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Xenophobia, Radicalism and Hate Crime in the UK (2020-22)

Xenophobia, Radicalism and Hate Crime in the UK (2020-22) Dr. William Allchorn

Recent events in the UK relating to xenophobia, radicalism and radical right extremism suggest that racial and societal tensions are not going away any time soon. At the time of this report’s completion in March of 2023, expressions of polarisation, stigmatisation and racialisation emerged in the UK’s public life that have emboldened xenophobic, radical movements.

First, and during the last weeks of February 2023, UK white supremacists targeted a hotel housing asylum seekers in Knowsley – resulting in a riot between police and local people. Secondly, and in reaction to book reading sessions under the initiative ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’, a wider campaign by UK radical right extremists was sparked in response with many key groups protesting against LGBTQ+ rights outside libraries up and down the UK. Thirdly, a record rise in migrants attempting to cross the channel has led to further mobilisations by radical-right organisations and solo-actors, who see such crossings as part of a broader “invasion”. Both culturally and racially nationalist groups Britain First and Patriotic Alternative have been ratcheting up their rallies outside such centres in response. Meanwhile, in late 2022, one individual actually set fire to asylum accommodation in Dover before taking his own life shortly after. Likewise, neo-Nazism in the UK continues to inspire individuals to accelerate a ‘race war’ through violent means, as made clear in the most recent in a series of court cases. 20 far-right sympathisers were convicted of terrorist offences in 2022 alone and 49% of all terror arrests in the year to September 2022 were linked to suspected extreme right-wing terrorism. Such cases – also joined by solo-actor attempts – were symptomatic of a broader coalescing of individuals around an international radical right extremist terror ideology – sometimes dubbed as the accelerationist creed of ‘Siege Culture’ - who’s clandestine nature on dark social media and dark chat forums poses an increasing challenge for policymakers and law enforcement in the UK and elsewhere due to the terrorist potential therein.

The wider context of these interventions and activities by radical right (and Islamist) extremist groups are covered in this bi-annual review.

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