Who are Generation Identity?
Generation Identity (GI) are a small, but well-organised group of far-right activists in the UK and Ireland who are part of a network with branches across Europe. … Read the rest
Weekend Read: When it comes to health care, the stakes – and obstacles – are high for LGBT Southerners
The context of war and the influence of the New Right intelligentsia cannot be left out of the reckoning when it comes to understanding the making of the New Zealand terrorist.
The massacre of fifty Muslim worshipers, and wounding of fifty more people, at the Al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, streamed live on Facebook via the gunman’s body camera, has left Muslims scared and angry. Angry because they could see it coming, yet their fears were talked down. Scared because in today’s climate it seems virtually impossible to trust those in power to stop creating the conditions for even more Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is the breeding ground for racism and fascism in Europe today, and anti-Muslim racism has more than one face. It is institutional (enshrined, since September 11 and the war on terror, in a punitive criminal justice system that singles Muslims out for greater punishment and enhanced surveillance); it is electoral (witness the Conservative Party campaign against Sadiq Khan in the 2016 London mayoral election or more recently, in Italy, with the League electioneering on the slogan ‘Stop Invasion’ and the promise to close down mosques). Islamophobia is legally sanctioned by the state (many European countries have deprivation of citizenship laws targeting Muslims, also restricting the wearing of the burqa and the hijab); it is popular (note the British media’s obsessional referencing of ‘on-street grooming’ as a specific Muslim crime and the fashionable Muslim-bashing in mainstream debates). And all this inevitably leads to attacks on Muslim places of worship and racist violence on the streets.
Muslims, then, are feeling vulnerable because though the massacre may have happened nearly 12,000 miles away, it felt very close. Exactly how close was made manifest in the UK in the immediate aftermath, in the number of attacks on Muslims, including the abuse of a taxi driver in Rochdale, attacks on Muslim worshippers in Whitechapel and Finsbury Park, and what police are describing as a Christchurch-inspired ‘terrorism-related’ incident in Stanwell, Surrey, where a teenager was stabbed by a man dressed all in green (ie, camouflage gear) and wearing a balaclava, shouting, according to one witness, ‘kill all Muslims’ and ‘white supremacy rules’. (Read a full list of attacks here).
A soldier in a war against Muslims
The first thing to say of the perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre is that he considered himself a partisan in a war – a war against Muslims. He refers to himself, in the 74-page document he sent by email to thirty New Zealand politicians including prime minister Jacinda Ardern minutes before the massacre, as a ‘freedom fighter’, an ‘ethno soldier’ taking a stand against ‘ethnic and cultural genocide’. Dressed in military fatigues, the gunman listened on his car radio to a song idolising the genocidal war criminal Radovan Karadzic, as he pumped himself up, like a paramilitary mercenary, to carry out the murders. Inscribed on his ammunition were the names of other perpetrators of racist crimes, including Luca Traini (responsible for the drive-by shootings of African migrants in Macerta, Italy, in 2018), far-right prisoners (Spanish neo-Nazi and ex-soldier Josué Estébanez who killed a 16-year-old anti-fascist in 2007), individuals and places synonymous with white supremacist narratives about dangerous Muslims (Rotherham) and the names of historical Crusade figures of the Middle Ages who fought Muslim armies.
His obsession with war should have – but hasn’t – been cause for reflection about the recent cultural impact on Europe of eighteen years of wars in the Middle East. Since 2012, the IRR has been warning that the far Right is preparing for ‘race war’. In the 2012 publication Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right we warned that the far Right was utilising ‘enemy images’ of Muslims made respectable by the war on terror, imbibing the warmongering of counter-jihadi websites (such as Pamela Geller’s Atlas Watch and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch), and drawing on the ‘not dissimilar’ views of mainstream neoconservatives and culturally conservative writers. We specifically warned of the dangers posed by Europe’s growing counter-jihadi movement and network of defence leagues that were depicting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as conflicts between a superior civilisation and a barbaric Muslim enemy, as well as the growth of far-right militia and vigilantism, particularly in Europe’s border areas. According to a detailed analysis by the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, there ‘is no doubt that [the manifesto put out online before the killings] is essentially “counter-jihadist”. It is saturated with “counter-jihadist” and Islamophobic enemy images.’
Australian by nation – European by identity
The second thing to say about the alleged perpetrator is that he might be Australian by nationality, but by identity he is European – Scottish, Irish and English’ by ‘stock’, is his own self-description. Certainly his white supremacist fantasies come in European shades. Such was his attachment to the European ‘motherland’ that he travelled in 2016 and 2017 through France, Portugal and Spain, Bulgaria and Hungary, describing in his ‘manifesto’ the ‘fuming rage and suffocating despair’ he felt against the invaders, claiming that French people were ‘often in a minority themselves’.
But to use his term, manifesto, to describe his 74-page document is to flatter him. It would give respectability to the incoherent scribblings of an unadulterated white supremacist and arrested adolescent obsessed with ‘sub-replacement fertility’, civilisational decline, decay and death. Everything in the manifesto is redolent of the deluded narrative of white victimhood and white martyrdom that is everyday exchange in far-right chat rooms and online subculture. It conveys no thought-out ideas, only the self-pity of a 28-year-old man who compares himself to Nelson Mandela and expects, in his own delusional words, to one day win the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, who also described himself in military terms (his manifesto was signed AB Justiciar Knight Commander, cell 8 Knights Templar, Europe), said much the same in his manifesto, further claiming, at a pre-trial court appearance, that he should be honoured with a military medal for his actions.
French intellectual incendiaries
But in all the debate since Christchurch, one category of people has not been called to account as it should be. In the gunman’s journey through racism and hate he greedily gobbled up any pseudo-intellectual titbit thrown his way by a coterie of New Right writers and journalists who have stretched the limits of public debate and made racism respectable under cover of cultural critique.
First, the title of his manifesto, The Great Replacement: Towards A New Society, is taken from the FN- and PEGIDA-sympathising French writer Renaud Camus, who in 2012, echoing the Eurabia theme of Bat Ye-or (‘Europe is being colonised by the Arab world and forced into an attitude of dhimmitude’), coined the term le grand remplacement to describe the colonisation of France by Muslim immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. This process, through changing demographics, replaces an existing culture with a new one, and threatens to ‘mutate’ the country and its culture permanently. In the UK, there was outrage when the BBC invited a leading member of Generation Identity (a movement that originated in France) onto the ‘Newsnight ’ TV programme to discuss the causes of the Christchurch massacre. Generation Identity is a movement that has its roots in France, where New Right authors like Renaud Camus, Eric Zemmour, Jean Raspail and philospher Alain Finkielkraut have dominated the broadcast and print media for at least a decade. When challenged, the high-minded and apparently well-mannered Camus took to Twitter to deny accusations that he provided the intellectual inspiration for the killer, opining that this ‘criminal, idiotic, and awful’ attack was carried out by a perpetrator who is guilty of an ‘abusive use of a phrase that is not his and that he plainly does not understand’. Camus’ words, so elitist and insensitive, make it all the easier to understand Guardian columnist Nesrine Malik’s declaration that she’s ‘done with debating racism after Christchurch’. Malik’s point is that the fork-tongued ‘genre of response protocol’ that follows attacks on Muslims, which ‘blows dog whistles even as carnage is unfolding’, makes it ‘futile’.
A struggle against the culture that provides ammunition and space
In his 1,500-page manifesto, Breivik, now serving a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended indefinitely, made a number of references to New Zealand, in particular suggesting that it might be a place for Europeans to move to in order to avoid immigration. It’s worth recalling that after Breivik was arrested, the mainstream media sought to present him as a disturbed loner, denying that the mass murder of seventy-seven people, mostly children, could be racially or politically motivated. (Let’s not forget that the children he killed were attending a Norwegian Labour party youth summer camp.) Initial psychiatric assessors, who had no knowledge of the universe of ideas that Breivik was part of or the hyper-reality he had joined on the internet, assessed him as suffering from paranoia and delusional fantasies, failing to recognise the ideological roots of his violence and the intellectual currents that nurtured him. Thankfully that view was challenged and overturned.
Today we must stop the mainstream media similarly erasing the roots of the terrorist’s Islamophobia, recognising also that at a time when the extreme Right is represented in nearly every European parliament, the rhetoric of war has become normalised. The idea that European civilisation is threatened by Muslims and by immigration is part of mainstream European political thought. In the UK our struggle is not just against the far Right but the wider culture and politics that provide it with intellectual ammunition and space.
Liz Fekete is author of Europe’s Fault Lines: racism and the rise of the Right. Order a copy here.
The terrible events in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left fifty people dead and fifty people injured, reverberated across the UK.
Below we provide a round-up of the most important developments, drawing particular attention to criticism of the media, online posts in support of the perpetrator and attacks on Muslims across the UK. We also draw attention to the European dimension.
15 March: In the 74-page manifesto, published shortly before the massacre, the perpetrator describes himself as of ‘Scottish, Irish and English stock’, calls for the ‘removal’ of Sadiq Khan, declares support for Finsbury Park mosque killer Darren Osborne, and alludes to the Rotherham ‘grooming scandal’. A number of references are made to the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, and other European ‘partisans/freedom fighters/ethno soldiers’ who have taken a stand against ‘ethnic and cultural genocide’. (ITV News, 15 March 2019; Express, 15 March 2019; New York Times, 19 March 2019)
15 March: British police respond to calls from Muslim leaders to increase ‘reassurance patrols’ at mosques in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities. On the same day, worshippers at a mosque in Whitechapel are racially abused and physically attacked by two men carrying a hammer and another object. (Independent, 15 March 2019; Guardian, 15 March 2019; Independent, 15 March 2019)
15 March: MailOnline, the Mirror and the Sun admit that decisions to host edited versions of the footage of the Christchurch massacre was a mistake and remove the videos. MailOnline delete the suspect’s manifesto after being accused of spreading terrorist materials. (Guardian, 15 March 2019)
15 March: The BBC faces criticism for airing a conversation between one of its reporters and the leader of the British branch of far-right Alternative Right group Generation Identity in a discussion about the Christchurch massacre. (i News 15 March 2019)
15 March: Officials in Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece begin investigating the Christchurch killer’s travels through their countries in 2016 and 2017. (Guardian, 18 March 2019)
15 March: The mother of Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old girl killed in Stockholm in Sweden, April 2017, in an Islamist-inspired terrorist incident, condemns the New Zealand attacks and says that she finds ‘it extremely tragic that Ebba’s name is being misused in political propaganda’. (France 24, 15 March 2019)
15 March: Swedish Youtube star, PewDiePie, who has the most highly-subscribed channel in the world and has been accused of racism and support for the far Right, issues a statement saying he is ‘absolutely sickened’ that his name was used by a suspect who was heard on a video shooting saying ‘Remember, lads! Subscribe to PewDiePie’. (Independent, 15 March 2019)
16 March: MI5 begins investigating the links between the Christchurch suspect and the far Right in Britain. (The Times, 16 March 2019)
16 March: Sammy Woodhouse, a victim of sexual abuse in Rotherham condemns the ‘evil act’ at Christchurch and says the terrorist attack was ‘not done in our name’, a reference to the ‘For Rotherham’ message inscribed on the gunman’s ammunition. (Daily Mirror, 16 March 2019)
16 March: A 24-year-old man from Oldham is arrested for making a post on social media in support of the Christchurch attack. (Bolton News, 16 March 2019)
16 March: Swastika graffiti is found on a wall in Cheney School in Headington, Oxford, alongside a message to ‘SUB 2 PewDiePie’. The alleged killer had said ‘subscribe to PewDiePie’ moments before he began shooting the previous day. (Oxford Mail, 16 March 2019)
16 March: Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini tells a press conference that ‘Islamic extremism’ is the only threat facing Italy and that ‘far-right and left-wing fringes’ are under control. He then condemned the Christchurch attacks and asked for ‘compassion’ for anyone who might blame him for the killings. (The New Arab, 16 March 2019)
16 March: Renaud Camus, the French author responsible for the theory of ‘The Great Replacement’ in his 2011 publication and was found guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims in 2015, denounces the Christchurch massacre as ‘appalling’ and dismisses the idea that he influenced the alleged killer. (Channel News Asia, 16 March 2019)
17 March: Front National leader Marine La Pen, whose defeat in 2017 caused the Christchurch killer to ‘despair’, tells France 3 Television that she never used the phrase ‘The Great Replacement’ and that she did not even know what it meant. (Washington Post, 19 March 2019)
17 March: Britain’s counter-terrorism chief warns that sharing the killer’s livestream of the massacre may result in jail time for disseminating ‘terrorist propaganda’ that could inspire further attacks. Home Secretary Sajid Javid and shadow digital secretary Tom Watson accuse social media platforms like Youtube and Facebook of doing too little to halt the spread of the footage. (The Times, 17 March 2019; ITV News, 15 March 2019)
17 March: A 33-year-old man and 34-year-old woman are arrested in Queensway, Rochdale, on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences after reports that they abused and threatened a cab driver with reference to the Christchurch massacre. (Manchester Evening News, 17 March 2019)
17 March: Police announce that they are investigating a stabbing in Stanwell, Surrey on Saturday as a possible Christchurch-inspired ‘terrorism incident’, following reports that the attacker shouted ‘kill all Muslims’ and ‘white supremacy rules’. A 50-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder while the 19-year-old victim remains in hospital. (Guardian, 17 March 2019; Telegraph, 18 March 2019)
18 March: As security minister Ben Wallace says that a far-right massacre of Muslims ‘absolutely could happen here’, UK Muslim leaders call on the government to provide funding for mosque security in the same way that it did for Jewish institutions, which received £14m to support 400 synagogues and 150 schools, after a rise in antisemitic attacks. (Guardian, 18 March 2019; Guardian, 18 March 2019)
18 March: On his way home from a meeting at Regent’s Park mosque, Finsbury Park imam Mohammed Mahmoud, known and praised for preventing community retaliation against the Finsbury Park mosque killer Darren Osborne in June 2017, is called ‘despicable’ and a ‘s***hole’ while on the bus and later spat at by a cyclist. (Evening Standard, 19 March 2019)
19 March: In response to calls the previous day for increased security funding for UK mosques, the Home Office doubles the annual Places of Worship Protective Security Fund for religious institutions to £1.6 million and opens a £5 million fund for security training, though Muslim leaders still say this is not enough. (Independent, 19 March 2019)
19 March: A 31-year-old man from Newport is arrested by Gwent police for allegedly posting material on social media relating to the Christchurch massacre that is ‘threatening, abusive or insulting and likely to stir up racial hatred.’ The man has been released pending further investigation. (Wales Online, 19 March 2019)
19 March: The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), a Whitehall unit responsible for producing Islamist and Ireland-related terrorism warnings, will begin issuing official threat-level warnings for far-right terrorism this year. (Guardian, 19 March 2019)
20 March: Counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu says that far-right terrorists are being radicalised by mainstream newspaper coverage, singling out the Mail Online, the Sun and the Mirror for uploading footage of the massacre and/or uploading the manifesto. (Guardian, 20 March 2019)
21 March: West Midlands police confirm that four Birmingham mosques were attacked with sledgehammers overnight. They ascribe no motive but express heightened security concerns relating to the Christchurch massacre. (Birmingham Mail, 21 March 2019)
21 March: Facebook which, alongside YouTube, initially defended its response to the Christchurch terrorist attack, now says that it did not deal with the attacker’s live stream quickly enough because it was not reported as a video of a suicide. (Guardian, 21 March 2019)
Compiled by Joseph Maggs and Liz Fekete
A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.
An additional calendar on the Christchurch massacre of fifty people in New Zealand, its European implications, and related racial violence in the UK can be found here.ASYLUM, MIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP ASYLUM AND MIGRANT RIGHTS
6 March: The public accounts committee accuses the Home Office of a dereliction of duty for its failure to monitor the human impact of the hostile environment. The committee’s report highlights the department’s ‘lack of urgency’ in response to the Windrush scandal, citing the eight months it took to set up a hardship fund and the continued delay of a compensation scheme. (Guardian, 6 March)
6 March: The supreme court overturns a previous ruling that a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker organised his own torture in order to improve his chances of receiving asylum in the UK. The landmark judgement says that the Home Office and immigration tribunal judges should follow international standards on torture cases by giving more weight to expert medical evidence. (Guardian, 6 March 2019)
6 March: In an out-of-court settlement with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the Home Office agrees that its caseworkers will not refuse settled status to EU nationals who are ‘economically inactive’, in part-time work, lacking private health insurance, or who have previously been served a removal notice. (Guardian, 6 March 2019)
7 March: The Home Office freezes immigration and nationality fees for 2019. However, fees remain high, having rocketed since being introduced in 2003, leading to recent calls by the Royal British Legion to scrap them because Commonwealth veterans are struggling to pay to remain in the UK after being discharged. (Childrens Legal Centre; Guardian, 8 March 2019)
19 March: A rescue ship run by a collective of Mediterranean aid groups and associations rescues 50 people on a rubber boat off the coast of Libya, prompting fears of a showdown with the Italian government as interior minister Matteo Salvini declares the operation ‘detrimental to the order and security of the Italian state’. (Guardian, 19 March 2019)
19 March: The Home Office confirms that it is ‘able to access and examine data’ from the micro-chipped prepaid Aspen debit cards given to asylum seekers, and that 186 people had their support removed last year as a result of such monitoring. (The Times, 19 March 2019)BORDERS
6 March: After a dispute with Viktor Orbán’s government about the EU’s ability to control immigration, the European Commission declares the ‘migrant crisis’ over, citing the 89 percent reduction in Mediterranean crossings last year. This is the result of the near closure of the Libyan route by the Libyan coastguard, funded by the EU and Italy (to the tune of Euros90million). Only 262 seaborne migrants reached Italy in the first two months of 2019, compared with more than 13,000 during the same period in 2017. (Guardian, 6 March 2019; Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2019)
12 March: Students, lecturers and activists stage a ‘Blood on your hands’ protest as Italy’s former interior minister Marco Martini, responsible for the Memorandum of Understanding with Libya and the Italian Code of Conduct which criminalised SAR-NGOs, gives a lecture at the LSE on ‘the situation of the Mediterranean Sea, migration, and security’. (Repubblica.it, 13 March 2019)
13 March: Amnesty International publishes Pushed to the Edge: Violence and abuse against refugees and migrants along the Balkans Route. It accuses European governments, which fund Croatian police, of complicity with its vicious assaults as well as the practice of collective expulsions whereby thousands of asylum seekers are left trapped in two small Bosnian towns near the Croatian border, where a humanitarian crisis looms. (Amnesty International, 13 March 2019) Read the report here.IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT
6 March: In the largest eviction yet in Italy, 1,000 paramilitary police officers force 1,500 people out of a refugee camp at San Ferdinando, Calabria, demolishing the shanty town in a matter of hours. (Guardian, 6 March 2019)
15 March: Activists from Anti Raids Network successfully blockade the entrance to Eaton House, Hounslow, one of the Home Office’s four immigration enforcement centres in London, where UK Border Agency officers plan and leave for their operations and where migrants are compelled to report on a regular basis. (Morning Star, 15 March 2019)RECEPTION AND DETENTION
18 March: The Ferret reveals that Scottish police are investigating an ‘IT incident’ that occurred in late January at Dungavel immigration removal centre in South Lanarkshire, resulting in continuing problems with the facility’s computer system. The migrant solidarity group Unity Centre says that detainees have been left feeling ‘isolated’ and ‘legally in the dark’. (The Ferret, 18 March 2019)
19 March: During an inquest into the killing of Tarek Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi man, by an Iraqi man, Zana Assad Yusif, in Colnbrook immigration removal centre in December 2016, a senior Home Office official apologises several times for institutional failures that led to Chowdhury’s death. (Guardian, 11 March 2019; Guardian, 19 March 2019)CITIZENSHIP
10 March: Following reports that Shamima Begum’s baby died soon after she was stripped of British citizenship, details emerge of two more women from the UK, currently living in Syrian refugee camps, whose citizenship was stripped by Amber Rudd in August 2018. (Guardian, 9 March 2019; BBC News, 10 March 2019)
12 March: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says he will allow Lisa Smith, an Irish woman detained on suspicion of association with Islamic State, to return to Ireland with her two-year-old child to face justice, saying that to render her stateless would not be the ‘compassionate’ thing to do. (Guardian, 12 March 2019)
15 March: France repatriates five orphaned children of French jihadists from camps in north-east Syria. One of the camps at Al-Hawl, where Shamima Begum’s newborn son died, is described by the British government as too dangerous to visit. Kurdish officials agreed to the repatriation as soon as Paris lodged a request. (Guardian, 15 March 2019)DEPORTATIONS
14 March: In a case brought by charity Medical Justice, the High Court suspends the Home Office’s ‘removal window’ policy, which allows the UK Border Agency to deport migrants at any time without warning during a three-month period. (Medical Justice, 14 March 2019; Mirror, 14 March 2019)CRIMES OF SOLIDARITY
11 March: A Moroccan court drops a human trafficking investigation into the activities of a Spanish human rights activist whose Walking Borders NGO saved lives by passing on the locations of people crossing the Mediterranean to the Spanish coast-guard for rescue. (Guardian, 11 March 2019)ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR-RIGHT
