UN chief warns far-right poses "biggest threat of terrorism" in West

3/14/2023 4:55 PM

The “biggest threat of terrorism” is posed by far-right and white supremacist groups in the West, according to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who also said the world must pay attention to Islamophobia.

His comments come hot on the heels of the arrest of 25 far-right extremists in Germany who allegedly attempted to overthrow the government.

Last week, we looked at why far right extremism has become a significant concern in recent years.  

During his annual end-of-year press conference in New York, the UN chief said the case in Germany is just one example of the danger to democratic societies around the world from the extreme right, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.  

“It has been demonstrated that the biggest threat of terrorism today in Western countries comes from the extreme right, neo-Nazis and white supremacy,” Guterres said.

“And I think we must be very clear and very firm in condemning every form of neo-Nazism, white supremacists, any form of anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred.

“This is clearly a threat, and we must fight that threat with enormous determination."

Social media responsibility  

Guterres also said social media giants have a responsibility to do more about hate speech and extremism on their platforms.  

“And so, obviously, my recommendation to whoever owns any platform is to make sure that the freedom of expression, especially of journalists, is respected and that hate speech, neo‑Nazism, white supremacism, the other forms of extremism, do not find their way through those social platforms,” he added.  

A report by the Australian-based Islamic Council of Victoria in September found that nearly 86% of anti-Muslim posts on social media come from the US, the UK and India.

India had the highest figure with 871,379 Islamophobic tweets, followed by the US (289,248) and then the UK (196,376)

The rise of the far right

Recent figures from the Home Office showed white people were more likely to be arrested for terror offences in the UK, with many analysts saying that the numbers indicated why security forces are increasingly worried about the threat of the far-right.

Last month, the head of MI5 also warned that a rising number of far-right extremists radicalised online attempt to buy “firearms in particular, whether illegally obtained, homemade or 3D-printed” to carry out attacks.

In Germany, thousands of police conducted raids on 130 sites across the country to foil the far-right terror plot to overthrow the government.

Prosecutors said members of the movement were suspected of “having made concrete preparations to violently force their way into the German parliament with a small armed group.”

Image: UN Photo/Mark Garten