When someone gets involved in extremism, there are often several signs which others may be able to see and interact with the person, if they feel comfortable to do so, but what are they?
In this brief article we are going to discuss just a few and if from reading this you are concerned about someone you know, then please contact one of the links at the end of this article.
To start with please understand people get involved in extremism, for many reasons, so please don’t judge and see beyond names and labels like Racist and Nazi to see the individual, as it is only when we do this, will people connect and will accept help to leave and walk away from hate forever.
So, what should we be looking for?
Firstly, are they talking to others either family and old friends, this means there is still a door open to engage or are they becoming secretive? And have new friends no-one has met often online? This could be a sign someone is becoming involved with extremism, but also there could be many other reasons for this change, so talk and find out more.
Becoming secretive is all part of the course when someone joins an extremist group, as they seek to hide what they are doing either because they actually know it’s wrong or they believe the world doesn’t understand and they believe they could get in to trouble.
So, what does this look like?
This could be something like you walk into a room and the person puts their phone in their pocket straight away or drops the lid of their laptop. THINK – What is it they don’t want you to see………
It could be people start to take more interest in politics and then have arguments about issues people have never spoken about before, but now they believe their views are right and won’t listen or engage with others, sometimes using derogatory language to the person with opposing opinions.
Other signs could include people talking differently, often in ways never heard before, which may sound like a scripted speech. Often people self-radicalise will watch videos and listen to podcasts and when angry or challenge repeat what they have heard, but when challenged or even asked for more information, will become angry, because they don’t know anymore and become frustrated.
People can become disrespectful to others of a different ethnicity or religion, mocking them showing no respect. This is often a sign someone feels superior and can illustrate someone is looking at white supremacy propaganda.
Some who are involved, become angry, with the world, their friends, family, and themselves, which in encouraged by extremists who seek to build a new society and a new man.
Is there anything else I should look out for?
Often far-right groups especially seek to hide their true identity, using numbers such as – 18 - 1= A, 8 = H = AH, other examples include 88 = HH and 23 = W = White.
Other examples can be symbols you may have not seen before, and examples of what to look out for can be found in the Far-Right Symbol Database link below.
So, what advice would you give?
Go with your gut, if something doesn’t fell right find out more. Talk to the person, make sure they know you are there for them and they are not alone as many once they see the real horror of extremism, want to leave, and walk away, but it takes and lot and if they know you are there for them then that might be the lifeline they need to walk away from hate and start again. So, listen, be non-judgemental and don’t argue or get emotional, this doesn’t help.
If you need advice support or just want to talk to someone for a little bit of advice, then contact either of the links below who will offer free support and advice.
Remember ALL Extremism Is Wrong, but those involved often don’t see it, but via Education, Compassion and Understanding, people can change.
Exit Hate – www.exithate.org
Act Early – https://actearly.uk
Far-Right Symbol Database - https://www.adl.org/resources/hate-symbols/search