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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.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Football hooligans to launch 'European Defence League' in Amsterdam

The English Defence League (EDL), the anti-Muslim 'street army' composed largely of football hooligans that burst onto the front pages of British newspapers in the last year as a result of its often violent protests, is to hold a rally in Amsterdam in October, EUobserver has learned.
The EDL is to demonstrate in support of Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-immigrant firebrand, with a recently launched French Defence League and Dutch Defence League, modelled on the English group, to join them along with other anti-Islamic militants from across Europe.

Formed in 2009, the EDL has held over a dozen often rowdy marches and demonstrations in cities across Britain over the last year. Protests that attracted only a couple hundred militants at the end of last year are now bringing thousands out. On Saturday (28 August) a rally in Bradford, West Yorkshire, home to the second-largest community of south Asians in the UK, turned ugly when members clashed with police and pelted anti-racist activists with bricks, bottles and smoke bombs. Thirteen were arrested, according to media reports.

Anti-racist watchdogs call the EDL one of the most worrying developments on the far-right scene in the UK since the 1970s and the days of the National Front, an openly white supremacist and neo-Nazi political party. The group now appears to be meeting with some success in exporting its novel brand of nativism to the continent, a combination of anti-Muslim vitriol, agressive street marches and attempts to rope in football hooligan gangs by holding rallies around the same time as matches.

Graeme Atkinson, European editor of Searchlight magazine, a UK anti-fascist journal, says that the group is "tapping into a widespread and growing Islamophobia in society," in a way that other far-right groups, weighed down with explicitly fascist iconography and discourse, have not been able to.

He warns against panic regarding the new group, but says authorities should not be blind to the growth of such moevements, describing the new formation as "an utterly socially divisive, politically toxic ideology."

New kind of far-right outfit
Distinct from the traditional far right, the EDL, which originally grew out of the "football casual" subculture, claims to be multi-ethnic, to target "jihadism" rather than Muslims, and employs a rhetoric more in keeping with the fringes of neo-conservative anti-Islamism than the nostalgia for Nazism of other far-right formations.

The group's mission statement declares that anyone is welcome, so long as they are "integrated:" "We are non-racist/fascist and anyone is welcome if they want to live under English values and fully integrate into our way of life."

"English Defence League members recognise that this threat is one that must be stopped at all costs. Our Christian, Jewish, Sikh, and Hindu friends all have tales to tell with regard to Islamic Imperialism," the group's "Exposing the myths" page reads.

One of its leaders is Guramit Singh, a Sikh born in Britain, and it says it is, like Mr Wilders, strongly pro-Israel and maintains both Jewish and LGBT "divisions" while backing a ban on the building of mosques and seeking the burqa to be outlawed. Its LGBT wing was set up after the Dutchman visited the UK in March when he had been invited to show his short anti-Islam film, Fitna, in the House of Lords. At a demonstration in Bolton in March, a man held up a pink triangle alongside anti-Islam placards and banners. Its LGBT division has 107 members at the time of writing.

In what would normally be anathema to traditional, antisemitic far-right outfits, the group has taken to brandishing the Israeli flag at rallies and, according to the Jewish Chronicle, its Jewish division had signed up hundreds of members on its Facebook page until the page was recently deleted, though Jewish leaders in the UK actively discourage young people from joining, with the Board of Deputies of British Jews describing the organisation as "built on a foundation of Islamophobia and hatred which we reject entirely."

Links to BNP, Swedish Democrats
As with other formations in Europe that far-right monitoring organisations describe as "far-right-lite," notably Mr Wilders, Denmark's People's Party and the late Pim Fortuyn, some in the EDL try to distance themselves from, in the words of the group's website, the "Adolf-worhipping neanderthals."

But these same monitors say that while the EDL is not an outright "fascist" or neo-Nazi formation, links with the traditional far right remain, with many leaders being ex-members of the British National Party. Its leader, Tommy Robinson, is an ex-BNP activist. One of the organisation's main strategists is 45-year-old IT consultant Alan Lake, who has advised the far-right Swedish Democrats on tactics.

Meanwhile, at every demonstration but two in the last year, dozens have been arrested. The group's marches regularly involve anti-Muslim sloganeering and frequently descend into violence. At a rally in Dudley in July, a Hindu Temple was attacked as well as a number of shops, restaurants, cars and homes.

Figures for the size of the organisation and its supporters are hard to pin down and no figures have emerged for the new continental franchises. The group claims it has "thousands" of supporters and has spawned a Scottish Defence League and a Welsh Defence League, both of which have held rallies in their respective countries, as well as an Ulster Defence League. Police meanwhile reckoned that 1,500 to 2,000 EDL demonstrators marched in Newcastle upon Tyne in May this year, one of its bigger rallies.

Ground Zero 'Mosque'
The EDL has received endorsements from Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, two of the main agitators behind the right-wing movement opposed to a Muslim community centre being built two blocks away from the site of Al Qaeda's attacks on New York in 2001, the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. Geert Wilders, for his part, is scheduled to speak at a protest in Manhattan on 11 September this year by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) against the building of the community centre.

Although Mr Wilders is not thought to have direct links with the EDL, SIOA is an affiliate organisation of Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), which has marched alongside the English hooligan movement. SIOE itself was founded in 2007 by Anders Gravers, previously the leader of a tiny Danish party called Stop the Islamisation of Denmark (Stop Islamiseringen af Danmark), in reaction to the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoon controversy. On 11 September 2007, the SIOE staged a demonstration in Brussels.

Other affiliate organisations have been created in 10 European countries including Denmark, Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Sweden and the United States of America. Mr Gravers is reportedly on friendly terms with Mr Wilders, is his "friend" on Facebook and will be speaking alongside him at the anti-Mosque rally in New York.

The demonstration in Amsterdam is due to take place on 30 October, according to the EDL website. Mr Wilders heads to court at the end of next month on charges of inciting racism. The case begins 5 October, with a verdict expected 2 November.

Joining them there will be members of the recently formed Dutch Defence League' and French Defence League, both modelled on the EDL. The latter draws its members from the ranks of far-right supporters of the Paris Saint Germain football club, known in France for long harbouring a far-right element among the club's supporters, although elsewhere on the continent, according to EDL spokesman Steve Simmons, not all the defence-league-linked groups have their origins in football hooliganism.

Paris Saint Germain supporters
The French Defence League, which employs both an anglophone version of its name and "Ligue Francaise de Defense," founded in May and more latterly takes the name Ligue 732, after a group of Paris Saint Germain supporters, that, according the outfit, "tries to unify all French Casuals, Ultras and French Fans to fight against Radical Islam."
The 732 figure references the year that the French king Charles the Hammer, the grandfather of Charlemagne, won a victory at the Battle of Tours halting Islamic expansion in western Europe.

Mr Simmons told EUobserver that militants from the "anti-Jihad movement" in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and "other European states" will join them in Amsterdam for the launch of what is termed the "European Defence League" or, alternately, the much cuddlier "European Friendship Initiative."

"I would also like to take this opportunity to announce a new demonstration that is to take the English Defence League global," Tommy Robinson, the pseudonym of the group's leader, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a former member of the BNP, wrote on the EDL website in a missive in July.

"You may be aware that the great man Geert Wilders is in court for race hate charges," he continued. "The EDL has been in contact with our European brothers and sisters and we have decided that on Saturday, 30 October the European Defence League will be demonstrating in Amsterdam in support of Geert. We hope that all of you will be able to join us for this, what promises to be a landmark demonstration for the future of the defence leagues."

"We feel that freedom of speech is being eroded and a lot of appeasing of radical muslims and Islam in general. Geert has the courage to take this on and we want to support him," the group's spokesman, Steve Simmons, told EUobserver.

Counter-Jihad conferences
In June this year, the EDL sent two representatives to Counter-Jihad 2010 - a conference in Zurich held by the International Civil Liberties Alliance, which does not focus on civil liberties at all but is instead an anti-Muslim movement. It was the fourth such pan-European conference in as many years.

The Zurich conference may have been where the idea for a European Defence League originated. According to an EDL report back from the meeting, which attracted "counter-Jihad" activists from Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and the US, the conference "built on the important work that had already been done as well as doing the groundwork for new initiatives and the inclusion of new organisations and activists in the work of the global counter jihad."

Mr Simmons for his part in a slight detour from the announcement of Mr Robinson, told EUobserver that the Amsterdam rally will see the launch of the "European Friendship Initiative," and that a "European Defence League" will be just part of this broader alliance of "Defence-League"-branded movements.
He said that talks are ongoing with in particular German, Dutch, Belgian and French groups ahead of the Amsterdam demonstration. Already, in April this year, the EDL took part in a small pro-Wilders rally of 100 people in Berlin outside the Dutch embassy, organised by the Burger Bewegung Pax Europa (Pax Europa Citizens' Movement).

He also explained why the EDL and allied groups are heading to the Netherlands: "We feel that freedom of speech is being eroded and there is a lot of appeasing of radical muslims and Islam in general. Geert has the courage to take this on and we want to support him."

