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, 16 September 2010

OSCE media freedom representative, Council of Europe hold forum on preserving freedom of Internet while countering hate speech

VILNIUS, 15 September 2010 - The international community must work to identify effective ways to address hate speech on the Internet without endangering freedom of expression, said the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, today at the Joint OSCE-Council of Europe Open Forum on Hate Speech vs. Freedom of Expression in Vilnius.

The meeting focused on possible alternatives to relying solely on governmental or legislative approaches to address the problem of hate speech without infringing on freedom of expression and silencing legitimate criticism.

"We have to identify effective ways to address hate speech on the Internet without endangering freedom of expression. I am confident that this impressive group of leading international experts gathered under the umbrella of the OSCE and the Council of Europe will help the international community advance in this field," said Mijatovic.

De Boer-Buquicchio said: "Hate speech is a direct attack on the right to be and to think differently. It might not stop at rhetoric, as it has the potential to shape the minds and attitudes of individuals who will believe they have the right to undermine other people's rights. A democratic society cannot afford the freedom to oppress. Instead, we have to identify how to strike the adequate balance between rights and freedoms."

The event was held as part of the Internet Governance Forum, a global platform, and was jointly organized by the Representative's Office and the Council of Europe. This was the first initiative of this scale implemented by the two international bodies promoting free expression.

The forum was facilitated by leading experts representing academia, international bodies and the private sector involved with Internet policies


Racism and the Vatican

Why that "third world country" comment was much worse than you think.

It may seem as if the Vatican has no moral authority left to lose but with his description of Britain as a "third world country", Cardinal Walter Kasper has done his best.

In an interview with the German news magazine Focus, Kasper declared

"Britain is a secular and pluralist country. Sometimes, when you land at Heathrow, you think you have entered a third world country."

Some bloggers have interpreted Kasper's comments as an attack on the quality of Heathrow airport. But they, along with much of the mainstream media, have obviously missed the "clarification" issued by the Vatican.
According to the Pope's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, Kasper's comments actually referred to Britain's multi-ethnic composition. Is Kasper really suggesting that ethnic minorities have no place in a developed country like Britain? Apparently so. One can only assume that the multi-ethnic nature of travellers (and staff) at Heathrow offended the Cardinal's separatist sensibilities.

Kasper, who has withdrawn from the Papal visit, has already come under pressure to apologise. Cardinal O'Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland, said:

"That was unfortunate and each and every person's aides sometimes do make awkward, difficult remarks. Sometimes we make awkward, difficult remarks ourselves. And simply, if we do that sort of thing we apologise for it, and I'm sure Cardinal Kasper will apologise for any intemperate remarks which he made some time ago."
But these weasel words are inadequate to the scale of Kasper's offence. If the Vatican, many of whose followers live in the "third world", wishes to salvage some dignity it could begin by ordering Kasper to apologise for his slur on the UK and its population.

Populism on the rise in the Nordic region

A populist and hard-right wave is washing up over the Nordic countries, and with it, anti-immigration rhetoric and policies that were unthinkable just few years ago, with political consequences for traditional politics in the region.

Despite their rapid rise, most extreme right-wing parties in the Nordic countries still lack significant voter-support on election day, with Sunday's (19 September) Swedish election result to be the next test.

Just a year ago, the far-right anti-immigration party – Swedish Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) – was a small and unknown outfit. But its provocative anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements have given it significant support especially in areas with high unemployment.

Opinion polls suggest that the Swedish Democrats may exceed the four percent threshold needed to win seats in the Riksdagen and possibly hold the balance of power between the left alliance led by the Social Democrats and the governing centre-right coalition.

In Finland, the tone of the immigration debate has changed dramatically over the last year. The topic has moved from being a marginal discussion to become one of the central debates in Finnish politics.

As much as 60 percent of Finns are now against an increase in the number of immigrants arriving in the country – a number that has increased considerably compared to previous years, according to a survey by Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat.

Public support for the opposition hard-right True Finns party led by MEP Timo Soini, who is a member of the European Parliament, has lately risen past 10 per cent, according to a survey in September commissioned by the same paper.

In Norway however, the far-right wave seems to have ebbed considerably. Following the polemic with the caricature drawings of the Prophet Mohammed a few years back some political parties were accused of being soft on Muslim fundamentalists for supporting a dialogue with the Muslim immigrant community. Consequently, the parties took on a stricter tone in the immigration debates, stealing the far-right's thunder.

However, in one of the debates, talk of introducing a ban on burqas and niqabs in public places, was ultimately seen as a breach of human rights and the measure was discarded by all parties except the extreme right-wing Fremskrittspartiet.

In Denmark, on the other hand, critics say that the far-right party, the Dansk Folkeparti, has won the anti-immigration debate. Danish politics has changed dramatically over the last decade and supporters of the change argue that it was needed while critics say the change has been an embrace of populism.

The rise of far-right parties
The ground the anti-immigrant parties have gained in the Nordic region over the last few years could be linked to a number of facts, according to Nordic reports.

Firstly, the number of asylum requests have increased in most Nordic countries during the 1990s. Immigrants have arrived mainly in the Scandinavian countries while Finland has received somewhat fewer and Iceland only very little immigration from non-European Union states, according to numbers from Nordic statistics.

Secondly, the power vacuum left by political infighting and internal splits in the traditional political parties has also boosted the rise of populist anti-immigration parties.

Thirdly, although many of the right-wing parties have been around for a long time, they have previously been marginal due to their links with Nazism and other extreme political views. However, in the past few years they have had a clean-out of their ranks.

In Sweden, for example, the Swedish Democrats ejected former criminals and Nazi members and has now become more accepted among the mainstream population.

Fourth, the current global economic crisis has also played its part in the increase of xenophobic attitudes among the Nordic people. In Finland, there is a growing discontent with not only immigration but also with the European Union (EU) and the euro – another topic widely deployed by populist parties to gain support.

Also in Iceland there has been a rise in the population's mistrust of the EU as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is closely co-operating with the Icelandic authorities on the country's economic recovery.

Voting for a laugh
Compared to the rest of the Nordic countries, the picture is somewhat different in Iceland when it comes to populist politicians. On the north Atlantic island, the people have become so disillusioned with their traditional politicians following the country's economic collapse, that the Icelandic people turned to a popular comedian when they went to the ballot boxes in May.

Jon Gnarr and his semi-serious political group named 'The Best Party' was the big winner in Iceland's latest local elections. Following a recent hard-hitting report about the facts behind Iceland's economic crash and the political links to the banks, local elections were held in an atmosphere of much distrust of mainstream parties, politicians, incumbents and bank directors.

The Best Party's general message is anti-politician and Mr Gnarr notably promised a cocaine-free parliament by 2020, free towels at swimming polls and a new polar bear for the zoo in Reykjavík during his election rally. Experts argue though that the Icelandic people did not really vote for Mr Gnarr but rather against the traditional political parties as a punishment for their failure to prevent the financial collapse in Iceland.

Language is cruder
All across the Nordic countries, the language in immigration debates has become ever more coarse. Previously unthinkable political statements are now used on a regular basis.

In Sweden, the Swedish Democrats at one point wrote in an opinion piece: "The Muslims are our greatest threat – as a Swedish Democrat, I see this as our greatest foreign threat since the Second World War and I promise to do all within my power to turn this trend when we go to elections," party leader Jimmie Akesson wrote in a debate article in Sweden's biggest daily Aftonbladet on 19 October 2009.

In Denmark, Peter Skaarup from the far-right Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti) wrote in a press release on 29 May this year: "if non-western immigrants and descendents worked to the same extent as the Danes, then the economic situation would immediately be 24 million Kroners [€3.2 million] better, the sustainability problem would be solved and growth in the Danish economy would take off."

He added that his party would continue a "socially balanced policy that will press more immigrants to find a job, take up education or maybe go home if it does not work out for them staying here in the country."

Few politicians in power dare to stand up against this kind of wording from the extreme right parties. Many politicians have even altered their statements to align themselves with the latest polls, which often suggest xenophobic and anti-immigration tendencies in public opinion.

In Norway, for example, traditional political parties have tightened asylum policies and become less tolerant in their integration policies.

In other cases, mainstream politicians need the support of the anti-immigration parties. In Denmark, the centre-right government depend on the parliamentary support of the Danish People's Party to push through legislation.

This has also led to the fact that the recently introduced Danish economic recovery plan is focussed on cuts in areas that hit immigrants hardest, critics argue. Child allowances, for example, have been cut to families with more than two children, and so has funding for translation services used, for example, in hospitals.

Recently, former member of the European Parliament and current Finnish foreign minister Alexander Stubb in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat in March this year protested against the change of tone in the language used in Finland over the last few years.

"Lately, I have seen far too few people saying that immigration is something good for Finland", Mr Stubb said, adding that he found the prevailing immigration debate for repulsive.

A change of politics
The rise of the populist politics is a sign of how politics have changed in the Nordic region, as with many nations in Europe where populist and demagogic rhetoric has gained ground during election time. The consequent change in toward hard-right language and policies now being adopted by traditional mainstream parties have led to a change in the way immigration policies are conducted.

But there are also tendencies of people pushing in the other direction as in Sweden, for example, where recent polls show that the acceptance among the Swedes towards immigrants and immigration is increasing. Also in Norway there is a wind of change as the authorities have chosen to remain in close dialogue with the Norwegian Muslim communities to stamp out potential cultural clashes.

Despite this, Nordic countries are sending a clear message to the world, saying that immigrants can no longer easily enter the Nordic countries.

And the message they are sending is having an effect. In Denmark, for example, the number of asylum requests has dropped more than 85 percent between 2000 and 2008 – a period in which the centre-right government, with the parliamentary support of the Danish People's Party, has been in power.

Norwegian Prime Minister centre-left Jens Stoltenberg has succeeded in his ambition of curbing the growth in the number of asylum seekers in the last few years, embracing the anti-immigrant discourse.

The change in traditional politics towards increasing demands of integration for immigrants in some of the Nordic countries has had an effect on the extreme right-wing parties: Despite the fast rise and considerable media attention devoted to these parties, as well as a growing interest from the electorate, they still only have limited support when Nordic voters go to the polls.


Swastikas painted on Moldova synagogue

Kishinev Jews stunned by anti-Semitic display; community demands more security for Yom Kippur 

Worshippers who arrived at the Great Synagogue in Kishinev Tuesday were stunned to discover swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs spray-painted on its walls.

"This is an especially disturbing incident, as Moldova is not known as an anti-Semitic country," local Chief Rabbi Zalman Abelsky told Ynet.

The incident stirred great interest in the local media, with numerous public figures expressing their shock over the anti-Semitic display. Israel's consul general in Moldova, Stav Nezhinsky, and other Jewish community leaders arrived at the synagogue Tuesday and agreed to invest the utmost effort to eliminate such incidents.

"We wish to eliminate this phenomenon, which is the work of marginal organizations that refer to themselves as 'neo-Nazis," Rabby Abelsky said. He added that in his 20 years in Moldova he had not seen "a humiliating act like the one at the entrance to the synagogue."

Meanwhile, one of the local Jewish community leaders, Simcha Weinberg, asked top police and government officials to act immediately in order to eliminate anti-Semitism. He urged authorities to undertake immense efforts in order to capture the perpetrators of the act and boost security at the Great Synagogue and other Jewish institutions ahead of the upcoming Yom Kippur prayers.
This isn't the first time anti-Semitism rears its ugly head in Moldova. In Hanukkah last year, dozens of protestors led by an Orthodox minister used hammers and metal rods to shatter a Menorah placed in Kishinev over the holiday. The demonstrators chanted anti-Semitic slurs and said they "will not allow the Jews to rule Moldova," removing the Menorah and posting a cross in its place.  
Ynet News

Housing award shortlist for tackling hate crime (UK)

A project aimed at stamping out hate crime in the Kensington area of Liverpool has been shortlisted for a UK Housing Award.

Stop the Hate - a six month campaign to raise awareness of different cultures and tackle anti-social behaviour - was chosen from 250 entries nationally as a finalist in the Creating Safer Communities category.

Organised by the As One partnership and funded by housing association Riverside and Citysafe, Stop the Hate saw young people from Edge Hill Youth Club, Kensington Fields Community Association, Kensington Youth Inclusion Project and Central Youth Club come together to celebrate diversity.

The youngsters took part in activities such as drama workshops to explore cultural similarities and differences, and interviewed shopkeepers about their experiences of racial abuse. They also visited cultural buildings and places of worship, participated in religious celebrations, dressed in national costumes and tasted foreign foods.

The project culminated in a colourful celebration of multi-culturalism at the Hindu Cultural Association at which over 120 young people showcased their experiences through drama, poetry, artwork and dance.

Riverside Group Director, John Wood said: “I am delighted that our work to encourage tolerance and understanding of other cultures has been recognised yet again. Celebrating diversity in our communities helps to stamp out anti-social behaviour and reduce crime, which has an impact on improving the quality of life for all our residents.”

The winners of the UK Housing Awards, which are organised by Inside Housing magazine and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), will be revealed at an awards ceremony at London’s Hilton Hotel on 10 November hosted by BBC Radio Scotland’s Fred MacAulay.

CIH Chief Executive, Sarah Webb, said: “It is fantastic that we have had so many excellent entries this year, and this is evident from the high standard of the shortlisted finalists. I want to congratulate all the organisations who have reached the finals, their work is a true inspiration to all of us.”

