Far-right violence and terrorism – October 2023

Observatorio de atentados yihadistas de septiembre de 2023
Observatorio de atentados yihadistas de octubre de 2023

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In October 2023, the global landscape was marked by an alarming presence of terrorism linked to extreme right-wing ideologies. This analysis underscores the paramount significance of this issue in the contemporary world order.

Terrorism, irrespective of its ideological roots, has long posed a grave threat to international peace and security. Recent times, however, have witnessed a distinct shift in this threat landscape. The ascent of extreme right-wing terrorism has introduced a new layer of complexity to the global security equation.

This report aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of extreme right-wing terrorism in October 2023, offering insights into its evolution, and current manifestations. By dissecting the trends, causative factors, and ramifications of this phenomenon, our objective is to foster awareness and inform policymaking while fostering international collaboration to counter this growing menace.


United States

Texas Contemplates Extreme Anti-Immigrant Legislation with White Supremacist Links

During a special legislative session, Texas lawmakers are pushing for some of the most extreme anti-immigrant bills, with SB 4, a bill imposing harsh penalties on humanitarian workers and family members of undocumented immigrants, already passed and awaiting the governor’s signature. The new bill, HB 4, if enacted, would be among the most radically anti-immigrant laws ever passed, criminalizing attempts to enter Texas from Mexico between ports of entry and granting state police the power to arrest, prosecute, imprison, and even deport those suspected of violating this law. The bill is linked to groups associated with white supremacy, raising concerns about its potential to lead to racial profiling, wrongful arrests, and deterring victims of human trafficking from seeking help, while diverting resources away from addressing actual crimes[1].

El Paso Mass Shooter Agrees to Pay Over $5.5 Million in Restitution to Victims and Families

Patrick Crusius, the white supremacist who carried out a racially motivated attack at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, where 23 people were killed, has agreed to pay $5.5 million in restitution to the victims and their families. The decision was approved by Judge David Guaderrama of the federal court for the western district of Texas. Crusius had confessed to posting a manifesto with anti-immigrant and white nationalist statements and acknowledged that his attack was directed at Mexicans, primarily targeting those who shopped at the El Paso Walmart, which is frequently visited by Mexican citizens[2].

In July, Crusius was sentenced to 90 consecutive life terms in federal prison after pleading guilty to 90 federal charges of murder and hate crimes. Although he was eligible for the death penalty, the U.S. government did not seek it in exchange for his guilty plea. Texas prosecutors also plan to bring him to trial in a state proceeding where they will seek the death penalty for the same shooting.

Jewish Man Sues Elon Musk for Libel Over False White Supremacist Allegations

Ben Brody, a recent college graduate, has filed a lawsuit against billionaire Elon Musk, accusing him of libel. The legal action comes after Musk repeatedly insinuated on his social media platform, X, that Brody was a member of a white supremacist group. This false association stemmed from a photo of Brody shared on X, which led to speculations that he had ties to an extremist group in Portland, Oregon, known for white supremacist and neo-Nazi affiliations. The photo in question was actually taken at Brody’s Jewish college fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and his Jewish heritage made the allegations especially hurtful. The lawsuit seeks at least $1 million in damages and a jury trial.

Tennessee Mayoral Candidate Enlists White Supremacist Group for Security at Campaign Event

Gabrielle Hanson, a general council member running for mayor in Franklin, Tennessee, has come under scrutiny after reportedly recruiting members of the white supremacist group “Tennessee Active Club” to provide security at a candidates’ forum, according to reports. The Tennessee Active Club, much like groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, promotes a violent white supremacist ideology and offers combat sports training to its members in chapters across the country. The club has also gained notoriety for its involvement in extremist activities[3].

Hanson, who serves on the Franklin City Council and is running for mayor, has faced controversy in recent months, with allegations of moral hypocrisy and erratic behavior. She has been associated with the “Moms for Liberty” chapter in Williamson County and has been accused of harassing the local LGBTQ+ community with unfounded claims and conspiracy theories.

Illinois Landlord Charged with Hate Crime for Stabbing 6-Year-Old Muslim Boy

An Illinois landlord has been charged with a hate crime after fatally stabbing a 6-year-old Muslim boy and seriously injuring his mother. The attack is believed to be motivated by the victims’ faith and as a response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. This incident has raised concerns about the rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic sentiments in the United States, with police and federal authorities on high alert for potential acts of violence driven by hate. Relatives and a Muslim civil liberties group identified the slain boy as the wounded woman’s son. The alleged suspect is currently facing legal consequences for this hate-motivated act of violence[4].


Image from the US Department of Justice. Source: Wisconsin Law Journal


White Supremacist related Flyers Discovered in Westfield

Westfield, Massachusetts, found itself grappling with a disturbing incident as white supremacist flyers were discovered in the city. Local law enforcement confirmed that an organization had distributed these flyers in the Western Avenue neighborhood. The group responsible for disseminating these hate-filled messages, the Nationalist Social Club 131 New England, is known for its neo-Nazi ideology and recruitment efforts in the region. The flyers were packaged in small plastic bags, weighted with small stones, and seemingly tossed from a vehicle, raising concerns among city officials and residents alike.

Westfield Mayor Michael McCabe strongly denounced these flyers, asserting that there is no room for hate in their community. The city has established an ordinance prohibiting such methods of distributing flyers, imposing a $300 fine for each violation[5]. As a result, an ongoing investigation is being conducted to identify those behind the dissemination of these flyers and hold them accountable for violating city regulations.

White Supremacist Leader Pleads Guilty to Death Threats Against Journalist

A white supremacist leader, identified as Nicholas Welker, also known as “The King of Wrath,” has pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York to threatening the life of a journalist whom he accused of being a “race traitor.” With this admission, the 32-year-old Californian faces a potential prison sentence of up to five years, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. Welker posted a photograph of the journalist on a social media forum with a gun pointed at the journalist’s head, overlaid with the words “race traitor” covering the eyes. He followed this with a message that read, “Journalist, go to hell! We’ve warned you already.” [6]

The targeted journalist was investigating the Feuerkrieg Division (FDK), an organization operating in multiple countries known for inciting attacks against racial minorities, Jews, the LGBTQ+ community, and even government institutions or vital infrastructure, according to the prosecution. The threat against the journalist initially surfaced in an internal forum and later on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) when two underage FDK members posted similar messages directed at the reporter to intimidate him[7]. The case is seen as a victory for press freedom and a demonstration of the commitment of the prosecution to hold those embracing extremist ideologies accountable under the law.

Hells Angels Gang Members Face Charges in Racially Motivated Attack

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has announced charges against 17 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and their supporters for their involvement in a racially motivated attack against three Black men in California. The victims were subjected to a violent assault, including racial slurs and beatings, allegedly triggered by one of the Black men speaking to a biker’s girlfriend. The attack resulted in serious injuries, with one victim being stabbed. The suspects are facing charges of assault, hate crimes, and aiding the perpetrator. Authorities arrested all 17 suspects, seized illegal firearms and drugs, and described the Hells Angels as an “international outlaw motorcycle gang” with a “virulent streak of racism.” The trial is scheduled for November 14. [8]



Arrests of Combate 18 Supremacist Group Unveil Planned Attacks on Various Targets

Thirteen individuals arrested for their affiliation with the white supremacist organization Combate 18 in the operation Drakaris had actively studied and planned attacks on mosques, Jewish interests, and ideological opponents such as far-left antifascists, according to the second-in-command of the Mossos d’Esquadra’s Information General Commissariat, Inspector David Sánchez. Although there was no specific target, had the group not been dismantled, they could have had the capacity to carry out attacks. The suspects had attempted to acquire real firearms through international Combate 18 networks [10]. Mossos’ analysts are currently extracting data from the suspects’ mobile devices and communications to assess the scope of their plans and level of radicalization. The investigation remains ongoing.


An officer accompanies the alleged Combat 18 member. Source: Europa Press.



Three Finnish Neo-Nazis Sentenced for Racist-Motivated Terrorism

In Finland, a terrorism trial resulted in the conviction of three individuals linked to neo-Nazi ideologies for planning attacks on migrants, critical infrastructure, and political opponents. Prosecutors presented evidence in court showing that the men intended to use 3D-printed semi-automatic pistols and other weapons for their planned attacks. The main suspect, aged 29, received a three-year and four-month sentence for aggravated firearms offenses and training for terrorist acts, along with a separate drug-related charge. His two accomplices were sentenced to one year and nine months in prison and a suspended seven-month prison term, respectively, for crimes related to manufacturing firearms and training for their use [11].

