Normalisation, Party Politics and Vigilantism: Why the Next Terrorist Wave Will Not Be Right-Wing Extremist

Teun van Dongen 25 Nov 2020

The right-wing extremist terrorist attacks in the last three years have led many to designate right-wing extremist terrorism as the next major terrorist threat. This paper will argue that for large parts of the West such concerns are misguided for two main reasons. First, right-wing extremists lack the organisational clout to generate a wave of terrorist attacks that is on a par with the wave of jihadist terrorism in the West in recent years. Second, right-wing extremists have displayed a preference for other tactics; many of these tactics are non-violent, and even when they are violent, they are not necessarily terrorist in nature. We should acknowledge the importance of these other tactics and not make the mistake of viewing right-wing extremism as another form of terrorism, as that will lead to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the threat of right-wing extremism entails.

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This article was published as part of a special edition of the ICCT Journal, Evolutions in Counter-Terrorism, and the other articles in this edition can be found here.