UK

From Britain First To Donald Trump - Why 2015 Was The Year Islamophobia And The Far-Right Went Mainstream

29/12/2015 08:49 GMT | Updated 29/12/2015 09:59 GMT

Fuelled by what is now commonly referred to as the "worst refugee crisis since the Second World War", and a series of horrifyingly public attacks by Islamic State fanatics - which included spraying sunbathing tourists in Tunisia with bullets, and most recently concert goers in Paris - there was a surge in support for the far-right in 2015. Islamophobia grotesquely morphed from the margins of society to the mainstream, all the way to the US Presidential elections courtesy of repugnant-Republican Donald Trump.

Across the UK 24 different far-right groups are said to be currently attempting to whip up hatred towards Muslims. Leading the charge, according to a report by Hope Not Hate, is Britain First, who like Trump, also suggested banning Muslims and mosques as the answer to tackling terrorism.

This year Britain First clocked-up over one million "likes" on Facebook, using the site, and a steady-stream of often doctored and misleading content, to ratchet up public fears, something another former far-right favourite, Tommy Robinson, has also capitalised on.

The English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has this year come back into the spotlight as the "adviser" to Pegida UK.

Harnessing the power of social media (he has over 100,000 Twitter followers), Robinson has created waves of anti-Islam sentiment which he's used to surf his way up the far-right ranks, and on to stages where he's addressed the biggest crowds of his political career. In November, Robinson used his power to align anti-Islamic groups across Europe, and on February 6 next year over a dozen will march simultaneously under a single banner: “Save our Country. Save our Culture. Save Our Future.”

In the wake of the Paris attacks on November 13, which resulted in 130 deaths and injured a further 350 people, Islamophoic attacks in the UK increased three-fold in a growing sign of a vigilante uprising.

Nick Lowles, Hope Not Hate’s chief executive told the Guardian this month: “The very fabric of our multi- racial and multifaith societies is going to be severely tested in the next few years and it is incumbent on us all to strengthen the bonds that unify liberal democracies."

Below are the 10 moments of 2015 that showed how far-right sentiment has crept into mainstream consciousness.

The year the far-right went mainstream

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