Facing Facts Toolkit in a time of crisis
At Facing Facts, we stand committed to our role in providing collaborative and effective responses to the escalation of hate across Europe, which is of critical urgency in this time of crisis.
Synagogues, kosher restaurants, Israeli embassies and apartments of Jewish residents have been vandalised with antisemitic content in Berlin, Oporto, Paris, London, Madrid, Rome and around the world. Muslim communities are on heightened alert in London and elsewhere, after Muslim women had their head scarfs tugged from their head and several mosques were targeted in Oxford, Lancashire in the UK, in Castrop-Rauxel, and Recklinghaus in Germany and in Bayonne, France. Antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents are mounting across Europe, as the numbers indicate (updated on 8.12.2023).
- In Germany, Facing Facts Network member CLAIM documented from 9 October to 29 November, 187 violent anti-Muslim assaults, threats, insults and discrimination against individuals, including 24 attacks on religious institutions. In addition, 240 anti-Muslim hate comments were counted online in just five day (October 21 – 25, 2023), relating to a total of just 13 articles shared via the online platform X. Bundesverband RIAS registered 202 antisemitic incidents between 7 and 15 October. This is an increase of 240% compared to the same period last year. These numbers have been updated to 994 verified antisemitic incidents in the period from 7 October to 9 November 2023. The Federal Criminal Police Office in Germany (BKA) also documented a strong increase of antisemitic hate crimes, with 680 antisemitic crimes that have been reported to BKA since 7 October.
- Across the UK, between 7 October and 6 December, CST recorded at least 1890 antisemitic incidents across the UK. This is the highest ever total reported to CST across a sixty-one-day period. CST has been recording antisemitic incidents since 1984. The Metropolitan Police said it had recorded 408 antisemitic offences against Britain’s Jewish communities in October, compared to 28 in the same period last year, and anti-Muslim hate crime was up from 65 offences in October 2022 to 174 so far this month. Tell Mama’s latest figures of 1202 anti-Muslim cases cover 7 October to 30 November, demonstrating a seven-fold increase in anti-Muslim cases from the 2022 figures.
- In France, according to the Minister of Interior, since 7 October, 588 antisemitic incidents have been reported to the police. This number has now been updated to 819 antisemitic acts, which have been reported in France: these are more incidents in three weeks than over the past year. This number has been updated to 1518 antisemitic cases and more than 140 anti-Muslim acts.
- In Austria, the Jewish Community of Vienna, registered between 7 to 19 October, 76 antisemitic incidents, a 300% increase. This number has been updated to 400%.
- In the Netherlands, the number of antisemitic incidents has increased by a staggering 818 percent since October 7, according to CIDI. The number of incidents has been compared with the monthly average of the past three years.
The data will be periodically updated to include data coming from our members. These numbers represent a drastic increase in antisemitism and anti-Muslim racism in places, where reporting systems are functioning well. Nevertheless, one has to take into account that numbers might be even higher due to under-reporting.
The increase of bias-motivated cases in Europe show how the events in the Middle East function as fuel in the spread of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech online. This can lead to hate crime and attacks by violent extremists, leaving Jewish and Muslim communities insecure. Hate incidents require swift verification, investigation and responses by authorities to ensure increased protection, safety and justice for victims.
As active participants and contributors to the High Level Group on combating hate speech and hate crime, we support the work of the European Commission in creating spaces for improving multi-stakeholder cooperation for better hate crime and hate speech responses, valuing the importance of monitoring, data collection for the sake of victims support and access to justice.
As a European civil society initiative that has been building capacities of various actors and advocating for victims’ rights and better prevention measures, we invite you to read through our toolkit to better understand, prevent and respond to the increase of hate crime and hate speech during global/international crises.
Why are hate speech and hate crimes so damaging for victims, communities and society?
Hate speech reinforces stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory attitudes against certain groups of people, which can fracture social cohesion and lead to the escalation of violence. Hate crimes go beyond other types of crimes, as they have a damaging impact on victims and their communities, instilling fear, insecurity and sending a message of exclusion, which can lead to isolation and desperation among those affected.
📁 Our resources: We invite you to get familiar with the pyramid of hate to understand and visualise how bias, individual acts of prejudice and discrimination precede all higher levels of violence, such as genocide and bias-motivated crimes. It can show us how to prevent the escalation of violence and where we can contribute to dismantling all levels of the pyramid of hate.
💡Remember that news, disinformation and social media headlines can feed bias and prejudice, and these contribute to an escalation of hate speech and violent crimes, impacting Jewish and Muslim communities. Find CEJI’s toolkit on how to mitigate bias when reading the news.
Who can become a target of hate speech and hate crime?
Anyone! According to ECRI’s general policy recommendation N° 15, “hate speech is based on the unjustified assumption that a person or a group of persons are superior to others; it incites acts of violence or discrimination, thus undermining respect for minority groups and damaging social cohesion”. In our work, we refer to OSCE ODIHR’s hate crime definition: “criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people. People or property associated with – or even perceived to be a member of – a group that shares an identity trait can also be targets of hate crimes”. If we accept that anyone can be targeted because of their real or perceived identity, we should also consider everyone’s responsibility in countering it.
How can we better prevent and respond to hate speech and hate crimes?
- Improve relationships with communities
1) training police officers, prosecutors, and the court to recognise potential bias indicators and record incidents as potential hate crimes. This approach aims to ensure that the bias element is effectively addressed throughout the criminal justice system, from reporting to investigation, prosecution, and sentencing.
2) developing capacities of law enforcement on how to relate with communities to encourage reporting, provide victim support and develop joint prevention measures. A victim-centred approach is required to encourage reporting and avoid secondary victimisation of those who undergo the reporting process.
📁 Our resources:
We have been offering digital learning programmes since 2015 on our platform Facing Facts Online. We invite you to follow our self-paced courses focussing on bias indicators available on our eLearning platform and to read our guidebook for Jewish communities and for Muslim communities for police to learn more and to develop more effective relationships with the respective communities.
- Build effective multi-stakeholder cooperation
Identifying gaps and improving the relationships and data collection between the different stakeholders in a hate speech and hate crime response systems, allows for better support to victims. In order to face the rise of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech online, we need to develop effective cooperation with key stakeholders in our ecosystem, such as IT companies, law enforcement and newly appointed National DSA (Digital Services Act) coordinators. It is only by establishing a strengthened multi-stakeholder cooperation that we can respond to hate manifestations online and offline effectively. Interconvictional and intercultural engagement is also relevant in the process of building resilience in order to prevent violent extremism.
📁 Our resources: Our system thinking approach places the victim at the centre of the hate crime and hate speech response systems. Since 2016, we have developed seven national system maps to understand and assess frameworks that support hate crime recording, data collection and exchange, and victim referrals across a ‘system’ of public authorities, CSOs and other stakeholders. Find our latest hate speech mapping exercise in our report Current activities & Gaps in hate speech responses, where we capture the multiple actors, who are continuously evolving in a national hate speech response system.
- Increase Victim Support, Protection and Justice
All efforts to increase reporting and improve recording of hate crime and hate speech should be grounded in a victim-centred approach. We have developed a victim- and outcome-focused framework, which aims to increase available data, increase access to support and to justice, and to reduce risk and increase security for victims. Decision makers require the skill to understand and assess data. The person receiving the report must have the ability to:
- Supporting the person to tell their story, which might be unclear, confusing and complex. Arrange interpreting support if needed.
- Assessing immediate needs, including risks
- Providing or referral to support
- Advising on potential legal outcomes
- Identifying and capturing potential bias indicators that could be used as evidence
As an initiative of CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an inclusive Europe, we envision an inclusive and democratic Europe in which people enjoy their unique potential with all their diversity.