As far-right extremism and violence spreads across the country, the U.K. prepares to label a neo-Nazi group a terror organization and outlaw the membership of the far-right group for the first time, the Independent reported yesterday.
The neo-Nazi group "National Action" had earlier glorified the killing of Jo Cox, the British Labour Party Member of Parliament, by white supremacist Thomas Mair, as the court described the murder of Cox as terrorism offence.
Mair, 53, a loner obsessed with Nazis and extreme right-wing ideology, armed himself with a sawed-off rifle and a dagger, shot Cox three times and repeatedly stabbed the 41-year-old mother of two young children in her northern English electoral district as she arrived for a meeting with local residents.
During the June 16 attack, he shouted "Britain first" and "Keep Britain independent," his trial heard. When Mair was arrested, he told officers he was a political activist and his only words in court were when he gave his name as "death to traitors, freedom for Britain".
Although Mair was not charged under terrorism legislation, officials widely described his crime as an act of terrorism.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights group based in the U.S. state of Alabama, said on its website that it had obtained records showing Mair had links to the neo-Nazi organization "National Alliance" dating back to 1999. He also had letters printed in a South African pro-apartheid magazine, the SPLC said. An analysis of his Internet usage on computers in local libraries also showed Mair's obsession with the far-right. In the days and months before the attack, he read articles about Nazi figures, the Ku Klux Klan and Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. He had also looked up the Wikipedia entry for Ian Gow, the last British lawmaker to have been killed before Cox, in 1990, reports said.
The murder, a week before Britain's referendum on European Union membership, shocked the country. Cox was the first British lawmaker killed in office in a quarter of a century. Cox had been a prominent voice arguing for Britain to remain in the EU during a divisive and often angry referendum campaign that focused heavily on the issue of immigration. She had also urged Britain to take in more refugees fleeing the violence in Syria.
The killing of the U.K. Member of Parliament Jo Cox by a nationalist terrorist indicates growing "violent white supremacy" trends, violence from far-right extremism and neo-Nazi groups across the country.
In a shock referendum result, Britain voted on June 23 to leave the 28-nation European Union. Pro-Brexit supporters campaigned heavily on immigration and the need to regain control on Britain's borders, in a referendum battle fought against the backdrop of Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II. As well as "intolerance," which it said was promoted by the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), the report also noted criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron when he spoke in July 2015 about a "swarm" of migrants trying to reach Britain.
There has been a surge in hate crimes across Britain in the wake of June's referendum, which saw Britons vote to exit the EU with immigration as one of the key issues. At its peak, there was a 58 percent increase in hate crimes and police recorded more than 14,000 such crimes in the period running from a week before the vote to mid-August.
Minority groups have suffered several verbal attacks throughout the country in recent days, and the National Police Chiefs' Council said it had detected a 57 per cent rise in police reports.
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