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Connecting the Fringes: Neo-Nazi Glorification of Salafi-Jihadi Representations Online

In the past, several individuals transited from neo-Nazism to Salafi-Jihadism, or simultaneously adopted both, and it seems that the tendency of certain individuals to adhere to different – and sometimes contradictory – ideologies increasingly appear as a tangible threat.

On 1 April 2021, the French security service of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI) received an urgent alert from its Moroccan counterpart of the Direction Générale de Surveillance du Territoire (DGST) warning of imminent attacks to be conducted against churches in the South of France on Easter day. The suspect, an 18-year-old woman from the Southern city of Béziers, was believed to be planning her actions in coordination with elements identified with Islamic State (IS). Three days later, policemen and tactical units of the National Police’s RAID arrested Leila B. at her home. The notebook the detectives found in her room revealed her rather atypical profile. Along the pages, surahs relating to jihad and illustrations of IS executioners holding decapitated heads interlaced with swastikas and sketches of Nazi soldiers, illustrating a fascination for extreme violence rather than adhesion to one ideology in particular. The case of Leila B. is not unique. In the past, several individuals transited from neo-Nazism to Salafi-Jihadism, or simultaneously adopted both, and it seems that the tendency of certain individuals to adhere to different – and sometimes contradictory – ideologies increasingly appear as a tangible threat.

In a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee in September 2020, FBI Director Christopher Wray labelled this trend “salad bar” ideologies, arguing that some violent extremists may have mixed ideological beliefs resulting in a lack of clearly defined motives besides attraction to violence. In recent years, these hodgepodges of extreme ideologies gained visibility in far-right circles, notably online. In particular, images glorifying Salafi-Jihadi representations emerged in neo-Nazi channels, revealing the connections between seemingly conflicting ideologies. This Insight will provide selected examples of images displaying Salafi-Jihadi representations circulating in neo-Nazi social media channels and will dissect the factors allowing for their existence. It will then propose an assessment of the potential implications of their dissemination on the dynamics of radicalisation.

Read more at the Global Network on Extremism & Technology

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