One of the first conspiracy theories she engaged with was that “Jewish people had control over the media and society as a whole.”
‘Banners of Hate’ placed by US white supremacist groups
(photo credit: ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE)
A former Blood & Honour white supremacist Neo-Nazi female has called for greater solidarity with Jewish and Muslim women in the UK, as hate crimes hit a record high, as well as white supremacist activity and conspiracy theories.
Lauren Manning, 30, was for over five years a member of the Canadian division of Blood & Honour, a notorious Neo-Nazi and white supremacist group founded in 1987 in the UK.
While beginning her first UK engagement with Nisa-Nashim, the UK’s Jewish-Muslim women’s network, Manning said that “the best thing [Jewish and Muslim women] can do during these times is to try and stand together as much as possible, and help each other where possible.”
“As Muslim and Jewish women, we commend Lauren for her incredible bravery and work in educating and raising awareness around the dangers of far-right extremism,” interfaith consultant and Nisa-Nashim co-founder Laura Marks OBE said. The group’s name means “women” in Arabic and Hebrew.
According to her, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump administration are the origin of hate crimes reaching a record high.
“The Trump Administration is making things easy for the far-right, because he hasn’t directly condemned any of these groups – and therefore they see it as a free pass to do whatever the hell they want.”
“I know if I was still in Blood & Honour, that’s how I would view it, too – even if he hasn’t directly supported it, he hasn’t condemned it either.”
“The issues around COVID-19 have already encouraged more division and hatred from the Right. People have legitimate anxieties because of this pandemic, however the far-right are connecting their anxieties to a far-right ideology, and that is when it becomes an issue.
“In every conspiracy theory there is no self-responsibility that comes with it. It is always someone else’s fault.”
Manning, interviewed by Nisa-Nashim chairwoman of trustees Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal MBE for the discussion, spoke to over 100 Jewish and Muslim women for the event.
“Lauren spoke very powerfully and honestly about her vulnerabilities, but given the right help and support she was able to leave this life behind. If you are worried for yourself, a friend or a relative then there will always be a way out and people to help. Lauren is a shining example of how anyone can leave hate behind,” Nisa-Nashim declared.
During the event, Manning told her story and described how she grew up in a middle-class Canadian neighborhood, but turned to a life of drugs, alcohol, crime and ultimately white supremacy at the age of 17 after suffering abuse, losing her father at a young age and leaving home.
She explained that “instead of choosing self-acceptance, I chose self-hatred, and woke up each morning wanting to be someone else.”
Manning continued, explaining how the extremist group Blood and Honour had a problem with “everybody” and that one of the first conspiracy theories she engaged with was that “Jewish people had control over the media and society as a whole” – and that because she had never met a Jewish person before, “it became a fear of the unknown itself.”
Manning said that she chose to leave the group after five years after a fellow member was murdered. An earlier initial attempt to escape failed when she was beaten and hospitalized.
“The groups see women as subservient, meaning we were to bear the children and take care of domestic stuff. There was endless pressure on me to have children to continue the white race.”
“If we are to challenge extremism, understanding how it takes hold is a really powerful tool,” concluded Marks. “Meeting this incredible woman who embraced violence and then found a way out touches us in a totally different way.”
Manning is one of the very few known reformed female neo-Nazis.