U.K.: Briton jailed for life over plot to kill Prime Minister

A British man was sentenced to life in prison on Friday over a plot to kill Prime Minister Theresa May by first detonating an explosive device to get into her Downing Street office and then using a knife or a gun to attack her.

Naa’imur Rahman, 21, of north London, planned to detonate an improvised explosive device at the heavily guarded gates of Downing Street and gain access to May’s office in the ensuing chaos and assassinate her, according to police.

He was convicted last month of preparing to commit acts of terrorism and at London’s Old Bailey court on Friday was given a life prison and will serve 30 years behind bars.

“Rahman’s target was the prime minister but he had no qualms about killing innocent bystanders in the process of reaching her,” said Dean Haydon, the UK’s Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism.

“At one point he told a covert counter terrorism officer that even if he could not reach the Prime Minister, he just wanted to strike fear into people.”

As he put the plot together, Rahman believed he was corresponding online with members of the Islamic State (IS) militant group. However, he was actually talking to undercover officers from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Britain’s MI5 domestic spy agency.

He was arrested last November shortly after unwittingly meeting an undercover police officer and collecting what he believed was a homemade bomb but was in fact a harmless replica.

After his conviction in July, police said Rahman had been in contact with an uncle who had travelled to Syria and joined IS and who had encouraged his nephew to carry out attacks in Britain.

Rahman had been planning to carry out the attack for two years but his resolve was hardened when he heard that his uncle had been killed in a drone attack.

Britain is on its second highest threat level with an attack considered highly likely. Last year, there were four deadly attacks and the head of MI5 said in May that a further 12 Islamist plots had been foiled since the first of these in March 2017.

Earlier this month, a man was charged with attempted murder after a car careered into people and a barrier at London’s parliament, with police saying the incident was being treated as an act of terrorism.

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Categories: assassination, Briton, counter-terrorism, Daesh, Dean Haydon, Islamism, Islamist, MI5, Naa'imur Rahman, News, online correspondence, plot, Syria, terrorism, terrorist, tSenior National Coordinator for Counter- Terrorism

Tell MAMA Annual Report 2017: ‘Beyond the Incident’

Beyond the Incident: Highest Number of Annual Reports Logged by Tell MAMA Since Launch in 2012

Director of Tell MAMA, Iman Atta OBE says, “We are in deeply worrying times where people are looking for certainty and what they are getting is instability at a political and societal level. This means that at times like this, minority groups are the ones who suffer the anger of those looking to vent their fears, insecurities and concerns.

“We are seeing more aggressive street-based incidents, younger perpetrators, between the ages of 13-18, increased vandalism and international interference by well organised social media accounts playing groups off in the UK. More than ever, we need to come together and redouble our efforts against those who seek to divide and play communities off against each other”.

Key Points

  • In 2017 Tell MAMA recorded a total of 1,330 reports. Of these reports, 1,201 were verified as being anti-Muslim or Islamophobic in nature and as having occurred in the UK between January and December 2017. More than two-thirds of verified incidents occurred offline, or on a street-level (70%, n=839), which represents a 30% rise in offline reports when compared to the previous reporting period (n=643). An offline, or street-level, incident means that the incident occurred in-person between a victim (or property) and a perpetrator. There were therefore more street incidents of anti-Muslim hatred reported into Tell MAMA.
  • Crimes or incidents that are classified as ‘online’ occurred on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, or on other Internet-based platforms, were verified as having happened within the UK, and account for a third of reports in 2017 (n=362), which represents a 16.3% rise in reports when compared with the previous year (n=311). This small rise can be partially attributed to the way in which ideologically-motivated accounts felt emboldened by major trigger events, (such as terrorist attacks) and broader Islamophobic discourses in the public sphere.
  • The ‘online hate’ figure, however, should be viewed as part of a wider trend in our data sets where there has been a marked shift towards more serious offline incidents such as physical attacks, threatening behaviour and abuse more generally, along with a growing awareness of Tell MAMA in Muslim communities, among key stakeholders, and partners, resulting in a greater willingness amongst victims and witnesses to report.
  • Tell MAMA has listed in its Annual Report examples of ‘Twitter bots’ that have sought to cause disruption and division in community perceptions and which have actively promoted anti-Muslim hatred. One such Twitter account was @DavidJo52951945 . Responses to the rhetoric on this account, called for violent action against Islamic institutions and on August 30th 2017, the Times reported that this bot originated from Russia. Furthermore, a Twitter account called @SouthLoneStar, which had amassed some 16,500 followers, was responsible in starting a global trend after the Westminster terrorist attack.


For further information about Tell MAMA please click here.

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Categories: Annual Report, anti-Muslim hate, anti-Muslim hatred, far right extremism, hate crime, hate crime incidents, Islamism, Muslim women, Publications / Reports, Tell MAMA Annual Report 2017, Terrorist Attacks, veil

Pensioner loudly ranted about ‘another f**king Muslim’ smiling at him

Nottinghamshire Police are investigating an Islamophobic incident at a fitness club after a man ranted that a Muslim woman near him was going to ‘bomb’ and ‘kill him’.

The incident occurred on May 31, at a branch of the David Lloyd fitness club chain in the East Midlands.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, the Muslim woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated that upon entering the steam room, she heard a man loudly tell another club member: “She was smiling at me, another f**king Muslim, she thinks I’m going to smile back at her, this f**king Muslim, she’s going to bomb me, she’s going to kill me”.

She added that she had smiled at the man before entering the room. The man also made other remarks, including that he had ‘no respect’ for Muslims before exiting the room.

Some academics, like Dr Chris Allen, speak of how the hijab functions as a ‘universal symbol’ of “Muslimness” yet with no visible Islamic clothing the woman was targeted due to her ethnicity, which again demonstrates the role of racialisation in broader anti-Muslim and Islamophobic discourses.

The comments left her feeling vulnerable, unsafe, distressed, and humiliated. She worries about bumping into the same man when accessing certain facilities at the club.

She complained to management but is concerned about their slow response.

Tell MAMA has now written to the fitness club on her behalf regarding her complaint.

She described the perpetrator as being male, white, in his 60s or 70s.

In 2017, the single biggest incident category recorded by Tell MAMA was abusive behaviour, where 52 per cent of offline reports constituted verbal or non-verbal forms of abuse.

You can get advice from our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.








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Categories: hate crime, News

Pakistan: Critics fear Islamism rise as new minister bans ‘vulgar’ billboards

Punjab’s new information minister, Islamist politician Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan, has announced a ban on “vulgar” movie billboards in the Pakistani province, angering those who fear the growing influence of hardliners under new Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Since Khan’s party appointed him last week, Chohan has caused a number of rows, including with his visit to the grave of a man sentenced to death for killing the governor of Punjab in 2011, and with critical remarks about Nargis, a popular Pakistani singer and actress.

“If any vulgar billboard is found at any cinema in Punjab after three days, there will be a fine in first place, and if any one didn’t comply, that cinema will be shut down,” Chohan told a public meeting in the eastern city of Lahore.

“Is there any humanity that you print half-naked women and put them on big billboards?” he said.

Khan’s election victory in July was helped by strong support from Islamist parties. Chohan joined Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Justice Movement from the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.

“It’s pure moral policing,” the left-leaning politician and rights activist Ammar Rashid said on Twitter.

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Categories: Ammar Rashid, Billboards, Blasphemy, Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan, freedom of speech, hardliners, human rights, Imran Khan, Islamabad, Islamism, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, moral policing, morality, Mumtaz Qadri, Nargis, News, Punjab, Punjabi, Salmaan Ahmed, shutdown, Tehreek-e-Insaf Justice Movement

China: CCTV cameras and eviction for a ‘house church’ in Beijing

The Zion Church in Beijing, one of the city’s largest unofficial Protestant “house” churches, has operated with relative freedom for years, hosting hundreds of worshippers every weekend in an expansive, specially renovated hall in north Beijing.

But in April, city authorities asked the church to install 24 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the building for “security”, Zion’s head pastor, Jin Mingri, told Reuters.

“They wanted to put cameras in the sanctuary where we worship. The church decided this was not appropriate,” Jin said over tea in his spacious, book-lined office. “Our services are a sacred time.”

When the request was refused, police and state security agents started harassing churchgoers, calling them, visiting them, contacting their workplace and asking them to promise not to go to church, according to statements from the church and interviews with attendees.

China’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, but since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, Beijing has tightened restrictions on religions seen as a challenge to the authority of the ruling Communist Party.

China’s religious affairs bureau and the public security ministry did not respond to faxed requests for comment.

The Chinese government says greater oversight of religious activities is needed in order to regulate believers and facilitate worship, as well as to prevent foreign forces from influencing China’s internal affairs using the guise of religion.


China’s Christian believers are split between those who attend unofficial “house” or “underground” churches and those who attend government-sanctioned places of worship.

The unofficial establishments, which range from small living room-gatherings to large, professional operations like Zion, had in recent decades been tolerated by authorities.

