young looking at computer in darkened roomOn incel forums, users refer to their perceived inferior social status while describing feelings of anxiety, self-loathing, and depression.

Terrorism charges against incels the wrong approach: researchers

In May, when terrorism charges were added against a suspect in the killing of Ashley Noelle Arzaga, it marked the first time in Canada they were invoked against violence by “incels,” a group that identifies as involuntary celibate — rejected sexually by women.

Windsor law professor Reem Bahdi and Fahad Ahmad, a doctoral student of public policy at Carleton University, argue that adopting anti-terrorism strategies against incel ideology may make matters worse.

“Incel violence asks us to reflect on the societal reasons behind gender-based violence and how Canada can address this as a society-wide problem. We do not need and should not want an anti-terrorism response to misogyny,” they write in an article on the subject published Tuesday in the Conversation, which shares news and views from the academic and research community.

“Some experts argue that the incel terrorism charge represents a positive development. It moves the focus of anti-terrorism away from racialized communities. It also signals that law enforcement takes misogyny seriously. These claims obscure worrying trends in counterterrorism.”

They point to instances of abuse of power by Canada’s national security agencies, insufficient oversight, and growth in their funding and power.

“Despicable incel-related violence may make us more comfortable with giving national security agencies the power to define good and bad ideologies,” the article states. “It should not.”

Read the entire piece, “Why charging incels with terrorism may make matters worse,” in the Conversation.

Academic Area: