Society

Right-Wing And Islamic Terrorism Pose Equal Threat

| by Jordan Smith

A report from the Anti-Defamation League has argued that the threat posed by right-wing terrorism in the U.S. is just as great as the danger of Islamic extremism.

The report, entitled "A Dark and Constant Rage: 25 Years of Right-Wing Terrorism in the United States," noted that the public perception was that Islamic terrorism posed the greatest risk to the country, according to Newsweek.

The ADL claims, however, the number of people killed since 9/11 by right-wing terrorists is roughly similar to the number of victims of attacks by Islamic extremists.

The report cites the example of a group calling itself the Crusaders, who planned an attack in Garden City, Kansas, and procured weapons to blow up a tower block where large numbers of Somali immigrants live.

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"The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim," one of the militia members reportedly declared, according to Newsweek.

The members of the terrorist group were arrested before they could carry out their plans.

"The very real specter of radical Islamic terror in the United States has existed alongside an equally serious threat of terror from right-wing extremist groups and individuals," the report noted. "Both movements have generated shooting sprees, bombings and a wide variety of plots and conspiracies. Both pose threats so significant that to ignore either would be to invite tragedy."

The report listed a series of right-wing extremist attacks, including the Oklahoma City bombing carried out by Timothy McVeigh.

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85 percent of the attacks carried out by right-wing extremists were attributed to white supremacists and anti-government activists.

"What you see is that you have a lot of people here who are really willing to cause harm," Mark Pitcavage, the report's author, told Newsweek.

The ADL report stated that right-wing extremist violence rose after 2008, the year when the economy entered a downturn and former President Barack Obama became entered office.

"Extremist movements, I often suggest that they're the fringe of the fringe in the United States. But we have 350 million people in this country so even the fringe of the fringe is a lot of folks," Pitcavage added.

The administration of President Donald Trump has reportedly discussed the possibility of rebranding a government program -- Countering Violent Extremism -- to focus exclusively on Islamic terrorism.

Pitcavage argued that Trump's statements about Muslims, refugees, immigrants and Hispanics have encouraged white supremacists. He added that he does not expect the number of attacks to decline, saying, "the one thing I can say is I don't think we're going to see any significant decrease. So many extremists are energized."

Earlier in May, the Independent reported that the Trump administration froze $10 million in grants destined for organizations that combat right-wing extremist violence. The groups include local governments and police departments, as well as non-profits working to identify signs of violent behavior.

The Independent did not receive a response to its request for comment on the matter from the Trump administration.

Sources: Newsweek via Yahoo News, Independent / Photo credit: Olaf Growald/Wikimedia Commons

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