New statistics show enduringly high level of xenophobic hate crimes in Germany

According to figures released by the German Federal Criminal Police Office, 877 crimes against asylum shelters and housing units of refugees were recorded from January until late November 2016. This compares to 1031 cases in 2015 and 199 in 2014.

Offences comprised a large number of property damage cases, propaganda delicts—which include the defacing of walls with xenophobic or racial slurs—as well as 151 acts of violence. Among these, there were 64 cases of arson and five bomb attacks.(( http://www.news38.de/welt/article208868749/Dieses-Jahr-schon-877-Angriffe-gegen-Fluechtlingsheime.html ))

A spokesperson for the criminal police remained cautious as to whether the slightly lower number of attacks in 2016 meant that the peak of xenophobic violence had passed. She also noted that numbers for both 2015 and 2016 were not final and could still increase.(( http://www.schwaebische.de/panorama/aus-aller-welt_artikel,-Laut-BKA-877-Angriffe-gegen-Fluechtlingsunterkuenfte-bis-Ende-November-_arid,10574729.html ))

A potential pool of undetected cases

It is worth noting that the number of politically motivated anti-immigrant crimes overall – i.e. attacks directed not just against housing units specifically – is still substantially higher.((http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/fremdenfeindlichkeit-rechtsextremisten-werden-immer-haeufiger-gewalttaetig/14595458.html ))

Moreover, human rights organisations have long criticised the inability or unwillingness of Germany’s 16 federal states to comprehensively list far-right crime, repeatedly noting that official figures are far too low.((http://www.br.de/nachrichten/rechtsaussen/rechtsextremismus-extremismus-opfer-rechter-gewalt-100.html ))

In 2015, for instance, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation published findings that the number of right-wing homicides since reunification in 1990 was more than twice as high as officially recorded.((https://www.mut-gegen-rechte-gewalt.de/news/chronik-der-gewalt/todesopfer-rechtsextremer-und-rassistischer-gewalt-seit-1990 )) In the same vein, Amnesty International recently castigated the German state of systematically failing to identify and address racist violence.((https://www.amnesty.de/files/Amnesty-Bericht-Rassistische-Gewalt-in-Deutschland-Juni2016.pdf ))

An increasingly radicalised core

Even if the overall numbers of xenophobic and racist crimes might be stagnating in 2016, there are indications that the hard core of the anti-immigrant movement is increasingly prone to using more drastic means.

Officially recorded acts of attempted homicides are up, for instance, with authorities aware of 11 cases during the first three quarters of 2016. ((http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/rechtsextremismus-zahl-der-versuchten-toetungsdelikte-durch-neonazis-steigt-stark/14703844.html )) In another high-profile case, the far-right militant group ‘Freital’ is currently on trial on charges of terrorism and attempted murder.(( http://www.tagesschau.de/inland/gruppe-freital-anklage-101.html ))

On the one hand, this court case is a success, in the sense that a high-profile disaster comparable to the case of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) was avoided: the NSU’s string of murders had not uncovered for years due to a multiplicity of highly suspect investigatory mishaps. On the other hand, the Freital group reportedly received constant tip-offs and help from a member of the local police((http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2016-11/gruppe-freital-sachsen-polizei-leck-ermittlungsverfahren )) – a fact that once more raises questions about the capacity of German security forces to deal with the right-wing threat.

In Germany, graffiti and arson damage mosques and refugee camps

Unknown perpetrators have smudged the unfinished body shell of a mosque in the city of Dormagen with swastika Nazi symbols. (Photo: DPA)
Unknown perpetrators have smudged the unfinished body shell of a mosque in the city of Dormagen with swastika Nazi symbols. (Photo: DPA)

Unknown perpetrators have smudged the unfinished body shell of a mosque in the city of Dormagen with swastika Nazi symbols. The police refused to draw correlations between the assault and the current PEGIDA protests. Police and security authorities have initiated investigation, expecting that the assaults are politically motivated.

At the same time, a fire assault has taken place against a refugee camp in the small German city of Vorra. The event has been condemned by all major parties. Some went as far as to connect it, at least ideally with the PEGIDA protests. The General Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Yasmin Fahimi described PEGIDA as the “spiritual arsonist” of attacks against foreigners. The commissioner for integration, the minister of State Aydan Özoğuz (SPD) condemned the assaults. Referring to the discovery of the right-wing terrorist group National-Social Underground (NSU), these assaults demonstrate the deep hatred against human beings and the potential threat caused by right-wing extremists, he declared.

‘Majority of Mosques target of violence.’

Ineke van der Valk (University of Amsterdam) investigated acts of violence against Muslims and mosques. Two/third of the mosques she questioned have experience some sort of act of violence: the breaking of windows, arson and there were also mosques that found a dead sheep or pig near their mosque.
90% of the mosques went to the police. However in the majority of cases the police ‘didn’t do anything’ and two/third of the perpetrators were never found.
Most of the mosques keep quiet about the incidents in the media, because they are afraid of invoking even more aggression.
CMO (Contact Institution Muslims and Government) pleads for an Islamophobia-register. According to mosques organizations the Islamic communities don’t believe that their reports about the ‘incidents’ are taken seriously by the police.

Man confesses to Missouri mosque and clinic fires, prosecutors say

October 22, 2013

 

A Missouri man has confessed to twice trying to set a Planned Parenthood Clinic on fire and also admitted to setting a blaze that destroyed a mosque in the same town in 2012, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed on Monday.

When Jedediah Stout, 29, was charged Friday with two arson attempts at the Joplin, Missouri, clinic on October 3 and 4, authorities made no mention of his suspected involvement in an August 6, 2012, blaze that gutted the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque.

But in a motion filed on Monday seeking Stout’s continued detention, federal prosecutors said he also had confessed to the mosque blaze and an earlier fire at the mosque on July 4, 2012, that caused minor roof damage. Stout remains in custody pending a Tuesday hearing.

Muslim community leaders raised more than $400,000 from around the world in less than three weeks to help rebuild the mosque in Joplin, the only Muslim house of worship within a 50-mile radius, according to a website posting at the time. Money is still being raised for the project.

Authorities gave no motive for Stout’s alleged actions at the mosque or the Planned Parenthood clinic, which does not provide abortion services.

According to a federal affidavit, surveillance video helped identify Stout as a suspect.

 

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/22/us-usa-crime-missouri-idUSBRE99L04A20131022

Three held over mosque arson attack

Three teenagers have been arrested by police investigating an arson attack on a mosque. Officers were alerted to the alleged incident at the Harlow Islamic Centre in Essex last month after locals discovered evidence of the attempt when they attended morning prayers.

 

Two 16-year-old boys and one aged 17, all from Harlow, have been arrested on suspicion of arson and bailed until October 30 pending further inquiries. A 28-year-old man from Harlow had previously been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with this incident and is also on police bail.

 

Detectives are still keen to speak to witnesses in connection with the fire. Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Harlow CID on 101.

 

Closed-circuit television footage released of three suspects as Harlow Islamic Centre targeted in arson attack

Police have released CCTV footage of three men suspected of an arson attack on an Islamic centre. Officers were alerted to the incident by leaders of the Harlow Islamic Centre in Essex at 6.30am on Monday after they attended early morning prayers and found insulation foam sprayed under all of the shutters which cover the doors and windows.

 

Superintendent Trevor Roe said: “It is clear from the CCTV footage this was a premeditated, deliberate attempt to cause serious damage to the Islamic centre.” The three men come equipped to carry out the damage and also take everything they brought with them away again.

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at Harlow CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

Islamic boarding school fire in Bromley treated as suspicious by police

Police are investigating a fire started by intruders at an Islamic boarding school on the south-east outskirts of London as suspicious, amid continuing fears of reprisals after the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Two boys were treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out at the Darul Uloom Islamic School in Chislehurst, Kent, on Saturday night.

In a statement the police urged the public to remain calm and not to speculate on the cause of the fire. It said extra police had been deployed to other “potentially vulnerable” buildings in the area. It but did not elaborate.

 

Darul Uloom Islamic School is about six miles (10 kilometres) from Woolwich, where Rigby was killed last month. It is a £3,000-a-year, boys’ boarding school, was established in 1988. Students wear salwar kameez and skull caps, typical of Pakistan, and study a mixture of the national curriculum and Islamic studies. The school was established in 1988. Its website says it aims to “prepare Muslim students to be good Muslims and responsible citizens; to embed in the student a sense of discipline; to enable them to grow up to become upright, respectable and worthy citizens of their respective countries.”

 

Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police chief commissioner, said: “These are difficult times for London’s communities. The Met is now investigating suspicious fires at two locations within the Islamic community which have happened in the past few days. Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we know that fires can often prove fatal.

