Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canadian-jewish-congress/marches-to-modems/mtm-004 Last-Modified: 1997/03/30 4. The Crimes: Two Case Studies by Bernie M. Farber While statistics prepared by Metro Police suggest most hate crimes are committed by individuals not directly connected to any Organized hate group, it can be argued that the hate propaganda efforts of racist groups and others certainly set a tone and a climate that nourish the hate in people not necessarily members of their groups. And too, a look at the hate-motivated crimes committed by members of hate groups suggests they are more vicious and have a disproportionate effect on their intended victims. Here's a look at two such crimes from recent files. 4.1 Hate Music and Racist Violence On a hot summer night in late August 1993 a young violent neo-Nazi skinhead by the name of Jason Hoolans, was attending a "hate rock concert" sponsored by the neo-Nazi Heritage Front. George Burdi's band RaHoWa was being featured along with another hate-rock group known as ARYAN. This hate rock concert was held in a North York bar and attracted over 250 young people. Hate rock "hits" including "These Boots are Made for Stompin (Jews)" and "Let's go Coon Huntin ' Tonight " were sung with vitriolic exuberance.
Pumped up by beer and alcohol and injected with these evil musical lyrics, Jason Hoolan's went "coon huntin" that night. His innocent victim was a young immigrant, from Sri Lanka, by the name of Sivarajah (Rajah) Vinasithamby. Rajah and his young family had immigrated from Sri Lanka to Canada only a few months earlier. Although a qualified and experienced science teacher, Rajah had taken a job as a dishwasher in a downtown restaurant in order to support his wife and two young children. There was to be a fateful and tragic meeting that night. In his "reasons for sentence" at the trial of Jason Hoolans, Justice Hugh Locke put it this way: "Mr. Hoolans wore heavy steel toed work boots, pseudo army combat pants and a t shirt. He and others of his ilk that night walked the streets and the alleys of Toronto looking for victims. His object was to obviously satisfy a certain perverted urge to do physical violence to other human beings, especially those whose skin colour is not white. Mr. Vinasithamby that night was finishing his shift as a dishwasher in a restaurant located on or near Bloor Street. As part of his duties he stepped into his alley at the back door of the restaurant in order to dispose of garbage. He did that as Mr. Hoolans, ..., was stalking the alley at that location. In the result, the accused attacked the complainant, put him to the ground and then proceeded to administer a savage beating to Mr. Vinasithamby, which included multiple kicks to the latter' s head by the accused, who was wearing those heavy steel toed work boots." ....The acts of this accused have left his victim with permanent injuries of a most serious type. This was a totally unprovoked, deliberate cowardly attack. The complainant is a victim in the most accurate sense of the word. ...Mr. Hoolans at all material times was a member of a racial hate group dedicated to perpetration of violence upon members of visible minorities as well upon Jews and others." Interestingly, during the course of the trial, at which Mr. Hoolans pled guilty in his own defense he noted: "As long as I can remember I was in trouble with the police." . When asked by defense counsel Daniel Brodsky, why it was he joined a neo-Nazi skinhead group Hoolans stated: ..."It seemed that they belonged to an empire. I felt a sense of belonging.'' It was Jason Hoolans testimony that he was "brainwashed" by hate material and most specifically hate music which led him to the kinds of actions he committed against racial minorities. "The skinhead's enemies were visible minorities, whites who were sympathetic to visible minorities and homosexuals. Skinheads were a new breed, like a pack of wolves." In sentencing Jason Hoolans to 5 years in penitentiary Justice Hugh Locke found racial hatred as a motivating factor. To this day the sentence imposed on Jason Hoolans remains as the longest and most significant amount of prison time given to a neo-Nazi skinhead for racist violence. 