Murders by white supremacists more than double

22 01 18

When a Nazi sympathiser plowed his van into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VI, last summer and murdered Heather Meyer, it received international attention. For many, it served as a wake-up call to the dangers posed by a re-energised white supremacist movement.

While not all the murders were as high profile, of the 34 people killed by extremists, the league’s Center on Extremism said 20 were murdered by right-wing extremists, with 18 of those were killed by white supremacists.

The 20 homicides marks a dramatic uptick from the year prior, with 59% of the total extremist murders in 2017 attributed to right-wing extremists compared to just 20% in 2016.

“These findings are a stark reminder that domestic extremism is a serious threat to our safety and security,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO.

“We saw two car-ramming attacks in the U.S. last year– one from an Islamic terrorist and another from a white supremacist in Charlottesville—and the number of deaths attributed to white supremacists increased substantially. The bottom line is we cannot ignore one form of extremism over another. We must tackle them all.”

Islamist extremists killed nine and groups described as left-wing killed five people, the ADL report said.

The ADL also reports that some of the murders committed by white supremacists are linked to the alt-right  – which has “expanded its operations in 2017 from the internet into the physical world”.

Past killings

The ADL notes that over the last decade, 71% of extremist murders were linked to domestic right-wing extremists, compared to 26% committed by Islamist terrorists.

An Islamist extremist, however, committed the deadliest single event in 2017: the truck attack on a bike path in New York City that killed eight people. This stills marks a smaller death toll than the Orlando Pulse night club attack in 2016, which killed 49 people and was carried by a self-professed ISIS supporter.

The report does not include the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas in which a while male killed 58 people, as the motive of the gunman remains unknown.

Primary threat

John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security and ABC News consultant cautioned that the report must be put in context.

“In one respect, the ADL report confirms what law enforcement leaders have known for months — that when it comes to ideologically motivated violence, the primary threat comes not from immigrants but from individuals who reside legally or were born here in the United States,” Cohen said.

“On another respect, the report understates the threat facing the U.S. in that it doesn’t include non-ideologically motivated mass casualty attacks such as those that occurred in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs.”

The ADL report states it is important to remember that “for each person actually killed by an extremist, many more are wounded or injured in attempted murders and assaults”.

It adds: “It is quite likely that the future will see yet more violent acts stemming from the ranks of the alt right and the alt lite as more of their adherents move their activities into the real world.”

President Trump caught flack for his soft response against the Charlottesville white nationalist rally where Meyer was killed. Trump called them “very fine people” and has yet to admit that white supremacist extremism is a problem in the USA.


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