Countering Extremism

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Reports:

1. Fear, Inc. – The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America

2. Fear, Inc. 2.0 – The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America

3. ‘The Great Replacement’: The Violent Consequences of Mainstreamed Extremism

4. Old Threat, New Approach: Tackling the Far Right Across Europe

5. Incubating Hate: Islamophobia and Gab

FarRightExtremistActivities

Articles:

Jump to:
1. Memes of Hate: Countering Cyber Islamophobia
2. Interesting Viewpoints and Analysis of the #stopIslam Twitter hashtag
3. A Guide to the Language of the ‘alt-right’
4. Accusations in a Mirror: How the Radical Right Blames Rising Political Violence on the Left
5. Move Slow and Break Everything
6. How Many Attacks Will It Take Until the White-Supremacist Threat Is Taken Seriously?
7. White power ideology’: why El Paso is part of a growing global threat
8. Five of the top far-right figures are British. We’re world leaders in hate
9. Leader of Nigel Farage’s party resigns over anti-Islam messages
10. ‘The Great Replacement’: The Violent Consequences of Mainstreamed Extremism
11. Far-right fundraising not taken seriously by UK, report finds
12. Europe’s right-wing extremists try recruiting from police, army
13. Incubating Hate: Islamophobia and Gab
14. A collection of material opposing Extremism and Terrorism

1. Memes of Hate: Countering Cyber Islamophobia

An excerpt from the article:

Internet Cosmos

The internet cosmos is full of hate or extreme speech. The World Wide Web is actually a paradise for racists who can be brave behind the protection offered by the screens of their computers where they feel secure and minimize the risk of exposure. They can say what they really think without fear of losing face within the social groups they belong to, often using a fake identity to release their real self.

Social media applications such as Facebook or Twitter have become the agora for attacking, mocking, insulting, denigrating and humiliating members of the LGTBQ community, women, black people, native Americans and Jews, among many others. Muslims have been one of the most targeted groups, giving way to the so-called cyber Islamophobia, or irrational hostility toward Muslims and Islam expressed online.

Even though many of those attacks come in written form, there is a wide range of anti-Muslim memes. In a 2018 study I carried out on 150 anti-Muslim memes retrieved mainly from Twitter and Google images, the most numerous memes perpetuated the different stereotypes usually attributed to Muslims. These include the oppression of women in Islam, the inherent violent nature of Muslim men, the aggressiveness of the religion itself, their taste for pedophilic or zoophilic practices, a potential to become terrorists, the lack of intelligence of the followers of Islam (mocking aspects such as the 72 virgins) and the threat posed by the concept of multiculturalism perceived as a Trojan Horse in the Western world.

The type of memes in which a text is superimposed on an image is called macros. Usually, it is the written text that carries the anti-Muslim message. One example depicts the recurrent stereotype that Muslims are generally pedophiles who marry very young girls. In this kind of meme, the image is centered and framed by two sentences; the one on top gives a general statement, while the one at the bottom provides the “humoristic” twist: “My wife called me a paedophile. That’s a big word for a 9 year old [sic].”

Read the full article here:
https://www.radicalrightanalysis.com/2019/04/18/memes-of-hate-countering-cyber-islamophobia/

2. Interesting Viewpoints and Analysis of the #stopIslam Twitter hashtag

A short excerpt from the article:

Twitter hashtags are used to categorise Tweets: they allow people to search for topics more easily. But they also communicate agendas and mobilise people into like-minded communities, so have become a popular form of politically mediated communication. In this article we show how groups with different politics negotiate the tensions between them through the interactions afforded by Twitter, and we examine the possibilities of challenging hate speech online.

The hashtag #stopIslam appears to be both racially motivated and critical of Islam. It has been used previously, particularly following terror attacks, to vilify Islam and Muslims. However, after the Brussels terror attack, on 22 March 2016, it came to our attention because of the large number of tweets using it to defend Islam. This response was also noticed by the mainstream media (CNN, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Washington Post) who reported on the hashtag trending. These media organisations tended to focus on the ‘counter-narratives’ about Islam reflected in the ‘twittersphere’, which often attempted to negate the relationship between Islam and terrorism. The prominence of these critical responses to #stopIslam, both on Twitter itself and within the mainstream media, raised questions for us about when and why counter-discourses about Islam and Muslims can gain a presence in the public sphere. We developed a project ‘Who speaks for Muslims?’, funded by a British Academy Small Research Grant, to explore how these Islamophobic messages played out online. Originally formulated to ask questions about self-representation and voice on social media, the issues it raises speak to growing concerns about the rise of right-wing populism, a surge in reports of hate speech, and the use of social media by white supremacist groups.

Read the full article here:
https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/BAR33-06-Poole.pdf

3. A Guide to the Language of the ‘alt-right’

“Here are some terms they use, and other hallmarks to look out for:

Human biodiversity: Despite the fact that many say racism is at the heart of its platform, the alt-right is very sensitive about being called racist. They use the term “human biodiversity” as a more scientific-sounding way of referring to issues of race.

Libtard: The alt-right revels in the rejection of “political correctness,” so embracing an outdated term for a person with an intellectual disability (“retard”) serves the purpose of insulting liberals.

Memes: The modern alt-right originated in places like 4chan and 8chan, which are hubs for meme creation. Meme creation is still a centerpiece of the movement. The alt-right is responsible for getting the Pepe the Frog meme classified as a hate symbol.

Political correctness: Anything that challenges an alt-right person’s right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, in any way they want to say it. According to the alt-right, political correctness is responsible for most of society’s ills, including feminism, Islamic terrorism and overly liberal college campuses.

Snowflake: Short for “special snowflake,” a pejorative for an entitled person. Most people protesting Trump are “snowflakes,” according to the alt-right, as are anti-Trump celebrities and most liberals.”

Source is provided below (which also contains more terms):

Analysis: ‘Cuck,’ ‘snowflake,’ ‘masculinist’: A guide to the language of the ‘alt-right’:
https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pol-alt-right-terminology-20161115-story.html

4. Accusations in a Mirror: How the Radical Right Blames Rising Political Violence on the Left

Candace Owens, then communications director for the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote off white nationalism as a fearmongering “election strategy” on the part of Democrats. “If they were really concerned about white nationalism, they’d hold hearings on antifa,” she told the committee.

If you listened only to Owens’s testimony, you might never learn that the vast majority of extremist murders committed in 2018 were carried out by members of the far right who were steeped in white supremacist ideology. Or that the number of those murders is increasing. Or that many of the tech companies that control the online spaces where violent white supremacists become radicalized are failing to moderate hate content effectively, creating a fertile space for frustrated white men to become socialized into the world of hate.

Owens’s strategy has become standard fare on the right: diminishing the rise of white nationalist violence, diffusing blame onto “many sides” – as President Trump did after “Unite the Right” – or insisting, despite all evidence, that political violence is a left-wing problem. Trump downplayed the threat once again in the aftermath of the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting that left 50 Muslim worshippers dead at the hands of a white supremacist. When a reporter asked the president whether he believed white nationalism was a rising global threat, he responded, “I don’t really.”

Read the full article here:
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/06/11/accusations-mirror-how-radical-right-blames-rising-political-violence-left

5. Move Slow and Break Everything

Discord is a chat platform designed for video game communities and a persistent and indispensable tool for white supremacist organizing. In early October, a journalist from Slate presented the company with a list of servers designed for denigrating minorities, indoctrinating individuals into white supremacy and doxing perceived enemies. Discord declined to take meaningful action or comment on its decision. Its terms of service state, “[Discord] has no obligation to monitor these communication channels but it may do so in connection with providing the Service.”

…Gab, which was founded as an alternative to Twitter and has become an accepting home base for much of the alt-right, responded to the study in a now-deleted tweet saying, “hate is a normal part of the human experience. It is a strong dislike of another. Humans are tribal. This is natural. Get over it.”

