Nazir Afzal, the former chief crown prosecutor for the North West, said that because incels embrace an ideology centred around hatred towards women they can be classified as potential terrorists.
“To be a terrorist you have to be political, religious, racist or have an ideology. The extreme misogyny of some incels is an ideology,” he said. “The Government and police should treat that as potential terrorism.”
He added that classifying extremism around the hatred of women “opens up a gamut” of potential charges that could be brought, as well as preventative measures to help deradicalise. Such a classification would allow the security services and police to employ surveillance powers to monitor those deemed the greatest threat,” he said.
“You have got to think about how we deal with these men, and they are always men. What are they saying online, how are they being radicalised, who is doing the radicalisation?” he said.
“If you treat it as terrorism, then you have other options open to you in terms of intelligence gathering, in terms of being able to prosecute for disseminating materials, in terms of being able to hold them to account if they are conspiring with each other.
“So there are other potential offences available if you treat it as terrorism, but of course as we currently know that’s not what the Government’s intention is.”
Laura Bates, an author and campaigner who spent months embedded inside incel forums, called for the ideology to be classed as terrorism.
Writing in The Telegraph, she said: “This is an ideology dedicated expressly to incitement of violence and hatred against women. We should treat it as we would any other extremist group advocating for offline violence.”