Who We Are

Our intention is to inform people of racist, homophobic, religious extreme hate speech perpetrators across social networking internet sites. And we also aim to be a focal point for people to access information and resources to report such perpetrators to appropriate web sites, governmental departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

EU to act against France on Roma

The European commissioner for justice has said that the European Union will begin infringement proceedings  against France over the expulsion of Roma citizens from its territory.

"As a guardian of the treaties, the European Commission must ensure that European legislation is applied and respected and that is true for all member states, big or small," Viviane Reding said on Wednesday.

"In the case we are faced with today, we note that in our judicial analysis France did not correctly transpose the rules on free movement of European citizens and, as a result, she has robbed these citizens of essential procedural guarantees.

"This must be corrected and that is why the commission has acted firmly," Reding told reporters at her office in Brussels.

The European Commission also said on Wednesday that it was sending an official letter to France for not transposing EU laws on freedom of movement but that it had until October 15 to launch a clear timetable to show when and how it would.

"It is of the utmost importance that we make sure that the procedural and the substantive safeguards laid down in the 2004 directive on free movement of citizens is properly transposed in its entirety," Pia Ahrenkilder Hansen, spokeswoman for the European Commission president, said.

"The commission currently believes that France has not transposed the directive on free movement into its national laws in such a way as to make its implementation properly effective and transparent.

Therefore the commission has taken a decision here today to send an official notification letter," she added.

France welcomes decision
In its response, the French foreign ministry said it would provide Brussels with whatever other information it requests, and welcomed what it said was the Commission's acceptance that Paris'
expulsion policy is not racist.

"The Commission accepted France's assurances that the measures taken have neither the aim nor the effect of targeting a specific 'minority' and that French authorities apply EU law in a non-discriminatory fashion," it said.

"France notes no procedure has been undertaken in terms of the application of EU free movement rules and in particular in terms of measures taken to move on EU citizens detained during the evacuation of illegal camps.

"France will, of course, provide all necessary additional information, as it has already done up until now," the statement, issued by Bernard Valero, the foreign ministry spokesman, read.

Reding caused a storm when she attacked France for expelling Roma migrants this summer saying it
contravened the EU's rules of integration.

More than 8,000 Roma were expelled earlier this year, mostly to Romania and Bulgaria, and Reding expressed concern that they were singled out over other ethnic groups.

France denied the accusation but faced widespread criticism form EU parliamentarians, human rights groups and the Catholic Church.

An EU government can expel citizens of another EU state from its territory if they pose a risk to public security or are a burden on social assistance but measures have to be proportional to the risks and a government cannot target a particular ethnic group.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, says the expulsions were part of a general crackdown on crime and vagrant camps which did not target the Roma specifically.

English Aljazeera

Hip Hop Group Confronts Rise of Islamophobia in Music Video (USA)

Native Deen, one of the most well-known and respected Muslim hip-hop groups in the international community, today released a music video in response to the rising tide of Islamophobia facing America, especially in the wake of the New York Islamic cultural center controversy.

The music video, released as part of the "My Faith My Voice" campaign from which it takes its title, highlights many of the concerns Muslims have regarding the vilification of Islam and the heavy-handed focus given to extremist voices.

"As American Muslims, we feel like our voices have been drowned out by the extremists on both sides," said Abdul Malik Ahmad, one of three young African-American Muslim men who comprise Native Deen. "We have always called to the middle path, but moderate voices like ours don't make headline news. As musicians, we know the power of music and hope to reach out to our fellow Americans through this song."

In the opening verse, Ahmad sings: "They're saying we are savages, uncivilized/ Me, my community we work hard, / Every opportunity to break walls, / The fight, the lunacy that they cause, …"

Later in the song, Ahmad adds: "Go use the same steam, for youth to stay clean,/ Our earth to stay green, we want the same thing,/ 'Stead of burning books, extinguish disease,/ Help spark the flame to help children in need."

Native Deen, a fusion hip-hop group, has inspired millions of people of all ages and ethnicities from around the world. It has toured more than 60 cities in America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, promoting Islam and positive interfaith relations. Over 4 million people have viewed its videos on YouTube, and its album, "Not Afraid to Stand Alone" is ranked #2 in the DC area on independent music site cdbaby.com. In October 2010, Native Deen will release its newest album, "The Remedy." For more information, visit http://www.nativedeen.com/.

Link to the website. My Faith My Voice



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Bishop of Leicester leads a call for solidarity ahead of protest by EDL (UK)

The Bishop of Leicester has led a call for faith groups to stand together in "solidarity" ahead of a protest by the English Defence League.


Bishop Tim Stevens is a founder member of the Leicester Faith Leaders Forum, which yesterday issued a declaration condemning the English Defence League (EDL) in "the strongest terms".

The EDL – which says it campaigns against Islamic extremism – is planning a protest in the city on Saturday, October 9.

Police expect counter demonstrators, who accuse the EDL of using violent tactics, to swell the numbers involved to several thousand. The forum includes representatives of the Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths and other religious groups.

Bishop Tim said: "Over the years, the faith groups have said an attack on one is to be regarded an attack on us all. The EDL's tactic is to single out the Muslim community and we are clear that will not be allowed to happen in Leicester because we are all standing together in solidarity.

"The forum represents all the faiths and has been together since the 9/11 attacks in the US.

"It has seen us through that time, the Iraq war and the London bombings. I'm sure it will further strengthen the bonds between us after this latest attack on community relations in Leicester.

"The English Defence League has a right to express its views, no matter how distasteful they are.

"However, we hope they are rejected by the vast majority of people, people who live side by side and at peace with their neighbours.

"We shall all be saying to our congregations 'don't be drawn into this, let the EDL say what they have to say and we can then move on'."

The forum wants congregations to stay away from the protests on October 9.

Leicester City Council and the police have asked the Home Office to ban the march – and any march by its opponents. However, the authorities are powerless to prevent the EDL from staging a static protest. Its opponents, including Leicester Unite Against Fascism, are expected to stage counter protests.

Instead, people are being asked to support a peace vigil in the city centre on the Friday before the planned protest and a "celebration" of the city on the Sunday.

The Federation of Muslim Organisations, which represents almost 200 mosques and community groups, has also urged people not take part in counter demonstrations on the day.

Spokesman Suleman Nagdi said: "It is humbling to see the faith leaders speaking with one voice in their opposition to the English Defence League."

This is Leicestershire.

Neo-Nazism: Spirit of Hitler Still Alive in Germany

Some 65 years after the fall of Nazi Germany, there's growing concern that the spirit of Adolf Hitler still lives in the country.

It's not a widespread phenomenon, but the neo-Nazi movement continues to exist in small pockets across Germany.

"Young men are attracted because there are no alternatives in the village except this group who are aggressive, who are male, chauvinist and dominating the scene," explained Hajo Funke, a neo-Nazi expert at the Free University of Berlin.

A Cult-Like Movement
A recent report revealed one out of twenty 15-year-old German boys belong to a neo-Nazi group -- a number no other political party can claim.

Matthias Adrian was one of those teens. Now, he helps others leave the movement with a group called Exit Deutschland.

"I was a neo-Nazi, 24 hours a day," Adrian recalled, comparing the movement to a cult.

He said he was convinced that Jews were an evil force that controlled the world. He added that neo-Nazi groups have hidden weapons caches across Germany.

"Our movement, Exit Deutschland, helps people leave the right-wing extremist scene safely, because everybody who leaves the scene is a traitor in the eyes of neo-Nazis," Adrian said.

Lessons of Deception
The legal and political arm of the neo-Nazi movement is the National Democratic Party or NPD. The group didn't agree to an interview with CBN News, but a former NPD figure said its goal is the restoration of the Third Reich.

He also said members are trained to talk moderately in public, but privately praise Nazi Germany and the Holocaust -- something Adrian said he experienced.

"We had schoolings about it, how to give quotes in public, how to do interviews with the media," Adrian said. "(Neo Nazi's say) 'We are not violent, we are nationalists, but we are not violent. We are nice guys.' In public they denied the Holocaust, but in private they glorified it."

"If you take into account also their presentations, their speeches, and their texts and their newspaper articles, then they're outright anti-Semitic, anti-foreigner, racist. and in some cases against Muslim persons for living here," Funke added.

Official membership in neo-Nazi groups is relatively small, but the number of Germans who agree with some neo-Nazi ideas is much larger. Some recent reports revealed that neo-Nazis in eastern Germany are trying to run their own kindergartens.

Turmoil in the Richest Nation?
After recent gains in state elections by the NPD, there have been new calls that the party be banned.

The neo-Nazi movement is also trying to cash in on the new bestselling book "Germany Eliminates Itself" by Thilo Sarrazin, an official at Germany's central bank.

Sarrazin writes that Muslim and Turkish immigration is wrecking Germany. The far right has seized on the popularity of the book, saying Sarrazin is right.

But how can the neo-Nazi movement persist in the richest, most successful nation in Europe -- once wrecked by Nazi ideas?

Jörg Drieselman, a former political prisoner in the old East Germany, says overall, Germans in the East -- once under the boot of communism -- resent the results of unification and feel controlled by what he describes as a politically correct nanny state.

"(The movement continues) because of the fragility of the democratic culture in eastern Germany," Funke explained. "The movement continues because of some economic miseries. But there won't be a big success (with the neo-Nazi movement). It's on the sidelines. It's subculture."

Adrian grew up in the wealthy American sector of West Germany and doesn't believe poverty has anything to do with neo-Nazi growth.

But the movement is still around in Germany -- meaning everyone is not happy living in Europe's wealthiest nation.

CBN News

Police called in by Letcombe Regis bed and breakfast owners over alleged online 'racist slur' (UK)

The owners of a five-star bed and breakfast establishment have complained to the police and threatened legal action after being branded racist in a review on an Internet site.

Sarah-Jane Ashman, 51, who runs the Brook Barn Country House at Letcombe Regis, said she was devastated after the posting on tripadvisor.com claimed she did not welcome ‘ethnics’.

The website, which promotes itself as the world’s most trusted, dismissed her original complaint, she said, but had taken down the posting because the reviewer had not actually stayed at Brook Barn.

The reviewer, ‘Ferdi’, posted on the internet site: “I think I will be staying away and would recommend to any other ‘ethnics’ to do the same. I do not think they like our sort around there.”

Mrs Ashman said: “I could be called a lot of things and not respond, but to be called a racist was absolutely appalling.

“A couple of Sundays ago, this man turned up totally out of the blue asking to be shown around. I told him I could not do that as I had guests. At which point he left and I did not think anything of it.

“Then on the following Friday, we happened to look at our reviews on tripadvisor and saw this new one saying something along the lines of ethnics are not welcome, which is just shocking.

“I was hugely upset by it, which is why I rang the police.”

She added: “But I feel much more strongly about tripadvisor than this guy.

“They should not have put this comment on the website — not only is it untrue, but it is libellous. What they have done is put this guy in a position where he could be sued for defamation.

“Everyone gets bad reviews, but defamation is not on.”

She is taking action through an online reputation management company, KwikChex.

It is gathering a set of the most serious cases to present to tripadvisor in a bid to get it to change the way it polices its reviews.

Co-founder Chris Emmins said Mrs Ashman contacted the firm after tripadvisor refused to remove the review as it fell within its guidelines.

He said: “She had the usual experience, which was there was an allegation against the business which she completely refuted.”

Mrs Ashman added: “I am not after money but an apology and an acknowledgement from tripadvisor and him that it was defamation.”

Tripadvisor spokesman Emma O’Boyle said the review was taken down as investigation revealed the guest had not stayed in the hotel and was not qualified to comment.

Police spokesman David Staines said: “We have received a complaint about the review and we are investigating the matter.”

The Oxford Times

Report shows racism in Montreal police ranks (Canada)

For the second time in as many months, a damning internal report has outlined the breakdown of policing in   Montreal’s most troubled neighbourhood, going so far as to accuse officers of “racism.”

The Montreal Police Service had intended to keep the newest report secret and the city is facing accusations that it was trying to suppress the study.
But the coroner heading up the ongoing inquest into the death of 18-year-old Fredy Villanueva is weighing whether to allow it into evidence, something the police union and city oppose.

Written by a psychologist with expertise in conflict and crisis management, it’s blunt in its assessment of policing in Montreal North, site of the 2008 riots sparked by the death of an unarmed Villanueva at the hands of a young officer.

“The youth say that the police officers say things they wouldn’t dare say in any other sector of the city,” writes the psychologist, Martin Courcy, who met with about 60 young people from the area and observed police operations there following the riots.

Some examples cited in the report: To a youth from North Africa, an officer allegedly said, “Why don’t you blow yourself up?” To another, “If you’re not happy, why not go back to your country?”

And even this: “We prefer to be colonizers than slaves.”

This isn’t racial profiling, Courcy explains, “but racism pure and simple.”

The Courcy report comes on the heels of another damning internal report, by researcher Mathieu Charest, outlining racial profiling by Montreal police, namely an “alarming” increase in identity checks of visible minorities. The police disavowed that report, calling the methodology biased.

The latest data, leaked to La Presse and Le Devoir, must lead the city to act, said Fo Niemi, executive director of Montreal’s Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations.

“These reports confirm what people have come to experience on the ground in the last 10 years,” Niemi said. “And the city, still to this day, is trying to use all sorts of tactics and procedures to deny the problem exists.”

He said the city continues to stall at human rights commission reviews and battle to keep these reports confidential.

“These are Nixon-like tactics to hide the Watergate tapes,” he ventured.

One civil liberties group, La Ligue des droits et des libertés, said in a statement it was “outraged” to learn the police has had in hand for two years a report outlining racist attitudes in the force. They kept it secret, even as city brass denied a systemic problem at human and youth rights commission hearings into racial profiling last spring.

“Enough hypocrisy and inaction,” said the league’s president, Dominique Peschard, calling on the mayor to act.

Courcy, for his part, said in an interview that he wasn’t sure why the department didn’t want the report made public. He was to give officers training following the report’s publication, but neither did that come to pass, he said.

Following Villanueva’s death, Courcy was given the mandate to determine how police interventions might avoid the same result, he explained.

The psychologist’s report concludes that the force’s anti-gang squads, prioritized under the previous chief, ended up alienating minority youth in general, who felt provoked by the police.

“They are often scared of being arrested without reason,” the report states. “This fear is shared by the majority.”

In this context, “it’s not surprising” that a riot broke out.

Anger over Villanueva’s death led to the August, 2008 riot, during which cars were burned and dozens of stores looted.

A spokesperson for the Montreal police said the force wouldn’t comment on the report since it’s under debate at the inquest.

However, Sgt. Ian Lafrenière said the public should know the service has been training officers on racial profiling. “We’ve always been clear,” he offered, “it’s not a practice the Montreal Police Service condones.”

Courcy took pains to note that the department isn’t entirely racist. The racism was seen among a few officers — “exceptions” — he told the Star.

Courcy, who has worked with police forces in the past, added that the new police chief, Marc Parent, who was sworn in earlier this month, wants to improve relations with the youth of Montreal North.

Indeed, during his swearing in ceremony, Parent said he wants the police to be closer to cultural communities, more “inclusive.”

Mayor Gérald Tremblay urged him to deal with discriminatory practices, including racial profiling.

Niemi is also optimistic about Parent. “I think the chief recognizes the problems and the need to solve them,” Niemi said.

“But there is more than the chief. What is city council doing to ask for answers about this?”

The Star

UpRise Anti-racism festival comes to Finsbury Park (London, UK)

UpRise is a new FREE festival born out of the ashes of the former Rise festival.


Taking on the spirit and ideals of Rise, the UpRise Anti-racism festival will use the universal language of music and the arts to celebrate the commonalities of London's rich cultures and at the last count, the 250 languages spoken in the capital.

Come and celebrate - be part of the first UpRise ever!! We'll have live music, yummy food, thought provoking art and inspirational speakers, what more could you ask for?

The UpRise musical lineup promises to be sweeter than strawberries and cream and have more kick than a bombay mix. Some of the artists performing at UpRise 2010. are Ty, United Vibrations, Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee, & Wandan, Natty, Jally Kebba Susso, Jimmy Screech, Aruba Red Soothsayers and Yaaba Funk Shri .

UpRise

3/10/10
12.30 ' 7.30pm
Finsbury Park, London


For more details about this event please click UPrise

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Richard Barnbrook reported for 'bullying' (BNP, UK)

A former staff member for Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s former London leader and London Assembly member, says she has reported him to the GLA’s standards watchdog for his “unreasonable” and “bullying” behaviour towards her.

Tess Culnane, the “Nazi Granny” who was the BNP candidate for mayor of Lewisham this year, tells me she has made an official complaint to the City Hall standards officer, Ed Williams, calling for Mr Barnbrook’s suspension.

She says: “Richard Barnbrook failed to respond to requests for help from members of the public. When I did tell him about people who had come forward, he very often adopted a resentful manner towards me and threatened me with dismissal.

“His continual bullying manner and threats to sack me became intolerable. He would fall into a strop. He would make faces behind our backs when we were talking. He was a total embarrassment to those of us in his office.”

Mrs Culnane also says that Mr Barnbrook took out his anger on other members of his office, including another staffer, Emma Colgate. “She was forced to resign due to Richard’s perpetual hectoring manner,” she said. “At one point he followed her into the ladies’ toilet hectoring her.” Mrs Culnane says her complaint also alleges that Mr Barnbrook has been drunk during Mayor’s Questions.

Mr Barnbrook didn’t return repeated calls and text messages today to answer these allegations. They should be seen, of course, in the context of the fact that he has been in dispute with the BNP for some time. There may be an element of revenge here.

He resigned the BNP whip on the Assembly last month after the re-election of Nick Griffin as leader. Yesterday, he was thrown out of the party. He was also sacked as the BNP’s Barking and Dagenham organiser after the racists lost all their seats – his included – on the local council in the May elections.

A spokesman for the London Assembly said the procedure with complaints was for a sub-committee to decide whether they had enough merit to be considered by the full standards committee. Until then, he said, he could not confirm or deny whether any complaint had been received.

Originally posted
by Andrew Gilligan in the Daily Telegraph Blogs

HUNGARIAN RIGHT-WING EXTREMISTS FACE TERRORISM CHARGES

Hungarian prosecutors on Monday charged 17 right- wing extremists with involvement in terrorist activities, including arson attacks on politicians' homes, the severe beating of a television presenter and bomb-making, the MTI news agency reported. The terrorist group had called itself the Hunnia Movement and the Hungarian Arrows National Liberation Army. Among those charges is the nationalist leader Gyorgy Budahazy, who has been in custody for a year along with three other right-wingers. Budahazy has close ties to the far-right Movement for a Better Hungary, which entered parliament after snagging 17 per cent of the vote in April elections. The political party, also known as Jobbik, has tried to portray the accused as 'victims of a political justice.' Krisztina Morvai, a Jobbik member who is a member of the European Parliament, regularly makes appearances in Brussels with a T-shirt reading 'Freedom for Budahazy!'


DPA

The Rise of the far right in European Politics by riding the anti-Muslim Islamophobia wave.

A great news item has appeared on the German channel Speigel about the rise of the far right political parties in Europe and their anti-Islamic rhetoric.

I would urge everyone to read this.

The Rise of Europe's Right-Wing Populists

DUTCH RIGHT-WING PARTIES REACH AGREEMENT ON COALITION

Coalition talks in the Netherlands appear to have resulted in right-wing government supported by the far right. Negotiators reached agreement this evening on the details of a coalition agreement between the conservative VVD and Christian Democrats (CDA). A second agreement on parliamentary support by the Freedom Party has also been finalised. Today was 111th day of the formation. Earlier this evening, VVD leader Mark Rutte said the new cabinet will be named Rutte-Verhagen. Negotiators spent hours on the wording of the documents as the tone is particularly important to the Christian Democrats. VVD leader Mark Rutte announced that the three parties had reached agreement. CDA leader Maxime Verhagen declined to quote a motto for the new cabinet. He said he had faith that he could persuade his party to back the deal. Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders called it a historic moment. He said “who would have thought that the Freedom Party would have a huge amount of influence in government a couple of years ago.” Mark Rutte is set to become the first VVD prime minister since 1918.

Minority government
The minority VVD-Christian Democrat government will rely on parliamentary support from the far-right Freedom Party for a majority in the Lower House. On Wednesday, two agreements will be presented to the three parliamentary parties and the negotiators will report back to coalition broker Ivo Opstelten on Thursday. The details of the agreements will also be made public on Thursday. The Christian Democrat Party is holding a special congress on Saturday to seek approval from its members for the deal. All eyes will then be on the CDA, as many members of the party have expressed grave concerns about the cooperation with Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party. Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen has faced broadsides from a string of party elder statesmen, and two dissident CDA MPs threaten the coalition's flimsy one-seat majority. To complicate matters further, on Saturday Mr Wilders will be giving an anti-Islam speech in Berlin.

Right-wing
Negotiations for a right-wing cabinet headed by VVD leader Mark Rutte have been underway since 5 August, after the failure of talks on a possible 'purple' cabinet, comprising the 'blue' VVD and three 'red' left-of-centre parties. The talks for a rightwing cabinet were broken off in early September after the Freedom Party pulled out doubting CDA resolve to see the negotiations through. A letter by CDA co-negotiator Ab Klink voicing his reservations had been leaked to the press. After the resignation of Mr Klink, the Freedom Party agreed to come back to the negotiating table.

Ill-fated adventure
Earlier in the day, Labour Party leader Job Cohen has called the prospect of a right-wing government with support from the Freedom Party “the worst conceivable outcome of the coalition talks”. Socialist Party leader Emile Roemer says he is concerned about the measures in the agreements. Democrat D66 leader Alexander Pechtold called the development “an ill-fated adventure”. It was in the Freedom Party's interests to conclude the talks this week because as of Monday, Mr Wilders is due to appear in court in Amsterdam for a total of six days (over the course of a fortnight) on charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Darlington College aids hate crime victims

Victims of 'prejudice crime' who do not want to go to the police are being urged to report their grievances to staff at a Durham college.

Police are training staff at Darlington College to deal with victims of hate crime who can remain anonymous if they wish.

The college will be known as a third party reporting centre, police said.

Hate crime is an offence motivated by a dislike of race, colour, religion, gender, sexuality or disability.

A spokesman for Durham Police said: "The person reporting the offence does not have to leave their details and can remain anonymous throughout.

"If they request police to attend then an officer will make an appointment to meet them.

"If problems aren't reported to the police we have no chance of solving them."

BBC News

Toon stars join forces in fight against racism

Toon stars joined forces to help a Tyneside anti-racism charity gain national recognition.

Whitley Bay-based Show Racism the Red Card wants to be crowned Charity of the Year.

If given the accolade by the Football Association, the organisation would get a huge publicity boost, as well as a share of fundraising carried out by the governing body.

And the Newcastle United team lent their support when the squad took time out from their pre-match preparations at St James’ Park on Sunday to pose for photographs and outline their support for the campaign.

It comes as more than 60 MPs rallied behind the efforts to be named charity of the year.

Bosses of the organisation, founded 14 years ago, want to get the support of 100 MPs and will host a special event in October to encourage as many as possible to sign up.

Those already on board include South Shields MP David Miliband, who narrowly lost out to brother Ed in the Labour leadership election this weekend. It is Mr Miliband’s Blaydon colleague Dave Anderson who has arranged for Show Racism the Red Card chiefs to gain access to the House of Commons on October 19, when they will aim to convince as many people as possible to follow them.

Other MPs to have given their backing so far are Stephen Hepburn, Chi Onwurah, Ian Mearns and Ian Lavery, alongside Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn, Toon manager Chris Hughton and former England Manager Graham Taylor.

And every member of the Magpies squad, along with Wallsend-born Emmerdale actress Charlie Hardwick, herself a Toon fan, posed for snaps holding aloft campaign placards at St James’ Park.

The photo shoot took place ahead of United’s defeat to Stoke City, which saw the Toon take the lead through a Kevin Nolan penalty, before ex-Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones equalised and James Perch put through his own net to give the Potters the lead in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Ged Grebby, of the charity, said: “We have a great relationship with the club and, as ever, were thankful of their support.

“We hope we can push on now and be named charity of the year, which would mean a great deal to us.”

Chronicle Live

Police pledge swifter response to racism and homophobia than 'ordinary' crime

Police are looking to drive up reporting of hate crime by promising minorities will see a swifter and tougher response to offenders, than other victims.

The new hate-crime guidance manual is aimed at instigating a cultural change in policing and, as a result, throughout Scotland.

Police will stress to officers that victims from minorities suffer more when a crime is motivated by prejudice than a member of the general public would from the same offence.

Assistant Chief Constable Mike McCormick, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "We wanted to make sure our own staff were aware of the impact hate crime has.

"If you punch me in the nose because you don't like me because of the colour of my skin, race, sexuality or whatever, that has a longer effect because I'm thinking that not only does this person not like me, but lots of other people won't like me either.

"If someone is already struggling with a disability then a hate crime can leave them thinking not only do I have a physical problem, but I also have a social problem because people don't like me.

"It has a much more significant effect on victims and I want people to pick up on that.

"If people say 'I had not meant any harm' it was just a bit of loose language, we're saying think hard before you say something. And we want victims of hate crime to know this is how we feel."

The new manual brings together best practice from the various eight Scottish forces that was put in place following the Stephen Lawrence inquiry in 1999.

The inquiry into the murder of the black teenager in 1993 found the Metropolitan Police to be "institutionally racist", a verdict has had repercussions that continue to affect UK policing.

The manual represents a promise to protect, not only ethnic minorities, but anyone who might be prejudiced against because of age, disability, gender including transgender, race including gypsy/travellers, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.

It is backed by new powers in the Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Act, which was passed in Scottish Parliament earlier this year.

Sergeant Martin White, of the diversity unit at Lothian and Borders Police, one of the officers who wrote the manual, said: "(Under the act] if someone is arrested for hate crime, we must look to put them before the courts as soon as possible, if not from custody then bailed to appear as soon as possible.

"In the courts, hate crime has to be recorded and reflected in the sentence. It gives the courts the chance to give an appropriate sentence.
That might mean restorative justice - addressing problems the victim might have within their community."

Mr McCormick added: "If it manifests again the court will take an even dimmer view of a person perpetrating homophobic or racist crimes."

Chief Constable Ian Latimer, chairman of the Acpos equality and diversity business area, said: "The manual, developed in consultation with partner agencies and victim support charities, gathers best practice and provides officers with guidance on how to recognise and investigate hate crime."

Justice secretary Kenny Mac-Askill said: "We live in a modern Scotland where there is no excuse for hate crime of any form. This new Acpos guidance has my full support."

Ros Micklem, National Director Scotland for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "Recognition of the corrosive impact of hate crime upon individuals and communities is clear in this manual, as is the determination to continue to work with communities to provide an effective response."


Scotsman news

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Jobbik against setting up Tom Lantos Institute (Hungary)

Radical nationalist party Jobbik said on Monday that it objected to plans to set up a Tom Lantos Institute in Budapest to promote minority rights, insisting that the former US politician of Hungarian descent was a "Hungarophobe."

Hungarian President Pal Schmitt told a UN general assembly meeting in New York on Friday that Hungary plans to set up a centre to promote tolerance, to be named after Lantos.

Jobbik parliamentary group leader Marton Gyongyosi said on Monday that the initial idea for the centre came from former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who announced plans to set up a Tom Lantos institute after the US politician's death in February 2008.

Gyongyosi said Lantos, a former politician of the Democratic Party, was a "Hungarophobe" and "best friends" with former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

"Hungarian right-wing people with patriotic feelings will never support this initiative," he said.

In addition to the naming of the institute, Gyongyosi also criticised the entire plan to set up such an organisation, adding that minority research and promoting tolerance were not among Hungary's most urgent tasks at the moment.

Politics Hu

Ukraine holds two over suspected anti-Semitic murder

An Israeli Hasid was stabbed to death and his brother was beaten late Saturday night in Uman, a Breslov pilgrimage destination.

An Israeli Breslov Hassid was stabbed to death and his brother was beaten late Saturday night in the Ukrainian city of Uman. Shmuel Toubul, 20, and his older brother Rafael were in Ukraine to assist Jews making the pilgrimage to the grave of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.

The three assailants fled the scene but hours later two of them were apprehended by police. Police have yet to decided whether to charge the two with murder or manslaughter.

The victims' family believe the incident was motivated by anti-Semitism. It is also thought that the attack may have been motivated by the Rosh Hashanah killing of a local man by a Jew who fled the country.

The killing of Toubul occurred on the 200th anniversary of the death of Rebbe Nachman.

The Jewish community in Ukraine managed to persuade the police to hand over Toubul's body without performing an autopsy, though one is required by law. Performing an autopsy is a sacrilege to many religious Jews. The body was flown to Israel, and the man was to be laid to rest late last night in Jerusalem.

The stabbing, just after midnight Saturday, occurred a few hundred meters from the rebbe's grave, where Jewish followers had gathered to pay homage and mark 200 years since his passing. The Toubuls, originally from the West Bank settlement of Immanuel, manage a number of businesses in Uman. They own an apartment they rent out, operate a transportation service and a local supermarket offering kosher products to the tens of thousands of Jewish visitors who come annually.

The Toubuls' businesses in Uman are managed by Rafael Toubul, with the younger Shmuel making the trip before Rosh Hashanah to offer help. Shmuel Toubul kept in touch with many Israeli visitors via his Facebook page. He was to be married in Israel in two months.

According to the Toubul family and local Jewish officials in Uman, the memorial ceremony near the rebbe's grave drew dozens of people. Shmuel Toubul was sent to bring refreshments. While he was inside his home, he heard noises outside, where three young men were hurling rocks at his car. He alerted Rafael, who was also home. The two went outside to chase away the stone throwers, who then assaulted the brothers. Rafael Toubul says they tried to defend themselves, they hit back and offered the attackers money to leave them alone. But one of them produced a knife and stabbed Shmuel Toubul three times, including once in the heart. He was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Rafael was beaten around the head and feet with an object.

Another brother, Nachman Toubul, said: "Even though my brother Rafael offered the youths money so that they would be left alone, they refused, pulled out a knife, and stabbed Shmuel, of blessed memory, in the heart. Shmuel collapsed on the spot and he called out to his brother, 'Rafael, they stabbed me in the heart.'" He said his brother lost consciousness and then was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Ukrainian police are trying to determine whether the violence was random and whether the suspects involved were under the influence of alcohol. One of the suspects is in his early 30s and the other in his early 20s. They were found to have blood stains on their clothing.

Hareetz

Crime Spree Suspects Linked To White Supremacy Group USA

Authorities believe a group of midstate criminals is responsible for running several meth labs and breaking into homes and cars across the region.

They're armed, dangerous, and now linked to a radical white supremacist group.

Investigators describe them as a loose knit gang, and the Sumner County Sheriff's Department has every intention of shutting this group of criminals down.

What started as a series of car thefts weeks ago led investigators with the Sumner County Sheriff's Department to a series of meth labs and dozens of stolen guns. Child endangerment charges were also filed after a five month old baby was found in the same home as an active meth lab.

"Thefts, burglaries, assaults then the meth labs. we recovered 5 meth labs during this investigation," said Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford.

Now, the case has taken another turn-- at least 14 people responsible for the crime spree now face criminal charges, and all of them have linked themselves to a white supremacist group known as Aryan Nations.

"They feel they're a dominant race and do the intimidation on the rest of the public," said Weatherford.

Investigators said many of the suspects met each other while in prison. While the network of white supremacists is not tight knit, Sheriff Weatherford said his department is cracking down on the group to prevent future crimes and public unrest.

"If you are in Aryan Nations and in Sumner County we want to locate you and get you out of Sumner County, whether that's by placing you in jail or you leaving," said Weatherford.

Investigators are taking the Aryan Nations group seriously for several reasons. Detectives said they've broken into homes, cars, and stores in five different midstate counties. And, they could be extremely dangerous. Authorities have seized more than 60 guns they believe were stolen during the crime spree. At least one member of the group is still on the loose.

Investigators believe there are more members of Aryan Nations in Sumner County and the surrounding areas who could be part of the rash of crimes. Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to call the Sumner County Sheriff's Department.

News Channel 5

White supremacist sentenced for attack (USA)

Lockner gets 31 years for beating elderly black man

A Baltimore judge sentenced white supremacist Calvin E. Lockner to 31 years in prison Monday on four criminal counts, including the assault of an elderly black fisherman, who repeatedly described the beating and its aftermath as "stressful" during the brief court proceeding.

Standing four feet from his attacker, James Privott, 77, outlined the effects of the August 2009 battering, which left him with a fractured eye socket, missing teeth and expensive doctor bills.

"The situation put my wife and I and my family in a stressful, stressful" position, Privott said. "My wife basically had to take over for me. … For three weeks, I couldn't see."

Court papers describe Lockner, 29, as a Hitler follower and registered sex offender who molested a little girl and raped a woman. He pleaded guilty last week to attacking Privott, as the older man packed up his Chevy Tahoe and prepared to head home after an early morning of fishing at Fort Armistead Park

Motivated by hate, Lockner and two others beat Privott, then stole his vehicle, according to court records. Lockner received a 30-year sentence for the carjacking, 25 years for assaulting Privott and 10 years for committing a hate crime, all set to run concurrently. He received an additional one-year sentence for assaulting a correctional officer by throwing urine at the man, who declined to speak in court Monday.

Lockner's public defender read a statement on his behalf apologizing to Privott and asking for forgiveness.

"I should have been able to conduct myself as a man, but chose the acts of a boy," Lockner said in the statement. "I am sorry for the pain and agony that my actions have caused you."

The trial of a co-defendant, Zachary Watson, 18, had been scheduled Monday but was postponed because Watson's attorney is trying another case, according to the Baltimore state's attorney's office. A third defendant, 16-year-old Emmanuel Miller, was previously found "involved" by a juvenile court judge.

Baltimore Sun

Attacks on homeless becoming hate crimes in Fla (USA)

Prejudice-motivated attacks against homeless people are becoming hate crimes in Florida, a state that has led the nation in that statistic four of the last five years.
The new law goes into effect Friday.

