Don’t give in to extremism

The Age has reported that the United Patriots Front, an off shoot of Reclaim Australia, posted a video of CCTV footage of the assassination of anti-racism activist Carlos Javier Palomino in 2007. The murder took place on a packed train where a neo-Nazi stabbed Palomino in the heart. The posting of the video was a threat of violence against anti-Racism activists in Australia ahead of far right rallies in Melbourne this weekend.

At the Online Hate Prevention Institute we have seen an escalation in both threats made publically and privately against individuals, particularly Muslims and anti-racism activists. We’ve been monitoring these trends since our major report into anti-Muslim hate 2013. These threats have occurred both in public and in private communications. We have also seen coordinated efforts to attack anti-hate Facebook pages and register false reports against them in an effort to have these pages closed. The core of far right is getting both bolder and more dangerous.

Dr Andre Oboler, the Online Hate Prevention Institute’s CEO, said “We are appalled at the use of videos and messages of graphic violence by far right racists. They seek to intimidate through the threat of violence to pursue their ideological goals. This is violent extremism on our streets and through social media in our homes. This extremism needs to be stopped.”

The level of fear of Muslims (today’s “other”) in Australian society has been ratcheted up in recent months. A large part of this fear comes from legitimate disgust and concern about Daesh (ISIS), but that concerns has been misdirected into a suspicion of all people who are Muslim. This problem has been exacerbated by those with ready access to the airwaves.

On social media the far right have stoked people’s fears with message and memes of hate. They have posted declarations that they are not racist, and that they are inclusive and welcome all, except of course Muslims, to join them. Far from being original, these are the classic ingredients in Hate.20 which both promotes hate and claims not to be hate. Unfortunately this hate 2.0 has spread and attract supporters who, because of their own ethnicity, would be second on the list of targets such groups would attack.

The threatening post has led to some questioning the safety of attending the counter rally. Others have stood firm encouraging people to attend. Dr Oboler commented that, “Neither social media nor our public streets belong to these extremists who seek to terrorise all who oppose them. So long as the anti-racism rally is peaceful and police give the go ahead, we would encourage people who intended going to still attend. Australian support multicultural, oppose extremism, and stand by our mates, that’s what it means to be Australian. For all their talk of patriotism, the far right is simply unAustralian.”

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