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The Australian Nazi 2.0, And Why We Need To Take The Threat More Seriously

The far-right extremist behind the Christchurch mosque terror attack, who believes in 'white genocide' is part of a growing number of radicalized Anglo-Australians, experts warn.

It comes as Australia grapples with neo-Nazi and far-right sentiments which are brewing online and spilling into the streets. It's a growing problem we shouldn't underestimate, experts said.

Far-right provocateur -- who has links to white nationalism -- Milo Yiannopoulos' application for a visa to enter Australia was cancelled in recent weeks.

The department listed several reasons, including “controversial statements” about Muslims, Indigenous Australians and other minorities.

After the decision to deny his visa was reversed, the conservative speaker was once again banned from entering the country by the Department of Home Affairs on Saturday.

"Milo Yianoppolous will not be allowed to enter Australia for his proposed tour this year," Immigration Minister David Coleman said in a statement.

"Mr Yianopolous’ comments on social media regarding the Christchurch terror attack are appalling and foment hatred and division."

Protesters clashed in Melbourne in December 2017 ahead of Milo Yiannopoulos' speaking tour. IMAGE: AAP

The government also recently denied a visa to controversial figure David Icke,  a conspiracy theorist who questions the Holocaust.

READ MORE: Why Did Australia Ban A Bloke Who Believes The Royal Family Are Lizard People?

"People who are going to disrupt social harmony with toxic and hateful views and who incite violence, well then we don't want people like that here," Vic Aldaheff from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies said.

In 2017, a violent protest -- which resulted in two arrests -- broke out at Yiannopoulos's Melbourne event.

"I agree with free speech, however not when it incites violence," Aldaheff told 10 daily.

The Local Face Of Neo-Nazism AND the Alt-Right

It's been dubbed Australian Nazi 2.0 or lower case nazism -- but irrespective of the name, the 21st century manifestation looks very different from its infamous predecessor.

"Neo-Nazi ideology is the worshipping of the Nazi regime, using Nazi symbols and salutes and glorifying Nazism to form the backdrop for your ideas," Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute said.

But Jews aren't the only target.

After 9/11, these far-right groups became increasingly Islamophobic, historian Dr Evan Smith from Flinders University told 10 daily.

"The targeting of African 'crime gangs' has been a recent development as the far right try to latch onto current moral panics run by the media and certain politicians."

Posters a neo-Nazi group in Australia have been distributing online and in person target Jews and LGBTQI Australians.  Last year Twitter suspended this group's account.

"We have seen from their posters and we are hearing they are holding paramilitary training camps in rural Australia and are recruiting young white men aged between 17 and 21," Aldaheff said.

Several groups currently operate in Melbourne, controversially plastering swastika stickers and posters around the city as well as boasting of their activities -- mostly conducted under cover of darkness -- on social media and in far-right message boards.

Oboler, who is also a cyber-security law lecturer at La Trobe University, believes  the term 'alt-right' describes a broader group of people than neo-Nazism.

"Alt-right is a much more recent movement and they tend to use digital channels to get more publicity. They tend to be extreme nationalists who are also Islamophobic," he said.

It's a movement that is thriving in the meme-rich world of the internet.

Last year, a graphic frequently shared on an Australian patriotic Facebook pages asked: "Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans. But what about the white race?"

A meme shared widely on social media suggesting "white genocide" is happening. . IMAGE: supplied.

The team at Islamophobia Register -- a platform for incidents of Islamophobia to be reported, recorded and analysed -- say they are"busy working on the next launch of the Islamophobia in Australia Report for 2019."

Last year, the register found women wearing the hijab were most likely to be attacked, and often in response to the news cycle reporting on Islam or terror-related events.

READ MORE: Female MPs Targeted With 'It's Ok To Be White' Posters 

READ MORE: Alt-Right Social Media Site Linked To Suspected Synagogue Shooter Shut Down

In a third of cases, women were with their children when they were abused or physically harmed.

The 2018 Antisemitism report from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry reported 366 antisemitic incidents that year -- an increase of  59 incidents on the previous year.  More than 200 involved posters, stickers, vandalism, or graffiti.

"They are still very active this year. There are recruitment posters and stickers being put up around the country that include the swastika and Nazi salute," Oboler said.

Far-right commentator Canadian Laura Southern wore an "It's OK to be white" T-shirt as she landed in Australia last year.

Smith believes alt right views are growing, perhaps more quickly than in the U.S.

"The ideas of the alt-right are being picked up in Australia, not just by far right groups, but by [some of our] politicians," he said.

"Despite recent visa troubles, alt-right figures from the US, UK and Canada look to Australia as a lucrative market for speaking tours," Smith said.

What Is Being Done About It?
Students from Charles Sturt University in NSW posing as Klu Klux Klan members and in blackface in a picture posted to Instagram in June 2018. IMAGE: supplied

Racial equality organisation All Together Now is working covertly to undermine and interrupt recruitment by white supremacists.

Established in 2012, their Community Action for Preventing Extremism (CAPE) project seeks to "plant a seed of doubt in the minds of young people who are attracted to white nationalism and white supremacy."

Funded by Multicultural NSW,  it's the only project of its kind in Australia.

"We have actively built relationships with former white nationalists, created resources for front line workers and engaged directly with people who hold extreme far-right views to challenge their understanding of the world," their website reads.

Oboler says police need to get more involved.

"They need to be prosecuted and its up to police and the government to track these people down and hold them accountable. We have the laws, they just need to use them," Oboler said.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au

This article was first published on March 8th.