Hate crimes in U.S. up 17 per cent in 2017, third consecutive year with increase

Latest numbers (Canadian numbers should be out shortly):

Hate crimes in the United States rose 17 per cent last year, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, according to newly released FBI data.

Law enforcement agencies reported 7,175 hate crimes occurred in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. That increase was fueled in part by more police departments reporting hate crimes data to the FBI, but overall there is still a large number of departments that report no hate crimes to the federal database.

More than half of such crimes, about 3 of 5, targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, while about 1 of 5 targeted their religion.

Of the more than 7,000 incidents reported last year, 2,013 targeted black Americans, while 938 targeted Jewish Americans. Incidents targeting people for their sexual orientation accounted for 1,130 hate crimes, according to the FBI.

The FBI has urged local police departments to provide more complete information about hate crimes in their jurisdictions.

Of the more than 7,000 hate crime incidents in 2017, more than 4,000 were crimes against people, ranging from threats and intimidation to assault, to murder. More than 3,000 were crimes against property, ranging from vandalism to robbery to arson.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said the new figures are “a call to action – and we will heed that call. The Department of Justice’s top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes. They are also despicable violations of our core values as Americans.”

Whitaker said he was “particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes,” which are already the most common type of religious hate crime in the United States.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 37 per cent in 2017. Anti-Islamic hate crimes declined 11 per cent last year, with 273 such incidents, the data show.

Source: Hate crimes in U.S. up 17 per cent in 2017, third consecutive year with increase

Trump visit to Pittsburgh after deadly synagogue shooting met with anger, protests

Appropriate reaction – can’t stoke the fires of hate and then deny moral responsibility:

President Donald Trump visited a grief-stricken Pittsburgh on Tuesday in a trip meant to unify after tragedy, but his arrival provoked protests from residents and consternation from local officials in the aftermath of the synagogue shooting that left 11 people dead.

The hastily planned day trip – which the city’s mayor urged Trump not to make – was executed with no advance public itinerary and without congressional and local politicians. Some had declined to accompany the president, and others were not invited.

Trump did not speak publicly during his brief trip, instead quietly paying tribute at Tree of Life synagogue by laying flowers for the 11 victims and visiting a hospital to see officers who were wounded in Saturday’s shooting. But Trump’s trip to the area so soon after the attack tore open political tensions in the largely Democratic city, as residents angered by Trump’s arrival protested even as the first couple tried to keep a low profile during the solemn, afternoon visit.

“The sense in the community is that they didn’t think this was a time for a political photo shoot,” said Rep. Mike Doyle, D, whose congressional district covers the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the synagogue is located. “There are strong feelings in the community about him and the divisive nature of his rhetoric.”

Trump has faced charges in recent days that his harsh political tone and effort to stoke public fears about immigrants has fomented a rising right-wing extremism embraced by the man charged in the synagogue shooting and by the suspect arrested last week after a series of bombs were mailed to prominent critics of the president. Trump has pushed back, saying the media is responsible for the growing tensions across the country.

As the president touched down in southwestern Pennsylvania on Tuesday, almost 2,000 demonstrators assembled not far from where some of the shooting’s victims had been buried that day. The relatives of at least one victim declined to meet with Trump, pointing to his “inappropriate” remarks immediately after the shooting, when the president suggested the shooting could have been avoided if the synagogue had had an armed guard.

City officials said they were concerned about protests, which occurred on the same day as funerals for some of the victims, and were not involved in planning the visit – learning about it only when White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced it Monday.

The White House also declined to invite two Democratic officials who represent the area – Doyle and Sen. Robert Casey Jr.

“We received no call or any kind of correspondence,” Doyle said.

A spokesman for the city’s Democratic mayor, Bill Peduto, said he was invited to appear with the president but declined. Peduto had urged Trump not to visit Pittsburgh until after the funerals for the victims, saying, “all attention should be on the victims.”

The family of one of those victims – Daniel Stein, 71 – declined a visit with Trump in part because of Trump’s comments about having armed guards.

“Everybody feels that they were inappropriate,” said Stephen Halle, Stein’s nephew. “He was blaming the community.”

The White House said Trump spent about an hour Tuesday with the widow of Richard Gottfried, one of the 11 victims.

