Photo courtesy of www.counterextremism.com
There have always been hate groups in one form or another, and they have been responsible for a myriad of terrible and tragic acts of violence. With the advent of the internet, these groups now have a new tool to spread their propaganda and disseminate their extremist writings and videos. For this reason, it is of vital importance that people know how to spot these types of posts and know how to report them to the proper authorities so that appropriate action can be taken. There are a few things that you should look for if you’re wondering if a particular post or video does indeed display extremism.
The most obvious thing to be aware of are videos depicting terrorist attacks or other terrorist activity. These usually aren’t difficult to spot, but some might not be as obvious as others. If you do happen to see a video of this kind somewhere on the internet, don’t just ignore it or pretend you didn’t see it. Any terrorist postings should be reported. Make a note of the website and the precise URL so that you can make an accurate report.
You may not see something as obvious as a video or blatant terrorist post, but that doesn’t mean a website isn’t affiliated with terrorism. Sometimes a website can be owned by a terrorist organization and may post things regarding their propaganda but not as plainly obvious. It’s possible that they will use a site to present their point of view and try to get people to follow their ideas using a more subtle approach. If you find a website that rubs you the wrong way, make a note of it and report your suspicions. It may not be a terrorist site, but it’s best not to take any chances. Extremism must be stopped, and vigilance is the est way to combat it.
Extremism isn’t a crime left only to the terrorists themselves. It is also a crime to promote any form of terrorism. This includes anyone who uses the internet to express their approval of or disseminate any terrorist or extremist materials or articles. There are other forms of extremism that are equally dangerous. Whether it’s racially motivated extremism, religious extremism, anti-abortion extremism, or other types, all are hurtful to others and all are illegal. If you see any web page that seems to support any type of extremist group or ideas. this should also be reported.
Lastly, there are some websites or posts that, although they may not be directly affiliated with an extremist organization, can still be considered to be extremist if they encourage others to commit extremist acts. This could be something as simple as someone typing a post that suggests, even jokingly, that a particular building should be blown up. A post like that may not be intentional but it’s the message behind it that matters. It may just be a joke, but if the wrong person sees it and takes it seriously, it could lead to a tragic extremist act. If you happen to see a post like this on social media or any other website, report it first to the website’s administrators. This might get that person banned from posting, and the website admins might conduct further investigation to see if legal action is warranted.
To report any online extremism, click here. For other resources and information, please see below.
Institute for the Study of Radical Movements
Description: Independent and non-profit research institution concerned with examining radical movements, ideologies and radicalization processes to better understand and help counter them. Brings together the practical experience and empirical data of several NGOs with high quality research.
Description: Open access online journal on deradicalization, extremism and democratic culture. German focussed but will also have bilingual (English-German) and English articles. Combined academic and practitioner publication, peer reviewed.
Center for European Studies
Description: Offers articles, speeches, and videos of relevance to extremism, immigration, and parties.
Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism
Description: Current news from major news resources, research and data, and links to additional resources on hate and extremism.
Description: European Parliament Election Results 2009. Official results from all member states of the European Union, including data on electoral fortunes of ‘extreme’ parties.
Description: List of Europe’s largest far right parties, including information on their leaders and platforms. Good base for additional research.
International Media Support
Description: Debates, discussions and information on the work of the IMS, which supports local media in countries affected by armed conflict.
Description: Government and Politics on the Internet: A series of guides designed to help researchers and students of politics and a list of sites containing information or ideas relating to the study or practice of politics.
Radicalism and New Media Research Group, University of Northampton
Description: This research group aims to generate a series of practitioner-focused research projects that will coalesce around the understudied connection between radical and extremist political movements and their use of new media technologies. The group will invite academic researchers, practitioners and civil servants (particularly the police and others concerned with community cohesion) to compare experiences and develop collaborative enterprises in the analysis of this wide-ranging phenomenon, particularly as it relates to the contemporary UK.
Southern Poverty Law Center
Description: Provides a good overview of major civil rights issues and the hate groups associated with them. Also offers the Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups and extremist activities throughout the United States. Includes a useful map that outlines the hate groups within each state and indicates where they are located on the local level. Also provides a brief regarding extremism in Europe.
United States Institute of Peace
Description: Debates and discussions on terrorism and political extremism.