Police investigating more hate crime cases

In January this year the Icelandic police launched a development project with the special aim of looking into hate crimes in Iceland. Eyrún Eyþórsdóttir, who is leading the project, says the increase in hate speech and hate crimes is really worrying and that the police fears that as queer people and immigrants become more visible in Icelandic society hate crimes will increase.

When the project started in January there were nine cases of hate crimes being investigated by the police, two more were being investigated by other establishments and will be sent to the police when that is finished. In these six months five more cases have come up and are being investigated but charges have been made in only one case. Eyrún says that this increase in cases being investigated does not necessarily mean that hate crimes have increased, some of it is the result of a different approach by the police.

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Eyrún Eyþórsdóttir is in charge of a special police development project which is intended to look into hate crimes in Iceland. She says the increase in hate speech and hate crimes is really worrying.

“Both here and elsewhere in Europe the police are looking at more crimes in the light of hate crimes and that partly explains why there are so many more cases,” she says. “We can also see that since the project was launched in January people are now more aware of what we are doing and therefore we get more tips about possible hate crime or hate speech. Also, the policemen working the cases are better prepared to look into the hate crime aspect. We have to realize that the better we connect to minority groups the better they trust us and are less afraid to report such crimes. Following closer connections of the police to minority groups the reports of hate crimes will increase.”

The reason this project was launched was that before that the police didn’t investigate the hate aspect of crimes especially, what have you learned in these six months?
“We have learned a lot and I expect this project will develop for quite some time. Now we understand better the importance of connecting to minority groups in order to convince them that we are really investigating these cases thoroughly. Investigations in Iceland show that many immigrants experience prejudices on a day-to-day basis. But we need more scientific investigations which can be really helpful for the police. Connecting to minority groups takes a lot of time and we don‘t think of this project as something that will be finished in months, we are talking about a much longer time period.”

Do you feel that hate speech, for example in social media, is getting more obvious and more vicious?
“Yes, I see a big change in that. Hate speech is being normalized and that‘s really worrying. Lots of people don‘t seem to practice common courtesy and respect in conversations on the Internet. That is happening all over the western world and we are no exception. Many people are worried about increased Islamophobia in Iceland and we witness horrible speech against Muslims on social media.”

“Hate speech is being normalized and that‘s really worrying… That is happening all over the western world and we are no exception.”

Asked if she has any thoughts about the reason for this growing trend of hate speech Eyrún says that she does not have any concrete answers to that question. “The Internet, with all it‘s good qualities, seems to bring out this kind of communication. Before that came about people talked like that in closed groups but now it‘s out in the open. I often point out the social, political and historical context when people are discussing prejudice and hate against certain groups in society.

As has been covered by the media the national queer organisation of Iceland, Samtökin '78, filed ten reports of alleged hate speech against queer people in 2015. “Those were the first cases I started investigating after the project was launched,” says Eyrún and adds that apart from that the police have so far not had any reports of hate crimes against queer people. “In other countries hate crimes against queers are for example physical assault, destruction of property or being denied services, but no such cases have been reported here. That does not mean, however, that they do not exist, they do and always have done.” She says the same goes for hate crimes against other minority groups; Muslims, immigrants, people of different color. “The most common hate crimes are the everyday prejudices and racism, that can be very hard to pin down and investigate.”
Samtökin ’78, filed ten reports of alleged hate speech against queer people in 2015. “Those were the first cases I started investigating after the project was launched,” says Eyrún and adds that apart from that the police have so far not had any reports of hate crimes against queers. “In other countries crimes against them are for example physical assault, destruction of property or being denied services, but no such cases have been reported here. That does not mean, however, that they do not exist, they do and always have done.” The same goes for hate crimes against other minority groups. “The most common ones are the everyday prejudices and racism, that can be very hard to pin down and investigate.”

Many people have a hard time accepting changes and also accepting the increased knowledge about different things. But looking at history I‘m not sure that crimes against minority groups are on the rise. I think we mostly deal with them differently and the human rights laws make many things, that formerly were almost excepted, a crime. We have to remember that it was only after the Second World War that international human rights bills were founded.”

Does the police follow certain people or groups on the Internet if they are suspected of hate speech? “The police is not meant to follow people on the Internet but we try to be well-informed and people have also been very eager to bring our attention to Internet discussions that they feel have gone to far – and we investigate all such tips.”

Do you think that hate crimes will increase in Iceland with more visibility for queer people and more immigrants?
“Yes, that‘s what we are afraid of.”

Do you think reports of hate crimes/speech and prosecutions in such cases will increase dramatically in the next years? Or will people not see the point in reporting these crimes as there has only been one prosecution for a hate crime in Iceland?
“I think we have to wait and see how the cases being investigated now will turn out. If they go all the way through the system and end in prosecutions then we can draw a line. I expect that as more people see that the police is really dedicated to solve these cases the more they will report hate crimes. So far we have not made connections to all the minority groups, we have mostly been talking to those who speak Icelandic and Polish. We need to reach out in other languages too.”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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