“Your activity posed not only a threat to Muslims who were your potential victims but also a threat to everyone in our democratic society.”
Two British men jailed over encouraging Christchurch-inspired mosque attacks
Two far-right extremists have been jailed for inciting and encouraging terrorism, and promoting an attack on a mosque and on Muslims based off of the New Zealand terrorist attacks that saw 51 Muslims killed in one of the country’s most violent acts of Islamophobia.
Morgan Seales, 20, of South Shields and Gabriele Longo, 26, of Crawley, West Sussex, were communicating on a WhatsApp group called Christian White Militia shortly after the initial New Zealand attacks on the 15th of March when they began encouraging these mosque attacks.
Longo reportedly was offering to post bomb-making instructions on the group chat, which he did the following day after a positive response. In a separate post, Seales wrote:
The best time to attack a mosque is Friday prayers or a wedding. Everyone there at once.”
Seales had also posted on his Twitter account flags of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action, which first prompted authorities to look into the matter. He was then arrested in 2018 for taking screenshots of instructions on how to create explosives, and put through the counter-terrorism program Prevent. Police at the time reportedly decided not to prosecute him as he was deemed “vulnerable and socially isolated”.
After Seales was arrested for his involvement in the Christian White Militia WhatsApp group, police were then able to track down Longo as well. Leeds Crown Court has sentenced Seales for four years, while Longo has been sentenced for six years under charges of encouraging terrorism, possessing material for terrorist purposes, and recording information that would be useful to a potential terrorist.
Judge Tom Bayliss QC told both men and the court:
Both of you were in danger of indoctrinating others in that group chat. There were some very young people, some as young as 14. Your activity posed not only a threat to Muslims who were your potential victims but also a threat to everyone in our democratic society.”
After the prosecution of Seales and Longo, Det Ch Supt Martin Snowden, head of counter-terrorism policing in the northeast, stated that these “despicable acts” were prompted under the “banner of right-wing ideology”.
While the prosecution of these two right-wing potential terrorists may seem like a step forward in combating the rampant freedom of Islamophobes, it still remains to be seen whether any real and proactive move will be taken by authorities on a larger scale when it comes to protecting Muslims and other minorities from the rise in right-wing extremism.