How government is enabling the far-right ‘counter’-Jihad movement
Islamaphobia is now becoming a serious problem. So serious, in fact, that UK far-right extremism has become the focus of attention by the security services and by government. The growing threat from “extreme right-wing” terrorism will for the first time be included in official threat-level warnings, the home secretary has announced. Yet again, investigations dig up American influence with donor money supporting the far-right.
Until now, the alerts – which tell the public if the risk is low, substantial or critical – have taken into account the threat of attack from Islamists only. Perhaps this has been part of the problem. unreported in the mainstream media are the non-stop threats and warnings given to Muslim people all over Britain.
In an in-depth FT report published recently, incidents of Islamophobia were highlighted – “taken together these attacks represent an alarming long-term shift in the far-right terror threat which is forcing western security officials to reassess the way they treat white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups that are establishing increasingly global networks.”
Whilst many social commentators, especially those in national newspapers say that the 2016 Brexit referendum did not cause the divisions in public attitudes, incidents of racially and religiously-motivated hate crime increased by 44 per cent in July 2016, immediately after the EU referendum. Hate crimes targeting mosques more than doubled between 2016 and 2017 to 110. Threats, harassment or another intimidating behaviour more than tripled during the same period, while cases of violent hate crime against individuals doubled.
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There has been a dramatically increased level of referrals of suspected rightwing extremists from 968 in 2016-17 to 1,312 in 2017-18. The most recent statistics also show that nearly half of referrals by police and other agencies to the highest level of intervention known as the Channel programme were connected with far-right extremism.
What all this shows is that the police, security services and government have been slow to respond to the shift in threat levels.
Spinwatch – a public investigation unit published their new report, ‘Islamophobia in Europe: How governments are enabling the far-right “counter-jihad” movement’ which was launched in parliament earlier this year.
The report examines how counter-extremism policies of governments in the UK, France and Germany have abetted the rise of an Islamophobic ‘counter-jihad’ movement that has made Islamophobia respectable.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott spoke at the launch event in the House of Commons, which was chaired by Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP.
Noting the influence of counter-jihad ideas on the man who committed the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, the report’s co-author Hilary Aked explained what the counter-jihad movement is and how government counter-extremism policies have assisted this strand of the far-right.
Co-author Professor David Miller then explained how American ‘donor-advised funds’ allow individuals to anonymously route money via US Islamophobic industry foundations to non-profits in Europe.
He argued that Islamophobia is deeply embedded in British political institutions and argued for the government’s counter-extremism policy Prevent to be scrapped.
Diane Abbott said the Prevent policy is not keeping people safe and counter-terrorism policies needed to be clear that no community is more liable to violence than any other. She added that bad policies cannot be fixed by simply extending their reach to additional groups.
Dr Maryyum Mehmood also spoke about her research on Islamophobic prejudice in contemporary England and Muslim responses to religious and racial stigmatisation.
Read the full report HERE.