posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 08:32
Our attention is rapidly turning towards next year's European Elections and yesterday I was up in Yorkshire meeting our local organisers from Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Sheffield and Saltaire. Together we mapped out our campaign strategy for the elections and agreed on both regional and localised material.
The traditional far right might not appear the threat it once was but there was no complacency in the room, with everyone agreeing that while UKIP was obviously the main issue we should still target groups like the BNP and BDP.
Most of the discussion was obviously around the threat from UKIP and a strategy that will be launched in the New Year was devised.
Posted: 3 Dec 2013 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 27 November 2013, 11:59
Cameron basically told us today “Free movement in EU needs to be less free” and “Some EU nationals are more equal than others”
Guest blog by Elisabeth POP
David Cameron announced today the toughening of European Union immigration rules by vowing to deport beggars and rough sleepers, restrict the right of foreign nationals to social benefits irrespective of the years they have contributed to British economy and society and a call for new rules to stop “vast migration” of Romanians and Bulgarians. In doing so, he is undoubtedly hoping to recapture UKIP voters, in what the Conservative Party arguably must see as its best shot at winning the next general election.
The move has made the Daily Express and Daily Mail exclaim the PM has finally seen sense and answered their “crusade”, while the Sun celebrated with “British benefits for British people”.
Cameron insists the measures are proof of the fact that he is listening to “many people” in the UK who are “deeply concerned” and fearful that from 1 January 2014 the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania will have the same rights to work in the UK as other EU citizens and the impact this could have in Britain. He says he shares these concerns, but also wants to send a signal to Europe that it has to reform “to regain the trust of its people”.
What the PM conveniently failed to clarify is that rightwing populist forces, with support from the tabloid press, are the ones who have spread myths and fears of the massive arrival of Bulgarians and Romanians after 1 January. His announcement goes against research carried out by the European Commission (EC), non-party affiliated British think-tanks and the governments of these two countries which clearly shows that there will be no mass invasion, that the vast majority of Romanians and Bulgarians living and working in the UK contribute far more to the economy then they take out in benefits. These findings were confirmed by statistics on BBC News this morning which show that only 0.8% of EU migrants who came to the UK since 2004 went on to claim benefits.
In the long run, Cameron suggests imposing restrictions on movement until a country’s GDP per head reaches a certain share of the European average or allowing each country to set an annual cap on EU migrants. In other words you are welcome to join our club, but you cannot freely look for work in richer parts of the EU – next year some of us will celebrate 25 years since the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, but clearly Mr Cameron thinks that nothing has really changed and the West/East divide should be reinstated. In fact, he will put the ideas at the heart of his proposed renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU ahead of a planned referendum in 2017.
Laszlo Andor, the EU European Commissioner responsible for employment, social affairs and inclusion, called the new measured an 'unfortunate over-reaction' which risked fuelling 'hysteria'. Sources inside the EC stressed that interior ministers meeting in Brussels on 5 December will not form a united front with Cameron against free movement of workers. For more information on the reaction of the EC and other EU countries follow the link http://www.euractiv.com/socialeurope/commission-alliance-free-movemen-news-531961
Posted: 27 Nov 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 17:03
It has been slightly amusing watching the media reaction to our report. While the Independent focused on Europeans going to Syria, most of the other national coverage has been on the plot by French intelligence to kill Abu Hamza in London. This took us slightly by surprise that we had just one paragraph on this on page 59 of the report and it was not one of the key findings we highlighted in last Friday's press release.
Anyway, the story is totally true. Back in 1999 French Intelligence scoped out the possibility of killing Abu Hamza and passing it off as an attack by the nazi group, Combat 18. I have no idea how far the plans got but the scoping exercise definitely took place.
We brought up the Hamza story in an article about the alleged Covenant of Security (CoS), the claim that there is some understanding or even agreement between the British Security Service and the leaders of al-Muhajiroun in which the Islamist extremists are left alone as long as they discourage their supporters from attacking the UK.
I have no idea whether the Covenant really existed or was just part of Choudary and Omar Bakri’s imagination but the French certainly believed it existed in the 1990s and hence their fury at British inaction against Abu Hamza.
A few months before the 7/7 bombings in London, al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri announced that the Covenant was no longer in place and the UK was a legitimate target.
There is rarely an interview these days where Choudary does not refer to the CoS, but I just presumed he was just trying to protect himself from any legal fallout from his activities. However, Abu Waleed, who runs Salafi Media, an online extremist news outlet, referred to it several times in a long twitter exchange I had with him yesterday in order to prove that Choudary and others were not considered a threat by the authorities.
Abu Waleed is convinced it does exist and mentioned several radical preachers who were interviewed by Counter-Terrorist Command (CTC) but later released after they gave commitments to support the CoS. He even added: “Choudary told a gathering last jan 2012 odd that mi5 asked him to speak about the covenent more in public,mi5 prefer that.”
So perhaps the CoS does exist and continues to this day.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 14:21
It’s funny how Anjem Choudary can remember every fact and figure about the wrongdoings of Western powers around the world but struggles to remember who has been linked to his own organisation.
Pressed on our Gateway to Terror report, Choudary has told the media: "Hope not Hate is trying to say that we are behind every terrorist operation since 7/7. If that was the case surely the police would have come and arrested us?
"A lot of people have come across us. The July 7 and the July 21 bombers probably came across us at one point but that doesn't mean that they were members of our organisation. If they were the police would have come to talk to us about it."
"We've been saying the same thing since the 1980s and no one was going out and carrying out military operations. The only thing that has changed is the British government's policies."
Firstly, we have never said that he and his organisation have been behind “every terrorist operation since 7/7”, but rather we simply state, backed up by evidence, that 70 people who have been convicted of terrorism and terror-related offences, or who have died carrying out terrorist attacks, have been linked to his group.
Choudary then plays down the connection of the 7/7 bombers to his group. Let us remind him.
Three of the four suicide bombers came from West Yorkshire and all had attended lectures by Omar Bakri, the founder of al-Muhajiroun. Two of these people - Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer – travelled to Pakistan for training. They stayed at a safe house in Lahore, owned by a member of al-Muhajiroun and then they went to the Malakand training camp in north west Pakistan that had been established by an al-Muhajiroun member.
Khan was close friends with another al-Muhajiroun member, Omar Khyam, the ringleader of the Fertiliser bomb plot, and Asif Hanif, who died in a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv.
The fourth 7/7 suicide bomber was Germaine Lindsay, who only weeks before the attack had leafleted for al-Muhajiroun on the streets of Luton.
Choudary might also like to remember Habib Ahmed, who was al-Muhajiroun’s Manchester organiser at the time of his arrest and later conviction for being a member of al-Qaeda. And then, more recently, there is Mohammed Chowdhury, the man described as the ringleader of the Christmas plot. Only three weeks before his arrest in December 2010 he was filmed helping Choudary set up a Skype call with Omar Bakri.
The other eight people convicted with Chowdhury were also active in al-Muhajiroun.
If Choudary needs reminding of his group’s links to terrorism then we suggest that he reads our Gateway to Terrorism report:
Posted: 25 Nov 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 09:50
Over the last eighteen months Anjem Choudary has sought to develop links with the European end of Ansar al-Islam, a primarily Kurdish group that originates in Northern Iraq which has been closely linked to al-Qaeda.
Formed in September 2001, Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam) came about through a merger between Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam) and a splinter group from the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan, led by Mullah Krekar. After the American invasion of Iraq, justified partly by the false claim that Ansar al-Islam had links to al-Qaeda, the group was behind a series of terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack on an Eid celebration that 109 people and wounded over 200 others.
The organisation was crushed in a US military operation in 2003, leaving many militants dead and the uncovering of chemical weapons, the only such find in Iraq. Those who survived fled to neighbouring Iran.
The group was superseded by Ansar al-Sunnah (AS), though in 2007 this new group acknowledged that it had derived from Ansar al-Islam and reverted to their original name. AS formed a partnership with al-Qaeda (AQ), but this has been severely strained in more recent years over disagreements over AQ’s deliberate targeting of civilians in suicide attacks.
The British head of Ansar al-Islam is Birmingham-based Awat Karkuky. Choudary met Karkuky during the trial in Oslo of Ansar al-Islam founder Mullah Krekar and since then they have formed a close relationship. Karkuky has spoken at several of Choudary’s demonstrations in London while the two organisations had a joint indoor meeting in Birmingham in February 2013.
In fact 31-one-year-old Awat Karkuky is in fact Awat Wahab Hamasalih. He was born in the Kurdish region of Iraq and now a member of its ruling council.
To read more about Karkuky and the Ansar al-Islam link, buy Gateway to Terror
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 08:50
Read extracts from our Gateway to Terror report. More will get put up on our site during the day
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 23 November 2013, 20:37
I'm sure I am not alone in feeling sick at reading the horrific story in The Guardian of the unfolding disaster that is engulfing the Central African Republican. Earlier this week the French Government warned that the country was "on the verge of a genocide."
"A massacre of the innocents is taking place in the heart of Africa, as the world looks the other way," writes David Smith, in The Guardian.
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, which saw 900,000 people, almost 10% of the country's population, killed in an eight-week period. The genocide happened because the world stood by and, in the case of France and Belgium, activily supported the murderous regime.
The international community promised to learn the lessons but talk comes all too easily.
Lewis Mudge, a Human Rights Watch researcher, told The Guardian that what is unfolding in CAR should not yet be called a genocide as there is still time to prevent another Rwanda. "The world needs to find the CAR on the map and start paying attention on humanitarian grounds. It's still early enough to avert a crisis in this country. It's not a genocide and it's not a civil war but it's certainly trending in that direction."
Read the full article here:
Posted: 23 Nov 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 22 November 2013, 13:55
HOPE not hate had a look at the latest figures for hate crimes from the Metropolitan Police. We thought the trend was reassuring in terms of some types of hate crimes, but extremely worrying in terms of Islamophobic Crime rates.
While it is encouraging to see that both anti-Semitic and homophobic crime rates are falling, some London boroughs have actually witnessed notable spikes (unsurprisingly, in some of these boroughs the ethnic makeup of local communities is changing, which in turn could explain the rise in tensions).
We remain determined to work with local communities, both in London and across the country, so that TOGETHER we can offer an antidote to hate and address tensions to prevent any escalations.
Since the Woolwich attack six months ago, we’ve been stressing that Islamophobic crime rates have risen consistently and the latest figure show that this particular type of hate crime still remains far higher than last year. We find it baffling that some mainstream journalists and commentators are still trying to deny the anti-Muslim spike post-Woolwich.
HOPE not hate has consistently exposed the workings of the Counter-Jihad movement, successfully lobbying the Home Secretary to ban the movement’s two key ideologues, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, from entering the UK earlier this summer. It has also exposed the activities of neo-Nazi movements and leaders in the UK and overseas.
Equally, we have exposed the politics and workings of a handful of extreme fundamentalists who advocate an interpretation of Islam which does not reflect the vast majority of British Muslims’ beliefs. More on this last point, soon.
|Type of crime||No. of crimes in the 12 months to October 2013||No. of crimes in the 12 months to October 2012||Overall trend (% Change)||Significant exceptions or contributors to the overall trend|
|Racist & Religious Hate Crime||9,005||9,418||- 4.4%||Haringey (+19.3%)
Tower Hamlets (+25.6%)
|Homophobic Crime||1,076||1,143||- 5.9%||Barnet (+54.5%)
|Anti-Semitic Crime||162||186||- 12.9%||Hillingdon (+66.7%)
|Islamophobic Crime||561||341||+ 51.3%||Sutton (+150%)
Source: Metropolitan Police, http://www.met.police.uk/crimefigures/
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 22 November 2013, 09:04
I'm delighted to announce that Carlos Saavedra, formerly of United We Dream and now of Movement Mastery, will be returning to the UK to work with HOPE not hate in the New Year. He will be delivering some training at a two day HOPE camp, for our local organisers, before running another training event for Migrant and Refugee youth. He, and a colleague, will also be speaking at a few HOPE not hate community events around the country. Carlos will then travel to Spain, where we will together run a three-day training event for 20 anti-racist/anti-fascist leaders from across Europe.
Earlier this year, Carlos spent two weeks in England and spoke at about 20 meetings across the country. He is a really inspiring speaker and inspirational organiser and trainer. This summer, three of our organisers attended a four day training event he organised in Boston.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 20 November 2013, 12:58
Guest Blog by Elisabeth POP
One week ago, when the journalists at The Guardian started the only positive campaign targeting Romania and its nationals in the UK, I thought it would end up being just a drop in an ocean of hate. I was proven that I should never lose HOPE and faith in the ingenuity of the Romanian spirit and the resolve of the great British public when it comes to showing all the hatemongerers out there that # WeAreTheMany
More than 1,000 Romanians have now sent their personal photographs to The Guardian Witness project “What is Romania like” proving how proud they are of their families and friends, their churches and their culture, their whole country, with its breathtaking landscapes and natural treasures, unique in Europe– according to His Royal Highness Prince Charles. But more importantly they are sending an invitation to the British people to get to know them for whom and what they really are – hard working, decent people, the vast majority of them determined to better themselves and their families by building Romania from home, not seeking to invade the British isles from 1 January 2014!
This 1,000 Romanian voices, made up of both Romanian, Roma, Hungarian and German ethnics, have been joined by hundreds of Britons and others from around the world determined to share their authentic, overwhelmingly positive experiences of having travelled, lived, worked or even built a family or a business in Romania. They too feel strongly about setting the record right and saying to those determined to spread myths, lies, hate and fear about Romanians – Not in our name!
The Guardian journalists confessed they wanted to change British perception about Romanian, but more importantly to stress that the idea that the UK would be invaded by Romanians in early January 2014 is totally false.
Talking to Antena3, the leading Romanian TV News Channel coordinating a similar initiative but titled “Tell Britain why you are not planning to leave Romania”, Caroline Bannock, Community Coordinator Guardian Witness, said: “There is a myth in the UK that after 1 January 2014 we will be swamped with a huge number of Romanians. I realised that very few in this country know much about Romanians, so I wanted to combat this myth and I wanted to invite Romanians themselves to tell us about their country and about them”.
“I must admit, I did not know much about Romania myself. I knew about Dracula and thanks to Top Gear I knew that you have a fantastic road through the Carpathian Mountains. I assumed, because I had seen some pictures, that it was very beautiful, but the photos sent to us really show not just how beautiful the country is, but that people are proud of their culture and the nature that surrounds them, they are welcoming and very friendly", added The Guardian campaign coordinator .
We are encouraging our HOPE not hate supporters to visit The Guardian’s “What is Romania like” project at https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/5280f883e4b0b9c05d8a3396 and read the comments for themselves, and possibly even share their photos of travelling, living, or working in Romania or ask their Romanian friends to do so.
Posted: 20 Nov 2013 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments