The image of terrorism in America is slowly changing. New studies indicate White supremacists, anti-government persons, and other non-Islamic extremists have killed more people in the country than radical Muslims.
Washington research center New America studied acts of terror in the country since September 11, 2001, reports the New York Times. In the past 14 years, deadly right-wing attacks have claimed the lives of 48 people, compared to the 26 deaths by jihad parties.
In total, 19 acts have been carried out by non-Muslim extremists, while seven were committed by Islamic militants. Some of the 19 acts include the 2012 Sikh Temple Shooting, the 2014 Kansas Jewish Center Shooting, and the recent AME Emanuel Church Shooting in South Carolina.
The Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech shootings were not included in the data.
Scholars are standing by the study, saying the image of terror in America has been skewed since the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and the Pentagon on 9/11. Over 3,000 people were killed on that day, instilling Americans with a deep-rooted fear of Muslim extremists. Dr. Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina thinks the study will surprise the general public – but not police – since law enforcement has been polled on the matter in the past.
Kurzman’s study asked 382 officers to name the top threats in their jurisdiction. Close to 74 percent stated anti-government violence and 39 percent listed “al-Qaeda-inspired” terror acts. According to the New York Times:
“Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists,” said Dr. Kurzman, whose study is to be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum.
John G. Horgan from the University of Massachusetts Lowell agreed the perception is new to educators. Horgan, who studies terrorism, believes right-wing extremists have been successful in staying under the radar.
“There’s an acceptance now of the idea that the threat from jihadi terrorism in the United States has been overblown,” Dr. Horgan said. “And there’s a belief that the threat of right-wing, antigovernment violence has been underestimated.”
Homegrown extremists commit smaller lethal acts than jihadis, leaving a trail of evidence through social media pages, manifestos, and videos. Suspected Charleston gunman Dylann Roof’s alleged manifesto was discovered last weekend and lists his hatred for minorities, including his urge to start a new “civil war.”