On Monday, the Supreme Court announced it will review President Trump’s proposed “travel ban” of individuals coming from several Muslim-majority nations. However, a recent study revealed that the majority of terrorist attacks in America aren't actually caused by radicalized Muslims.
When you ask the average American to picture what a terrorist looks like, just about everyone conjures up the image of a bearded Muslim male. But, a new study by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting found that, over the past nine years, in the U.S., there were nearly twice as many terrorist incidents by right-wing extremists than by Islamist extremists.
Since 2008, the group has tracked 201 terrorist incidents in the U.S. Right-wing extremists (white supremacist militias, sovereign citizens) were responsible for 155 incidents of terror. Islamist extremists were responsible for 63 incidents, and left-wing extremists (animal rights activists, eco terrorists) were responsible for 19. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups in the U.S. has doubled over the past 15 years, with nearly 80% of them supporting white supremacist ideologies.
“I think the larger perception in the public ― and this includes many progressives and liberals ― is the inversion of the reality that the greatest threat we face is Islamist radicals,” lead reporter David Neiwert told The Huffington Post. “And it’s reflected in the way the press report upon various kinds of domestic terror attacks: When it’s a white domestic terrorist, they underplay it, write it off to mental illness.” If the media and our political leaders continue to incorrectly label acts of terror, it will have a huge effect on the efforts given to combat them.
President Trump recently cut a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to Chicago-based Life After Hate, which helps to stop the propagation of white supremacist groups. Trump has also pushed a Muslim travel ban that would prevent people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. But, in reality, since 9/11, not one American has been killed by a person born in one of the targeted countries. To protect our citizens from extremists of any ideology, it’s best we learn to focus on how terrorists operate, rather than how they look.