In the 14 years since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the U.S., explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants. The breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise, says the New York Times. Nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, says New America, a research center. The slaying of nine African Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, with an avowed white supremacist charged with their murders, was a particularly savage case.
It is only the latest in a string of lethal attacks by people espousing racial hatred, hostility to government and theories such as those of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which denies the legitimacy of most statutory law. The assaults have taken the lives of police officers, members of racial or religious minorities and random civilians. A new survey asked 382 police and sheriff's departments nationwide to rank the three biggest threats from violent extremism in their jurisdiction. About 74 percent listed antigovernment violence, while 39 percent listed “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence, said Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University. The study is to be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum.