UK moves to ban US-based neo-Nazi group

UK moves to ban US-based neo-Nazi group
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Government officials in the United Kingdom are pushing to ban a neo-Nazi group linked to at least five murders in the United States, arguing that it has had a substantial influence on teenagers convicted of terrorism charges in the U.K. 

British Home Secretary Priti Patel said Monday that she will formally request that the U.K. Parliament make it a terror offense to be a member of Atomwaffen Division (AWD), which has repeatedly called for violence against minority groups. 

Patel said that the ban, which would come into effect this week if approved, would help “protect young and vulnerable people from being radicalized.” 

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"Vile and racist white supremacist groups like this exist to spread hate, sow division and advocate the use of violence to further their sick ideologies,” she added, according to BBC News. "I will do all I can to protect young and vulnerable people from being radicalised.” 

AWD, founded in 2015, has spread from the U.S. to other countries across the globe, and grew out of the now disabled neo-Nazi internet forum Iron March. 

According to the BBC, a British version of AWD called Sonnenkrieg Division was banned in the U.K. last year. 

Several prosecutors in recent terrorism cases in the U.K. have cited AWD’s influence on several teenagers, including a 14-year-old who last year became the youngest person convicted in the U.K. of planning a terrorist attack and another boy who at 13 became the youngest person to commit a U.K. terror offense. 

The BBC noted that AWD would become the first U.S. group added to the U.K. terror list, which currently includes more than 70 international terrorist organizations and 14 Northern Irish groups. 

AWD was among a list of more than a dozen groups labeled as terrorist organizations by Canada in February. 

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The Canadian ban also included the Proud Boys, which has had several alleged members charged with crimes in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as well as neo-Nazi group the Base. 

A February criminal complaint filed against four alleged white supremacists in the U.S. accused of plotting to threaten journalists and activists claimed that two of the individuals created posters depicting Nazi iconography and threats of violence and electronically delivered them to AWD members. 

Last month, a 20-year-old Virginia man was sentenced to 33 months in prison for conspiring with a former AWD leader to carry out at least 134 swatting calls, in which emergency personnel were deceived into believing a person was in immediate danger, causing police to be sent to a third party’s address.