At least 86 attacks that year specifically targeted refugee shelters and migrants, and dozens more followed in and Attacks on Places of Worship There were at least 38 attacks that targeted places of worship, like churches, synagogues and mosques across North America. Until last year, the deadliest of these attacks in the United States were a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in and a shooting at a black church in South Carolina in Online Radicalization An attacker who voiced his hatred of women and people of color in a manifesto before killing six people in California in signaled a new type of terrorist.
Rising Violence Then in , attacks jumped in a tense post-election political environment.
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Nine of these proved deadly. Preliminary data for the United States shows five additional deadly white extremist attacks, including mass shootings at high schools in Florida and Texas and at a Pittsburgh synagogue. There were five white extremist attacks in Australia from through , all of which were attacks on mosques and Islamic centers. There were no such attacks in New Zealand during that same period. Then the massacre of worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15 — the deadliest shooting in modern New Zealand history — helped put the global nature of white extremism into relief.
"Political Extremism and Domestic Terrorism in America" by Mark Potok
The shooter was an Australian man who said he was radicalized during his travels in Europe and designed his attack to draw an American audience. Attackers who identify as white, Christian and culturally European see an attack on their privileged position in the West by immigrants, Muslims and other religious and racial minorities. The difference now is that it is easier than ever for extremists to connect both domestically and across continents, according to Mr.
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The entry point for radicalization is less narrow than it was during earlier waves of white supremacist action, when finding ideological fellow travelers typically required meeting in person. The challenge for law enforcement will be to buck a sometimes myopic focus on Islamic extremism as the only driver of international terrorism. It may also require rethinking the legal framework for what constitutes terrorism: from violence that arises from a command and control structure to a looser definition that can account for a wider range of violent actors who share a common ideology.
Beirich said. They may have acted in ways that looked domestic but the thinking was always about building an international white movement.
This analysis was based on data from the Global Terrorism Database for the years through and preliminary data for the United States for To identify episodes involving white extremists, we looked at the available data on perpetrators; their affiliations with terrorist groups; stated motives and targets; and conducted independent research. We examined attacks perpetrated by anti-immigrant extremists, anti-Muslim extremists, neo-Nazi extremists, right-wing extremists, anti-Semitic extremists, neo-fascists, white extremists, anti-Arab extremists, the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Sikh extremists and incel extremists.
We also examined attacks on migrants and refugees, places of worship and religious figures, and attacks on black people, Hispanic people and Hindus. For episodes in which the identity of the perpetrator was unknown, we made a determination about ideology based on the target or through further research. We excluded episodes with insufficient evidence of ideological motivation. We excluded cases that might otherwise have met our criteria — for example, an attack on a mosque — if they took place as part of an active conflict, like in a war zone. We excluded the small number of instances of right-wing and anti-government political violence in which the perpetrators did not appear to be motivated by white extremist ideology.
Global Terrorism Database researchers mark certain cases as in doubt as to whether they constitute terrorism, but since they were ultimately included in the database, they were included in our analysis when they met our criteria. Attacks by the same perpetrator that occurred on the same day were counted separately. Location information was not available for two attacks in Europe. These are not shown on the maps but are included in the analysis.
El Paso shooting: Has US neglected fight against white extremism?
The chart showing connections among attackers only includes attacks in the United States and Canada for Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. Pacific Ocean. Atlantic Ocean. White extremist attacks, North America. Christchurch attacks Killed Tallahassee shooting Killed 2. The Christchurch shooter said he was inspired by the Norway attacker. Toronto van attack Killed Aztec High School shooting Killed 2. Finsbury Park van attack Killed 1. Quebec City mosque shooting Killed 6.
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These two shooters corresponded directly. Munich mall shooting Killed 9. Murder of Jo Cox Killed 1. Sweden school attack Killed 3. Umpqua Community College shooting Killed 9. Charleston church shooting Killed 9. Four killers made statements online supporting the Isla Vista attacker.
Isla Vista massacre Killed 6. Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting Killed 6. Norway attacks Killed A large share of attacks in targeted migrants in Europe. Multiple retaliations in London. Munich mall shooting July 22, , killed 9. Attacks on mosques, Islamic institutions and Muslim individuals. Quebec City. New York. San Francisco.
Washington, D. Los Angeles. Multiple attacks in New York. Multiple in New York. Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting Aug. How do you police it?
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Today the U. The FBI has noted that most of its domestic-terrorism cases featuring a racial motive involve white supremacists. It is carried out by Americans using guns, and thus bound up in the divisive political debate about gun violence. And it is largely a leaderless movement, in contrast to groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, which have identifiable leaders.
In this, it has more in common with homegrown jihadist terrorism. These differences, however, are deceptive. Watts points out that in recent years, discernible patterns have developed in white-nationalist violence—the recurring targeting, for example, of minorities, and especially of black, Jewish, and Muslim places of worship. Read: How white-supremacist violence echoes other forms of terrorism.
Watts wants Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime suspected domestic terrorists now typically face gun, conspiracy, or hate-crime charges and to pass a law for designating domestic terrorism organizations and domestic terrorists the State Department does this for international terrorists and terrorist groups.