The PJ Tatler

Study: Right-Wing Extremists a Bigger 'Threat' to U.S. than Islamic Terrorists?

A study by the New America Foundation shows that right wing, anti-government extremists and white supremacists are a bigger threat to the U.S. than Islamic terrorists.


Does the study really say that?

Well, no. But it’s a sexy headline, don’t you think? Mediaite headline screams, “White Americans Are Biggest Terror Threat in U.S.”

What the New America Foundation study showed was that more Americans have been killed by homegrown, non-jihadist radicals since 9/11 than were killed by Islamic jihadis.

White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the US, killing more people in attacks than Muslims or any other group in the last 14 years, according to a study done by the New America Foundation.

The group looked into the 26 attacks on US soil that it defined as terror and found that 19 of those attacks were done by non-Muslims. All the studied attacks are post-9/11.

Since then, 48 people have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, compared to 26 killed by people who claimed to be jihadist. The non-Muslim groups include right-wing, anti-government organizations and white-supremacist groups.

Last week’s Charleston shooting — after which reports surfaced of the confessed shooter’s white-supremacist ideology — was included in the count.

Other attacks, like the massacres in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, were not included, since they do not appear to have been caused by a specific ideology, the standard used by New America Foundation to qualify terrorism.

This information may shock the public, as post-9/11 trauma has made jihadi terror attacks more prominent in the media, but US law enforcement is well aware of the danger of white extremist groups, the New York Times reported.

A recent survey done by researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University asked 382 US police departments to list top threats and 74 per cent listed anti-government violence, while just 39 per cent said “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence.


Are white Americans the biggest threat? It depends how you define the word “threat.” The Heritage Foundation released an update to their own study earlier this month that showed law enforcement authorities preventing 69 separate Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11, the most recent being the Boston plot to kill Pamela Geller. Some of those were mass casualty plots that could have killed hundreds of Americans. And while the inspirations for some of these plots are from overseas, the plotters lived and worked for the most part in America.

There have been 6 Islamic terror plots foiled just since April:

Two years ago, The Heritage Foundation conducted an exhaustive review of publicly available U.S. court and federal and state government records. The researchers documented at least 60 terrorist plots related to Islamist extremism following the 9/11 attacks—all aimed at the U.S. And the pace of plotting has only quickened.

There have been nine additional plots since that report came out in 2013. Seven occurred this calendar year, six since April. Plot number 69 was thwarted just a few days ago. On June 2, federal law enforcement officers killed Usaamah Abdullah in Boston. Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, an alleged accomplice, was arrested later. It is suspected they intended to behead anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller.

So, yes, Islamist terrorism in America is on the rise. The numbers don’t lie. Still, there is a ferocious debate over what they mean.


There’s a difference between the kind of right-wing extremist terrorism personified by Dylann Root and the fanatical Muslims who are intent on killing us. The paranoid, anti-government nutcases and racist half-wits who carry out unsophisticated attacks on their targets have no interest in sacrificing themselves for the “cause.” They want to escape to live to fight another day.

Meanwhile, the jihadists have more involved plots that sometimes include suicide bombings. They are cold sober sane, calculating, and their religious fanaticism makes them more dangerous than any right-wing potential terrorist out there.

It makes sense for local police to worry more about right-wing extremism  than Islamic terrorists. Local departments are usually the last to hear about a terror plot being tracked in their jurisdiction by the feds. And, of course, not all terror plots that are foiled make it on the six o’clock news. Rolling up a terror cell that may have connections both here and abroad is a delicate matter that we may never officially become aware of.

We shouldn’t minimize the threat from non-jihadist Americans. But this study is being misinterpreted by all the usual suspects into making white, right-wing nuts a bigger “threat”  to America than Islamic terrorists, rather than the simple body counting exercise it is. Heading off 69 terrorist attacks before they bear fruit makes Islamic terrorism a far more dangerous and lethal threat than anything the screwballs on the right can muster.


And losing track of that singular fact will end up getting a lot of Americans killed.

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