Though right-wing attacks have killed more people on American soil than attacks carried out by Muslim extremists, the Trump administration is pushing for a national counter-terror program to focus solely on the latter.
Much has been said about the need to protect U.S. borders from dangerous entrants, specifically terrorists. From a proposed hyper-militarized border wall to the contested executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim-majority nations, the burgeoning security state of the Trump administration is using violence and fear-mongering to manipulate public perception.
However, one issue remains conspicuously absent in the national dialogue on security. That issue is the threat of extremist militias and white supremacists.
According to a report last year from the New America Foundation, attacks by right-wing groups in America have killed almost twice as many people as attacks by Muslim extremists. Of the 26 attacks since 9/11 that the group defined as terror, 19 were carried out by non-Muslims.
Yet, on Feb. 2, Reuters reported that Donald Trump wants the United States’ counter-terrorism program to focus solely on Islamic extremism.
This has enormous implications for a country which has an estimated 917 active hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
For starters, the United States would be moving needed attention away from groups and individuals involved in hundreds of bombing plots, shootings, and other violent events on American soil, including white supremacists and other non-Muslim right-wing extremists. Since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 there have been at least 32 attacks perpetrated by white non-Muslim extremists — all of which have resulted in casualties.
In North Carolina, a group of conservative activists met recently at a local restaurant to discuss what they believe to be the problem with Muslims and how to respond. At least one person at this event spoke of wanting to kill Muslims — he wanted to, quote, “start taking people out.”
Right-wing extremists aren’t just members of small-time nationalist militia groups; they’re also members of U.S. law enforcement. A recent report from The Intercept revealed a terrifying reality: White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. And the FBI has been quietly investigating them for years.
While the Trump administration and its supporters yell fire in a crowded movie theater, the most pressing threats are being ignored for the sole purpose of expanding the reach of the security state apparatus and the military-industrial complex. Muslim refugees, especially those who have already undergone intense background checks as a part of their immigration process, aren’t the real threats we should be worried about.