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Can Nazis be victims of hate?

'Nazi' listed as an identifiable victim group in Toronto Police's 2009 hate crime stats report
By Karolyn Coorsh
Can Nazis be victims of hate?

According to Toronto Police’s 2009 report on hate and bias crime statistics, they can indeed.

In the report presented to the Police Services Board on April 22, Nazi is listed as one of the 27 identified victim groups targeted in hate-motivated criminal acts in 2009.

Under the breakdown of occurrences by police division, “Nazi” is listed as the victim group for one mischief offence that was reported in 13 Division. The west-end division polices parts of Forest Hill, Davenport, Cedarvale and Dovercourt.  

In the report’s executive summary, Nazi also appears under the listing of “new victim group” for 2009; these are the identifiable groups that have not appeared in the previous hate/bias crime reports.  

The category is puzzling, given that Nazi typically refers to a political party. Political organizations do not appear to fall under any of the hate/bias category codes used throughout the report’s charts and tables.

The Toronto Police definition of hate/bias crime is a “criminal offence committed against a person or property, where there is evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on the victim’s race, nationality or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.”

“How does Nazi fit into that,” questioned Bernie Farber, of the Canadian Jewish Congress, when the category was pointed out by the Town Crier.

“A Nazi can never be a victim but only a victimizer,” he said.

There’s no further elaboration in the report on what a Nazi is by definition, but the report notes that victim groups are categorized according to the suspect’s perception. For example, if an individual is attacked because he is wrongly perceived by the suspect as being homosexual, the individual still becomes the victim of gay bashing, and the attack is categorized as a hate crime targeting sexual orientation.

A representative from the Toronto Police’s Hate Crime Unit declined to comment on the report May 6. A call to the Toronto Police communications department did not yield any immediate replies.

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