Violent Muslims ‘terrorists’, violent neonazis not?

This 29 March 2019 video says about itself:

The Christchurch terrorist attack and racism in New Zealand

Tragedy struck the city of Christchurch when a self-declared fascist and white supremacist shot at two of the city’s mosques, killing 50 worshippers and injuring many more. While the country quickly came together in solidarity, it also left New Zealand confronted with an issue deeply ingrained in its fabric – racism. Moana Makapelu Lee with this story.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Threat of the extreme right a ‘big blind spot’

Christchurch, El Paso, Halle and Hanau: four places where attacks were committed by right-wing extremists in 2019 and this year. In the five years before, right-wing extremist violence increased by more than 300 percent, according to the international police organization Interpol. In the Netherlands, a right-wing terrorist attack is “conceivable”, writes the National Coordinator for Terrorism and Security (NCTV). …

Experts are concerned. There is little international cooperation against threats from the extreme right-wing, they say, and within the Netherlands the increasing popularity of radical ideas is “a blind spot”.

Tinder for Nazis

“In the West, we see that right-wing extremist attacks are now more common than jihadist attacks“, said extremism researcher Julia Ebner. “The extreme right is also catching up with the number of deaths.”

For her new book Going Dark, Ebner infiltrated various right-wing extremist organizations. “A neo-Nazi group in the US wanted me to send a photo of my wrist and take a genetic test to prove my whiteness.”

She sees that extreme right-wing groups increasingly organize themselves online. They plan campaigns and attack dissenters on Facebook and Twitter. There’s even their own dating app: Patriot Peer. “It is also called the ‘Tinder for Nazis’ and had ten thousand members. …”

The extreme right is much better able to organize itself through social media, Interpol also sees. “On the one hand, attacks from that direction are mainly committed by lone wolves“, said Secretary-General Jürgen Stock in an interview with Nieuwsuur TV show.

An insult to real wolves. Also, fascist ´wolves´ often turn out to be not as lonely as it seems.

“On the other hand, right-wing extremist groups are increasingly being brought together by the internet. This is an important concern for us.”

Machine gun next to bed

In The Hague, 56-year-old Kees R. was brought to trial last week. He is said to have told colleagues that he wanted to go to a mosque with hand grenades. He said he enjoyed the attack in Christchurch. In addition to legal weapons, R. also had a machine gun next to his bed, the police discovered. His phone, with a Nazi ringtone, contained racist and anti-Semitic videos.

The case receives relatively little publicity, says researcher Nikki Sterkenburg. She said that would have been different if R. had been a Muslim terrorist. “Then all talk shows would have paid attention to it.”

According to Sterkenburg, right-wing extremism is “a blind spot” in the Netherlands. For her PhD research, she spoke to 36 right-wing extremist activists. “They all have in common that they have a kind of vague notion of what the Netherlands should look like, with less space for ethnic and religious minorities.” …

Countries disagree on definition

Although Interpol says the threat of right-wing extremism is “a top priority”, there is also a blind spot internationally, says Julia Ebner. “Policymakers and security services are paying much more attention to fighting jihadism. There is no international approach about the right wing. Most countries see it as a domestic affair.”

What does not help is that countries do not agree on an unambiguous definition, says Sterkenburg. “When we say that we find certain statements problematic, it is not inconceivable that those statements are simply in the election programs of certain Polish, Hungarian or Flemish political parties. That makes it difficult to define what we find problematic and what we should do with it. Everyone thinks jihadists are bad, but with the radical and extreme right that line is much more difficult to draw. Also for countries themselves.”

5 thoughts on “Violent Muslims ‘terrorists’, violent neonazis not?

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