(Scroll down for quotes from Diane Abbott, Frances O’Grady + More)
The horrific attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, that has left 49 dead is a deeply grave example of why it is paramount that the anti racist movement globally takes urgent action in response to a dangerous far right growing in confidence to commit the unthinkable. … Read the rest
SPLC statement on thousands more Arkansas and Kentucky residents who may lose Medicaid coverage due to work requirements
Massacre At Two New Zealand Mosques; Yellow Vest Canada Members and Other Far-Right Groups Celebrate
In Christchurch, New Zealand, a man walked into a mosque wearing a GoPro which was live streamed to Facebook and shot a number of worshipers. A second mosque son followed. At this point three men and one woman have been arrested in connection to the shooting; at least one of these individuals posted a manifesto justifying the attack (I may take very selected screen shots because this man doesn't deserve to have an audience for his views). He also posted on 8chan:
His weapons were covered with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim graffiti, including neo-Nazi slogans, references to the UN migration pact and Quebec city mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette:
pic.twitter.com/cIx41hgVLj— JAKearn (@lingerence) March 15, 2019
At this point I don't know how many have died, but I have heard of numbers ranging as high as 26. More information will be forthcoming.
UPDATE: CBC is reporting 40 dead.
In the meantime, the folks at Yellow Vests Canada posted about the tragedy and most of the responses were either celebratory, suggested a false flag, or justified the shootings:
The thread was eventually pulled down, but the administrators can't claim they didn't know about it since they approved of and participated in the thread:
This is the Yellow Vest Canada movement.
I'll continue this article tomorrow evening, but suffice it to say for now I'm not sure I could be more disgusted.
White Nationalist Group Identity Evropa Rebrands Following Private Chat Leaks, Launches 'American Identity Movement'
Florida legislators announce bill to ensure structurally sound schools for all students in the state
On Sunday, an Ethiopian Air flight crashed six minutes after taking off killing all 157 on board. Among those killed were 18 Canadians and included the following:
- Calgary accountant, leader in local Kenyan community, among Ethiopian Airlines plane crash victims
- Canadian woman, 24, headed to UN conference among dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash
- Friends mourn Vancouver Island man and others with B.C. ties killed in plane crash
- Six members of Brampton family among the dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash
The reaction of most thinking, feeling, humans would be varied. There would be some "but for the grace of God" reactions. Others might think about loved ones and how they would react if faced with the worst news imaginable. Some might also wonder about the safety of the class of Boeing 737s that were involved in this and another recent crash. But I think that, almost universally, decent people from all sides of the political spectrum would feel deep sympathy for the victims and their families.
This in not the case of the Yellow Vesters who have taken the opportunity to spread conspiracy theories and celebrate the deaths of other human being while hoping for more:
1. Ethiopian flight truthers. And if they aren’t truthers, they’re celebrating the loss of UN employees.
Just like with the Halifax house fire, these horrid people will take any tragedy and make it about them.
THREAD#YellowVestsCanada #cdnpoli #EthiopianAirlinesCrash pic.twitter.com/Ig3uNX6LDv— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) March 11, 2019
2. No shame. #YellowVestsCanada #cdnpoli #EthiopianAirlinesCrash pic.twitter.com/XDplznfXzt— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) March 11, 20193. Do these people have any humanity left? #YellowVestsCanada #cdnpoli #EthiopianAirlinesCrash pic.twitter.com/R0UGGL961W— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) March 11, 20194. Note one commenter says they hope a plane flies into a UN building.#YellowVestsCanada #cdnpoli #EthiopianAirlinesCrash pic.twitter.com/2Kos6rayjO— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) March 11, 2019
I've been involved in some form of anti-racism activism for more than 20 years now and have run the blog for almost 11 and a half years. It really is rare to shock me any longer. Still, the callous and thoughtless hatred of the Yellow Vest Canada reactionaries has me shaking my head.
ARC echoes the sentiments of the good people behind Yellow Vests Canada Exposed:
5. Our sincerest condolences to all affected by the losses. We’ve read the stories of the people on board, and we grieve with you. #EthiopianAirlinesCrash— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) March 12, 2019
PRESS RELEASE… Worldwide day of action calling for mass protests: #WorldAgainstRacism 16 – 23 March!
Today marks a global day of action where anti racist organisations, trade unions, and major artists are calling for support for #WorldAgainstRacism mass demonstrations, 16 to 23 March.
