Skip to Content

GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM FUNDING

LIVE AND LET LIVE - LESS MONEY LESS TERROR

November 6, 2020 » Today News » /

Islamic State terror attacks in Europe risk a violent backlash from the far right

Islamic State terror attacks in Europe risk a violent backlash from the far right

Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:

  • LLL-GFATF-ISIS Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]

 Affected Countries: austria; france;

The attack in Vienna this week — where an armed assailant killed four people and injured others — was claimed by the Islamic State and was one in a string of recent attacks in Europe this week, following three other jihadist motivated killings in Paris and Nice.

The perpetrator of the Vienna attack was another frustrated traveller: he was convicted of terrorism charges last year for attempting to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State.

Like previous frustrated travellers, he chose to follow the late Islamic State leaders Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s call for followers to commit attacks wherever they are able.

The attacker had complied with court ordered rehabilitation programs and was released early from prison. The data shows that there is a lower risk of recidivism for terrorism offences, yet he still went on to commit violence.

This demonstrates the enduring appeal of the jihadist cause despite the Islamic State’s territorial defeat.

But it also points to the potential for reciprocal radicalisation — where the jihadist threat provokes a far-right backlash. This could threaten the cohesion of multicultural societies, driving individuals to extreme positions and creating a loop of cyclical responsive violence and cumulative extremism.

This phenomenon of how extremist actors or groups respond to, and fuel extremist sentiment in relation to each other, is what extremist scholars refer to as reciprocal radicalisation or cumulative extremism.

While the jihadist threat is enduring and has remained at the top of intelligence and law enforcement risk profiles despite the collapse of the Islamic State and weak al Qaeda leadership, the data has also shown that there has been as much as a 320 per cent increase in right-wing extremist attacks in Europe, America and Australasia over the past five years.

European Union reports have also shown a doubling of arrests of right-wing extremist actors.

The increase in right-wing extremism is due to many reasons.

The 2016 election of US President Donald Trump has emboldened many far-right actors who commit racially or ethnically targeted violence.

This includes enduring anti-Semitism and the exploitation of technology platforms to create extremist online echo chambers which foster radicalisation. It has also led to a disillusionment with the neo-liberal consensus and the democratic process. These people have been pushed peoples towards extreme right groups which promote vigilantism, authoritarianism and nativism.

But an additional factor driving right-wing extremism is the growing and mainstreaming of Islamophobia fuelled by continuing jihadist attacks.

Violent extremists on the right — including the perpetrator of the Christchurch attacks — have justified their violence as revenge that responds to jihadist violence.

The far right and extreme right believe that the jihadist actors represent Islam and Muslim culture and believe that the West should be protected from Islamisation and what they believe is an influx of Muslim immigration.

They do not view these jihadist terrorist attacks for what they are — extremist outliers.

Rather they help justify their belief in white racial superiority and that Europe or the majority white countries of the New World should curb immigration — especially from Muslim majority countries, claiming they aren’t compatible with Western culture.

Far right and extreme right adherents also perceive these jihadist attacks as justifying the “great replacement” conspiracy theory that so many of them believe in. This conspiracy theory posits that “international liberal elites” are intentionally encouraging immigration and have used globalisation as a means to “replace” the native population of Europe.

These right-wing actors also position themselves as part of a broader “counter jihad movement”. This is a collection of European and North American anti Muslim movements which — citing jihadist attacks in the West — believe that Western civilisation is under attack from Islam.

In a crude rehash of the clash of civilisations argument, the counter jihad movement claims that it seeks to prevent growing Islamisation and jihadism in the West.

Right-wing extremism and far-right movements are driven by more than just their response to jihadist terrorism.

The cumulative or reciprocal radicalisation that drives them is real phenomenon.

Terrorism researchers like Tahir Abbas who has studied the relationship between Islamophobia (which has grown in response to jihadist attacks) and right-wing extremism have seen evidence that “groups radicalise each other and engage in configurations of reciprocal hate, demonisation, and violence”.

Online posts from far right actors after the recent attacks in France and Austria have spewed Islamophobic content and in turn online threats from Islamic extremists have threatened more attacks in response to insults against Islam.

In this heightened environment, when each group feels increasingly threatened by the other and believes that the other group is primed for action, the risk of violence increases.

The spate of jihadist attacks is concerning in and of itself, but more so because it feeds the anti-Muslim sentiment that fuels violent right-wing extremists and threatens social cohesion at a time of growing far-right sentiment.

Source: ABC News

Previous
Next