“She said that she wanted to meet the president to let him know that people wanted him there,” Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One. Gottfried, 65, and his wife, Peg Durachko, had just celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary and were planning to retire soon.

Some residents said they welcomed the president even if it did anger some of their neighbors.

…..

The White House had asked the top four congressional leaders – House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., – to accompany Trump to Pittsburgh, but all declined, according to three officials familiar with the invitations.

Trump’s remarks and incendiary rhetoric in office contributed to the pushback his visit received before Air Force One touched down. Tens of thousands of people signed an open letter from a progressive Jewish group based in Pittsburgh saying he would not be welcome “until you fully denounce white nationalism” and “cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.”

About an hour before Trump arrived, more than 100 protesters jammed onto a street corner in Squirrel Hill, the predominantly Jewish neighborhood where the synagogue is located and many victims lived.

“This didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Ardon Shorr said. “There is a growing trend of white nationalism. And that has been enabled by Trump, who traffics in the kind of conspiracy theories that we know were foremost in the mind of the shooter last Saturday.”

“He refused to cancel his rally when it would have been the decent thing to cancel the rally,” said Jonathan Sarney, 72, referring to Trump’s campaign stop in Murphysboro, Illinois, held the same day the shooting occurred. “And now he’s coming to intrude on the funerals when it’s an indecent thing to do.”

Meanwhile, Barbara Kay remains largely in denial about the impact of Trump’s words and rhetoric in providing social license for others to express hate and the moral responsibility, if not direct responsibility, for such hate crimes: Barbara Kay: Trump’s rhetoric didn’t cause this massacre

StatsCan – Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2016 – Analytical Note

Given the government’s diversity and inclusion focus, StatsCan has vastly improved the analytical note on hate crimes, including age and gender data on those accused. While personally I prefer longer-term comparisons rather than year-to-year as in the above charts, this analysis is nevertheless helpful (StatsCan summary below):

  • In 2016, police reported 1,409 criminal incidents in Canada that were motivated by hate, an increase of 3% or 47 more incidents than reported the previous year. Accounting for the population, this amounted to a rate of 3.9 hate crimes per 100,000 Canadians in 2016.
  • The increase in the total number of incidents was largely attributable to an increase in police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation (+35 incidents) or of a race or ethnicity (+25 incidents). Hate crimes accounted for less than 0.1% of the nearly 1.9 million police-reported crimes in 2016 (excluding traffic offences).
  • Police-reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation rose 25% in 2016 to 176 incidents, compared with 141 incidents in 2015. These incidents accounted for 13% of hate crimes reported in 2016 and 11% of hate crimes reported in 2015.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, the number of police-reported crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity increased 4% (from 641 to 666). In all, 48% of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016 were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. Much of this increase was a result of more hate crimes targeting South Asians (+24 incidents) and Arabs and West Asians (+20 incidents). Despite posting a decrease in 2016, crimes targeting Black populations remained one of the most common types of hate crimes (15% of all hate crimes).
  • Overall, 33% of hate crimes reported in 2016 were motivated by hatred of religion. Compared with 2015, the number of hate crimes motivated by religion decreased 2% in 2016 (from 469 in 2015 to 460 in 2016). Police-reported crimes motivated by hate against the Jewish population rose from 178 incidents in 2015 to 221 incidents in 2016 (+24%). In contrast, the number of crimes targeting the Catholic population fell from 55 to 27 incidents. Similarly, crimes targeting the Muslim population decreased 13% (from 159 incidents in 2015 to 139 incidents in 2016).
  • The provinces of Quebec and British Columbia, and more specifically Vancouver (+30 incidents), Québec (+29 incidents), and Montréal (+25 incidents), were the census metropolitan areas where hate crimes increased the most in 2016. The increases in Montréal and Québec are associated with a rise in hate crimes targeting the Jewish, Arab and West Asian, and gay and lesbian populations. The increase in Vancouver was primarily explained by a rise in hate crimes against the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian populations.
  • Based on data from police services that reported characteristics of hate crimes, 43% of police-reported hate crimes in 2016 were violent offences. Violent offences included, for example, assault, uttering threats and criminal harassment. Overall, the number of violent hate crimes rose 16% from the previous year (from 487 to 563 violent incidents), driven by increases in common assault, criminal harassment and uttering threats.
    Crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation continued to be among the most violent hate crimes. In 2016, 71% of these types of police-reported hate crimes were violent, compared with 45% of crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity and 27% of hate crimes targeting a religion.
  • Non-violent offences made up 57% of police-reported hate crimes in 2016. Mischief, which includes vandalism and graffiti, was the most commonly reported offence among police-reported hate crimes and accounted for 41% of all hate crime incidents in 2016. Between 2015 and 2016, the total number of non-violent hate crime incidents fell 6%. In 2016, 73% of crimes targeting religion were non-violent. This proportion was 55% for non-violent crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. Conversely, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were less often non-violent (29%).

via Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2016

La haine gagne du terrain: Montreal Police statistics

Not terribly surprising that there would be an increase of hate crimes following the increase in irregular asylum seekers:

L’arrivée en grand nombre de demandeurs d’asile l’été dernier a déclenché une vague de crimes haineux encore plus grande que celle suivant l’attentat à la grande mosquée de Québec, a appris Le Devoir. Au mois d’août 2017, le Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) a retenu et classé dans le classeur « crimes haineux » 42 signalements — surtout observés sur les réseaux sociaux —, contre 31 en février. Au total, près de 250 crimes haineux ont été rapportés l’an dernier, pour une moyenne d’environ 20 par mois.

« On a vu une hausse en 2017, tant du côté des crimes que des incidents haineux, mais si on regarde seulement les crimes, oui, il y en a eu encore plus au mois d’août qu’en février », a affirmé Line Lemay, lieutenante-détective, chargée des enquêtes à la division crime, prévention et sécurité urbaine du SPVM. En ajoutant les « incidents » — desquels ne peuvent découler des accusations en vertu du Code criminel —, c’est toutefois en février, tout juste après la tuerie de Québec, que la police recense le plus de signalements haineux.

Selon Mme Lemay, le triste record de crimes haineux du mois d’août est dû à la grande attention médiatique portée sur les migrants, surtout d’origine haïtienne, qui arrivaient en grand nombre au Québec depuis les États-Unis. « On a pu faire le lien parce que ce qu’on avait comme événement au mois d’août et un peu avant, c’était l’arrivée des Haïtiens et des migrants qui provenaient massivement des États-Unis », a-t-elle indiqué. « Dès qu’on a des événements très médiatisés, on le voit qu’il y a une polarisation [des idées]. Ça se reflète sur les réseaux sociaux. »

Mais les personnes d’origine haïtienne n’ont pas été visées plus que d’autres. « C’est vraiment parti dans tous les sens, a-t-elle dit. [Les crimes haineux], c’était autant l’extrême droite qui émettait des opinions qui pouvaient s’avérer des menaces que des gens de l’extrême gauche qui répondaient à ça. »

Montée de la haine

Le Centre de prévention de la radicalisation menant à la violence constate aussi cette tendance, car, fait nouveau, sur les 166 appels reçus pour signaler des crimes et incidents haineux, surtout à l’endroit des musulmans, une vingtaine provenait de personnes de l’extrême droite qui tenait un discours raciste au sens large. « Les messages étaient dans un contexte où il y avait un certain discours politique et idéologique. Du genre, le Québec est une société blanche, on n’a pas besoin d’eux », a souligné Herman Deparice-Okomba, directeur général du centre.

« Beaucoup de propos haineux. J’en ai vu beaucoup », estime pour sa part Anastasia Marcelin, une bénévole qui a beaucoup aidé les migrants cet été et qui s’est présentée dans Montréal-Nord comme conseillère pour Projet Montréal. « Sincèrement, je n’ai pas aimé comment ça s’est passé. […] Je peux comprendre le ressentiment de certaines personnes lorsqu’ils sont tous arrivés », dit-elle en faisant allusion à la vague de demandeurs d’asile. Mais ce n’était pas une raison pour menacer quiconque. « Des gens insultaient [les migrants], disaient que c’était des esti de chiens sales. « Allez-vous-en chez vous ». Je supprimais des commentaires sur ma page [dans les réseaux sociaux] », témoigne-t-elle.
Serge Bouchereau, porte-parole du Comité d’action des personnes sans statut, parle d’une quantité « sans précédent » de commentaires et propos haineux. « C’est toujours la même chose. On entend : « Ces gens-là viennent voler nos jobs, on devrait les foutre dehors », dit-il. Mais aucun de nos demandeurs d’asile ne nous a rapporté avoir été menacé physiquement. »
Surtout sur Internet