5 March: Journalist Mike Stuchbery, known for writing about the contemporary far-right, complains to the police after Tommy Robinson appears outside his home. Stuchbery was involved in organising the crowdfunding of legal fees for Syrian schoolboy Jamal’s libel action against Robinson, which was delivered to the latter’s home the previous Sunday. (Guardian, 5 March 2019)
5 March: A Tommy Robinson supporter and convicted rapist is handed a 28-day custodial sentence for posting threatening comments about Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Facebook, including a desire to see him ‘hung, drawn and quartered’. (Independent, 5 March 2019)
10 March: Germany’s Military Counterintelligence Service admits it has underreported the figure of soldiers removed from the military for right-wing extremism. They reported that just four soldiers in 2018 and six in 2017 were removed from service on these grounds, and are currently investigating around 450 suspected cases of right-wing extremism in the military. (Independent, 10 March 2019)
13 March: In the US media outlet Unicorn Riot release more than 770,000 messages from chat servers associated with Identity Evropa, which show links between the Alternative Right and white supremacists in the US and also with the Sweden-based Red Ice TV, which has more than 230,000 followers. (High Plains Reader, 13 March 2019)
14 March: Berlin state prosecutors begin investigating over 100 threatening letters apparently sent by neo-Nazis to German politicians, lawyers and other notable figures. The letters were signed the letters by the ‘National-Socialist Offensive, ‘NSU 2.0’ and other suggestive names. (BBC News, 14 March 2019)ELECTORAL POLITICS
5 March: The Conservative Party suspends 14 party members for posting allegedly Islamophobic comments on social media, many of them on a facebook group supporting Jacob Rees-Mogg. Eleven other individuals were profiled but are not believed to be members. (Guardian, 5 March 2019)
6 March: Spain’s far-right Vox party suspends José Antonio Ortiz Cambray, a party leader in Lleida, after he is arrested on suspicion of sex offences against at least one person at a centre for the disabled. (El Pais, 6 March 2019)
6-7 March: Two East Staffordshire Conservative councillors resign after it was revealed that they liked a cartoon on Facebook depicting a mock beheading of Sadiq Khan, though the council finds neither of them guilty of wrongdoing. In the Kent borough of Swale, a leading Conservative councillor is suspended for retweeting an image describing far-right figurehead Tommy Robinson as a ‘patriot’. (BBC News, 6 March 2019; Independent, 7 March 2019)
7 March: The Equality and Human Rights Commission launches an investigation into antisemitism within the Labour Party. If the regulator finds evidence that equalities legislation has been breached, a full inquiry may be launched. (Guardian, 7 March 2019)
7 March: Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd is criticised for referring to Diane Abbott as a ‘coloured woman’ in a BBC Radio 2 interview about women and online harassment. (New Statesman, 7 March 2019)
11 March: Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas invites the anti-immigrant ethno-nationalist Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) to coalition talks, as his Centre party looks to form a new governing coalition following deadlocked parliamentary elections. (Reuters, 11 March 2019)
14 March: In the run-up to the general election, Spain’s opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) proposes a so-called ‘law to support maternity’ that would temporarily safeguard undocumented migrant women against deportation for the duration of their pregnancy if they agree to give up their child to adoption. After birth, however, they will be as vulnerable to deportation as before. El Pais, 14 March 2019)
17 March: After proposing the building of a mosque to attract immigrants and reverse local population decline, Mark Collins, a representative of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats on the Kramfors municipal council, is threatened with expulsion by his party’s central leadership. (Telegraph, 17 March 2019)
17 March: Alternative for Germany MP Anton Friesen and other AfD politicians set up a party platform called ‘New Germans’ for those they consider to be both migrants and ‘German patriots’, and who believe in the ‘complete de-Islamization of Germany’. (Telegraph, 17 March 2019)POLICE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
9 March: The Met reveals that it has placed restrictions on police officers’ leave in March and April, to ensure their availability in the event of disorder in the build up to and aftermath of Brexit on March 29. (Sky News, 9 March 2019)
9 March: Three Met police officers are found guilty of gross misconduct for their handling of events that led to the killing of Linah Kezah by her abusive ex-partner in east London in 2013. The officers are said to have failed to recognise the gravity of the threat to Kezah, who was regularly in contact with the police. None of the officers has been dismissed. (Guardian, 9 March 2019)
11 March: West Midlands Police call in the Independent Office of Police Conduct to investigate the events of a viral video clip showing a group of police officers violently restraining an apparently Muslim man. The force reveals the incident took place on 25 February, after a doctor called the police during a mental health assessment at a patient’s home. (Independent, 10 March 2019; Birmingham Mail, 11 March 2019).
11 March: Police forces across England and Wales launch a new phase of Operation Sceptre, first introduced in July 2015, a nationwide scheme that uses emergency stop and search powers, surrender bins and weapons sweeps to tackle high rates of knife crime. (Sky News, 11 March 2019)
12 March: Using data obtained from the Home Office in freedom of information requests, a report by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) shows that 51 percent of children who are shot by stun guns in England are from BAME backgrounds, as well as 34 percent of children bound by spit hoods. For London, the figures are even higher, reaching 70 and 72 percent respectively, with black children highly over-represented. (Guardian, 12 March 2019)
14 March: A disciplinary panel rules that policeman Marcus Tyson will be dismissed without notice after he was found to have directed racist language towards Kurdish activists at a British Kurdish People’s Assembly in August 2016. (ANF News, 15 March 2019)
15 March: A black man named as Trevor Smith is shot dead by armed police in Lee Bank, Birmingham just before 5am, in what the police are calling an ‘intelligence-led operation’. The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating. Friends of Smith have since launched a funeral fund appeal, and are demanding an autopsy. (Birmingham Mail, 15 March 2019; Birmingham Mail, 19 March 2019)
16 March: Munich police announce that thirteen police officers from the Support Commando unit (USK) are suspended and under investigation for sharing anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist content over social messaging services. (Deutsche Welle, 16 March 2019).
18 March: The inquest into the death of Annabella Landsberg opens. The 42-year-old Zimbabwean refugee died in a segregation cell in HMP Peterborough in December 2017. The inquest will explore, among other things, the use of restraint by prison officers and the management of her health conditions, including diabetes. (Inquest, 18 March 2019)COUNTER-TERRORISM
7 March: Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen returning from fighting in Syria, is found guilty of the terrorist and anti-Semitic murder of four people at a Jewish museum in May 2014. (Guardian, 8 March 2019)
7 March: Official Home Office figures for 2018 show that of 43 percent of the 273 people arrested on suspicion of terror-related activity were of ‘white ethnic appearance’, a rise of 9 percent on 2017. (Metro, 7 March 2019)
9 March: 33-year-old Pawel Golaszewski faces six counts under the Terrorism Act after a police investigation into his far-right activity led to his arrest in Leeds. (Independent, 9 March 2019) ￼
9 March: In a case brought by a Muslim author who was labelled an extremist by the government, the court of appeal rules that Prevent guidance on inviting controversial speakers to universities violates freedom of speech. (Guardian, 8 March 2019)HEALTH
14 March: A group of paediatricians publish a co-authored journal article arguing that hostile environment policies introduced in 2014 prevent the estimated 120,000 undocumented migrant children living in the UK from accessing NHS care, in violation of the UK’s United Nations commitments. (Guardian, 14 March 2019)DISCRIMINATION
10 March: In its assessment of the state’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire, the Equality and Human Rights Commission finds that the best interests of children affected by the disaster were neglected, breaching international obligations. The report highlights inadequate mental health and education support, as well as discriminatory practices among immigration officials. (Guardian, 10 March 2019)
14 March: A petition signed by over 5000 people opposing plans by Kirklees Council to build a new ‘travellers’ site’ in Birstall, West Yorkshire, is denounced as racist anti-gypsyism by law-student Brigitta Balogh, who hopes to become the UK’s first Roma barrister. (Batley News, 14 March 2019)EDUCATION
9 March: A campaign is started to prevent the deportation of Bamide Chika Agbakuribe, a blind international student at the University of Dundee, which cancelled his student status because of an alleged failure to meet academic requirements. Bamide lives in Dundee with his wife and four children, and is billed for deportation on 26 March 2019. (The Courier, 9 March 2019)
12 March: Goldsmiths University students occupy Deptford town hall after the university allegedly failed to respond adequately to a student whose student election campaign posters were defaced with racist graffiti. The students are demanding ‘an institution-wide strategic plan’ on institutional racism at their university, which has a 40% BAME student population. (Guardian, 20 March 2019)
15 March: Far-right group Generation Identity target a Theology and Religious Studies academic from the University of Glasgow, putting up posters around campus with the slogan ‘your lecturers support your replacement.’ The act is allegedly in response to the lecturer’s social media activity. (Glasgow Live, 15 March 2019)
20 March: Student activists at King’s College London are barred from entering their university during a visit by the Queen, allegedly because they are considered a ‘security threat’. The targeted students, most of them BAME, are involved in campus campaigns including KCL Justice for Cleaners and KCL Action Palestine. (The Times, March 20 2019; Middle East Eye, 20 March 2019)MEDIA AND CULTURE
7 March: Police in Brunnen, Switzerland begin an investigation after a video of surfaces showing a group wearing KKK costumes during the town’s annual celebrations. (Independent, 8 March 2019)
14 March: Leading right-wing Polish newspaper The Tylko Polska (Only Poland) publishes a front page story ‘How to recognise a Jew’, listing, among others, anthropological features, expressions, and character traits. (Newsweek, 14 March 2019)
15 March: The BBC faces criticism for airing a conversation between one of its reporters and the leader of the British branch of far-right identitarian group Generation Identity in a discussion about the Christchurch massacre. (i News, 15 March 2019)SPORT
9 March: The commercial manager of the fourth league German football club Chemnitzer FC resigns following criticism of his decision to allow supporters to stage a pre-game tribute to the recently deceased leading local neo-nazi, Thomas Haller who founded the ‘HooNaRa’ (Hooligans-Nazis-Racists) group in the 1990s and took part in the racially motivated riots in Chemnitz in 2018. (Deutsche Welle, 10 March 2019)RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
4 March: In The Hague, the As Soennah mosque is defaced with a banner reading ‘Prophet Muhammed a child fucker’ and a mannequin meant to show the Prophet having sex with a baby is left on the premises. Pegida claim responsibility. (Netherlands Times, 4 March 2019)
7 March: According to the victims support group RAA Sachsen, racist and far-right crimes, including assault, arson and the murder of a gay man, have risen sharply in the east German state of Saxony, with 481 victims last year. (France24.com, 7 March 2019)
8 March: A video goes viral on Twitter and Instagram showing an unidentified young white man on the Northern Line taunting a black passenger with monkey movements and noises. (Metro, 10 March 2019)
11 March: In the context of the rise of the Vox party, there have been three serious incidents in Catalonia where racists targeted unaccompanied young refugees. In one incident, 25 young Spaniards, wearing hoods and with their faces covered, broke into a shelter where 35 unaccompanied foreign minors were living and attacked the children with rocks ‘bigger than their heads’. (El Pais, 12 March 2019; Independent, 17 March 2019)
11 March: Student Giulia Viola Pacilla, files a defamation case in Italy against almost 300 people for online hate. She became a target after interior minister Matteo Salvini posted a photograph on social media of her at an anti-racism demo with the sign ‘Better to be a do-gooder and a whore than a fascist and Salvinist’. One message stated that ‘a gang of horny illegal immigrants’ could be arranged for her. (Guardian, 11 March 2019)
13 March: Five young men, aged 14 to 21, are arrested after a mob of around 100 people, some chanting ‘Geert Wilders’, surround the home of a Dutch Moroccan family and force their way in, injuring the mother and her two children, in the former fishing village of of Urk. (DutchNews.nl, 13 March 2019)
More Christchurch-related violence and harassment documented here.