Read the full article here:
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2019/move-slow-and-break-everything

6. How Many Attacks Will It Take Until the White-Supremacist Threat Is Taken Seriously?

“There was, it seems, no time to avert the massacre.

The anti-immigrant, white-nationalist manifesto heralding an imminent attack was uploaded to the online message board 8chan only minutes before a shooter killed at least 20 people out shopping on a late-summer Saturday in El Paso, Texas.

But in another sense, if U.S. authorities confirm that the document was written by the 21-year-old white male suspected of committing the atrocity, then there was plenty of time—numerous years in which violence by far-right, white-supremacist extremists has emerged as arguably the premier domestic-terrorist threat in the United States. The government may be working to prevent these violent acts, but it’s devoted less attention and fewer resources to the toxic ideology that knits them together.

The Anti-Defamation League recently reported that right-wing extremists were linked to more murders in the United States (at least 50) in 2018 than in any other year since 1995, when Timothy McVeigh bombed an Oklahoma City federal building. The organization also found that in the past decade, roughly 73 percent of extremist-related fatalities have been associated with domestic right-wing extremists, relative to about 23 percent attributed to Islamist extremists.”

Source:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/how-can-fbi-fight-far-right-extremism-ideology/595435/

7. White power ideology’: why El Paso is part of a growing global threat

Defining white nationalism
“At the center of contemporary white nationalist ideology is the belief that whiteness is under attack, and that a wide range of enemies – from feminists to leftwing politicians to Muslims, Jews, immigrants, refugees and black people – are all conspiring to undermine and destroy the white race, through means as varied as interracial marriage, immigration, “cultural Marxism” and criticism of straight white men.

To people who believe in white supremacist conspiracies, demographic change is an “existential threat to white people”, said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a professor of education and sociology at the American University, and a senior fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right.

These conspiracy theories refer to demographic shifts in dramatic, violent terms, as a kind of “genocide” or a “great replacement” of one people with another. The idea of “replacement” is central to this movement: “You will not replace us! Jews will not replace us!” white nationalists and neo-Nazis chanted as they marched with flaming torches through Charlottesville, Virginia. It has echoed in the manifestos of mass murderers, and the chants of Charlottesville marchers, since being coined by a French white nationalist writer and conspiracy theorist in 2011.”

Source:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/04/el-paso-shooting-white-nationalist-supremacy-violence-christchurch

8. Five of the top far-right figures are British. We’re world leaders in hate

“Five of the world’s top ten far-right activists on the internet are British, a new report into online extremism has found.

Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins, and Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of Akkad – are all British-born and amongst the ten most influential far-right activists online.

…The other, less obvious factor, says Ganesh, is that the nature of the global dialogue between these figures drives their popularity. “Exclude Milo from this, but Paul Joseph Watson and Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, they’re particularly useful for the far-right. They translate this idea about cultural decline and attacks on the West and the UK from foreigners, primarily Muslims, into something for American audiences as well. They are trying to bridge some of that distance.” These narratives – that there are, for instance, Muslim controlled “no-go” zones in Birmingham – confirm the worldview of a sympathetic foreign audience, and drive funding and influence. (American think tanks, such as the Middle East Forum, have given money to Tommy Robinson).”

Source:
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/hope-not-hate-uk-far-right

9. Leader of Nigel Farage’s party resigns over anti-Islam messages

The leader of the new pro-Brexit party backed by Nigel Farage abruptly resigned on Wednesday after the Guardian asked her about a series of deleted anti-Islam Twitter messages sent before she took on the role.

Catherine Blaiklock, the leader of the Brexit party, repeatedly retweeted posts from far-right figures as well as sending her own messages. Among the messages she shared was one by Mark Collett, a former British National party (BNP) activist, referring to “white genocide”.