The court determined that the main suspect believed in an impending racial war that would lead to the collapse of society, justifying violence against perceived enemies of white Finns and Finland, including immigrants, ethnic and religious minorities, antifascists, and influencers. While their activity didn’t reach the level of concrete terrorist preparation, the court found that their actions were carried out with a terrorist intent to cause serious fear in the population.



Cuban Rock Center Shut Down After Youngster Wins Costume Contest Dressed as Nazi Soldier

The Cuban Institute of Music has taken immediate action by closing the state-owned cultural center, Maxim Rock, dedicated to promoting rock music, following a controversial incident in which a young individual dressed as a Nazi soldier was declared the winner of a costume contest. The decision to shut down the cultural center was made due to the severity of the situation and the institution’s inability to foresee such an incident. The Institute expressed its intent to investigate the matter thoroughly, conduct the necessary analyses, and impose disciplinary measures.

During a Halloween costume contest, video footage circulated on social media showing the selection of the winning costume between two finalists: a young man dressed as the “Führer” and a pair referred to as “the spooky couple.” The decision was based on the applause from the audience. The “Führer” costume was awarded the win, worn by a man with short hair in a dark green uniform with SS medals. When declared the winner, he raised his arm in a Nazi salute, and the presenter announced, “Germany has won.” The Cuban Institute of Music stated in a press release that the costume and the celebration not only violated laws but also offended the anti-fascist and anti-racist sentiments of the community, once again highlighting the dangers of cultural colonization [12].



Jewish Section of Vienna’s Central Cemetery Vandalized with Swastikas and Set Ablaze

The Jewish section of the Central Cemetery in Vienna was subjected to an act of vandalism and arson during the night. Oskar Deutsch, the president of the Jewish Community of Vienna, reported the incident on social media. The perpetrators set fire to the Jewish section, resulting in damage to the hall of ceremonies, and swastikas were painted on the exterior walls. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

The Vienna Police Department is currently investigating the incident, and the circumstances surrounding it remain unclear. As part of the ongoing investigation, national socialist symbols were discovered spray-painted on the exterior wall of the hall, prompting the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight Against Terrorism to launch an urgent inquiry.[13] The Federal Chancellor of Austria, Karl Nehammer, strongly condemned the attack, emphasizing that antisemitism has no place in society and will be vigorously combated through political and legal means, with hopes of swiftly identifying the culprits.



Israeli UN Ambassador Wears Yellow Star as Symbol of Protest

Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, donned a yellow star – an emblem that the Nazis used to mark Jews during the Holocaust – as a “symbol of pride.” Erdan, following his scathing criticism of the international community for failing to condemn Hamas’s attack on October 7, stated, “From today, and every time you look at me, you will remember what it means to remain silent in the face of evil.” He invoked the memory of the Holocaust, during which over 6 million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazi regime[14].

Erdan and his team pledged to wear yellow stars until the international community condemns the atrocities committed by Hamas. This symbolic gesture received mixed reactions, with some, including Dani Dayan, president of Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, expressing disapproval, while Erdan argued that it serves as a powerful reminder of the Jewish people’s history.


Social Media

TikTok Videos Promoting ‘Active Clubs’ Expose Supremacist Ideologies

TikTok has been exposed to a wave of recruitment videos promoting “Active Clubs,” a set of white supremacist groups. These videos have potentially garnered millions of views, featuring disturbing scenes of white men exercising and engaging in combat. The individuals often obscure their faces and incorporate symbols, flags, and messages endorsing white supremacy. Some videos display actions like the desecration of Pride flags and confrontations with police at protests.

These Active Clubs originated from the founder of the racist Rise Above Movement, Robert Rundo, and gained prominence through a podcast co-hosted by Rundo and German neo-Nazi Denis Kaputsin. The clubs promote physical fitness and survival as preparations for white men to engage in racial violence and confront “antifa.”[9] Similar to other far-right militia movements, the Active Club network follows a decentralized, localized model, making it challenging for law enforcement agencies and social media companies to identify and track them. While TikTok has taken steps to remove these videos, this incident underscores the ongoing challenge of combating the spread of extremist ideologies on social media platforms.


Graphical Analysis of Far-Right Terrorism in October 2023


In October 2023 we have observed some global trends in relation to the far-right related terrorism landscape. A total of 16 incidents associated with right-wing extremist terrorism or radicalization have been documented, including one that has taken place in social media. While it is noteworthy that the United States is the site of half of these events, there has been a decrease in extremist activities in the country compared to previous months. However, one of these events, occurring in Illinois, stands out as a landlord has been charged with hate crime for stabbing 6-year-old muslim boy.

While countries such as Spain, Canada, and the United States are frequently mentioned in reports on extreme right-wing extremism, October has brought to light the occurrence of terrorist or violent activities linked to extreme right-wing ideology in countries not historically associated with such extremism, such as Cuba and Finland.

Additionally, it is essential to address the recent conflict in Gaza, which has given rise to two significant incidents accentuating the division between Muslims and Jews, both in the United States and Israel. Of note is the action by the Israeli UN Ambassador, who wore a yellow star as a symbol of protest during this period.


Regarding incident typology, there is a notable trend in October 2023, with a reduction in prosecutions for right-wing extremism or terrorism and a decline in arrests. In September 2023, there were a total of 5 arrests, but in October, only one was reported.

On the other hand, acts of violence are on the rise as a global trend, where we observe more and more violence exercised on people, institutions and places of worship by individuals or groups affiliated to the extreme right.

It is crucial to highlight the increasing presence of threats and incitement to violence with extremist ideologies on social networks. This issue has prompted us to view these platforms as virtual spaces where activities associated with right-wing extremism and terrorism are taking place. Notably, TikTok has been a platform where ‘Active Clubs’ have gained attention, featuring disturbing content depicting white men involved in physical training and combat scenarios. These individuals often obscure their identities and incorporate symbols, flags, and messages that promote white supremacy.

In terms of extremist ideologies associated with the far-right, the developments throughout October have primarily been characterized by a focus on anti-immigration sentiments and an emphasis on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. These incidents have shown a concerning prevalence of anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and racially motivated ideologies within the far-right landscape.

It is essential to highlight a noteworthy trend involving the Hell Angels motorcycle gang, which has experienced an increased level of violent activity. These incidents encompass a range of criminal activities, including those of a racially motivated nature. In one particularly alarming case, victims were subjected to a violent assault marked by racial slurs and physical beatings. The underlying cause of the attack appeared to be an interaction between one of the victims and a biker’s girlfriend. The consequences were severe, as one of the victims sustained a stabbing, further highlighting the troubling escalation of violence related to the Hell Angels gang.

This confluence of far-right ideologies and escalating violence is of growing concern, as it reflects an emerging and dynamic landscape in which anti-immigration sentiments and international conflicts fuel extremist activities. The interplay between these ideologies and actions underscores the need for a comprehensive response to counteract and prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.



AP News. TAREEN, S. (2023, October 16). Muslim boy killed and woman wounded in Illinois hate crime motivated by Israel-Hamas war, police say. Retrieved from https://apnews.com/article/muslim-boy-killed-chicago-landlord-will-county-5135dea218326d6e639a996564d9369e

American Civil Liberties Union. White Supremacy is Fueling Extreme Anti-Immigrant Policy in Texas | ACLU. (2023, November 2). Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/news/immigrants-rights/white-supremacy-is-fueling-extreme-anti-immigrant-policy-in-texas

Barron’s. El Embajador Israelí En La ONU Usa Como ”Símbolo De Orgullo” La Estrella Nazi Impuesta A Los Judíos. (2023, October 30). Barron’s. Retrieved from https://www.barrons.com/news/spanish/embajador-israeli-en-onu-usa-como-simbolo-de-orgullo-estrella-nazi-impuesta-a-judios-0b1ef9f1

Chicago Defender. 3 Black Men Chased Down, ‘Viciously’ Attacked By Racist Biker Gang. (2023, September 29). Retrieved from https://chicagodefender.com/3-black-men-chased-down-viciously-attacked-by-racist-biker-gang/

Cuban Flag Streetscene. (n.d.). Artists of Sarasota. Retrieved from https://artistsofsarasota.com/product/cuban-flag-streetscene/

EL PAÍS. Doce familiares de represaliados por el franquismo presentan la primera querella colectiva por trabajo esclavo durante la dictadura. (2023, October 20). Retrieved from https://elpais.com/espana/2023-10-20/doce-familiares-de-esclavos-del-franquismo-se-querellan-contra-el-gobierno.html

El Progreso de Lugo. Los neonazis detenidos planeaban ataques a mezquitas e intereses judíos. (2023, October 19). Retrieved from https://www.elprogreso.es/articulo/ribeira-sacra/neonazis-detenidos-planeaban-ataques-mezquitas-intereses-judios/202310191540511700716.html

Euronews.com. Dougall, D. M. (2023, November 1). Condenan a prisión a tres neonazis en Finlandia por terrorismo. Retrieved from https://es.euronews.com/2023/11/01/condenan-a-prision-a-tres-neonazis-en-finlandia-por-terrorismo-con-motivos-racistas

El Món. Los nazis detenidos por los Mossos estudiaban ataques contra mezquitas e intereses judíos. (2023, October 19). Retrieved from https://elmon.cat/es/sociedad/policial-es/nazis-detenidos-mozos-ataques-mezquitas-judios-744482/

Forbes México. Baker, E., & Hernández, E. (2023, October 19). En TikTok, los videos de reclutamiento de ‘clubes activos’ de supremacistas blancos pueden haber llegado a millones. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com.mx/en-tiktok-los-videos-de-reclutamiento-de-clubes-activos-de-supremacistas-blancos-pueden-haber-llegado-a-millones/Jewish

Lapin, A. (2023, October 4). Jewish man sues Elon Musk for suggesting he is a white supremacist. Retrieved from https://www.jta.org/2023/10/04/united-states/jewish-man-sues-elon-musk-for-suggesting-he-is-a-white-supremacist

La Crónica de Hoy. Autor de la matanza de El Paso accede a pagar 5.5 millones de dólares a las víctimas. (2023, September 25). Retrieved from https://www.cronica.com.mx/mundo/autor-matanza-paso-accede-pagar-5-5-millones-dolares-victimas.html

RCI. Radio-Canada.Ataullahjan, S. (2023, November 2). Informe sobre la islamofobia: 1 de cada 4 canadienses desconfía de los musulmanes | Retrieved from https://ici.radio-canada.ca/rci/es/noticia/2023496/informe-islamofobia-desconfianza-musulmanes

SentidoG. El trastornado candidato republicano anti-LGBTQ+ recurre a un grupo supremacista blanco para su seguridad. (2023, October 5). Retrieved from https://www.sentidog.com/2023/10/05/el-trastornado-candidato-republicano-anti-lgbtq-recurre-a-un-grupo-supremacista-blanco-para-su-seguridad/

VICE. Accused White Supremacist Wrote Racist Rant Just Before Killing Muslim Family, Court Hears. (2023, October 5). Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en/article/93kzz7/accused-white-supremacist-wrote-racist-rant-just-before-killing-muslim-family-court-hears

WPLG Local 10. Gobierno cubano cierra centro cultural tras fiesta con concurso en el que ganó disfraz nazi. (2023, October 30). Retrieved from https://www.local10.com/espanol/2023/10/30/gobierno-cubano-cierra-centro-cultural-tras-fiesta-con-concurso-en-el-que-gano-disfraz-nazi/

Wisconsin Law Journal. Schuster, S. (2023, October 10). Leader of White Supremacist Group Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Make Death Threats Against Journalist. Retrieved from https://wislawjournal.com/2023/10/10/leader-of-white-supremacist-group-pleads-guilty-to-conspiring-to-make-death-threats-against-journalist/

WWLP. Smith, K., & Shook, A. (2023, October 16). Flyers for white supremacist organization left in Massachusetts neighborhoods. Retrieved from https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/flyers-for-white-supremacist-organization-left-in-massachusetts-neighborhoods/

Western Mass News. White supremacist flyers found in Westfield, Easthampton neighborhoods. (2023, October 17). Retrieved from https://www.westernmassnews.com/2023/10/17/white-supremacist-flyers-found-westfield-easthampton-neighborhoods/


[1] Metha, 2023

[2] EFE, 2023

[3] Oviedo, 2023

[4] Wareen, 2023

[5] Burnell et all, 2023

[6] EFE, 2023

[7] EFE, 2023

[8] BIN, 2023

[9] Baker-White, 2023

[10] Sallés, 2023

[11] Mac Dougall, 2023

[12] Local 10, 2023

[13] Stern et all, 2023

[14] AFP, 2023