There are places in the net, there are assassins like Anders Behring Breivik heroes. This is where anti-Semitism and hatred of Muslims are fomented, and acts like those of Stephan B. are glorified. Extremism researcher Jakob Guhl of the London Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) on globalized terror in times of digitization
ZEIT ONLINE: The killer of Halle, who shot two people and apparently wanted to do a massacre in a synagogue, has streamed his actions on the Net on the platform Twitch. What does it say about an assassin when he seeks the killing audience on the Internet?
Jakob Guhl: Obviously, it was important for him to achieve a long range. The stream, as well as the manifesto he wrote before his act, aim to animate imitators. In this case, the attacker has submitted detailed descriptions of his homemade weapons. This is inspiration and guidance for future actions. And of course the pictures of the attack also have an intimidating effect.
Jakob Guhl, 28, researches, among others, on hate and radicalization on the Internet at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) in London. The think-tank advises governments in the fight against extremism. © Institute for Strategic Dialogue
ZEIT ONLINE: The right-wing extremist manifesto of the alleged perpetrator Stephan B. evaluate investigators as a clear commitment to hatred of the Jews. In the ideology and approach, they see parallels to the mass murderer Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and on the island of Utøya in 2011 - and to the assassin of Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant, who in March this year claimed 51 people in attacks on mosques and Islamic Centers killed. Tarrant is also believed to have acted as an imitator Breiviks. How strongly are these acts linked?
Guhl: How much the attacks in Norway were patterns, is not entirely clear. But I'm very sure about Christchurch. Both attackers make in their legacy allusions to the Internet culture, the procedure including a live stream is very similar. However, it is striking that right-wing assassins more and more leave manifestes, which used to be rare according to the terrorism database of the radicalization expert Daniel Köhler in Germany so far.
ZEIT ONLINE : Breivik wanted, as he said, with his act to commit an attack on the multicultural society. The assassin of Christchurch targeted his hatred and violence against Muslims. Stephan B. now wanted to kill Jews, believed in a Jewish world conspiracy. When his plan did not work out - he did not open the door to the synagogue - he looked for the next victim in a kebab shop, where he expected to meet people of Turkish descent and possibly Muslims. And he killed a passer-by who spoke to him, presumably an accidental victim. How does it all fit together?
Guhl: In the manifest, the attacker sets up a so-called Achievement List. According to him, Muslims were an alternative for him as a killing target. He resorted to this, after he had failed to implement the goal with the highest priority for him: the murder of Jews. The deadly shots on the passer-by appear like a short-circuit reaction.
ZEIT ONLINE: Not only sought Stephan B. with his video stream a public on the net, it is addressed in the speech apparently to a community of like-minded. The perpetrator seems to act in the conviction - so let the first evaluations of the video assume that ZEIT ONLINE is present - he does something with the backing of others. And he says, as his mostly self-made weapons do not reload, he's a loser. Well in the eyes of this community. Who are these others?
Guhl: On the Internet, on platforms such as 4chan, the 8chan, which in the meantime can only be reached via the Darknet, a scene has been created on Telegram and others in which the meme culture of the network mixes with right-wing extremist ideas. In some discussion contributions, the acts are rated on the type of computer games, in which it comes to killing to achieve the highest possible score. Some commentators even distributed music for it. As a failure Stephan B. is - if you follow this terrible thought - insofar as his home-made weapons have not worked well and he could not penetrate into the synagogue.
ZEIT ONLINE: Time and again, there is talk of attacks on online platforms, in which rights and potential terrorists frolic, announce crimes, exchange rude, radical ideas. According to information from ZEIT ONLINE, Stephan B. was active in many forums - to what extent were special starting points for neo-Nazis, is not yet clear. His community were more likely followers of the Alt-Right movement. How big should one imagine the group of extreme right-wingers who are active in the network?