New report reveals a ‘surge’ in far-right terrorism in the West

New report reveals a ‘surge’ in far-right terrorism in the West

A new report claims there has been a substantial increase in far-right terrorism in recent years. Published by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2019 found that although global terrorism has declined overall there has been a “surge” in far-right terrorism. The report also highlights the use of the internet by the far right to “communicate and coordinate”. 

The report comes as the database of the far-right internet forum Iron March was leaked online in early November.

A decline in global terrorism

According to the GTI, it “provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism”. It has found that deaths caused by terrorism peaked in 2014 and have since fallen year on year. As a result:

Total deaths from terrorism are now down over 52 per cent from their peak in 2014.

However, the report goes on to note that far-right terrorism has bucked this shift.

Rise of the far right

In what it describes as “One of the more worrying trends”, the GTI highlights a rise in far-right terrorism. It writes that there has been a “surge in far-right political terrorism over the past five years”. Across Europe, North America, and Oceania, it reveals a 320% increase in far-right attacks in this time period. 

In the US in particular it found that:

Over the past four decades, one in every five mass shootings in the US has been classified as a terrorist attack. In the last decade, that number has risen to one in three.

The GTI also points to the case of the Christchurch attack as an example how far-right ideology has spread across the world, with New Zealand having “almost no prior history of terrorist activity”.

The individual and the internet 

But the report also reveals that most far-right terrorist attacks appear to be carried out by individuals “unaffiliated with a specific group”. In fact:

Nearly 60 per cent of far-right attacks from 1970 to 2018 were carried out by unaffiliated individuals, compared to under ten per cent for both far-left and separatist terrorist groups.

Also highlighted is how the internet plays a part in far-right politics and terrorism. The GTI found that out of 32 far-right terrorist attacks since 2011, “over a third [of the perpetrators] appear to have been primarily radicalised online”. This appears to be in line with that fact that

right-wing extremists have made abundantly [sic] use of the internet to communicate and coordinate their efforts since at least the mid-1990s.

But as the report argues,

a real focus on their online activities emerged only after recent attacks in Christchurch and El Paso.

An online presence

The report comes as the database of the now defunct Iron March forum was leaked online in early November. Iron March was a forum for far-right extremists from across the world. It’s also where Atomwaffen Division was formed and recruited new followers. This terrorist group is linked to several murders in the US.

As The Beacon previously reported, the leaks contained the details of a number of Irish users. Amongst their comments were ones calling for Jewish people to be “gassed” and describing fascism as “inherently natural”. 

Featured image via Institute for Economics & Peace – Screenshot

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