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.

Monday, 31 January 2011

EDL plans for Luton protest raise fears of disorder (UK)

Police expected to mount biggest operation in town's history as councillor says vast majority reject extremism of any kind

The far-right English Defence League is due to stage the biggest demonstration in its 18-month history this weekend amid growing fears of widespread disorder.

Thousands of EDL activists from across England will descend on Luton, the Bedfordshire town where the organisation started, for the protest on Saturday.

The EDL has staged more than 30 protests in towns and cities across the UK since it was formed in March 2009, many of which have been marred by Islamophobia, racism and violence.

On Saturday, between 25 and 30 coaches packed with EDL supporters are expected to travel to Luton, including a number of activists from far-right groups in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

"This event is creating more fear than anything else, especially among the elderly who have seen the pictures of what has happened at these events in the past," said Luton councillor Mahmood Hussain.

"Everyone is very much concerned about what could happen because you only have to look at the record of this group to see what we face."

Bedfordshire police are planning the biggest operation in Luton's history with around 2,000 police expected to be on duty, with several hundred more on standby.

Community leaders and politicians have been working with different community groups in the town since the EDL announced it was going to stage the protest under the catchline "Back to where it all began".

"We had a very emotional meeting last week where the young people were very concerned with some of the awful things that were written on the internet by EDL people," said Hussain. "But we are trying to tell them not to be provoked because that is just what these people want."

The EDL was formed in Luton after a small number of protesters from an extremist Muslim group held up placards at the homecoming of the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment reading "Butchers of Basra" and "Anglian soldiers go to hell."

At a subsequent protest in the town scores of EDL supporters attacked Asian businesses, smashing cars and threatening passersby. The group has branches across the country and its leadership insists it is not violent or racist and is opposed only to what it describes as radical or militant Islam. However, many of its demonstrations have descended into violence and racist chanting. Some supporters are known far-right activists and football hooligans.

Nick Lowles from anti-racist group HOPE not hate said: "The EDL poses the biggest threat to community cohesion in Britain today. Its activities are designed to increase tensions in communities with a large Muslim population and especially in areas that have had problems in the past. By demonstrating in these areas they embolden local racists and seek a violent reaction from local Muslim youths, which in turn will lead to a new cycle of violence."

Luton has had links to Muslim extremism in the past. In December, it emerged that Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi-born Swede who set off a car bomb in the Swedish capital before killing himself with a second bomb, had spent time in Luton.

However, Lowles said the vast majority of people in Luton rejected extremism of any kind.

"The danger is that people will get the impression that there is only extremism in this town which is simply not true. What we want to do is mobilise mainstream opinion and give them a voice to oppose the EDL and any other extremists."

Hussain agreed that the vast majority of people in Luton were opposed to the EDL's message of hate and division.

"I have been here since 1969 and we have never had any race riots or anything like that," said Hussain. "This is a truly diverse place and we won't turn our back and let the EDL destroy all that is good about it."

The Guardian

Far right party expelled from HQ over unpaid debts (Romania)

Corneliu Vadim Tudor, president of extreme right wing Greater Romania Party (PRM) and 2000 presidentual run-off candidate has been evicted from his party’s headquarters on Strada Emile Zola in Sector 1 Bucharest. Ex-Communist propagandist poet Vadim and party members resisted the eviction, where the party head threw water in the face of the bailiff and complained of sickness due to the stress of the process. Prosecutors have launched criminal proceedings against Vadim Tudor for assaulting policemen and breaching a court order. The State Administration of Patrimony (RAAPPS) gave the building to the PRM in 2007, but the party accumulated debts from rent, utilities and penalities worth almost 66,000 Euro.

The Diplomat

Turks to stage protest against racist attacks in France

A rally to be held in Strasbourg on Wednesday will protest growing racist attacks against immigrants, including ethnic Turks living in France.

A rally to be held in Strasbourg on Wednesday will protest growing racist attacks against immigrants, including ethnic Turks living in France.

The French human rights associations and the Association of Solidarity with Turkish Workers (ASTTU) are among groups that are organizing the event. ASTTU representative Muharrem Koç said the French government's recent immigration policies had encouraged assailants, the Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.

Koç said there were more than 30 racist attacks against ethnic Turks and foreigners in Strasbourg and its vicinity in the past two years and that none of the perpetrators of these crimes had been captured yet.

Arsonists in Hoenheim, a suburb of Strasbourg, attacked two houses inhabited by families of Turkish origin on Thursday night but there were no casualties and the fire in the neighboring houses was put out by firefighters and did not spread. Swastikas were drawn on walls and on a van parked in a yard.

Noting that the immigrant community is concerned, Koç said it is time for the French government to seriously start thinking about the causes of these attacks and take necessary measures.

Meanwhile, the Strasbourg-based Turkish association COJEP has requested an appointment to meet with authorities from Strasbourg to express their concern over the latest incidents.

Last month, the Student Congress Association's Strasbourg office was the target of a racist attack. Furthermore, two cars owned by Faruk Günaltay, the Turkish director of the Odyssey Cinema Club in Strasbourg, were destroyed in racially motivated arson attacks in September of last year. Attackers also drew swastikas on the door of Günaltay's house.

Muslim and Jewish prayer venues and cemeteries have previously been frequently attacked by racists in Strasbourg and regions surrounding it.

World Bulletin

Genocide witnesses may be added to Holocaust survivors database (Czech Rep)

The centre of Holocaust history Malach could be extended in future with testimonies on the genocides in Armenia, Cambodia and Rwanda, Martin Smok told journalists at a conference on the first anniversary of the centre Friday.

Smok cooperates with the Shoah Foundation of University of Southern California that has recorded the 52,000 interviews with survivors of concentration camps, particularly Jews, Romanies, German homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and others, since the 1990s.

The database is now accessible at the Mathematical-Physical Faculty of Charles University in Prague.

Smok said the survivors talk about their experience from extermination camps as well as about their fates, emigration and the communist totalitarian regime.

The database is visited mainly by students who need the information for their school works and by historians.

"In Europe the survivors are afraid," Smok said in reply to a question whether the database could be freely accessible on the Internet in the future.

Many of them fear that the data could be abused to persecute their descendants. Another obstacle are laws on personal data protection.

The recordings come from 56 countries of the world and they have been made in 32 languages.

The Malach centre offers for immediate access more than 500 interviews in Czech, further in Slovak and Polish.

The data are physically stored at the University of Southern California, USA.

Besides, they are accessible at another two centres in Europe, in Berlin and Budapest. The whole database is accessible at another 23 places in the world.

The Armenian genocide is blamed on Turks. The Armenians say the massacres and deportations in the years 1915-1917 cost 1.5 million lives. Turkey speaks about 300,000 to 500,000 people. However, it says it was not genocide, but that the Armenians fell victim to the chaos of the last years of the Osmanic Empire.

In Cambodia, the communist regime in the latter half of the 1970s murdered 1.7 million people during an attempt to create a class-free agrarian society not knowing money, the rule of law, personal freedom, family relations, independent thinking and technological achievements.

In Rwanda members of the Hutu majority tribe massacred some 800,000 minority Tutsis and dozens of thousands of members of their own ethnicity during a three-month ethnic conflict in 1994.

Prague Monitor

Student leader Aaron Porter barracked with anti-Semitic insults (UK)

The head of the National Union of Students had to be led to safety from a tuition fees rally he had been due to address after being surrounded by protesters chanting anti-semitic insults at him.

Aaron Porter was escorted by officers after being confronted as he made his way to offices in Manchester. Witnesses report that among the chants directed at him from a small number of demonstrators were "------- Tory Jew". Other protesters responded to the anti-semitic taunts aimed at Mr Porter by chanting: "No to racism, no to racism."

Following the confrontation, he pulled out of plans to address the rally on the advice of police, who have launched an investigation.

A small group of students had split off from the 3,000 strong march to barrack Mr Porter after spotting him close to the University of Manchester Students' Union building.

Mr Porter has faced growing opposition from more militant sections of the student protest movement, which have called on the NUS to take a more radical stance against Government education spending cuts and increases in tuition fees.

He said last night: "NUS sought to organise a protest with our union partners at which all individuals could take part without being subject to verbal and physical intimidation. It's very disappointing not to have had the opportunity to talk about the real issue of the Government's cuts to the next generation's future."

The general secretary of the UCU lecturers' union, Sally Hunt, addressing the rally in Manchester, accused the government of being at "war with young people".

"It is betraying an entire generation," she said. Fourteen people were arrested during the Manchester protests.

Thousands of students and trade unionists also staged a noisy protest march through Westminster, central London.

Protesters taking part used technology to avoid being held in a police "kettle" – where demonstrators are held in a confined area – with the launch of a mobile phone application designed to identify blocked routes. As a result a number of splinter groups fanned out across central London.

After a failed attempt to stage a repeat of last November's invasion of Tory HQ in Millbank, some of the students moved on the Egyptian Embassy, in Mayfair, to join those protesting against President Mubarak's regime.

"London, Cairo – unite and fight," they chanted on arrival.

At Topshop in the Strand students stopped to direct abuse at the store's owner Sir Philip Green, whose tax arrangements have attracted controversy. "Pay your tax, pay your tax," they chanted.

There were similar scenes outside the Vodafone store, in Oxford Street. The company has also targeted for its tax arrangements.

The store was guarded by a line of police, keeping protesters apart from the bemused shoppers trapped inside.

At Downing Street hundreds of protesters lit flares and chanted anti-Government slogans.

Scotland Yard said: "The protests in London were largely peaceful with only a small number of arrests and no violence or disorder."

The Telegraph

Relief as gathering of English Defence League passes peacefully (UK)

The chairman of Derby's Pakistani Community said he was relieved that an English Defence League march in the city on Saturday was trouble-free.

But he said their presence "angered" him and he believed they had targeted the city because of a recent court case which saw eight Asian men and one white man jailed for targeting young white girls for sex.

About 50 members of the EDL gathered in Derby Market Place on Saturday afternoon before marching up St Peter's Street and East Street and gathering in the White Horse pub, in the Morledge.

No arrests were made and police said the protest was "peaceful".

Mr Lal said: "I think the main reason the EDL targeted Derby was Operation Retriever. We know that they highlighted the case on their website and online forums.

"And, of course, a number of EDL members turned up at Nottingham Crown Court for the sentencing of the men."

Operation Retriever was a covert police investigation to catch men using drink and drugs to lure vulnerable teenage girls. Ringleaders Abid Mohammed Saddique, 27, of Northumberland Street, Normanton, and Mohammed Romaan Liaqat, 28, of Briar Lea Close, Sinfin, were jailed indefinitely.

Derbyshire police has never said the case was in any way racially motivated.

On Saturday, EDL members from Leicester and the West Midlands were among the 50 who protested in the city.

Divisional Commander Andy Hough, of Derbyshire police, said: "We knew there was going to be something low key. We know there are a number of EDL members in Derby and that some of them associate themselves with Derby County, who did not have a match.

"We expected a few of them to meet for a drink and informal discussion but we did not think as many would come to the city as did."

Mr Lal said: "Derby enjoys excellent community relationships and Pakistani and Muslim people are all proud to call themselves Derbeians.

"It angers me when an organisation like the EDL comes into Derby to try to stir up animosity."

An EDL member, who did not give his name, said: "We are always portrayed as thugs but we came here for a peaceful protest and there have been no arrests. We are not racists."

This is Derbyshire

Hitler's headquarters in Ukraine to be made tourist attraction

Ukrainian officials have unveiled a plan to turn the remains of Hitler' Eastern Front military headquarters into a tourist attraction.

The museum will be established by May 9, the anniversary of the Victory Day over  Fascism.

The Wehrwolf headquarters, consisting of about 20 wooden cottages and barracks and three bunkers, are located some 12 km north of Vinnytsia in central Ukraine.

Construction started in September 1941 and was completed in April 1942. More than 10,000 Soviet war prisoners and some 1,000 local citizens participated in the works and some 2,000 of them died. Another 4,000 were shot dead.

The Nazis destroyed the site on abandoning the region. The underground parts of the complex were later sealed.

"It is time to make the Wehrwolf headquarters a tourist destination, a memorial to the victims of fascism," said Mykola Djiga, head of the local administration of Vinnytsia.

"This museum should remind us about the time that our people endured, their sacrifices and heroism. It should also show the face of the fascist enemy. We must show what enemy we had defeated," he said.

Times of India

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Turkish families subject to racist attack in France

Two houses inhabited by families of Turkish origin were attacked by arsonists in Hoenheim, a suburb of Strasbourg, on Thursday night.

Two houses inhabited by families of Turkish origin were attacked by arsonists in Hoenheim, a suburb of Strasbourg, on Thursday night, the Anatolia news agency reported over the weekend.

There were no casualties and the fire in the neighboring houses was put out by firefighters and did not spread. Swastikas were drawn on walls and on a van parked in a yard. The families have two children each.

The mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, and the president of the Urban Community of Strasbourg, Jacques Bigot, issued a joint statement condemning the “criminal act."

In September, two cars owned by Faruk Günaltay, the Turkish director of the Odyssey Cinema Club in Strasbourg, were subject to racially motivated arson attacks. At the time, attackers also drew swastikas on the door of Günaltay's house.

Over the course of the past year, Muslim and Jewish cemeteries and places of worship in Strasbourg were targets of racist attacks. A Council of Europe report released last year said racial profiling and some the exploitation of racial and xenophobic stereotypes on the part of politicians persisted in France despite progress in fighting discrimination.

Many racial acts go unreported, and for those that are referred to authorities there is a low conviction rate, a report by European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) said.

“While there had been improvements in certain areas, some issues gave rise to concern, such as minorities' perception of the police, prejudice against Muslims and the tone of the immigration debate,” Nils Muiznieks, the chair of ECRI, the Council of Europe's independent human rights monitoring body, was quoted as saying at the time.

World Bulletin

Saturday, 29 January 2011


The exact date of hearing on the ban will not be known until a new president of the Constitutional Court is elected, which is expected by mid-February, Balkan Insight has learned from the Constitutional Court. "I doubt a final decision on extremist soccer fan groups will be made even after the president is elected," a court source warned Balkan Insight. The court has discussed the issue of violent groups several times since the Public Prosecutor called on it to ban them, but has failed to reach a decision. At the court's last meeting in December, judges reportedly claimed it was not in the court's jurisdiction to ban groups that are not registered. Not all the 14 groups mentioned by the State Prosecutor are registered. The Deputy State Prosecutor, Slobodan Radovanovic, said it was within the court's power to outlaw the groups, regardless of whether they are registered. "If the court's final decision is not to ban them, it will have to say under whose jurisdiction the banning of such groups comes, so we can get to that institution," he told Balkan Insight. According to the court source, the March session may end up simply with a request for a new report to be written on the issue. Serbia's domestic football league has been plagued with violence in recent years, with both clubs and the authorities seemingly powerless to control closely knit groups of hooligans. Many are alleged to have close links to organised crime and far-right nationalist organisations. The request to ban the groups followed a series of violent incidents, including the cancelation of a Belgrade Gay Pride parade and the murder of French football fan Brice Taton in September 2009.

Balkan Insight

Friday, 28 January 2011

French gay marriage ban upheld by constitutional court

The French constitutional court has upheld a ban on gay marriage, which was challenged by a lesbian couple with four children.

The court ruled that the ban, challenged by Corinne Cestino and Sophie Hasslauer, was in keeping with the constitution.

Activists had hoped France would join states like Spain and Belgium in legalising same-sex marriage.

An opinion poll suggests most French people are in favour.

The TNS Sofres survey of 950 people suggests that 58% of French people approve while 35% oppose gay marriage.
Fifteen years together

The court, or Constitutional Council as it is formally known, reached its decision through a panel of eight judges, six men and two women.

While many European states recognise homosexual civil unions, only Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Norway and Iceland legally acknowledge same-sex marriage.

Ms Cestino and Ms Hasslauer have lived together 15 years, are raising four children together, and already benefit from a French law recognising their partnership, but they cannot marry.

"It is not so much about getting married but about having the right to get married," Ms Cestino, a paediatrician, told the Associated Press news agency.

"So, that is what we are asking for: just to be able, like anyone else, to choose to get married or not."

At issue for the court were two articles in the civil code stipulating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

The couple's lawyer had been hoping that the court would force the conservative government to sponsor a bill on gay marriage to send to parliament.

After a Green Party mayor in the south-western town of Begles officiated over a wedding of two gay men in 2004, France's highest court annulled the marriage.

Under their civil union, the lesbian couple have tax benefits and other financial advantages, their lawyer Emmanuel Ludot explained.

But marriage, he added, confers "the responsibility to help each other in times of sickness or financial difficulty, inheritance rights and the joint custody of goods - and that's without talking about the benefit for children, who are what we call 'legitimised by marriage'".

BBC News

Muslims and Jews join forces to tackle religious hatred (UK)

Jewish and Muslim students are joining forces to tackle anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on university campuses - in a bid to spread a message of tolerance.

One of those with first-hand experience of religious hatred is Yassir, who as a student in 2004 was abused as he set off for his mosque in London. Four teenagers spat at him and called him "Bin Laden".

Shortly afterwards, he was beaten up, which left him in a coma for days. He is now paralysed on the left side of his body, and will need care for the rest of his life.

His story was recorded by the Islamic Human Rights Commission in a report in December 2006. It is not an isolated incident.

Safia, 35, from London, was eating at a restaurant in 2004 when a man started to taunt her because she was wearing a jilbaab and scarf.

He then grabbed her, and started hitting her. Eventually a police officer intervened, and the attacker was arrested.

Safia has told researchers the physical scars have gone, but the mental ones are still with her.

The Muslim community is not alone in facing such attacks.

Two men wearing balaclavas threw eggs at some Jews walking to a synagogue in Manchester, according to a Jewish charity called the Community Security Trust.

In another incident reported to the charity a Jewish student was attacked in Leeds in 2009 by a group of men, who shouted "Get the Jew", before throwing snowballs at him.

In an effort to prevent more of these attacks, Jewish and Muslim students have come together to unveil Campus Ambassadors.

This team of Muslim and Jewish students will work on campuses around the country to try to improve relations between the two faiths.

The scheme has been put together by a charity called the Coexistence Trust.

One of the managers is 23-year-old Shahnaz Ahsan. She used to be a student at Oxford University, and believes there is a lot of tension between the two groups because of the Middle East conflict.

"What we are hoping to do through the Coexistence Trust is actually create a platform where Muslim and Jewish students can get a chance to interact with each other, get to know each other on the basis of students being students," she says.

Each of the ambassadors will undergo a one-year leadership development programme, and also get training in conflict resolution.
Bleak picture

Mark Robins, 20, went to a Jewish secondary school. He had virtually no contact with Muslim students while he was growing up.

That all changed when he arrived at Birmingham University. He hopes he can change opinions in his own community about Muslims.

"From time to time you'll talk to other Jews, and you'll talk about the Islamic Society and there'll be negative responses. I want to change all that," he says.

A survey produced in 2005 by Fosis, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, found that almost half of Muslim students had experienced Islamophobia, mostly defined as "direct and verbal".

It also found that a quarter of these incidents had taken place on university campuses.

It is in the process of putting together a new survey which will be out this year.

The Community Security Trust reported 97 incidents of anti-Semitism in higher education in 2009, up from 68 the previous year.

Of those, 79 were on campuses. There were four assaults and other incidents ranged from verbal abuse to attacks on property.

All of this seems to paint a pretty bleak picture for both communities.

Away from tensions around the Middle East, inviting speakers on to campuses is also leading to problems.

Carly MacKenzie from the Union Of Jewish Students (UJS) says: "Hate speakers that spout anti-Semitism invited on to UK campuses by Islamic societies are one of the biggest perpetual problems currently facing Jewish students and one that UJS is working with the higher education sector to alleviate."
Major effect

On the Muslim side, the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission believes the current set of anti-terror laws is fuelling Islamophobia.

Chairman Massoud Shadjareh says it is essential to separate security issues from the "politics of fear" and warned that Muslims were already more likely to be stopped by police than other communities.

Dressed in a black hijab, white blouse and black trousers, 20-year-old Aliya Din is a second-year student at King's College London.

She has decided to become a Campus Ambassador, and is in a positive mood at the launch of the scheme

"I'm not expecting the whole world to change, but even if you can change the perspective slightly of some people, it will make a major effect in their future lives, because that is what happens in history."

BBC News

Attack on EDL man's Luton home probed (UK)

Reports of an attack on the home of a leading English Defence League (EDL) member are being investigated by police in Bedfordshire.

Officers were called to Kevin Carroll's home in Bolingbroke Road, Luton, late on Thursday after reports an object was thrown against the window of the house.

Mr Carroll said he went to investigate and saw a man who appeared to be holding a shotgun. No shots were fired.

Officers carried out a search of the area, but no offender was found.

Police said they were trying to establish what happened and wanted to talk to anyone who saw anything suspicious.

BBC News


Hungary's far-right party Jobbik was singled out for criticism at a meeting between a leading Jewish lobby group and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country holds the European Union presidency, officials said Wednesday. European Jewish Congress (EJC) president Moshe Kantor raised his concerns with Orban in Brussels on Tuesday, on the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day. 'Parties like Jobbik stand in direct opposition to the values of the European Union that Hungary now preside over,' Kantor said, according to an ECJ statement released Wednesday. 'The EU presidency could be utilized as a great opportunity for Hungary to lead the way against all manifestations of extremism and hatred.' The ECJ warned against 'a dramatic escalation in anti-Semitism in Europe,' claiming that Jews in Europe 'are feeling unsafe' and are 'leaving en masse' certain areas such as the Swedish town of Malmo, where there is a high concentration of Muslim migrants.

Jobbik, which gathered 16.7 per cent of votes in national elections last year and is currently in the opposition, refutes accusations of being anti-Jew as 'absurd,' but acknowledges its sympathy for the Palestinian cause in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Kantor said that calls for sanctions or a boycott on Israel over its settlement policy on occupied Palestinian land 'should be seen as unacceptable,' and official organizations supporting them 'should be outlawed.' He charged that such appeals amounted to a 'new anti-Semitism.' The EU's official policy is that Israel's continued settlement building is in breach of international law, but the bloc has stopped short of reacting with diplomatic sanctions. Last month, a group of ex-EU leaders, including the bloc's former foreign policy chief Javier Solana, called for a freeze in talks to upgrade EU-Israeli relations and for excluding Israeli produce from occupied Palestinian land from preferential trade treatment.



 The Tories are in turmoil after the moderate leader of David Cameron's EU conservative grouping resigned yesterday in protest at a lurch to the far-Right within its Polish ranks.

Michal Kaminiski, a Polish MEP, sent a letter of resignation as chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group after accusing key Tory allies in Poland of driving him out as part of a "far-Right takeover" campaign.

Mr Kaminski has accused Poland's Law and Justice (PIS) party, the ECR's second biggest national section after the Tories, of subjecting him to "aggression" and "hatred" after he formed a moderate breakaway party last year.

"I want this to happen in as calm a way as possible. I underline that I do not want a Polish-Polish war and I think we shouldn't want one in the European Parliament either," he said.

In a move that will deeply embarrass the Prime Minister, he is expected to quit the Eurosceptic grouping to join the pro-EU, mainstream centre-right European People's Party, which Mr Cameron ordered Tory MEPs to leave before creating the ECR in 2009.

The Conservative exit from the EPP provoked controversy and led to the expulsion of a senior Tory MEP who accused the Poles of harbouring racists and anti-Semites.

The Polish split has triggered fierce infighting within the ECR because Mr Kaminski clung on to leadership for three months, with the support of senior Conservatives before he stepped because the row threatened to break up the group.

Conservative MEPs said that Mr Kaminski was expected to seek refuge in the EPP. "He's most likely to join the EPP. It's a bit embarrassing but not as damaging as the backbiting has been," said a senior MEP. "With a new leader as early as next week, we hope this negative chapter will be closed."

The row, and likely departure of Mr Kaminski will put PIS under increased scrutiny after claims that the party, led by Jarolslaw Kaczynski, the brother of the late Polish president killed in an air crash last year, is careering to the far-Right.

Marek Migalski, a Polish MEP aligned with Mr Kaminski, has warned that Mr Cameron's Polish allies in Europe have fallen under the control of the owner of a controversial radio station, infamous for its anti-Semitic and xenophobic outbursts.

Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the owner of Radio Maryja, has struck a deal with PIS in which his supporters make up 50 per cent of all the party's candidates in Poland's general election, which is due this year, in return for his backing.

Radio Maryja, just one arm of Father Rydzyk's media empire that includes a television station and a national newspaper, has been condemned by the Council of Europe and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for anti-Semitism.

Glenis Willmott, Labour's leader in the European Parliament, said: "It is deeply disturbing that the Conservative's Polish allies are seen to be moving even further to the extreme with Kaminski's departure."

An ECR spokesman said the resignation letter had not yet been received.

"Our understanding is that Mr Kaminski will propose a solution to the tensions caused by the Polish domestic situation. Until he does so, no decisions on the matter will be taken by the Conservative delegation," he said.

The Telegraph

FBI will consider recent neo-Nazi activity in Spokane bomb discovery (USA)

The FBI will consider recent local neo-Nazi activity in its investigation of a backpack bomb found this week along a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, Washington, but it has no evidence of any connections, the agency told CNN on Thursday.

Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the FBI's Spokane field office, said authorities know of no link to "any specific group or individuals" and called reports linking the bomb to recent neo-Nazi activity in a nearby Idaho town "premature."

The bureau is looking into the incident as "an act of domestic terrorism," Harrill said.

"Every square millimeter of the backpack will be subjected to every kind of analysis, every component will be taken apart. It will be a laborious process, taking days if not longer," Harrill told CNN.

"It is too early to announce that we have a link to any specific group or individuals. We continue to investigate all possibilities, all avenues. There is no focus yet. Reports of a link are premature," he said.

Authorities are awaiting an analysis of the backpack and bomb materials at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, Harrill said.

Tony Stewart, one of the founders of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, told CNN he found the timing of the planted bomb and two recent neo-Nazi activities in Coeur d'Alene "just too overwhelming" and suggested hatred was also behind the Spokane bomb. Coeur d'Alene is 35 miles east of Spokane.

But Stewart had no evidence tying the Spokane bomb to the two activities in Coeur d' Alene. On Friday, a handful of neo-Nazis protested two Mexican restaurants with signs saying, "This is white land" and "We want you out of here," he said. His group held a King holiday activity with 1,400 fifth-graders that day, he said.

During the evening of Monday's King holiday, about 15 neo-Nazis demonstrated outside the Human Rights Education Institute in downtown Coeur d'Alene, Stewart said. The same evening, his group held a holiday gala at another location, he said.

About the Spokane bomb discovery, Stewart said: "It's clear that it was an attempt to end the march and attack human rights advocates.

"All three events were going on when there was a reaction by the white supremacists or hate groups in some way," specifically at the two Coeur d'Alene events, Stewart said. "We don't know who did it, but there was certainly a reaction to human right events. They were individuals who didn't like what we were doing."

The Coeur d'Alene area had been a hotbed of neo-Nazi activity through the Aryan Nations and Order II hate groups since at least the 1970s, though the groups were disbanded through criminal convictions and civil lawsuits by 2000, Stewart said.

Several bombings in Coeur d'Alene in the 1980s, including at the home of a Catholic pastor and priest who was also serving as president of the human relations task force, were blamed on the Order II, Stewart said. The priest wasn't injured in that bombing, he said.

The gray backpack was found Monday on a bench at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.

No threat was received before the device was found, nor was a note found with the backpack, Harrill said.

"Clearly it's not coincidence that it's placed along the march route," he said. "But it's too early to ascribe a motive, whether it's racial or political or something else."

The FBI released photos of the Swiss Army-brand backpack and two T-shirts found in it. One shirt says "Treasure Island 2009" and the other reads "Stevens County Relay For Life June 25th-26th 2010."

The device was discovered Monday morning by three parade workers before the event, Harrill said.

According to local media reports, the bomb was designed to be detonated by remote control and was packed with shrapnel.

"We won't comment or try to rate the device," Harrill said, declining to provide details on the components or how it was constructed. "But preliminary analysis reveals this device had the potential to be pretty lethal."

March organizer Ivan Bush said he didn't want to envision what would have happened had the backpack not been found.

"We have 2,000 people that participated in the march," Bush said. "Right on the front lines are kids. One of our high school drum lines was leading the march. We had preschoolers holding banners with 'Happy birthday, Dr. King' on it.

"Again, we are talking about folks' lives; we are talking about kids' lives," he said.

Bush said city leaders in Spokane had taken steps to improve the city's image by recently naming a street in honor of King.

Agents have leads in the case, Harrill said, but he would not provide details on the investigation.

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. The FBI is asking the public for information on who might have been seen with the backpack from about 8 to 9:25 a.m. Monday. It also is asking for photos or videos taken in the area.

One of this week's march observers, Lindsey Resiwig, told CNN that authorities used a robot to investigate the backpack.

"We were standing on the balcony up there and watching with little binoculars and they came and started messing with the package and started pulling things out, and this took a very long time," Resiwig told CNN. "The robot came and went three or four times. It took hours."

Janet Hutchinson, who works next to where bomb was found, said FBI agents interviewed her "to see if I had seen anything strange or suspicious -- people coming in with backpacks which they do in a store all the time," she told CNN.

"But it had been a really quiet morning so I had nothing to report to them," Hutchinson said.


Anti-racism group demands ban on far right demonstration (UK)

An anti-racism group has called on the British Government to ban the proposed far-right English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in Luton on February 5.The group known as ‘One Society Many Cultures’ in a media release said it is deeply concerned for the safety of the community, as the EDL have indicated they intend to march into the heart of the Muslim locality.Previous EDL demonstrations have led to attacks on mosques and other places of worship in Asian and other minority communities.

At a demonstration in Preston, north west England, in November 2010, the EDL were caught on camera chanting ‘burn down a mosque’.

The group said the demonstration goes against the Public Order Act and incitement to racial and religious hatred legislation.

Luton Council has also called for the EDL march to be banned.

The EDL, made up of self proclaimed football hooligans, has previously held demonstrations in Luton which escalated into clashes with protestors from anti-fascist groups.


Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng ignites racism row with 'monkey' celebration for South Korea in Asian Cup semi-final with Japan

Celtic midfielder   has courted controversy following a provocative celebration after scoring for South Korea against arch-rivals Japan in the semi-final of the Asian Cup.

The 21-year-old scored the opening goal from the spot and then sprinted towards a camera and proceeded to pull at and scratch his face in a monkey-like fashion.

The incident caused considerable offence in Japan, where it has been perceived as a racist taunt, although South Korean officials have claimed that it was in retaliation to alleged taunting by St Johnstone fans during a Scottish Premier League game in October.

A Japanese military flag – an inflammatory item in many former Japanese colonies – was held aloft in Doha during the semi-final match, and Ki stated after the game that he has cried in his his mind when he saw it, leading to speculation that his celebration was deliberately offensive.

Goal.com Korea's Yonghun Lee describes why Japanese viewers would have seen Ki's reaction as offensive.

"It's not racial, as Korean and Japanese people are both Asian," says Lee, "but it is a historical celebration."

He added that the flag is viewed as a symbol of Japanese fascism and militarism: "So he did that celebration to Japan supporters who held that flag."

Controversy has engulfed Ki in Korea, with many believing that he had wrongly reacted to the flag, although some have expressed sympathy for how the player felt, according to Lee, who believes that the player should not behaved as he did, but the offending flag should not have been in the stadium.

"I think the flag of the army should not be allowed in [a] football stadium in the first place," Lee said.

"And I also think that Ki's celebration was not proper either. He should have acted more maturely."

The Korean football association quickly denied that the celebration was a racial taunt aimed at Japanese viewers, and instead officially told English-speaking media that the Celtic player's celebration was in retaliation to racial abuse endured in the SPL.

An official said: "The treatment he got in the Scottish league, especially from the away fans, the people who made noises like the sounds of the monkey in Scotland while he played away games, is something he wanted to highlight.

"They call him a 'monkey' as an Asian – he wanted to show how strong they are in Asia and that was the main attention."

Ki himself claimed in the aftermath of the game that he is first a footballer "but more importantly, I'm Korean".

The Asian Football Confederation confirmed that Fifa had not contacted them over the incident, and tournament director Tokuaki Suzuki admitted no legal action would take playing, saying that the respective national associations had already discussed the matter.

South Korea were knocked out on penalties by Japan, who will face Australia in Saturday's final, after the game finished 2-2 in extra-time.


Thursday, 27 January 2011

European leader calls for 'zero-tolerance' for antisemitism

 Europe should have "zero tolerance" for far-right parties that spew antisemitism, European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor said in a press conference here today, ahead of ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Mr Kantor and other Jewish leaders met today with right-populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who now holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, to discuss problems with the antisemitic far-right Jobbik party and to urge him to overturn his controversial new media law, which subjects news reporting to a litmus test. Mr Orban has come in for severe criticism over the law, which critics consider anti-democratic.

"To some developments we should show zero tolerance in Europe," said Mr Kantor, who was joined in the press conference by Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein.

According to a press release following the private meeting with Mr Orban, Mr Kantor described the meeting as positive. He reported that Mr Orban agreed that some verbal attacks on Israel are comparable to classic antisemitism, and that both are unacceptable. He expressed opposition to what Mr Kantor described as a campaign assaulting Israel's legitimacy.

The EU parliament and its president, Jerzy Buzek, former prime minister of Poland, hosted tonight's Holocaust memorial ceremony organised by the EJC, marking the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by Red Army soldiers on January 27 1945.

Several survivors, and the son of a rescuer, were among those who lit candles in honor of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

The event featured an exhibition on Auschwitz presented by Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, and addresses by Rabbi Lau, Mr Buzek, Mr Kantor and Mr Edelstein.

World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald Lauder said that his family's visit to the Auschwitz camp memorial in Poland more than 20 years ago changed all of their lives.

"I saw the ruins, and the human hair and shoes. Everything was deteriorating," he said. "And I realized that someday there would not only be no more survivors, but also nothing remaining" as proof of history.

He subsequently raised $40 million from governments and private individuals, together with Holocaust survivors Ernest Michel, WJC senior vice president, and Kalman Sultanik, honorary WJC vice president, to help ensure the preservation of the infamous site for posterity.

The Jewish Chronicle

Amren White supremacist gathering in NC in limbo (USA)

A planned gathering in Charlotte of a group known for its white supremacist and anti-immigrant views is in limbo after a hotel canceled the group's reservations.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel cited guest safety in making the decision.

The white nationalist magazine sponsoring the gathering next week, American Renaissance, says it's had no luck so far finding other accommodations in Charlotte.

Editor Jared Taylor says Charlotte City Councilman Patrick Cannon violated the group's First Amendment rights by contacting hotels about the upcoming conference.

Cannon says he was just finding information in response to a question from a constituent.

Anti-racist groups have said they plan to protest the conference on Feb. 5.

News Observer

Admitted Ridgewood Neo-Nazi Arrested for Threatening New York Anti-Defamation League Head (USA)

A former history professor who has publicly admitted being a neo-Nazi was arrested Wednesday morning at his Heights Road apartment for making multiple threats against the director of the Anti-Defamation League in New York, New Jersey State Police have confirmed.

Jacques Pluss, 57, an ex-adjunct history professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and other universities, has ties to neo-Nazi organizations and is known to frequent neo-Nazi websites, New Jersey State Police say.

Pluss was fired from FDU in 2005 after it had been made public that he was a leader of the American Nazi Party, according to reports. He admitted his status as a neo-Nazi in 2007 to the History News Network and has called the unversity a "Jewish plutocracy" to the Associated Press shortly after being fired. The University said Pluss was fired not because of his political views but because he was absent for classes.

Pluss is alleged to have sent multiple threatening e-mails to the head of the Anti-Defamation League in New York, which were handed over to the New Jersey State Police, Acting Lieutenant Stephen Jones of the agency's Public Information Office said.

"At 6:30 this morning, State Police detectives with the assistance of our TEAMS Unit, Cyber Crimes Unit and K-9 Unit executed a search warrant at Heights Road," Jones said.

In addition to Pluss being taken into custody, "several" rifles were confiscated during the search of the apartment, Jones said.

The former history professor has been charged with bias intimidation, harassment, contempt of court and weapons possession. Because of a prior court action, Pluss was not allowed to possess weapons, State Police say.

Bail was set at $25,000 with a 10-percent option and Pluss was taken to Bergen County Jail.

Multiple agencies aided in the investigation, led by the NJ State Police's Central Security Unit, which handles threats made against public figures. The Division of Criminal Justice, State Police Crime Scene Investigators and the Ridgewood Police Department were involved in the investigation and arrest of Pluss, Jones said.

The New Jersey Attorney General's Office will likely be handling prosecution, Jones said.

Ridgewood Patch

Flintshire Muslim Cultural Society accuses English Defence League of stirring racial tension in Shotton (UK)

 More than 100 activists from far-right group the English Defence League (EDL) marched through Shotton to protest against plans to build an Islamic cultural centre in the town.

North Wales Police officers were out in force to ensure the protest on Saturday – which saw EDL members from Chester, Stoke, Burnley, Manchester, Cardiff and Liverpool congregate – passed without incident.

The EDL vehemently opposes the plans for what it calls a ‘mosque’, which could be built on the site of the former Shotton Lane Social Club.

But Monchab Ali, chairman of the Flintshire Muslim Cultural Society, which is more than halfway to raising the money to buy the venue, insisted the proposal was for an Islamic cultural centre which would benefit the community.

He told the Chronicle: “The EDL has come from outside Shotton in an attempt to divide the community.

“I have been in business for more than 22 years and throughout that time I have not seen any signs of racial tension or problems in the community.

“We have been supporting local football teams, cricket clubs and primary schools – whatever opportunity we have had, we have been supporting the community.”

Mr Ali also attacked a leaflet campaign co-ordinated by BNP councillor John Walker to fight the proposed centre.

In the leaflet Cllr Walker said: “We strongly oppose a development of this kind in the heart of our community.

“Deeside has had its fair share of immigration over the years, but this is a step too far.

“The owner of the Shotton Bengal Dynasty restaurant (Mr Ali) is...seeking to open this Islamic centre.

“Please bear in mind if you dine at this establishment you may well be inadvertently funding this new development.”

Mr Ali countered: “That is completely untrue. Mr Walker lives in Mancot – what is his part to the community and why is he saying such unfounded allegations?”

The society currently rents the Queensferry Institute building for Islamic and Arabic classes, which are held twice a week.

Martin Smith, spokesman for campaign group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) said: “The UAF deplores the EDL’s protest against building a cultural centre.

“Instead of spreading lies and hate towards the Muslim community in Britain, we believe we should be able to celebrate anybody’s culture and live a life free of hate and bigotry.”

North Wales Police Superintendent Dave Owens, the senior officer at the protest on Saturday, said the parade passed without incident.

He said: “Our intention was to facilitate a peaceful protest and we were helped in achieving this by the organisers, who discussed their plans with us before the event and were fully co-operative throughout.”

Supt Owens said the Deeside neighbourhood police team, led by Sergeant Tony Heaword, will continue to work with community leaders ‘to address any ongoing concerns’.

Flintshire Chronicle

St Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton, criticises BNP and EDL Islam centre opposition (UK)

A Church leader has criticised the British National Party’s (BNP) leafleting campaign against the proposed Shotton Islamic centre.

St Ethelwold’s Church was pictured in the leaflet co-ordinated by BNP community councillor John Walker without authorisation.

And vicar Rev Steven Green wants to make it clear the church does not support the far-right organisation’s opposition to the controversial plans.

Within the leaflet Cllr Walker said: “With declining church attendances and the local clergy falling over themselves to welcome other religions into the area, what future does Christianity have in Deeside?”

Mr Green said: “I would suggest the author of this letter should be better informed, as all the churches on Deeside work well together and are involved in many projects such as Fairtrade, community development and many other initiatives.

“The Christian communities are faithful and confident in their own faith, but that faith reflecting the love of Jesus seeks to welcome and offer hospitality.

“Church life on Deeside is in good heart, supported by loyal, faithful and generous Christians who stand for peace and tolerance on our streets and respect for all people of peace and goodwill.”

Mr Green also criticised the English Defence League’s town centre protest on Saturday.

“I find it difficult to believe such a demonstration has anything to do with the people of Deeside,” he said.

“Deeside people are warm, generous and tolerant people who have witnessed and adapted to many changes over the last 30 years.”

Flintshire Chronicle

Mersey Police Authority awards £5,000 to tackle hate crime (UK)

Merseyside Police Authority has awarded £5,000 to an action group to assist their work tackling hate crime.

Homotopia’s "Project Triangle" works with young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to develop projects and resources promoting equality and diversity and challenging hate crime.

The police authority - a 17-strong public body made up of councillors from all five Merseyside councils as well as individuals from the community - presented Homotopia with the £5,000 to purchase film production and editing equipment.

Using this, the group has produced a new film: "Sex, Drags and Rock N Roll", which premiered at the Unity Theatre as part of the Homotopia festival.

The film has already been selected for the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and will feature in a Merseyside-wide youth hate crime conference being organised for February.

Bev Ayre, who manages the project, said the MPA cash: "has vastly increased our ability to work with young people and spread an anti-hate message locally, across the country and internationally.

"We are so grateful to Merseyside Police Authority for their continued support of our work tackling hate crime."

He said MPA's support means more than 20,000 young people across Merseyside have accessed diversity and equality resources.

In 2009, the police authority funded a trip for 12 young people from Project Triangle to visit Auschwitz and Warsaw to raise awareness of hate crime and increase people’s confidence in reporting it.

Following the visit, Project Triangle produced a hate crime education resource pack which has been endorsed by Sir Ian McKellen, the NUT and Merseyside Police Chief Constable John Murphy.

Those involved in the project will be visiting the authority on Thursday to talk to members about how the money is being spent.

For more information on how you can apply for a grant through the authority’s Police Property Acts Fund, click the first link below...

Wirral Globe

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Jewish Defense Org. takes on another group (USA)

The Jewish Defense Organization is trying to block what it calls a neo-Nazi group from holding a conference in Charlotte, N.C.

The JDO has threatened to boycott any hotel that welcomes American Renaissance magazine, The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday. On its Web site, it calls American Renaissance "a collection of Jew-Hating and racist neo-Nazi and KKK."

Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, responds by calling the JDO "just goofy" and saying the group has a "bee in its bonnet."

Marilyn Mayo, director of the Center on Extremism of the Anti-Defamation League, thinks they are both at least partly right.

"You have one extremist group fighting another extremist group," she said. "In fact, the American Renaissance is not a neo-Nazi group. It's a racist group."

American Renaissance describes itself as believing in "race realism." It calls race "the most prominent and divisive fault line" in society.

The conference is scheduled Feb. 4-6. Taylor said the venue would be announced immediately beforehand for security reasons.


Fugitive white supremacist calls supporters to attack (Canada)

Canada-wide arrest warrant keeps U.S.-born Cobb in a 'hole in the ground'

 A fugitive white supremacist facing a Canada-wide arrest warrant has called on his supporters to launch violent attacks on Jews and U.S. government installations, a U.S.-based terrorism monitoring group reported Tuesday.

Craig Cobb, 59, wrote from his U.S. hideout that he preferred his followers decide on "doing something they haven't yet done before" for the white supremacist cause -- rather than offer him help.

He cited three far-right extremists as having carried out acts that he urged should be seen as templates for future acts of violence, according to Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group.

"History may turn," Cobb wrote, if there were "just a few more" people such as Joe Stack, who in 2010 flew his Piper Dakota plane into a federal building in Austin, Texas, killing himself and an Internal Revenue Service manager, and injuring 13; James von Brunn, who perpetrated the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting in Washington, D.C., in 2009, killing a security guard; and Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer motivated by a pathological hatred of African Americans and Jews.

Cobb is believed to be in Montana, where he readily admits his home is a "hole in the ground" as he discusses getting by on minimal handouts from friends.

"Money doesn't motivate him at all; he only wants money to survive," said Terry Wilson of the RCMP's B.C. hate crime unit.

The message, posted by an intermediary, appeared on the extremist Vanguard News Network Jan. 8, according to SITE.

Canadian authorities have accused Cobb of operating his own hate web-site from Vancouver for 10 months before his arrest at the Vancouver Public Library last June following a six-month hate crime investigation.

Cobb fled to the United States after RCMP released him within 10 hours because of a delay in the police agency's ability to lay the federal hate-crime charge. Such charges require the provincial attorney-general's approval.

A warrant was issued for his rearrest after police on Dec. 30 laid a charge of wilful promotion of hatred.

Missouri-born Cobb, who gained Canadian citizenship in addition to U.S. citizenship after living in Canada in the 1970s, created his site in 2005, when he lived in Estonia.

He returned to Canada after the Estonian government deported him in August 2009.

Vancover Sun

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


One of the things that was taken out of the 2007 French presidential election was the collapse of the far right (the Front national or FN), the same far right which five years earlier had shocked the world and France by placing second in the presidential race with 16.9 percent of the vote. Its poor 10.4 percent showing in 2007 was followed by a drubbing in subsequent legislative elections and an equally weak showing in the 2009 European elections. It has rightfully been said that Nicolas Sarkozy took a lot of the far right vote in 2007 with his tough law and order platform and populist rhetoric. It helped him with working class voters, many of whom had supported the FN in 2002 despite their left wing roots. Following the party’s collapse, which put it on the verge of bankruptcy and forced it to sell off its headquarters in an affluent Parisian suburb, the far right was buried. Sarkozy and the traditional right had permanently integrated most of the FN’s electorate, and it would collapse following the inevitable retirement of its historical lider maximo, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

It turns out that the far right was buried far too early and the party that passed for dead or at least moribund four years ago is roaring back with a vengeance. The FN’s recovery started during the regional elections of 2010 in which the party won 11.4 percent of the votes in the first round, doing much better than polls had predicted. And now, a bit more than a year from the important 2012 elections, the party’s new leader, Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie, is polling at roughly 17 percent of the vote. Given that, except for 2007, the FN’s vote has been underestimated, some wonder if those result hide a much higher reality. Despite all the warnings and bags of salt which must be applied, especially in France, to polling one year out from the actual election, the FN’s return merits analysis. In the history of the French far right since World War II, the FN has been, by far, the most successful group with the notable exception of the Poujadists in 1956. Founded as one among many tiny far right cells, the FN’s rise started with a shocking success in a 1983 local by-election and later during the 1984 European elections when it came out of nowhere to win a full 10 percent of the vote.

In the 1988 presidential election, Le Pen won 14.5 percent compared to just 0.8 in 1974. The number steadily increased from 15 percent in 1995 to 16.9 in 2002. Accompanying this rise in the polls was a shift in the party’s rhetoric. From a more sectarian and old style neofascist and antistatist platform in the 1970s, which attracted the support of only some pieds-noirs (French inhabitants of Algeria living in France since the 1960s), the FN adopted a more populist tone mixing law and order with a rejection of “global liberalism” in order to appeal to working class voters whom, during the recession of the first years of the Mitterrand presidency, were abandoning their traditional left wing solidarity in favor of the FN. By 2002, the FN was the largest party among this electorate. Part of the FN’s success came from its ability to move beyond the sectarianism and old style racism and xenophobia which characterizes perennial neofascist and other European far right movements, but Jean-Marie Le Pen’s personal appeal and charisma played an equally important role.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s message in 2007 integrated some of the most popular themes of the FN, which despite their association with a controversial and oftentimes despised party, still attracted much sympathy or at least attention among the wider electorate. His rhetoric about the “value of work” and the “meritocratic society” struck a chord with the boutiquiers (small businessowners, a traditional FN demographic) and much of the lower middle class. His tough talk on crime, justice and immigration appealed to the working class moreover, which had voted FN in droves in 2002, as well to part of a traditional conservative electorate that was increasing sympathetic toward Le Pen and his party. Sarkozy won roughly 31 percent of the vote in the first round—a very strong showing. Le Pen won 10.4 percent. To further add to the unambiguity of what happened to Le Pen’s vote, the correlation between the increase in the right’s vote and the decrease of the far right’s support was near perfect. The FN, which had weathered the exodus of a good part of its leadership and base in 1999 with the secession of the megretiste wing, seemed condemned to die out with the imminent retirement of its historical leader. That, however, may have been wishful thinking on the part of the mainstream right and others. The success in public opinion of the FN’s new leader, Marine Le Pen, plays a significant role.

The youngest of the FN’s patriarch’s three daughters, she was certainly not set to succeed her father until fairly recently. Her elder sister was Le Pen’s favorite until she joined the 1999 putsch and Marine was long unpopular with the FN’s leadership and office holders. Yet, as we learned in 1999 and more recently in 2009, splits from the FN may claim the support of a majority of the party’s office holders but will never be able to come close to the FN in the polls. Her lack of support with the FN’s traditional cadres is more than compensated by her strong support among the party’s membership and electorate. Because the FN is an expert in carpetbagging, with its main leaders often being elected in a region where they’re not actually from (especially in the case of Le Pen, whose native Brittany is one of the FN’s weakest regions), it is quite indispensable for a leader to have a region or turf of their own.

Marine always struggled to find her place in one, notably because she faced resistance from local leaders. In 2004, she tried her hand, without too much success, in the Paris region. Since 2007 though, she has found herself a solid base in the small city of Hénin-Beaumont in the old mining basin of northern France. There she managed to be the FN’s only candidate to qualify for the runoff in the 2007 election while the party was creamed in other places. In 2008, her list won a bit more than 28 percent of the vote in the municipal elections against an embattled socialist mayor. When that mayor was forced out in 2009 for particularly slimy corruption, the FN won 39 percent in the first round of the by-election, then lost narrowly in a runoff against a “republican front” spearheaded by the right, claiming a record 47.6 percent of the vote. Last year, Marine successfully implanted herself in the region as a whole. At the party’s congress earlier this month, she crushed her rival, Bruno Gollnisch, an old style sectarian far rightist, more than two to one.

Her leadership ushers in a change in rhetoric if not in ideology. Rather less controversial than her father, who throughout his career held peculiar opinions about the Holocaust and the German occupation, she has been able to frame the party’s traditional anti-Islamist message in the mantle of the defense of the republican value of secularism—a very important concept in French society. Reflecting partly her implantation in a municipality of the old mining basin devastated by unemployment and factory closures since the early 1990s, she is emphasizing a more statist and “social” anti-liberal stance. Her success does not stem from merely cosmetic changes in the party’s identity. She has been able to pick up considerable support among former Sarkozy voters who have been left more than dissatisfied with the president’s agenda. While high unemployment continues to plague France and government corruptions seems abound, the president has enacted unpopular pension and labor reforms, reducing his approval ratings to barely 30 percent.

In opposition to the liberal conservatism of the current government, the Front national manages to appeal to largely working class voters as the 2010 regional elections amply demonstrated. The example of the small, declining metalworking town of Gandrange in Moselle, northeastern France, is emblematic in this regards. During his 2007 campaign, Sarkozy came to the town and promised that its steel plant would not shutter. In a commune that had given Le Pen 25 percent of the vote in 2002 but was traditionally leftist, Sarkozy won 50.2 percent in the runoff election. The steel plant closed in 2009 however and in the most recent election, the president’s party won a meager 15 percent of the vote. The FN won 25 percent. Beyond the symbolic value, the dissatisfaction felt by the residents of Gandrange toward Sarkozy, the man they had helped elect in 2007, is typical of his deep troubles with the working class which may hurt his chances for reelection in 2012.

Sarkozy’s gains with the working class were crucial in 2007 but as crucial were his gains with the FN’s traditional, older electorate. These voters, largely lower middle class and small businessowners, were enamored by Sarkozy’s rhetoric in 2007. Today, they are widely unhappy with his policies and feel let down with the various corruption stories. Their economic position is threatened by the crisis, making them receptive to the Marine Le Pen’s more “social populist” message which she worked up to major success in Hénin-Beaumont since 2007. Allegations of government corruption further feed the FN’s insistence that all major establishment parties are rotten. And seemingly, these voters haven’t been bought over by the government’s tough immigration policies. They demonstrated that in 2010 when they gave the FN some very good showings.

The election is still a long time ahead and polls a year out can never give an even close approximation of the results. Yet, the far right is definitely back on its wheels and it hasn’t been killed by the retirement of its strongman. Sarkozy is facing serious competition not only from the left, but also from the far right which he was supposed to have killed for a generation four years ago. He may not be doomed yet, given that he remains a wily and skill campaigner, and given that everything political is subject to change. But with just a year to go before the next election, never has a French president been so weak and so threatened from all flanks.

The Atlantic Sentinel

Police officer injured following racist incident (UK)

 A police officer needed hospital treatment after trying to arrest a man following an incident in which racist comments were made to a young woman on a bus.

A man got on to a Wilts & Dorset bus in Devizes Road, Salisbury, at about 7.45pm on Friday (Jan 21) and made comments to the woman.

He was later asked to leave the bus at Westwood Road due to his behaviour, and continued to be abusive to another woman.

Police were called in but during attempts to make an arrest an officer had her ring finger broken in three places, which required an operation.

The 38-year-old local man who was arrested in connection with the offences has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Anyone with information is asked to contact DC Nick Ryan on 0845 4087000 or Crimestoppers 0800 555111.

Salisbury Journal

Monday, 24 January 2011

Amsterdam police win gay rights award (Netherlands)

This year’s Bob Angelo award for people who campaign for gay, bi-sexual and transsexual rights has been given to photographer Erwin Olaf and the Amsterdam police force.

Gay rights lobby group COC recognised Olaf for his campaign against anti-gay violence and the police organisation Roze in Blauw (pink in blue) for making it easier for people to report gay-bashing incidents.

Dutch News

Mencap to launch hate crime campaign during Learning Disability Week (UK)

This year's Learning Disability Week will take place from 20-26 June. During the week, Mencap will launch a three-year campaign against hate crime, 'Stand by me'.

David Congdon, Mencap's head of campaigns and policy, said: "Recently, three men who tortured a 17 year old with Asperger's syndrome walked away with a sentence of just 80 hours of community service. And in another high-profile case, Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter after police failed to stop the abuse they were subjected to by local youths. Cases like these show that hate crime is still not taken seriously enough by the authorities."

'Stand by me' will challenge the police, the criminal justice system and the courts to end hate crime against people with a learning disability within a generation.

The first year of the campaign will aim to persuade the police to take action. David Congdon says: "We want the police to take attacks against disabled people as seriously as racist incidents."

Mencap staff, local groups and supporters will be able to get involved in a range of activities and events to support the campaign. Currently, Mencap is looking for people who are willing to share their experiences of hate crime to support the campaign.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Religion must be in key school exam, insist faith leaders (UK)

Bishop of Oxford says anti-Islam protests make the subject essential for the English baccalaureate

Religious leaders and theologians have condemned the decision to leave religious education off the list of GCSEs that go towards the controversial new English baccalaureate.

The chairman of the Church of England's education board, the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Rev John Pritchard, said that failing to take the study of religion seriously was "highly dangerous" at a time when groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) were staging violent protests against British Muslims.

Annual league tables on schools' performance published last week measured the proportion of pupils obtaining the English bac, which is awarded to teenagers who achieve GCSEs at grade C or above in English, maths, science, a foreign language and a humanities subject (history or geography) – but not in RE.

Pritchard said: "The Church of England is pretty astonished at the omission of RE. I want to fire a warning salvo that there will be huge objection from the church and many other parts of society if it is not part of the core curriculum."

Pointing to claims last week by the Conservative party's co-chairwoman, Baroness Warsi, that Islamophobia had "crossed the threshold of middle-class respectability" and to the rise of the EDL, the bishop said: "RE is a real tool for creating that kind of cohesive community and society that we're looking for... we neglect it at our peril."

The subject, he said, was just as academic and rigorous as history and geography and was also extremely popular, with the number of students studying it to GCSE level climbing from 113,000 to 460,000 over the last 15 years.

Senior Jewish and Muslim figures backed the call for RE to be included on the English bac subject list. Many faith groups have written to the Department for Education expressing concern over its omission. The education secretary, Michael Gove, has indicated that he will look again at the area, without promising any change.

Until now the key measurement in league tables has been the proportion of pupils getting five A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths. But with success at the English bac now also being measured, many schools are likely to switch their attention to the traditional subjects that it demands. The recently published tables for last year's GCSE results revealed that fewer than one in six English students had qualified for the new certificate.

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said he was particularly concerned about the impact of leaving RE off the list on students at Jewish schools, the vast majority of which make the subject compulsory.

"Religious studies has proven itself to be a valuable contribution to the academic curriculum, teaching students to respect themselves and others and, importantly, build identities which contribute favourably to all areas of society," he said.

"The multi-disciplinary nature of the subject, involving textual study, philosophical thinking, ethics, social understanding and the skills of analysis and reasoning, develops critical thinkers," said Benjamin.

Dr Hojjat Ramzy, vice-chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain's education committee, said he was "extremely worried" that RE was not being afforded a higher status, especially given the challenge posed by Islamophobia. "In our ever-growing multi-cultural and multi-faith society, it's very important that people, especially the younger generation, are aware of the religions and cultures of others," he said.

Members of the academic community joined calls for the humanities element of the English bac to be reconsidered, praising RE as a great developer of critical faculties as well as a key link to history, art, culture and politics.

"How can you understand Shakespeare without learning about the Bible, or understand the English civil war without understanding about disputes over how to interpret the Bible, or understand modern politics without understanding the difference between Islam and Christianity?" said Richard Swinburne, emeritus Nolloth professor of the philosophy of the Christian religion at Oxford University. "It's a mistake."

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, the Oxford church historian who presented the BBC series A History of Christianity, said the decision was short-sighted. "Religion matters to most human beings in the world today," he added. "To leave religion to the religious extremists, outside a good education system, is to distort it."

The Guardian


In the Czech town of Pøíbram, mourners convened at 18:00 local time today to commemorate the death of Jan Kuèera, who was murdered three years ago by neo-Nazi sympathizer Jiøí Fous.

Just after 15:00, about 40 neo-Nazis gathered to protest the commemoration. Both gatherings were monitored by 200 police officers, who prevented the antagonistic groups from clashing. After a two-hour wait, the neo-Nazis started marching through the town toward the Bøezové Hory neighborhood. Both groups approached one another on Thomas Garrigue Masaryk Square, where about 60 anti-fascists had gathered to honor Jan Kuèera's memory at 18:00. The neo-Nazis shouted slogans like "Nothing but the Nation." The mourners on the square were holding a funeral wreath and portraits of the murdered youth. Police did not permit the neo-Nazis to enter the square. The right-wing radicals then continued their march and reached Bøezové Hory at around 18:00. The group of anti-fascists on the square then grew significantly in numbers. Organizers used a megaphone to warn those arriving that the new law on assembly does not permit people to cover their faces. Many people were wearing either bandanas and scarves over their faces or sunglasses. About 150 anti-fascists then started marching. The demonstrators carried portraits of the murdered youth and banners reading "Autonomous Antifa Pøíbram", "Antifa Benešov" or "Always in Our Hearts". The march stopped for a moment near the restaurant where Kuèera was murdered three years ago. Several people laid the wreath and some flowers at the murder site. Police officers arrested two marchers for keeping their faces covered despite the warning.

During the commemoration for Kuèera, the antifascists held a minute of silence and then indirectly called on those assembled to fight the neo-Nazis. One organizer said they should discover where the neo-Nazis hang out and instill fear in them. The event ended on J. A. Alise Square. Some participants then left to attend a concert by three bands in the nearby Bøezové Hory neighborhood. Monika Schindlová, press attache for the police, said there were about 200 officers on the scene including an anti-conflict team and extremism specialists. Police arrested one person earlier in the afternoon. "They confiscated one knife, brought one person to the station in Prague, and issued an order for his arrest," Schindlová told news server iDNES.cz, which also reported that the person detained was a member of a security team for a television crew. The Czech Press Agency reported that the person detained was a right-wing radical. An invitation to the neo-Nazi event was posted on the National Resistance (Národní odpor) website. "We must get the red hoodlums off the street once and for all! If the police don't do it, then we will," reads the neo-Nazi call for a violent attack on the commemoration. Another neo-Nazi group, the Autonomous Nationalists of the Northeast (Autonomní Nacionalisté Severovýchod) distanced itself from the event, but published the following on its Facebook profile: "We wish everyone who wants to go to Pøíbram anyway a lot of luck in battle and we look forward to seeing them on the evening news."

Kuèera was stabbed by a neo-Nazi in the groin and back on 18 January 2008 in the Na Chmelnici restaurant in Pøíbram. A local CCTV video camera recorded the whole thing. The attack was preceded by provocations made by a group of young neo-Nazis given the Nazi salute. The assailant belonged to that group. The incident occurred on the restaurant stairs; video footage shows Jiøí Fous wearing a German military uniform and challenging those pursuing him to settle the argument physically. Kuèera let himself be provoked into running toward Fous and punching him. Fous then repeatedly stabbed Kuèera with a bayonet and Kuèera fell to the ground. He was transferred to the local hospital where he died as a result of his injuries two days later. Jiøí Fous received a 12.5 year sentence in a maximum security prison for murder. The court identified him as an adherent of the neo-Nazi movement, while Kuèera was identified as having belonged to a group called Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP). Neo-Nazis distanced themselves from Fous after the murder, claiming he has Roma ancestry. Some witnesses to the tragedy agreed that Fous paradoxically has a negative relationship toward the Roma minority.

Czech News Agency

Liverpool event remembers Holocaust and hate crime (UK)

The Holocaust and other genocides across the world are being remembered at an event in Liverpool.

Liverpool Remembers, on Sunday, is being held in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day to reflect on human rights tragedies and look at local hate crime.

Members of the Jewish community will be speaking at the event, at St Francis of Assisi Academy in Kensington.

Merseyside Police will also lead a discussion on tackling hate crime in the region.

'Make a difference'

Councillor Louise Baldock, Chair of Liverpool Remembers and Chair of Liverpool Hate Crime Reduction Forum, said: "It is vitally important that we continue to promote awareness and understanding about the Holocaust.

"This will be our fourth annual event to commemorate and reflect upon the millions of lives lost.

"We also reflect on other genocides and human rights abuses which have affected people worldwide who now live in communities in our city."

She added: "Racism, homophobia and other forms of hate crime still exist today, and if unchecked, lead to world tragedies like the Holocaust.

"We will be asking people to make a pledge to do something that will shine a small light and make a difference."

Holocaust Memorial Day is on 27 January, to coincide with the same day in 1945 when the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated.

BBC News

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Suspect arrested in mosque arson attacks case (Germany)

A 30-year-old man was arrested Friday evening in Berlin's Neukölln district on suspicion of arson, following a series of attacks on several mosques in the German capital, a police spokesman said.

Investigators apprehended the man at the Blaschkoallee U-Bahn station.

The arrest follows a wave of arson attacks on Muslim houses of worship in Berlin in recent months. No one was injured, but the fires caused property damage in every case.

The assailant or assailants routinely left messages behind at the scene. Police did not describe the notes in detail, but media reports said the messages were collages of newspaper articles.

Following a comprehensive investigation, state prosecutors reportedly obtained a warrant to search the offices of the Berlin daily newspaper B.Z. A police spokesman said investigators confiscated evidence that strengthened the case against the suspect.

According to the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Peter Huth, the suspect contacted B.Z. in mid-December under false pretenses, requesting a copy of a newspaper article. Huth said an employee received the inquiry.

"Wisely, she took down the name and the address and was able to inform police officers on Friday afternoon, which allowed for an arrest within a few hours," B.Z.'s editor said.

A police spokesman said the man arrested Friday is suspected of involvement in four of seven arson attacks on Berlin mosques since June of last year. Investigators are examining whether the suspect has any connection to the other incidents.

Most recently, the entrance of a mosque of the Ahmadiyya community in the Wilmersdorf district of Berlin was set ablaze in the early hours of January 8. Mosques in the districts of Neukölln and Tempelhof were targeted in similar attacks in 2010.

The Local Germany

Barnardo's ex-head says race issues threaten adoptions (UK)

The reluctance of some councils to arrange adoptions because of a child's race means the UK faces a collapse in adoption rates, the outgoing chief executive of Barnardo's has warned.

Martin Narey told the Guardian this "prejudice" was so entrenched that it would be difficult to reverse.

He said the adoption rate of babies must "quadruple" in the next few years.

Children's Minister Tim Loughton has said it is unacceptable to deny a child a home because of ethnic differences.

Children from ethnic minorities are over-represented among those seeking adoption, but it typically takes three times as long to place them.

Official figures show that 2,300 children were placed for adoption in 2009, compared with 2,500 the previous year, and down from 3,400 in 2005.

In about 20% of cases identified as suitable for adoption, no placement is found.

Mr Narey, who has run Barnardo's for more than five years, said the numbers of toddlers and older children placed with new families needed to increase dramatically.

The charity's outgoing chief executive, who is being replaced by Anne-Marie Carrie, accused local authorities and adoption agencies of showing a disregard for the law through a reluctance to allow white couples to adopt children from different ethnic backgrounds.

"The law is very clear. A child should not stay in care for an undue length of time while waiting for adoptive parents of the same ethnicity.

"But the reality is that black, Asian and mixed race children wait three times longer than white children," he said.

In November, in a letter to local authorities in England, the children's minister said he was "troubled" to hear that sometimes "there may be over sensitivity on the grounds of ethnicity when it comes to the matching of children with prospective adopters".

He wrote: "It is plainly unacceptable for a child to be denied loving adoptive parents solely on the grounds that the child and prospective adopters do not share the same background.

"The primary consideration must surely be whether the family can offer a strong, safe, stable and loving placement that can meet the child's needs."

And, in a speech last year, the minister also said: "We know that a child tends to do better if adopted by a family that shares their ethnic and cultural heritage.

"Although the law and guidance is clear that due consideration needs to be given to language, religion, culture and ethnicity, this isn't translating into practice.

"It is much better that a child is adopted by loving parents than left waiting for their future to be decided."

BBC News

Police accuse far-right DM deputy head of Nazism promotion (Czech Rep)

 The Czech police have accused a 21-year-old woman, who is Workers' Youth (DM) deputy head Lucie Slegrova, according to the Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) server, in connection with her speech delivered at the DSSS's meeting in Litvinov on November 17, 2010.

In her speech the woman expressed her positive stance on the movements suppressing human rights and freedoms and her adherence to the ideology of German Nazism and she promoted German National Socialism, police spokeswoman Ludmila Svetlakova told CTK Thursday.

The woman is prosecuted without being taken into custody. If found guilty, she faces up to three years in prison.

According to the police, she spoke about the ideology of National Socialism and she called this ideology the only possible path to fight against the current situation in the government.

The police recorded the speech and asked political scientists to assess it, Svetlakova said.

The DSSS reports that Slegrova is also accused of carrying a flag with the logo of the banned Workers' Party (DS) at the DSSS's pre-election meeting.

The Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) decided to dissolve the far-right extra-parliamentary DS party last February, complying with the proposal of the government saying the DS is extremist and poses a threat to democracy.

Last November the DSSS met in Litvinov to commemorate a march of ultra-right supporters in 2008. They clashed with the police who prevented then from marching to the Romany-inhabited Janov housing estate.

Prague Monitor

* News * World news * Arizona Tucson teachers fight to overturn ban on Mexican American classes (USA)

Attorney general attacks anti-white 'brainwashing', but critics say he is pandering to xenophobic sentiment

Arizona is a state riddled with anti-government white militias, radio stations pumping out racist hate speech and politicians who wave guns as they denounce the oppressive rule of Washington. But Arizona's attorney general apparently believes the real threat to the stability of the US government is being fomented in a handful of high schools in a liberal corner of the desert state.

Tom Horne has declared classes in Mexican-American history and social studies in the city of Tucson illegal on the grounds that they are "propagandising and brainwashing" students into overthrowing the constitutional government and hating white people.

Horne has ordered schools to scrap the ethnic studies programmes under a law he wrote in his previous role as Arizona's education superintendent. He has not banned similar classes dealing with black or Native American history on the grounds that no one has complained about them.

Critics, including teachers of the classes he wants to scrap, accuse Horne of political opportunism by exploiting growing hostility to people of Hispanic origin in a state that recently passed controversial anti-immigrant legislation.

José Gonzalez, who lectures at a Tucson high school, is one of 11 teachers suing to prevent that ban from being enforced.

"If you were to look at the legacy of Tom Horne and his past eight years as the superintendent of instruction in Arizona, you will see that he has targeted Mexican-American people. He did away with bilingual education. He was very proud of that," said Gonzales. "He's a politician and, quite frankly, a very successful politician so he's pandering to these xenophobic sentiments here in Arizona and that's helping him get elected."

Horne began pushing to abolish Mexican-American studies after an incident in 2007 when a prominent trade unionist, Dolores Huerta, told high school students in Tucson that Republicans hate Latinos.

Horne, a Republican, sent an aide to the school to counter the message, only to have him met by a group of students who turned their backs and raised a fist.

Infuriated, Horne blamed the teachers and wrote a law barring Arizona schools from holding classes that breached any of four prohibitions: promoting the overthrow of the government, creating resentment toward a race or class of people, focusing on students of one ethnic group or promoting ethnic solidarity.

Teachers of the offending classes acknowledge that they deal with sensitive issues, such as the past and continuing discrimination against Hispanic people in the US. They also teach the role played by figures such as César Chávez, the Mexican-American civil rights activist and trade union leader who was instrumental in improving the lot of agricultural workers, many of whom were immigrants.

Among other things, state officials have objected to classes portraying Benjamin Franklin as a racist for owning slaves and for promoting a climate of "victimisation" by teaching that white people have been more privileged in the US.

The classes involve Latino literature, although Shakespeare is on the curriculum too, as well as books such as Rodolfo Acuña's Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, which Horne has described as fostering "ethnic chauvinism" and promoting separatism.

The book, which describes Mexican- Americans as "captives of a system that renders them second-class citizens", is in its seventh edition and used at universities across the US.

The teachers say that these books are the basis for robust discussion about the past and present, which inevitably touches on race in the US – particularly in a state where about 30% of Arizona's 6.5m people are of Hispanic descent and businesses once carried signs saying: "No Mexicans or dogs allowed."

"American history is supposed to teach the history of the United States and the United States is made up of immigrants," said Gonzales. "Everyone is an immigrant here with the exception of the indigenous people, so they all have their story. The narrative that's given is traditional so Mexican-Americans' contribution to this country have been omitted and their experience has not always been a good one. We should at least be able to talk about it."

Critics said that Horne's law could mean an end to teaching about slavery because of the resentment it might cause among black students toward whites. Despite this the Arizona legislature passed the legislation last year. It was put on the statute books at the beginning of this month, just as Horne took up his new job.

Within days, he told the schools that their Mexican-American studies classes breached all four criteria, and ordered them shut down. The classes continue while the issue is resolved in the courts.

Horne has been backed by some Tucson teachers such as John Ward, who is of Hispanic origin and said the classes indoctrinate "students, based primarily on ethnic divisions, in the belief that there is a war against Latino culture perpetrated by a white, racist, capitalist system".

The Tucson school board turned down Horne's request for every Mexican-American studies class to be videotaped. But teachers say the political attacks have forced them to watch what they say in class.

"There is a chilling effect," said Lorenzo Lopez. "There's a lot more pause in what we say. Because of the unprecedented scrutiny we are a lot more cautious how we raise issues, how we discuss them. It's really hampered the dialogue that takes place."

The Guardian