Driven primarily by the far-right white supremacists, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists, domestic terrorism has never peaked this high in the last 25 years, a new study reveals.
Homegrown terrorism is posing a growing threat in the United States as it has reached the highest levels in the last 25 years, the Washington Post’s analysis on the data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies said on Monday.
White supremacists, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks since 2015, showed CSIS data.
Whether attacked with vehicles, guns, knives or fists, these attacks by far-right extremists have resulted in 91 fatalities. Nineteen people have died as a result of plots or attacks carried out by the far-left, which accounted for 66 incidents in the same period.
Dozens of religious institutions, including mosques, synagogues and Black churches, were among the places that had been threatened or attacked.
2020: The year when domestic terrorism thrived
While the number of terrorist incidents carried out by far-right extremists surpassed the incidents connected to the far-left, attacks from both groups hit a groundbreaking level in 2020.
Data also illustrated that a growing number of former and current US law enforcement officers have participated in domestic terrorist plots and attacks, showed the data from CSIS, which included 980 incidents since 1994.
The 73 incidents linked to the far-right last year marked an all-time annual high since 1994, according to the CSIS database.
The number of left-wing terrorism incidents, which included ones on an oil pipeline construction, police and their facilities, was at 25 in 2020. These incidents included the burning of the Minneapolis police precinct during the protests at the height of the rage after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, and the killing of a Trump supporter by Antifa.
Self-styled militias, racially or ethnically motivated extremists
Members of extremist groups and militias have played a role in 67 attacks since 2015, but a majority of extremists appear to have acted independently. This now appears to be their defining characteristic, WP says.
A similar analysis was made in a report that was released by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on March 1.
Racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and self-styled militias present the most lethal threats, the report said. Others include anti-government, animal rights, environmentalist or abortion-related extremist attacks.
The data shows that assaults on immigrants, Muslims, or people of colour who are thought to be immigrants or Muslims, have increased in recent years. Since 2015, 15 anti-immigrant attacks caused 27 fatalities and dozens of injuries.