 

Four teenagers have been arrested over the fire which saw 182 staff and pupils evacuated and two treated for smoke inhalation. The four – two aged 17, and two aged 18 – were arrested on suspicion of arson late last night, the Metropolitan Police confirmed. They are currently in custody at a south London police station.

 

The incident is the second suspected arson attack perpetrated against a Muslim institution in the capital after graffiti reading “EDL” was found at a burned out Islamic Community Centre in Muswell Hill. Met Police investigators are still trying to establish the causes and circumstances of the school fire. They appealed for calm and asked people not to speculate as to the cause of the fire.

In Bay Area, a Fragile Relationship Between Muslims and the F.B.I.

Early one morning in 2007, Muhammad Chaudhry showed up at the Islamic Center of East Bay in Antioch, Calif., and found seven bullet holes in one of the building’s front windows.

Soon, agents from the San Francisco office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived and documented it and previous incidents at the center. In 2005, someone had left messages including “racial slurs” on the center’s answering machine, the agents wrote. In 2006, a single shot had damaged a window; a few months later, the same window was destroyed with a brick.

In a report written three weeks after the shots were fired, and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, an agent wrote that no investigation would continue “since there is no current evidence to show this incident as being a hate crime.”

Six months later, arson gutted the center. F.B.I. agents opened an investigation, but members of the center wondered whether the fire could have been prevented if the agency had pursued the fusillade that preceded it.

Although the F.B.I. requires that agents examine all such claims, not all result in a full investigation. Some lack dependable evidence, and agents may determine that others do not include hate-crime components as defined by federal law. Ms. Sohn said that it could be hard to find proof of intent, a key element in demonstrating that a hate crime took place.

Also troubling, Mr. German said, was the decision not to start a hate-crime investigation after shots were fired at the Islamic Center of East Bay, given the escalating nature of the attacks there. An investigation, he said, could have solved or deterred crimes and helped foster trust between the F.B.I. and the center.

“Here was an opportunity to do something to protect the community,” Mr. German said. “There is concern in the community that the F.B.I. is viewing them through only one lens, as potential suspects.”

Essay: Constructing the Self, Constructing the Other

In her essay US-Turkish philosopher Şeyla Benhabib criticises the current lack of any serious multicultural dialogue between the civilisations. Instead, European and US intellectuals continue to focus on “Islamo-fascism”, thereby blocking any constructive debate on Islam and migration in the West

Last year marked the 50th Anniversary German-Turkish Recruitment Agreement, when Turkish guest-workers began to arrive in Germany, and this was celebrated with big fanfare by Turkish and German politicians on all sides. But the ink had hardly dried on some of these articles and the speeches had hardly ended, when the immigrant community in Germany was shaken to their core because of a set of murders committed by a neo-Nazi terrorist cell from the east German town of Zwickau, disregardfully referred to with the phrase “Döner-murders”.

These so-called Döner-murders involved Turkish street vendors, some of them selling flowers, some of them selling Döners. The murders were committed in the years from 2000 to 2006 but came to light only in the spring of 2011. This reminded the immigrant community – now going on to 60 years of presence in unified Germany – of the arson attack in Moelln in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, in which three Turkish women in were killed in 1992 when a house was set on fire and a grandmother and her grandchildren were burned down.

Ramadan in Murfreesboro

Id al-Fitr — the end of Ramadan’s monthlong fasting and sacrifice — has turned out to be an especially joyous holiday for the Islamic American community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Hundreds of worshipers were finally able to occupy their new suburban mosque this month, prevailing in their constitutional right after a two-year assault of bigotry, persistent court challenges, arson and a bomb threat at the construction site.

The community’s religion became a heated issue when residents at a public hearing angrily maintained that Islam was not a religion and that the mosque was an outpost in a plot to undermine the Constitution with Shariah law. The ugly fervor quickly spread to the political arena, where an openly anti-Islamic candidate enjoyed hefty donations from a conservative Nashville businessman in a run for Congress.

To its credit, the Rutherford County government upheld the rights of the Muslim congregation and approved the new mosque. But a local judge stopped work on the mosque in May, bending to opponents in ordering local planning officials to reopen hearings because of the controversy stirred by opponents. Judge Todd Campbell of Federal District Court in Nashville put an end to this nonsense last month, ordering occupancy after federal officials filed a religious discrimination suit. With patience and dignity, the Islamic Americans of Murfreesboro learned the hard way the endless American lesson that constitutional rights don’t come guaranteed.