Local extremism and right-wing violence in the United States
Ozaïr Islam |
Dec. 24, 2021, 9:20 p.m.
The incidences of domestic extremism in the United States have reached unprecedented heights, fueled by white supremacists, anti-Muslims, anti-Asians, anti-Hispanics and anti-government fanatics. Domestic terrorism is defined by “the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Domestic Terrorism Act 2007” as “the use, planned use or threat of use of force or violence by a group or an individual born, raised or based and operating primarily in the United States. States or any of its possessions to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in the pursuit of political or social objectives. Right-wing extremism in the United States is growing rapidly. The number of terrorist attacks by far-right perpetrators has increased over the past decade, more than quadrupling between 2016 and 2017. The recent bombings in September 2021 and the attack on the synagogue in October 2018 in Pittsburgh are symptomatic of this trend.
Local violent extremism in the United States has been motivated by religious, political and psychosocial factors. Christian religious extremism particularly developed under the Trump administration. The rise of anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim views, white supremacy, a strict migration law and the gun law are at the root of the factors of politically motivated national terrorism. In 2018, President Trump’s words, “I like picking up arms early … … Going to court would have taken a long time,” in his White House TV interview on gun laws shocked many. . According to the FBI, nearly 75% of adult Muslims living in the United States believed Muslims were more discriminated against under Trump’s leadership.
The number of individual terrorist attacks is increasing compared to organizational attacks. Social and psychological factors are closely linked. According to Colorado State University social psychologist Jennifer Harman, despite affecting an estimated 22 million Americans, legal and health professionals have mostly ignored or dismissed parental alienation as a form of domestic violence. According to reports, the divorce rate in the United States is 14.9% out of 1,000 marriages in 2019. The isolation of children from broken families and lack of family time turns their childishness into acts of violence. America has fought many wars since 2000, and after experiencing long bloodshed and trauma during the war, military family life has deteriorated. Their post-traumatic stress disorder interfered with their personal lives and indirectly influenced other family members. Far-right extremist groups easily target children of broken families from military families.
Right-wing violence generally refers to the use or threat of violence by subnational or non-state entities whose objectives may include racial, ethnic or religious supremacy; opposition to government authority. Right-wing extremism includes racism, discrimination, abortion, the media and journalism. Right-wing extremism is nothing new in the United States. After the Civil War, President Ulysses S. Grant waged an aggressive and ultimately successful campaign against the Ku Klux Klan and its offshoots (such as the Knights of the White Camellia) from the 1860s to the 1870s. But the roots of current local terrorism in the United States can be found in the events that took place between 1980 and 2000; the FBI has recorded 335 incidents or suspected incidents of terrorism in that country. Many argue that in the United States, the right is not strongly linked to political parties in the United States, such as Republicans or Democrats. But according to Nemeth & Hansen (2021), electoral rivalry encourages politicians to adopt a threat-based exclusionary rhetoric to motivate people, which increases the sense of political threat among right-wing supporters and normalizes violence as a threat. legitimate political action.
The past few decades have witnessed dramatic changes in the nature of the terrorist threat in the United States. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous national terrorist threat. In recent years, special interest extremism – characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) – has become a serious terrorist threat. The FBI estimates that the ALF / ELF has committed around 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996. The year 2021 saw white supremacy and right-wing extremism take hold and attack Capitol. A month before the presidential elections in the United States, right-wing radicals reportedly plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The January 6 attack on the Capitol is a dark day for the United States.
In recent years, right-wing terrorism has become a deadly threat to the national security of the United States. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, there were a total of 201 attacks in the United States between 2008 and 2016, of which 115 were carried out by right-wing terrorists. The number of migrants is increasing. The division of labor, economic and racial sectors have changed in the United States due to globalization, but right-wing extremists are playing the “victim card” of these changes. Feminist academics believe that the growth of disillusioned middle-class white men leads to an increase in toxic masculinity in society, which is the growing popularity of the so-called manosphere to exchange radical beliefs.
Since 2015, right-wing extremists have been implicated in 267 plots or attacks and 91 deaths, according to the data. At the same time, attacks and actions attributed to far-left views led to 66 incidents resulting in 19 deaths. To understand racial extremism, there is the case of James Harris Jackson, who traveled from Maryland to New York in 2017, intending to attack black men to prevent white women from having sex with men. black in 2017. Jackson’s Youtube channel contained alt-right, neo-Nazi content, denial, MGTOW, pro-Trump, and white nationalist. The history of right-wing extremism in the United States has mainly three umbrellas. These are racial (White-Black, Islamophobia), anti-government and nativist.
The militia movement has spent much of its history trying to disassociate itself from accusations of racism and white supremacy. Yet in recent years, a significant part of the movement has willingly embraced a specific type of bigotry: anti-Muslim bigotry.
After the September 11 attack in the United States, hate crimes and organized crime against Muslims increased, including death threats, property damage or destruction. Islamophobia is also used in national politics. Anti-Muslim rhetoric has been used against the presidential campaign of former President Barack Obama while he was a Christian. In 2016, Trump’s statement, “There is something out there that – there is enormous hatred out there. There is enormous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There is incredible hatred against it. we.” And in 2017, Trump’s travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim states encouraged a high rate of hatred and discrimination against Muslims in the United States. In 2020, 279 anti-Asian hate crime incidents were reported, up from 161 in 2019. Recently, the Biden administration signed “the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” to end the growing number of hate cases in America.
Recently, the United States has faced far-right terrorism, which leads to oppression, political violence, forced assimilation, ethnic cleansing or genocide perpetrated against groups of people because of their inferiority. perceived.
Bruce Hoffman, professor and counterterrorism specialist at Georgetown University, said extremists have exploited social media and the internet in recent years to share theories, as well as grievances, tactics and potential targets . From 2015 to 2020, the use of websites or social media such as Facebook and encrypted chat services by right-wing extremists increased in five of the six years.
In recent times, white extremist groups have become more threatening. Biden’s rescinding of Trump’s Muslim entry ban has increased attacks on immigrants in recent years. In June 2021, the Biden administration adopted the first national local counterterrorism strategy that places a strong emphasis on the prevention of public health-based violence, with an emphasis on community initiatives that can help to avoid early radicalization. The FBI prioritizes the fight against local extremism and right-wing terrorism. There is a fine line between right-wing extremism and far-right extremism.
Over time, the trends and forms of right-wing terrorism are changing. Almost 6,000 hate groups currently spread hatred using their communities and social media. Activists from the KKK, the Oath Takers, the Proud Boys and many extremist groups have made the United States a dangerous and violent place for minority groups of various types – religious, racial, regional and ethnic.
This poses a simple question to America’s political leaders and strategists: Does the country have a moral right to teach lessons in democracy, human rights, or multiculturalism in other countries? Although the United States practices democracy in its own way and uses it as an instrument of its global diplomacy, the time has come to challenge it from a normative perspective. The failure of America’s leaders to eradicate systemic racism, structural violence, and rampant right-wing extremism in its own society is a huge challenge that the Biden administration must focus on with the highest priority.
Ozair Islam is a human rights activist.