Major demonstrations are planned in London, Glasgow and Cardiff; in New York, Washington DC and Florida; in Brazil; across Europe including Hungary, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Catalonia, Ireland, France, Belgium and Greece; and in Canada and Australia. … Read the rest
The problem with this is that while they don't want to be called racists, they have no problem associating with overt racists:
Last year the good people at Unicorn Riot released leaked Discord chats which featured some prominent Canadian extremists. First and foremost among these individuals was Gabriel Sohier Chaput posting as "Zeiger". Until he was identified, Gabriel Sohier Chaput was a significant figure on the far-right as a propagandist for the neo-Nazi website "The Daily Stormer" (DS). In that role he was second only to Andrew Anglin who founded the website. He has since gone into hiding and there is currently a warrant for his arrest. In the above discussion with use "Albo-HAMMERBRO" Sohier Chaput discusses the friendly relationship with Students For Western Civilization.
In another discussion, Sohier Chaput and Athan Zafirov (posting as "Date") discuss working with Students For Western Civilization. Zafirov was another key figure on the far-right based in Montreal who headed Alt-Right Montreal which was the Generation Identity Canada/ID Canada affiliate in the city. He was also active in organizing a Canadian presence in Charlottesville:
In his September 15, 2016 discussion with Sohier Chaput, Zafirov asks if he has been, "in touch with [their] man" in Toronto:
One might regard referring to Students For Western Civilization as Students For White Civilization as a bit of a Freudian slip, but it isn't as if the SFWC hasn't provided ample reason for this description:
And of course one can't talk about the SFWC without mentioning their links to Faith Goldy:
Now, once again thanks to Unicorn Riot, there is yet another association that ARC would like to make readers aware of:
Read more »
On International Women’s Day, Kay Stephens reflects on how the far Right and the mainstream co-opt a feminist stance for racist and anti-feminist ends, particularly around issues of sexual violence.
In 2018, we witnessed an escalation in far-right demonstrations in the UK as a response to the arrest and then jailing of ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson for filming outside Leeds Crown Court during an ongoing child sexual abuse trial. Robinson’s arrest sparked six far-right mobilisations in the months that followed, with four specifically calling to ‘Free Tommy Robinson’, attracting up to 15,000 people on the street. These far-right marches have been continually framed around sexual violence, feeding off moral panics about so-called ‘Asian groomers’.
When the far Right complains of ‘political correctness’ preventing sexual violence from being named and addressed as a distinctive issue of Muslim culture, it seems obvious enough that they are weaponising ‘free speech’ and co-opting the language of feminism to further their anti-Muslim agenda. But mainstream media and politicians, across the spectrum, too, perpetuate racialised narratives of sexual threat, which obscure the systemic nature of sexual violence, whilst at the same fuelling anti-Muslim racism. This in turn legitimises state authoritarianism, whilst absolving the state of its responsibility to provide adequate support services for vulnerable people and survivors of sexual violence.
In order to resist this toxic narrative around ‘Asian grooming gangs’, we need to unpack the dangers of viewing sexual violence through a primarily racialised lens and also examine how these ideas have taken root.
The trope of the Asian groomer as a racial crime threat builds on a 2011 Times article by journalist Andrew Norfolk, which claimed to identify a distinctive form of child abuse – ‘on-street grooming’ – perpetrated predominantly by Pakistani Muslims targeting white girls. This set the terms for the ensuing wall-to-wall media coverage, which attempted to locate the problem in the repressive and patriarchal ‘cultural mindset’ of perpetrators, while citing political correctness as a stumbling block in identifying this as the issue and hence dealing with it in the normal way. There was little, if any, media speculation about the cultural reasons for sexual offences against children committed by white men – while Muslim perpetrators were depicted as the norm in their ‘deviant’ culture, white perpetrators were apparently mere aberrations. In fact, as extensive coverage catapulted Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) cases involving Asian perpetrators – such as in Rotherham and Rochdale – into national consciousness, those involving groups of white perpetrators such as in Penzance, Torbay, Derby and Bristol passed by with little attention or scrutiny.
The volume of commentary on ‘Asian grooming gangs’ makes the political correctness suppression argument hard to maintain. Instead, in a desperate attempt to not seem out of touch, media pundits and politicians seem to be falling over themselves to highlight issues of ethnicity and culture in CSE cases – essentially framing the debate on far-right terms.
Some maintain that political correctness afflicted investigations at an earlier stage. After the Jay Report, an independent inquiry into CSE in Rotherham 1997-2013, was published, the media latched on to its claim that a ‘fear of being thought racist’ amongst officials prevented a thorough investigation into reports of CSE in the area. But this focus elides the many structural issues at play. In terms of policing, there were no operational targets for CSE in South Yorkshire Police, and property crimes such as burglary and vehicle theft were prioritised over CSE investigations. Victims were also often criminalised – in one case, a victim was arrested for being ‘drunk and disorderly’ when found in a derelict house with a group of men against whom no action was taken. Cases brought to the police were often not properly pursued because victims were not judged to be credible witnesses. Victim-blaming attitudes were common amongst both police and social workers, who frequently described children and young people who were being sexually exploited as ‘promiscuous’, ‘asking for it’, or ‘sexually available’, with many interpreting relationships between men and girls as young as 11 as consensual. Such institutional failures won’t be addressed by seizing on ‘political correctness’ as the central problem.
The point is not to deny that Asian men commit sexual violence – gendered sexual violence exists in all communities, and cultural context plays into how it manifests itself. The problem is that frames of ‘race’ and racialised ‘culture’ are always emphasised and overstated in media commentary and public discourse to the exclusion of others, such as misogyny, rape culture, vulnerability and austerity. When ‘Muslim ideology’ or ‘Pakistani culture’ are posited as the explanation for child sexual exploitation, this obscures the structural conditions that enable such abuse, whilst implying it is an issue of ‘their’ community, as distinct from ‘our’ (white) community. Perpetrators are often said to come from ‘closed’ or ‘segregated’ communities – framing them as those ‘bad immigrants’ who cannot or will not assimilate into (white) British society and respect imagined ‘British values’. The issue becomes one for which an essentialised and homogenised ‘Muslim community’ is held solely and collectively responsible, and subject to retaliatory attack.
As well as erasing white perpetrators, the ‘Asian model’ of grooming erases non-white and male victims of abuse, as if such cases are somehow less worthy of attention or less serious. We have seen how little public sympathy was elicited for Shamima Begum, a British Muslim who was targeted for online grooming by ISIS and left her East London home to join ISIS in Syria in 2015 when she was 15-years-old. Contextualising this in terms of a broader moral panic about the ‘Islamisation’ of the West, the popularity of the grooming gangs narrative is not borne simply of a concern for gendered sexual violence, but seems informed by anxieties about preserving the racial purity of the nation and tied to recycled tropes of white female victimhood at the hands of licentious ‘foreigners’.
(This is not to say white women are simply instrumentalised by the far Right. Exceptionalising Muslim sexual violence provides fertile ground for racist feminisms in which white women often collude. For instance, the white women-led German group 120 Decibel campaigns against sexual violence as a phenomenon ‘imported’ by migrants, positioning itself as part of the #MeToo movement.)
The racialised coverage of CSE and ‘political correctness’ narratives the media propagates encourage people to understand CSE primarily through the lens of race, as a distinctly ‘Muslim’ or ‘Asian’ problem – drawing on and feeding anti-Muslim tropes. Any attempt to centre other relevant structural and contextual factors then becomes ‘politically correct’ denialism, giving the green light to anti-Muslim sentiment whilst failing victims of abuse.
Local effects of media coverage
Politicians and commentators justify their focus on race by claiming that a refusal to talk about race in CSE cases only fuels the far Right. The fact is that the first large EDL mobilisation about ‘grooming gangs’ in Rotherham occurred on 13 October 2013, after years of sensationalised coverage, and less than a month after the Times ran a front-page feature making repeated mention of the Pakistani or ‘Asian’ heritage of perpetrators and the whiteness of victims in Rotherham. In the fifteen months following the Jay Report’s publication and the subsequent media storm, there were fourteen far-right demonstrations in Rotherham, the policing of which cost around £3 million. Far-right groups’ commitment to fighting sexual violence is somewhat doubtful when members shout things like ‘I hope your daughter gets raped’ to counter-demonstrators. But they are fairly successfully capitalising on the moral panic generated by the media, organising in affected towns to spread their anti-Muslim propaganda – sliding seamlessly from the issue of grooming gangs to ‘taking our country back’ and banning mosques.
As the far Right has gained in public prominence, we have also seen an increase in anti-Muslim violence and harassment in areas affected by high profile ‘grooming scandals’. In Rotherham, there have been reports of verbal harassment and blame attributed to South Asian people, attacks on mosques and Muslim businesses, verbal and physical attacks on Afghan- and Pakistani-heritage taxi drivers, Muslim women spat at and abused, young Muslim and Sikh girls threatened with ‘revenge’ gang rapes by white men, and South Asian children being called ‘groomers’ by classmates. In 2015, an 81-year-old Yemeni man, Mushin Ahmed, was murdered in Rotherham on his way to early morning prayer by two white men who called him ‘groomer’, one of whom had recently racially abused an Asian taxi driver.
Racialised discourses of threat – whether about mugging, knife-crime or grooming – legitimise an increase in state powers and interventions whilst simultaneously deflecting attention from the areas in which the state has actually failed in its social responsibilities. The rendering of Muslims as an inherent threat, prone to terror and sexual deviance, increases public willingness to collude in the erosion of civil liberties – through initiatives like Prevent and increased police and state surveillance powers – in the name of tackling crime and terror. These media scares can also serve to redraw the bounds of citizenship to increasingly exclude those ‘immigrants’ whose status here has always been precarious and contingent. In the Rochdale child abuse case, four of the (once) British-Pakistani offenders have been deprived of their British citizenship, and could face deportation after serving their sentences. Such cases normalise differential and increasingly higher standards for people of colour to have the right to remain in the UK. Just recently, the home secretary Sajid Javid attempted to justify the first deportation charter flight to Jamaica since the ‘Windrush scandal’ broke by referring to the criminal status of deportees. When concerns were raised with Sajid Javid that places like Pakistan do not have a sex offenders register, making it easier for offenders deported from the UK to repeat their crimes, he simply responded, ‘my job is to protect the British public’. Those deported or deprived of citizenship are then another country’s problem. 
Scapegoating ‘Muslims’ also lets the state off the hook for years of underfunding and privatising essential services. The one organisation singled out for praise in the Jay Report for its work identifying and supporting victims – the Risky Business project – was shut down (or ‘incorporated’) into a bigger team in 2011, amidst the ongoing CSE scandal. In the same year, the Labour-run council voted to close half of Rotherham’s youth centres. Between 2010 and 2016, Rotherham Council lost 33 per cent of its spending power in real terms, despite being faced with high demands for vulnerable children and family services, associated with significant levels of poverty and deprivation. Children in care are also disproportionately represented amongst CSE victims – in Rochdale, the majority of children’s care homes are privately run, with property values and cost cutting inevitably prioritised over the needs of vulnerable children. The broader structural issue of how austerity has failed victims is elided when commentary circles around the issue of race, or whether or not we should be talking about race.
Just as a singular racialised focus on CSE fails to address issues of sexual violence, so too can simplified denouncements of such explanations. If we are to build real forms of anti-racist feminist solidarity today we have to strengthen our analyses. For example, rather than only pointing out that ‘white men rape too’, we need structural, contextualised analyses of all cases of sexual abuse. Whatever the ethnicity of perpetrators, we need to ask what were the structural conditions in that context that enabled sexual abuse, and understand what obstacles victims face in seeking help and support. Funding for youth services and accessible support spaces that do not stigmatise or criminalise victims would be a start. And if we are serious about dealing with issues of sexual violence within different communities, we must also fight for specialised support services that can address particular cultural and language needs of victims – many organisations on the frontlines providing this kind of support are having to fight for survival. Already many have been shut down.
The sticking point is how to address culturally specific forms of sexual violence without stigmatising entire communities. One way of dealing with this is to make the connections between apparently culturally-specific forms of gender-based violence – so-called honour-based violence, FGM, forced marriage – and issues of domestic violence more generally, focusing in on similar themes – for instance, control of women’s bodies. This would mitigate against the exceptionalisation of certain cultural manifestations of gender-based violence by connecting issues cross-culturally and forms a basis for meaningful feminist solidarity.
Another important strand in the argument is to recognise and emphasise that cultures are not monolithic or frozen in time – in any situation there will be many factors at play, including gender, class, sexuality, and diasporic context that inform practice. That way we can recognise specific cultural manifestations of gendered violence without blaming particular cultures as a whole.
As there has been an escalation of far-right demonstrations in the UK this past year, the fight back has also significantly grown and changed. We’ve seen connections between anti-racism and anti-fascism grow stronger into a resistance movement that is fundamentally feminist. As the far Right changes and evolves, feeding off new moral panics around immigrants, and by extension, Muslims (and anyone perceived to be Muslim), our resistance must continue to broaden and expand.
This means rooting anti-fascism in our communities – bringing together people across society, including teachers, social workers, and doctors, and setting up community support services such as refuges for victims of domestic violence.
In October last year, the far Right was stopped on the street by a coalition of feminist and anti-fascist groups that created a feminist bloc at the front of the march. While street-based interventions are important, what is vital is this sort of coalition-building (including a range of grassroots groups such as queer migrant solidarity groups, sex worker activist groups and Asian mums’ networks), which builds on a history of fighting the far Right in the communities that are at the sharpest end of racist violence.Related links
Today, on International Women’s Day, the IRR warns that anti-immigrant Islamophobic currents in Europe are growing on the back of the racialisation of sex crimes.
Writing in the UK context, Kay Stephens, as part of an anti-racist feminist collective in London, argues that in order to resist the toxic narrative around ‘Asian grooming gangs’, we need to unpack the ways in which sexual violence today is viewed primarily through a racialised lens. Her warning that the far Right, as well as some more mainstream voices, is co-opting a feminist stance for racist and anti-feminist ends is particularly pertinent. This week it emerged that far-right groups are attempting to infiltrate child protection charities; their purpose to further an anti-Islam agenda, particularly in towns with historical problems of child sexual exploitation (see our calendar of racism and resistance).
Across Europe, far-right parties are gaining political ground by racialising sex crimes, as they introduce profoundly anti-feminist measures. Amidst a resurgence of the far Right in Spain, a bus campaign has been launched ahead of International Women’s Day, featuring an image of Hitler wearing makeup with the hashtag ‘#Stop Feminazis’ and the caption ‘gender laws discriminate against men’, calling for repeals of both the 2004 gender violence law and legal protections granted to the LGBTQI community.
This is not unique to Spain, as we continue to see anti-feminist measures, often in opposition to reproductive and sexual rights, introduced across Europe. Last December, Verona’s local council passed a municipal motion to prevent abortion, introduced by a Lega councillor who said that if Italian women won’t have more babies, ‘we will be conquered by the Muslims who will impose Islamic law’. Similarly, incentives to encourage ‘indigenous’ women to give birth, (for instance, Victor Orbán’s declaration that women with four children or more will be exempt from paying income tax in Hungary) must be viewed in the context of policies that keep migrants out by force.
In this dystopian, but very real, context that utilises women’s bodies for chilling demographic ends, there are some positive signs, notably the emergence of a feminism that seeks to challenge racism and sexism simultaneously.
For further information contact Sophia Siddiqui, email@example.com
A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.ASYLUM, MIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP Asylum and migrant rights
21 February: Humanitarian organisations criticise new parliamentary legislation in Denmark that increases the numbers of people eligible for deportation, a removal of indefinite stay for refugees and a reduction of social welfare given to asylum seekers. (The Local, 21 February 2019)
25 February: Concerns mount over the fate of two Palestinian refugees from Syria who, due to the prohibitive nature of German family reunification laws, opted to return to Syria to reunite with their partners. One disappeared at the Lebanese-Syrian border before being reunited with his wife; the other appears to have been detained by secret services shortly after arrival in Damascus. (InfoMigrants, 25 February 2019)
25 February: The Institute for International Political Studies says that in Italy over the last four months 1,000 asylum claims submitted by Nigerian women and 1,134 humanitarian protection claims, have been refused, with many women, who are victims of sex-trafficking, disappearing after being thrown out of reception centres under the Salvini decree. (Guardian, 25 February 2019)
28 February: The Danish Government’s Immigration Service publish a report stating that there has been a ‘general improvement of conditions in government-controlled areas’ in Syria, and therefore, refugees to Denmark who come from these areas will no longer be automatically given asylum. (The Local, 28 February 2019)Borders and externalisation
17 February: The French Defence Ministry announce the purchase of six boats that will be given to the Libyan coast guard in the spring to assist in Libya’s effort to ‘curb clandestine migration’. (Infomigrants, 25 February 2019)
19 February: Italy’s Senate Committee votes 16 – 6 to block an investigation into Interior Minister Salvini for kidnapping over his decision to allow 150 people to be stranded at sea for 5 days in August 2018. (Al jazeera, 19 February 2019)
20 February: The German municipalities of Kiel, Lübeck, Flensburg, and Sylt, in conjunction with the state of Schleswig-Holstein, declare themselves ‘safe ports’ for people rescued in the Mediterranean. (Borderline Europe, 20 February 2019)
21 February: Unnamed sources in the Spanish rescue mission Salvamento Marítimo claim that an agreement reached between Morocco and Spain, which has come into immediate effect, means that some migrants rescued sea can be disembarked at Moroccan ports. (El País, 21 February 2019)
