Neo-Nazi group National Action banned by UK home secretary

Support for antisemitic white suprematist group outlawed under Amber Rudd move to proscribe it as a terrorist organisation

The Guardian, UK/December 12, 2016

By Jessica Elgot

A neo-Nazi group that celebrated the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox is to become the first far-right group to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the home secretary.

Support or membership of National Action, an antisemitic white supremacist group, will become a criminal offence under the Terrorism Act 2000, pending approval from parliament.

National Action has held demonstrations in UK cities with banners that say “Hitler was right”, and speakers have been filmed telling a small group of supporters about “the disease of international Jewry” and that “when the time comes they’ll be in the chambers”.

The group has also been filmed training supporters in hand-to-hand combat, and putting up posters across Liverpool and Newbury declaring them “white zones”. The slogan on its website is “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain,” which was the only statement given in court by Cox’s murderer, Thomas Mair.

After the order comes into force, arranging meetings or wearing branded clothing from the group will also be illegal, with breaches of the order carrying a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison or an unlimited fine.

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, said the group had no place in British society. “I am clear that the safety and security of our families, communities and country comes first,” she said. “So today I am taking action to proscribe the neo-Nazi group National Action. This will mean that being a member of, or inviting support for, this organisation will be a criminal offence.

“National Action is a racist, antisemitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology, and I will not stand for it. It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.”

The order is expected to come into force on Friday after debates in parliament on Wednesday and Thursday.

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The Home Office said the decision had been taken by Rudd prior to the trial of Mair, a far-right extremist who was convicted and sentenced for the murder of Cox outside her constituency surgery shortly before the EU referendum.

However, the debate could not be put before the House of Commons until after the trial had concluded in order not to affect the outcome.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, an antisemitism monitoring charity, said: “National Action is a viciously antisemitic neo-Nazi group that repeatedly incites hatred and violence and whose supporters have been involved in hate crimes. We have raised our concerns about them with the government and the police on many occasions over the past two years and we welcome the news that they are to be proscribed.”

Gideon Falter, the chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “In common with other terrorist groups, National Action radicalises and indoctrinates the young, teaches them violence, attacks the police and the public and demands the annihilation of Jews.

“This decision by the home secretary is something we have long called for and sends a strong message that the far right is in the government’s sights and will not be permitted to continue its incitement and violence.”

Rudd said last month that far-right groups were becoming increasingly sophisticated, and about a quarter of the cases being handled by the government’s counter-extremism programme, Channel, concerned rightwing radicalisation.

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