Far right is using new tactics to recruit
The threat posed by far right and fascist groups is morphing from boots on the streets thugs to tech-savvy online hate peddlers.
A new report by anti-racist group Hope Not Hate reveals that the while the membership of traditional neo-nazi groups like the British National Party is at its lowest in decades, there has been an increase in internet based networks, and a jump in the chances of far right terror attacks.
Its State Of Hate survey shows that the threat now comes from a younger generation which has adopted new tactics and technologies to spread their old ideologies of violence, fear and division.
These new activists are growing in influence and had developed new ways of marketing themselves to would-be followers, often operating in the so-called alt-right milieu.
While the methods of recruiting have changed, the far right is using technology to organise traditional street demos and provocations – a number of which have been staged in Scotland by racist groups linked to the Scottish Defence League.
Fascist hate peddlers are also using the internet to radicalise individuals – with the consequence that the outgoing head of counter-terrorism policing in the UK has warned of the growing threat from far-right terrorists groups.
Typical of the new breed is the explicitly nazi National Action (NA) organisation, which has been proscribed by the Home Office as a terrorist outfit.
It still exists, with its members operating online using a changing list of names.
This has been seen north of the border through NA’s Scottish chapter, Scottish Dawn, which has reappeared continually under new aliases since it was banned.
Nick Lowles, head of Hope Not Hate, called on the government to target online hate-mongers.
He said: "We are facing a surging threat from far-right terrorism and violent extremism.
“We fear further violence from the extreme right in the months to come. This rising terrorist threat is the consequence of the increasingly confrontational tone of online far-right rhetoric, combined with the almost universal extreme-right belief that a civil war between Islam and the west is coming."
"It is vitally important now that police and the government do more to crack down on the peddlers of hate and those pushing a civil war rhetoric."
Security minister Ben Wallace said: "This government did not hesitate to proscribe a neo-Nazi group, National Action, when the evidence was enough and we will not hesitate to take further action. We have continued to enforce this by proscribing National Action's known aliases Scottish Dawn and NS131 as well.
"Through our Prevent strategy, we are successfully fighting back against the terrorist recruiters and safeguarding vulnerable people who are being preyed upon, whether by Islamists, neo-nazis or other violent extremists.
"At its heart this report shines a light on the growth of intolerance across the UK and Europe and we should all take a stand against extremism whether it is expressed by far right, Islamist groups or other movements."