·Farhad Quami fled wartorn Afghanistan and settled in Australia in 1993
·His parents and two younger brothers moved to Auburn in Sydney’s west
·Now the 34-year-old is leader of notorious Muslim gang Brothers 4 Life
·On trial for alleged murder and awaiting sentencing for other offences
·He reportedly ‘plotted to kill’ two detectives to scare off witnesses in trial
Farhad Quami, known on the streets as ‘The Afghan’, has earned a reputation as one of Sydney’s most feared gangsters.
Head of the Blacktown chapter of notorious Muslim gang ‘Brothers 4 Life’, the 34-year-old gang boss is on trial with one of his younger brothers Mumtaz for the alleged 2013 murder of debt collector Joe Antoun.
The feared underworld mobster is also awaiting sentencing for a string of other convicted offences including ordering shootings and manslaughter. (more…)
Syrian refugees due to arrive in Dunedin later this month should have access to free driving lessons, thanks to the efforts of a local fundraiser.
Organiser Afife Harris said funds raised at a market day held at the Dunedin North Intermediate Hall yesterday would go towards $20 petrol vouchers for volunteers who wanted to help teach refugees about driving in New Zealand.
Mrs Harris said she came up with the concept after researching what European countries had done to help refugees there.
Many had offered cycling lessons but Mrs Harris thought driving lessons would be more beneficial for Syrian refugees arriving in New Zealand.
Stockholm train station is where a ‘group of neo-Nazis attacked refugees‘
Around the same time as woman, 22, was allegedly murdered by migrant
Despite reports no migrants have told police they were assaulted at station
If exaggerated, it could have made Swedes less ready to voice their worries
Stockholm railway station isn’t a nice place at nine on a winter evening. Smart young Swedes run to catch trains to the suburbs watched by groups of men in hoodies leaning against pillars in the shadows as they swap plastic bags of cannabis or heroin for wads of krona, the national currency.
Occasionally, police in twos and threes patrol through this scene of Nordic Noir as chimes ring from the nearby 16th century St Clare’s Lutheran church, with spires piercing the dark sky.
Yet the police rarely stop and no one takes much notice of them anyway. ‘I am here to buy cannabis with my friends,’ Mustapha Drummeh, a 31-year-old Ghanaian who came to Sweden seven years ago told me, as he hung around the station amid other African and Arab migrants.
Suddenly, his friend, a 43-year-old Eritrean called Mahoud, darts off to dance a circle round two Swedish women in their early twenties, walking briskly by us towards the trains.
The girls, who show no surprise, sidestep him neatly as he tries to pat their bottoms. ‘The Swedish women, they’re nice,’ says smiling Mahoud on his return, unabashed by the rebuff. ‘People here are kind to us, but it’s difficult without a job, nothing to do, and more migrants arriving all the time.’
Stockholm station is, remember, where a disturbing event happened a few weeks ago. According to Left-wing Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, there was a violent, unprovoked rampage by a masked mob of neo-Nazis and football hooligans who were targeting migrants, including north African street children. Aftonbladet’s reports, based on police information, made newspaper and TV headlines around the world.
It followed another tragic event which also seized international attention. A 22-year-old woman social worker had been murdered at a home for underage migrant boys near the country’s second city of Gothenburg. She was said to have been knifed by a 15-year-old Somalian migrant, who has since appeared in court charged with her killing.
The murder put ultra-liberal Sweden’s controversial open-door policy under scrutiny. It boosted the popularity of both the Right-wing Sweden Democrats party (SD), which wants to stop the flow of migrants, and also the middle of the road Moderates’ Party, which is campaigning for a temporary break on arrivals.
Terrorists, criminals and foreign fighters are part of the daily refugee flow intoEurope, the top NATO commander in Europe told lawmakers, “masking the movement” of these dangerous elements and heightening the potential for an attack.
In testimony Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said the Islamic State extremist group is “spreading like a cancer” within this mix, “taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations” and the United States.
In response to a question about whether the Islamic State will continue to infiltrate refugee flows, Breedlove said, “I think that they are doing that today.”
Tayyaba Khan is the CEO of the ChangeMakers Refugee Forum in Wellington and has helped many families settle in New Zealand.
