Analyzing far-right extremism – How widespread is it?

Analyzing far-right extremism – How widespread is it?

Violent extremism has generally come from Islam fanatics so far, but now there is another one taking shape, equally dangerous and threatening to human life, far-right extremism

Australia and New Zealand both used to think their main security risk was from Islamist terrorism before the latest attack. New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service made no reference to far-right extremism in their most recent annual report, while a 2017 report from Australia’s Security Intelligence Organization states that although the country “experiences low levels of communal violence”, one person was actually charged with far-right terrorism in 2016.

Even though the report did not completely dismiss the possibility of future attacks, it stated that any attacks would “probably target the Muslim or left-wing community, be low-capability, and be more likely to be perpetrated by a lone actor or small group on the periphery of organized groups.”

European far-right extremism also exists

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency recorded five right-wing terror plots in 2017 alone, all of which were in the UK. Also, British security minister, Ben Wallace, stated after the New Zealand attacks that it is “perfectly possible’ for a far-right attack to happen in the UK and raised concerns about the radicalization of individuals online.

Moreover, the Global Terrorism Index, which is an annual report compiled from an open-source database at the University of Maryland, monitors incidents relating to the far-right in Western Europe and North America, showing a rapid growth of far-right extremism incidents from 2002 to 2016 and after.

Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute states it has been more difficult to detect right-wing terrorism in the West due to its scattered nature. Plus, he also highlights that right-wing terrorists in Europe tend to be “lone actors” who are less likely to exhibit noticeable changes in behavior or discuss plans with friends or family than their Islamist extremist counterparts. He also stated:

“We are seeing more isolated individuals connecting with each other through online communities. But intelligence agencies still see it as a lesser threat and the scale of it is not as big as Islamic extremism.”