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RACISM

Kristallnacht speaker receives death threats

One of the leading figures in Norwegian campaign group Youth Against Racism was forced to pull out of an event commemorating Kristallnacht on Sunday night, after receiving a death threat over the phone.

Kristallnacht speaker receives death threats
Florence Aryanik - Facebook
Florence Aryanik (20), whose Muslim parents fled to Norway from Iran, was due to make a speech at a torchlit procession to commemorate the Nazi attack on German Jews. 
 
 
"It was a very difficult decision to withdraw from the event tonight," Aryanik told NRK on Saturday. "Because I'm actually more frightened of being silenced than of any threat to my life. But I decided to withdraw because of my family."
 
After NRK reported the threat on the evening of the event, which was jointly organised by Norway's Centre Against Racism and the country's Jewish community,  Aryanik received a further threatening call. 
 
"First it was completely silent, then there was a male voice saying that it was wise of me not to attend the commemoration, but that it was not so wise to talk with NRK afterwards," she said.
 
Aryanik, who has been attacked by Muslim conservatives in the past for her decision to wear western dress, said she did not know who the threats had come from. 
 
"It could be Islamists and it could be neo-Nazis. It's impossible to say as they did not say anything about why I should stay away from the commemoration," she said. 
 
On 10 November 1938, Nazi brownshirts descended on Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues across Germany,  in an orgy of destruction known Kristallnacht, or The Night of Broken Glass. 
 
The German attackers burnt 1,000 synagogues to the ground, killed at least 91 Jews, and arrested and incarcerated 30,000 more. 
 

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RACISM

Memorial of Norwegian teen killed in 2001 racist attack vandalised

A memorial to a teenage boy murdered in a racist attack was on Tuesday vandalised with the message 'Brevik was right', two days before the tenth anniversary of the July 22nd terror attacks in Norway.

Memorial of Norwegian teen killed in 2001 racist attack vandalised
Police tape. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen/Flickr

Police in Oslo have launched an investigation after the memorial to Benjamin Hermansen, who was murdered by three members of the neo-Nazi group The Boot Boys in a racially motivated attack in 2001, was found to have been vandalised. 

The statue of Hermansen, who was 15 when he was killed, was vandalised with the message “Brevik was right”, a reference to the July 22nd terror attacks carried out by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik in 2011. 

The vandalism was discovered by Johannes Dvorak Lagos in Holmlia, Oslo, while on a walk near his home at midday Tuesday. 

Lagos posted a picture of the vandalism to Twitter, describing it as “reprehensible”. 

The graffiti was discovered two days before the tenth anniversary of the July 22nd terror attacks, in which 77 people were killed. 

Brevik carried out two separate attacks on July 22nd, a bomb in Oslo aimed at killing then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and a mass shooting at the AUF youth camp on Utøya island. 

Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Labour Leader Jonas Gahr Støre have both condemned the incident. 

“It is absolutely awful to see that the Benjamin Hermansen memorial at Homlia has been vandalised just before July 22nd. It makes me sad and furious, and this shows how important it is that we stand up to racism and hate speech every single day,” Solberg said in a tweet

“Benjamin’s memorial has been vandalised with references to the July 22nd terrorist. On the same day as the Eid celebrations begin. It’s reprehensible, and it shows that dangerous attitudes still circulate among us. The police have to take this seriously, and together we have to speak out and oppose this type of behaviour,” Labour Leader Støre wrote on Twitter

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime in addition to vandalism, police said. 

“The Oslo Police district is taking the case very seriously, and an investigation has been established. The investigation will also include the penal provisions for hate crime,” law enforcement said in a statement. 

Raymond Johansen, Oslo’s executive mayor, said that right-wing extremism needs to be addressed. 

“The person or persons who have done this have the same mindset as the neo-Nazis who killed Benjamin and the attitudes behind July 22nd. This shows that there is a need to discuss these attitudes,” Johansen told newspaper VG

The graffiti was removed by 1:30 pm on Tuesday. 

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