and reflect on future policy implications. "Technologically driven solutions fall short in addressing an issue that is inherently social in nature," argues Professor Ghose. "Instead of engaging in a technological rat race with extremists, we should consider incorporating critical literacies - including digital media, anti-racism and social justice - into school curricula as an alternative strategy." "The positive relationship between broadband providers and the number of hate crimes is mainly found in places that have high levels of racism," says Professor Chan. "The likely reason behind this is the Internet facilitates this specialization of interest. That is to say users will search out content online that is congruent to their beliefs or preferences and are not as likely to look up content that is counter to what they believe in."
The article, "The Internet and Racial Hate Crime: Offline Spillovers from Online Access," is forthcoming in MIS Quarterly. Visit YouTube to watch a video on the research and its implications.
© Eurek Alert
Germany: Attacks on refugee shelters more than doubled, police say
28/9/2015- The number of attacks and other criminal offences committed against refugee shelters in Germany has more than doubled this year compared to 2014, police said on Monday. Germany expects a record-breaking number of 800,000 new arrivals this year. The unprecedented influx of foreigners has fueled social tensions and there have been protests and attacks against asylum shelters in some parts of the country. "In the last few months, the crimes have reached a new level - both in quantity and quality," Sandra Clemens, spokeswoman for the BKA Federal Criminal Police Office, told Reuters. The number of criminal offences against asylum shelters so far this year surged to 437 from around 200 in the whole of 2014, she said, adding that damage to property, graffiti and verbal insults made up the largest part of the offences.
The total for 2015 included 59 crimes classified as violent, a new record high after last year's peak of 28, Clemens said. Of this year's figure, 26 were arson attacks. Police have arrested 20 suspects in connection with these arson attacks, she said. As a whole, police identified 500 suspects for crimes against asylum shelters. The majority of these suspects were men aged between 18 and 25 years who often lived in the same town where the offences were committed, Clemens noted. The police statistics came after President Joachim Gauck warned that there are limits to how many refugees Germany can take in, showing growing concern even at the highest level over how to look after so many newcomers.
UK: Irish Traveller given north Wales hate crime role
An Irish Traveller has been appointed to help hate crime victims in north Wales.
27/9/2015- Martin Gallagher, 29, believes his own experiences can help him identify with victims in his role as a case worker. He will be based in St Asaph, Denbighshire, and give guidance and support to people who have been abused. Mr Gallagher said: "In the past I have been powerless to act and didn't know how to challenge and effectively report discrimination when it occurred." There are about 400 reported cases of hate crime in the North Wales Police force area each year. Mr Gallagher, who is also studying at Wrexham's Glyndwr University for a degree in youth community work, added: "It doesn't matter to what group you belong. People could be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, of different race, religion, age or disability it doesn't matter - hate crime is wrong and we need to do something about it. "I believe education is the answer and I intend to get out and visit schools, colleges, businesses and anywhere else I can get my message across."
© BBC News
Finland: far-right groups attack refugees
Demonstrators have attacked a bus load of refugees arriving at a reception centre in southern Finland with stones and fireworks.
26/9/2015- Between 30 and 40 protesters, one wearing a white robe like those worn by the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan in the US, waved the Finnish flag and shouted abuse at the bus in the southern town of Lahti late on Thursday. Some demonstrators also hurled stones and let off fireworks at the vehicle carrying 40 refugees, including several young children, Finnish television YLE said. "The protesters were young people from Lahti... At this point we have no indication that they would be somehow organised," chief inspector Martti Hirvonen told the local Finnish outlet STT, according to the AFP news agency.
Meanwhile, a petrol bomb was thrown at another reception centre in Kouvola, also in southern Finland, police said. No one was known to be hurt in the incidents, the Reuters news agency reported. "The Finnish government strongly condemns last night's racist protests against asylum seekers who had entered the country," the government said in a statement. "Violence or the threat of violence is always to be condemned." Prime Minister Juha Sipila this month offered to take in refugees at his home, a move that attracted international attention but also criticism in Finland.
"Sipila's noble-minded gesture was like a Christmas gift for human traffickers and refugees. The news about open doors in Finland have sent many young men on a journey towards the promised land," Mika Niikko, a deputy from anti-immigrant party The Finns, said last week in a statement. So far this year more than 13,000 refugees have come to Finland, compared to just 3,600 in the whole of last year. In recent days, about 500 refugees per day have crossed the Finnish land border in Tornio, near the Arctic Circle, after a long journey through Sweden. The Finnish government has launched random border checks and identity checks around the country amid the influx of people. Finland was the only EU state to abstain from this week's vote about relocating refugees across the member countries. It accepted its 2 percent share of 120,000 refugees in question but said it was opposed to a mandatory quota system.