4.2 A Synagogue Desecration Several years ago on a quiet summer evening in a residential area of downtown Toronto, Sharon M. aged 19 was having a party at her parents' home. Mr. & Mrs. M were away for the weekend. Sharon, a part-time cadet with the Canadian Armed Forces, was not known to be a trouble maker. Recently, however, Sharon had met a new group of friends, racist skin- heads. She was particularly attracted to a young neo-Nazi skin-head, Zvonimir Lelas, at the time aged 21. Alcohol, loud music and profanity were the order of the evening. Soon a plan was to emerge: "During the course of the evening it was suggested that the group would go to a synagogue for the purpose of spray- painting it with paint" Checking the yellow pages, a nearby synagogue was located; the Shaarei Shomayim a few blocks from Sharon M's home. Approaching the synagogue, Lelas and Sharon wasted no time. In an orgy of antisemitic hatred, Lelas sprayed two large swastikas circled in red on the main doors of the building, followed by "Smash the Zog" (antisemitic acronym for Zionist Occupational Government). Working in a frenzy, Lelas and Sharon added "White Power" and more swastikas to the walls and windows of the synagogue. The night of hatred was not yet over. To complete the evening, Lelas spray-painted Nazism and a swastika on the Hebrew day school sign, located not far from the synagogue. As well, spray painted on the door of the Hebrew day school was the phrase "ZOG HAS DIED." Prior to completing his night' s task, Lelas painted a large swastika on the hood of a car which, as it turned out, was Jewish owned. This would become significant in the investigation to follow. The house chairman of the Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue and a Holocaust survivor was the first person at the scene to witness the damage. In giving a victim impact statement to the court during the Lelas sentencing, he recalled that terrible day: "I don't have to tell you how much I was personally emotionally hurt as a survivor to see after 45 years that horrible thing on our synagogue.'' Under the chairmanship of the late David Satok, the Community Relations Committee, Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region decided for the first time to offer a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. Over the next 5 days, 40 different religious, ethnic and minority groups came forward and added to the CJC reward. People and organizations from all walks of life: Black, Chinese, Anglican, Japanese, Serbian, Roman Catholic and many more had come together in a unique show of solidarity raising the reward to an unprecedented $25,000. Then, days later, after having received several useless "tips" Canadian Jewish Congress received a significant phone call. One piece of crucial information had been withheld from the media - the swastika painted on the car hood - yet this caller knew the entire story, including the swastika on the car. Canadian Jewish Congress facilitated in linking the informant with the police. Zvonimir Lelas and Sharon M were arrested. Interestingly, Lelas was preparing to lead a group of neo-Nazi skinheads to a neo-Nazi rally being held that summer in a small town outside of metro Toronto. As a result of Lelas's quick arrest, the neo-Nazi skinheads were leaderless and drifted away leaving the event sparsely attended. Both Lelas and Sharon M pleaded guilty to "mischief" and "property" offenses. Sharon M had no prior record, nor any prior connection to neo-Nazi groups. She was given a suspended sentence. Lelas, on the other hand, was different. He had a lengthy history of involvement with neo-Nazi groups, including a leading role as an Exalted Cyclops with a Ku Klux Klan cell. Despite this information, as well as victim impact statements from synagogue members and the Canadian Jewish Congress, Lelas was only ordered to pay restitution and serve a six month sentence. The Crown appealed the sentence and a year later the Ontario Court of Appeal granted the application and upheld the appeal substituting a sentence of one year. In writing for the majority, Justice Houlden stated, "When mischief is racially or religiously motivated and is done to cause emotional injury or shock to a particular segment of Canadian society, it calls for a far more severe penalty than mischief which is done merely to damage property A sentence of 6 months is not in my opinion sufficient to show society's general abhorrence over the acts of the respondent. The message must go out loud and clear that conduct such as that engaged in by the respondent will not be tolerated in Canadian society....and will be met with a severe penalty." Since Justice Houlden's statement on sentence, the Canadian government has passed Bill C41 which now makes it mandatory across the country for judges to take into consideration during sentence, "hate" as a motivating factor in the crime. Bill C4 1 has become a primary tool in fighting hate-crime in Canada.
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