Mustapha H. Itani: Thanks for this article, and for following me recently. I honestly hope we can have a frank discussion of matters of import in the United States and the world abroad. However, I have to admit, yesterday I wrote a “short” version response to your post that wasn’t very short. I then decided to convert the text below into a longer fact-based posting here.
Please read that link below (or scan to the “skeleton” of that post below, which I had drafted the past 24 hours) and let me know what you think.
Charlottesville was Terrorism: Hard Data on Threat Levels from Ideological Hate
Statistically, Perhaps We Shouldn’t Be So Worried about White Supremacy
ORIGINAL POST (written 8.14.17 in response to this “disingenuous” posting):
What happened in Charlottesville August 12 was an act of ideological terrorism. No argument from me there, and Trump once again showed his true colors by not denouncing white nationalists and supremacists But your article is, I’m sorry to say like a widely shared Tweet below and others like it, completely disingenuous when the murder total is left out. The major blind-side to you argument is that the rate of jihadist murder is anywhere from 30 times to 100 times higher than far-right-extremism when contextualizing for demographics. There’s an awful lot of conservative right-wing Americans who have a subset of loonies than the 1% Muslim population with the same. Also, when looking at the GAO list of extremist events cited here and elsewhere, many are hate crime acts (which can be considered terrorism) by lone wolf perpetrators. If you look at any list of thwarted attacks since 9/11 — of which there have been dozens of major ones — you won’t see a significant number of white nationalists on the list.
My full statistical and evidence-based defense of the above statements is below. This narrative is becoming highly problematic and sensational.
Yes, there are 62 far-right-wing incidents to 23 jihadist incidents. But will you read the link to see it’s 119 jihadist deaths to 106 right-wing deaths? (An arguably more relevant fact conveniently omitted.)
From those population pools, you will find extremists willing to kill because of hate:
- there are about 50% of Americans who are white and Christian
- there are about 35% of Americans who are right-wing/conservative
- 1% of Americans are Muslim
SOURCE (35% of Americans consider themselves “Conservative”): http://www.gallup.com/poll/201152/conservative-liberal-gap-continues-narrow-tuesday.aspx
Additionally, will you check other sources? According to the widely used non-partisan New America analysis updated regularly, there have been:
- 95 Jihadist terror killings since 9/11 (includes Orlando nightclub shooting)
- 67 right wing (mostly white) terror killings since 9/11 (includes Charleston church shooting)
- 8 black separatist (left-wing) terror killings since 9/11 (includes Dallas police sniper shooting)
When the number of right-wing killings was HIGHER before the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, articles in The New York Times, Newsweek, and Time magazine wrote high-profile articles using this New America study to say right-wing extremism is responsible for more death. Those articles are still shared widely, implying a threat from right-wing factions are far more lethal to Americans, without mentioning the population differences (Muslims are a very small percentage of residents in the United States), or the fact the “total killed” for each category obviously fluctuates. None will say that together all ideological killings combine for about 10–15 homicides a year out of 16,000.
- Time used New America as a source June 24, 2015: “Study Says White Extremists Have Killed More Americans in the U.S. Than Jihadists Since 9/11”
- New York Times mirroring the New America data June 24, 2015: “Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11”
- Newsweek also boldly stated this 2/14/16: “RIGHT-WING EXTREMISTS ARE A BIGGER THREAT TO AMERICA THAN ISIS”
Currently, jihadism is “ahead” in this macabre terrorism game where ideologies try to “scare” Americans. Fact: Terrorism since 9/11 has killed 10 times less people than bee stings. The chance of a refugee committing terrorism is negligible. Admittedly, the USA law enforcement has foiled dozens of terror plots by jihadists.
Even the Southern Poverty Law Center has admitted to Reuters that an average of 5 official hate crime murders happened annually between 2003–2015.
The real question is: What should we do to keep ourselves safe? Because the evidence clearly shows that the largest threats are still from Islamic extremism.
Look at the Wikipedia list of terror threats since 9/11. Nearly all involve Islamic jihadists.
U.S. Senators accessing government data found that terror threats foiled since 9/11 are predominantly jihadist or foreign-born suspects. 2016 news reports showed that from September 2001 through 2014, the U.S. successfully prosecuted 580 individuals for terrorism and terror-related cases. 380 were foreign-born.
Still, we should be aware of the past, as I myself designed these two graphics, which I thought would also be food-for-thought in this long reply.