As more and more violent incidents involving so-called ‘incels’ occur, a government advisor has explained why they have not yet been treated as terrorist acts.
Before the recent, horrifying attack in Plymouth, the gunman had identified himself as an involuntary celibate (incel) and posted online about his disdain for his mother and women in general. Given his misogynistic and right-wing views, many have wondered how his murders have not been considered an act of terror.
Jonathan Hall, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation for the Home Office revealed that whether or not a group’s actions are considered terrorism is a ‘question of scale’. He added, ‘If we see more of these sorts of attacks, then I have got no doubt that it will be treated more seriously as terrorism.’
Exactly how many attacks need to happen is unclear, but there have been several cases of Incel mass shootings in the US.
Hall told BBC Radio 4:
If something reaches a scale where it affects, if you like, the national security of the country or the general sense of security, of the population, then you might want to [divert resources to counter it].
In terms of changing the current definition of terrorism, Hall noted that the definition of violence used to advance an ideological cause is sufficient.
It seems part of right-wing terrorism but it is not really. In fact, it is quite separate from it. It is a different sort of ideology.
The question is really one of choice. Do we want to start treating incels as potential terrorists?
On the back of the mass shooting in Plymouth, questions have been raised about why the authorities didn’t act sooner.
Nazir Afzal, formerly chief crown prosecutor for the northwest, has questioned why the Plymouth shooter wasn’t on a watchlist, saying he was ‘exactly the type of person the authorities should be keeping an eye on’, The Independent reports.
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