Prevent: Ideologies

Animal rights extremists and environmental extremists

Some animal rights extremists and environmental extremists believe violence is needed to stop those they think are hurting animals or the environment. These violent extremists usually don’t seek to kill or injure people, but their crimes, which include property damage, vandalism, threats, cyber-attacks and arson, cause millions of pounds in damage. Violent animal rights extremists attack those they believe to be linked to the abuse of animals whilst environmental extremists target those they believe to be destroying the environment. 

The far right

The far right or extreme right is a label used to identify parties and movements based on fascist, racist or extremely reactionary ideologies. Officially those on the far right embrace the concept that one group is better than another. They favour concepts such as white supremacy, segregation, mass deportation of non-white people and sometimes even genocide. 

The left wing

An umbrella term for anti-fascist groups with the intention of de-stabilising democracy, law and order and even governments. This could be by stealing data, digitally destabilising powerful organisations like hospitals and the police or fuelling opportunities for confrontation by countering far right events.

Northern Ireland-related terrorism

Northern Ireland-related terrorism continues to pose a serious threat. Although the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) has ceased its terrorist campaign and is now committed to the political process, some dissident republican groups continue to mount terrorist attacks, primarily against the security forces.

International terrorism

International terrorism from groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Qaeda present a threat in the UK. They hold territory in places without functioning governments, making it easier for them to train recruits and plan complex, sophisticated attacks. Drawing on extreme interpretations of Islam to justify their actions, these groups often have the desire and capability to direct terrorist attacks against the west, and to inspire those already living there to carry out attacks of their own. Groups operate globally and are very active however, we hear most about them when there are western attacks that are close to home. 

Mixed, unclear and unstable ideologies

Individuals with mixed, unclear and unstable (MUU) ideologies represented half of all referrals to Prevent in the year ending March 2020. Numbers are increasing of individuals who hold a worldview with elements of more than one ideology (mixed), no clear ideology (unclear), or who switch from one ideology to another (unstable). Evidence from Channel practitioners suggests vulnerable individuals without clear ideologies can be strongly influenced by previous high-profile cases of mass violence. There are consistent themes in the content produced by those who go on to perpetrate or attempt mass violence. This includes an adulation of mass killers, coupled with a morally accepting attitude towards mass murder, often along with a generalised or specific hatred towards a particular group of people based on grievance.


Incels are an online community of misogynistic boys and men who consider themselves unable to attract women sexually. They are typically associated with views that are hostile towards women and men who are sexually active. This can often lead to the verbal shaming of, promotion of physical punishment of women and in extreme cases to sexual assault and beyond. Incels tend to be between the ages of 13 and 30, and in the most popular online communities around 50 per cent come from Europe, 38 per cent from the USA and 12 per cent from elsewhere around the world.

Incel groups often blame women for their celibacy and come to resent the upward mobility of females in society, harbouring violently misogynistic views. Several high-profile attacks and mass shootings have been attributed to Incels. There is also some cross over in parts of the subculture with right wing extremism. Merely identifying with these groups does not in itself make a person an extremist - some elements of the Incel community are rooted in a relatively harmless, satirical meme culture.

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