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RCMP adding incels to terrorism awareness guide

Deadly attack in Toronto treated as ‘incel’ terrorism
Toronto police are treating the February murder of Ashley Noell Arzaga, 24, as an act of terrorism, possibly motivated by violent misogyny.

The RCMP is preparing to add incels to its terrorism awareness guide, Global News has learned.

In a statement, the police force said it categorized incel attacks as a form of violent extremism.

It also said it was in the process of amending its Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide, which currently makes no mention of incels.

“The guide is currently being updated and will very likely include mention of incel as an example of ideologically motivated violent extremism,” the RCMP statement said.

READ MORE: Despite crackdown on incels, their discussion forums are still online

Launched in 2015, the guide was meant to help parents and first responders recognize the “indicators or early warning signs” of violent radicalization and terrorist planning.

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It lists the symbols and behaviour associated with groups ranging from the anti-capitalist Black Bloc to the neo-Nazi Blood & Honor and ISIS.

It was recently removed from the RCMP website.

The update to the guide is the latest sign the government now views incels as a public safety threat in the wake of attacks that have killed 11 and injured 19 in the country over the past two years.

Precedent-setting charge laid against teen accused of murder at Toronto massage parlour
Precedent-setting charge laid against teen accused of murder at Toronto massage parlour

Canada has taken a hardening approach to incels following alleged attacks in Toronto in 2018, in Sudbury last July and, most recently, at a Toronto erotic massage parlour on Feb. 24.

On May 19, a 17-year-old was charged with terrorism over the spa attack, marking the first time Canada’s anti-terrorism laws had been used against an alleged incel.

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The Canadian Security Intelligence Service subsequently recognized incel attacks as a form of ideologically motivated violent extremism, or IMVE, in its annual report to Parliament.

“We are committed to countering the threats to public safety and national security posed by ideologically motivated violent extremists, such as individuals motivated by incel ideologies,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s office said.

Experts warns of evolving threat of incel movement and far-right extremism
Experts warns of evolving threat of incel movement and far-right extremism

Incels, or “involuntary celibates,” are men unable to attract sexual partners who frequent online discussion groups where they portray themselves as victims. Violence and misogyny are recurring themes on incel forums.

“Generally, male incels do adhere to a train of thought in which women are dehumanized by only defining them by their ability to give sex to men, and they carry an intense anger towards women because they will not give it to incels,” Renske van der Veere wrote in a paper published last week by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – the Hague.

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“The movement is also increasingly associated with violence.”

The RCMP said incels fell “within a broad range of ideologies under IMVE.”

“IMVE should be reflected in the updated material and examples given of the different categories,” the RCMP said. “Usually incel is one of those examples although incel may not always fall under the national security mandate or be treated as terrorism.”

READ MORE: Threat of ‘incel’ terrorism continues to grow, attract younger followers: experts

The minister’s office said the government had funded a guide on incels to help front-line personnel “provide enhanced interventions for individuals who are in the process of radicalizing to violence.”

Written by Moonshot CVE, the guide said incels were a public safety threat and described the men involved in the “incel ecosystem” as “angry, isolated, depressed and often suicidal.”

“It is also clear to anyone who spends time in these communities—where both suicidal ideation and suicide itself are rampant—incels also pose a significant threat to themselves,” it said.

The Toronto Police Service, meanwhile, said incels were part of its Countering Violent Extremism training “so that our officers can be informed and aware.”

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca

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