Europol: 436 Jihadists Arrested Across Europe in 2019

French police officers block the road near the site where Cherif Chekatt, the alleged gunman who had been on the run since allegedly killing three people at Strasbourg's popular Christmas market, has been shot dead by police on December 13, 2018 in the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg. - More than …
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436 people were arrested for jihadist terror in Europe in 2019 according to a new report, but the mainstream media has focused their reporting on right-wing extremists, whose arrests were outnumbered by jihadists 20-to-1.

According to the report, in addition to the 436 people arrested for jihadist terror-related offences across the continent in 2019, there were also 111 arrested for left-wing extremism, and 21 for right-wing extremism.

In a broader context, in the past five years, 3,057 jihadists had been arrested, compared to 279 left-wing extremists, and 108 right-wing extremists. Other categories included 1,549 “non-specified counter terrorism-related arrests”, and 360 Ethno-nationalist and separatists — mainly arrests relating to Northern Ireland in the UK, and Catalonia in Spain.

The good news is the number of attacks overall is falling, standing at 119 compared to 205 in 2017.

On the ongoing development of these divergent groups, the 98-page study noted: “There is also a possible risk from radical Islamist groups in the EU attempting to take advantage of vulnerable asylum seekers.”

On the 111 arrests related to far-left terrorism, the 2019 figure more than tripled the numbers seen in previous years, while the 21 arrests categorised as far-right were less than half the number seen in 2018.

“The narratives behind [far-left] attacks”, according to Europol, “included expressions of solidarity with imprisoned anarchists internationally” as well as “support to refugees”.

Right-wing extremists, it said, “capitalise on … xenophobia” as well as “agitating against immigration in polarising and inflammatory ways”, including by using “social issues … as propaganda tools, for example drawing the contrast between the housing of migrants and the plight of the homeless”.

While noting that “many right-wing extremist groups across the EU have not resorted to violence”, the report’s authors hinted they would like to see more online censorship of views they consider to be “far-right”.

“Despite a recent pushback, right-wing extremists continued to enjoy much greater freedom to act on major social media platforms in 2019 than, for example, jihadists; and these platforms remain important vectors for the spread of right-wing extremism,” the study asserts.

Commenting in the report, Europol director Catherine De Bolle warned that the economic and social fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic “have the potential to further fuel the radicalisation of some individuals, regardless of their ideological persuasion”.

“Activists both on the extreme left and right and those involved in jihadist terrorism attempt to seize the opportunity the pandemic has created to further propagate their aims.”

 

Despite figures showing jihadist terror attacks pose the greatest threat to European lives, with 10 out of 10 terror deaths incurred across the continent in 2019 being attributed to Islamist attacks, several international mainstream media outlets focused reporting on the Europol study around the dangers of far-right ideology.

Under the headline, “Europol: Ireland hit by surge of ‘right-wing extremism’”, the Irish Examiner talked up the threat of “anti-immigrant ideology”.

Not until the final paragraph of the article was there any mention of far-left or jihadist extremism, despite the latter ideology relating to all five terror-related arrests made in the Republic of Ireland last year. Euractiv’s reporting also saved reporting the sudden surge in left-wing extremist arrests until their final paragraph, and named two particular attacks in its coverage, both by right-wing extremists.

European Parliament based The Parliament magazine also followed the format, dedicating their report to right-wing extremism. Former newspaper The Independent focussed their reporting, their headline on the Europe-wide data noting ‘UK saw highest number of far-right terror attacks and plots in Europe in 2019, Europol says’.

 

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