He downplayed the group's rowdy reputation: "We want to turn it into a sort of celebration rather than a protest, with food, drink and entertainment."

He claimed that off-duty serving UK, Dutch and German soldiers which had joined "Armed Forces Unite," (which grew out of "Armed Forces Defence League," a Facebook group for EDL-supporting soldiers and sailors) have offered to help Dutch police to steward the event.

The city of Amsterdam government for its part is aware of the plans for a demonstration and is tracking developments, but will not discuss details of preparations due to "security considerations."

In Bradford over the weekend, in what was a massive police operation, some 1,600 officers from 13 forces took part.

euob server

Anti-Chinese sentiment sparks alarm in Mongolia

Bat a softly-spoken, smartly dressed 24-year-old Mongolian educated in Moscow -- points to the screen saver on his mobile phone with pride. It's a picture of the skull of a German SS officer.

Bat is the somewhat unlikely face of Dayar Mongol, one of three registered ultra-nationalist groups in Mongolia which sometimes take their cue from neo-Nazi outfits in Europe.

Enemy number one for the xenophobic organisations is the landlocked country's neighbour to the south -- China.

"We have 50 trained fighters whose job is to hunt down Chinese living in Mongolia and some Mongolians who have Chinese fathers," Bat said in an interview in the capital Ulan Bator.

"We reject their blood and their culture." Members of his group had assaulted Chinese nationals, he said.

Mongolia, a former Soviet satellite state wedged between China and Russia, has struggled to develop its economy since turning to capitalism two decades ago, and remains one of the poorest nations in Asia.

Its rich deposits of copper, gold, uranium, silver and oil have caught the eye of foreign investors, sparking hopes for a brighter future, but members of groups such as Dayar Mongol reject any outside economic or cultural influence.

"We can't just give Mongolia to the Chinese people. We are protecting it from them," said Bat, who claims to have 300 active members in his group, which he revived in 2005 after it had lain dormant for several years.

Bat says Dayar Mongol also targets Mongolian women who have sex with Chinese men by shaving their heads, and sometimes tattooing their foreheads -- in an eerie parallel to the numbers tattooed on Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz.

The crimes of such groups have not gone unnoticed abroad -- the US State Department has warned travellers about an "increased number of xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals" since the spring of 2010.

"Nationalist groups frequently mistake Asian-Americans for ethnic Chinese or Koreans and may attack without warning or provocation," it says on its website.

Two Chinese nationals have been killed in Ulan Bator this year, police have said, adding that the murder of a Mongolian by a Chinese citizen outside the capital was the "reason that ultra-nationalist group have become more active".

Franck Bille, who is doing research at Cambridge University on Mongolian attitudes towards China, said the xenophobia can be traced back to the country's past under Moscow's thumb.

"These anti-Chinese sentiments are a direct product of the Socialist period," he told AFP. "Russians regularly used the 'threat of China' to ensure the Mongols' allegiance."

When the Soviet Union crumbled and Mongolia began its transition to becoming a market economy, the country's traditionally nomadic society fell apart, leaving poor social services and education, and growing social disparities.

While Moscow is still perceived in a favourable light -- both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Mongolia last year -- Beijing has come in for public scorn.

"Increased Chinese influence in Mongolia in mining and construction has mainly contributed to a rise in nationalist sentiments," said Shurkhuu Dorj, of the Institute of International Studies at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.

Some Mongolians, also mindful of China's 200-year rule over Ulan Bator under the Manchu dynasty, are worried about China's wider ambitions, even if funding from Beijing could bring on a new age of prosperity, experts say.

"Clearly, they don't want the country to be an economic suburb of Beijing," Graeme Hancock, an expert on the mining industry for the World Bank, told AFP.

"They also want to be making their own decisions, not at the whim of foreign jurisdiction."

Dorj said while he believes the groups had hundreds, not thousands, of members, they still represent a real threat.

"Their vigilante actions against law-breaking outsiders, mainly Chinese, could meet broad support in the country," Dorj said.

"There is a serious danger."


Grandfather becomes the face of French racism row

When Rene Galinier pulled the trigger on his old hunting rifle, he said he was acting to defend his home. Two young eastern European women had broken into his house while he was taking a siesta, and when the startled 73-year-old woke up, he shot and wounded them both.

Since Mr Galinier fired at the intruders, reverberations have been felt far beyond the four walls of his modest bungalow in a village in south-west France.

The case of "Papy" Galinier has become a cause celebre thanks to the bitter debate caused by President Nicolas Sarkozy's recent crackdown on the Roma community in France, which has seen itinerant camps demolished and hundreds of Roma returned to eastern Europe.

On one side stand those who have condemned the expulsions as redolent of Nazi Germany - on the other are those who say Mr Sarkozy has not gone far enough. In the middle of the political maelstrom sits Mr Galinier who is in a local prison cell, charged with attempted manslaughter and denied bail pending trial.

"He was a good man, who had been pushed too far," said 85-year-old Edouard Martin, a retired policeman and fellow resident of Mr Galinier's village, Nissan-lez-Enserunes. "People here are scared of the foreigners. I sleep with a revolver by my bed. If someone comes into my house, then I am going to kill them before they kill me."

Mr Sarkozy started to shut hundreds of illegal Roma camps in response to clashes between police and traveller communities last month. With more expulsions planned, and criticism mounting at home and abroad, he hopes to bolster support for his stance next week by convening a summit of interior ministers from countries facing similar immigration debates. Western European governments are split on the matter. While Italy is considering similar action, Britain will be sending a senior official to the meeting rather than the Home Secretary, Theresa May, for fear of being seen to endorse Mr Sarkozy's policies. On Friday, a United Nations human rights body rebuked France and urged the government to aim for integration of Roma rather than deportation.

Nissan-lez-Enserunes, where four generations of the Galinier family live, provides a vivid snapshot of why it has become such a charged issue in France. Not far from Montpellier, it is a picture-postcard image of southern French living, with elegant stone houses set among narrow winding streets filled with flowers. Mr Galinier has lived in the area all his life, raising two children, working for the council, then retiring to spend time with his wife and grandchildren and tend his garden.

He had been targeted by criminals twice before. In 2002, thieves attempted to break in and in February this year goldfish were stolen from his garden pond.

Among villagers, the finger of blame for local petty crime often points - rightly or wrongly - to a patch of wasteland several miles outside the village where a group of Roma recently made camp next to a motorway. The families and their wild-haired children live in ramshackle caravans among piles of rubbish. On the afternoon of August 5, two women in their early 20s broke into Mr Galinier's home. The unarmed pair, who speak no French and have not given police their names, were both shot at from just a few yards away. One was hit in the groin, the other in the chest. Both are in hospital awaiting identification and questioning.

Mr Galinier's story, with strong echoes of the British case of Norfolk farmer Tony Martin, has resonated throughout the village and beyond. A committee has been set up to fight for his cause, and slogans have been painted on the road to Nissan-lez-Enserunes proclaiming: "We're right behind you, Rene." A local petition has more than 8,000 signatures, with 10,000 from as far afield as the US joining the campaign on Facebook and internet forums.

The internet forums have attracted the attention of more extreme elements of French society, with queues of people denouncing the Roma community for every crime under the Mediterranean sun.

Mr Galinier has caught the eye of the extreme Right with some of his comments. After being arrested, he said: "I was in danger Ö I was scared. I was threatened by this dirty race. I've become racist."

"He's not a philosopher," admitted his lawyer, Josy-Jean Bousquet, acknowledging the unfortunate comments. "But I reject that he's racist. He was angry and upset."

The Front National, an extreme-Right party, seized the opportunity provided by Mr Galinier. Its vice-president, Marine Le Pen, whose father, Jean-Marie founded the organisation, described his arrest and detention as "totally abusive", given the "insupportable immunity of these notorious delinquents".

The village has had a total of 17 break-ins since the beginning of the year and a falling crime rate. Yet villagers still speak of a "crime wave" and lay the blame squarely on the caravan doorstep of the travellers. Roma rights organisations claim that "stigmatisation" will not solve the underlying problems of lack of integration and facilities. Maxime Andreu, of the regional Support Committee for the Roma, said: "We should be looking at why they are having to leave their countries - what is being done with all the EU funds to help them there?"

For the Roma travellers on the waste ground outside Nissan-lez-Enserunes, their new home remains better than the one they left behind. Picking her way among broken bottles, discarded sofas and heaps of rubbish, Mikaela Josephine, 19, is only interested in avoiding being sent back to Romania.

"It's wrong, what Mr Sarkozy is doing," the mother of two said. "But I don't want to go back there. It is more racist than France
Daily Telegraph

Monday, 30 August 2010


An anti-Islam demo which ended in a mass brawl where 13 people were arrested cost taxpayers almost £1million.

The far-right English Defence League picked Bradford for Saturday’s rally, insisting it would be peaceful.

But the day ended in violent clashes, with bricks and bottles hurled at anti-racism campaigners as the demo reached boiling point.

Police used riot shields to keep the two warring sides back. But yesterday it emerged it cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to control them.

West Yorkshire Police used 2,000 officers and spent £600,000 during the operation.