They were often able to rent large spaces, though these are rarely identifiable from the outside. The only church exteriors in China adorned with steeples or crosses are officially sanctioned.

In February, new legislation increased oversight of religious education and practice, with harsher punishment for practices not sanctioned by the authorities.

In addition to being asked to install security cameras, some unofficial churches have been asked by police to take detailed lists of attendee IDs and phone numbers, churchgoers and activists say.

Some who push back have been visited by police and asked to switch places of worship to officially sanctioned churches, they added.

The Zion church, which occupies an office building floor that was previously a nightclub, is now being evicted despite previous verbal assurances from its landlord that it could rent the location until 2023, Jin said. The landlord could not be reached for comment.

Jin does not expect to be able to find a landlord that would rent the church another suitable location.


There are roughly 60 million Christians in China, most of them Protestant, with about 10 million Catholics, according to independent estimates.

The Vatican and Beijing are locked in talks to resolve a decades-long dispute over appointing bishops in China that, if resolved, could make underground Catholic churches official, with Holy See-approved bishops.

On July 23, more than 30 of Beijing’s hundreds of underground Protestant churches took the rare step of releasing a joint statement complaining of “unceasing interference” and the “assault and obstruction” of regular activities of believers since the new regulations came into effect, according to a copy of the statement seen by Reuters and confirmed by Jin.

“We call on the government to respect history and the current situation of house churches, respect the means and practices of religious work, and respect citizens’ basic freedoms and rights to believe,” the letter said.

Wang Yu, a prominent rights lawyer who has defended Christians from harassment and was recently baptised at Zion after years of worship there, said she believes the pressure on believers is an attempt to force the church to close.

“The authorities hope numbers will dwindle till it becomes impossible to continue, but in recent months ever-more churchgoers have been attending service,” she said.

Wang fears, however, the situation will worsen, given the authorities have started describing the church as a “cult” when pressuring churchgoers. In one of its statements, Zion also says authorities have called the church a cult.

“Being labelled a cult was how it all started for the Falun Gong in 1999,” Wang said, referring to the spiritual movement the Communist Party banned that year.

The new regulations have increased government pressure on the churches to “sinicize” – to be culturally Chinese and submit to oversight from the Communist Party – but many have resisted, saying this would be a fundamental betrayal of their faith.

“House churches believe that our spiritual needs and the content of our faith is ruled over by God,” Pastor Jin said.

“What we need is the freedom to believe. Without this, it is not real faith.”

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Categories: CCTV, China, Christianity, Communism, Communist Party, cult, Falun Gong, freedom, freedom to worship, house church, human rights, Jin Mingri, News, pastor, Protestantism, Wang Yu, Zion Church in Beijing

UK: Foreign minister attacks Google over ‘child abuse content’

British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt accused Google on Thursday of abandoning its moral values by failing to remove child abuse content while launching a version of its search engine in China that will block some websites.

The British government has repeatedly criticized online platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for failing to remove abusive material or sexual content posted online even after they were notified.

“Seems extraordinary that Google is considering censoring its content to get into China but won’t cooperate with UK, US … in removing child abuse content,” Hunt said on Twitter. “They used to be so proud of being values-driven.”

Alphabet’s Google plans a search engine in China that will block some search terms and websites, two sources told Reuters earlier this month, in a move that could mark its return to a market it abandoned eight years ago on censorship concerns.

Google said in a statement they agreed with Hunt that child sexual abuse was “abhorrent and must be removed, that’s why we co-operate with governments to fight child sexual abuse online”.

Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand invited major technology companies to attend a meeting on tackling child abuse and extremism on their websites, but the firms declined to attend, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Google said they did offer to send an executive to the conference.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May used an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos to say investors should use their financial power to force internet firms into taking more responsibility for stopping militants and paedophiles using their platforms.

Google, which quit China’s search engine market in 2010, has been actively seeking ways to re-enter China where many of its products are blocked by regulators.

Leading human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have urged Google not to bow to censorship demands in China because by doing so, they allege, the company would be complicit in the repression of freedom of speech.

Search terms about human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protests will be among the words blacklisted in the search engine app, which The Intercept website said had already been demonstrated to the Chinese government.

The project, code-named “Dragonfly”, has been under way since the spring of 2017, the news website said.

