Information to recognizing far-right extremism despatched to varsities in England and Wales | Colleges
A charity has advised schools on how to spot right-wing extremism because they fear an increased number of children have been exposed to dangerous ideas during the lockdown.
Hope Not Hate sent the safety guide to every school in England and Wales in time for the scheduled full return of schools in England on March 8th. The manual is designed to help teachers spot signs of far-right influence after the charity’s researchers found that those who hold and promote extremist views are getting younger.
Earlier this month, a teenage neo-Nazi group leader was convicted of terrorist offenses that began at the age of 13.
According to the anti-racism charity, social media and smartphones put children at greater risk of exposure to extremist material than ever before, especially if more time is spent online during the pandemic. However, the terminology radicalized young people use may be so foreign that parents or teachers will not pick it up.
Owen Jones, the charity’s director of education and training, said young people didn’t have to actively seek out extremist content: they could research material for a school project on World War II and in half an hour watch Holocaust denial videos and other anti-Semitic content thanks to algorithms.
“Gone are the days when far-right proselyting was confined to the back rooms of run-down pubs. Now you can access this material 24/7 in a few simple steps,” he said.
Jones believes that increased levels of fear from the pandemic may make young people more susceptible to being attracted to far-right graphics and memes that are purposely designed to grab their attention. “They also have fewer social interactions with people that could lead them off the wrong path,” he added.
He said that the current protection advice for schools as part of the government’s prevention strategy is often irrelevant given the threat posed by the modern right-wing party, as it mainly focuses on Islamic extremism or right-wing groups like the BNP or the EDL, which have now largely passed away .
The 57-page book provides a guide to symbols used by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, the logos of far-right organizations and movements, modern online symbols and memes, and a glossary of common terms used by the far right.
Jones said teachers reached out to the charity, which offers workshops and training, after seeing children use phrases or hand gestures that set alarm bells off. “Students use language in classrooms that they don’t understand – words like Chad and Stacey that come from the ‘incel’ movement,” he said. “And then you think, right, I don’t understand, so what else do I not understand?”
He said a typical pattern of radicalization could be a teenage boy worried about making a girlfriend and exposed to misogynistic theories of conspiracies to keep men in check, which then leave them vulnerable to ideas like the great substitute theory could, an extremely broad – right paranoia that white people be wiped out.
Jones believes fighting right-wing extremism “is one of the basics of what the government should do to protect us,” but hopes in the meantime that the book will support early and effective intervention.