Bradford Council also forked out £100,000 on concrete reinforcements around the EDL’s Urban Gardens demo site.
And the cost to local trade is estimated to have been £100,000, without taking into account damage to tourism. Once everything is factored in, including clearing up, the demo could turn out to have cost almost £1m. The area is one of

Britain’s “tinderbox cities” and was targeted because of the racial tensions there.

Police said 13 men were arrested for public order offences and violence offences during Saturday’s demo, most of them from Bradford.

They also confirmed 100 of the 1,000 taking part climbed over a temporary 8ft barricade to throw missiles at opponents.

The EDL had wanted to march through the city but a 10,000-signature protest saw it banned by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison said: “The ban of the march seems to have worked. No officers were seriously injured and there was no damage to property. The containment of trouble comes at a cost but it has been money well spent.”

The EDL has held several protests in the past couple of years, including one at Newcastle in May which saw 1,000 members mass in the city without incident.

But 12 people were arrested at an EDL protest in Aylesbury, Bucks, also in May.

Daily Star

Teenage girl killed in skinhead rampage at Russian festival

Over 100 men attack at Tornado festival in Miass, injuring up to 100 people in latest ultra-nationalist attack to hit country.

A 14-year-old girl was killed and dozens of revellers injured yesterday when more than 100 bare-chested skinheads rampaged through a rock concert in central Russia attacking people with iron clubs.

The teenager was among a crowd of around 3,000 people at the Tornado festival in Miass, 900 miles east of Moscow, when the attack happened.

Many visitors were left bloodied and dazed after being hit with iron clubs and sticks, television and news agencies reported. One report, quoting a police source, suggested the teenage girl had suffered multiple stab wounds.

State-owned Rossiya-24 TV saidup to 100 people were injured and 14 ambulances were called to the scene.

Images on the local news website Chelnovosti.ru showed battered revellers and scores of skinheads congregating at the event, which featured Russia's top rock acts.

The motive for the assault was not known, and the ITAR-Tass news agency said local police had refused to comment.

Witnesses told Russian journalists that the skinheads burst through security cordons, pushing police aside and in some cases grabbing their truncheons to attack visitors.

The Ekho Moskvy radio station reported that around 15 attackers were detained, but the majority fled.

Russia has an ingrained neo-Nazi skinhead movement and attacks on foreigners in Moscow and St Petersburg have been relatively common in recent years. The January 2009 murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasiya Baburova prompted a Kremlin crackdown on ultra-nationalists, who were blamed for the killings.

In April, a Moscow court banned the far-right Slavic Union, whose Russian acronym SS intentionally mimicked that used by the Nazis' infamous paramilitaries. The group was declared extremist and shut down, but the group's leader, Dmitry Demushkin, complained that it had tried to promote its far-right agenda legally and warned that the ban would enrage and embolden Russia's most radical ultra-nationalists.

Neo-Nazi and other ultra-nationalist groups thrived in Russia after the Soviet collapse in 1991. The influx of immigrant workers and two wars with Chechen separatists triggered xenophobia and a surge in hate crimes.

Racially motivated attacks, often targeting people from Caucasus and Central Asia, peaked in 2008, when 110 people were killed and 487 wounded, an independent watchdog, Sova, said. The Moscow Bureau for Human Rights estimated that some 70,000 neo-Nazis were active in Russia compared with a just few thousand in the early 1990s.

The Guardian

Australia's first Aboriginal MP shrugs off racist taunts

The first Aborigine to be elected to Australia's Parliament on Monday said he was unworried by racist taunts that have followed his win, saying they were outweighed by messages of support.
Ken Wyatt won the seat of Hasluck in Western Australia for the conservative Liberal Party in August 21 polls, rising above childhood poverty to become the first indigenous person ever elected to the lower House of Representatives.

Since then, he has received at least 50 racist emails and phone calls from angry voters, with some saying they would not have voted for him had they known he was indigenous.

"They don't perturb me," 58-year-old Wyatt told Sky News of the jibes.

"Throughout my life I have experienced the sharp edge of some of the racist taunts that have come my way, but when I outweigh these by the hundreds and hundreds of emails and calls I've had, they are only miniscule in the bigger picture."

Wyatt rose from an impoverished childhood, during which he trapped rabbits and picked fruit for cash to help put food on the table for his family, to become a school teacher and later work in Aboriginal health and education.

When he recently attended the 70th birthday of his former primary school teacher, he brought her a gift that he would never have been able to afford as a child -- an apple.

In claiming the seat on Sunday after a protracted vote count, he said he owed his success to his education which was made possible by a local charity that early on recognised his ability.

"I have come from a life of poverty and through my own individual efforts I stand now within the national arena," he said.

Wyatt said he was naturally inclined towards the right-leaning Liberal Party, despite the fact that this placed him at odds with his father.

But he said his first speech to parliament would pay tribute to the former leader of the centre-left Labor Party, Kevin Rudd, who made an historic apology to the nation's indigenous people in 2008.

"I think people really appreciate the fact that an apology was given," he said Monday, adding that his mother and her siblings were members of the so-called 'Stolen Generations' -- indigenous children removed from their families at a young age to be brought up by white people and in institutions.

"What made me extremely proud was the fact that her life, her experiences were recognised and the pain that she went through was acknowledged."

Wyatt said he wanted to improve the lot of Aborigines, who have a lower life expectancy and generally poorer health than other Australians, with thousands living in poverty in remote Outback settlements where alcoholism is rife.

The United Nations last week warned that Australia faced a problem with "embedded" discrimination, citing the "unacceptably high level of disadvantage and social dislocation" for Aborigines in the Northern Territory.

Indigenous Australians have previously served in the Senate -- with Neville Bonner appointed to the upper house in 1971 and Aden Ridgeway elected to the Senate in 1998 -- but Wyatt will be the first to serve in the more powerful lower house.

Indigenous people were for decades denied the vote by officials, and until 1967 were not even included in the national census.

Times of India

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Italy's politics are broken

While political debate in Britain is dominated by assessments of the regressive Coalition budget and the Labour leadership election, it's easy to forget what's going on in our European neighbour countries. Of most interest to the British left should be the political turmoil in Italy that could end the career of scandal-ridden, and erstwhile pal of Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi. Unfortunately, my fear is that his possible replacement as Prime Minister would be even worse.

In the rollercoaster that has been Berlusconi's career, the events on August 4th when he avoided a humiliating vote of confidence defeat (the 630 member Chamber of Deputies voted by 299 in favour with 229 against) only because of the abstention of 75 of his own deputies, may amount to only a small footnote. But he now lacks a parliamentary majority and may well be forced to call a snap election this autumn because, in Gianfranco Fini, he has a new and powerful rival - one who also has the 'Teflon touch' that allows him to keep power despite controversies that would end most political careers.

Berlusconi is justifiably loathed by the centre-left in Italy and regarded as a bit of a laughing-stock across Europe , but he is a great political survivor. A series of corruption and sex scandals, massive infighting within his political parties combined with two general election defeats would have finished the careers of most. But sixteen years after his Forza Italia party swept to power in 1994, he remains Prime Minister, as he has been for 9 out of the last 16 years.

The makeup of the current Berlusconi government is frightening. It is a mixture of the corrupt right and the extreme right. And in the battle for the soul of the Italian right, Berlusconi is, incredibly, the lesser of two evils.

The man who would be king is Gianfranco Fini - a man who has either had a 'Road to Damascus ' style conversion, or remains a fascist. Fini's political career started in the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) a far-right party inextricably linked with murderous bombing campaigns and civic violence, particularly in the 1970s.

Having been elected as an MSI MP in 1983, Fini became the party's national secretary in 1988. Back then, Fini was either an unabashed fascist or, at the very least, a staunch admirer of Mussolini. In a series of statements in the early 1990s, he stated that "after almost half a century, fascism is alive", "Mussolini was the greatest Italian statesman of the twentieth century" and "fascism has a tradition of honesty, correctness and good government".

In the early 1990s, the MSI (which consistently polled 5-10% from the 1950s to the 1980s) morphed into the Alleanza Nationale (National Alliance) in a bid to become more credible. It described itself as 'post-fascist' - a name that Nick Griffin would probably use to describe the BNP. It also developed links with the extreme-right of the Conservative party, particularly the now disbanded 'Monday Club', and had particularly close links with Tory MPs Andrew Rosindell and Bill Cash.

But Fini is an ambitious man who wanted to cement himself firmly in the mainstream right of Italian politics. The next logical step, which he took in 2008, was to unite his party with Berlusconi's to form the People of Freedom party - a pretty unlikely name given Fini's history.

Fini is unquestionably the most dangerous man in Italian politics. Despite his fascist past, between 2001 and 2006 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Since 2008, he has been President of the Chamber of Deputies. Now that he sees that Berlusconi is weak, following a sex and corruption scandals and an unpopular austerity budget, he and his supporters are angling for the main prize.

Meanwhile, we shouldn't ignore Berlusconi's other coalition partners, the Northern League, a party that was originally designed to campaign for autonomy for the region of Padania, but in reality is an anti-immigrant and overtly racist party. Indeed, in the European Parliament, the 9 Northern League MEPs sit with UKIP.

