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Extremis Project: Group Set Up To Monitor Right Wing 'Terror', Launched In UK

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Just over a year ago, a right-wing extremist named Anders Breivik went on a killing spree in Norway, murdering 77 people.

Since Breivik, there have been numerous examples around the world of what's euphemistically labelled 'domestic terrorism', a subject we still know little about.

Most recently a man thought to be a member of the white power network killed six at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.

anders breivik

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Now, an academic and a think tanker for Policy Network have set up a new project to monitor and analyse extremism across the globe.

So why now? In a blog for The Huffington Post UK, co-founder Dr Matthew Goodwin, says the time is ripe.

"Put simply, we know a lot about al-Qaeda inspired terrorism but very little about the dynamics of violence on the extreme right-wing. This is one reason why we launched the Extremis Project: a platform to help close the gap between those who undertake research, and those who are on the front-line of policy, security and politics," he said.

Those extreme right-wing can also have links and lessons for Britain. In the weeks following Breivik's massacre, anti-racist group Hope Not Hate highlighted the extent of the killer’s contact with the EDL, reporting that he told them to “keep up the good work” on an online forum shortly before going underground to plot the last stage of his attacks.

In the manifesto Breivik posted online shortly before massacring 77, he boasted of his links to the right wing British group EDL, saying he had been friends with over 600 members on Facebook and helped supply them with “processed ideological material” in the very beginning. The EDL deny having links to Anders Breivik.

Anthony Painter, who who runs the project on extremism and populism at Policy Network, tells The Huffington Post UK extremism is more than just a public concern.

"This is far from linked to the financial crisis alone but that presents new challenges. There is a huge amount of high quality and essential research that happens but too often it's in isolation between academia and policy makers.

"The need was for a platform to bring all the research, analysis and expertise together - hence Extremis Project," he added.

The site will fully launch in September, and will aim to track the latest news and research about extremism.

"It is about understanding the similarities and difference between different strands of extremism. Is what happened in Wisconsin similar to Anders Breivik in Norway or should they be seen as completely separate cases?

"How can we understand the place of the Front National in France compared with Geert Wilder's PVV in the Netherlands. What does that mean for other countries? What influences the transition of a politics of hate into one of violence?

"These questions aren't going away and they require detailed understanding if we are to understand how extremism operates," Painter explains.

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