Outward Rejection of Violence Expands Reach of Message, can Increase Potential for Radicalization
More than 70 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, ethno-nationalist and white supremacist movements in Europe continue to thrive. They include far-right political parties, neo-Nazi movements, and apolitical protest groups. In its new report, European Ethno-Nationalists and White Supremacy Groups, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) found that some groups openly espouse violent white supremacy, while others have propagated their radical stances under the guise of populism.
CEP Executive Director David Ibsen was quoted in the British newspaper Independent: “‘Portraying themselves in this way is definitely a tactic to increase the reach of their message and, as such, increase the potential of radicalisation.’ He said anti-Islam figures and white nationalists were using online channels to ‘build communities’ around specific issues, in a way that has previously been seen with jihadis who capitalise on topics like the Iraq War and airstrikes. ‘The real worrying issue is that, with the power of social media, these claims create an ecosystem where people looking for legitimate mainstream movements access extremist culture,’ Mr Ibsen added. ‘What we cannot ignore is how these groups will affect pluralism, peace and tolerance.’”
Mr. Ibsen also spoke with EU Scream about the tactics being used by far-right groups in France and other European countries, including their “highly polished” social media operations, to obscure their true extremist nature and attract new followers. He highlighted the necessary approach taken by European lawmakers in response to the proliferation of harmful extremist content and hate speech on social media platforms and what it portends for possible regulation of the tech industry in the U.S.
To read the CEP report, European Ethno-Nationalists and White Supremacy Groups, please click here.
To read the full article in the Independent, please click here.
To listen to the EU Scream interview, please click here. The interview begins at the 11-minute mark of the broadcast.