La lieutenante-détective du SPVM a en effet constaté que la plupart des crimes haineux provenaient d’Internet et des réseaux sociaux. « Assurément, il y a une tendance », a-t-elle indiqué. Selon M. Bouchereau, il y a là un « déversoir » pour les opinions de chacun qui parfois dépassent les bornes. « Surtout avec l’arrivée de Trump aux États-Unis, ça a décomplexé certaines personnes », analyse-t-il. « Cependant, c’est quand les propos haineux sont jugés par un tribunal qu’on peut les considérer réellement comme des crimes. »

Les crimes haineux sont passés de 158 en 2016 (de mars à décembre) à près de 250 pour toute l’année 2017. Quant aux « incidents » haineux — soit une parole agressive par opposition à une menace de mort ou des oeufs sur une mosquée par opposition à une roche qui brise une vitre —, le SPVM en a recensé 173 en 2017, contre 160 l’année précédente (de mars à décembre 2016).

À quelques jours du 29 janvier, alors que sera commémorée la tuerie de la grande mosquée de Québec, la division des crimes haineux de la lieutenante-détective Lemay est sur le pied d’alerte. « On va suivre ça de près et voir si la commémoration a une incidence », dit-elle. À son étonnement, cela ne semble pas avoir eu d’impact jusqu’ici.

via La haine gagne du terrain | Le Devoir

The Daily — Police-reported hate crime, 2016

Latest numbers and analytical note:

Police reported 1,409 hate crimes in Canada in 2016, 47 more than in 2015. This represented less than 0.1% of the 1,895,546 crimes (excluding traffic violations) that were reported by police services. The 3% increase in hate crimes was a result of more incidents targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians, the Jewish population, and people based on their sexual orientation. In contrast, hate crimes against Muslims and Catholics declined in 2016.

Canada’s population has become more diverse as the proportion of foreign-born, non-Christian religion and people who report as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or in a same-sex relationship continues to grow. For instance, overall, one-fifth of Canada’s population was foreign-born in 2016 and this could reach from 24.5% to 30.0% by 2036.

Since comparable data became available in 2009, the number of police-reported hate crimes have ranged from 1,167 incidents in 2013 to 1,482 incidents in 2009. On average, about 1,360 hate crime incidents have been reported annually by police since 2009.

Police data on hate-motivated crimes are also dependent on the willingness of victims to bring the incident to the attention of police and on the police services’ level of expertise in identifying crimes motivated by hate. As with other crimes, self-reported data provide another way of monitoring hate-motivated crimes. According to the 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization, which measures eight types of crimes, Canadians self-reported having been the victim of over 330,000 criminal incidents that they perceived as being motivated by hate (5% of the total self-reported incidents). Two-thirds of these incidents were not reported to the police.

Police-reported hate crimes refer to criminal incidents that, upon investigation by police, are found to have been motivated by hatred toward an identifiable group, as defined in subparagraph 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code of Canada. An incident may be against a person or property and may target race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, language, sex, age, mental or physical disability, among other factors. In addition, there are four specific offences listed as hate propaganda offences or hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, willful promotion of hatred, and mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property. Police determine whether or not a crime was motivated by hatred and indicate the type of motivation based on information gathered during the investigation and common national guidelines for record classification.

Chart 1  Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2016

Chart 1: Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2016

Hate crimes targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians increases

In 2016, 48% of all police-reported hate crimes were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. That year, police reported 666 crimes that were motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity, up 4% from the previous year. This increase was largely due to 24 more hate crimes targeting South Asians and 20 more incidents targeting Arabs or West Asians. British Columbia (+13) and Ontario (+9) accounted for most of the increase in crimes against South Asians. Quebec reported 10 more crimes against Arabs or West Asians than in 2015 (from 31 incidents in 2015 to 41 in 2016).

Crimes motivated by hatred of East or Southeast Asian populations also increased from 2015 to 2016, rising from 49 to 61 incidents. While British Columbia reported 17 more incidents than the previous year, Ontario reported 7 fewer.

Police-reported hate crime against Aboriginal peoples continued to account for a relatively small proportion of hate crimes (2%), falling from 35 to 30 incidents.

Although down 4% (from 224 incidents to 214 in 2016), crimes targeting Black populations remained the most common type of hate crime related to race or ethnicity at 15% of all hate crimes.

Police report fewer hate crimes targeting the Muslim population

Police reported 460 hate crimes targeting religious groups in 2016, 9 fewer than in the previous year. These accounted for one-third of all hate crimes in Canada.

Following a notable increase in hate crimes against the Muslim population in 2015, police reported 20 fewer in 2016 for a total of 139. The decrease in police-reported hate crimes against Muslims was the result of fewer reported incidents in Quebec (-16), Alberta (-8) and Ontario (-6).

Similarly, after an increase in 2015, hate crimes against Catholics also decreased, from 55 to 27 in 2016. Ontario reported 16 fewer incidents, and declines were also seen in Quebec (-7) and the Atlantic provinces (-5).

In contrast, hate crimes against the Jewish population grew from 178 to 221 incidents. Increases were seen in Ontario (+31), Quebec (+11) and Manitoba (+7).

Increase in hate crimes targeting sexual orientation

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation accounted for 13% of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016, rising from 141 incidents in 2015 to 176 in 2016. A greater number of incidents over these two years were reported in Quebec (+15), British Columbia (+11), Ontario (+7) and Saskatchewan (+4).

The national trend driven by more reported offences in Quebec and British Columbia and fewer in Ontario and Alberta

Among the provinces, the greatest increase in the absolute number of police-reported hate crimes was observed in Quebec, where incidents rose from 270 in 2015 to 327 in 2016. This increase was mostly attributable to more hate crimes targeting Arabs and West Asians, the Jewish population and sexual orientation.

British Columbia also reported more hate crimes, rising from 164 to 211. The increase was attributable to crimes against the East or Southeast Asian and South Asian populations, which doubled from 2015 to 2016 (from 15 to 32 and from 11 to 24, respectively).

In contrast, the number of police-reported hate crimes in Alberta declined from 193 in 2015 to 139 in 2016 due to fewer crimes targeting religion.

Hate crimes were more violent in 2016

Based on data from police services that provided detailed information on hate crimes for both 2015 and 2016, an increased violence was observed in hate crimes. For example, violent hate-motivated crimes (for example, assault, threats, criminal harassment and other violent offences) rose from 487 in 2015 to 563 in 2016, up 16%. In 2016, 43% of hate crimes were violent, compared with 38% in 2015.

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation continued to be the most violent hate crimes. In 2016, 71% of hate crimes motivated by hatred of the victims’ sexual orientation were violent crimes. By comparison, 27% of hate crimes targeting religion and 45% targeting ethnicity were violent.

via The Daily — Police-reported hate crime, 2016

Hate Crimes Up In 2016, FBI Statistics Show : NPR

Relatively low numbers compared to the population, reflecting major data collection gaps:

The Anti-Defamation League, for example, noted that nearly 90 cities with populations of more than 100,000 either reported zero hate crimes or did not report data for 2016.

“There’s a dangerous disconnect between the rising problem of hate crimes and the lack of credible data being reported,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. He called for an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to get better nation-wide figures on the problem.

Sim Singh, the national advocacy manager of the Sikh Coalition, agreed. He noted that the FBI statistics count seven anti-Sikh hate crimes in 2016, which he said “represents the tip of the iceberg.”

“If law-enforcement agencies fail to document the true extent of hate crimes against our communities,” Singh said, “our nation will have a hard time mobilizing the political will and resources necessary to prevent and combat the problem.”

The only way to fix the data problem, he added, is for law enforcement to adopt mandatory hate crime reporting.

Still, the FBI data provides an overview of hate crimes across the country.

