When news broke about the bombing in Olso, many commentators assumed links with Islamic extremism. When reports came of the massacre on Utøya island, perpetrated by a “tall, blonde, Nordic, man,” speculation quieted down until Anders Behring Breivik was identified. News reports first described Breivik as a “Christian terrorist,” largely on the basis of his Facebook profile and his postings to Christian fundamentalist Web sites. After his manifesto became public, Breivik was characterized as a “right-wing extremist.” To most, the Christian terrorist/right-wing extremist distinction makes little real difference: Only a madman could engage in such wanton killing.
Christian terrorism comprises terrorist acts by groups or individuals who claim Christian motivations or goals for their actions. As with other forms of religious terrorism, Christian terrorists have relied on idiosyncratic or literalistic interpretations of the tenets of faith—in this case, the Bible. Such groups have used Old Testament and New Testament scriptures to justify violence or to seek to bring about the “end times” described in the New Testament,
while others have hoped to bring about a Christian theocracy. There has been plenty of terrorism and violence committed by human beings from every religious background. Were you aware that according to the European Police Office (Europol) in 2006 “There were 498 incidents in eleven EU countries in 2005 labelled as “terrorist attacks.” The Basque separatist group ETA committed the most (136 terrorist attacks) and was responsible for the only deadly attack, killing two in Madrid. The remaining 497 fortunately cost no human lives.” Muslims only carried out one out of the 498 terrorist attacks in the European Union in 2006. Full report Did you know that The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam a Hindu separatist group in Sri Lanka “had carried out more suicide bombings than any other organization on the face of the earth. According to the experts at Janes securities, between 1980 to 2000, LTTE had carried out a total of 168 suicide attacks on civilians and military targets. The number of suicide attacks easily exceeded the combined total of Hizbullah and Hamas suicide attacks carried out during the same period”
“Many Americans are unaware of the fact that of all the religious groups, Muslim Americans have the lowest crime rate, and that prior to the first WTC attack, there was no violence directed against the western culture by its members. A survey of 175 recorded incidents of terrorism in the US from January 1982 to January 1996 showed that of these: 77 were committed by Christian Puerto Rican nationalists, 31 were the work of Christian animal rights and Christian environmental groups, 23 were blamed on Christian left wing organizations, 18 were committed by what the FBI called “Jewish extremists” and 12 were by Christian anti-Castro Cubans. The total number committed by Arabs or Muslims over a period of 14 years was ” Muslim Americans: Patriotic or Fifth Columnist?, Habib Siddiqui
Note sections on Christian extremism and terrorism and Jewish extremism and terrorism were divided 4/08 because this section became too long.
The U.S. Department of Justice Report on Terrorism 2002 to 2005 also lists incidents from 1980 to 2005 and clearly shows that most terrorist incidents were not carried out by Muslims.
An MPAC study on domestic terrorism shows that – Since Obama’s election on November 4, 2008 there have been 25 terror plots by non-Muslim domestic extremists and 9 plots by Muslim domestic and international extremists.
In Europe the number of arrests connected to terrorism doubled in the European Union in 2007, while the overwhelming majority of attacks carried out in its territory were linked to separatism, the EU’s police office, Europol, said in a report released on Monday (7 April).
Even if we look only at extremist violence and terrorism in the U.S. from 1970 and after committed by non-Muslims, it really isn’t possible to hold to the claim that all terrorists are Muslims. If we add to this brief list all of the KKK and white supremacist violence over the years and all of the hate crimes like the hate crimes motivated by a hatred of immigrants, or gays, or African-Americans, or a particular political group, etc. Then this list would number in the thousands.
1970’s – Sterling Hall bombing at the UW–Madison, JDL bombings of Aeroflot office and Soviet offices in NYC, Weatherman bombings at U.S. Capitol in D.C. and Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, shooting of Governor George Wallace of Alabama, Croatian terrorist hijacking of a TWA airliner, car bomb murder of Chilean gov’t officials by DINA,
1980’s – Armed members of FALN raid campaign headquarters of Jimmy Carter in Chicago and George H. W. Bush in NYC, Reagan assassination attempt, bombings at Pan Am terminal in NY by the Puerto Rican Resistance Army, FALN explodes bombs outside of the FBI office in NY and the US courthouse in Brooklyn, James W. von Brunn attempted to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., Turkish diplomats in CA and MA killed by members of the Justice Commandos Against Armenian Genocide, U.S. Senate bombing by The Armed Resistance Unit, James Oliver Huberty went into a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, CA and killed 21 people and injured 19 others before being killed himself, Rajneeshee bioterror attack in OR, 751 became ill, The Order murders Alan Berg in CO, JDL murders Alex Odeh in CA, George Hennard drove into Luby’s diner in Killeen, TX and killed 23 people and wounded more than 20 before committing suicide, Dr. David Gunn murdered in Pensacola, Florida,
1990 to 1999
– American Front Skinheads, pipe bombing in Tacoma WA
– Animal Liberation Front bombing in Franklin Township, N.J. of Circus Vehicles
– Animal Liberation Front, 9 incidents of firebombing in Chicago, IL
– Boricua Revolutionary Front,Chicago IL, Car Fire and Attempted bombing
– Frank Eugene Corder attempted to hit the White House with a single-engine Cessna,
– Francisco Martin Duran fired at least 29 shots with a semi-automatic rifle at the White House,
– Earth Liberation Front, Colo. Arson Fire at Ski Resort
– Earth Liberation Front arson attack on Agriculture Hall of MSU and office complex in Monmouth, OR
– Buford O. Furrow, a former member of the Aryan Nations, in a firearms attack on a Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, CA wounded three children, a camp counselor, and a receptionist.
– Eric Harris & Dylan Kleboldat Columbine H.S. killed 13 people and wounded 24 before commitng suicide,
– Rev. Paul Jennings Hill murders Dr. John Britton and an assistant in FL
– Ted Kaczinski, the Unabomber,
– James Kopp murders Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot to death at his home in Amherst, NY
– Sgt. William J. Kreutzer, Jr. killed one officer and wounded 17 other soldiers when he opened fire on a formation at Fort Bragg, NC.,
– Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the Oklahoma City bombing
– Mexican Revolutionary Movement, attempted firebombing in Urbana IL
– Minnesota Patriots Council plots to assassinate law enforcement officials using ricin
– Alfred Reumayr plot to blow up the Trans Alaska Pipeline
– Eric Robert Rudolph, connected to The Army of God, carried out the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and abortion clinic bombing in Birmingham AL
– John Salvi killed two receptionists in two clinic attacks in Brookline, MA
– Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, a right-wing extremist and member of the World Church of the Creator, shooting rampage left two individuals dead and eight others wounded before Smith killed himself,
– Russell Eugene Weston kills two in U.S. Capitol shooting
2000 to 2011
– Jim D. Adkisson opened fire in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville TN killing two and injuring seven (a note found in his SUV indicated this was intended as a suicide attack and said the church was apparently targeted because of its support of liberal social policies),
– Alabama Free Militia, five members of anti-immigration militia were arrested for planning a machine gun attack on Mexicans. During raids by federal agents, authorities seized 130 hand grenades, two machine guns and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition
– Chad Altman and Sergio Baca were arrested for the arson of Dr. Curtis Boyd’s clinic in Albuquerque NM
– The Animal Liberation Front targeted a UCLA professor with a firebomb due to her research on animals,
– Daniel L. Barefoot, Sharon Renee Barefoot, Jonathan A. Avery, Jonathan Maynard, Marvin G. Gautier and Rossie Lynwood Strickland , six members of the Nation’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan pleaded guilty to a variety of weapons and conspiracy charges in connection with an illegal gun trading scheme in the early 2000s to finance a plan to blow up the Johnston County, North Carolina, courthouse.
– Philip Bay planned a massacre of fellow Virginia Beach students
– John Patrick Bedell, an anti-government extremist walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.
– Kody Brittingham, a Marine is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.
– Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many others at Virginia Tech before committing suicide,
– Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman, two white power skinheads plot to target an African American High School and kill 88 blacks and decapitate 14 more (the numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic to white supremacists) and although expecting to fail try to assassinate Barack Obama,
– Demetrius Van Crocker a white supremacist from rural TN attempted to acquire Sarin nerve gas and C-4 explosives that he planned to use to destroy government buildings,
– James Cummings dirty bomb plot, Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear “dirty bomb” in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.
– Matthew L. Derosia rammed a SUV into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota
– John Earl, a Catholic priest drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic and pulled out an ax before being shot at by a security guard,
– Earth Liberation Front members plead guilty to burning The Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington.
– Paul Ross Evans left a package at a women’s health clinic in Austin, Texas containing an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death. A bomb squad detonated the device after evacuating the building. Paul Ross Evans (who had a criminal record for armed robbery and theft) was found guilty of the crime
– David Anthony Fuselier and 4 other members of the American Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan were convicted in federal court in Louisiana on conspiracy and intimidation charges for burning a cross at the residence of three African-American men in Longville, Louisiana. The five men, who all pleaded guilty, had burned the cross in an attempt to coerce the victims into leaving the community
– Matt Hale of the World Church of the Creator was convicted in 2004 of soliciting the murder of Chicago federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow
– Jeffrey Harbin who has ties to the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) and was formerly a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, arrested for transporting 12 grenade-like improvised explosive devices.
– Kevin William Hardham has been charged with illegal possession of an explosive device and attempting to use a “weapon of mass destruction,” after leaving a backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane, Wash
– Lucas John Helder rigged pipe bombs in private mailboxes to explode when the boxes were opened, He injured 6 people in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and Iowa. His motivation was to garner media attention so that he could spread a message denouncing government control over daily lives and the illegality of marijuana.
– Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Shreveport, LA,
– David Hull, Pennsylvania Klan leader was convicted of a variety of illegal weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to use hand grenades to attack abortion clinics; he also allegedly told an informant that he had turned his car into a “suicide bomb on wheels.”
– Hutaree “Christian warrior” militia. Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.
– An Idaho Mountain Militia Boys plot to kill a judge an a police officer and break a friend out of jail is uncovered,
– Vadim Ignatov shooting attack on Muslim home in Oregon
– Bruce Ivins anthrax attacks kill five across the U.S. with politicians and media officials as the apparent targets,
– JDL plot by Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel to blow up the King Fahd Mosque and the office of Congressman Darrell Issa in CA foiled,
– Jerry and Joe Kane, two “sovereign citizens” gunned down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.
– Anarchist Joseph Konopka was found in possession of deadly amounts of sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide
– William Krar is charged for his part in the Tyler poison gas plot, a white supremacist related plan, his weapons cache included a half a million rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers, and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases.
– James J. Lee wearing explosives and carrying a gun took hostages at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland before being killed by police. He was protesting the channel’s “anti environmental” message and programming encouraging birth of humans who he called filthy
– Ryan Daniel Lewis was convicted of arson in a number of incidents on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front in CA
– Thomas Hayward Lewis, a white power skinhead arrested in Mobile Alabama for vandalism and cache of explosives found in his home
– Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged mass murderer who shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona at a political gathering
– Donny Love, Sr. has been indicted for his alleged role in bombing of the federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Multiple nail-laden pipe bombs exploded at a Federal Courthouse in San Diego causing “considerable damage” to the entrance and lobby and sending shrapnel two blocks away. The F.B.I. is investigating links between this attack and an April 25 explosion at the FedEx building also in San Diego
– Keith Luke went on shooting spree in MA to kill as many non whites and Jews as possible,
– Dennis & Daniel Mahon send mail bombs to a diversity office in Scottsdale AZ that injure three,
– Alberto Martinez – two officers were killed at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq by a deliberately placed mine, Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez was charged, but was acquitted in a court martial trial at Fort Bragg, NC,
– David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan crashed his car into the Edgerton Women’s Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and then started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions
– Justin Carl Moose plot to bomb abortion clinics. The FBI alleges he referred to himself as the “Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden”
– Donny Eugene Mower was arrested on federal charges of attacking a reproductive health clinic in Madera CA, and authorities said he also is responsible for vandalism and menacing signs left at the city’s Islamic center.
– Robert Pickett discharged a number of shots from a weapon in the direction of the White House,
– Richard Andrew Poplawski – Three Pittsburgh police officers are fatally shot and a fourth wounded by Richard Andrew Poplawski, who had posted his racist and anti-Semitic views on white supremacist websites.
– Project 7, two members are arrested plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officials in order to kick off a revolution,
– Charles Carl Roberts IV went into an Amish school in Lancaster County, PA and killed 5 girls before committing suicide,
– Daniel and Timothy Robinson arrested in possession of materials to make bio-chemical weapons
– Scott Roeder Assassination of Dr. George Tiller
– Daniel James Schertz, N GA White Knights member pleaded guilty to building pipe bombs designed to blow up buses carrying Mexican and Haitian migrant workers from Tennessee to Florida
– Kyle Shaw bombing of a Starbucks in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, police said his motive was to emulate “Project Mayhem” a series of assaults on corporate America
– Joseph Stack’s suicide flight into an IRS building.
– Roger Stockham was arrested in a car laden with explosives outside one of the nation’s largest mosques in Dearborn MI
– Texas Militia former leaders plot to attack the Federal Building in Houston,
– Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, a pair of “Patriot” movement radicals who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure”—threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
– Jomar Falu Vives a Fort Carson, CO soldier and Iraq war veteran accused of killing 2 people and wounding another in drive-by shootings,
– U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting by James Wenneker von Brunn,
– Lonnie Vernon and 4 others were arrested on charges connected with an alleged plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks, Alaska judge
– Clayton Waagner, claiming to act on the part of the “Virginia Dare Chapter” of the Army Of God mailed hoax letters containing a white powder to 554 clinics,
– white supremacists planned to bomb a series of institutions associated with the black and Jewish communities including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum,
– Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend on the Red Lake, MN Chippewa reservation, then went to Red Lake H.S. where he killed 7 people and wounded 5 others before committing suicide,
– Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.
– Alexander Robert Youshock’s plot to bomb a school in San Mateo, CA
– A man rammed his car into a women’s clinic that he thought was an abortion clinic and set it ablaze in Davenport, Iowa,
– A bomb was left in a women’s clinic in Austin but failed to explode,
– UC-Santa Cruz molecular biologist David Feldheim’s home was firebombed. A car belonging to another researcher from that University was destroyed by a firebomb in what is presumed to be related. FBI is investigating incidents as domestic terrorism related to animal rights groups,
– Three Packages detonate in the mail rooms of two Maryland state government buildings. No serious injuries
– A homemade bomb damaged a Recruiting Office in Times Square
– A pair of improvised explosive devices were thrown at the Mexican Consulate in New York City. The fake grenades were filled with black powder, and detonated by fuses, causing very minor damage. Police were investigating the connection between this and a similar attack against the British Consulate in New York
Incidents like that at Fort Hood are often presented as if they are unique to Muslims. This is patently untrue. Here is a list of only a few similar incidents:
1995 – Sgt. William J. Kreutzer, Jr. killed one officer and wounded 17 other soldiers when he opened fire on a formation at Fort Bragg, NC.
2003 – Army sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar killed two officers of the 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Iraq (He was a Muslim convert)
2005 – Two officers were killed at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq by a deliberately placed mine. Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez was charged in the killing but was acquitted in a court martial trial at Fort Bragg, NC.
2006 – Pvt. Steven Green raped a 14-year-old girl, and killed her and 3 other members of her family in Iraq
2007 – Master Sgt. John Hatley convicted of the execution-style killings of 4 bound and blindfolded Iraqi detainees near Baghdad.
2007 – Olin Ferrier, a Fort Carson, CO soldier killed a taxi driver in Pueblo, CO
2008 – Staff Sgt. Brandon Norris killed Spc. Kamisha Block and then committed suicide in Iraq. The military first reported this as a death by “friendly fire”.
2008 – Spc. Jody Michael Wirawan killed 1st Lt. Robert Bartlett Fletcher at Fort Hood and then committed suicide
2008 – Dustin Thorson, an Air Force technical sergeant killed his son and daughter on Tinker Air Base, OK. (He had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq.)
2008 – Edgar Patino, a soldier at Fort Bragg, NC killed another soldier Spc. Megan Touma who was pregnant.
2009 – Jomar Falu Vives a Fort Carson, CO soldier and Iraq war veteran accused of killing 2 people and wounding another in drive-by shootings.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a list entitled: Terror from the Right: 75 plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since Oklahoma City which also shows that not all terrorists are Muslims. The SPLC also has a list of “Patriot” groups active in the U.S. during 2009 including 127 militias (marked with an asterisk).
Another report from the FBI makes a lot of interesting points. Here are a few highlights:
APPROXIMATELY 641 terrorist incidents occurred in the United States between 1971 and June 1975. Among these attacks were 166 bombings, 120 fire bombings, and 118 shootings. (During the first six months of 1975 alone, 24 attacks occurred in California, 12 took place in New York, and 11 were directed at targets on the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.) Some of these attacks were carried out by extremist ethnic groups and international terrorists. But the vast majority were attributed to leftwing/antiwar extremists, many operating within such organizations as the Weather Underground, Armed Forces of Puerto Rican Liberation (FALN), the Black Liberation Army, and the Symbionese Liberation Army. WAVES in domestic terrorist activity are not absolute or all encompassing. During the 1970s and early 1980s, at the height of violent antiwar/left-wing activism, there were dozens of terrorist attacks carried out by Jewish extremist groups (such as the Jewish Defense League and the United Jewish Underground) and other extremist ethnic groups (such as the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide). There were also sporadic incidents involving special interest groups supporting nuclear disarmament and other causes. During the 1990s, when antigovernment right-wing groups became a primary counterterrorism focus, left-wing extremist Puerto Rican separatists continued to conduct the majority of successful terrorist attacks in the United States–primarily on the island of Puerto Rico. (The majority of terrorist acts prevented by law enforcement during the decade, however, were being planned by antigovernment right-wing terrorists–underscoring the potential threat posed by this element.)
But a study of the past reveals some potentially helpful patterns. Violent domestic extremism in the United States has been closely linked to contemporary political/social concerns. In each of the three identifiable waves, violent extremism has represented a small, radicalized component of broad-based, largely
peaceful movements sharing similar concerns. With regard to left- and right-wing terrorism, aggressive prosecution of group leaders, violent offenders, and those plotting attacks contributed significantly to limiting the overall threat posed by groups with these orientations.
The abilities to spread propaganda and recruit new members are important to the long-term viability of extremist movements. Leftist radical movements of the 1970 and early 1980s conducted much of their propaganda and recruiting through lectures and the distribution of handbills. While right-wing groups in the 1980s and 1990s began to exploit the Internet and cable access programming to spread their views, they largely depended on videotapes and books to attract new adherents to their antigovernment, race-supremacist ideologies. By contrast, animal rights and environmental extremists rely on sophisticated computer capabilities to exploit the communications potential of the Internet to disseminate propaganda, provide information updates to adherents, recruit new members, and make claims of responsibility for terrorist activities and acts of vandalism. The communications opportunities afforded by the World Wide Web can be expected to have a far-reaching impact on the ability of contemporary extremist groups to perpetuate propaganda and attract new members.
CONCLUSION – BROAD TRENDS in domestic terrorism can be identified throughout the past four decades. These trends demonstrate the fluidity of causes that can inspire acts of terrorism within a culture. A society as large, diverse, and complex as the United States can be expected to continue to yield divergent concerns and beliefs among groups and individuals who view extreme actions as the most effective means to convey their sentiments. An appreciation of the largescale shifts in terrorist trends may assist law enforcement in understanding general patterns in the threat posed by domestic extremists over several decades. The emerging challenges confronting the law enforcement community underscore more than ever the importance of interagency cooperation, effective analysis, and aggressive investigation to counter these threats.