21 February: ANAFE publishes ‘Persona non grata’ which reveals that between 2016 and 2018, nearly thirty people died at the France-Italy border where dozens of illegal push-backs take place every day. (Read a summary of the report here)
24 February: An African Union ‘common African position paper’, on the EU blueprint for stemming migration by establishing ‘de facto detention centres’ on African soil, is leaked to the Guardian. Coastal states are urged to resist plans that will ‘lead to the establishment of something like modern-day slave markets’, with the ‘best’ Africans being allowed into Europe and the rest ‘tossed back’. (Guardian, 24 February 2019)
25 February: Channel 4 News broadcasts mobile phone footage showing people being tortured inside camps in Libya where, with EU support, the Libyan authorities detain migrants to prevent them from crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. (Channel 4 News, 25 February; The Times, 1 March)
2 March: The EU’s funding of the Libyan coastguard comes under renewed focus as Al Jazeera reports that around 30 refugees and migrants, including minors, are punished for a revolt at Tripoli’s Triq al Sikka detention centre, by being beaten with sticks and bars, with the leaders taken to an underground cell and allegedly tortured. (Al Jazeeera, 2 March 2019)
3 March: Leaked documents from the European External Action Service and Frontex reveal that the EU knows its Mediterranean naval operations are making sea crossings more dangerous and that the Libyan coastguard that the EU funds, equips and trains collaborate with smuggling networks. (Politico.EU, 2 March 2019)
5 March: Thirty-five people are arrested in Lesvos after they illegally entered state land in order to install a huge metal cross – aimed at intimidating Muslim refugees – on a cliff that overlooks the Aegean Sea and the Turkish mainland. (The Times, 5 March 2019)Reception and detention
19 February: The parents of two Iraqi families are denied food by Hungarian officials whilst detained in Hungary’s transit zones, prompting the European Court of Human Rights to intervene. (Al Jazeera, 21 February 2019)
25 February: Following the deadly stabbing of a welfare official in Dornbirn by a rejected Turkish asylum seeker, the Austrian prime minister tables a constitutional amendment to allow for preventative ‘security detention for asylum seekers’ deemed a ‘potential threat’. Refugee reception centres will be renamed ‘departure centres’. (Deutsche Welle, 25 February 2019)
2 March: Forty-four people are detained in Calais after climbing aboard a cross-channel ferry to try and reach the UK. (Times of Malta, 3 March 2019)Deportations
19 February: Around 300 people protest outside Vulcan House, the Home Office building in Sheffield, to protest the deportation of asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. (Assist Sheffield, 19 February 2019)
22 February: In Germany, an Air Algerie pilot refuses to deport a family, including an eight-month pregnant woman, to Algeria. The authorities issued the woman with a medical certificate declaring her fit to travel, despite documenting a high-risk pregnancy and the pilot expressing concern about the lack of medical equipment on board. (Hessenschau, 22 February 2019)Citizenship
25 February: As lawyers acting for Chagos Islanders in the UK warn of the potential for a new ‘Windrush scandal’ affecting their clients, the UN’s International Court of Justice concludes that the Chagos Islands were not lawfully removed from Mauritius’ control in 1965, and urges the UK government to relinquish its continued colonial possessions. (BBC News, 25 February; Telegraph, 1 March 2019)HOUSING AND WELFARE
19 February: A Project 17 report on the hostile environment accuses the Home Office of forcing thousands of children into extreme poverty and homelessness because their parents’ immigration status means that they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), and says that local authorities are avoiding their duty of care under Section 17 of the Children’s Act. Read the report here. (Independent, 19 February 2019)
21 February: The Local Government Association (LGA) says that council spending has risen from £77m to £152m between 2014 and 2018 as a result of increases in the number of asylum-seeking children in care in England. The LGA’s asylum, migration and refugee task group calls on the government to ensure that long-term funding is available for councils to provide adequate care for these children. (Guardian, 21 February 2019)
24 February: Lewisham Council says it will remove the embedded Home Office official who sits in on meetings between the council and vulnerable, often destitute migrants seeking recourse to public funds. (Guardian, 24 February 2019)
1 March: The High Court rules, in a legal challenge brought by JCWI, that the Right to Rent law, which requires private landlords to check the immigration status of tenants and potential tenants, breaches human rights law. The policy leads landlords to discriminate against BAME British citizens and ethnic minorities in general, foreign nationals with the right to rent, and anyone without a British passport. (Guardian, 1 March 2019)
1 March: A homeless Polish man who was unlawfully detained for 38 days as part of Operation Gopik, a policy to deport homeless EEA nationals, is awarded £14,800 in compensatory damages by the High Court. (Metro, 1 March)CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
26 February: Protestors clash with riot police in Omonia, Greece following a march in central Athens to protest the death of a Nigerian migrant at a police station. Media reports that the 34 year old was beaten by police prior to his collapse. (Ekathimerini, 26 February 2019)
27 February Following the launch of Inquest’s Legal Aid for Inquest’s campaign on 25 February, shadow lord chancellor Richard Burgon pledges that a future Labour government would provide automatic legal aid for bereaved families at inquests where the relative died in state custody. Read Inquest’s campaign briefing here. (Guardian, 27 February 2019)
27 February: Basingstoke MP Maria Miller calls for more transparency from Hampshire police as it emerges that 16 police officers and 3 members of staff from a specialist team at the Basingstoke Investigation Centre are still under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, a year after allegations of making racist and homophobic comments were made. (The Breeze, 27 February 2019, The News, 25 February 2019)
1 March: Despite a 2012 inquest ruling that ‘unnecessary’ restraint contributed to Sean Rigg’s death in August 2008, a Metropolitan police panel dismisses misconduct charges against the five Met police officers involved. (Guardian, 1 March 2019)
4 March: To tackle high rates of knife crime, the chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation calls for the nationwide use of emergency stop and search powers under Section 60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. (Telegraph, 4 March 2019)ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT
17 February: Ahead of upcoming May elections, leaders of Spain’s far-right Vox party hold a rally in Torrejon de Ardoz, a town near Madrid, attended by 800 supporters. Four of the towns where the far-right party is holding upcoming rallies are low-income towns with a high percentage of immigrants. (El Pais, 19 February 2019)
22 February: The far-right Brothers of Italy, which has its roots in fascism, is admitted to the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe in the European parliament, the grouping of the UK Conservative party. (Independent, 22 February 2019)
23 February: In Salford, Manchester, around 4,000 people march to the BBC in support of Tommy Robinson and in protest of an upcoming BBC Panorama investigation into him. A counter-protest is held. (BBC, 23 February 2019)
24 February: As part of an intelligence-led investigation, an unnamed 33-year-old right-wing extremist is arrested in Leeds on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism. (Independent, 24 February 2019)
26 February: Tommy Robinson is permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram for repeatedly breeching hate speech rules. His breeches include public calls for violence against people based on issues of race, hate speech targeted at specific groups and public praise for hate figures. (Guardian, 26 February 2019)
28 February: The Italian intelligence services warn that neo-nazi groups could target migrants in the run-up to the European elections, pointing out that racist attacks have tripled over the past year. (Guardian, 28 February 2019).
26 February: The Cologne administrative court rules that intelligence services acted disproportionately and in breach of the constitutional rights of political parties when it classified Alternative for Germany as ‘case to investigate’ for its alleged breach of constitutional safeguards against extremism. (Reuters, 26 February 2019)
1 March: A Spanish ultraconservative catholic organisation Hazte Oír (Make Yourself Heard) has launched a bus campaign featuring an image of Hitler wearing makeup with the hashtag #StopFeminazis and the caption ‘Gender laws discriminate against men’ written below. The bus will travel through Spanish cities until International Women’s Day on 8 March. (El Pais, 1 March 2019)
3 March: A Guardian investigation suggests that, although membership is well down from the days of Farage, there has been a 50 per cent increase in UKIP party membership since February 2018, and that under the leadership of Gerard Batton, UKIP has shifted decisively towards the far right. (Guardian, 3 March 2019)
5 March: Anti-extremism officials say that far Right groups are attempting to infiltrate child protection charities to further an anti-Islam agenda. A community group for child sexual abuse survivors said it has been approached by senior UKIP figures who offered to fund an open-top bus to raise alarm about so-called ‘grooming gangs’. (Guardian, 5 March 2019)EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR EXPLOITATION
20 February: A probe is launched into a livestock farm in Larissa, Greece, after two Pakistani men were physically assaulted for asking to be paid for their work. (Ekathimerini, 20 February 2019)ELECTORAL POLITICS
21 February: In the run-up to European parliamentary elections, the Hungarian government launches a poster campaign showing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker alongside George Soros, with the words ‘You have the right to know what Brussels is doing’. (Guardian, 21 February 2019)
2 March: The Hungarian government launches a new poster campaign, replacing the posters of Juncker with the president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, which claim to show ‘what kind of pro-migrant plans are under preparation by the Brussels bureaucracy’. (Deutsche Welle, 2 March 2019)
3 March: The anti-immigration Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) more than doubles its share of the vote in the Estonian general election; with almost 18 per cent of the vote it is the third largest party in the parliament. (Guardian, 3 March 2019)
MEDIA AND CULTURE
4 March: After a public outcry, the digital channel BBC One Scotland promise not to air programmes featuring Mark Meechan (also known as Count Dankula), a YouTuber who was fined for training a dog to give a Nazi salute on camera. (Guardian, 4 March 2019)
5 March: Social media is flooded with complaints after grotesque puppets of Orthodox Jews, as well as people wearing KKK outfits and blackface, were displayed on flats at Belgium’s world-famous Aalst Carnival recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. (Sputnik News, 5 March 2019)
19 February: Belgium’s former Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Fracken announces that his book launch at the Veriers Hotel, Belgium, is cancelled after more than 200 people gather in front of the Hotel in protest. (Le Soir, 19 February 2019)DISCRIMINATION
28 February: The Dutch appeals court rules in favour of Amersfoort city council which suspended a Muslim man’s welfare benefits for a month after he refused on religious grounds to shave his beard while training for a job as an asbestos removal officer. (Guardian, 28 February 2019)NATIONAL SECURITY
3 March: The Austrian government says that as part of its efforts to preserve the rule of law and stop terror it will by 2020 establish an institution to monitor Islamist associations and organisations, including the spread of patriarchal courts of honour, ‘anti-integration content’ in mosques, and Islamist currents on social media.(Vienna Times, 3 March 2019)
28 February: Two Belgian women, widows of Syrian fighters, are denied the right to return in the Brussels Court of Appeal. The decision overturns the courts previous decision which ordered the government to accept their return. (Brussels Times, 28 February 2019)SPORT
22 February: Supporters of The Hague football club ADO, attending a fixture in Amsterdam against Ajax (whose supporters refer to themselves as ‘Joden’), spray-paint anti-Semitic graffiti across the capital, including the letters JHK, or Jews have cancer. (DutchNews.nl, 22 February 2019)RACIST VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
20 February: Assault charges are dropped against Gillyon Emmanuel, a black ice-cream parlour owner in Hilversum, the Netherlands. Having suffered months of racial harassment, when three youngsters said ‘climb back into your tree…cancer ape’ and threw oranges at her shop window, she responded by hitting one of them with a mop. (DutchNews.nl, 20 February 2019)
21 February: In Berkshire, a 15-year-old boy suffers a broken jaw after a suspected racist attack in a Bracknell underpass, reportedly by a group of five to six men. (In your area, 21 February 2019)
22 February: A man is jailed for six years after he was convicted of racially aggravated wounding with intent for attacking a doorman in Llandudno in April 2018. (North Wales Live, 22 February 2019)
23 February: A 30-year-old personal trainer from Nottingham who set up a fitness class for Muslim women is bombarded with racist abuse and death threats from Tommy Robinson supporters after Robinson shared her flyer on his Instagram page. Her car tyres are also reportedly slashed. (The Independent, 26 February 2019)
26 February: A women from Sandwell, West Midlands, is given a 12-month community order for racially aggravated assault after she attacked a shop worker wearing a headscarf in Debenhams and told her to ‘Go back to your own country, f****** Muslim’. (Evening Standard, 26 February 2019)
26 February: In Islington, north London, a Jewish man in his 70s is punched in the face and brutally assaulted as he lay on the ground by a shaven-headed assailant who asked him if he was Jewish before attacking him. (Islington Gazette, 26 February 2019)
27 February: A new Scottish government report shows that of the 6,736 hate crimes recorded in 2017/18 by Police Scotland, two thirds are race-related. Of the 5 per cent of crimes with multiple aggravators, race and religion are the most common combination. (Scotsman, 27 February 2019)
2 March: A memorial stone that marks the site of Strasbourg’s old synagogue which was burnt down by the Nazis in 1940 is vandalised. Last month dozens of graves were sprayed with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans at a nearby Jewish cemetery. (BBC News, 2 March 2019)
4 March: Northern Ireland police are treating an incident in which graffiti was spray painted on to property in Cookstown as a racially motivated hate crime. (Mid-Ulster Mail, 4 March 2019)
This calendar was compiled by the IRR News Team, with the help of Zeeshan Ali, Graeme Atkinson, Joseph Maggs and Jamie Wates.