Clamp down on hate groups to curb rise in far right attacks, report warns

The government must introduce a law to target and punish hate groups to stop the spread of Far Right extremism, according to a report. 

Police and public bodies should have the powers to punish groups which spread hateful ideas but fall short of advocating violence, it argues.

Currently, the Home Secretary can ban groups which advocate terrorism or violence, but not those who spread their hateful messages without an explicit call to harm others.

The list of banned organisations includes groups related to terrorism in Northern Ireland, Islamic extremists and a small number of neo-Nazi groups.

But the report, written by the Tony Blair Foundation, has called for more action to be taken to tackle hate groups who aren’t explicitly violent but who encourage hatred and intolerance that can lead to violence.

Their proposals would see groups which target people of a different race, religion, gender or nationality, banned from being able to appear in the media, speak at universities or interact with public bodies.

The report also says the government should work more closely with social media companies to tackle hatred online

But unlike proscribed organisations, they would still be allowed to meet and membership would not be a criminal offense.

It also comes alongside calls for more coordination for social media companies to curb hateful messages online.

The foundation reports a 40% rise in religiously motivated hate crimes – with a 26% rise on attacks on Muslims, both on and offline.

Azmina Siddique, a policy advisor at the Tony Blair Institute, said:“These groups are far from innocuous.

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“Only last month, Generation Identity England activists gathered outside the Tower of London dressed as ISIS militants and simulated the beheading of two anti-racism activists.

“It is time that policymakers acted – by defining extremism and designating hateful groups – to stop such obviously malicious acts”

Baroness Williams, Minister for Countering Extremism, said: “Far right extremism has absolutely no place in our society.

“Our Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Extremism strategies tackle the scourge of both violent and non-violent far right extremism head on.

“We have also established the independent Commission for Countering Extremism, which provides advice in what is needed to tackle extremism and will be refreshing our Counter Extremism Strategy to ensure we keep pace with the evolving threat.”

Introducing the report former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: “As we know only too well in the Jo Cox Foundation, what starts as hate-fuelled rhetoric can end in the terrorist murder of a serving MP, wife and mother.

“We need to return to the vexed problem of how to identify the link between violent and nonviolent extremism and develop a coherent policy approach to tackling the threat of far-right groups.”


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