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Thomas Mair: Far-Right Terrorist

24/11/2016 10:31
janecampbell21 via Getty Images

With Wednesday's guilty verdict, Thomas Mair has been revealed as a brutal killer and far-right terrorist, inspired by violent fantasies of race war.

In carrying out his murder of Jo Cox MP, a noted civil rights and human rights campaigner, Mair was influenced and inspired by race hate and theories of violent race war which entered Britain in the 1990s.

In 2000, he bought bomb making manuals from the neo-Nazi National Alliance in the United States, a group whose leader inspired Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber in 1995, and David Copeland, the London nail bomber in 1999.

Paul Jeffries, the UK leader of the National Alliance, lived a little over a mile away from Mair until his death a few years ago. It is difficult to believe that he wrote off to the American organisation without having contact with its UK leader who lived just down the road.

The US theory of race war and leaderless resistance, whereby individuals and small cells act autonomously, also inspired British neo-Nazi gang Combat 18 (C18) and the the National Socialist Underground (NSU) in Germany (which killed 10 people and carried out several bombings plus numerous bank robberies between 2000-2011).

In targeting a British MP, Mair was following a growing list of British nazi terrorists who believe that they are at war with the system. This ideology, which sees the state - and in particular liberal politicians - as more of a target than minorities, became dominant among UK nazis in the 1990s and remains a strong pillar of their thinking today.

Nor was Thomas Mair unique. There have been at least 48 other far-right activists/supporters who have been convicted of terrorism/terror-related/murder/extreme-violent acts in England and Wales during the past 16 years. One of these was Terrance Gavon, who was sentenced to 11 years in 2008 after police found explosives and an arms cache in his house. Gavon lived three miles from Mair.

The Mair case highlights the ever-present threat of far-right terrorism in this country, a threat HOPE not hate still believes the authorities are not doing enough to tackle. While Thomas Mair pulled trigger, neo-Nazi propagandists must share some responsibility for fuelling and directing the hatred and violence inside him.

While the authorities have certainly increased their awareness and monitoring of potential far right terrorists - and that is to be applauded - not enough is being done to shut down the peddlers of hate: those people who are inciting the likes of Thomas Mair and pumping their heads full of racist conspiracy theories.

Far-right activists and groups regularly get away with threats of violence and racist incitement which we believe would not be accepted if they were Muslim extremists. There is a danger that extreme race hate, left unchallenged, will continue to inspire the likes of the Thomas Mairs to commit acts of terrorism and racist violence in the future.

While Britain's far right might be numerically smaller than in the past, it is becoming more violent and dangerous.

Nick Lowles is the founder and director of HOPE not hate

This blog first appeared on the HOPE not hate website, and can be read here

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