Right-Wing Extremist Terrorism as Deadly a Threat as Al Qaeda?
The word “terrorism” in the United States usually brings to mind plots linked in some way to al Qaeda, while the danger posed to the public by white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and other right-wing militants is often overlooked.
Militants linked to al Qaeda or inspired by jihadist ideology have carried out four terrorist attacks in the United States since September 11, which have resulted in 17 deaths. Thirteen of them were in a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009.
By contrast, right-wing extremists have committed at least eight lethal terrorist attacks in the United States that have resulted in the deaths of nine people since 9/11, according to data compiled by the New America Foundation.
And if, after investigation, Sunday’s attack on the Sikh temple in Wisconsin is included in this count, the death toll from right-wing terrorism in the U.S. over the past decade rises to 15.
The shooting suspect, Wade Michael Page, posed with a Nazi flag on his Facebook page and has played a prominent role in “white power” music groups. The FBI is investigating the case as a “domestic terrorist-type incident.”
A particular concern for law enforcement is the Sovereign Citizens movement, whose adherents reject all U.S. laws as well as taxation and American currency. An FBI report published in 2011 said “lone-offender sovereign-citizen extremists have killed six law enforcement officers” since 2000.