Far-Right Terrorism Has Spiked By 320 Percent In 4 Years, Says Report

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An annual report released by the global conflict thinktank Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) suggests a 320 percent spike in far-right terrorism from 2014 to 2018, Newsweek reports.

Although the number of deaths from terrorism are reportedly declining — with the 2019 Global Terrorism Index showing a global decrease in the number of deaths, attacks, and economic damage due to terrorism — the report notes that terrorist activity is still significant. In particular, there is an increase in the activity from right-wing terrorist groups.

Specifically, IEP reports that Europe, North America, and Oceania saw a 52 percent increase in the number of far-right killings in 2018. The trend appears to have continued in 2019, with right-wing terror causing 77 deaths up to the end of September 2019.

EURACTIV reports that such far-right attacks are typically carried out by “lone wolf” attackers that are not aligned with a particular group. But it also notes that experts believe such a phrase is misleading because these terrorists still remain connected to support networks. In addition, the radicalization of such terrorists can often be traced to a base organization.

Steve Killelea, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the IEP, believes that a 320 percent spike in terrorist attacks over four years should not be taken lightly, adding that most of the deaths from far-right terrorism recorded in North America, Western Europe, and Oceania were in the United States and Canada. Killelea noted easy access to firearms in such countries.

According to Killelea, a possible cause of the trend is an increase in people that lose faith in the political leadership, which leads to such individuals becoming “disaffected with the system” — a process he claims is exacerbated by economic inequality.

“I think the trend for far-right terrorist activity is on is on the increase. Where that goes two, three years out from now is difficult to determine.”

The report also noted a decline in Islamist terrorism due to the defeat of the Islamic State as well as US-led airstrikes on Al-Shabaab. Newsweek reports that Western intelligence and security have primarily focused on Islamist terror over the past two decades, which has allegedly taken the focus off of the increasingly deadly right-wing groups.

Anti-Defamation League statistics suggest that right-wing extremists were responsible for 73.3 percent of the deaths stemming from violent extremism between 2008 and 2018. According to an Anti-Defamation League statement reported by Newsweek, white supremacists often use “extreme violence” to spread their hateful ideologies, as well as to “intimidate ethnic minorities” and “undermine democratic norms.”