Coronavirus lockdowns could radicalize more terror suspects, the EU’s police agency “Europol” warned ON June 23rd. Europol director Catherine De Bolle said as she unveiled the organisation’s latest terrorism trends report that the pandemic’s worldwide economic and social impacts could escalate existing discontent.“Activists both on the extreme left and right and those involved in jihadist terrorism attempt to seize the opportunity the pandemic has created to further propagate their aims.”
Europol latest report said Islamist terror attacks in Europe had decreased, mainly due to better law enforcement, with only seven “completed or failed” jihadist attacks in 2019. However, with the lockdown, the hours spent by people online also increase. This is why researchers have released a new guide for parents about how to keep their kids from being recruited by extremists online.
“A lot of the drivers we know to be key to creating susceptibility to extremist narratives are things like depression, anxiety, a sense of economic precarity, lack of purpose or meaning – all of the things that people are feeling intensely at the moment,” Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a sociologist at American University and author of the forthcoming book “Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right,” said. The guide is a collaboration between American University and the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights watchdog. It’s intended to help parents identify warning signs that their kids might be vulnerable to radical propaganda.
The Guide offers also ways to kind of build resilience to those narratives and proactive ways that help young people be less vulnerable to extremist rhetoric when they do encounter it.For example, Miller-Idriss said extremist groups have used COVID-19 as an opportunity to promote racist and xenophobic conspiracy theories on social media about the virus’ origin.By some measures, the Mountain West has seen a disproportionate amount of hate-related activities in recent years.
“While many right-wing extremist groups across the EU have not resorted to violence, they contribute to a climate of fear and animosity against minority groups,” De Bolle said.“Such a climate, built on xenophobia, hatred for Jews and Muslims and anti-immigration sentiments, may lower the threshold for some radicalized individuals to use violence against people. ”Last year three EU member states reported a total of six right-wing attacks, of which one was completed, as opposed to only one the year before.
Europol also warned of an increase in attacks by right-wing extremists, partly inspired by attacks such as the 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. While many right-wing extremist groups across the Europe have not resorted to violence, they contribute to a climate of fear and animosity against minority groups,” De Bolle added.
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