Her colleagues can support families to find a new home, but she says Government must be invested for the long haul.
“Some refugees have a really rough time in New Zealand. The government support is adequate, but it’s very short term and focused only on the most basic needs like housing.
“Meeting the needs of families over the long term is more complex and goes well beyond the support structures government have in place now. Adjusting to cultural norms, learning the language, finding meaningful jobs and becoming part of the community are processes that can take years.
“We encounter a lot of racism from landlords and estate agents here in Wellington.
“There have been dozens of times when we booked appointments for a family to see a rental, but when they arrived in traditional clothing or headscarves, amazingly the apartment has ‘just been rented’.
“It’s happened far too many times to be a coincidence.
“There is deeply entrenched racism and discrimination in New Zealand that we encounter on a regular basis. It’s never blatant enough to call out, but it’s ever-present and deeply disturbing.
A lack of information about incoming Syrian refugees is causing concern among the Dunedin’s mental health community.
Up to 150 refugees will settle in Dunedin each year. The first group, of about 45 Syrians, arrives in April.
Several mental health professionals asked at last week’s community meeting about refugees, held at the Glenroy Auditorium, whether training and assistance would be provided.
Corstorphine Baptist Community Trust chief executive Barb Long said this week while there seemed to be a lot of thought going into the physical needs of refugees, such as housing, furniture and day-to-day support, there was not a lot of information around mental health and wellbeing.
Ms Long said good mental health included a sense of belonging, so suggestions about Dunedinites learning about Syrian culture as well as basic Arabic phrases was a good idea.
‘‘I think that that would contribute to overall wellbeing [of the refugees].”
Friends and the community would need to watch out for stress and other issues among refugees in their resettlement city, she said.
‘‘It can take several years before people present signs.”
SDHB sure it can provide support
Southern District Health Board mental health, addictions and intellectual disability directorate medical director Brad Strong said he was confident the board had enough people to assist with the new arrivals.
Information sharing, cultural training and building on mental health professionals’ current knowledge and skill base were ‘‘very much” part of the SDHB’s preparations.
A man described as “cooking up” stories about Indian workers being violently treated so they could gain refugee status has been sent to jail for two years.
Justice Robert Dobson described Kulwant Singh’s actions as “critical” in arranging false refugee applications.
Kulwant was charged alongside Jaswinder Singh Sangha and Satnam Singh in a trial described as New Zealand’s first human trafficking case.
Dobson sentenced Kulwant to two years one month imprisonment for his “critical” involvement in the crime.
Jaswinder Singh Sangha was sentenced to 10 months home detention and 300 hours’ community service.
During the trial the court heard from 11 Indian workers. They said they paid Jaswinder Singh Sanga and his brother large sums of money to help them live and work in New Zealand. Once in Blenheim Jaswinder Singh Sangha directed them to Kulwant Singh, an interpreter who worked for an immigration lawyer in Auckland. Kulwant created false stories about being subjected to violence in their homeland to improve their chances of gaining refugee status in New Zealand, the workers claimed.
The court heard that Kulwant had told them to lie in their interviews with the refugee status branch, and the workers paid Kulwant for his help.
Justice Dobson described Jaswinder Singh Sangha’s role in the crime as “the initiator” and that he encouraged the workers to participate in the lies.
He said the Refugee Status Branch was sensitive to the criticism that false claims could attract and this was considered in his sentencing of the men.
Crown prosecutor Mark O’Donoghue said Singh Sangha and Kulwant had “made a mockery of the whole refugee status process” and that the workers were “foreigners in a strange land”.
Stand Against Slavery chief executive officer Peter Mihaere questioned whether Singh Sangha’s sentence would deter people from entering the country under false pretences in future.
“Without fully understanding the judgement by Justice Dobson I find the home detention and community service for Jaswinder Singh Sangha a perplexing result. The whole case has left me pondering a series of questions and the outcome today only adds to that list. I imagine those questions will only be answered outside the courtroom,” he said.
He said while the brothers were found not guilty on the human trafficking charges, it would be “naive” to think trafficking doesn’t happen in New Zealand.
“Rightfully or wrongfully this little battle was lost, but it is the tip of the iceberg and we must expose this issue here in New Zealand with every available resource to us,” he said.
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