We might think it astonishing that a man like Berlusconi is not in prison, let alone Prime Minister of one of Europe 's largest countries, and that the likes of Fini and the Northern League deputies are elected to parliament, never mind government ministers. But it's also astonishing that the Italian centre-left is not in position to convincingly take power. The centre-left Democratic Party is, despite facing a scandal-ridden and unpopular government which is split down the middle, still below Berlusconi's party, on 28% according to latest opinion polls.

My guess is that Berlusconi will, as he always has done, survive once again. If he is forced into calling a snap election this autumn, the chances are that he would just cling to power and should just be able to hold off Fini. The desperately sad thing is that, if the Democratic party and its allies cannot get their act together, and fast, then Berlusconi is probably the lesser of two evils.
New Statesman


Human Rights First calls on all governments to implement the following Ten-Point Plan for combating violent hate crimes:

1. Acknowledge and condemn violent hate crimes whenever they occur. Senior government leaders should send immediate, strong, public, and consistent messages that violent crimes which appear to be motivated by prejudice and intolerance will be investigated thoroughly and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

2. Enact laws that expressly address hate crimes. Recognizing the particular harm caused by violent hate crimes, governments should enact laws that establish specific offenses or provide enhanced penalties for violent crimes committed because of the victim's race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental and physical disabilities, or other similar status.

3. Strengthen enforcement and prosecute offenders. Governments should ensure that those responsible for hate crimes are held accountable under the law, that the enforcement of hate crime laws is a priority for the criminal justice system, and that the record of their enforcement is well documented and publicized.

4. Provide adequate instructions and resources to law enforcement bodies. Governments should ensure that police and investigators-as the first responders in cases of violent crime-are specifically instructed and have the necessary procedures, resources and training to identify, investigate and register bias motives before the courts, and that prosecutors have been trained to bring evidence of bias motivations and apply the legal measures required to prosecute hate crimes.

5. Undertake parliamentary, inter-agency or other special inquiries into the problem of hate crimes. Such public, official inquiries should encourage public debate, investigate ways to better respond to hate crimes, and seek creative ways to address the roots of intolerance and discrimination through education and other means.

6. Monitor and report on hate crimes. Governments should maintain official systems of monitoring and public reporting to provide accurate data for informed policy decisions to combat violent hate crimes. Such systems should include anonymous and disaggregated information on bias motivations and/or victim groups, and should monitor incidents and offenses, as well as prosecutions. Governments should consider establishing third party complaint procedures to encourage greater reporting of hate crimes and conducting periodic hate crime victimization surveys to monitor underreporting by victims and underrecording by police.

7. Create and strengthen antidiscrimination bodies. Official antidiscrimination and human rights bodies should have the authority to address hate crimes through monitoring, reporting, and assistance to victims.

8. Reach out to community groups. Governments should conduct outreach and education efforts to communities and civil society groups to reduce fear and assist victims, advance police-community relations, encourage improved reporting of hate crimes to the police and improve the quality of data collection by law enforcement bodies.

9. Speak out against official intolerance and bigotry. Freedom of speech allows considerable latitude for offensive and hateful speech, but public figures should be held to a higher standard. Members of parliament and local government leaders should be held politically accountable for bigoted words that encourage discrimination and violence and create a climate of fear for minorities.

10. Encourage international cooperation on hate crimes. Governments should support and strengthen the mandates of intergovernmental organizations that are addressing discrimination-like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and the Fundamental Rights Agency-including by encouraging such organizations to raise the capacity of and train police, prosecutors, and judges, as well as other official bodies and civil society groups to combat violent hate crimes. Governments should also provide a detailed accounting on the incidence and nature of hate crimes to these bodies in accordance with relevant commitments.

Human Rights First


The far-right Sweden Democrats have submitted their own election film for review by one of the country's top legal officials after TV4 refused to broadcast the advert on grounds that it promoted religious hatred.

The party, which could win its first ever parliamentary seats in next month's general election, disputes TV4's interpretation of the advert and wants the Chancellor of Justice to rule on whether the film represents a form of hate speech. The half-minute advert shows a race in which an elderly woman with a walker is chased by a group of burqa-clad women pushing prams with a slogan promising to safeguard pension funding at the expense of immigration. The party wanted to pay the channel 1.5 million kronor ($201,240) to run the ad. As an alarm-like sound plays in the background, a voiceover says, "All politics are about priorities - now you have a choice." The clip promotes the Sweden Democrats' demand that, like other parties, pensioners' taxes be cut to the same levels of wage earners. However, they claim their plans would be funded by reducing immigration.

On its website, the party claimed that the film would be shown on TV4, TV4 Fakta and TV4 Sport from September 6th to 17th, but the network changed its mind after viewing the advert. "We decided not to broadcast it," Gunnar Gidefeldt, communications director for TV4, told AFP. Swedish law on freedom of expression prohibits messages that contain hate grounded on race and religion, said Gidefeldt. "In this case, it is against religion," he said. According to party press secretary Erik Almqvist, the ad does not violate Swedish law. The party has screened the clip for lawyers, who said that it does not break the law against inciting racial hatred. "The conflict we see as a result of mass immigration is not related to the person's origin, but rather a conflict of values, as far as we can see," said Almqvist in reference to the burqa-clad women in the video. TV4 CEO Jan Scherman disagreed.

"The film is contrary to the democracy clause in the Radio and Television Act and also against democracy clauses which the Sweden Democrats, among others, have adopted for the equality of all people, regardless of whether it is the European Convention or the UN Charter," he said. "The film is also against the constitution act on freedom of speech that prohibits hate speech," Scherman added. Per Hultmangård, a lawyer at the Swedish Media Publishers' Association (Tidningsutvgivarna), came to a different conclusion. He does not see how the video would violate the law. "I cannot see how this would be hate speech," he told news agency TT. "This is an election ad. The scope is wide for what one can say. They simply play on people's fears. Legally, it is within the allowable framework." However, Scherman stood by his position and referred to an EU directive that is the basis for the wording of the Broadcasting and Television Act. "The directive prohibits incitement of hatred according to race, sex or religion, which supports my decision," he said.

"It is quite clear to me as the editor responsible that those who watch the clip, together with the text, images and sound, very clearly see a group portrayed as intimidating and aggressive. The group is very easily identifiable, belonging to a religion, dressed in a certain way and attacking another group," he added. According to Scherman, that group is the Muslims. "There are probably lawyers and press experts who disagree on this," he said. "It is for TV4 and I to make an independent decision based on our knowledge, experience and perception of the law. It is not possible, even if one gets advice and opinions, to refer to them when making a editorial decision. It must be based on the conclusion that we and I have come to."

The Sweden Democrats could play kingmaker in the election on September 19th, which is up for grabs between the two coalitions. According to a survey from last Friday, just a month ahead of voting, the party was polling at 3.6 percent of the vote, just shy of the minimum of 4 percent that is required to enter Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag. If they can reach this threshold for the first time, political analysts believe the party could be in a powerful position with the two main blocs on course to split the vote.

The Local Sweden


A leader of Germany's Turkish community has urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to fire the Bundesbank's controversial board member Thilo Sarrazin over comments that Muslims are undermining German society.

Chairman of Germany's Turkish Federation, Kenan Kolat, called for central bank board member Thilo Sarrazin to be removed from his post after fresh comments criticizing Muslims in Germany. "I am calling upon the government to begin a procedure to remove Thilo Sarrazin from the board of the central bank," Kolat told the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau on Saturday, August 28. In his book "Deutschland schafft sich ab" ("Germany does away with itself"), Sarrazin claims that members of Germany's Muslim community pose a danger to German society. Sarrazin, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) and Berlin's former finance chief, was reported in June as saying that members of the Turkish and Arab community were making Germany "more stupid." With his book, Kolat said, Sarrazin had overstepped a boundary. "It is the climax of a new intellectual racism and it damages Germany's reputation abroad," Kolat said.

High birth-rates
In a serialization of the forthcoming book in the German popular daily newspaper Bild, Sarrazin said that Germany's Muslim community had profited from social welfare payments far more than they contributed, and that higher birth-rates among immigrants could lead to the Muslim population overtaking the "indigenous" one in terms of numbers. Merkel's chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday that many people would find the remarks "offensive" and "defamatory," adding that the chancellor was concerned. Members of the SPD have distanced themselves from Sarrazin's comments, while Germany's Green and Left parties have called for his removal from the central bank's board. A Bundesbank spokesman said that Sarrazin's latest remarks were personal opinions, unconnected with his role on the board.

Blanket generalizations
Lower Saxony's minister of social affairs, Ayguel Oezkan, Germany's first-ever female Muslim minister, accused Sarrazin of doing damage to the Muslim community with blanket generalizations. "There are a vast number of hard-working immigrants," she told the weekly German newspaper Bild am Sonntag ahead of its publication on Sunday. "They deserve respect, not malice." "All of those who are involved in society, those who encourage their children, who learn German, who work and pay taxes and those who, as entrepreneurs, provide jobs – all of them deserve respect." In June, 65-year-old Sarrazin was reported as saying that Germany was "becoming on average more stupid" because immigrants were poorly educated.

'Distorted image, half-truths'
Maria Boehmer, the government's commissioner for integration, accused Sarrazin of giving "a distorted image of integration in Germany" that did not bear up to academic scrutiny. "In his comments, he states only half truths," she told Bild am Sonntag. "It is indisputable that, in education, there are currently a lot of immigrants with a lot of catching up to do. It does not take Sarrazin's comments to establish that." In a lengthy interview with weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Sarrazin defended himself against the charge he was encouraging racism. "I am not a racist," he told the newspaper. "The book addresses cultural divisions, not ethnic ones." Last year, Sarrazin caused a storm by claiming that most of Berlin's Arab and Turkish immigrants had no useful function "apart from fruit and vegetable trading." As a result, the central bank stripped Sarrazin of some of his duties.


The English Defence League in Bradford, a video report

Uploaded to You Tube by the user CY2290

13 men held after EDL demonstration (UK)

Admin: Here’s another account of the Bradford EDL conflict with an updated number of arrests.

More than a dozen men are in custody after a controversial city centre demonstration by far-right group the English Defence League.

The 13 were arrested by police for offences of public order and violence during Saturday's protest in Bradford, West Yorkshire, which was attended by fewer than 1,000 EDL supporters.

Some threw bottles, cans, stones and three smoke bombs at opponents gathered nearby. Nearly 100 supporters of the far-right group climbed over a temporary 8ft barricade - aimed at keeping them inside the city's Urban Gardens - to get on to neighbouring waste ground from where they threw missiles at police.

As the skirmishes were breaking out, nearly 300 people gathered for an alternative event hosted by Unite Against Fascism/We Are Bradford about half a mile away at the Crown Court Plaza.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said of the 13 arrests, eight were from Bradford and the others from Wakefield, Leeds, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Birmingham.

In the days before the rally, Bradford community leaders called for calm fearing demonstrations could provoke a violent reaction to rival the 2001 Bradford riots, where 191 people were given sentences totalling more than 510 years.

Initially the EDL intended to march in Bradford with a planned protest by Unite Against Fascism on the same day. A high-profile campaign was started to stop the EDL march and a 10,000-signature petition opposing it was handed to the Home Office. Home Secretary Theresa May was asked to authorise the ban by Bradford Council.

It came after West Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison, wrote to the council requesting an order to prohibit any public processions over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

In a joint statement police and the Bradford Council praised local people for remaining calm during a difficult day when tensions could have risen.

Ch Supt Alison Rose, Bradford South divisional commander, and council leader Ian Greenwood said: "Although there has been some disruption to the city centre, we are returning to normality and people of Bradford are now able to continue their lives. The police has worked effectively to handle the situation and to respond quickly to the events as they unfolded. The mood of the city in general has been one of calm and local people have co-operated and supported the police by behaving sensibly or staying away. We have done a lot of work with the local community in the build-up to these events and we would like to thank those who helped to plan for and managed the protests. The numbers of English Defence League supporters in Bradford were less than they claimed. Unite Against Fascism has also had a similar presence in the city."

The Press Association

English Defence League supporters attack police at Bradford rally (UK)

Hundreds of far-right activists, including BNP members and football thugs, throw bricks, bottles  and smoke bombs in battle with more than 1,600 officers

Far-right activists threw smoke bombs and missiles and fought with the police as trouble flared during a protest organised by the English Defence League.

Bricks, bottles and smoke bombs were thrown at anti-racism supporters and police as around 700 EDL activists – including known football hooligans and BNP members – held a "static protest" in Bradford city centre. Mounted officers and others in riot gear were attacked as they pushed the EDL into a penned area. Skirmishes continued as EDL speakers addressed the crowd and there was more violence as its supporters were put back on coaches.

More than 1,600 officers from 13 forces were involved in the police operation amid fears that the demonstration would descend into violence. Police said there had been five arrests.

The EDL, which has held demonstrations in towns and cities across the country over the past 12 months, had predicted that thousands of its supporters would turn out in Bradford for what was dubbed "the big one", but police said there were around 700 people.

Earlier in the afternoon coachloads of EDL activists had chanted "Allah, Allah, who the fuck is Allah?" and "Muslim bombers off our streets".

The EDL claims to be a peaceful, non-racist organisation opposed only to "militant Islam".

One of the coach drivers said: "I didn't expect a job like this when I came to work this morning. We're a five-star firm. We don't usually take scumbags like these."

Thousands of anti-racists and local residents joined counter-protests and events organised around the city. Mohammed Khan, 29, said: "We want to show the people of the UK that Bradford is a united and peaceful place, where Asians, white people – everyone – gets along. Nobody here wants these people. They are just trying to divide this city and provoke trouble."

Several hundred people, including David Ward, the local Liberal Democrat MP, gathered at a community celebration at Infirmary Fields near Manningham, where running battles between youths and police took place in 2001. "Everyone wanted to join in to tell people how good this city is," said Surhra Bibi from Bradford's Fairbank Road.

The Guardian

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Fund-raisers face race hate taunts (UK)

Caring youngsters who gave up their time to raise funds for victims of the Pakistan floods were subjected to racist comments from passers-by.
Remarks such as “it’s about time something like this happened” have appalled Hifsa Haroon- Iqbal, leader of the Muslim Youth Project who took a group of 10-16- year olds and adults to Stafford town centre to support Oxfam’s emergency appeal.

But she stressed that the vast majority of passers-by were generous in their response, and the group raised more than £700 in just four hours.

“The young people did a fantastic job in Market Square and I want to say thank you to people for supporting them,” Mrs Haroon-Iqbal said.

“However they also got racial abuse and were shocked. It was aimed at Pakistan and the stuff that has been in the Press about it being the centre of terrorism.

“Somebody said ‘it’s time something like this happened’ and when some people came towards the group and realised what we were fund-raising for they said ‘we’re not giving to Pakistan’.

“I was absolutely appalled at that minority of people. They ruined what was such a positive experience for the young people, they have never done anything like this before. To the minority I say shame on you.” Inspector Rob Pilling, Commander of Stafford NPU said: “It was great to see the young people taking the initiative on behalf of the county town to help those people suffering as a result of the terrible floods in Pakistan.

“ I was disappointed to hear of the comments made by a very small minority, which have not been reported to Staffordshire Police.

A fund-raising dinner is being held at County Buildings in Market Street on September 10, which coincides with the Muslim holiday Eid-ul-Fitr. Tickets cost £50 and the evening will include an auction.

Mrs Haroon-Iqbal is also organising a fund-raising dress down day for September 10. For more information she can be contacted on 07872 941129

Staffordshire Newsletter

Remembering the dream.

Today is 57 years since Martin Luther King Jr stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and proclaimed to the world “I have a dream”.

With the possibility of race hate riots once again occurring on the streets of Britain. We should remember those words spoken 57 years ago.

And although we have come a long way since that day, today’s planned event in Bradford still shows we still have a long way to go.

Jury awards damages in Neo Nazi case (USA)

The jury has awarded plaintiffs $545,000.00 in compensatory damages in the Bill White civil trial. White is the head of a Roanoke-based neo-Nazi group and is currently in prison for making racially motivated threats. No punitive damages were awarded in the civil case.

In the civil case, five African-American tenants from Virginia Beach alleged that Bill White harassed them after they had filed a law suit against their white landlord. Today the civil trial jury held Bill White liable.

The claims made against White were: "violating federal fair housing law," "racially-motivated harassment or intimidation," and "intentional infliction of emotional distress."

In December, 2009, White was found guilty of four criminal charges in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. He was accused at that time of making threats to a newspaper columnist, a mayor and several others over the Internet and by telephone.


'Show restraint in face of demonstrations by EDL and UAF' (UK)

Political, community and religious leaders across the city are urging the people of Bradford to show restraint in the face of mass demonstrations by far-right and left-wing protesters.

Thousands of supporters from the right-wing English Defence League (EDL) and the anti-fascist UAF are expected to descend on the city centre tomorrow, with a heavy police presence.

In a clear show of unity, politicians of all parties are calling for responsible Bradfordians to keep away from the city centre.

Imams from leading mosques across the district have also been urged to promote a message of “peace and harmony” – and encourage people to stay away from trouble hot spots – at prayers tonight.

Their calls for peace come amid fears that the demonstrators could provoke a violent reaction to rival the devastating riots in 2001.

Paul Meszaros, of Bradford Together, said: “Thousands of people in a very short time signed a petition to stop the march of hate because there is a strong feeling across the city – from old and young, white people and Asian people – that Bradford needs to go forward.

“We are starting to get out of the doom and gloom of the 2001 riots and we need to be united, not set back nine years.”

MPs from across Bradford district have stressed the need for calm.

Bradford East Lib Dem MP David Ward said: “I would ask every single individual to think deeply about what they want for their future and the future of their children.

“I want to see a more positive Bradford not one that takes us back to the days we want to forget about.”

