FAR RIGHT ATTACK STRATEGIES AND THE RAMADAN

7 mins read

Ramadan is celebrated all around the world and it represents one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and it represents a major core of the Islamic faith. During the Ramadan celebrations, Muslims focus on praying, reading the Quran and on their relationship with God, among other things. Mosques are always full in this period and that’s the security problem to face.

Ramadan is a month-long fasting observed by Muslims worldwide, it takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.  Muslims who are able to, fast from sunrise to sunset, for all the duration of Ramadan. During this period it is prohibited to drink, eat, smoke and have sexual intercorse and Muslim are called to be more charitable and to engage in more spiritual acts. The end of the Ramadan is celebrated with Eid al-Fitr, a three day holiday.

Ramadan is a very important moment for the Muslim community and all of them, even if maybe cannot fast, will observe it by praying. They may pray at their own homes or go to mosques, where they pray together and spend some time thinking about their relationship with God. Therefore, particularly in this period, mosques are crowded and always host believers in most parts of the day.

This practice is the same worldwide and it may constitute a problem in terms of security for the Muslims as far right militants may target them.

It is known and proved that far right groups are different from one another as different are the creeds and the main goals around which the groups are formed. However, the hate for other ethnicities and in particular for Jews and Muslims, is in broad terms a common trait. For some far right groups this hate derives from the fear of seeing the extinction of a pure, white race, due to the growing and growing globalization, which tears down the cultural barriers of the counties and that bring every aspect of our lives more connected, closer and more instant. 

Also, the fact that governments have been more than willing to open to this mixture of cultures, economies, businesses and exchanges, makes most far right groups share anti government positions and makes them engage in conspiracy theories, which will inevitably fuel their positions and their beliefs of being “tricked” by the governments worldwide. 

It has been explained in previous analysis how conspiracy theories and propaganda influence one’s mind and push them to distrust anyone but the members of their own groups, often bringing families apart. The mental influence plays a key role in forming acolytes of groups in general, and also for far right ones. 

In recent years, there have been many attempts by far right groups to carry out attacks against the Jews and Muslim communities. Many of these planned attacks have been promptly countered by the Intelligence and police forces, but some attacks have been successfully carried out, causing many deaths and lots and lots of victims and suffering.

Some examples of successfully carried out attacks are the ones carried out in 2019 by Philip Manshuas and Branton Tarrant.

Philip Manshaus has been charged for terrorism after killing his stepstister, who was adopetd and had Chinese origins, and after attacking the Al-Noor mosque. The Norwegian boy, who is in his twenties, pleaded “not guilty”, stating that he wanted to cause even more harm than what he had already caused. 

When in court, Manshaus evoked the “emergency justice”, which is a defense in Norway for a person who had no choice but to commit a crime, so he couldn’t be punished. According to him, his actions were played out for self defense, as his fear was the contamination of the white race. This is clearly a main creed in far right ideologies and beliefs, so Manshaus statement shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

Branton Tarrant  is the Christchurch killer, he opened fire in two different mosques in New Zealand, killing 51 people. His attack made the country change the gun laws and consider terrorism from another point of view, pushing them not to worry only for Islamic terrorism but also for this type of terrorism.The main problem here is that the far right is not being considered a form of terrorism equal to Jihadism. This is because these two types of terrorism are conceicved with different points of view from people, governments, analysts and researchers. 

The one carried out by Brenton Tarrant has been considered New Zealand’s worst peace-time mass shooting ever. The attacker had also broadcasted his attack live on social media, specifically on Facebook, causing horror to a more wide public.

These are just two examples of successfully carried out attacks by far right extremists. There are many more that have been, and are being, planned. It is for this reason that, being the majority of mosques crowded and open to the public, the risks of attacks are solid. 

The higher risks come from the actions of far right extremist lone wolves, who often cannot be put near a specific group because they radicalize alone.

Caterina Anni è laureata in Sicurezza Internazionale con una specializzazione in Analisi e Intelligence. Si avvicina allo studio dei gruppi estremisti Far- right con l'internship presso The Counterterrorism Group di Washingon D.C., con cui collabora per 7 mesi. Scrive per Analytica for Intelligence and security studies e lo IARI per l'area di Difesa e Sicurezza.

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