UK not awake to threat of far right
Former counter terror chief Mark Rowley has urged politicians and the media not to underestimate the threat of domestic extreme rightwing groups, who may have a strategy for a terrorist group.
Speaking on 18 August to BBC Newsnight., the former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said that we have a domestic terrorist group for the first time since the second world war, which is ‘rightwing’, ’neo-Nazi’, ‘proudly white supremacist’ and that has ‘a violent and wicked ideology’.
Rowley said that ‘there is a real danger’ that we give groups such as National Action ‘more scope to get stronger’ by allowing their ‘aggressive intolerance’ to enter ‘mainstream political debate’.
Nick Lowles, founder of the anti-racist and anti-fascist campaign group Hope Not Hate, said: “While Mark Rowley is right in saying that neo-Nazi ideas have not gone mainstream, what is abundantly clear is that an anti-immigrant, and particularly an anti-Muslim narrative, increasingly dominates the mainstream media and this can lead people into the hands of far-right extremists.” Rowley referenced four far-right plots that were foiled last year and claimed there has been a lack of recognition of the threat posed.
“I don’t think we’ve woken up to it enough. Now I’m not going to say that it’s the same level of threat as the Islamist threat. From last year’s numbers for example, out of 14 plots stopped, 10 were Islamist, four were extreme rightwing, so no pretence that it’s exactly the same order of magnitude, but it’s very significant and growing, and what I’ve seen over the last couple of years is a lack of recognition of that.”
National Action became the first far-right group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016.