The Council of Europe’s Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights on combating racism established in 1994 the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).
A majority of the Council of Europe’s 47 members have ratified Protocol 12, which is also open to signature and ratification of observers of the Council of Europe, including the United States, Canada, Vatican City, and Japan, and non-affiliates like Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, and Mexico.
A number of non-Council members have ratified Council of Europe resolutions, including the United States, Canada, Vatican City, and Australia.
Protocol 12 has resulted in ECRI and the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia applying pressure on international law enforcement agencies, such as the European Police Office (EUROPOL) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) adopting measures preventing them from referring to ISIL/jihadist terrorists as Muslims, jihadists, members of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, or even as “terrorists” because of protocols and rules against stereotyping individuals based on their religion or race.
International policing protocols even inhibit law enforcement’s ability to refer to criminal suspects based upon their “physical appearance.” Physical descriptions are key to any investigation of crimes.
Nevertheless, physical descriptions that include the mufti often worn by Muslims, including burkas, niqabs, hijabs, jilbabs, chadors, abayas, shalwars, mundus, and dupattas, are frowned upon in police reports on terrorist acts, as are terms like “Muslim-looking” and “dark skinned.”
Police in Belgium, a hotbed for jihadist terrorism, including the attack on Zaventem Airport and the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels; France, which has seen repeated deadly jihadist terrorist attacks; Greece; Germany; the United Kingdom; Austria; Serbia; Hungary; and Spain have come under incessant fire from Council of Europe, European Union, and Muslim anti-xenophobia organizations for “brutality” against Muslims.
This pressure has resulted in police being unable to properly investigate suspected jihadist terrorists and take action against them before they carry out their deadly attacks.
Protocol 12 has also resulted in police agencies around the world from describing attacks by jihadists as Islamic State-inspired or “terrorist-related.”
Instead, police routinely issue press statements calling jihadist perpetrators “mentally ill” or “lone wolves,” even though many had previously been the subjects of police criminal investigations and had extensive dossiers maintained on them.
Examples of jihadist terrorist attacks committed this month alone being downplayed by police as a result of Protocol 12:
- Smail Ayad, a French Muslim, yelled “Allahu Akbar” after stabbing to death a female British national and critically wounding a male British national at a backpackers’ hostel in Queensland, Australia. Ayad had recently been in Thailand, a country recently plagued by Islamist terrorist attacks against resorts frequented by foreign tourists. Although Ayad is a Muslim, Queensland police, involving Protocol 12, stated there was “no indication of Islamist radicalization” in the attack. Instead, police indicated the French Muslim was romantically infatuated with the woman he stabbed to death.
- Waqil Farooqui attacked a couple at an apartment complex in Roanoke, Virginia. Farooqui attacked the couple with a knife and slash marks around the male victim’s neck indicated that Farqooqui attempted to behead the man. The couple survived their injuries. Farqooqui yelled “Allahu Akbar” while attacking the couple, who he apparently chose at random. The local police and FBI invoked Protocol 12 and suggested that Faraooqui was not a jihadist because he “heard voices” in his head before the attack, implying he was mentally ill.
- A 62-year old rabbi in Strasbourg, France, the headquarters of the Council of Europe, narrowly escaped death after a Muslim man shouting “Allahu Akbar” stabbed him. French police, under the restrictions imposed by Protocol 12, did not name the Muslim attacker but discounted terrorism by stating that the man had a “psychiatric history.”
- A 42-year old Muslim man physically assaulted an elderly couple in Cannes, France while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” The incident was disconnected to terrorism by police, who cited the “homelessness” of the man as a cause for his attack.
- A 29-year old Muslim from Kosovo named Dijar Xhema attempted to pull three pedestrians into his car in Vlore, Albania, and threatened to kill them while shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
- A 60-year old German national stabbed two men at an Austrian rail station in Vorarlberg, Austria, injuring both. Austrian police denied the man had any connection to radical groups and said he was “mentally confused.” A partial photograph of the man was snapped by Agence France Presse and his profile certainly indicates someone of Middle Eastern/Turkish/North African origin, although it is against the anti-xenophobia intent of Protocol 12 to “profile” his profile:
Man arrested for train attack in Vorarlberg [left] and Osama Bin Laden [right]. Law enforcement requires a “nose” for terrorist noses but Protocol 12 forbids it. Neither of the above are German or Austrian noses.
- A 27-year old man who later died of his injuries, attacked passengers with a knife and acid, killing one woman, on a Swiss train in Salez, St. Gallen canton. The Swiss national, who resided in neighboring Liechtenstein, was determined by Swiss and Liechtenstein police not to have any ties with Islamist groups. Liechtenstein has signed but not ratified Protocol 12 but it still awaits Switzerland’s signature and ratification.
- A Norwegian national, a migrant to Norway from Somalia and a Muslim, stabbed to death a female American tourist in London’s Russell Square and injured five others. A New Scotland Yard spokesman stated there was “no evidence of radicalization or anything that would suggest the man in our custody was motivated by terrorism.” It was essentially the same terminology used by the Queensland police after the “Allahu Akbar” attack on British nationals. Adhering to Protocol 12, the London police claimed the Somali man suffered from “psychiatric” problems.
There are other numerous examples of Protocol 12 being used to cover up jihadist attacks in France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Last month, 86-year old French priest Father Jacques Hamel died after his throat was slit by one of two jihadists who stormed his church in Normandy in France.
Initially, the names of the attackers were not released by French authorities, even though ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack.
One of the men was later identified as Adel Kermiche. Kermiche, who tried to join ISIL in Syria in 2015, had been ordered to wear an electronic device and he was restricted to his parents home in the afternoon and at night.
However, he was permitted free movement between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. His and his colleague’s assassination of Father Hamel occurred at 9:40 a.m.
Last month, a 19-year old migrant from Afghanistan attacked train passengers in Wurzbürg, Bavaria with an axe and a knife.
The Afghan migrant, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack was shot dead by German police.
In May, another man, shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “infidels,” attacked four people, killing one and injuring three, at a Munich rail station.
Police, invoking Protocol 12, merely said the 27-year old attacker, a German citizen, “suffered from psychiatric issues” and had no links to any Islamist extremist groups.
The above incidents are but a few of those where transparency by the police and the police investigations have been adversely affected by Protocol 12 and its various implementing statutes and protocols around the world.
In support of Protocol 12, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has just announced that female Muslims on its force can wear the hijab with their uniforms.
If police have any chance of preventing and investigating acts of Islamist terrorism, Protocol 12 must be denounced by governments that have either ratified it or informally ascribed to it.