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US designates Nordic far-right group as terrorists

US designates Nordic far-right group as terrorists

International Desk

The United States on Friday designated the Nordic Resistance Movement and three of its leaders terrorists, saying the Scandinavian neo-Nazis pose a threat to Americans, reports AFP.

The State Department added the movement and the leaders to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, meaning that any US-based assets will be frozen and that they will be blocked from using the US financial system.

The State Department said it made its finding based on the group's history of violence rooted in "its openly racist, anti-immigrant, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQI+ platform."

"The United States remains deeply concerned about the racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist threat worldwide and is committed to countering the transnational components of violent white supremacy," a State Department statement said.

The group has carried out or attempted to carry out "acts of terrorism that threaten the security of United States nationals or the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States," it said.

The leaders blacklisted by the State Department, all Swedes, were group's chief Fredrik Vejdeland, and two other senior figures, Par Oberg and Leif Robert Eklund. The group, known by its Swedish acronym NMR, professes Nazism and seeks a united "ethnic Nordic" nation.

Founded in 1997 in Sweden as the Swedish Resistance Movement, it saw sister organizations spring up in other Nordic countries until they were united under NMR in 2016.

The group stages protests and produces media arguing against immigration, but has also been linked to violence.

In 2016, a 28-year old man died after being assaulted by NMR members in Helsinki and, according to watchdog organization Expo, several members have been convicted of a series of bombings in Gothenburg in 2016 and 2017.

Finland's Supreme Court banned the group in 2020.

After taking office in 2021, President Joe Biden's administration laid out a strategy to counter domestic terrorism that included identifying foreign groups that provide support.

The State Department first designated a white supremacist group as terrorists in 2020 — the Russian Imperial Movement — after years of largely targeting Islamist and far-left movements overseas.

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