Boredom and a sense of belonging are two factors fuelling Australia’s resurgence in neo-Nazi extremism, warn experts

Disengaged young men with no jobs and nothing to do during the pandemic are falling for neo-Nazi propaganda, say experts. But how serious is the threat?

Unemployment and boredom from coronavirus restrictions are fuelling an increase in neo-Nazi followers in South Australia, experts fear.

Young disaffected men, in particular, are being drawn into a sense of belonging through unfiltered social media sites propagating dangerous extremist views.

“The rise of Nazism is of enormous concern to us,” SA Jewish community leader Norman Schueler said.

“It has come particularly in the last year with people having time on their hands due to COVID. People have searched for things to do and they just follow.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry recorded 188 attacks and 143 threats nationwide to Jewish people and property in the year to September last year.

In SA, incidents have included anti-Semitic group National Socialist Network posting photos of members in disguise brandishing their supremacy flag in bush outings in September and October last year.

Mr Schueler said getting young men into jobs would help stem growth of neo-Nazism.

“People need to be occupied,” he said.

Flinders University researcher David Bright said attraction to extremism was comparable to other criminal behaviour.

Read the article by Chris Russell in The Advertiser.