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Far-right Groups Using Islamist Techniques to Recruit 


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Demonstrators participating in the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 (Photo: Anthony Crider.Wikimedia Commons/CCO 2.0)
Demonstrators participating in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 (Photo: Anthony Crider.Wikimedia Commons/CCO 2.0)

According to a new Counter Extremism Project (CEP) report, far-right groups are using Islamist techniques to recruit new followers.

David Ibsen, CEP’s executive director, says:

“[The far-right] Portraying themselves in this way is definitely a tactic to increase the reach of their message and, as such, increase the potential of radicalization…

The real worrying issue is that, with the power of social media, these claims create an ecosystem where people looking for legitimate mainstream movements access extremist culture.

What we cannot ignore is how these groups will affect pluralism, peace and tolerance.”

Far-right groups using Islamist techniques navigate the online space much like their jihadi counterparts. They “build” communities” around key issues and then point to recent national headlines that further drive and validate their cause. 

Whether in greater Europe or in America, larger numbers of far-right groups are using Islamist techniques to recruit a new base of followers. Other strategies employed include not directly underscoring the supremacist underpinnings of their ideologies, but instead launching (particularly in this case) non-violent attack campaigns on a target demographic. 

For example, instead of saying “A is better than B,” they will resort to a soft attack that says, “Look at how horrible B is.” 

This strategy is still identifying a target group and attacking the target group based on a collective subscription of identity or behavior markers across the entire group. Instead of saying, “This is a problem, here is the cause and here is a possible solution,” far-right groups (like their jihadi counterparts) only resort to direct pejorative attacks. 

 

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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.