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​Incels Could Soon Be Treated As Terrorists, According To Watchdog

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​Incels Could Soon Be Treated As Terrorists, According To Watchdog

Incels could soon be treated as terrorists, according to the UK's terrorism laws watchdog.

Earlier this week, 22-year-old Jake Davison shot and killed five people before turning the gun on himself.

In videos posted online, Davison had spoken of feeling 'beaten down' and 'defeated by life', and also made references to incels - a deeply misogynistic community of 'involuntarily celibate' men, who are hostile towards women because of their own sexual failings.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook

Jonathan Hall QC, the UK Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier today (Saturday 14 August): "The question is really whether or not the authorities want to treat the incel phenomenon as a terrorist risk. That would involve diverting resources or putting resources into it."

He continued: "If we see more of these sorts of attacks, then I have got no doubt that it will be treated more seriously as terrorism. It fits rather uneasily into the way the authorities understand ideologies. It seems part of right-wing terrorism but it is not really. In fact, it is quite separate from it. It is a different sort of ideology."

On Twitter, Hall has also linked to his most recent report - published in March - which gives more detail on 'whether inceldom can be a terrorist ideology'.


According to the BBC, Hall concluded in the report that now is not the time to change the law, arguing that the UK's definition of terrorism - the use or threat of violence 'made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause' - was broad enough to prosecute incel-inspired violence, but not all incel violence could be considered an act of terrorism.

Florence Keen, who researches incels at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College London, also advises against such black-and-white interpretations of what she says is a very complex movement.

Keen said that one of the biggest forums has 13,000 active members and around 200,000 threads, telling the outlet: "The caveat I would always give is that we can't say that the whole of the incel subculture is violent.


"It really varies. Some will glorify violence while others [in these forums] will say 'this is not what we are'."

The incel movement gained momentum after the Isla Vista murders in 2014, where 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured 14 others, before killing himself.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Speaking to the Independent, Tim Wilson, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews, explained how the incel subculture of involuntary celibrates is a 'deeply sexist and misogynistic' development of age-old sexism.

It has been boosted by the rise of internet communities, Wilson said, explaining: "This isn't sophisticated but the problem is the volume of people who might be flirting with this kind of scene.

"There's been plenty of sexist, violent men since the dawn of history, but the sense of this being a public movement could not exist without the rise of social media and the internet.

"The basic idea, I'm afraid, is the idea that sexual fulfilment is a human right and that as a man not getting it, you're somehow being actively deprived and repressed by women."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, News

Jess Hardiman
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