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Categories: abuse, Amnesty International, censorship, child abuse, China, Dragonfly, Google, human rights, Internet, Jeremy Hunt, morality, News, online platforms, sex abuse, UK, United Kingdom, YouTube and Facebook

Jordan: Country to lead fundraising for U.N. Palestinian agency after cuts

Jordan said on Thursday it would lead a campaign to raise funds for the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees, to help it survive after the United States cut its funding.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said a meeting next month in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly would mobilise support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to continue core education and health services.

“Any shortage in funding will drive hundreds of thousands towards deprivation and despair,” Safadi, whose country has 2.2 million U.N. registered Palestinian refugees, said in Amman after meeting Pierre Krahenbuhl, the UNRWA head. Jordan will call for an Arab League meeting to lobby for donors to cover the $200 million shortfall needed to shore up UNRWA, Safadi said.

UNRWA has faced a cash crisis since the United States, long its biggest donor, earlier this year slashed funding, saying the agency needed to make unspecified reforms and calling on the Palestinians to renew peace talks with Israel.

The agency was founded in 1949 after the first Arab-Israel war, in the wake of the exodus of around 700,000 refugees who fled or were driven out of Israel on its founding as a state.

UNRWA now looks after more than 5 million descendants of those original refugees, in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“One cannot wish 5.3 million Palestine refugees away. These are people who have rights and for many years now, for decades have faced a plight and injustice that is simply immense,” UNRWA’s Krahenbuhl said at a news conference with Safadi.

“As long as a just a lasting solution has not found of the issue of Israel-Palestine conflict we will continue to implement the mandate that the General Assembly has given us.”

The Palestinians assert the right under international law to return to homes abandoned in Israel or be compensated. Safadi said funding cuts for UNRWA undermine that right.

“The continuation of UNRWA means continued commitment by the international community to working towards a just solution of the refugees that guarantees the right of return and compensation,” Safadi said.

Safadi last week raised the plight of UNRWA with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington where officials say he warned of “dangerous consequences” to regional stability if the financial crisis were not resolved.

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Categories: Arab League, Arab-Israel war, Ayman Safadi, Jordan, Lebanon, Mike Pompeo, News, Palestine, Pierre Krahenbuhl, refugees, Syria, U.N. General Assembly United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UN, United Nations, UNRWA

Pakistan: Islamists call for Dutch envoy’s expulsion over cartoons

An Islamist party in Pakistan called for the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador on Wednesday as it launched a protest against a far-right Dutch politician’s plan for a cartoon competition featuring caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Several thousand activists gathered in the eastern city of Lahore for the demonstration organised by Tehreek-e-Labbaik, a party that amassed the fifth largest number of votes in a general election last month having campaigned as a defender of the laws and punishments for crimes of blasphemy.

Party leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi set out from Lahore’s historic centre at the head of a protest he aims to take through the towns of Punjab province to the capital Islamabad, where protesters will stage a sit-in to pressure Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan to cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands.

“The Dutch ambassador should be immediately deported,” Labbaik spokesman Ejaz Ashrafi told Reuters. “We will only stop when the government meets this demand.”

Pakistan has already complained to the Dutch government about far-right parliamentarian Geert Wilders’ plans for a cartoon contest that will upset and provoke Muslims.

Wilders intends to display the cartoons on the walls of his political party’s room in parliament. He says he’s had “hundreds” of entries.

“The Foreign Office called the chargé d’affaires of the Netherlands and issued him a Demarche’ to record a protest,” the Pakistani prime minister’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week that the cartoon competition “was not something I would do” and his government was not associated with it.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he planned to take up the issue with the United Nations and several world leaders.

“They don’t understand how much they hurt us when they do such acts,” Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, said on Tuesday, a day after the upper house of parliament condemned the proposed cartoon competition.

Officials from the Punjab provincial government met with Labbaik leaders in Lahore in a vain attempt to persuade them to call off their protest.

“We told them to stop the protests because the Pakistan government is taking up the issue effectively,” an official involved on the talks told Reuters, adding that Labbaik representatives insisted the protest would only end once the Dutch envoy was expelled.

Last year, in a stand-off with the previous government, Labbaik shut down a main highway leading into Islamabad for nearly three weeks over a small change in wording to an electoral law changing a religious oath to a simple declaration. Labbaik said the change amounted to blasphemy.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was forced to accept the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid, who Labbaik held responsible for the change, after seven people were killed and nearly 200 wounded in a failed attempt by police to disperse protesters.

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Categories: Cartoons, chargé d'affaires, Ejaz Ashrafi, Geert Wilders, Holland, Imran Khan, Islamism, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Lahore, Mark Rutte, Muslim League-Nawaz, Netherlands, News, Pakistan, Prophet Mohammed, Punjab, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Tehreek-e-Labbaik, Zahid Hamid

U.N.: Social media must clamp down on hate speech

Social media, including Facebook, must proactively block content inciting hatred and prevent online campaigns which target minorities, such as those undertaken in Myanmar, the United Nations human rights chief said on Wednesday.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, was speaking after U.N. experts accused Myanmar generals of “genocidal intent” and said Facebook had allowed its platform to be used to incite violence against Rohingya.

Facebook said on Monday it was removing several Myanmar military officials from the social media website and an Instagram account to prevent the spread of “hate and misinformation” after reviewing the content.

Zeid, whose spokesman said he has met with major tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Facebook and Google, in recent months, was speaking to a news conference before his four-year term ends on Aug. 31.

Zeid said he didn’t feel Facebook took the issue seriously at first but that the company’s attitude began to change after Yanghee Lee, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, told a Geneva press conference in March that Facebook was being used in the country to spread hate speech.

“But it shouldn’t be because the press or the human rights community highlights the problem for them then suddenly to respond. They should be aware of it ahead of time,” he said.

“So I don’t think they should wait until the crisis begins. They should be thinking proactively about what steps they will take to mitigate that,” he added.

Facebook said on Monday that while it was too slow to act in the case of Myanmar, it was now making progress, with better technology to identify hate speech and improved reporting tools.

However, Zeid said there was a danger that social media could be over-regulated in a way that breaches human rights law including the right to freedom of expression.

Tech giants should “keep the broadest space available and open to the exercise of freedom of expression”, relying on international human rights law for regulation, he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Google’s search engine of promoting negative news articles and hiding “fair media” coverage of him, vowing to address the situation without providing evidence or giving details of action he might take.

Trump’s attack against the Alphabet Inc. unit follows a string of grievances against technology companies, including Twitter Inc and Facebook, which he has accused of silencing conservative voices.

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Categories: Alphabet Inc., Donald Trump, free speech, freedom of expression, Genocide, Google, hate, Hate Speech, human rights, Instagram, Minorities, misinformation, Myanmar, News, online content, Rohingya, Twitter Inc., U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.S., Yanghee Lee, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein

Germany: Skulls from colonial-era massacre returned to Namibia

Skulls and other remains of massacred tribespeople used in the colonial era for experiments to push claims of European racial superiority were handed over by Germany to Namibia at a church ceremony in Berlin.

In what historians call the first genocide of the 20th century, soldiers of German Kaiser Wilhelm slaughtered some 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama tribespeople in a 1904-08 campaign after a revolt against land seizures by German colonists.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, a Namibian delegation received the skulls and bones from German Foreign Ministry representatives. They will be taken to the Namibian capital Windhoek on Aug. 31 where rituals will be carried out.

“Today, we want to do what should have been done many years ago – to give back to their descendants the remains of people who became victims of the first genocide of the 20th century,” said Petra Bosse-Huber, a German Protestant bishop.

Namibian Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said last week that the government would create a group to decide whether to bury or display the repatriated skulls that had been kept in German museums.

Germany has acknowledged “moral responsibility” for the killings but to avoid compensation claims, has avoided making an official apology for the massacres.

Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, chairwoman of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, said the handover ceremony would have been the perfect opportunity for Germany to officially apologise.

“Is that asking too much? I don’t think so,” she told reporters in Berlin earlier this week.

Ignored for decades, Germany’s colonial history is drawing increasing attention. A couple of years ago, the German Historical Museum curated a big exhibition on the subject.

Germany, which lost all its colonial territories after World War One, was the third biggest colonial power after Britain and France, which lost theirs after World War Two.

During its 1904-08 campaign in what was then German South West Africa, the German Reich sent reinforcements to put down an uprising by tribespeople over their expulsion from their land and recruitment into forced labour. The Hereros had killed 123 German traders, settlers and soldiers.

In addition to the slaughter, thousands of Hereros were driven into the desert and died of thirst and starvation, and the rest were sent to concentration camps.

Legal representatives for the Herero and Nama people have brought a lawsuit against Germany in New York over genocide and property seizure carried out by German colonists.

The German government has entered negotiations with the Namibian government over possible reparations for the genocide but the lawsuit argues that Germany violated international law on the rights of indigenous peoples.

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Categories: 1904-08 campaign, Berlin, colonial, colonisation, colonists, empire, Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, First World War, Genocide, Germany, Herero tribespeople, justice, Kaiser Wilhelm, Nama tribespeople, Namibia, News, Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, Petra Bosse-Huber