This calendar was compiled by Joseph Maggs with help from Graeme Atkinson, Jamie Wates and the IRR News Team.
The Tamil community has lost a valiant fighter.
Just one year after the passing of A. Sivanandan (Siva), the Tamil community suffered another devastating loss with the sudden death of human rights activist and community organiser Vairamuttu Varadakumar. Friends found him at his home last week, after he uncharacteristically had failed to attend several engagements.
Varadakumar (or ‘Varada’ to his friends and colleagues) was the long-time Executive Secretary of the London-based Tamil Information Centre (TIC), an independent community-based human rights organisation focussing mostly on the two largest minorities in Sri Lanka: Tamils and Muslims. TIC has, for the best part of four decades, fought racist and imperialist government policies – whether deportations of asylum seekers; the proscribing of the LTTE (‘Tamil Tigers’); or the use of the British SAS and some elements of its police undertaking training of a variety of oppressive Sri Lankan state forces.
Varadakumar came from the village of Manipay in Jaffna, the cultural capital of the Tamil North-East of Sri Lanka. After fleeing the emerging civil war, he arrived in the UK in the early 1980s and thrust himself into the urgent task of assisting fleeing Tamil refugees at the still-fledgling TIC. The organisation was instrumental in researching and documenting some of the most important and accurate stories and testimonies. Today, TIC is in possession of thousands of precious and original materials in its archives – a special responsibility given the destruction of the Jaffna Library in 1981 at the hands of a government-inspired Sinhalese mob.
In December 2015 TIC, with Varadakumar the driving force, gave Siva an award for his ‘dedicated contribution to civil rights and championing economic justice’ at its annual Human Rights Day community event in Merton, South London. When Siva passed away in January 2018, Varadakumar penned a lengthy tribute with some personal memories, reflections and observations. The admiration was reciprocated when Siva bequeathed his invaluable archive of books on imperialism, India and the Tamil struggle and Ceylonese/Sri Lankan history to TIC. These volumes will be known as the Sivanandan Collection, as part of TIC’s library in its Kingston-based premises.
Varadakumar’s final project was an ambitious exhibition to take place on the weekend of 18 and 19 May 2019 – the tenth-year anniversary of the Tamil Holocaust perpetrated by the Sri Lankan state on its citizens. He had been working diligently round the clock for the best part of a year on this,‘to showcase Tamil history, culture and heritage alongside the impact of the conflict through time and war. We have chosen to focus on the resilience and vitality of the community despite the exceptionally difficult circumstances.’
This event will now also become a space for celebrating him and what he has built at TIC and an opportunity to affirm our determination to continue his life’s work so as to truly honour his legacy. But to make it happen, the event still needs support.Please consider donating to the exhibition fundraising platform: gofundme.com/tamils-of-ilankai-museum.
The ‘Tamils of Eelam: A Timeless Heritage’ exhibition will take place on the weekend of May 18-19 in Tolworth Recreation Centre, Fuller’s way North, Surbiton KT6 7LQ. Entry is free.
PRESS RELEASE- Anti racists call for urgent action against islamophobia after Birmingham mosque attacks
In the wake of the attacks on mosques in Birmingham in Erdington, Aston, Perry Barr and two other local attacks, which of course come just days after the appalling Christchurch massacre, anti racists are calling for swift measures and leadership to stop islamophobia.
Years of islamophobia & scapegoating of muslims by mainstream politicians and much of the media has given confidence to the far right. … Read the rest
'White Helmet' Attacker in Deandre Harris Beating Identified as Alek Rhyne Hyer of Gainesville, Florida
FAIR Board Member, Immigration Hardliner Sheriffs Appear With President Trump As He Vetoes Resolution To Block National Emergency
"I Disagree With Violence But....": The Justification and Celebration of the Christchurch Mosque Murders By Paul Fromm and Robert Jones
The most relevant section of the forward his here:
Of course long time readers of ARC and those who know the long history of Fromm's support for violent hate groups who do the dirty work that he tacitly promotes know just how hollow Fromm's claim to "disagree with... violence." He has supported groups such as the Aryan Guard/Blood & Honour, Volksfront, the KKK, and a multitude of groups who have engaged in violence and he has rationalized every single instance:
In fact he has his own links to Christchurch, New Zealand where another violent hate group had been founded:
Here Fromm is shaking hands with Kyle Chapman while on a speaking tour of New Zealand in December 2010. Chapman was leader and founder of the neo-Nazi hate group Right Wing Resistance that formed targeting Maori and other Polynesian peoples, other New Zealand peoples of colour, Jews, and Muslims:
Right Wing Resistance also had a number of chapters around the world. Many were quite small including a Canadian chapter whose sole active member was profiled on the blog in late 2015:
Fromm isn't the only prominent disseminator of hate propaganda who has helped to poison the well and creating the conditions that contribute to events such as the Christchurch tragedy. Like others regarded as leaders or (to use a more resent term) influencers in the white nationalist movement internationally, Fromm toes right up to the line where he doesn't overtly advocate for violence, but justifies it when it occurs as the inevitable consequences of an ethnically diverse society and that the remedy is to make society not ethnically diverse.... however that task would be accomplished is left up to the imagination. These dog whistles are heard by those who ARE potentially inclined to commit such reprehensible acts, but those who have helped to foster this noxious environment have their plausible deniability.