There were 7,509 victims of single-bias hate crime incidents, according to the reported numbers for 2016. A victim can be a person, a business, a government entity or a religious organization.

Nearly 59 percent of the victims were targeted because of their race. A further 21.1 percent were targeted because of religion, and 16.7 percent because of sexual-orientation.

Of the race-related incidents, more than half were anti-black, while some 20 percent were anti-white. More than half of the religious-related crimes, the statistics show, were anti-Jewish, while a quarter were anti-Muslim.

In cases where law enforcement was able to identify the perpetrator, 46.3 percent were white and 26.1 percent were black.

via Hate Crimes Up In 2016, FBI Statistics Show : NPR

Hate Crimes Soared in England and Wales After Brexit | Time.com

 Latest UK stats:

Hate crime offenses in England and Wales rose to the highest point yet recorded in the year leading up to March 2017, according to official figures released on Tuesday by the government.

There was a 29% spike in recorded hate crimes— which include any crime motivated by religion, race, sexuality, disability or transgender identity— in the 12 months before March 2017 (80,393 offenses) compared to the same period between 2015-16 (62,518 offenses)

The vote to leave the E.U. in 2016 and better recording methods attributed to the rise, the government said. “The increase over the last year is thought to reflect both a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the E.U. referendum” Britain’s Home Office, or interior department, said in a statement.

Anecdotal accounts flooded social media of attacks on some European communities in the country following the vote to leave the E.U. in June, which Leave campaign critics attribute to a rise in xenophobic rhetoric during and after Brexit campaign.

Hate crimes are still under-reported especially when the crime is committed online, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, the the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for hate crime, said in a statement . ” I will be working alongside the Government to strengthen our nationally co-ordinated response to hate crime” he said.

The majority of offenses recorded during the period were motivated by race. The report notes that there was a spike in the number of racially or religiously aggravated offenses after the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack in March, when a man killed 5 people after driving a car into pedestrians and stabbing a police officer.

Provisional figures provided by the police showed jihadist attacks over the summer led to a four-month sustained increase in hate crimes, starting with Westminster attack followed by the Manchester Arena bombing and London Bridge attack on June 3. The level of hate crime offences decreased in the following days and the pattern repeated itself after the Finsbury Park attack in June 19— when a van ploughed into worshippers near Finsbury Park mosque.

Disability and transgender hate crimes saw the largest increases 2016-17, with a 53% and 45% increase respectively compared to the year before, but the Home Office said these spikes were driven by improved identification and recording of offenses, as opposed to a dramatic increase in attacks.

Despite the rise in offenses, prosecutions for hate crimes actually declined in the year to 2016/2017, from 15,442 to 14,480 people. “The drop in referrals recorded last year has impacted on the number of completed prosecutions in 2016/17 and we are working with the police at a local and national level to understand the reasons for the overall fall in referrals in the past two years” Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, said in a statement.

“Police have improved the reporting procedures across forces, but we can do better at securing convictions – we need anyone who has been a victim of hate crime to report the abuse and the abuser to police to make sure these offenders are brought to justice” Hamilton said in a statement.

Source: Hate Crimes Soared in England and Wales After Brexit | Time.com

How we can build resilience against hatred in Canada

Good thoughtful advice (if Vancouver was the positive example of challenging hatred, Quebec city was the negative one given the violence of left-wing activists):

Some of Canada’s most urban centres were flooded with protesters Saturday and Sunday, from what President Trump would describe as “both sides” – those who were promoting racist, anti-immigration sentiment, and those who were opposing such hateful and intolerant rhetoric.

In Vancouver, for example, thousands of anti-racism supporters showed up Saturday to counter a rally that was planned by anti-immigrant demonstrators, essentially thwarting all efforts that were made by those who were promoting intolerance.

Protests were spawned from the disturbing events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Va. the previous weekend, where a so-called Unite the Right rally quickly turned violent when white-power demonstrators clashed with counter-demonstrators. Dozens of protesters were injured, and three people died, including 32-year-old Heather Heyer, when a vehicle was intentionally driven into a group of anti-racist counter-demonstrators.

Canadians watched in dismay as the hate-inspired violence unfolded south of the border, perhaps naïve to assume that such divisive ideologies do not – and cannot – exist in our multicultural nation. The truth of the matter is that Canada is not immune to violence inspired by bigotry and hatred.

In 2015, Professor Barbara Perry and I conducted a three-year study for Public Safety Canada on the state of the right-wing extremist movement in Canada, interviewing law-enforcement officials, community activists, and current and former right-wing extremists across the country, paired with open-source intelligence. Results from our research was shocking to many Canadians.

In short, we found that Canada’s right-wing extremist movement was alive and well: we identified over 100 active groups and well over 100 incidents of right-wing extremist violence over the last 30 years in the country. We also uncovered that the threat of the extreme right had been overlooked and even trivialized by a number of key stakeholders, thus hindering their ability to effectively respond to the radical right in Canada.

In turn, we proposed evidence-based strategies that we saw as effective in responding to right-wing extremism in Canada, suggesting that a multi-sectoral approach was needed to address hate and ensure that extremists have minimal impact on communities. This included the integration and utilization of an array of experts, such as police officers, policy makers, victim service providers, community organizations and the media.

In the two years since our Public Safety report was released, I’ve been watching very closely as hate-inspired events have unfolded across Canada and how key stakeholders have responded to such events. I’ve noticed that some of our key recommendations are being put to practice – the counter-demonstration in Vancouver is but one example. This is an encouraging sign.

We are seeing community groups ban together to spread messages of tolerance, and local, provincial and federal politicians are taking a public stance against hatred, making it clear that such sentiment does not represent Canadian beliefs and will not be tolerated. Reporters and journalists have also dedicated an increasing amount of time and energy to shed light on right-wing extremism in Canada, highlighting its complexities and prevalence. Stakeholders are now including their voices in the discussions about how we can build resiliency against hatred, which starts by raising awareness of the problem and mobilizing the public.

Some, though, are calling for the outright filtering of those who subscribe to extreme-right beliefs. Do not let them have an outlet for their negative views, the argument goes. This would mean not allowing them to hold a rally or have a website. This approach is counteractive, and perhaps irresponsible. This is a Band-aid solution – the views will still be there, and will only get stronger, solidifying radical right-wing ideologies. Right-wing extremists generally believe that the mainstream media and the broader public are systematically attempting to suppress their radical views, so prohibiting them from expressing their views will further reinforce their hateful beliefs.

We must not stay home when hatemongers are protesting in the streets. Adherents should never be able to promote hatred. At the same time, we cannot assume that silencing them is the solution.

Instead, Canadians must continue to attend their demonstrations, challenge ideas and not people specifically, and in a peaceful manner – like we saw in Vancouver this past weekend. Stand up against racism, xenophobia and bigotry by challenging adherents’ views, but do not engage with them. Most are easy to provoke, and most want to be provoked. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

Source: How we can build resilience against hatred in Canada – The Globe and Mail

Man tied to $1K reward for videos of Muslim students praying charged with hate crime

Valid charge:

Peel Regional Police have charged a Mississauga, Ont., man, who earlier this year posted a YouTube video offering a $1,000 reward for recordings of Muslim students during prayer, with a hate crime in connection with “numerous incidents reported to police.”

Kevin J. Johnston, 45, was arrested Monday and charged with one count of wilful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group under the Criminal Code Section 319 (2). The charge follows “concerns over information published on various social media sites,” police said.

The investigation took place over a five-month period, said Sgt. Josh Colley, and wasn’t tied to one specific incident but rather “multiple incidents that the investigators were looking at.”

“It’s not a private message that he was conveying, it was a public message … Anyone could hear, understand the messaging, so that’s where the communicating hateful messages comes into play,” Colley told CBC Toronto.

“The group that was targeted was the Muslim community,” he said, adding the incident “affects us all.”

Earlier this year, Johnston, who runs an online publication called Freedom Report, posted a YouTube video offering a $1,000 reward for recordings of Muslim students at Peel Region schools “spewing hate speech during Friday prayers.”

Spreading anxiety

The video sparked concern among Muslim families and led the Peel District School Board, which serves Mississauga, and the Peel Region communities of Brampton and Caledon, to issue a memo to its administrators, cautioning them to be “extra vigilant” and reminding them that personal recording devices can only be used in schools for educational purposes, as directed by staff.

Source: Man tied to $1K reward for videos of Muslim students praying charged with hate crime – Toronto – CBC News

Delete Hate Speech or Pay Up, Germany Tells Social Media Companies – The New York Times

Will be interesting to see the degree to which this works in making social media companies take more effective action, as well as the means that companies take to ‘police’ speech (see earlier post Facebook’s secret rules mean that it’s ok to be anti-Islam, but not anti-gay | Ars Technica). Apart from the debate over what can/should be any limits to free speech, there are risks in “outsourcing” this function to the private sector:

Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday.

The law reinforces Germany’s position as one of the most aggressive countries in the Western world at forcing companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to crack down on hate speech and other extremist messaging on their digital platforms.

But the new rules have also raised questions about freedom of expression. Digital and human rights groups, as well as the companies themselves, opposed the law on the grounds that it placed limits on individuals’ right to free expression. Critics also said the legislation shifted the burden of responsibility to the providers from the courts, leading to last-minute changes in its wording.

Technology companies and free speech advocates argue that there is a fine line between policy makers’ views on hate speech and what is considered legitimate freedom of expression, and social networks say they do not want to be forced to censor those who use their services. Silicon Valley companies also deny that they are failing to meet countries’ demands to remove suspected hate speech online.

Still, German authorities pressed ahead with the legislation. Germany witnessed an increase in racist comments and anti-immigrant language after the arrival of more than a million migrants, predominantly from Muslim countries, since 2015, and Heiko Maas, the justice minister who drew up the draft legislation, said on Friday that it ensured that rules that currently apply offline would be equally enforceable in the digital sphere.

“With this law, we put an end to the verbal law of the jungle on the internet and protect the freedom of expression for all,” Mr. Maas said. “We are ensuring that everyone can express their opinion freely, without being insulted or threatened.”

“That is not a limitation, but a prerequisite for freedom of expression,” he continued.

The law will take effect in October, less than a month after nationwide elections, and will apply to social media sites with more than two million users in Germany.

It will require companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube, to remove any content that is illegal in Germany — such as Nazi symbols or Holocaust denial — within 24 hours of it being brought to their attention.

The law allows for up to seven days for the companies to decide on content that has been flagged as offensive, but that may not be clearly defamatory or inciting violence. Companies that persistently fail to address complaints by taking too long to delete illegal content face fines that start at 5 million euros, or $5.7 million, and could rise to as much as €50 million.

Every six months, companies will have to publicly report the number of complaints they have received and how they have handled them.

In Germany, which has some of the most stringent anti-hate speech laws in the Western world, a study published this year found that Facebook and Twitter had failed to meet a national target of removing 70 percent of online hate speech within 24 hours of being alerted to its presence.

The report noted that while the two companies eventually erased almost all of the illegal hate speech, Facebook managed to remove only 39 percent within 24 hours, as demanded by the German authorities. Twitter met that deadline in 1 percent of instances. YouTube fared significantly better, removing 90 percent of flagged content within a day of being notified.

Facebook said on Friday that the company shared the German government’s goal of fighting hate speech and had “been working hard” to resolve the issue of illegal content. The company announced in May that it would nearly double, to 7,500, the number of employees worldwide devoted to clearing its site of flagged postings. It was also trying to improve the processes by which users could report problems, a spokesman said.

Twitter declined to comment, while Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The standoff between tech companies and politicians is most acute in Europe, where freedom of expression rights are less comprehensive than in the United States, and where policy makers have often bristled at Silicon Valley’s dominance of people’s digital lives.

But advocacy groups in Europe have raised concerns over the new German law.

Mirko Hohmann and Alexander Pirant of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin criticized the legislation as “misguided” for placing too much responsibility for deciding what constitutes unlawful content in the hands of social media providers.

“Setting the rules of the digital public square, including the identification of what is lawful and what is not, should not be left to private companies,” they wrote.

Even in the United States, Facebook and Google also have taken steps to limit the spread of extremist messaging online, and to prevent “fake news” from circulating. That includes using artificial intelligence to remove potentially extremist material automatically and banning news sites believed to spread fake or misleading reports from making money through the companies’ digital advertising platforms.