Mr Ward said he would be “nowhere near” the city centre demonstrations and instead would be at Infirmary Fields, Manningham, raising money for the Pakistan floods and the Bradford Burns Unit appeals.

“Anybody who is not from Bradford should not come to Bradford,” he said. “This includes the EDL and other groups who may take part in what may be an aggressive demonstration.

“We don’t need people from outside Bradford here. They should just stay away.

“We have got to think about what dream we want for Bradford, one which does not rely on hatred and division,” he said.

Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe said: “I think that everybody, so far, has acted responsibly and I would want that to carry on tomorrow.

“We need people to be calm and responsible and not let a relatively small number of people have an influence on our city.”

Shipley MP Philip Davies called for people to heed the advice of West Yorkshire Police. He said: “I would rather everybody shunned any demonstration by the EDL and the rent-a-mob opposition demonstration because the city can well do without any of them. The police know how best to manage these events and I would certainly urge people to follow their advice and stay out of the city.”

A spokesman for Bradford West MP Marsha Singh’s office added: “The message to outside agitators is ‘stay away. You are not welcome here’.”

Bradford Council secured a blanket ban on the EDL and UAF marching through the city earlier this month. The ban was sanctioned by Home Secretary, Theresa May, and backed by West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison.

Bradford Council Executive Labour party member Councillor Imran Hussain, said: “There is a consensus among elected members in Bradford who represent inner city wards that we have full confidence in the police. We support them and believe they will be able to contain the protests by the UAF and the EDL.

”We will condemn any acts of violence by anybody in the city centre.”

Anne Hawkesworth, leader of the Conservative opposition group, said: “The best way to negate the demonstration and counter demonstrations is to keep away from the city centre.

“Because of the serious effect it could have on people’s businesses and livelihoods, it is not a comedy, it is very sad.”

Bradford Council for Mosques has sent guidance emphasising “key messages” for young Muslim people and their parents.

It includes advice not to react to racist provocation and to beware of “false rumours” floated by the EDL or others, designed to incite violence.

In a direct message to young Muslim people, Ishtiaq Ahmed, a spokesman for Bradford Council for Mosques, said: “Do not take the law into your own hands and support the police to deal with any act of lawlessness and provocation.

“Mosques are being encouraged to organise alternative events to constructively engage people away from the potential spots of trouble.”

The Telegraph and Argus

Friday, 27 August 2010

Man admits racial slurs (UK)

A man with BNP links who shouted racist slurs while out shopping has been told all options will be open to his sentencing judge.

Peter King appeared at Teesside Crown Court to enter an 11th-hour guilty plea.

King, 38, admitted harassing Sajida Islam at Tesco Extra, in Burn Road, Hartlepool, on October 14 last year.

He had been due to stand trial for the offence after repeatedly denying the matter, but changed his plea yesterday morning.

King, of Bluebell Way, Hartlepool, had also previously admitted a separate charge of possessing an offensive weapon – an ornamental mace – on December 24 last year.

He will be sentenced for both offences on September 16 after Judge Peter Bowers adjourned his case for pre-sentence reports.

Judge Bowers told King: "You will have bail but the judge on the next occasion will decide what happens."

King was accompanied to court by his partner, Cheryl Dunn, who unsuccessfully contested the Hartlepool mayoral position last year for the BNP, as well as losing out in the race to become Easington's MP in May's elections.

Hartlepool Mail

Wave of Hate Crimes Directed at Muslims Breaks Out (USA)

A string of attacks against Muslims and their religious centers has broken out over the past few weeks, apparently inspired by the protests in New York City over the planned Muslim community center and mosque near where the 9/11 attacks took place. Leaders of those protests have repeatedly made hateful statements against Muslims and Islam, with the National Republican Trust Political Action Committee, for example, saying the center is meant “to celebrate [the] murder of 3,000 Americans.”

The apparent resurgence of anti-Muslim hate crimes followed a long decline that began after a major outbreak in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center (more below).

The most violent of these attacks took place on Tuesday in New York City, when 21-year-old film student Michael Enright allegedly attacked a cab driver. Police said that Enright cursed out the cabby after asking him if he was Muslim and then slashed his throat and stabbed him in several places when he answered in the affirmative. Enright was charged with hate crimes on Wednesday.

In California also on Tuesday, Imam Abdullah Salem arrived at the Madera Islamic Center to find two menacing signs, one of which read, “Wake up America, the enemy is here.” It was the latest in a recent string of attacks on the center, including a brick thrown at the building on Sunday and a sign posted the prior week that read, “No temple for the God of terrorism at Ground Zero.”

Yesterday evening, a drunk man entered a Queens mosque, shouting anti-Muslim slurs while urinating on prayer rugs, according to the New York Post. The man, identified by police as Omar Rivera, also allegedly shouted slurs, calling the worshippers “terrorists.”

These incidents are just the latest in a series of anti-Muslim attacks that have taken place over the course of the past year. On May 12, a Muslim community center was firebombed while filled with people. Approximately 60 worshipers were at The Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville when a pipe bomb went off around 9:35 p.m. It caused a small fire in the back of the building, but no one was injured. The FBI released surveillance video of what appeared to be a middle-aged white man carrying a gasoline container in the area of the bombing. Investigators believe he is connected to the attack. Another surveillance video was released that showed a different man who entered the mosque April 4 and shouted anti-Islam epithets. Neither man has been found.

FBI national hate crime statistics for years showed very little anti-Muslim hate crime violence. In 1995, the first year for complete FBI hate crime statistics, there were 29 anti-Muslim hate crimes recorded; that stayed about level through 2000, when there were 28. But in 2001, the 9/11 attacks spurred a 17-fold growth in hate crimes to 481, according to the FBI. At around the same time, however, President Bush gave an important speech, saying Islam was not the enemy, and hate crimes the following year, 2002, dropped to 155. That number essentially declined slowly until 2008, when there were 105 anti-Muslim hate crimes recorded. Those are the latest statistics available.

The FBI statistics are known to severely understate the total number of hate crimes. According to a Department of Justice study, the real level of reported and unreported hate crimes is between 20 and 30 times higher than the numbers that are published. However, the trends the numbers show are believed to be accurate.


Neo-Nazis targeting children online

German right-wing extremists are increasingly targeting children online, luring minors to websites by disguising their hate-filled ideology.
German youth protection authorities Jugendschutz presented a report this week detailing the burgeoning neo-Nazi web offerings, including the use of social networks and video platforms.

The online offensive is part of the strategy right-wing extremists are using to disguise their propaganda and lure younger recruits, according to Jugendschutz authorities.

“This example showcases how right-wing extremists are abusing Web 2.0,” said Stefan Glaser from jugendschutz.net. “Their activities are increasingly found there because they can reach more young people.”

Extremists are also disseminating materials meant to look harmless, such as a CD of children’s songs and lullabies for tots between the ages of three to eight purportedly sponsored by Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, the songs actually contain anti-Semitic lyrics and encourage racist violence and Holocaust denial, daily Die Welt reported on Wednesday.

According to research done in partnership with the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung), Glaser said that since 2007, the amount of neo-Nazi activity found on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter has exploded.

Recently state intelligence experts have warned that the neo-Nazi NPD party had increased their focus on online German social networks such as SchülerVZ, StudiVZ and beyond.

Experts say the danger is that many young people are unable to recognise propaganda and attempts at indoctrination from these groups at first glance. Instead of blatant symbols such as swastikas, many are using graffiti and other less-recognisable imagery from youth culture.

The abuse is rampant, and Jugendschutz.net counts an additional 10,000 active users of neo-Nazi blogs and download portals per day, Glaser said. The number of these radical internet sites has reached an all-time high, from 1,635 in 2007 to 1,870 now.

“The internet is the propaganda medium of choice for right-wing extremists to spread hateful content in order to net young people to talk with,” he told the paper.

Because more children are beginning to use the internet than ever before, Glaser encouraged internet service providers to invest more in security and social responsibility.
The Local Germany

City to close racist discos (Denmark)

Council to stop minorities being randomly turned away at city nightclubs

Reports of minorities being refused admittance to the city’s discotheques are being taken seriously by Copenhagen’s city council, which is ready to pass a special ordinance aimed at shutting down the discriminatory clubs, reports Politiken newspaper.

Although many turned away do not file official complaints against the clubs, social authorities have cited the problem as being widespread.

Politiken recently sent out their own group of non-ethnic Danes to six city nightclubs. The group was refused entry into five of them. Also, a Catinét survey taken in 2008 showed that 52 percent of minorities claimed to have been refused entry to a discotheque, while only 17 percent of white Danes had experienced the same treatment.

But now the Social Democrats have put forward a proposal to crack down on the guilty clubs, and the move reportedly has a majority of the city council backing it.

‘Politiken’s test confirms that we need to focus more closely on the issue and on the means to deal with it,’ said Pia Allerslev, head of the city’s culture and leisure department.

‘The situation is the same as if I weren’t allowed entry by a minority bodybuilder working the club door,’ she said. ‘We can’t tolerate that and obviously have to address the matter politically.’


Najib : Zero-tolerance for racism (KUALA LUMPUR)

The Government will not hesitate to take action against anyone who makes racist remarks or fuels racism in the country.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said the Government has always maintained a zero-tolerance towards racism.
"Our stand is that we do not tolerate racist remarks by anyone and action will be taken against them,” Najib said in a dialogue at the Barisan Nasional Youth Lab programme in City Hall Auditorium today.

“We must adopt zero tolerance for those who play up such (racist) issues after checking the facts.

"Unity is a very important part of our nation building," he said.

Najib said civil servants also play an important role in preventing racism and they must be educated well not to make insensitive remarks that could stroke racial sentiments.

He said that the recent racial remarks made by two school principals could have been avoided and the incident was an example on how important it is for civil servants to observe a policy that does not tolerate racism.

"We must educate civil servants to understand and appreciate the 1Malaysia concept.

Najib also said the media, which has more latitude today, must be extremely careful in not reporting things which are twisted and gives rise to racial sentiments.

The premier also agreed to an idea mooted by participants in the Lab to set up a special 1Malaysia Fund to support youth programmes that foster inter-racial relationships.

He said he will personally look into conceptualising the idea soon through a proper mechanism.

On another note, Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said BN will decide by year end on whether to allow direct membership into the party.

“We are still thinking of this idea and we will decide in our BN Convention year end on the idea of direct membership, “ he said, in response to a question on whether BN will allow direct membership instead of having to go through different race-based parties when registering as members.

He said the idea of direct membership, if it is in sync with the 1Malaysia concept, will be something very positive.

The Sun Daily

Home of Former White Supremacist Leader Raided (USA)

The one-time leader of the racist Aryan Nations organization is in custody after authorities raided his Grain Valley home on Thursday.

Charles Juba was taken into custody by police and his home searched by Grain Valley Police and Jackson County Sheriff's deputies. Police say that Juba was taken into custody on a traffic violation, but would not give any further details of the raid or the search warrant, which has been sealed by a judge.

Neighbor Christina Smith says that she was in her front yard when authorities arrived to raid Juba's home.

"I walked outside, police had drawn guns, and he's like, get inside," said Smith. "So we run in the house, and we hear a bang, and that's when the door was broken down."

Juba was not a home at the time of the raid, but among the items gathered into evidence were a white robe. Juba was later taken into custody after being pulled over by police along 40 Highway.

Earlier this year, Juba made headlines after he tried to open an under-21 club in Odessa called The Black Flag Club. The club was eventually rejected by city officials after residents raised concern that the club would be a front for white supremacist activity.

Fox 4

BNP Appeals For £150k To Keep 'Wolves At Bay' (UK)

The BNP says its finances are in a "grave" situation, while its former legal adviser claims the party is  technically bankrupt.
The far-right party, which has two MEPs and more than 70 councillors, says the cost of fighting lawsuits has left it "cash struck" and it needs £150,000 to survive.

The BNP is facing legal action from the Equality and Human Rights Commission which won a ruling earlier this year forcing the party to scrap its "whites only" membership rules.

Both sides are due back in court next month after the commission claimed some terms of the court order have not been met.

In an email to supporters, BNP leader Nick Griffin said they should be aware of "a grave situation we find ourselves in".

"The party is now suffering acute legal and financial pressure," he wrote.

"Some of the money we had allocated to pay other pressing bills had to be diverted to this most urgent fight."

"We need to raise £150,000 to keep the wolves at bay and to ensure our survival."

The party's financial problems come after a split which has led to the resignation or suspension of a number of key figures.

The BNP's former legal adviser, Lee Barnes, has claimed in an open resignation letter that the party is in such a poor financial state it could be declared bankrupt.

"As far as I am aware donations to the party have flowed to a trickle as well as party renewals and new inquiries," Mr Barnes wrote.

"Outstanding court costs, wages bills, election expenses and also forthcoming legal cases against the party mean the BNP is now technically bankrupt."

Mr Barnes says the cost of legal action brought by Unilever in April over the use of a picture of a Marmite jar in campaign material is an example of the party "squandering" cash.

"Regardless of how much income the party has had over the last few years, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been squandered on avoidable court cases."

Unilever says it has now settled the case on confidential terms.

The split in the BNP came to a head in April when its then head of publicity, Mark Collett, was arrested on suspicion of making death threats against Mr Griffin.

No charges were brought and Humberside Police have confirmed that Mr Collett faces no further action.

The BNP has not responded to a request for a comment.

Sky News

Police on alert for trouble at demo (UK)

Police forces across the country are sharing intelligence on protesters who could cause trouble at a far-Right group's planned demonstration in Yorkshire.

Every available police officer in Bradford will be on duty tomorrow, when members of the English Defence League (EDL) are due to gather in the city's Urban Gardens.

West Yorkshire Police revealed that specially trained officers from "a significant of other forces" will also be mobilised to prevent a repeat of the riots which devastated the city in 2001 following an attempted march by the National Front.

Home Secretary Theresa May has authorised a blanket ban on marches in the city, but the EDL and their opponents, Unite Against Fascism, are still expected to hold static demonstrations.

They are expected to attract more protesters than attended an EDL demonstration in Leeds last year, which cost the taxpayer £345,000 in policing costs.

Drinking alcohol will be banned on all trains to and from Bradford and all Transpennine Express services from Manchester to Leeds.

Bradford South divisional commander Chief Superintendent Alison Rose said that, in the event of trouble, she "would not rest" until the people responsible were brought to justice.

"After the events of 2001, nearly 600 years imprisonment was given out in total by the judge in that case and some of those people were immediately deported from this country on their release," she added.

"We have the full support of our criminal justice partners in Bradford and anybody intent on causing harm, irrespective of their political or ethnic background, should bear that in mind on Saturday."

Ch Supt Rose said police, Bradford Council and other agencies had spent most of the year preparing for a protest as the city had "been on the EDL's radar for quite a while".

"We know only too well the repercussions of serious public disorder and we have worked tirelessly to make sure that doesn't happen, nor is there any likelihood of people being put in any kind of jeopardy in this city on Saturday."

Bradford Council leader Ian Greenwood said all the authority's neighbourhood staff, wardens and youth workers would be on duty to "try to ensure that nobody has reason to be bored on Saturday".

A community event celebrating multiculturalism, called "Be Bradford – Peaceful Together", is to be held at Infirmary Fields, the scene of some of the worst violence during the 2001 riots.

Coun Greenwood said: "We will stop people from fomenting extreme political views in the community, whichever side of the fence they come from."

Yorkshire post


A new book from the man who approved the Mohammed cartoons for Jyllands-Posten newspaper could revive tensions between the Muslim world and Denmark and trigger another Mohammed crisis, say several experts. The book by Jyllands-Posten culture editor Flemming Rose, ‘Tavshedens tyranni’ (‘Tyranny of Silence’), is scheduled to be released on 30 September. It will include the 12 drawings of Mohammed originally printed in the newspaper in 2005 – an act that subsequently resulted in boycotts of Danish products and the burning of the Danish flag in Muslim countries around the world. In 2008, three people were arrested for plotting to kill one of the cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard, who was also accosted in his home by a man with an axe in January of this year. In Chicago, terrorist David Headley, who was one of the men behind the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, admitted there were plans to bomb Jyllands-Posten’s head office in Copenhagen. No Danish newspaper has reprinted the cartoons since Politiken and several other media outlets in February 2008. They have, however, been reprinted countless times worldwide since then.

Evan Kohlman, an American terrorism expert, warned that reprinting the drawings could be a mistake. ‘If I were him, I would very seriously consider the consequences of reprinting the cartoons,’ Kohlman told Politiken newspaper. Ole Wøhlers Olsen, Denmark's ambassador to Algeria, said he understood that the interests of free speech needed to be reinforced. ‘But every time the drawings are reprinted, there are riots and demonstrations – and also bloodshed,’ said Olsen, who added the more radical Islamic groups would welcome the move because they would use it as propaganda. ‘And government leaders in the Arab and Muslim world will probably shake their heads and say that Danes have failed to understand that the issue is something that bothers them and creates internal problems for them,’ he said. Rose himself said the book was not an attempt to provoke Muslims. ‘I’m just telling the story of the drawings and putting them in a context about pictures that can be offensive,’ said Rose. He added that if he didn’t include the pictures, then there would be an uproar over why they weren’t in the book. Rose’s book is not the only one on the subject due out this autumn. Westergaard, the man who drew the infamous drawing of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, has written his memoirs, ‘Manden bag Stregan’ (‘The man behind the drawing’), which are due out in November.

The Copenhagen Post

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Gang of four guilty of assaulting Southport doctor (UK)

Four men from Southport have been convicted following a racist attack on a doctor at the town’s hospital.

Dr Romio Shwahna was walking with his brother Rabea, who was visiting him on holiday, when they were set upon by a gang-of-four.

The group of drunks hurled racial insults before one of them, Daniel Rigby, began to punch the junior medic to the side of the face, causing him to lose consciousness.

