It’s important to know extremists’ language so we can call it out when we see it.
Image by CBC/YouTube
Monday’s horrific van attack in Toronto, which left 10 people dead and at least 13 injured, had the appearance of an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack. The suspected driver of the van, Alek Minassian, drove the vehicle up the curb of a busy sidewalk, striking dozens of pedestrians.
But details about the suspect reveal he was part of an online community known as Incels, short for “Involuntary Celibates.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Incels are a hate group that emerged from the “pick-up artist” movement: “When those strategies (or ‘game’) unsurprisingly proved unsuccessful for many men, they became deeply bitter. To an Incel, sex is a basic human right for all men. So the women who deny them that right are committing a heinous — and punishable — crime.”
Elliot Rodger, a man who killed six people in Isla Vista, California, in 2014, is held in high regard in the Incel community. Before committing the heinous act, he wrote a manifesto, blaming women for his virginity. “I’m the perfect guy,” he wrote, “and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman.”
Before the Toronto attack, Minassian praised Rodger in a Facebook post. “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please,” the post read. “C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
Within the Incel movement, men who are successful with women are known as “Chads” and women who reject Incels are known as “Stacys.”
More than 40,000 Incels used to meet on a Reddit forum until it was banned for promoting hate speech. After the ban, many Incels moved over to Incels.me, where some members celebrated the attack. An Incel who uses the name, Letting Go, was happy to learn the first victim was a young female. “It’s a foid! I have one celebratory beer for every victim that turns out to be a young woman between 18-35,” they said.
A foid is short for “femoid” which combines “female” and “humanoid.”
The rise in male supremacy groups, such as the Incels, prompted the SPLC to add them to their list of hate groups last year. "The vilification of women by these groups makes them no different than other groups that demean entire populations, such as the LGBT community, Muslims, or Jews, based on their inherent characteristics,” the report states. The violent radicalization of Minassian and Rodger highlight the danger posed by male supremacy groups and could make them the target of greater scrutiny.
Minassian was charged on April 24 with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.