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Pittsburgh attack comes amid rising anti-Semitism in North America – National

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Fourteen synagogues across Canada receive mail warning that “Jewry Must Perish.” A Nazi flag and graffiti saying “Jews did 911” mars a high school. A U.S. Holocaust-denier comes to Toronto to speak at Al-Quds Day.

The attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead and six injured occurred at a time of rising anti-Semitism in both the United States and Canada, according to statistics from authorities in both countries.

More than half of the religiously-motivated hate crimes in the U.S. in 2016 targeted Jews, FBI figures indicate, and the Anti-Defamation League said 2017 was even worse – a trend mirrored in Canada.

WATCH:  Pittsburgh shooting is attack on the entire Jewish people, says UJA Toronto







Jews were the most targeted minority for hate crimes reported to police in 2016, Statistics Canada said. Anti-Semitic incidents increased 24 per cent that year. B’nai Brith Canada said 2017 saw another increase.

Only a handful of the incidents were violent, with harassment and vandalism accounting for the bulk, but they speak to what some see as a growing legitimization of anti-Semitism, one that sometimes goes unrecognized.

When Jewish high school students attended an anti-racism seminar at York University, they were told to “shut the f*** up” and listen to “real persecuted minorities,” according to B’nai Brith’s annual anti-Semitism audit.


READ MORE:
What we know about Robert Bowers, suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

“We remain deeply concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism, including violent anti-Semitism, around the globe,” said Martin Sampson of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

Sampson said anti-Semitism was unlike other forms of bigotry and hate, and was in many ways more pernicious, being longstanding and grounded in conspiracy theory.

“What underpins true anti-Semitism is a belief that the Jews are extra-evil, that they are some sort of cosmic evil, that they control the world, that they’re at the root of all that ails us,” he said.

WATCH: Anti-Semitic incidents up in 2017, according to B’nai Brith







“Anti-Semites believe this, which puts their belief one step away from action. Who is to blame them if they demonize or kill a cosmic evil? Yesterday was this exact dynamic.”

Sampson said when people needed scapegoats in complicated times, Jews have long been the targets they turned on. “Anti-Semitism is on the rise because hateful anti-Semites are intellectually deficient, angry and need someone to blame.”

He said it was important to call out, ridicule, prosecute, and marginalize anti-Semites.

“For those of us who are watching closely, yesterday was shocking, infuriating, and deeply saddening. But it was not surprising.”


READ MORE:
Police presence in Jewish communities across Canada to be increased following Pittsburgh shooting

Increases in anti-Semitism are sometimes linked to events overseas. When a Montreal Jewish school was firebombed in 2004, the 19-year-old who did it said he was angry that Israel had killed the leader of the Hamas terrorist group.

More recently, the impact of last year’s white nationalist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va. was felt in Canada, setting off what B’nai Brith called a “massive wave of vandalism featuring swastikas and other pro-Nazi imagery.” President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem similarly led to anti-Semitic hate speech.

“What is most frustrating about these incidents is the culture of impunity that surrounds them,” B’nai Brith said. “The government often talks a good game about ‘zero tolerance’ for anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, but the reality is quite different.”

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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