A 14-year-old boy “groomed” online by environmental activists was referred to the UK Government’s anti-extremism Prevent programme.
The boy, identified as “Aaron”, was initially contacted by environmental activists via social media after signing a petition online who encouraged him to engage in protests and hand out leaflets, according to a report by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority published Monday.
The report, which included a number of case studies involving young people at risk of being pulled into “extremism”, found that the green activists’ approaches towards the teen had become “progressively more aggressive to the point where Aaron was on the periphery of engaging with criminal behaviour” and the teen was often reported missing by his parents.
According to the report, Aaron had been referred by his school because of “his extreme beliefs in relation to the environment”, and was talking to activists on the “dark web”.
Vegan Extremists Threaten to Fire Bomb Butchers as Activist Attacks Increase https://t.co/DxxDDPUfWv
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 28, 2018
Police then issued an abduction notice, banning the activists from contacting the boy. Months later, the boy — who is said to have autism and self-harms — has settled back into school and reportedly has shown no signs of green extremist tendancies.
The report was commissioned by Manchester’s left-wing Labour Mayor Andy Burnham in response to the deadly terror attack at the Ariane Grande concert committed by suicide bomber and son of Libyan refugees 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi in the city last year.
Entitled, A Shared Future. A Report of the Greater Manchester Tackling Hateful Extremism and Promoting Social Cohesion Commission, also highlighted Muslims’ “genuine fear” of “persecution” by the government and its counter-terrorism programme.
On the national scale, the Prevent Strategy, which supports people at risk of engaging in terrorism and promotes social cohesion, had to pivot away from its focus on Islamism in recent years — the ideological source for the vast majority of acts of terror in the West — after criticism from far leftists, educators, and minority activists who said that it “disproportionately targets” Muslims.
70 Per Cent Rise in ‘Right Wing’ Referrals to Govt Anti-Extremism Programme in South-West England https://t.co/Mo2Z8XtSZI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 28, 2018
Since then, authorities have ramped up referrals of young people at risk of “far right” radicalisation and who hold “extreme right-wing views”, with some recent examples including young people campaigning for the pro-sovereignty, anti-globalist UK Independence Party (UKIP) and a 15-year-old boy who expressed in school opposition to the public wearing of Islamic veils.
However, academics estimated that “REAR” (Radical Environmentalist and Animal Rights) cells were responsible for more than 1,000 criminal acts between 1970 and 2007 in the United States alone, of which most were attacks on animal testing facilities and vandalism.
In January 2018, a married couple was jailed for helping to firebomb vehicles belonging to workers linked to UK-based Huntington Life Sciences in a series of attacks in France, Switzerland, and Germany, the animal testing company being subject to violence and intimidation by animal rights extremists for nearly two decades.
After a butcher shop in Kent, South East England, was targetted by vegan extremists in May, the UK’s Countryside Alliance has said that there has been a rise in attacks against meat producers and vendors across the country.