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April 27, 2015

Members of Congress Invite Anti-Muslim Bigot Geert Wilders to DC Events

Geert Wilders, the Dutch Freedom Party leader and one of the most notorious anti-Muslim bigots in the world, announced that this week two Members of Congress will host him at events in Washington, DC.

Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders

Representatives Steve King and Louie Gohmert are reportedly helping provide a platform for Wilders at two events, a breakfast sponsored by the Conservative Opportunity Society, founded by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and later in the day at a reception.

ADL wrote to Representatives King and Gohmert to make sure they know that Wilders’ rhetoric, comparing the Muslim religion itself to Nazism, crosses the boundaries of civility and religious tolerance.

Wilders routinely says “Islam is evil” and calls for the closing down of Muslim schools and mosques, as he did in November 2014 at the most recent David Horowitz Freedom Center Restoration Weekend in Florida. Wilders considers every Muslim an extremist, stating that “according to the Qur’an, there are no moderate Muslims.” He further claims that the fact most Muslims are law-abiding citizens and have no connection to terrorism is irrelevant, because Islam is an expansionist and aggressive ideology.  His profile as a purveyor of ugly anti-Muslim bigotry went global in March 2008, when Wilders released an online film called Fitna. The film simplistically depicts Islam as a violent religion, interspersing verses from the Qur’an with footage of terrorist violence.

Even a radically anti-Muslim lawmaker like Wilders is entitled to express his opinions.  But Americans are entitled to expect their elected representatives to avoid promoting and legitimizing those odious ideas.

Another instance of such deroga­tory and hate­ful rhetoric by Members of their caucus about immigrants drew swift con­dem­na­tion by House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) and then Major­ity Leader Eric Can­tor (R–VA) as well as Judi­ciary Immi­gra­tion Sub­com­mit­tee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC).  Speaker Boehner called on leg­is­la­tors to reject hate­ful com­ments that he said were “deeply offen­sive and wrong and said they did “not reflect the val­ues of the Amer­i­can peo­ple or the Repub­li­can Party.”

We hope Speaker Boehner and the House leadership take note of this page from their own playbook and follow their own example again.

Confronting violent extremism from Islamist movements is an urgent and seri­ous task for governments and lawmakers all over the world.

Providing a platform for the basest kind demonizing of Muslims, or of any faith, does lit­tle to make Americans safer. America’s highest ideals of religious liberty and the need to confront terrorism from groups like ISIS and al Qaida with real policy solutions compels Congress to do better.

 

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April 7, 2015

Right-wing Terror Attacks in U.S. Approach 1990s Levels

Recent terrorist attacks, plots and conspiracies by right-wing extremists in the United States are approaching the level of attacks in the mid-1990s when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, based on a chronology of such attacks compiled by the Anti-Defamation League.  The chronology was released as part of ADL’s commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.right-wing_plots_attacks_1995-2014

The list of right-wing attacks and attempted attacks chronicles 120 different incidents between January 1995 and December 2014, illustrating a steady stream of domestic terror incidents in the United States stemming from extreme-right movements over the past two decades.  Targets included ethnic and religious minorities, government officials and buildings, law enforcement officers, abortion clinics and their staff, and others.

Examined over time, the attacks illustrate the two major surges of right-wing extremism that the United States has experienced in the past 20 years.  The first began in the mid-1990s and lasted until the end of the decade.  The second surge began in the late 2000s and has not yet died down.

During both surges, the number of right-wing terror attacks and conspiracies outnumbered those in the intervening period.  From 1995 through 2000, 47 incidents occurred, while from 2009 through 2014, 42 incidents took place.  The eight-year intervening period of 2001-08 produced 31 attacks.  The surge of recent years has not produced a two-year period with as many incidents as the years 1995-1996, which had a high of 18 attacks, but it has come close, with 16 attacks for the years 2011-12.

When analyzed on the basis of perpetrator ideology, the list shows that the various white supremacist and anti-government extremist movements have produced the vast majority of the right-wing terrorist incidents over the past 20 years, with 50 each.  Anti-abortion extremists come in third place with 13 incidents.right-wing_terrorism_by_movement_1995-2014

Incidents on the list include terrorist acts and plots by white supremacists, anti-government extremists, anti-abortion extremists, anti-immigration extremists, anti-Muslim extremists, and others.  The list does not include spontaneous acts of violence by right-wing extremists, such as killings committed during traffic stops, nor does it include lesser incidents of extremist violence or non-ideological violence committed by extremists.

Some incidents had perpetrators who adhered to more than one ideological movement; in such cases, the movement that seemed most important to the perpetrator was used for categorization.  Categorization was by perpetrator ideology rather than type of target, a fact important to note, as different movements sometimes chose the same type of target (white supremacists and anti-abortion extremists both targeted abortion clinics, for example), while some perpetrators chose targets that did not closely tie in with their main ideology (such as anti-abortion extremist Eric Rudolph targeting the 1996 Atlanta Olympics).  The 2001 plot by the Jewish Defense League to attack Muslim-related targets in California is not listed, as ADL includes such incidents under Jewish nationalist extremism rather than right-wing extremism.

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March 25, 2015

A Wave of Ugly Rhetoric Targeting Muslim Immigrants

In the last few months, some anti-immigrant activists as well as some anti-Muslim bloggers writing about Muslim immigration have ratcheted up their anti-Muslim rhetoric. Even more disturbing, some national and local political figures have joined the ranks of those who proclaim that Muslims are unable to assimilate into American culture. They have declared that Muslims are invading the country with the intent to take it over.

Anti-Muslim protest in Texas

Anti-Muslim protest in Texas

This kind of anti-immigrant rhetoric is not new. The same kind of sentiment has also been directed at Latino immigrants, particularly Mexicans. For example, anti-immigrant extremists have long promoted the Atzlan conspiracy theory that claims that Mexican immigrants are planning on taking over the Southwestern part of the United States. Today’s focus is increasingly on Muslim immigration, which is seen as far more insidious.

Anti-immigrant activists are using the atrocities committed by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and Muslim extremists to generate fear about all Muslims, including American citizens. Anti-immigrant bloggers such as Colorado-based Frosty Wooldridge (until recently a board member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform) and California-based Brenda Walker use virulent anti-Muslim rhetoric to demonize Muslims.

To read more see: A Wave of Ugly Rhetoric Targeting Muslim Immigrants

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