Florida is the largest of five states and the District of Columbia that have increased penalties for attacks against the homeless, but the National Coalition for the Homeless says it's unsure such laws will do any good.

The coalition first wants the federal government to begin collecting data to help determine what will work.

A U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee is scheduled to hear testimony on that issue Wednesday.

Other advocates, though, say publicity surrounding hate crime laws can be a deterrent itself.

Miami Herald

FRANCE’S NATIONAL FRONT STEADILY GAINING STRENGTH, POLLS SHOW

Tall, blonde and plain-spoken, 42-year-old Marine Le Pen has two ambitions: to succeed her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, when he steps down as head of the extreme right National Front party in January, and to become the first French president who represents the far right. But even if her succession is still months away, and her ascension to the presidency unlikely, Ms. Le Pen and the National Front are already wielding disproportionate influence on French politics. Observers say that although the party is still far behind in the polls, the National Front’s touch is being felt in everything from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attack on Roma and other immigrants this summer to a decision earlier this month by a small-town mayor to refuse a group of refugee children the right to go to school. The far right has always had some influence in France, but a possible surge in popularity for the National Front is causing extra concern, since it comes at the same time as other extreme right parties improve their standing in Europe. This week, voters in Sweden – the European bastion of social democracy – elected members of an anti-immigrant party to their parliament for the first time. Far-right anti-immigrant parties have also made huge gains in the Netherlands, Norway, Italy and Hungary in recent months.

In France, the latest polls show that the National Front has been steadily gaining popularity and its leader would place third in a crowded roster of candidates to become the next president. Brice Tenturier, who heads the IPSOS polling company, says part of the resurgence is due to a general sense of insecurity in France after the global economic crisis and the euro crisis this spring. But he says Ms. Le Pen is also largely responsible. Her father made it to the second round in the 2002 presidential elections, but then quickly lost support for his blatantly xenophobic message. Ms. Le Pen, a twice-divorced Catholic, still advocates the party’s core values of French nationalism, Euro-skepticism and hard-core law and order. But she has softened the party’s image and drawn people back by insisting she’s not against foreigners, just illegal immigration, and focusing more on social issues. “Marine Le Pen has managed to build up a lot of credibility as a more moderate politician than her father and established herself as a regular commentator,” says Thomas Klau, of the European Centre for Foreign Relations. “It’s very clear that that is causing a lot of concern for Nicolas Sarkozy.”

With his approval ratings at a career low, his government embroiled in a series of conflict-of-interest scandals, and both the National Front and Socialist parties gaining strength, Mr. Sarkozy decided this summer to appeal to far-right sympathizers by rebuilding his image as a law and order politician. The country heard Mr. Sarkozy’s Sports Minister calling the largely immigrant French national soccer team “mafiosos” who had never escaped the mentality of the suburbs, the Interior Minister calling for elected criminal-court judges who would impose harsher sentences, and Mr. Sarkozy ordering the expulsion of Roma who were in the country illegally and proposing a new law that would strip foreigners of their citizenship for committing serious crimes. Some human-rights activists believe Mr. Sarkozy’s new far-right stand has even trickled down to a more grassroots level. As an example, they cite the tiny Parisian suburb of Saint Gratien where the mayor refused to let a group of refugee children attend nursery school and banned their older siblings from school canteens and after-class programs. The mayor, a member of Mr. Sarkozy’s UMP party, said she could not see why local residents should “pay for these children” and cited a more “general problem surrounding asylum seekers.”

Manuel Alvarez, local president of the Federation of Public Schools Parents Association, said the mayor’s actions were illegal and amount to “manifest discrimination” inspired by Mr. Sarkozy’s move to the right. “All summer our President promoted anti-immigrant policies,” he said. “What’s sure is that when you hear Mr. Sarkozy talk that way, it’s going to encourage others in the same sense.” Mr. Tenturier, the pollster, says Mr. Sarkozy’s new position is a gamble, since he risks losing even more support from his traditional base on the centre right. But with the ascent of far-right movements across Europe and in the United States, he has decided it’s worth the risk. “The success of the far right in Sweden, of the Tea Party movement in the United States, all show there is apparently a deep popular discontent and a readiness to vote for parties who draw their success on the protest vote,” Mr. Klau said. “Sarkozy and his advisers surely have that in mind.”

Globe and Mail

NEO-NAZI VULGARITIES INCREASE IN MAINSTREAM CZECH MEDIA (Commentary)

Gradually and stealthily, the rhetoric normally used by neo-Nazis is slowly starting to make its way into serious media in the Czech Republic. We have already grown used to seeing young Roma referred to on neo-Nazi websites as “litters of Gypsies”, blacks referred to as “niggers”, and to various slurs being made against Jewish and Vietnamese people. Today the Czech internet daily Deník.cz and its Havíøov edition, havirovsky.denik.cz, have crossed way over the line. An article on the problems of children hospitalized with jaundice in Havíøov has appeared under the truly eye-catching headline: “Havíøov infection unit full once again of Gypsy litter with jaundice” (“Havíøovská infekce je zase plná malých cikáòat se žloutenkou”). A similar headline ran over the same article on the nationwide Deník.cz server but was changed after about two hours to “Havíøov infection unit is full of Roma children again”. This is the culmination of a gradual vulgarization of Czech society as a whole. Serious political parties (e.g., the Czech Social Democrats) play the nationality card during elections while others (the Civic Democrats) say they want to create a concentration camp for homeless people outside of Prague. The Zemanite Party for Citizens’ Rights (SPOZ) is fighting against drug addicts instead of against drugs, and the Czech Interior Minister does not mind that one of his party’s candidate lists (Public Affairs) is led by an extremist former National Party member. As a result of this vulgarization, already last year four monstrous human beings set fire to a home with children in it (of course, for Havíøovský deník reporter Libor Bìèák, those children were a “Gypsy litter”). If the Havíøovský deník continues this rhetoric, expect to see the following shocking headlines in your paper: “Gooks arrested for growing marijuana”, “Four young men liberated after almost burning a little Gypsy to death”, “Nigger becomes President of the USA”, or “Czech Television presents fourth episode of a documentary series filmed by a litter of young Gypsies”.


Romea

GYPSY CIRCUS IS NEXT ON FRANCE'S EXPULSION LIST

After deporting many illegal Roma immigrants, Nicolas Sarkozy's government may force Europe's only Gypsy circus to close down

With its mesmerising songs and startling acrobatics, the Cirque Romanès is one of the most unusual cultural highlights of Paris: the only Gypsy circus in Europe and the only show in the French capital whose artists retreat to their caravans after the curtain falls. For 18 years it has been attracting audiences to its exotic blend of poetry and performance. In June it was deemed good enough to represent France at the World Expo in Shanghai. But after a summer which has seen France crack down on its foreign Roma population and draw the ire of Brussels for the policy, the future of the circus and its loyal band of artists hangs in the balance. The authorities have refused to validate work permits for the five Romanian musicians whose instruments are crucial to the performances. The French employment inspectorate insists that the cancellation of the permits has no connection with the wider political climate, which has seen around 1,000 Roma return to their home countries in nearly two months and around 200 unauthorised Roma camps cleared by police. They say there are problems with the circus's functioning, accuse its owner of underpaying the musicians and question the use of child performers.

Such claims are dismissed as "pure invention" by Alexandre Romanès, the circus's charismatic founder. "They're making up all these reasons. It's complete fantasy," he said, as he sipped coffee outside his caravan on the outskirts of Paris. Responding to the authorities' chief criticism – that of low pay – he added: "They get four times the minimum wage, and they are fed and housed. When I contacted a lawyer and told her what they [the authorities] were trying to claim, she just burst out laughing." Romanès, a published poet and friend of the late writer Jean Genet, is unequivocal about what he believes to be the real reasons for the sudden move, taken for the first time in the circus's two decades of existence. For him, it is just another sign of France's growing hostility towards his people. "As this woman from Luxembourg [EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding] said, we thought Europe was protected from this kind of thing, but clearly it isn't. What I have noticed is that, instead of waging war on poverty, the French government is waging war on the poor," he said.

In order to try to revoke the authorities' "unjust" decision, 59-year-old Romanès and his wife, Délia, have started an online petition. Urging the authorities to let the circus "employ those Romanian and Bulgarian artists with whom they want to work", the appeal has more than 7,000 signatories. A "night of support" on 4 October will aim to rally the troops. One of the most vocal Romanès fans is Reinhard von Nagel, a world-famous harpsichord maker and esteemed Maître d'Art appointed by the French culture ministry. There was no doubt, he said, of the political nature of the refusal of permits. "In France, as in other countries, there are laws for and against things, but they are not always applied. If you want to attack someone, you find a law and you apply it. That is what the authorities are doing in the case of Alexandre and Délia," he said, criticising the "zealousness" of the authorities implementing the "hunting down of the Roma". "It is a policy which I have no hesitation in declaring to be fascist. It bothers me deeply," said Von Nagel, a German who has lived in Paris for decades. At a meeting last weekend with Frédéric Mitterrand, the culture minister, he brought the Cirque Romanès to the minister's attention. "I told him that if the Cirque Romanès is shut, I don't know if I can stay in France," he said.

