World News – AU – Right-wing extremist attacks across the western world have peaked in 50 years

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Right-wing extremist attacks are at their highest level in half a century, and this situation is expected to continue given the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Right-wing extremism continues to rise in the western world, and in the past five years such attacks have increased by 250 percent in North America, Western Europe and Oceania.

This comes from the Global Terrorism Index 2020 of the Institute for Economy and Peace, which summarizes the most important global trends every year.

The institute’s chief executive Steve Killelea said while deaths from terrorism hit a five-year low overall, new threats are emerging and right-wing extremism is one of them.

While stressing that the number of violent attacks remains relatively low in a global context, a number of marginal movements are gaining momentum, he said.

« If we look to the far right, we can see that it is a combination of different groups. They can be neo-Nazis, they can be anti-feminists, they can be ultra-nationalists, they can be anti-gays and lesbians – so there are a number of different groups that are classified as far-right, « he told SBS News.

On 15. In March last year, an Australian terrorist opened fire on Muslim worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people and injuring dozen others in New Zealand’s worst mass shootings.

Leanne Close is the director of the Counter Terrorism Program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. She said what happened in Christchurch changed the « threat picture » in Australia.

« Before Christchurch in particular, there was a small emphasis on right-wing extremism in Australia, but after the massacre, ASIO reported that their investigations into right-wing extremism increased by 40 percent, so that was a big change. « 

Australia ranks 74th in the latest Global Terrorism Index. Ranked out of 163 countries, and the impact of terrorism in the country is rated as « minor ». . It was 71. in last year’s report.

Ms. Close said the threat of Islamic extremism still exists but has weakened in part due to the coronavirus pandemic. Right-wing extremists’ views appear to be growing, however, she said.

« We are certainly seeing a lot of influence online and on social media, especially from the US, including Europe, and we encourage and encourage people to take these really extreme views.

« And I would say that it is really speeding up because of this international access, and I also think that in some ways, because people are online looking at this material, COVID has that speeding up on extremist views or even conspiracy theories. « 

Dr. Mario Peucker from Victoria University specializes in online and offline mobilization of the radical right in Australia. He says that while right-wing extremism has not necessarily grown in size, in recent years it has become what he calls « ideologically hardened » and « more determined ».

« Obviously there are a number of different reasons. What we saw is that after [Donald] Trump won the election four years ago, the Australian far-right movement grew on the sidelines in the American movements, and Trump was seen as a figure for it, and this has the narrative. « 

« Another influence was the admission of refugees to Europe in 2015. That brought the idea to the fore of being overrun by non-white immigrants or refugees. More recently, the discussions surrounding the pandemic have also contributed to certain narratives that prevail on the far right. « 

The COVID-19 pandemic could cause right-wing attacks to trend higher, according to the Global Terrorism Index. Mr Killelea said this was mainly due to the ongoing economic downturn caused by COVID-19, which is likely to increase political and social instability.

« What will happen with the economic downturn is likely to increase economic hardship significantly, and what we see when major downturns in economies occur is that it increases the likelihood of more unrest, demonstrations and political instability. « .

« Given these mounting tensions, we believe this may be a cause of an increase in some areas of terrorism and can be linked to the far right. « 

The report notes that preliminary data suggest a decline in both incidents and deaths from terrorism in most regions of the world since the pandemic was declared in March.

Despite a general decline in the global impact of terrorism, it remains a significant and serious threat in many countries.

In Burkina Faso, West Africa, deaths from terrorism rose 590 percent. Other countries that were set to deteriorate significantly were Sri Lanka, Mozambique, and Mali.

The report stresses that the pandemic is likely to present new and distinct challenges in the fight against terrorism. It is therefore important that counter-terrorism initiatives are not constrained by the economic downturn.

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Terrorism, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

World News – AU – Right-wing extremist attacks in the western world have reached their highest level in 50 years

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