Failing to take far right violence seriously

Bob Lambert argues for a reorientation of counter-terrorist strategy.

For at least four decades a small number of specialist academics have pointed to a failure by governments in Europe to take the threat of far right terrorism and political violence sufficiently seriously. This selective blindness has become all the more striking during the decade of the war on terror when the same governments have paid endless attention to the threat of another kind of home grown terrorism and political violence.

Indeed, unintentionally but not unforeseeably, much government rhetoric aimed at home grown ‘radical Islamists’ in European countries has helped feed far right propaganda that demonises the same targets. This is not to argue that extremist Muslim threats of terrorism and political violence do not exist and do not deserve to be treated seriously. To the contrary, I argue that governments should be alert to both threats and should respond to them in the same way. To be blind to one and overzealous to the other is to risk fuelling both.

Open Democracy, 23 July 2012