President Sarkozy's policy of paid "voluntary returns" for all those foreign Roma found to be living on French soil without permission has been denounced as unfair and unworkable by human rights activists, foreign politicians and even members of the president's own right-wing UMP party, one of whom – like Reding – enraged the government by comparing the evacuations across France with Vichy-era roundups of French Jews and Gypsies. For the Romanès family, who dislike the term Roma and prefer to be proud Gypsies, the situation is telling. Even though they are both French citizens – Alexandre since birth – they feel they are being stigmatised by a crackdown which is supposedly only a question of legality. This was not helped by the leak this month of an interior ministry memo that singled out Roma camps as the target for this summer's expulsions. "Even we, Gypsy artists who are legal citizens, are being attacked," said Délia, 40, a Romanian-born singer who fled her native Transylvania during the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. "I found it extraordinary that they sent us to represent France at Shanghai and that, when we came back, they weren't letting our musicians work. It's mad, really bad. They want to get rid of us. They just don't want to have to see us. But we are human beings too, you know?"

The Guardian

Former neo-Nazi to address US gay students

A former US neo-Nazi activist is to speak at an event hosted by the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer) committee of the State University of New York College (SUNY) at Cortland.

Tom "T.J." Leyden spent 15 years as a white supremacist and recruiter, campaigning against blacks, Latinos, Jews and gays before turning his back on the movement.

At one point, he had 30 tattoos of swastikas and other Nazi symbols covering his body and flew the Nazi swastika flag above the cot of his new born baby.

After leaving the racist movement, he worked for five years for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre teaching on the culture of hate and the importance in fighting back against it and has spoken at White House conferences on hate for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

His talk next Tuesday, the 5th October is open to the general public at the SUNY Courtland campus

Pink News

Commission hits out at racist Roma statement by Bulgarian minister

The European Commission yesterday (27 September) described as "unacceptable" a statement by Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who said that the Roma community was an "incubator" for crime. Dnevnik, EurActiv's partner in Bulgaria, reports.

European Commission spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen answered with a short but resounding "no" when she was asked whether the statement by Bulgarian Minister Tsvetanov was acceptable.

The minister said in an interview with the '24 chasa' daily that a "very thorough analysis" of the Roma problem was needed because "this environment is an incubator for generating crime".

Tsvetanov gave the interview in the wake of a visit to Brussels, where he met yesterday among others Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner László Andor, with whom he reportedly discussed cooperation on integrating Roma.

The visit took place against the backdrop of controversy surrounding the expulsions of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma by the French authorities. In this controversy, Bulgaria sided with France and said Paris had the right to conduct the expulsions.

Asked by the Brussels correspondent of Bulgarian daily Trud to comment on the fact that he had stigmatised an ethnic community by calling it "an incubator for crime," Tsvetanov insisted he had made the statements in an internal context.

"You live in Brussels. You should go to villages near the big [Bulgarian] cities," he said, hinting that journalists were quick to criticise without understanding the true extent of the problem.

He went on to explain that analyses of criminality had shown that Roma were behind most of the petty crime to which in his words society was most sensitive.

"I only say what the reality is, as we need to call problems by their real names," Tsvetanov said.

The Bulgarian minister repeated statements made by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov at the last EU summit that money to integrate the Roma should be given to the state and not to NGOs.

"Over the last 20 years many NGOs received a lot of money but did nothing," Tsvetanov said.

The minister also insisted that his country should join the Schengen border-free area of the EU in March 2011.

Asked by EurActiv to comment on whether Bulgaria and Romania's accession to Schengen could be blocked due to opposition from EU members who point out that the countries are still subject to EU monitoring over deficiencies in their law-enforcement systems (see 'Background' and 'Romania, Bulgaria presidents push for Schengen accession'), the European Commission neglected to give a clear-cut answer.

Spokesperson Michele Cercone said that on one hand, Schengen accession was conditional on satisfying a series of specific technical parameters. But on the other hand, he added that the decision to take on board new members was political, as it was taken by member countries deciding unanimously.

Positions
Krassimir Kanev, President of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, an independent non-governmental organisation for the protection of human rights, called “racist” the statement by Tsvetan Tsvetanov in his interview for “24 chasa”.

“To stygmatise an entire Roma group that it is an incubator for crime is simply a racist statement, which is in no way compatible with the capacity of its author, a minister of the interior, meaning a minister for all Bulgarian citizens,” Kanev said.

“It is extremely unacceptable to say such a thing. It is the same as saying that the police is an incubator for crime. There are Roma who are authors of crimes, there are also policemen who are authors of crime,” Kanev said.

EuraActv

Young migrants make a case against racism (Ireland)

AN exhibition of suitcases detailing the poignant -- and at times disturbing -- experiences of young migrant schoolchildren went on display last night as part of a travelling anti-racism campaign.

'Suitcase Stories' is the brainchild of UNICEF director Melanie Verwoerd, who was inspired after seeing a similar exhibition in her native South Africa.

The exhibit features old suitcases filled with children's artwork, photographs and other personal items to symbolise the child's life as a migrant and their former home. The outer lid of the case represents their life here.

Many of the 14 children taking part came to Ireland with their parents as refugees or were born here. Others made their home in Ireland as immigrants.

But the touching depictions of the struggles in their lives both here and in their homelands have a recurring theme of homesickness and of being an outsider.

Andrej Pacher (16), who moved to Rathfarmham, Co Dublin, from his home in Bratislava, Slovakia, more than four years ago, filled his suitcase with imaginary letters he wrote to his grandmother, detailing the ups and downs of being a young migrant in Ireland.

Sadly, racial bullying by some of his primary school classmates was his introduction to Ireland.

"Dear granny," he wrote. "I miss you a lot. I won an award in the Young Scientist competition. Other boys in my class are starting to behave nicer to me but they make me feel different."

The promising science student said he was finally being accepted by some of his peers but admits it has been a struggle.

"I do feel homesick," he told the Irish Independent last night. "I feel I fit in much more now but every now and then I get the feeling I don't fit in."

The suitcase of Yasmin Dirir (13), from Ballyfermot, who was the first Irish-born Somali, tells a different story.

While she has never gone to her parents' homeland, her suitcase is filled with disturbing images of the war-torn African country.

But it also proudly displays the Somali flag and a painting she did of the mountains, giraffes and lions she hopes to see when she visits there next year. While she too is no stranger to racism, she has learnt to take it in her stride and is proud of her "Irish accent".

The project organised by UNICEF and Dublin City Council will remain on display at the council's Civic Offices in Wood Quay until October 8 before moving to Dublin's main libraries.

Irish Independant

Monday, 27 September 2010

Polish campers vow to stay put despite racist attacks (UK)

They came to Edinburgh hoping to earn more money and build better lives for themselves. But four Polish friends have told how they instead ended up living in a tent at the side of the road and fell victim to racist thugs.

After pitching up the tent a month ago in woods on Orchard Brae, their makeshift home has now come under a string of attacks. Youths have repeatedly trashed the campsite, stealing their belongings, and cutting holes and daubing racist graffiti on the tent.

But incredibly, the friends have all pledged to stay in the Capital despite their difficulties in finding jobs and the persistent harassment.

One of the campers, Dariusz Serafinski, who moved to Edinburgh from Poland seven months ago, said: "When I first came to Edinburgh, I was staying at the home of my friend's uncle while I looked for work. But it has taken so long and been so difficult that last month myself and three friends decided to pool our benefits and scrape together enough money to buy a five-man tent while we kept looking.

"The police knew about us living here and they said we were not breaking the law and could stay as long as we want.

"When I was in Warsaw, I decided I wanted to move out from my parent's house and strike out on my own. I was wondering where to go and a friend of mine said Edinburgh was really lovely and the people were very friendly.

"I can't understand how difficult it has been to get work, though. There seems to be a lot of jobs out there. It is not easy, but we'll keep trying."

The 25-year-old has been living rough with his friends, three men aged, 25, 30 and 35, while sending out hundreds of CVs to firms, and visiting the Job Centre two or three times a week to search for vacancies.

The thugs have targeted their campsite on five occasions, including pulling down their tent and wrecking their belongings.Mr Serafinski said: "We spend most of the day going from place to place to put in job applications. That means we can't always have someone staying at the tent to make sure it is not vandalised.

"We repaired the holes in our tent with tape but they returned on Thursday and set about destroying our belongings yet again. This time they spread litter and food all over the inside of the tent, and put most of our belongings in the middle of the tent and squirted tomato ketchup and mayonnaise all over our belongings.

"They wrote "Polish *****!" on the side of our tent with mayonnaise sauce, basically leaving our only shelter un-inhabitable."

He added: "We're not looking forward to the colder weather but we are prepared. Hopefully we may find somewhere else before then.
We still want to stay here and find jobs."

A police spokesman said: "Officers are investigating after a tent in Orchard Brae was vandalised with graffiti of a racist nature. Anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area is asked to contact police. Lothian and Borders Police treat all hate crime incidents as an operational priority ensuring that they are thoroughly investigated."

A council spokesman said racist attacks could not be condoned but encouraged the men to ask for help with accommodation, and added: "A range of services are provided by the council and their partners to ensure no one needs to sleep rough. In the first instance these young men should contact the council."

News.Scotsman

70 racism complaints against Kent Police (UK)

Almost 70 complaints of racism have been made against police in the county in the last three years.

The grievances since the start of 2008 range from racist jokes told at the station to an officer mimicking the accent of a complainant.

Five of the complaints resulted in misconduct hearings, with one officer resigning last year for being "a member of a group whose members made discriminatory comments".

Another faced a rap in the same year after bosses investigated claims he was "unjustifiably targeting black people for stop checks".

One officer didn't even wait for a misconduct hearing, resigning after it emerged they made discriminatory remarks while off-duty.

The majority of the 69 complaints alleged that the officer's actions "were due to the complainant's ethnicity".

Almost a quarter were "locally resolved", described by police as "a way of dealing with a complaint by solving, explaining, clearing up or settling the matter directly with the complainant".

A further 38 were discontinued, unsubstantiated, withdrawn or dispensed with, while seven - some going back to 2009 - are still classified as "live".

Officers in north Kent received the most complaints with 20 filed, while Medway followed in second with 16.

Mid Kent officers - covering Maidstone - had 14 complaints made against them and there were seven allegations against officers in west Kent.

South Kent police faced 11 complaints.

By Jow Walker at Kent Online

Public order arrests following Nuneaton Gurkha parade (EDL news)

Seven people have been arrested for public order offences following clashes after a parade in Warwickshire.

About 1,000 people watched the Queen's Gurkha Signals parade in Nuneaton on Sunday to mark the unit being given the Freedom of the borough.

The arrests happened when the English Defence League clashed with officers as they were ordered to disperse, police said.

The force is now studying CCTV footage as part of its investigation.

'Minor disorder'
Ch Insp Adrian Knight, from Warwickshire Police, said the Gurkha parade itself passed off without incident.

"Post parade there were several incidents of minor disorder which were dealt with," he said.

"Arrests were made but it was an appropriate and proportionate response from police."

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council awarded the Freedom of Entry to the regiment - the highest honour a council can award to a serving unit of the armed forces.

The Second Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was presented with Freedom of Entry to the borough earlier this month.

BBC

Grahame Park Estate youngsters designing hate crime mural for peace week event (London, UK)

Youngsters from a range of backgrounds are designing a mural for the Grahame Park Estate to give an idea of what hate crime means to them.

The project being co-ordinated by the Colindale Safer Neighbourhoods policing team is being run for Peace Week.

On Saturday the group gathered on the estate for a talk about hate crime and what it means to their lives, and are now developing the mural.

The images, with the theme we are one peaceful community, will be painted onto a wall in the estate before a grand unveiling next month.

PC Paul Sparks from Barnet's diversity team, said: "This is an important event that enables youths from Barnet's less privileged areas to discuss how they are perceived by the police, adults and what hate crime means to them.”

Times Series

UK Home Office to ‘Rigorously’ Defend New Immigration Cap

The British Government Home Office has said that it will rigorously defend itself, against a High Court challenge over its temporary immigration cap.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) said that the interim immigration cap brought about the Government in June was “disproportionate” and has asked judges to consider the policy as unlawful.

The JCWI also went on to claim that the government had “side-stepped” the proper parliamentary process when it brought in the policy, which will be implemented next year, the UK Independent reported.

A permanent yearly cap will follow the current interim cap on skilled migrants from outside the EU. The cap was brought in to prevent a “surge in applications” from skilled migrants from outside Europe. The latest official immigration figures show that more than 500,000 people came to the UK in 2008. Almost half of those were returning British nationals or EU citizens.

The Court of Appeal had earlier ruled that, the Home Secretary had acted unlawfully, with reference to changes made to the, now in question, points-based system without prior parliamentary agreement.

JCWI’s lawyer Shahram Taghavi, of Simons Muirhead and Burton, said he was “surprised to see that, despite that ruling, the Secretary of State has again sought to avoid parliamentary scrutiny on such an important change to British immigration laws, a change which, unusually, also impacts upon British businesses”.

He added: “The coalition Government has once again sought to rush through significant changes to the United Kingdom’s immigration laws while side-stepping proper parliamentary process.”

However, many businesses fear that the cap would stop them from hiring people to fill any vacancies during really high demand. Others voice out that it could have a bad to detrimental effect on higher education, which is reliant on income from foreign students, the BBC reported.

Habib Rahman, JCWI chief executive, said it was “very concerned about the immense damage the interim cap appears to already be doing to British businesses”.

“JCWI considers that the caps are a further attempt by the government to blame part of the financial difficulties the country finds itself in on migrants,” he further added.

But Immigration Minister, Damian Green, says he is committed to getting net migration back to levels of those incurred in the 1990s.

“We will rigorously defend this challenge and are confident of success, “he said.

The case is expected to come for hearing in October by the High Court.

A video report on this issue.




MAARS

THE ROMA'S STRUGGLE TO FIND A HOME

Another day, and another ram-shackle encampment where Roma once lived is gone. The scrap-wood shelters have been pushed to the ground. The tents, collapsed. The inhabitants, scattered. In Rome, the eviction of the Roma — a European minority sometimes referred to as Gypsies — is taking place with the full force of the law: military police, bulldozers, German shepherds. But, in contrast to the international firestorm over such evictions in France, Italy's have attracted little attention. Even as French President Nicolas Sarkozy tussled with the European Union over the repatriation of dozens of Roma to Romania (despite the name, Roma don't historically come from the country, although many live there), the mayor of Rome announced the demolition of his city's 200 illegal squatter camps, at a rate of three or four a week. This means another wave of expulsions for the Roma, who have faced similar efforts all over the country. Meanwhile, Italy's Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, took to the airwaves and declared the country's Roma problem — and many here see it as a problem — "practically resolved." He added, "The controversy around Sarkozy's decision made me smile a little. For us, it's a movie we've already seen." The Roma and their camps have been present in Italy since the Middle Ages. But a steep rise in their numbers after Romania's entry into the E.U. raised tensions in a country where bigotry runs deep: in Italian, to call somebody a Gypsy is to call him a thief and a liar. At its height, Italy's Roma population more than doubled to somewhere around 160,000, many of them living in unregistered squats without running water, electricity or sanitation. And they are not welcome. In 2008, after a teenage Roma girl was caught in a Naples apartment allegedly trying to steal a baby, a mob burned down the nearest camp. The government declared a state of emergency and announced it would fingerprint the country's Roma and expel those who were there illegally. Objections from the E.U. halted the fingerprinting, but the censure stopped there.

If Italy managed to avoid the opprobrium being heaped on France, it's not because it treats its Roma any better. The criticism leveled at France accuses Sarkozy's government of singling out a specific ethnicity. Italy's campaign came in a context of broad xenophobia: discrimination against the Roma is not much stronger than that against, say, Romanians in general (indeed, many Italians don't make a distinction between the two). Italy's politicians insist they aren't performing mass expulsions, but simply enforcing the law, closing camps and arresting criminals. But to many Roma, it all amounts to much the same thing. Frequent evictions, widespread discrimination and the risk of vigilante violence create constant pressure to go. Rebecca Covaciu, a 14-year-old immigrant from Romania, spent two years on the move, enduring police raids, beatings by thugs and a close brush with a mob in Naples before finally settling with her family in an apartment in Milan. "My family has had a terrible time finding work," she says. "When they see that we're Roma, they tell us, 'We don't need anyone.' And then you walk out, and there's 'Help Wanted' on the door." In theory, evicted Roma are to be resettled, but so great is the mistrust that when Rome started destroying camps in September, the inhabitants — alerted by the arrival of journalists — dispersed before the police and social services could arrive. Evictions continue, even though a dozen new settlements the city has planned won't be completed for several months. Other municipalities are following suit. As a result, say activists, most of Italy's immigrant Roma have already left — to Spain, Switzerland, France and beyond. Indeed, as more countries follow Italy's and France's leads, the pattern of rousting risks being replicated on a European scale. Italy's politicians have seized on the current uproar to up the ante, proposing laws that would allow the country to expel and bar entry to E.U. citizens who breach the conditions of their stay — just in case the Roma pushed out of France head their way.

Time Magazine

Racism at Commonwealth Games? Africans upset (New Delhi)

South Africa led the charge of the African nations against the shoddy Commonwealth Games preparations on Sunday. As the Delhi government carried out frantic clean-up operations in the Games Village, South Africa set the cat among the pigeons by saying a snake had been found in an athlete's room.

South Africa's high commissioner to India Harris Majeke told reporters a snake had been found in the room of an athlete at the Games Village. "That was really a threat to the lives of our athletes," he said, complaining of filth in the living quarters including basements of the buildings. "When everything is done, then we will ask our teams to come," he added.

The South African criticism is part of a larger grouse of the African nations against organisers of the Commonwealth Games. While the OC has been overly sensitive to the wishes of countries like the UK, Australia and Canada, the African countries found that they had been virtually ignored by the organisers.

The first site visit for the African countries to Games venues was arranged only this week. For months, said sources, African countries have been asking for information from the government, but in vain. Last week was the first time they got any briefing from the ministry of external affairs.

MEA has itself been kept out of the Games preparations, and was brought in virtually at the last minute when the damage control exercise had to be rolled out. Since they are the most familiar point of contact for the African nations, it was particularly frustrating that nobody was telling them anything, least of all the organisers. The first briefing was, sources said, little more than a bare bones briefing, because the MEA itself was not kept on board.

In fact, privately, the word from many African countries is that India was practising the same kind of racism against the African countries that India itself has complained against.

Out of the 53 nations in the Commonwealth, there are 19 from the African continent, all of whom are participating in the Games. This week, India will also play host to the president of Mozambique, a member of the Commonwealth, though it used to be a Portuguese colony and not a British one.

On Saturday, a visibly upset high commissioner of Rwanda -- a former Belgian colony and one of the most recent additions to the Commonwealth -- was seen looking for the Indian quarters in the Games Village. "I want to see their quarters. The place they have given us for our accommodation is not clean and my athletes are arriving here tomorrow," was his explanation.

However, India got a vote of confidence from South Africa's Olympic boss. In a statement, Gideon Sam said he would himself clean toilets to ensure the success of the Games. "Our athletes will have no excuses if they do not perform at the Games," Sam, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), said ahead of the team's departure on Sunday.

"If they are unhappy with their rooms because they have not been swept, they must take off their jackets and sweep them themselves. We will not complain. South Africans do not do that," Sam added. "And when I get there on Friday, if a toilet is not clean, I will clean it myself."

It only adds to India's shame.

Times of India

Gamers battle racism online

Heartbeats drum to the rhythm of steady machine gunfire and adrenaline is pumping high. Unaware of what the opponent will do next, the player analyzes each and every sound, the ultimate goal being to conquer the enemy.

Gamers indulge in this out-of-body experience every time they pick up a controller. Unfortunately, it also describes how gamers feel when they are bullied by other online gamers.

Gamers are misusing the live online communication feature on Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 by shouting racial slurs and life-threatening attacks.

Online attacks have become so intense that they cause people like 21-year-old Kender Massillon, a third year accounting student from Orlando, to refrain from gaming online.

"Go kill yourself nigger," include one of the many racist remarks he has received.

These hate attacks might come to as a surprise to first-time online gamers, but racial comments are commonly made about every race and nationality. Some ethnic groups have even organized online clans.

"There's KKK and Nazis, or Jew-killers as they like to call themselves, all over Call of Duty," Harold Bruney, 20, a third year information technology student from Hallandale, Fla., said.

These online clans blurt out repeated hate attacks to anyone they believe belongs to a different race or ethnicity.

Outside of the virtual world, it would be uncommon for 22-year-old Thanh Nguyen, who is Vietnamese, to receive comments like "go pick cotton" or "go hang yourself."

However, within the world of gaming, gamers are judged by the sound of their voice, which leaves anyone vulnerable to inaccurate hate attacks.

"Most people don't know I'm Vietnamese online, everyone says I sound black," the fourth year biology student from Orlando said.

Nguyen admits the prejudiced remarks are frustrating and even provoke him to respond back to racist gamers.

Though most players express racial tension through their microphone, others get their point across by creating hateful usernames or sending attacking messages.

"I won't forget the time someone made their user ID name Jew killer," Bruney said. Such hateful usernames may come as a shock to gamers at first, but it quickly becomes a natural occurrence.

Because of the popularity of online gaming nationwide, prejudiced remarks are bound to surface.

Also, with millions of online game users, some hate attacks go undetected by Microsoft Corp. and Sony Computer Entertainment.

Despite the difficulty of this task, both Microsoft and Sony have online complaint systems to try and reduce the amount of online attacks.

According to the Microsoft website, gamers who "witness a player behaving in an inappropriate or vulgar manner, cheating or harassing others" can file a complaint using their Xbox's feedback system and "appropriate action will be taken against offenders."

Gamers may also make use of the Xbox five star rating systems, which gives players the opportunity to rate their competitor's character without ever leaving the game.

A customer service representative from Sony urged gamers to report inappropriate content by filling out and submitting a complaint form online which could lead to a player's online access being suspended.

"Reporting everyone that says a racist remark would take up a lot of time, plus it's their freedom of speech so I just let it go," said 20- year -old Kevin Sharperson, a third year business administration student from Miramar, Fla. and daily online gamer.

Regardless of the constant hateful remarks, some gamers have not let it interfere with their love to play. Most gamers ignore the foul remarks and continue playing online for the opportunity to play against more challenging players.

Some gamers solve their racial gaming problems with online disputes while others find comfort in only playing with the people they are familiar with or simply pushing the mute button on opponents who insist on using racial slurs.

the famuan online

Sunday, 26 September 2010

POLISH GROUP BEGINS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST DAVID IRVING

A Polish organization began legal action this week to convict British Holocaust denier David Irving for  “minimizing” the scale of Nazi atrocities, as the revisionist historian begins his controversial tours of the Nazi death camps in the country. The Open Republic Association Against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia lodged a complaint with the Institute of National Remembrance- Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (IPN) on Wednesday claiming Irving seeks to “minimize” the scale of Nazi crimes as well as deny the extermination program in his book Hitler’s War, which was recently published in Polish. The legal action comes as Irving, who was jailed in Austria in 2006 for Holocaust denial, embarks on a weeklong tour to concentration camps and the former site of the Warsaw Ghetto. “Let’s not wait for the moment when David Irving commits a new crime in Poland; the evidence indicates clearly that he has already committed this crime,” Open Republic said in its complaint to IPN, which prosecutes both Nazi and Communist era crimes against the Polish people. The group was set up in 1999 in response to the manifestations of xenophobic tendencies in Polish public life and the revival of anti-Semitism and racism, its remit states. Dariusz Gabrel, from Open Republic, described Irving as one of the “foremost Holocaust deniers” and called for his prosecution under Polish laws that prohibit the denial of Nazi crimes.

“Material evidence clearly shows that he has broken the law,” he said. “Poland, the country in which the Nazis committed their crimes against humanity, should be especially sensitive to Irving’s kind of crime.” Irving arrived in Poland on Tuesday to lead his much criticized tour of Nazi sites, which is expected to attract a number of far-right sympathizers from across Europe who will pay $2,650 each. Advertising material for the tour promises an experience far removed from the “tourist attractions of Auschwitz.” However, the museum at Auschwitz has banned Irving from giving a guided tour there. A spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum said Irving can visit as an individual but that he would be “closely monitored.” Last week, the convicted Holocaust denier claimed that Treblinka was a real death camp site, as opposed to Auschwitz, which he described as a “Disney- style tourist attraction.” Speaking to the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday he said, “I am baffled by the reaction I’ve had in Poland because they should be very grateful that I am here. “Here I am lecturing to the revisionists and setting the record straight. I am saying to them – those who believe that not a hair was harmed on the head of the Jewish community – that you couldn’t be more wrong.” He described people who branded him a Holocaust denier as “criminal, lying lunatics.” In 1996, Irving attempted to sue American historian Prof. Deborah Lipstadt for libel, after she called him a Holocaust denier in her book Denying the Holocaust. Three courts subsequently found in favor of Lipstadt concluding that Irving was a Holocaust denier, an anti- Semite and a racist.

Jerusalem Post