A figure on the far right whom I have written about due to his active involvement in protests and groups that are increasingly more extreme, Robert Jones, represents the kind of person people like Paulie are dog whistling too:
We usually find the sort of radicalization Robert Jones is undergoing in teens, however like the children who find their way into hate groups, Jones is someone who seems desperate to belong to something. He has been a member of the Soldiers of Odin, the Proud Boys, and the JDL as an affiliate. He has eventually been booted from all three of the groups mentioned and now he's on his forth, the hate group known as the Northern Guard. He has also embraced overt fascism and worships Donald Trump as a sort of living god (note that he has more than one Facebook account two of which I will be sourcing in the article without bothering to make the distinction):
When the Christchurch murders took place, Jones was immediately drawn to the manifesto which he has spent a great deal of time sharing online:
Jones seems aware that posting links to the manifesto, as well as the video of the murders, violate Facebook's terms of service regarding dissemination of hate propaganda and violence, but he seems determined to share these with a wide audience:
Jones' reaction to the murders has been equally crass:
Duarate seems to be under the impression that Fraser Anning, the Australian senator
who blamed the Muslim community for the the murder of their members for
the audacity of living in New Zealand, is a leftist because he likely didn't
read the article.... because he seems to be an idiot.
The term "retribution attack" used by Jones is telling as he very quickly begins to justify the murders and dehumanize non-white peoples:Read more »
So.... thank you for proving the point I guess?
Journalist Carly Robinson reported on the event:
Another protest at the Alberta legislature today.
This week the counter-protesters had the podium (Yellow Vest movement comes weekly on Saturdays), using their time to call out what they call are "radical patriots" like members of the so-called "Clann" who participate. #YEG pic.twitter.com/qbFsycQMvE— Carly Robinson (@CarlyDRobinson) March 16, 2019
Jeff Sharpe with the Yellow Vest movement in Edmonton says the counter-protesters are "dividing the community when we should be uniting the community to stand up for civil rights", says online hate comments come from "trolls". #yeg pic.twitter.com/Sda6sySOyZ— Carly Robinson (@CarlyDRobinson) March 16, 2019
On the counter-protesters side, Dylan Michaels says they are fine with the pro-pipeline/job creation/political expression from the Yellow Vests, they just want them to disassociate and stop allowing members of groups and individuals who have made Islamaphobic comments. #yeg pic.twitter.com/WwcEsA6Yl5— Carly Robinson (@CarlyDRobinson) March 16, 2019
As a bit of an aside, it is a bit galling to hear Jeff Sharpe claim that the there are no Yellow Vesters who are racists given his own history associating with groups such as the Worldwide Coalition against Islam and the Canadian Combat Coalition.
In any case, an interesting incident occurred during the protest.
One of the Clann members was arrested, evidently on outstanding warrants:
Ms. Robinson witnessed the arrest and included a photo in her Tweet:
Groups they are calling out are Solider/Wolves/Nouns of Odin, The Clann (who were present, one member taken by police for what I am told are unrelated outstanding warrants), Canadian Infidels. Says if YV denounced these groups, they would stop counter-protesting. #yeg pic.twitter.com/fuNgWDG0Tt— Carly Robinson (@CarlyDRobinson) March 16, 2019
ARC readers will recognize the man being led away in handcuffs as the man in the following photograph alongside Clann leader Tyson Hunt attending a United Conservative Party event in October 2018:
Read more »
PRESS RELEASE: LONDON – Thousands march for unity against racism & fascism following Christchurch attack
- Wreath layed at NZ House by representatives of Muslim organisations, Jewish, faith groups and trade unionists.
- Speakers at a rally in Whitehall included Diane Abbott MP, Frances O’Grady, Poet Michael Rosen, representatives of Muslim groups MCB and MAB, Jewish groups JCORE and JSG
- Following Christchurch attack, speakers called for unity against racism, Islamophobia, White Supremacy, antisemitism & fascism
- Many speakers expressed anger that more is not being done to combat Islamophobia, with many politicans and media outlets cotinuing to spread anti-Muslim hatred.
More Reactions From Canadian Racists/Islamophobes to Christchurch Tragedy and The Dangers of Extremist Rhetoric
Knowing that the thread was being watched and that laid bare the real beliefs of their members, the administrators deleted it as well as others that popped up, however the vitriolic hatred of the membership has been rather hard to contain and ARC has been able to collect more screen shots detailing the reality behind Yellow Vests Canada Exposed:
ARC readers know full well that this bigotry, a spreading virus world wide through social media, isn't isolated to the supporters of Yellow Vests Canada or other Yellow Vests supporters in Canada. It didn't take long for other groups that ARC monitors to start commenting on the murder of 49 Muslims. Many of the comments were also celebratory. Some attempted to justify the murders while other started the "false flag" or "the Muslims did it themselves" claims that have become all too common when such horrible events occur. Of course there are the claims that the shooter was actually a far-leftist in order to absolve the right of any culpability. The QAnon fanatics have also gotten in on the act. Finally, there are a few who have actually questioned the presence of mosques in Christchurch and have posited that their presence in the city was a provocation intended by Muslims to claim dominance over Christianity.... because the name of the city is Christchurch.
If they were inclined to do the minimal research required, their minds would be blown to learn there are at least 26 Christian Churches in Islamabad, Pakistan:
Read more »