Far-Right Terrorism and American Jihadists

A grey car drives into a crowd of protesters carrying colorful signs, sending two men airborne while onlookers rush to the sceneThe George Washington University Program on Extremism has released three new reports, two from the most prominent experts on domestic terrorism, and one on American foreign fighters.

In “Surveying the Landscape of the American Far Right” by Mark Pitcavage, the author attempts to make a critical distinction between white supremacy, the extreme-right, and right-wing terrorism. Pitcavage also tackles the differences between Nazism and Neo-Nazism, Religious White Supremacy, The Alt Right, Anti-Government Extremists, White Supremacy, and more nuanced groups in an effort to emphasize that domestic terrorism is a more varied and complex issue than just “white supremacy,” which he claims account for only 43% of domestic plots and attacks.

Filling the Gap in Our Terrorism Statutes” by Mary McCord addresses loopholes for domestic terrorists in our laws. McCord cites instances of domestic terrorism in which the assailant was not charged with terrorism, despite clear ties to anti-immigrant, white supremacist, and Neo-Nazi organizations. McCord reports that punitive terrorism laws are worded in a way that apply almost exclusively to international terrorism, leaving gaping legislative loopholes for domestic terrorists.

In “The Other Travelers: American Jihadists Beyond Syria and Iraq” by Seamus Hughes, Emily Blackburn, and Andrew Mines, the authors point out that while much time and attention has been devoted to monitoring the movements of American Jihadists in Syria and Iraq, very little attention is being paid to American foreign fighters traveling to “jihadist conflict theaters outside of Syria and Iraq […], specifically Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak), Libya, Mali, Nigeria, the Sinai Peninsula, Somalia, and Yemen.” Using open-source information, the authors were able to successfully identify 36 foreign fighters and track their attempted and successful movements between 2011 and 2019.


For more information, visit the HSDL Featured Topics on Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism and Lone Wolf Terrorism. Please note that an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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