Far-Right Terrorism Is A Far Bigger Threat To Americans Than Jihadism
Not long after assuming office, President Donald Trump sought to shift a government program focused on all types of extremism to one targeted solely on Islamist extremism -- “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would become “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism”.
But as it is, Trump's desire to make that shift does not reflect reality.
When it comes to acts of extremist violence in the U.S., the radicalized far-right present a far greater danger than radicalized Muslims.
According to the Extremist Crime Database, the far right carried out nine fatal attacks in the US in 2017.
Yet hardly any of these fatal attacks by radicalised white men dominated the news headlines in the US in the same way that shootings or bombings by radicalised Muslims tend to.
It is understandable that this discrepancy might go unnoticed by the majority of Americans, as the media tends to disproportionately focus on extremist attacks by Muslims:
Researchers at Georgia State University found that terrorist attacks “by Muslim perpetrators received, on average, 449 per cent more coverage than other attacks”. Muslims were responsible for 12.4 per cent of the terror attacks in the US between 2011 and 2015 yet received 41.4 per cent of the news coverage.
The president, however, is not constrained by coverage in news media -- or at least he ought not be, considering Trump has access to intelligence and other information the public lacks.
[I]n May last year, an intelligence bulletin prepared by the FBI and the department for homeland security was obtained by Foreign Policy magazine, which warned that “white supremacists had already carried out more attacks than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years”. It concluded that white supremacists “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year”.
But at the same time Trump has emboldened the far-right in America, he also is making moves to lessen the government's response to such threats.
By June, the administration had announced it would be revoking federal funding for Life After Hate, a non-profit dedicated to deradicalising right-wing extremists, and a project by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that was supposed to counter both violent Islamists and white supremacists.
None of this bodes well for the situation at home, where white supremacists and white nationalists have made clear they believe they have the support of the president.
“Donald Trump is setting us free,” wrote a jubilant Andrew Anglin, founder of a neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, last summer. “It’s fair to say that if the Trump team is not listening to us directly (I assume they are), they are thinking along very similar lines.”