Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Right-wing extremists responsible for more than twice number of US terrorist attacks as Muslim extremists

A new report claims that right-wing extremists were responsible for nearly twice as many incidents of terrorist acts as those identified with "Islamist domestic terrorism".

The report is the result of joint efforts of the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, and news outlet Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The project looked at 201 designated terrorist incidents within the US from 2008 to 2016.
The report found 63 incidents that involved those “motivated by a theocratic political ideology espoused by such groups as the Islamic State”. Incidents included the Boston Marathon bombing, and San Berardino shootings. Right-wing extremists were responsible for 115 incidents including an attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic that offered abortion services that killed three people. The police were able to thwart 76 percent of Islamist incidents but only 35 percent of right-wing-extremists actions. Almost half of the Islamist related incidents involved sting operations whereas this was true of far fewer of right and left-wing extremist actions.
More people were killed in the Islamist-related incidents 90, that includes mass shootings such as those in Fort Hood Texas in 2009. Yet only 13 percent of the Islamist incidents involved death, as compared with a third of the right-wing extremist acts. There were also seven deaths caused by left-wing extremism with 19 incidents in all. The report shows that President Trump's emphasis on "radical Islamic terrorism' is not justified by the facts about terrorist incidents.
In his campaign, Trump emphasized the threat of Islamic terrorism and when he came into power he immediately issued a travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries. Now the US Department of Homeland Security announced that they are changing the focus of their counter-terrorism grant program. They are shifting funding from groups that focus on general domestic terrorism to those that are specifically targeting Islamist extremism.
The move is not unexpected, even back in February the Trump administration was considering changing the name of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program to Countering Islamic Extremism as the emphasis of the program was to be on countering Islamic extremism. Money then was shifted to groups focusing on Muslims including $1.2 million in grants to local law enforcement offices in California, Washington and Minnesota. for programs to train police to identify signs of alienation that might lead people to be vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups.
David Shanzer, director of Duke University's Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security said that it would be a huge mistake to focus solely on Islamic extremism. He noted that even before Trump was elected it was difficult to enlist the Muslim community in counter-terrorism programs because many saw them as a form of surveillance. Four schools had turned down funding by the CVE because of such concerns and 20 percent of the $10 million in Department of Homeland Security funding for countering extremism had been actually rejected.
Trump's emphasis ignores the threat of far-right and anti-government groups and as Senator Tim Kaine put it could "continue to give rise to the false narrative that Western Civilization is at war with Islam". The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) points out that far-right and anti-government groups number nearly one thousand different organizations in the US and carry out terrorist attacks more frequently than do extreme Islamists.
The SPLC notes that there has been an increase in hate crimes since Trump's election. Of course there are those who consider the SPLC itself a hate group! As the appended video shows there may be some reluctance to call crimes terror-related when non-Muslim appear to be involved. It shows too that many, what appear to be terror crimes, are perpetrated by lone wolves who may not be associated with any particular groups.

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