Right-wing extremism gained momentum in 2019, report shows
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    Right-wing extremism gained momentum in 2019, report shows

    The far right gained momentum in 2019, according to State Security. Credit: Pixabay

    2019 was the year of acceleration for the extreme right, the State Security Council said in its annual report.

    A series of attacks cost the lives of dozens of victims in the Western world, and there is a breeding ground for ideologically inspired violence in Belgium, according to the report.

    State Security refers to the attack on a mosque in New Zealand’s Christchurch on 15 March, where 51 people were killed. “The perpetrator was not only applauded in right-wing extremist circles, he also inspired and encouraged other right-wing extremist activists to follow his example,” they said, adding that “at least four attacks resulting in deaths (two in the US, one in Norway and one in Germany) in 2019 were directly inspired by Brenton Tarrant,” the Christchurch shooter.

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    Other right-wing extremist attacks such as the murder of the German politician Walter Lübcke are not immediately linked to the raid on the mosque, but they do indicate that the threshold has been lowered to take the step from hate speech to brute force, according to the report.

    In Belgium, too, violence in right-wing extremist circles is no longer taboo, says the State Security Service. Some people in right-wing extremist circles have said that “the New-Zealand example deserves to be followed here,” they pointed out.

    “State Security has established that some right-wing extremist circles are threatening violent actions or are discussing the possibility of such actions,” they said.

    “In the most extreme cases, right-wing militants prepare for violence, such as practicing with firearms and explosives or discussing potential targets,” according to the report. State Security has shared intelligence on such preparations with other security services.

    Neo-Nazi and skinhead circles “are more active than in past year: neo-Nazi concerts in Belgium attract a broader and more international public. Nazi groups take to the streets more often to express their displeasure with parliamentary democracy” and are less and less scared to express their ideology.

    “Radicalisation and the culture of violence is also noticeable in extreme-right identity movements. An increasing amount of importance is being attached to physical readiness, resilience or the availability of firearms,” the report added.

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times