The term is often used in extreme rightwing and racist online activism of the sort seen as having inspired the man suspected of shooting dead 50 people last week at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Read full article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/20/leader-of-pro-brexit-party-catherine-blaiklock-resigns-over-anti-islam-messages

10. ‘The Great Replacement’: The Violent Consequences of Mainstreamed Extremism

On 15 March 2019 a terrorist attack occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack was livestreamed over Facebook, and has subsequently been shared with millions of people worldwide.5 In total, 51 civilians were killed and 50 more injured in the shootings. It is alleged that the perpetrator outlined his motivations in a so-called manifesto, which was leaked to the extreme-right-wing board ‘Politically Incorrect’ on the fringe imageboard 8chan and Twitter. This document specifically mentions what the author calls ‘the Great Replacement’ as the motivation behind the attack.

The core ideas behind this conspiracy theory have been present in far-right circles for years,6 however research by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) into extreme-right milieus reveals the extent to which this theory has come to dominate not only violent extreme-right groups on ‘dark social’ platforms, but also the language and ideologies of far-right, xenophobic and nativist groups and political parties across Europe and beyond. In particular, the centrality of the so-called Great Replacement theory to the Christchurch attack requires policymakers to reassess the threat posed by groups who continue to espouse and spread this theory online.

This paper outlines the origins and main arguments of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, its proponents, the tactics used to disseminate this concept, and the extent to which it is being politically mainstreamed, to illustrate how this concept has come to dominate the transnational extreme-right.

Read the full report here:
https://www.isdglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/The-Great-Replacement-The-Violent-Consequences-of-Mainstreamed-Extremism-by-ISD.pdf

11. Far-right fundraising not taken seriously by UK, report finds

An “unwillingness” by the UK government to engage with the threat posed by far-right extremists is creating a vacuum in which such groups can flourish, according to a study by a Whitehall thinktank of their fundraising activities.

The report warns that the focus placed on Islamists has meant that counter-terrorist authorities tasked with looking into financing have made little attempt to understand how far-right individuals and groups raise funds.

Calling for cross-border collaboration with the private sector, the report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) emphasised the importance of financial leads in investigations such as the one into the killing of the Labour MP, Jo Cox, by the extreme rightwing terrorist Thomas Mair.

Read full article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/31/far-right-fundraising-not-taken-seriously-uk-government-extremists

12. Europe’s right-wing extremists try recruiting from police, army

The extremist groups are showing interest in weapons and explosives, according to Europol.

“In order to build up their physical abilities and combat skills,” the report says, “members of extremist far-right groups are attempting to win over members from the military and security services in order to learn their expertise in the area of surveillance and combat readiness.”

They are also trying to take advantage of martial arts events.

Read full article here:
https://www.dw.com/en/europes-right-wing-extremists-try-recruiting-from-police-army/a-50557142

13. Incubating Hate: Islamophobia and Gab

Islamophobia has become a digital rallying cry for white supremacists and other extremists online. Xenophobic, derisive, and disinformative content appears with regularity in conversations about Islam on the fringe social media site Gab – a platform that bills itself as “the free speech social network” but that researchers argue features high levels of hate and conspiracy in comparison to Twitter, which it is modeled upon (Zannettou et al., 2018). We provide an overview of Islamophobia online, detailing prior research that describes the integral role that sites like Gab, 8Chan and Voat play in spreading harmful and defamatory content to larger publics on Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, and Twitter. Then, in collaboration with the social media analytics firm Graphika, we describe results from a quantitative analysis of Gab. Pulling from the complete database of all Gab messages assembled by Pushshift.io, we focus in on four months of data from the Summer and Fall of 2018. We then search the set for Islam-relevant hashtags, derogatory terms, and the names of Muslim U.S. political candidates who ran in 2018 – in the end compiling a set of 188,763 posts. We find that a significant proportion of the material about Islam and Muslims is derogatory.

Read the report here:
Incubating Hate: Islamophobia and Gab

14. A collection of material opposing Extremism and Terrorism

https://islamtees.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/a-collection-of-material-opposing-extremism-and-terrorism/