20% of young white Britons hold radical right views, research shows

Cristina Ariza is a policy and practitioner fellow of the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right and an analyst at the Extremism Policy Unit at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. She is also the research lead for extreme right-wing terrorism at the International Observatory for Terrorism Studies.

New research from myself for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) has found that around 1 in 5 young white people in the UK agree with extreme radical right views, such as: “there is an unresolvable conflict between the West and Islam”, “British culture is under threat of invasion”, and “democracy is broken, and we should replace it”.

The quantitative survey this research is based on was carried out by Savanta ComRes with 2,000 young Muslims and white non-Muslims aged 18-30 in May 2019, as well as two qualitative online focus groups with 57 young people.

Key Findings
There is a significant minority of young people who agree with nonviolent extremist statements. One-fifth of both groups surveyed consistently agree with extreme positions across themes depicting Islam and the West in conflict, promoting feelings of victimisation and anti-establishment sentiment. For example, 17 per cent of Muslims and 16 per cent of WNMs think democracy is broken and we should replace it, while another 17 per cent and 23 per cent respectively think there is little value in engaging with politics.

A smaller but not negligible minority sympathise with violence. Around 13 per cent of those surveyed believe violent action is sometimes necessary and justified to achieve change. Fifteen per cent of Muslims surveyed agree that people should go out to fight to defend their religion or culture with force (9 per cent for WNMs). However, most respondents – half of both Muslims and WNMs – agree that there is never a justification for terrorism or political violence.

Out of the statements about extremism, victimisation is the most prominent theme for British Muslims. More than one-third of Muslim respondents (34 per cent) think they are systematically targeted in the UK and globally, while almost 17 per cent of WNMs think that British culture is under threat from invasion.

Out of the statements about extremism, the most prominent theme for British white non-Muslims is the West versus Islam. Thirty-one per cent of WNMs surveyed hold very negative views about Islam, including that it promotes violence and that there are no-go areas where sharia law dominates. WNMs are more likely than Muslims to agree there are tensions between British and Muslim identities (36 and 30 per cent respectively).

Respondents’ agreement with extremist positions likely reflects how they receive and process information. A regression analysis of the data shows that agreement with extremist messages can be linked to: negative feelings about their future or a lack of agency; limited diversity within social networks; and experience of discrimination.Other factors included affinity with divisive groups and disagreement with domestic and foreign policies of the government.

There are demographic and behavioural indicators for those more likely to agree with extremist messages. They tend to: say they have been discriminated against; have homogenous social networks in terms of race and religious belief; lack social integration and inter-group contact; have a negative outlook or feel powerless when it comes to the future; and be male.

Source: rantt