“Extreme right-wing terrorism is a transnational challenge. Its tentacles reach from Australia to Ukraine, and Norway to New Zealand but it has evolved at a different pace in different parts of the world,” stated Emerita Torres, Director of Policy Research and Programs at The Soufan Center. On 6 October 2020, Ms. Torres moderated the Global Research Network (GRN) roundtable, “Emerging Trends in Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism: a Focus on Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism.”
The virtual roundtable was organized by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) to help prepare Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) members and other Member States for the CTC Open Briefing on 9 October 2020. CTED’s analysis has shown that while extreme right-wing terrorism is not a new phenomenon, it is clearly a growing concern, and a growing concern for the Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) members and other Member States.
Several key themes emerged from these discussions. “This movement is fueled by common narratives. Narratives of white genocide. Narratives of a Great Replacement. Narratives of a kind of a new world order,” explained Dr. Kacper Rekawek, a researcher at the Counter Extremism Project.
All panelists emphasized both the challenges around finding a shared lexicon, but also the importance of nuance and recognizing that the umbrella term of the extreme right encompassed a large number of ideologies and groups who do not necessarily share the same tactics. Dr. Natalie James, Head of the Counter-Extremism Research Unit at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right asserted, “Unless you separate the notion of terrorism from the notion of extremism, no, they are not fit for purpose because those two things are incredibly different.”
Gender dimensions were also raised throughout the discussion. “Thinking about gender has to mean thinking about relationships between men and women, thinking about power and thinking about masculinities,” stated Dr. Elizabeth Pearson, a lecturer at the Cyber Threats Research Centre at Swansea University.
It was also clear from the discussions that significant gaps and challenges remain. “We’re still thinking in very 20th century ways about how to tackle what is an inherently 21st century problem,” declared Dr. Matthew Feldman, Director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. Tom Keatinge, Director of the Royal United Services Institute explained “In an environment where there is increased collaboration online, this will without doubt extend to financial support across national boundaries.” Therefore, Dr. Cathrine Thorleifsson, a researcher at the Centre for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo suggested, “We need to teach youngsters how to challenge de-humanizing discourse and conspiratorial thinking about ethnic and religious minorities.”
The full roundtable is available on YouTube.
The concept note for the virtual roundtable is available here.
The agenda for the virtual roundtable is available here.