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Racist crimes are on the rise: CEN 9.07.07 p 8. September 7, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, EU, Immigration, Multiculturalism.

Incidents of racially and religiously motivated crime have risen sharply across Europe, an EU report on Racism and Xenophobia said last week, with the latest figures showing a rise of 6.7 percent in England and Wales, and 11.3 percent in Scotland.

“Racist violence and crime remain a serious social ill across Europe”, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency said in its Aug 27 report, which analyzed discrimination in employment, housing and education across the 27 Member States.

The full extent of the problem remains unknown, however, as only two countries, the UK and Finland report comprehensive crime statistics in accordance with the EU’s Racial Equality Directive. Only 11 of the 27 countries collect data on racial and religious crime. Of these, the UK, Germany, Denmark, France, Slovakia, France and Ireland reported a rise and Austria, Sweden and the Czech Republic showed a decrease in race crimes.

The EU report said national data from most countries “remains unsatisfactory,” and noted that the definition of race crime differed from country to country. In 2006 Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal reported no racist crimes; ten states provided “limited” statistics, while ten were identified as providing “good” data.

“As a stark illustration of the difference in awareness and the variation in data collection policies, the UK collected more reports of racist crime in a 12 month period than the other 26 Member States combined,” the EU report said.

Britain’s definition of racial and religious crime also differed from other EU Countries. In the wake of the Lawrence inquiry the definition of a “racist incident” is based upon the “victim’s initial interpretation of an incident centre-stage” rather than upon police investigation or reporting, the EU report said.

Between April 2004 and March 2005, 57,902 racist incidents were reported to the police, of which 37,028 were officially recorded. Last year the Crown Prosecution Service received 7,430 cases and prosecuted 6,123 racially motivated crimes and 41 religiously motivated offences.

Unemployment among immigrants and minorities remains significantly higher than for the majority population, the report concluded, while discrimination over housing continues to be one of the main sources of complaints to anti-discrimination authorities.

The EU findings track conclusions reached by General Synod’s 15-member Committee for Minority and Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC) which concluded the Church of England remained institutionally racist.

CMEAC’s report, Present and Participating – A Place at the Table, acknowledged that while some dioceses had sought to address the problems, the Church’s current structures still alienated many black and Asian people.

Last month the Archbishop of York told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he believed the Church of England was “institutionally racist.” Dr. Sentamu said the Church had no racist policies in effect, “but to say there is institutional racism within the church, yes, that much I’ll accept.”

He likened the climate of the Church of England to a smoke filled room. “You could go into a room when people have been smoking and there isn’t anybody you can see in sight who’s smoking, and you know there has been smoking. That’s what I call institutional racism: you know there are some behaviors that are unacceptable, but you can’t quite pinpoint anybody who’s done it,” he said.

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