Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Incitement of Hatred

Incitement of Hatred

Hate groups that support neo-Nazism, racism, sexism or homophobia use virtually the same tools as any mainstream advertiser to spread their messages online. These groups have been growing in numbers lately. According to a report released this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center, for the first time in eight years, hate groups were found in all 50 states . The report also warned that the number of hate groups in the U.S. has increased by 20 percent since 2014. Hate groups have turned parts of the Internet into a propaganda battlefield with potentially deadly consequences. For example, the Charleston massacre in 2015 , the so-called "Pizzagate" fake conspiracy story in 2016 , and last year's violent racially motivated rally and protest in Charlottesville, Virginia , were linked to online activity. Typically, radicals use the following methods to spread hate: social media, video platforms, websites|web hosting, and darknet.

Social media and the Internet at a whole play a critical, if not the most important, role in radicalization. Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act protects private companies like Twitter and Facebook from liability for the speech of their users and for the decisions they make about content moderation (President Trump tried to repeal Section 230 by executive order but was challenged in court). The U.S. government is also limited by the First Amendment and cannot restrict free speech. In addition, the Stored Information Act prohibits service providers from disclosing the content of electronic communications to the government without the user's consent, except in certain circumstances. Despite these restrictions, social media platforms have themselves become more aggressive in removing extremist content and have taken matters into their own private hands by starting to block extremist content.

While the U.S. government has most often refrained from criminalizing extremist speech, preferring to prosecute criminal activity fomented by such speech, the Supreme Court also noted in one of its decisions that the First Amendment protects free speech, but not violence. Over the past five decades, the Court has generally extended First Amendment protections for free speech that advocate violence in the abstract, while allowing the government to limit or punish speech that threatens or facilitates violence carried out in concrete ways. There are categories of speech that the government considers unprotected under the First Amendment. These include incitement to imminent lawlessness, actual threats, and speech that is an integral part of criminal conduct. The following U.S. law criminalizes speech supporting violent acts, including acts of terrorism. For example, under 18 U.S.C. § 373, "Coercion to commit a violent crime," it is a crime to induce, order, induce, or otherwise attempt to induce another person to commit a crime involving the threat, attempt, or actual use of physical force against another person or property, in violation of United States law.

In addition, the First Amendment does not necessarily protect online speech posted by a foreign extremist group or foreign national abroad. Although it applies to U.S. citizens speaking abroad or foreign nationals speaking within the United States (in some cases), there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether the First Amendment applies to online content that a foreign national posts outside of the United States.

Nevertheless, a number of far-right and Islamist organizations are active in spreading hatred both online through the mechanisms mentioned above and offline, which is most effective today in places of detention, mosques (if we refer to Islamists), and at rock concerts of special "white" music (if we refer to right-wing radicals). For example, the right-wing radical music group Hammerskin Nation, which is the largest and most organized skinhead network in the United States, specializes in such concerts. It was launched in 1988 and to this day continues to organize the annual Hammerfest white music concerts; the group has cells all over the world.

There is also a fairly large number of nonviolent alt-right groups that promote and practice racism under the guise of white ethno-nationalism and focus on the idea of race difference (rather than white supremacy) and call for the separation of races. These groups include the League of the South and the Identity Movement Europe (which was renamed the American Identity Movement [AIM] in March 2019). These and similar "softer" advocates of right-wing radicalism raise fears about minorities and immigrants and the danger the latter supposedly pose to white culture and identity.

Alt-right groups and pundits represent a new generation of white supremacists and draw on the tradition of earlier Identitarian groups that tried to intellectualize xenophobia and separate it from violence, while appealing to younger, educated contingents, many of them college students. Their main goal was meta-politics that would bring white ethno-nationalist discourse into the mainstream. For example, slogans such as "Identity is Europe." "You won't replace us" are an attack on minorities and immigrants. These groups reject violence, but embrace the same Identitarian idea of "The Great Replacement" as their extremist, neo-Nazi counterparts. This idea is based on the thesis that in a few decades there will be a "Great Replacement" of "white", "European" America by a colored America. They criticize the Republican Party for its "failure to protect the white majority.

Right-wing Internet blogs such as American Renaissance (edited by Jared Taylor) act as online media outlets and raise money through the New Century Foundation. In July 2020. "American Renaissance suspended its accounts on major projects such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Amazon. However, the company's content remains available on other accounts such as Parler, Telegram, BitChute and Gab. American Renaissance also organizes conferences, such as in 2017, which attracted 300 attendees, including Richard Spence and Nathan Damigo (of Identity-Europe), and in 2018 and 2019. After the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. "American Renaissances published pieces in support of policing and white identity that were attacked by the left. It is estimated that the New Century Foundation, along with several other white supremacist nonprofits, managed to raise over $8 million (tax-free) in ten years.

The neo-Nazi and alt-right groups and websites mentioned above, target young people for recruitment through social media and the Internet, as well as through meetings and online forums, and on college campuses, including through youth NGOs and student memberships. Many of them distribute their content in foreign languages. The League of the South, for example, which identifies itself as a "neo-conservative" group based in Killen, Alabama, calling for a "second southern secession" from the United States, is characterized by violent anti-Semitism and promotes international editions of its propaganda, including in Russian, Hungarian and Chinese.

As far as Islamist hate speech is concerned, it should be noted that there are two strands of this activity. The first is the spread of hatred through jihadist terrorist channels and sources of information. Jihadist terrorist groups have not been successful in recruiting in Muslim communities in the United States. Since September 11, 2001, there has not been a single successful deadly attack in the United States by a foreign terrorist organization. This is largely due to the U.S. government's aggressive counterterrorism efforts. Although attacks by foreign terrorist groups have been difficult, if not impossible, since 9/11, there is still a threat from homegrown jihadism. Of those that pose a threat from homegrown jihadism, "lone wolf" attacks are more dangerous: Not only are they more deadly, but they are harder to prevent, and the perpetrators take longer to evade arrest.

It is estimated that only 300 Americans - compared to about 7,000 Muslims from Europe, including Russia - have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq. A small but significant number of Americans (36 from 2011 to 2019, according to estimates by researchers at the George Washington University Extremism Program) have also traveled or attempted to travel to join jihadist groups outside Syria and Iraq, including Somalia and Yemen. Of these former ISIS supporters, relatively more American Muslims have been repatriated back to the United States for trial than European Muslims to Europe (although this process has been complicated by COWID-19. Thus, as of October 2020. The U.S. has repatriated only 27 Americans from Syria and Iraq. Thus, we can conclude that despite the militant rhetoric of US President Donald J. Trump, Muslims in the US have not been radicalized at the same rate and to the same extent as Muslims in Europe.

Overall, Islamists in the U.S. are mostly radicalized in prisons, mosques, and the Internet. Thus, about 50 percent of current or former ISIL members noted that they were radicalized solely through social media. Islamist radicalization has been fairly successful through places of detention.

The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world, and it is in prisons that extremist ideology is promoted. Radicalization in prisons, however, is less of a threat than some commentators tend to portray, and research shows that Islam can actually have some positive effects on prisoners.

The second source of radicalization is radicalization through legal sources of nonviolent Islamist organizations, which effectively take advantage of features of U.S. anti-extremist legislation. While European intelligence agencies are increasingly focusing on nonviolent, legal Islamism, this is not the case in the United States, where legal Islamism is usually viewed through the lens of foreign policy (discussions focus on Islamist movements in Muslim-majority countries, including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt).

While during the first decade after 9/11, and despite some discussion of ideological trends in nonviolent Islamism, the FBI conducted counterterrorism operations against Hamas and charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab Spring was taken in a positive light by the Obama administration, and internal investigations into nonviolent Islamist networks in the United States almost ceased entirely. This trend has changed little during the Trump presidency. During his campaign, candidate Trump spoke of his desire to create a "Commission on Radical Islam," but this did not happen. On the contrary, under the Trump administration, federal funding received by American Islamist organizations has actually increased. For example, Masjid Muhammad, the Mosque of the Nation, which has branches across the United States, received a grant from the American Muslims Against Violence and Terrorism (AMATE) initiative, a joint project of the mosque and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security aimed at countering narratives of violent extremism within the country. This and other similar grants were awarded to several Islamic organizations as part of the outgoing Obama administration's efforts to counter violent extremism (CVE). CVE grants to Islamic organizations continued under the Trump administration.

Here, too, we should look first at organizations like al-Shahaab and the Muslim Brotherhood, which are not on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, the latter, for example, sponsors many Muslim-American organizations through which it mobilizes and recruits Muslims in the United States. At the same time, many well-integrated American Muslims, including conservative Sunnis (who make up 50 percent of all American Muslims) as well as minority Muslim groups (such as Sufis and Ahmadis), are deeply concerned about the influence of Islamist networks on American Islam. In their view, jihadist radicalization in the American context is less of a threat than the influence of nonviolent Islamist networks on grassroots social and religious activity and the position of Islamists as self-appointed "communal" representatives of other American Muslims.

Historically, America has been home to a relatively large number of Islamist movements. The Muslim Brotherhood, Salafism, and Jamaat-e-Islami are the most important legalist groups (in the sense that their goal is to introduce an Islamic state through a gradual political transition). Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s while studying in California. And Bashir al-Kebti, who was elected head of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood shortly after the 2011 revolution, worked as an accountant in the United States for over thirty years. Prominent Muslim Brotherhood Americans Jamal Barzinji, Ahmed Totonji, and Hisham al-Talib played key roles in the creation of global Islamist organizations such as the Saudi-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth, as well as some of the first American Muslim organizations such as the Muslim Students Association and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

Some Islamic charities, including Islamic Relief USA, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, have also been accused of collaborating with Hamas and Hezbollah and distributing texts glorifying jihad and anti-Semitism. Among the mosques affiliated with foreign branches of the Muslim Brotherhood is the Islamic Society of Boston, one of whose trustees was until recently Yusuf al-Qaradawi (spiritual leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood). The presence and influence of foreign Muslim Brotherhood leaders has declined in recent decades. It is now believed that Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the United States are led by an independent American organization, the Ikhwan/American Brothers, which has become involved in American progressive politics in recent years. It can also be argued that in recent years Qatar and Turkey have replaced Saudi Arabia as the main sponsor of Islamism in the United States.

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