Following the mass shooting in a historical black church in Charleston, South Carolina, an incident that led to the deaths of nine churchgoers, data revealed that more than half of the total attacks in the United States since 9/11 were orchestrated by right-wing extremists than by jihadists.
The data also suggests that the number of fatalities in right-wing attacks – which include attacks by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, as reported by Vox – have been twice as much.
New York-based nonprofit New America Foundation (NAF) found that the mass shooting in Charleston (which was carried out by Dylann Roof, a white supremacist, believed to have acted alone in the attack) brought the tally of “lethal terrorist incidents” by indigenous extremists to 19, causing the deaths of 48 Americans in total. Jihadists, in comparison, have executed seven attacks in the same time frame, which have resulted in 26 deaths.
According to The New York Times, John Horgan, a University of Massachusetts Lowell scholar, said, “There’s an acceptance now [among scholars] of the idea that the threat from jihadi terrorism in the United States has been overblown. And there’s a belief that the threat of right-wing, antigovernment violence has been underestimated.”
However, Charles Kurzman, a University of North Carolina professor, said, “Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists.”
Some of the other right wing attacks on home soil include assailing a Sikh temple, Christian churches and U.S. Holocaust Museum. These attacks were executed because people didn’t share the same race or beliefs as that of the perpetrator. The jihadist attacks, as studied by NAF, were brought to action because the terrorist group responsible did not agree with the U.S. government policies and actions. Moreover, most of the assailants in jihadist attacks share links to the Middle East.
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security authored a report that highlighted the growth of right-wing terrorism in the country. However, the report was deemed as an attack on conservative ideologies, according to The Washington Post.
The author of the report, Daryl Johnson, was subsequently fired.
“DHS is scoffing at the mission of doing domestic counterterrorism, as is Congress,” Johnson said. “There’ve been no hearings about the rising white supremacist threat, but there’s been a long list of attacks over the last few years. But they still hold hearings about Muslim extremism. It’s out of balance.”
Some experts have expressed their concern that right wing terrorism poses a greater risk to the country than jihadist terrorism.
Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director for the Council on American Islamic Relations, said, “Look at the statistics. They are clear.
“We called the Charleston shooting an act of terrorism … Why wouldn’t you call the murder of nine people by someone trying to spark a race war an act of domestic terrorism?”
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