Monday, October 07, 2019

Resist Racism

The Far-right is exploiting concerns about the safety of women and children to target Muslims and ethnic minorities, an official report has found.

The Commission for Countering Extremism said some groups “deliberately distort the truth to persuade their audience to adopt discriminatory and hateful attitudes”.

The government agency’s first major report warned that the tactic was drawing in white communities who would not normally support the far right, and worsening social division. 

The report said prominent far-right figures including Tommy Robinson, Jayda Fransen and former Ukip leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters used rallies in 2016 and 2017 to “spread anti-minority and anti-Muslim agendas”.

As part of research into all forms of extremism across Britain, the commission examined a series of protests sparked after a woman claimed she was gang raped by Middle Eastern migrants in Sunderland. The original rape allegations were investigated by police but did not result in any charges, and the alleged victim withdrew her support from the campaign in her name in October 2017. Local councillors said a string of 13 marches in as many months “whipped up anti-minority feeling” and were linked to a series of hate crimes including a violent attack on Asian men, vandalism and racist graffiti in the area.

The marchers said they aimed to improve the safety of women and children locally,” the report said. However, their rhetoric targeted ethnic minorities, despite nearly 85 per cent of people convicted of sexual offences in 2018 in the Northumbria Police force area being white.”

The Commission for Countering Extremism said: “Many protesters were not motivated by hate; they had concerns about their safety and the safety of those in the community. Far-right agitators exploited these local grievances. Members of the movement had links to banned group National Action. The shared belief of these figures and groups was their antipathy towards minorities, immigrants and particularly Muslims.” 

A similar pattern has been seen with the use of grooming gangs as a major far-right recruiting tool, which sees extremists characterise the abuse as committed solely by Muslims. The government report said locals who opposed the demonstrations were abused and intimidated.

The agency’s nationwide inquiry found authorities were failing to spot local tensions being exploited, not protecting victims, and were failing to “challenge the persistent behaviour of hateful extremists who seek to mainstream their dangerous propaganda”.  
Lead commissioner Sara Khan said “hateful extremism” was allowing people to make the “moral case for violence” while stopping short the threshold for criminal prosecution. If we are to be successful in reducing the extremist threat in our country, we must focus on challenging hateful extremism. My report shows the destructive effect it is having on the lives of individuals, our communities and wider society.”

No comments: