Not Just the Caliphate: Exploring the Jihadist Scene in America

fightersOver the last few years, the so-called Islamic State (IS) has dominated coverage of the jihadist landscape in America. The recent election only magnified the low hanging political fruit that is IS-inspired attacks while ignoring the broader radicalization to Islamist violence across America. By focusing solely on one organization, long-term counter-terrorism objectives are skewed.

Not Just the Caliphate: Non-Islamic State-Related Jihadist Terrorism in America, a new publication from George Washington University’s Project on Extremism, examines the entire jihadi scene. The report compiled a database of all cases of U.S. person charged, arrested, or indicted on jihadist-inspired terrorism offenses unconnected to IS. The analysis displays that nearly half of those arrested since 2011 for terrorist offenses have been affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization other than IS. Furthermore, some of the individuals took steps to support multiple groups.

The report demonstrates that radicalized Islamist violence will continue after IS. In the world of Islamic fundamentalism, “group affiliation is far less important than identification with central tenets of Salafi-jihadist ideology.” Philosophical and tactical approaches among organizations are constantly shifting, but the principal ideological narratives remain.

The Homeland Security Library (HSDL) contains numerous publications on Jihadist terrorist threats. Our featured topic, Domestic Threats: Jihadist/Islamist, will get you started. However, don’t limit yourself. HSDL covers many areas of domestic terrorism so your homeland security education is well rounded and not limited to strict fundamentalism. (Some materials may required HSDL login)