Far-right extremists have adopted the tactics of Islamic jihadists by posting videos on the internet in which they threaten to behead British Muslims.
The films show balaclava-clad white British men brandishing guns, knives and clubs, calling on all Muslims to leave the United Kingdom or be killed. One appears to be a soldier who has served in the Gulf. In one film a man tells Muslims to “go home” or risk being burnt alive. He threatens: “I’ll cut your head off,” and claims to have “comrades” across Britain who have “had enough”.
The videos have all been made since the arrest three weeks ago of suspects connected to the alleged plot to blow up transatlantic jets. Their style mimics the “martyrdom videos” of Islamic radicals talking about their plans for terrorist outrages against the West.
The release of the videos on YouTube, an American-based open-access website, coincides with reports of a rise in the number of attacks on mosques. Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said the videoed threats were extremely worrying. “There is no question there has been an increase in attacks on mosques and Muslims,” he said.
The videos, posted between August 11 and 19, depict three men, each wearing a black terrorist-style mask. All have been viewed hundreds of times by people browsing YouTube, a popular website for posting and watching home videos.
Would-be viewers of the far-right clips, each lasting two to three minutes, are informed in a YouTube warning that the videos “may contain content that is inappropriate for some users”. Users are also required to state they are over 18, although there can be no verification of this.
In one video a man with a London accent says: “I wish to know what we are going to do to fight the so-called religion of peace known as Islam.”
He lists incidents including the racially motivated murder of Ross Parker, a white teenager, on September 21, 2001, by an Asian gang. The alleged airline bomb plot is also mentioned, with the masked man claiming it has resulted in “no retaliation” against Muslims.
He says: “It may be because you fear prison. Well, wake up. I am calling on England, Ulster, Scotland and Wales to stand and defend the island that we love.”
Another video, dated August 19, shows a balaclava-clad man with a Welsh accent telling Muslims to “go home” or be burnt. Brandishing a foot-long hunting knife with a serrated blade he says: “We are going to rip the life out of you. I am going to tear your guts out. I’ll cut your head off. You come over here, you bomb us, disgrace us, you spit on our heritage, you want the Union Jack banned, you want your own flag flying over parliament . .. it ain’t gonna happen.”
In a reference that may indicate he has a military background, he says the slaughter would remind him of being “back in the Gulf”.
Gerry Gable, publisher of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, said the threats had to be taken seriously. “Currently there is a campaign by members of parliament to shut down Nazi websites, so it is very disheartening to find a reputable company like YouTube.com playing host to people advocating terrorism,” he said.