10:00 GMT +312 November 2019
Listen Live
    A man's silhouette

    European Govts Ignoring Threat of Far-Right Lone Wolf Terrorism - Report

    © Flickr/ Dennis Fidalgo
    Europe
    Get short URL
    137
    Subscribe

    European governments are failing to acknowledge the real threat of far-right lone wolf terrorists and must crack down on extremists more effectively, particularly as Europe's migration crisis stirs up more anti-immigrant sentiment, a new report has claimed.

    Research from the UK-based think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), found that there had been a sharp rise in lone wolf terrorist attacks since 2011, with concerns about a further increase given anti-immigrant sentiment given the influx of refugees in Europe.

    Since 2000, 33 percent of all lone wolf attackers across the EU, Norway and Switzerland were driven by far-right ideology, according to the study, the second highest motivating factor behind religious factors (38 percent).

    Don't Underestimate Far-Right Extremists

    Religious-based attacks (38 percent) accounted for the highest number of violent lone-wolf incidents between 2000 and 2014, however RUSI's Countering Lone-Actor Terrorism (CLAT) project noted that far-right attacks had been the most deadly in recent times, accounting for 94 out of 195 deaths between 2000 and 2014.

    Anders Behring Breivik, makes a salute after arriving in the court room at a courthouse in Oslo, August 2012.
    © AP Photo / Frank Augstein
    Anders Behring Breivik, makes a salute after arriving in the court room at a courthouse in Oslo, August 2012.

    While Norwegian Anders Breivik accounted for 77 of these deaths during his violent terrorist attacks in 2011, researchers highlighted the disproportionate lack of attention given to right-wing extremism, calling on governments to "give greater consideration to the threat from far-right lone actors, particularly in light of the refugee crisis." 

    With significant attention being applied to Islamic terrorism following the rise of terror groups like Daesh (also known as ISIL), RUSI said governments and security agencies shouldn't ignore the threats posed by lone wolf or small cell attackers.

    "The CLAT dataset shows that the threat stemming from far-right lone actor terrorism across Europe is significant. It also shows that right-wing lone actors were less likely to have been under active investigation by authorities than religiously inspired individuals.

    "Policymakers and the police must give greater consideration to the threat from far-right lone actor terrorism, and not underestimate its capacity when compared with Islamist extremism."

    The report stated that such attacks far-right attacks were "motivated predominantly by anti-immigration or Islamophobic beliefs" while concepts of "white supremacy" which featured in the attacks carried out by Breivik, were also common features of far-right violence. 

    Given the migration criticism, which has resulted in more than one million people — mostly Muslim — entering Europe from the Middle East and North Africa, there is a heightened risk of attack from the "resurgent" far-right extremist movement, researchers said.

    Increase in Far-Right Support

    While the report only took into account statistics until the end of 2014, the findings come amid a significant increase in attacks on refugees and other new arrivals in Europe.

    A supporter of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party displays a placard showing crossed out Niqabs during a demonstration against the German government's asylum policy organized by the AfD party on November in Berlin on November 7, 2015.
    © AFP 2019 / John MacDougall
    A supporter of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party displays a placard showing crossed out Niqabs during a demonstration against the German government's asylum policy organized by the AfD party on November in Berlin on November 7, 2015.

    In Germany, which has borne the brunt of the migration crisis, there were more than 220 serious attacks on refugee homes throughout 2015.

    These incidents were backed up by increased support for political parties with either strong anti-immigration or anti-Islamic sentiment, such as France's Front National and Germany's AfD party and the Pegida movement.

    Although many members and supporters of such groups are not engaged in far-right extremism and violence, researchers raised concerns about the flow-on impacts such movements may have.

    "While these groups themselves are not violent, they may provide the 'moral oxygen' for far-right lone actors, as was seen in the case of Anders Breivik."

    Media 'Under-Reporting' Far-Right Violence

    The general public's lack of understanding of the threat and extent of anti-immigrant violence was a result of the media's "substantial under-reporting of far-right violence," RUSI said — with the trend particularly concerning in countries that "exhibit a strong cultural or political presence of extreme right-wing elements."

    "The media devotes significant coverage to a rise in threat levels relating to the threat of Islamist attacks, but rarely for far-right attacks," the report stated.

    On top of the media's reporting of far-right violence, researchers called for politicians and official figures to be very careful with the terminology used when reporting the migration crisis, Daesh-led attacks in Europe and other issues relating to immigration in order to avoid creating a "climate which strengthens right-wing sentiments."

    On top of efforts to limit the rise of extreme far-right sentiment, RUSI called for security agencies to pay closer attention to the rhetoric and online behavior of members associated with far-right groups.

    Related:

    EU Failures Fuel Rise of Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe
    German Right-Wing Party Branded 'Inhumane' Over Refugee Shooting Claim
    Rising Unrest: Anti-Immigrant 'Soldiers Of Odin' Take Over Estonian Capital
    Armed Far-Right Groups Launch Attacks on France Migrant Camps - Camp Worker
    Norwegian Police Fear Attacks on Asylum Centers Amid Right-Wing Extremism
    Tags:
    right-wing extremism, far-right groups, anti-immigration protests, migrant crisis, radicalization, attacks, research, violence, study, refugees, Europe, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik