Britain’s leading anti-racism organisation has accused authorities of failing to understand or deal with a resurgent far-right threat and the Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred this is bringing.
In its annual report, HOPE Not Hate (HNH) warns of further violence from far-right or neo-Nazi groups whose influence is now spreading to university campuses.
“We are facing a surging threat from far-right terrorism and violent extremism,” said HNH chief executive Nick Lowles.
“No-one should be surprised by this upsurge, we have long warned the authorities about the problem of far-right terrorism and violence. It is vitally important now that police and the government do more to crack down on the peddlers of hate and those pushing civil war rhetoric.”
Lowles said there was “a rising terrorist threat” and that this was a “consequence of the increasingly confrontational tone of online far-right rhetoric, combined with the almost universal extreme-right belief that a civil war between Islam and the West is coming, as well as the growing influence of hard-line European Nazis in the UK”.
He added: “These are people who believe they are at war with society, at war with Islam, and in the last 18 months they have put this desire for war into action.”
While traditional far-right organisations have collapsed, with their lowest membership rate for 20 years, the report State of Hate 2018 reveals that 28 people were arrested for far-right inspired terrorist offences or similarly violent offences last year.
The report also reveals that now-banned National Action members are continuing to meet under a different guise and that Ukrainian fascists are actively recruiting neo-Nazis in Britain, to give them weapons training at the Azov Battalion headquarters.
The increasing problem of far-right hatred was highlighted earlier this year by the trial of Finsbury Park mosque attacker Darren Osborne, who killed one and wounded a dozen others during an attack last summer.
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