Dr Shwahna woke to find Rigby beating him.

But the ordeal did not stop there – after fleeing into A&E the brothers were chased down after having traffic cones hurled at them, and assaulted.

Edmund Haygarth, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court: “All four males began to violently attack Romio and his brother, by kicking and mostly punching to the head and body.

“The two brothers were in defensive positions, hunched down with their arms up attempting to block the punches to their heads.”

The attack only came to an end when police arrived at the scene.

The gang, Rigby, 19, Gary Evans, 18, Jason Lynch, 21, and Craig Morgan, 18, initially claimed they were defending themselves. But they all later admitted racially aggravated common assault on April 24, 2009.

Judge Adrian Lyon said: “The national health service in this country has the benefit of a number of people who come from foreign countries and who serve the people of this country by providing them with medical care.

“This doctor was faced by four drunken young men who proceeded to assault him and his brother.

“It is perhaps surprising that the doctor feels able to serve the people of this country. We ought to be grateful to him, you ought to be grateful to him.”

He sentenced all of the men to 12-months behind bars but suspended for two years with supervision. Rigby, of Jane’s Brook Road, was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work. Lynch, of Southport Road, was put on an anger management programme and Evans, of Duke Street, and Morgan, of Kew Road, were told to attend a promoting human dignity course.

Alan Lee, risk manager at Southport hospital, said: “We have a zero tolerance towards both physical and verbal abuse of our staff.

“They are here to help people in their hour of need, not to be a victim of such an attack.”

Southport Visitor

Report: French synagogue gets letter with death threats, bullets

Synagogue in Drancy, former transport site of over 65,000 French Jews to death camps during WWII, is often subject to anti-Semitic vandalism.

A Paris synagogue received a letter marked with a swastika containing bullets and death threats against Jews, French News Agency AFP reported on Wednesday.

“Dirty Jews, we’ll get you all,” read the letter, which, accompanied by nine bullets and a swastika, was received at the synagogue. The anonymous package, which was reportedly delivered on Aug. 14, was discovered Tuesday by synagogue workers.

The synagogue in Drancy was erected in place of an infamous transit camp from which Jews were sent to death camps during World War II.

More than 65,000 Jews were deported from Drancy during the Holocaust, of whom 63,000 were murdered.

The train station at Drancy, which was turned into a memorial site in 196, has been the target of anti-Semitic attacks over the years. In April last year a swastika was spray painted on one of the train cars used to transport the French Jews.

On July 27, gravestones at Jewish cemetery Wolfisheim in eastern France were smashed or overturned by vandals.

Jewish grave sites around France are attacked sporadically by vandals, who leave gravestones broken or sprayed with anti-Semitic slogans.

In 2004, vandals painted swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti on headstones at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, an act that drew the swift condemnation of the government.

During the last decade France has suffered a wave of violence against Jewish schools, synagogues and cemeteries that coincided with fighting in the Middle East. Many of the attacks have been blamed on young Muslims.

France is home to western Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim populations, and there are occasional attacks on their schools, cemeteries or places of worship.


Aryan Nations member with Longview ties accused of racially motivated attack (USA)

The man whose neo-Nazi recruitment meeting prompted a huge "diversity march" through Longview has been indicted by a federal grand jury in a racially motivated attack in Vancouver.

Zachary Loren Beck, 31, and Kory Boyd, 25, both of Vancouver, are accused of attacking a black man Jan. 7 at a Vancouver sports bar. They were arrested Wednesday morning and made their first appearance Wednesday afternoon at U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

The grand jury returned the indictment last week charging Beck and Boyd with conspiracy to violate civil rights and interference with a federally protected right. Beck also was charged with witness tampering.

According to the indictment, Beck told the bartender at Captain's Sports Bar that the lone black patron at the bar "had to leave."

After allegedly stepping outside with others to discuss physically attacking the man, Beck and Boyd came back in, and Beck told the black man he "needed to leave the bar or there would be a problem," the indictment said.

Beck tried to hit the man and Boyd threw a glass bottle at the man, showering him with broken glass, the indictment said. The victim and his friends stood up to the attackers, and Beck, Boyd and a third conspirator then left the bar, the indictment said.

The third man has been convicted in state court of trying to stab the victim, the indictment said.

The witness tampering charge stems from Beck's attempts to get his former girlfriend to provide an alibi for the night of the attack, the indictment said.

If convicted as charged, each man faces up to 10 years in prison.

The case is being investigated by the Vancouver Police Department and the FBI.

Beck, a member of the Aryan Nations neo-Nazi organization, moved to Longview from Hayden, Idaho, in February 2004. Shortly after he moved here, a few local churches received mailings of neo-Nazi literature that included Beck's business card.

In December 2007, Beck rented the McClelland Arts Center to hold a recruitment meeting for the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, a white supremacist church.

"Our goals aren't violent at all," he told The Daily News at the time. His church promotes racial purity and "anti-mongrelism," he said.

Before the meeting, in a counterdemonstration to Beck's efforts, more than 400 people marched through Longview in near-freezing weather holding signs saying "Celebrate Diversity" and similar sentiments. The march is believed to be the city's largest-ever demonstration. About 30 white supremacists attended Beck's recruitment meeting.

Beck ran unsuccessfully for the Hayden City Council on the Aryan Nations ticket in 2003. That year he was charged with punching a man in a parking lot after asking him if he was Mexican.

Charged in 2004 of shooting at Longview police during a standoff, Beck entered an Alford plea in 2005 to burglary and assault charges. He continued to maintain his innocence, claiming he was framed.

In June 2008 a jury found him guilty of possessing cocaine.


Neo-Nazi Bill White faces financial hit in civil trial (USA)

Neo-Nazi leader William A. White, already serving prison time for making racially-motivated threats, is now facing the possibility of financial punishment.

In a civil trial that began today in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, a group of black tenants from a Virginia Beach apartment complex is claiming that White harassed them in May 2007 after learning of a discrimination lawsuit they had filed against their white landlord.

As the leader of the Roanoke-based American National Socialist Workers Party, White sent the tenants letters adorned with swastikas and addressed to "Whiney Section 8 N-----."

Following a rant about blacks on welfare, White concluded: "You may get one over on your landlord this time, and you may not. But know that the white community has noticed you, and we know that you are and never will be anything more than a dirty parasite — and that our patience with you and the government that coddles you runs thin."

After hearing testimony about White’s actions in December, a federal jury convicted him of threatening several residents with the intent of intimidating them into dropping their lawsuit.

White, 33, is serving a 2½-year prison term for that and two other threats. He also faces charges in Chicago of encouraging violence against the foreman of a jury the convicted a fellow white supremacist, a charge that was dismissed on free-speech grounds and later reinstated on appeal.

The civil trial that began today is scheduled to last three days. The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.


Police officers sacked over racist emails (Australia)

The Victorian Police Association says two officers have been sacked over the distribution of pornographic and racist emails.

Two other officers have been fined and another was demoted after internal disciplinary hearings.

Police are expected to make a statement later today.

Yesterday Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland described the material as "extreme" and "shocking".

The emails were allegedly distributed over the Victoria Police email server.

The Police Association says the problem is not a pandemic and the two sacked officers are considering their options regarding an appeal.

The internal disciplinary hearings are expected to continue until the end of the week.

It is believed as many as 30 police officers were involved in distributing the emails.


West Bromwich Albion fans hit back at 'racist' banner (UK)

West Bromwich Albion legend Cyrille Regis has hit out at this offensive banner directed at the club’s £2 million new striker, Peter Odemwingie.

A huge white sheet sprawled behind goals at the ground of the 29-year-old player’s former Russian club, Lokomotiv Moscow, depicted a banana with the words “THANKS WEST BROM”.

The picture reference is believed to be a spiteful throwback to the abuse suffered by black players, such as Liverpool winger John Barnes, who broke through in the English game in the last century. It was also suffered by Albion legend Regis, who also played for Villa and Wolves.

Famously, he teamed up with two other black players, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson, to tear through defences in the late 1970 and early 1980s.

Today, he branded the banner “cowardly” and said Odemwingie, who has a Russian mother and a Nigerian father, would be treated with respect by Black Country fans.

“It’s not only racist but cowardly,” said Regis. “Did they ever target him when he was there or did they wait until he was gone?

“How will we ever get rid of racism in football when things like this happen?

“Peter has come to the right club, where he will be judged on his ability to play football.”

Baggies fans have also hit back at the banner and set up a Facebook page supporting Odemwingie.

Hawthorns regular Martin Greenwood, 25, from Oldbury, said: “I thought the banner in Russia was disgusting and there’s a general feeling that we should do something about it because racism shouldn’t be tolerated in the sport.”

A spokesman for West Bromwich Albion said: “We deplore any suggestion of racism, both in football and every walk of life.

“Beyond saying this, we do not intend to dignify these reports with any further comment.

“Peter made a fine debut for Albion on Saturday, scoring the winning goal against Sunderland, and has become an instant hit with our supporters, who have welcomed his signing with enthusiasm,” he added.

Lokomotiv Moscow declined to comment.

Birmingham Mail