Inside Housing’s Events Director Ted Stevens said: “All the finalists have done brilliantly in getting this far. Well done to Riverside for getting shortlisted. The competition was really fierce.”

The awards are sponsored by Hays, PH Jones, United House, EMA, Sanctuary Group, Capita Resourcing, Devonshires Solicitors and supported by The Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland’s Department for Social Development. Last year nearly 800 people attended.

Earlier this year, Stop the Hate won a Merseyside Police Authority Community Award. The Police Authority awarded winners from the six policing areas of Merseyside with £3,000 each to continue the important work they are doing. Stop the Hate won the North Liverpool award and was awarded a further £2,000 for being crowned the Winner of Winners.

Click Liverpool

Far-right puts Sweden at the crossroads

No matter who wins Sunday’s general election in Sweden, history will be made.

Victory for Fredrik Reinfeldt, prime minister, would mark the first time a centre-right government has won re-election after a full term of office in a country long dominated by the centre-left Social Democrats

Triumph for Mona Sahlin, leader of the opposition Red-Green coalition, would give Sweden its first woman prime minister.

Yet, much of the focus has been on a 31-year-old politician seeking a breakthrough of a different kind. Jimmie Akesson, leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats, has brought his party to the brink of parliamentary representation by tapping into public unease over the changing face of Swedish society after decades of immigration.

Should he succeed – opinion polls have consistently shown the party just above the 4 per cent support needed to win seats – Sweden would join the growing list of European countries where anti-immigrant politicians have made headway.

While the Sweden Democrats remain smaller than counterparts in Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, a far-right breakthrough in Sweden would strike a blow against the country’s image as a standard-bearer for tolerance and liberalism.

It would come at a moment when Europe is convulsed by debate on immigration after France’s decision to expel Roma gypsies and controversial comments by Thilo Sarrazin, an outgoing board member of the German central bank, that immigrants were making Germany “dumber”.

Government and opposition leaders have stepped up attacks against the Sweden Democrats this week in a last-ditch effort to keep the party out, with Mr Reinfeldt warning that a vote for the far-right would “gamble with stability”.

Opinion polls suggest that the Sweden Democrats could end up holding the balance of power in parliament if the election result is close, resulting in a weak minority government if the other parties stick to their promises not to co-operate with Mr Akesson’s group.

Sven-Olof Sallstrom, spokesman for the Sweden Democrats, says hostility from mainstream politicians will only increase his party’s popularity: “They are sending a message that they don’t recognise the things that voters see are wrong with Swedish society.”

One of the party’s television advertisements showed a white pensioner being beaten in a race for benefit payments by a group of burka-clad mothers. The decision by a leading broadcaster to censor the commercial only drew more attention to it online.

About 10 per cent of Sweden’s 9.3m population was born outside western Europe, many in Muslim countries such as Iraq and Somalia. Mr Akesson, whose party has roots in the neo-Nazi movement, describes Islam as the biggest threat to Sweden since the second world war.

The immigration issue has fed broader debate on Sweden’s cradle-to-grave welfare system as increasing multiculturalism and other changes strain social cohesion. “The ideas of solidarity and collectivism that used to be very strong in Sweden are losing their grip,” says Jenny Medestam, a political scientist at Stockholm University.

This shift towards greater individualism helps explain the decline of the Social Democratic party, which built the welfare system during decades of almost uninterrupted power in the 20th century. Support fell to a record low in 2006, when Mr Reinfeldt won power, and polls predict further decline on Sunday.

Soren Eriksson, a 55-year-old supply chain manager at Ericsson, is typical of the middle-class voters who once backed the Social Democrats but now support Mr Reinfeldt’s coalition. “They have won the trust of voters to govern,” he says.

Social Democrats say another four years of centre-right cuts to taxes and benefits would irreparably harm Sweden’s social-economic model. But many voters seem persuaded by the government’s argument that only by increasing incentives to work – particularly for immigrants – can Sweden maintain a strong welfare net. “The system has encouraged dependency on welfare and then immigrants are criticised by parts of Swedish society for not working,” says Mr Reinfeldt.

Recent polls have shown the ruling four-party Alliance set to win the biggest number of seats, aided by an accelerating economic recovery. But it remains unclear whether the government will keep the outright majority that would allow it to pass legislation without support from the Sweden Democrats.

Folke Johansson, political scientist at the University of Gothenburg, says Sweden is becoming a more “normal” democracy, with a less exceptional welfare system and greater political competition. In Europe, increasingly, that political norm includes an electorally viable far-right.


Hamas condemns France's decision to ban Islamic veil

Hamas has condemned a law passed by the French parliament that bars Muslim women in the country from wearing Islamic veils.

Ahmed Bahar, deputy speaker of the Hamas-dominated parliament in Gaza, said in a statement Wednesday that the decision taken Tuesday was 'unfair, racist and hurts Muslims' feelings', Xinhua reported.

'Such a law is a threat to both international security and peace,' said Bahar, calling on the French parliament to annul the law as soon as possible.

He also called on the EU's court for human rights to condemn the decision of the French parliament 'for passing such a racist law which violates the law of the European agreement for human rights'.



"We won't touch them (the Sweden Democrats) with pliers," Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt vowed on behalf of his four-party centre-right coalition during a long and heated debate broadcast live on Swedish public television. Mona Sahlin, who is vying for his job at the front of the so-called red-green opposition coalition made up of her Social Democrats, the Greens and the formerly communist Left Party, agreed. "The Sweden Democrats ... always make the immigrants the culprits, either for taking jobs or for not taking jobs. Such a party can only be met with a crystal clear message: that we will not touch them, not cooperate with them," she said. There comments came as a Novus Opinion tally of five different polls published Sunday by Swedish public radio handed 4.6 percent of voter intentions to the far-right anti-immigrant party, which would be enough to secure them a place in parliament for the first time. Observers have pointed out that if neither of the main political blocs, which been neck-and-neck in polls for months, manage to secure more than 50 percent of the vote on September 19, the Sweden Democrats could easily become the kingmaker in the parliament.

Reinfeldt's Moderate Party and its coalition members, the Liberal, Centre and Christian Democrat parties, have in recent polls taken a lead and in Sunday's tally scored 50 percent of voter intention, compared to 43.6 percent for the leftwing opposition. The prime minister has in recent weeks met criticism for saying he plans to hold onto his job if his coalition wins most votes, even if it means creating a minority government, with critics saying he then could be open to pressure from the far-right. On Sunday however, he stressed that if his bloc does not secure a majority, it will need to seek "a broader parliamentary solution," most likely looking to the Green Party for support. Sahlin meanwhile reiterated in Sunday's debate that she will not create a minority government which could be open to influence by the Sweden Democrats, insisting that "Sweden needs a majority government." She has in recent weeks said she may try to woo over the Centre and Liberal parties if the opposition wins most votes but not a clear majority, but both of those parties have said they would decline such an offer.


Irving should be banned from Poland, say anti-racists

The Nigdy Więcej (Never Again) anti-racist organisation have called for ‘Holocaust denier’ British historian David Irving to be banned from entering Poland later this month.

Starting September 27, Irving is leading a tour party, with tickets costing around 1,500 euros each, taking in sites including the Treblinka death camp, Warsaw Ghetto and Hitler’s Bunker in the Masurian lake district.

Never Again, in a joint statement with the UK based Searchlight magazine, have called for Irving and his tour party - which he claims is sold out - not to be let into Poland.

“We urge Polish and British authorities to react strongly and not allow this shameful visit which offends the memory of victims of the war and the Holocaust," says the Never Again statement.

“The group will mainly consist of Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis from the UK and other Western Europe countries and the United States,” the statement adds.

No protests against the visit have yet come to the notice of the police. “We have not yet received any information about demonstrations and assembly connected with Irving's visit,” said Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski .

“We have also not receive any information from Mr Irving that he felt threatened,” Sokolowski told the PAP news agency, noting that police have no responsibility for the security of private visits.

Irving has dismissed protests against his visit. He told the Daily Mail (UK) that his tour party was for “real history buffs”, and that it was the Polish authorities who had turned the Auschwitz Nazi death camp site into a “Disney-style” tourist trap and a “money making machine”.

He also accused Poland of erecting watch towers in Auschwitz that were not there during WW II, to make the place feel more authentic. “I have been a historian for 40 years. I know a fake when I see one. When you look at old photos of Auschwitz, those towers aren’t in the photographs,” he said.

Irving was arrested and imprisoned in 2006 when he visited Austria, where Holocaust denial is a crime.

Andrzej Arseniuk, spokesman for Poland’s National Remembrance Institute - which investigates and prosecutes Nazi and communist-era crimes - said that they would take appropriate action if Irving publicly denies Nazi crimes. If incidents come to the attention of the law then “the prosecutor has the authority to deal with it,” Arseniuk said. (pg)

The News Pl