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A NEW far-right group that has called for attacks on refugees in Dover is recruiting minors through social media.
Members of the British Hand have posted information on how to modify, make and acquire weapons and pledged to infiltrate the army.
The leader of the 15-person “cell,” believed to be a 15-year-old living in Derby, has repeatedly called for “urgent and extreme” violence against refugees in Dover and Muslims, with other members expressing willingness to carry out such acts.
The group, which emerged in July following Black Lives Matter protests, has been exposed by anti-racist monitoring organisation Hope Not Hate in a report published today entitled Hitler Youths: the Rise of Teenage Far-Right Terrorists.
The report details how the group’s members use social media platforms Instagram and Telegram to share material glorifying the perpetrators of white supremacist massacres including last year’s mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, with its leader boasting that the British Hand is “gonna be bigger than them.”
Lead author Patrik Hermansson said his research exposed a “dangerous and tragic emerging trend within the far right,” in which minors as young as 12 are being recruited by hatemongers.
“Schools, security agencies and the police must prioritise this growing threat,” he said. “We are seeing minors being groomed, radicalised and organised online, sometimes by adults, sometimes by each other.”
“This isn't a distant possibility – we have already seen a string of high-profile teenage terror convictions; the danger is real and we need action on and offline before serious harm is done.”
The warning follows the conviction last year of a 16-year old from Durham, who had written about race war. He was jailed after attempting to order bomb-making materials from a contact in the United States.
This autumn, two teenagers are due to face trial on terrorism-related charges over their alleged involvement with an outlawed neonazi group.
British counterterrorism police have also highlighted the growing fascist threat, revealing in a report last September that a third of all terrorist murder plots since 2017 were motivated by far-right causes.
Hope not Hate’s report warns that the British Hand is one of many explicitly violent far-right groups forming rapidly online.
While most are thought to have very few members, or even just one, the authors pointed out that it only takes one individual to carry out an attack.
Hope not Hate lays some of the blame for this growing movement on Telegram, accusing it of having “failed to take sufficient action.
“All tech companies have a responsibility to deal with the use of their platforms for nefarious purposes, and Telegram
must be held to account,” the report added.
Weyman Bennett of Stand Up To Racism commented: “Small but dangerous fascist groups are growing in an atmosphere built by racism from the top coming from [US President Donald] Trump, Boris Johnson and our present Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is scapegoating refugees and migrants to misdirect anger against the impending economic crisis.”
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