The Monitoring Weekly news summary Week 1, january 11th 2015

Don’t miss our forthcoming event

Corruption, Spying, Racism and Accountability: Policing in the 21st Century

Friday 6th February and Saturday 7th February 2015

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Monitoring Group are holding a unique two-day conference seeking common ground, between families, community workers, journalists, academics, lawyers and affected communities, to understand and challenge the problem of police corruption, spying and racism. Speakers will include:

  • Rosa Curling, Leigh Day Solicitors
  • Rebekah Delsol, StopWatch
  • Rob Evans, The Guardian Journalist
  • Dr Jules Holroyd, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Gus John, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Education
  • Rebecca Roberts, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
  • Dr Mike Shiner, London School of Economics
  • Helen Steel, spied on environmental activist
  • Mark Thomas, comedian and activist
  • Dr Patrick Williams, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder
  • Raju Bhatt, Bhatt Murphy solicitors
  • Professor Ben Bowling, King’s College London
  • Richard Garside, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
  • Courtenay Griffiths QC
  • Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group
  • Lee Jasper, Activist and former advisor to Ken Livingstone
  • Imran Khan, Lawyer to the Stephen Lawrence family
  • Lee Lawrence, son of Cherry Groce
  • Paul O’Connor, Director Pat Finucane Centre
  • Sukdev Reel, mother of Ricky Reel, killed in a racist attack
  • David Rose, Investigative journalist
  • Stafford Scott, Tottenham Rights
  • Dr David Whyte, University of Liverpool
  • Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg, Pierce and Partners

Places are limited so booking is essential. To book please visit: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=62

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The Monitoring Weekly news summary

Week 1, january 11th 2015

2015 began with another story about a racist UKIP candidate. Rozanne Duncan told the Times she had “a problem with negro faces”. (see link)

Meanwhile, in France a Mayor from a Parisian district refused the family of a Roma baby, who had died on Christmas day, to be buried in the local crematory. (see link)  However, this tale of French racism was set aside a few days later as we learnt about the murder of 12 people at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Le Monde summed up the atmosphere with the simple banner headline “Le 11 Septembre Français.” (see link)

The brutal killing of the staff of Charlie Hebdo was instantly seen as conflict between European values of freedom of speech and radical Islam, though no commentator bothered to examine the impact this conflict has had on Muslim journalists.  Only days before this incident, the International Federations of Journalists (IFJ) had reported that 135 Journalist had been killed in 2014. (see list of names here). Muslim writers make up a large proportion of names on the list, and to reiterate the point the IFJ reported that the first journalist to die in 2015 was Al-Masirah TV channel correspondent Khalid Mohammed al Washali, who died last Sunday 4 January in the city of Dhamar, south of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. (see link). The working environment for journalists is very hard across the Globe, including Europe. In Germany suspected far-right supporters set a journalist’s car alight last week, (see link here) and even in Britain we learnt only last week that Vodaphone recently handed over details of 1,700 journalists to Scotland Yard (see link here)

This debate about Islam could not have come at a worse time for Muslims across Europe. Firstly, the impact of the Arab Spring has been the biggest migrant wave since Second World War (see link), and secondly hatred against Islam has worsened. For example, here is a list of some of the major incidents over the past week :

– in Germany tens of thousands have been holding regular anti-immigrant vigils in Dresden (see link) with Stern revealing widespread support for the vigil (see link)

– in Sweden four mosques were set alight last week (see link here)

– in Vienna, Austria a mosque was vandalised with a pigs head last week (see link)

– in Czech one politician urged his countrymen to walk pigs near mosques in Muslim neighbourhoods and boycott kebab parlours to protest against radical Islam. (see link)

– and in the aftermath of the events in Paris, three grenades hit a mosque in Le Mans, in the early hours of Thursday while in Aude, southern France, two gunshots were fired at an empty prayer room. (see link)

In the immediate aftermath of the events every newspaper in the UK carried opinion pieces about the impact of Islam in France, yet none mentioned for three days that two of the murdered were also Muslim men, who had defended the rights of the magazine. In a press conference on Saturday 11th January Malek Meraet made a moving plea stating  ‘My brother was killed by terrorists, by false Muslims’  (see link)

As news spread that the gunned down policeman who everyone had watched on their TV screens a days earlier was a Muslim man, many people used the hashtag #JeSuisAhmed. One user, said: “I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so.” Although people defended the magazine right to publish, not everyone celebrate Charlie Hebdo’s satire, (see link) and many objected to the colonial racist stereotypes.(see link)

So, how will France move forward? Elise Vincent from the Le Monde highlighted the past record of the Country’s rulers on race relations will poor. “France’s political elite never champions virtues of a multicultural nation.”, she commented. (see link), Tariq Ali showed a glimmer of hope and summed up the events neatly with the remark that “The idea of Charlie Hebdo provoking a “union sacrée” has to be one of the ironies of history that even the most cynical post-’68 libertarian anti-establishmentarian would have choked on in disbelief.’” (see Link)

Yesterdays March in Paris with estimates of up to 3 or 4 million people marching in solidarity, all religions, ages and nations in massive show of unity perhaps provides some hope, (see link) and if these events bring a process of unity and solidarity across Europe, then maybe there is hope that the forward march of the far right maybe challenged in 2015.

Jagdish Patel

The Monitoring Group

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