Study shows two-thirds of U.S. terrorism tied to right-wing extremists
A new terrorism database analysis shows almost two-thirds of the terror attacks in the United States last year were carried out by right-wing extremists.
Researchers and journalists for the news site Quartz said they used data compiled by the Global Terrorism Database that has tabulated terrorist events around the world since 1970. The database is supported by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), affiliated with the University of Maryland.
“A Quartz analysis of the database shows that almost two-thirds of terror attacks in the (United States) last year were tied to racist, anti-Muslim, homophobic, anti-Semitic, fascist, anti-government, or xenophobic motivations,” its posting says.
The remaining attacks, the web site said, “were driven by left-wing ideologies … and Islamic extremism.”
Globally, terrorist attacks dropped from about 17,000 in 2014 to about 11,000 in 2017, including a 40 percent decline in the Middle East, according to Quartz's analysis of the START data.
But the United States has seen a recent surge in terror-related violence, with 65 attacks last year, up from six in 2006, it said.
In a related post last month, Quartz said of 65 terrorism incidents last year in the United States, 37 were “tied to racist, anti-Muslim, homophobic, anti-Semitic, fascist, anti-government or xenophobic motivations.”
The list includes the August 2017 incident at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a man drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring many others. The suspect, James Alex Fields, was photographed earlier that day marching with neo-Nazi hate group Vanguard America. Fields has been charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting trial in Virginia. In June, he was indicted on 30 charges of federal hate crimes related to the attack.
The list also includes attacks on a gay bar in Puerto Rico, mosques in Washington, Texas, and Florida and a “vehicle decorated with Jewish iconography in New York,” the posting said.
Quartz said the Global Terrorism Database annual report includes “cases where violence is used by non-state actors to achieve political, economic, religious, or social goals through fear and coercion.”
For example, it said, the database “includes ideologically motivated attacks like the Charleston church shooting, but not ones such as the Aurora movie theater massacre.”
The database also classifies cases according to attackers’ affiliations, such as the Ku Klux Klan. When an affiliation is unknown, the database lists the participant’s ideological identity if it’s known, such as white extremist.
For further reading on right-wing extremist terrorism, check out Terror from the Right, the Southern Poverty Law Center's directory of major terrorist plots and right-wing political violence from 1995 to the present.
Photo credit AP Images/Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress